When I started this weight loss journey I went to my medical doctor to see if she had any insight into permanent weight loss (beyond duct taping my mouth shut for the rest of my life, HA!) She spoke with me for quite a while on diet plans, weight loss, permanent weight loss and WHAT it takes. I was surprised she was so willing to offer such great help but honestly it was nothing I hadn’t heard before. The secrets to weight loss are not secrets: eat less food, drink water every day all day, move your butt 4 times a week MINIMUM and journal what you eat so you have accountability. Do all of these things every day and make them habitual.

See? No big secrets there. Well she did add one more thing that I rolled my eyes at, determination. WHAT THE HELL? I am determined to lose weight EVERY time I start out, sitting there thinking it over I realized I was determined to start with but if I’m honest with myself I see that I lose that determination somewhere between buttered popcorn and salty caramels and fussy moments with kids. Determination, yep damn she was right I needed to get it and keep it. I’m a pretty determined person, I like to get things done, finish them and I’ve been known to buck the odds to get what I want, but the mystery remained; how do I keep up the determination to lose weight?

Regardless of not knowing HOW to keep up the determination I started out with bright ambition to get the weight off. Now I’ve been there before, I’ve struggled with weight on and off for most of my life, starting a diet is nothing new. I began calorie tracking (I remember being freaked out by the amount of calories I HAD been consuming) and eating lots of vegetables, good proteins and less starchy foods. I didn’t and don’t follow ANY strict food guidelines because the quickest way for me to derail is to say “well I can’t have THAT anymore” and then all I want is that. No paleo, no primal, no Atkins, no fat flush, no Weight Watchers, no grapefruit diet, no vegetable soup diet, just real food in balanced portions.  Eat less calories?? CHECK!

Drinking water was an easy one for me, I can’t take the sweet of juice and soda burns my throat so I just don’t drink them, ever. Now coffee oh coffee how I love thee. And how I still drink thee! I drink it black most of the year but in the fall I made a pumpkin spice latte mix that I gladly spent calories on. A little milk, a little mix and some hot coffee and I was a happy person for under 100 calories and it’s easy on the pocket too. I made sure to drink 10 plus cups of water a day beyond the caffeinated kind. So water?? CHECK!

Moving seemed like the hardest part for me. When I started all of this we were finishing up a remodel on our house, I never stopped moving so I was reluctant to leave the work here to go for a walk. But I did and I could walk for a 1/2 mile. That seemed so huge for me then, really I was so overweight it was HARD TO WALK, so 1/2 a mile was good. Then I pushed it up to a mile, then suddenly 2 miles was doable, 40 minutes became my walk goal. I thought I was moving out, then I was put to shame by this little short woman who passed me while I was walking(PASSED ME LIKE I WAS STANDING STILL), so I began walking to keep up with her. Damn she wiped me out and I’d never been happier to see someone turn off the road and go home, seriously I CHEERED INSIDE. Then it snowed and what were my plans then? I switched to cross country skiing which I love and had the gear for, it was free and it actually felt good. I can now ski for over 2 hours 3-4 days a week but the snow is melting and that will soon be over. I needed an exercise that would get me the calorie burn I want so I started running 2 weeks ago. I am not a runner, in fact the entire time I’m running I’m plotting how far I have to go until I’m done, how much now, how much now and then it’s done. 30 minutes of running a couple times a week seems to be what I can handle. UP from walking slowly for a half a mile to running 30 minutes without stopping. And that just happened, I didn’t do couch to 5K I just went for a walk, it was getting dark and I thought SHOOT my heart rate isn’t even up so I’ll just run and get it kicked in. And I thought wow I wonder if I can make it to that road? And I did. Can I make it to that driveway? I can. And I just ran. Move your butt?? CHECK

Writing everything down was a pain so I switched to My Fitness Pal an online food AND exercise tracker, which helped me by having everything in one spot for easy tracking. I found I liked to eat the same low calorie lunch most days of the week so it was easy to tick off and add to my calorie count. Seeing I had 200 calories left to have a snack with felt good and it was all on my phone, so it was easy to find. There are numerous calorie trackers online, I happen to LOVE this one. Tracking? CHECK!

And the weight started coming off. I lost 40 pounds in 5 months, I’m currently heading towards 50 pounds lost, I have more to go until I feel really healthy and fit. I want to hike with my kids, ride bikes, climb things and not feel held back because I’m too heavy. And yes that is what happens, I can’t wear a suit to the pool I’m too heavy, I can’t sit in that lawn chair I’ll crush it, I can’t walk in front of that crowd I’m so big they’ll stare so I’ll just be over here while everyone else does it. What a waste of a life waiting for everyone else to do the good stuff. No more excuses, I can and will do the good stuff too and I refuse to feel like everyone is watching me, they’re all way more interested in THEIR stuff to care about me and my big butt.

While I’ve worked hard to do the things the doctor told me to and make them habitual, eat less, drink water, journal every bite and move your butt, I’ve still struggled to find the determination. Where is it? It’s so damned elusive! But as I write today about weight loss, I tick off my water, schedule in a quick run before a meeting, mark off my lunch for the day, I realize that I HAVE found the determination, it lies in the doing of all those different habits. If I do them, I am building on the determination of yesterday and projecting it forward into tomorrow. I take the success I have made and push it in front of me like a goal, see what you’ve done? What else can you do? And that IS the elusive determination for me, every piece clicking in like a puzzle, every piece working together is the determination I was looking for. 

There is no secret; I write down what I eat, run when I can, I eat more vegetables than bread, I stretch, I move, I eat, drink a lot of water, I say no occasionally to food I can’t burn off with exercise, I say YES a lot more and just make time for more exercise.