Monday, February 14, 2011

Quick fix or a life of health and fitness?

Happy Valentine's Day!

I read quite a few blogs this weekend and finally caught up with all of you. Several bloggers that I visited are pushing hard to lose a certain amount of weight by XX date because of weddings, cruises, birthdays, or other significant events. While these are great incentives to stay focused for the short term and maybe get into that dress or swimsuit for it we also need to think about what we will do beyond that targeted date for the long term, which is cause for today's ruminations.

This week (February 17) will mark my 37th anniversary. It is one of my greatest life gifts to have a partner to walk through life with. Hubby is from the Netherlands and in the region of the Netherlands where he is from, it is a local custom for young couples to celebrate their twelve and a half year anniversary, which is the half way marker to the big 25th. Almost 25 years ago, we did just that. To get ready for it: I went on a diet where I lost about 15 pounds in a 6-week period of time. I cannot remember the diet particulars, however part of it was eating certain foods each day. By all appearances I was successful. On our anniversary I weighed the least I can ever remember weighing, about 137 pounds. It was a great day and if I do say so myself, I looked great. We renewed our wedding vows in our church and had a splendid party with family and friends afterward.

However: although my appearance was great, looking back, I know I paid for that diet in ways that are clear to me now. You see I was so focused on being thinner by our anniversary, that I never thought about what I was going to do to maintain the weight loss. Of course, exercise was not even a part of that weight loss diet. I am guessing I was at that weight of 137 for a few months, maybe even a year. But, as I approached my 40’s I began to put on more weight each year which of course led me to my all time high when I started this journey last June of 213 pounds.

I paid in other ways too: Because I was successful with that particular diet, I began to live in a fantasy world. I now knew that I could go on this quick little diet and lose XXX amount of pounds, or so, I thought. I simply would go back to that food a day diet and presto, I would be thin, or rather lighter in pounds again. That of course never happened. Sure I could knock of 5 pounds maybe even 10, but once the event was over, back it came, plus a few extra pounds on top of it. I never really lost weight again after that anniversary celebration, until I started this current journey.

Which brings me to where I am today: I am a slow and steady weight loss loser. I probably always have been; I just did not know that until recently. My quick 6 week weight loss was just that: a quick fix. It fixed me all right for that date, but it was never a solution to my weight issues nor did it create a foundation for maintenance and leading a healthy and fit life. It took me over 25 years to learn that for me, and for many of you, too, there are no quick fixes for weight loss or maintaining your health. Sure, you might find a quick fix that works for whatever event is coming up, but you will pay for that fix in other ways.

For me, I have learned that eating less, moving more, eating lots of fruits and veggies and going easy on the junk food works. I am closing in on 30 pounds off; 3/7ths of the way to my goal. But there is more: As I continue on this journey I am learning to be sensible in food choices and reasonable in my expectations for myself. I no longer look to losing 10 pounds in a month by being on a special diet but can say based on my current history and the tangible evidence in pounds lost that in about 10-12 weeks I can shed another 10 pounds. Yes, I can target a certain weight by a certain date, but those targets are now realistic, not something out of a fairy tale.

I am sharing this little story with all of you my blogger friends, because most of you are way younger than I am. After reading your blogs this weekend, I know there are many of you that are targeting a certain weight loss by a certain date. Some of you are even trying to lose 15 pounds in 6 weeks like I did so many years ago. You might be successful which will be great, but...my hope is that you will reconsider your goals and plan for a long term fix for you and your health. Think beyond that date to a life that is healthy and fit. Think long term. Learn from my fantasy diet fix. You can do this. You can. But that quick fix is gonna cost you.

Stay strong everyone and TTFN,
Michele

17 comments:

  1. Really good point Michele!! Our goal should be about becoming healthier and obtaining that health so that we don't drop our good habits once we reach a certain weight. Very well put. Good food for thought! :)

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  2. Well said, my friend! For me, the turning point in this realization was four years ago when I determined I would never "diet" again, but would lose extra pounds through a healthy plan that could continue for the rest of my life. We are both working towards a way out there target (July 30), but it's incorporating a slow loss that is consistent with what we've been doing all along. Yes, wisdom comes with being older and wiser!!

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  3. Michele, very well said!! You're right,, its usuallu those quick fix losses that we can never maintain!! Happy early anniversary, 37 is amazing. Happy vday today too

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  4. YES! I have told you before that I very much admire you for your approach. And I also almost cringe when I read post where the blogger has a certain number they want to be by a certain date. We can't control the number! Just our actions. I have done exactly what you describe many times in my yo-yo dieting history. Clearly it never worked or I would not be where I am today. Great post.

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  5. A very wise post. I really needed this one today, Michele. I even posted about the little thought that flashed through my mind about losing faster today. Your post certainly hit home for me today. Thanks!

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  6. Great wisdom in this post. I'm no youngin' but I still have dreams of losing 10 pounds a month, two years into my journey. lol Wouldn't it be nice...

    I'm all the healthier for losing it slowly, even though I whine about that slowness.

    Happy Valentine's Day.

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  7. Michele, I couldn't have said it better. I'm doing the same thing as you and finding a nice, slow, steady success, not just at weight loss, but at creating healthier habits to carry me through the rest of my life.

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  8. Very wise words indeed! Today i am trying to improve my health and not just worrying about what the scale says!

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  9. The quick fix and magic thinking is a trick for sure!
    It takes everyone at least one trip around the block to learn it, though.
    Good on ya!

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  10. "I have learned that eating less, moving more, eating lots of fruits and veggies and going easy on the junk food works."

    You are 100000% right! It's those simple acts that will help lose (and maintain). One of my biggest things (aside from reprogramming my "fat mind") is to force myself into doing these good habits every day so that, when I get down to my goal, I STAAAAAAAAAAAY at my goal. I don't want to ever have to "diet" again. It's going from being haphazard to being healthy that is my #1 goal...and being healthy means eating the RIGHT foods in the RIGHT portions and moving more.

    Nothing is more simple! We are amazing people to know what to do now (forever and ever) and to actually DO IT. Go us!!!

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  11. Great thoughts and all so very true. Thank you for sharing. 37 years is awesome. Jim and I are coming up on 31 this April.
    Take care Michele and have a blessed day.

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  12. First off, Michele, thank you for including my blog in your visits last weekend. It was nice to have you stop by and comment. Secondly, except for your current 30 pound weight loss, I could almost have written this post. (You're inspiring me.) Hubby and I have been married 38 years. I lost 36 pounds for my niece's wedding last July doing the - are you ready for this? - HCG injections! I lost weight fast, but gained it back - all of it - even faster when I went off the injections and started eating more than the 500 calories allowed on the HCG diet. You are a wise woman and though I'm no spring chick, I still have lots to learn which is why I'll be following your posts regularly!

    Jackie

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  13. Great post, well said, straight forward & wise. Congratulations on 37 years! My husband & I will celebrate 23 years this month. Since we were married on Feb. 29th, we don't have an actual day this year, but a second after midnight of the 28th will do.

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  14. Sweet 37! Congratulations! (We're going on 16).

    I began gaining weight when I started going on diets, especially the quick-fix ones. I wish others could learn from our mistakes, too.

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  15. Fantastic post. First of all, BIG congratulations to you and your husband on your 37th anniversary!!!! And thanks for the wise and insightful words. Have a great day.

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  16. I am with you, even though for some reason I still set the certain number by a certain day goal for myself. I still waiver with the old way of thinking that we need to set such a goal to motivate ourselves, even though I know this does not work for me. More than that, though, I believe in weekly awareness and simply eating less and moving more, eating sensibly, just like you share with us. You are making lifestyle changes and it will mean lasting changes!!

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