A 5-Step Weight Loss Game Plan

Jenny was just plain tired of the heat. She was tired of wearing long pants to her son’s baseball games in the summer, tired of her thighs rubbing together until they were raw and tired of the embarrassment she felt for being overweight. So last December Jenny made a decision. She was going to lose the weight. She didn’t know how she was going to lose the weight. Or, even when she was going to lose the weight. But she knew in her heart she was definitely going to lose the weight.

You’d never imagine that this slender size 6 wife and Mom of 3 had ever been 100 pounds overweight. She’s bubbly. Engaging. Talkative and energized. She’s got gorgeous long auburn hair and a smile to match. So when she casually mentioned that she’d lost 100 pounds the year before as I perused her garage sale, I just had to know more. How she did it. Why she did it. What was her magic bullet, her trick?

The One Thing at a Time Diet
Jenny told me there was no trick. She woke up the day after Christmas and decided that she was important. That she mattered to herself, and to her family and to God. So she took the ‘one thing at a time’ approach to weight loss. No fad diets. No insane workout schedules. Very little calorie counting. And no deprivation. Jenny simply decided to take care of herself. That’s it.

“I decided that I would start taking care of myself, as well as I take care of everyone else. I started small. Simple things like doing my hair in the morning and shaving my legs every day. Those little things were the catalyst to my 100 pound weight loss.” Jenny joined Weight Watchers Online and worked the program. She even deviated from the program. But Weight Watchers Online combined with Jenny’s intentional declaration made all the difference. The pounds came off slowly but steadily at the rate of about 3 .5 pounds per month. She added in some light exercise in the form of Piyo (a combination of Yoga and Pilates).

Fighting Back Fear
You can tell from Jenny’s smile that 100 pounds lighter feels delightful. She still battles her inner demons…the ones she fights when she wakes up in the morning and still believes she’s a size 22 until she pats her tummy and checks her hips and assures herself she hasn’t gained the weight back.

Jenny just went back to work after 14 years of being a stay at home Mom. She’s reveling in the fact that she can wear shorts to the ballpark. “I wanted to feel young, to be active with my kids and to end my never-ending adult battle with weight.” Jenny went from fat to fit in just under a year with her basic principles of self-care, moderate eating and light exercise. But her true inspiration comes from fielding kid stuff and the joy of being a Mom. “I’m more relaxed now…not so anxious and uptight.” As the weight melted off, so did some of the worries. “Losing weight isn’t about what you eat, it’s about what you think.”

Jenny’s 5-Step Weight Loss Game Plan:
1. Decide. You are important.
2. Take care of yourself. Put yourself first.
3. Eat moderately. Smaller portions. Less junk. More water.
4. Keep the demons at arms length and don’t believe what they tell you. They are lies!
5. Enjoy your life. Celebrate your success.


Does Your Life Need a Before and After?

I love before and after makeover shows.

The ones where the house is falling in and needs a new roof…where the family has been living in a shambles with electrical that doesn’t work and plumbing that’s shot. And then, with the Goliath help of a thousand man crew…the house is rebuilt from the foundation up in 7 days and every single room looks like Ty Pennington personally handled every detail…from the faucets to the throw pillows to the appliances to the perfectly positioned tulips on the lawn. And the family gets treated to an all expenses 7-day vacation in paradise, conveniently removed from all the mess and dust and frustration.

Or there’s the style shows. The one where Stacy and Clinton hand a $5,000 Visa card to a deserving woman who is frumpily stuck in the 80’s and in two whirlwind days she shops til she drops and ends up looking like Cinderella at the ball. She gets styled and coiffed and pitches the clothes that’ve been holding her back from the life of her dreams.

You can do it with weight too. Chris Powell, host of Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition chooses a morbidly obese person to cajole, coach, cry with, train and coddle over the course of a year…usually resulting in at least a 100 pound weight loss. Then, Wal-Mart hands over a $50,000 gift card as a reward.

Life isn’t like this.

You don’t get a new house in a week.
You don’t makeover your closet or your personal style in two days.
And most of us don’t need to lose 100 pounds and certainly couldn’t do it in a year without Chris’ help.

Life is, well, much harder than they make it look.

We don’t have sponsors or TV production crews. We have to go to work and raise kids and squeeze eating and living in around all of it. It’s impossible to have a single focus like these shows make it seem. All magically wrapped up in a 60-minute vinette.

But what you do have to know is what direction you’re going. What do you want to do with your life? What does it look like now? What do you want it to look like after?

Ty isn’t standing in front of your house yelling ‘move that bus.’

Wal-Mart isn’t handing over any gift cards.

No one is doing your hair and make up. Heck, I even ran out of hair product this morning and no one rushed over a replacement.

Life is messy.

It took me 6 years of dating my husband before we said “I Do” (we’ve been married 31).

It took me 7 years to figure out that the chaos full-time work made for my family with 3 small children wasn’t worth it.

It took me 25 years to finish raising my three awesome kids…all the way fretting over what parts I was screwing up.

It took me almost a decade of writing before I considered myself ‘good enough’ to publish.

Good things usually take time. More than we want to give. More than we think we have.

We believe we’re going backward if we don’t see instant results. Just because you can drive through McDonalds and get dinner in less than 10 minutes doesn’t mean it’s going to be a good dinner.

Good things usually need to simmer.

The before and after shows still have things to teach us. They have a plan we can follow.

You have to know what you’re starting with. (The benchmark)

• You have to know where you want to go. (The journey)

• You have to know what success means to you. (The destination)

• You have to know what resources you might need along the way. (The tools)

• You have to know whose on the team and who isn’t. (The team)
When you know these key things, life seems simpler. You feel more content. You can stop wondering and worrying and overprocessing and obsessing. You can simply get to work. You’re on the path. Your path.

I’m suggesting you complete an Extreme Life Makeover. Your life is worth it. It’s a magical mosaic of a million tiny pieces…all coming together to form your days that in turn form your life.

Try this.

Write down what your life before looks like. Every single detail. All the parts. Your health. Your money. Your friends. Your work. Your relationships. Your spirituality. Your house. And the list goes on.

Then, write (or draw) what you want all the parts to look like. Where do you want to live? How much do you want to make? Who do you want to love? What or who do you need to let go? What kind of car do you drive?

Life makeovers are tough because unlike television, you can’t stop everything else and focus on one area. Life is swirling and it never stops.

Tomorrow marks my one-year fitness anniversary. I’m 51 and this is the first time that I’ve spent any concentrated or long-term effort on my health. This time last year I weighed 207.4 pounds. Today I weigh 181.2. Total weight loss = 26.2 pounds. I did two simple things…I joined Weight Watchers and I walked 2 miles a day, 6 days a week.

I wanted to lose 47 pounds. I barely lost half of that.

Did I fail? No.

I’d give myself a C- at Weight Watchers. I didn’t track. I didn’t eat Power Foods or drink a ton of water. I did attend the 30 minute weekly meeting and I did weigh in.

I’d give myself an A- at walking. I walked 6 days a week regardless of everything else that was going on. Sometimes I got up early. Sometimes I had to walk on vacation. But I did walk.

Were there other benefits of this fitness makeover? Definitely. My mind is stronger. My body is stronger. My clothes are smaller. My energy is higher (even though most would say that my trademark energy was already off the charts). My blood pressure is insanely good.

One decision moved me in the right direction. One decision and daily perseverance. Before, I was fat. After, I’m healthy. And happy with how walking makes me feel.

This is the formula to use. A decision and daily action steps. Steps that will take you to the life of your dreams.

Don’t worry that Ty Pennington or Stacy and Clinton or Chris Powell aren’t going to show up in your life. You’re not going to win the lottery. Sadly, Santa isn’t real.

You have the power to change. It’s in you. You possess everything you need to produce your own before and after life makeover.

You can create your own amazing life. Step by step.

Is it Ever OK to Say You Look Good?

Yes, it is.

It’s okay to tell yourself you look good.

God made you and he doesn’t make junk.

That doesn’t mean you have to go around telling everyone.  It doesn’t mean you have to send out Christmas cards saying “I look good” or post it on Facebook.  (Post that and see how many people unfriend you immediately.)  Plus, the people that already think they look good always post pictures of themselves anyway.  One young woman I know changes her profile picture at least 1-2 times a week.  She thinks she looks REALLY good.

Continue reading “Is it Ever OK to Say You Look Good?”

The Epitome of Vulnerability

I haven’t worn a bikini since I was 13 and inwardly struggled with my “outie” belly-button.  Oh, I remember the summer of 1974…I spent every afternoon of my 9th grade summer with 4 or 5 of my girlfriends all oozing in baby oil infused with iodine to ensure our bronze tans.  The junior high bikini was green and yellow and had palm trees all over it.  I weighed 118 pounds so there wasn’t much to filling it out.  It simply fit.  Well.

Continue reading “The Epitome of Vulnerability”

The Most Critical Concept I Learned from Weight Watchers

Six months ago I joined Weight Watchers for the second time.  Always a competitor, I’d become a lifetime member (being within 2 pounds of my goal weight) almost 15 years earlier and let it go to pot over a decade and a half.  I was back up to 207.4 pounds, a good 57 pounds over my ideal weight.

(Well, maybe not my ideal weight, I consider that 118 pounds, the size I was as a senior in high school wearing my short cheerleading skirt and eating Cheetos and pizza to my hearts content.)

It was time to tackle the monster.  I didn’t want to.

Jennifer Hudson was singing Believe all over the television and flaunting her 80 pound weight loss and her svelte body.  Then, I ran across a personal fitness trainer named Drew who had gained 75 pounds so that he could know what it felt like to be fat.  His clients were always saying to him “you don’t know what it’s like.”  He didn’t.  He lost all 75 pounds in typical personal trainer fashion.  (See his story at www.fit2fat2fit.com)  Jared was still eating Subways and staying thin.

It was my time.

I knew Weight Watchers worked.  My daughter had lost 36 pounds.   I had two acquaintances who were both nearing the 90 pound weight loss number.  I could do this.

So I started.  I was lazy.  I didn’t count points.  I didn’t make Weight Watchers recipes except for Veggie Stew.  But I was losing weight, anywhere from .6 pounds to 2.7 pounds a week.

It’s 6 months later.  I’m down 24 pounds.  I’ve lost 4 inches off my boobs, 4.5 inches off my waist and 2.5 inches off my hips.  Each of my legs is an inch and a half smaller.

I walk 30 minutes a day on the treadmill, 6 days a week, typically averaging about 12 miles a week.

It’s working.

But what I like to do best is analyze.  It’s my personal occupation.  I analyze everything.  What’s working.  What’s not.  Why is it working.  What can I do better.  Why is my friend losing faster than I am.  (I know the answer to that one…because she’s more disciplined.)

So is weight loss about discipline?  No.  Is weight loss about willpower?  No.  Can you only eat certain foods and be successful?  No.

People are more successful at Weight Watchers than any other weight loss program because of one thing:  Accountability

It’s stepping on that dang scale once a week and having the lady show me what my ‘new’ weight is.  Up or down.  Even though it’s private, it’s public.  The lady knows.  And I know.  No one else knows (unless I tell them) but it doesn’t really matter.  One person is enough. 

AND, they print it out in writing and sticker it to your program book.  It’s documented accountability which is even better.

Accountability keeps me moving forward.  Accountability makes me think twice before I eat the candy bar.  Accountability is what keeps me from driving through McDonald’s any ole time I want to. 

There are other great perks of Weight Watchers…new recipes and amazing camaraderie.   Heavily researched weight loss tips and their Points Plus program.  Stickers for every 5 pounds you lose (kinda like kindergarten).  Having a place to show up that takes your money.  (I find it amazing that we pay to lose weight.)

But it all comes back to good old accountability. 

What other areas of our life could we apply this to?  Finances?  Career?  Friendship?  Marriage?  What could we accomplish if we were accountable to someone (or something) in the other areas.

I still have around 30 pounds to go.  It’s slow, but steady unlike how I like to do most things in my life (fast and furious).  And after much contemplation, I think I can attribute my weight loss success to the lady weighing me in every week on that darn scale.

(The quote at the top of the post can be found at www.lifelovequotesandsayings.com)