By Maggie Reimherr
A few days after Thanksgiving, I stepped on the scale to see the largest number I’ve ever weighed. I knew it was bad. My workout routine was non-existent. My cute fall skirts don’t fit, and my preferred clothing item is stretchy pants. My favorite weekend activity is eating lots of food and drinking lots of beer. I’ve known for months that changes needed to be made, but I never started.
Part of the problem is that I haven’t adjusted well to the demands of city life and the limited free time that comes with that. When I lived in Athens, GA, I was able to drive home every day for my lunch break because I worked 5 minutes from my house. Since I got home from work at approximately 5:10 every day, I was able to change and head to 5:30 barre classes. I had a routine. My work-life balance was ~on fleek~.
Now, I commute an hour each way on the train every day. I also work a 9-6 job. So that means 11 hours of my day are inflexible time devoted to commuting and working. In my struggle to cope, exercise moved to the back burner. Beer and pizza and movie nights and laziness took its place. The number on the scale was a wake up call.
So last week we began a weight loss journey. Derek and I are doing this together because we both need it. We bought a notebook and started writing out goals and checkpoints and meal plans. We use My Fitness Pal on our phones to log calories, and at the end of the day, we write them in the notebook and discuss.
Do y'all know how great it is when two motivated people join forces to reach a goal? By working together, we’re held accountable to the achievements we’ve set out to attain. We’re only one week in, but I really feel like this is working. I'm down 4 pounds already (to be fair, that might have been Thanksgiving casserole weight). And the best way to stay on top of your goals is to put them on the Internet, right?
I've learned a few things in the past week about weight loss and goal setting and working together as a team.
Find a routine that works for you. Like I mentioned above, I'm not off the train until 7:00 pm, and by then, I'm drained. Morning workouts are best for me because there's no room for excuses like “I’m tired” or “I have a headache.” The 5:30 am alarm is an adjustment, but it's a worthwhile one.
Water is your best friend. Over the past week, I've already had about 48 ounces of water by the time I'm done with my workout around 6:45 am. I read somewhere that Miss America contestants drink a gallon of water a day. That’s about what I’m currently doing, so look for me on your televisions next fall.
Listen to your body. I've been fighting a cold for the past week. My alarm went off on Friday morning for a 6:00 am kickboxing class. My body, like a Ryan Gosling meme, said, “Hey girl, I think you need some rest to get better.” So I went back to sleep for an hour, and I went on a long walk during my lunch break to get a little bit of exercise that day. This also applies to food. My Fitness Pal tells me that to achieve my goal weight, I can only eat 1200 net calories a day (food calories - workout calories = net calories). Some days, that works. Some days, that's absurd. If I hunger, I eat whole, healthy foods. I tend to keep it under 1400 net, and that fills me up just fine.
Calorie counting is a necessary evil for me. I am a short person, so a few pounds make a big difference on my frame. Even when I hit my goal weight, I'm going to have to eat mostly healthy and exercise regularly to maintain. Really, we should all be doing this - we’re only given one body for our time on earth, so we better take care of them. Over the years, my weight has fluctuated a good bit, and the only way I've found that I can stay on track is by consciously (but not obsessively) taking account what I put in my body. I’ve gone through phases when I’ve gotten obsessed with the tracker though, and when that happens, it’s time to take a step back from counting and just feed your body healthy foods. We don’t want to toe the line between healthy and disordered eating.
Total deprivation never works. This has been my downfall in staying healthy. I'll do a few solid weeks of exercise and healthy eating. Then I'll say, “Screw this! Let’s go to Cane’s! I'll take 6 chicken fingers, 2 pieces of Texas toast, 2 sauces, and a plate full of fries!” This is less likely to happen when allow yourself occasional indulgences in moderation. We’re doing 2 “cheat meals” per week instead of a full cheat day. I ate a cannoli on Saturday, and guess what? I’m still on track for my goals.
Working together is good for your marriage. I can’t imagine the temptation I’d feel to get off track if Derek and I weren’t in this together. But since we are, the process is strengthening our relationship by giving us a common goal to encourage each other toward.
Why, you ask, are we starting this journey in the middle of the holidays? Why not just make it a New Year’s Resolution? Because we didn't want to wake up on December 26th and realize we’re both 5 more pounds heavier. Also, we’re going back to Mexico in April, and I’d prefer to not have to buy all new swimsuits to suit these extra pounds. Now’s the time to start. It's going to be a challenge to stay on track when we’re in the South for Christmas. But here's our plan: get moving every day, track what we’re eating, and indulge but don't over-indulge at Christmas events. We’re sticking with this, and as good bloggers do, we’ll share updates every step of the way.