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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What "They" Don't Tell You About Losing Weight.

The truth is about to be told!  No pictures, just truth.

I'm pretty sure that we all have heard the same "helpful sayings" about losing weight.  My mind is constantly full of quotes such as:

" It took years to put the weight on, it is going to take years to get it off."
"The fat comes off in the reverse order that it came on."
"Muscle weighs more than fat."

Etc. Etc. Etc.

While all of that may or may not be true.  Let me share with you what I have found to be absolutely 100% true.  Folks, these are the things that NO ONE talks about.

1. It's normal for plateaus to last awhile. Most people give up too early because the results that they saw at first don't continue. They hit a plateau. That plateau might last MONTHS which then, makes them feel like what ever it is that they are doing to lose weight is not working anymore.  Although the WEIGHT might not be coming off, the FAT may still be coming off.

2. You will lose the fat in the WEIRDEST places BEFORE it comes off of the WANTED places. I have lost fat in my fingers, chin, feet (a whole size smaller now...) and even my NOSE! Yup, my rings fit better, I don't have the huge double chin that I used to have (although there is still one there...,) I have had to buy new shoes because my old ones were falling off, and my glasses don't fit my nose anymore. They fall off. I'm sure that this has happened before in other attempts to lose weight, but I never noticed because I was only looking at my "problem" spots... like, you know, the HUGE belly and FLABBY arms!  THOSE parts.

3.  There is NO magic number on the scale that is your "ideal weight."  Now, before all of you haters start attacking me on this one, let me explain.  Look, I come from German descent, with a touch of English.  I don't run marathons each day, but I don't just sit at a desk for 8 hours either. There is so much more going into your "ideal" weight than your height, bone structure, sex, and age. According to Dr. Evelyn Tribole, your race, culture, and health history are all in play as well.  THIS is why I have been told that I should be between 115-135 lbs, but have never been below 180 as an adult.  At 180 lbs, I wore a size 10 (the smallest that I was as a adult.)  I was slender and happy with the way that I felt and looked.... until someone told me that I should be 50lbs lighter. I had not weighed 115 since JR. HIGH school, and even THEN I was not considered overweight by my doctor. SO, I'm not sure when the opinion changed, but I find it unrealistic to think that someone could stay the same weight all the way through high school and into adulthood through having kids.  But at the time when I was told that I should go from 180-130 (by a "health professional") I got scared, but you know what happened?  I became depressed.  I started eating emotionally (something that I never did before) and GASP, I started gaining weight. THEN, I got married, had kids, and gained MORE weight.  It wasn't until about 6 months ago that I realized that "ideal weight" just might be WRONG. That is when I started forgetting the scale and calories, and started going off of REAL evidence like, how my clothes fit, how I felt inside, and how my blood work came out at my annual physicals. (By the way, levels are all practically perfect.  I have perfect blood pressure, perfect cholesterol levels, and perfect vitamin levels. The only thing that isn't perfect are my hormones. Go figure.

4. Being active doesn't necessarily make you lose weight. I know, another GASP moment. For more details on where I get this opinion from , click HERE.  Although that it's true that burning calories is better than your body STORING calories, the idea is to burn MORE calories than you take IN, right? That is what we have been taught. But what about those people that don't eat multitudes of calories, and exercise? Oh, THOSE people are storing calories because their bodies aren't getting enough to USE. So, basically, don't eat too many calories, but don't eat too little, OH, and make sure that those calories aren't "empty" calories. (I won't even open up that can of worms.) WHOA!  Too much! I had no idea how much I needed to exercise or eat... I just did what the "professionals" told me to do. But, THAT was based off of a generic formula meaning that "on average" that is what I should eat. But, I am different from everyone else.  We all live different lifestyles. How can that POSSIBLY be measured in formula form? I am fairly active, meaning that I go up and down a flight of stairs (14 to be exact,) multiple times a day.  Like, so many times that I would shudder to even try  and count them, but I would venture to say rival what most could do on a stair stepper. I also go for walks (I like long walks on the beach..but I live in Utah, so the neighborhood has to count.) I dance with my kids, chase my dog that escapes, bend over to pick stuff up AT LEAST 100 times a day, make beds, vacuum, and I MIGHT even do a little running... sometimes. This is all on top of the actual "exercise" that I try to get in my day. Sound familiar? Well, that is my life. It isn't new. Do I need to do MORE than that? I aint got not time for that! THIS is how I exercise.

5. Everyone Loses Weight Differently!  STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS! I mean it!! I recently read an article about all of the different things that make redheads unique.  One of the items mentioned is that redheads are more sensitive to pain, and therefore have a higher pain tolerance. I guess we just constantly feel more pain than others, so we are used to it.  How exactly can they measure this?  I'm not sure. But it got me thinking.  If humans can be so varied with something like pain, why would we not be varied with weight loss OR ideal weight? We all feel pain on different levels.  We all have different make up inside.  My brother-in-law has very high cholesterol, BUT he is VERY active in his lifestyle. This is frustrating for him because he can't figure out WHY his cholesterol levels are so high!  Well, it's genetics!  Our bodies ideal form is also unique.  There isn't a formula that can pin point perfection for us. I'm not saying that they don't give us a good idea, but I also don't  think that they should be taken as "doctrine" either. I can take another redhead, weighing the same as I, with the same body shape (maybe,) two kids through c-sections, like me, of German descent, my exact same height, and put us on the exact same diet for 2 weeks.  I would bet you a million dollars that we would NOT lose the exact same amount of weight. Duh! The point is that we are all different, and our bodies handle things in different ways.  It might take you months to lose the same amount of fat that it takes your sibling! THAT IS OK.

6. Keep a healthy attitude!!! THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IS THAT YOU CONTINUE TO LIVE A BETTER LIFE. For sure.  This is the ONLY thing that matters.  Live a healthier life, a happier life.  Continue to better yourself through the foods you eat and the activities that you do. Eat when you are hungry, and stop when you aren't hungry anymore. NOT when you are full, but when you aren't hungry anymore. There is a difference. Pay attention tonight when you eat. You will see what I mean.  Click HERE to for more details on what I am talking about. No one tells you how much happier you will be when you STOP GIVING A CRAP ABOUT YOUR WEIGHT! Seriously!  STOP.  Stop stressing (which raises Cortisol levels and causes weight GAIN,) stop counting, stop obsessing, stop crying, and analyzing. It's not worth it.  Just keep working. Keep going. You will notice a change, I promise. I did.  After YEARS of stressing, counting, and analyzing.  I have FINALLY started to notice CHANGE. It didn't happen fast, but I'm ok with that because I am OK with how MY body needs to do this. Well, MOST of the time I am ok with it.  I DO let it get to me sometimes. Who doesn't.

There, those are the things that no one tells you.  So, STOP stressing over it all. LIVE YOUR LIFE! I wrote an awesome post about this awhile ago. Find it HERE.  Now you know. Now, you can go about your daily life feeling better about not stepping on the scale, losing inches off of that belly, or eating too many or too little calories.

Monday, February 24, 2014

THR's 8 or 9 month report.

Let me start off by saying that this post is based COMPLETELY off of my own experience.  I have been running this blog for ALMOST a year! I can't believe it.  When I started, this was a place for me to have accountability. It was a place for me to journal my experience and journey to a healthier lifestyle. I'll admit, when I started my journey, I had high expectations that changing my eating and exercise habits would not only make me FEEL better on the inside, but would make me LOOK better on the outside. And, yes, that DID happen....just not as much as I EXPECTED it would.

From watching others lose weight, I saw how quickly they lost the inches. I supposed that the same would happen to me.  If I worked hard, ate well, and exercised, I would look and feel better, right?  The problem is that I expected to lose MOST, if not ALL of my excess fat within a YEAR!  We have all seen the pictures of overweight people holding a newspaper and 90 days later, they are transformed! That happened with a lot of my friends that lost weight. However, just a few days ago, I noticed that MOST of those friends had gained the weight back.

Without asking them WHY (because it's rude to go up to people and say "Hey, why did your fat come back?") I can only assume that they just stopped living the way that they were living before. I can then only assume that they stopped because it was too strict in the first place. That seems to be a common thread in the "dieting" groups.

My question is: Can eating healthy actually be a "diet"?  Well, yes, I suppose it can.  According to the dictionary, a diet is "a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons."  This means that if you are used to eating "unhealthy foods" such as sweets, greasy foods, etc., to suddenly restrict yourself from eating those foods means that you are on a diet.

We have talked at length about the diet mentality.  You all know that although I do my best to make healthier choices in my eating, I do NOT restrict ANYTHING from my diet.  I eat what I want, when I want...and, through listening to my body, I am learning to eat as much as I NEED.  THIS is the key for me. Some people call it "portion control."  Yes, perhaps that is the best way to describe it, but really, it's more of a PERSONAL PORTION CONTROL. I go into detail about this HERE.

As a result of living this way, I suppose that my weight has not come off as quickly as I had hoped.  I know that if I were super strict and ate nothing but lean meats and veggies, I would probably be thinner than I am now. Although I DO work hard to eat nutritiously, following The Healthy Redhead Nutrition Plan, I don't sweat it if I fall away from this sometimes as well.  That also means that I don't lose the fat as fast. But, you know, I'm OK with that.  Well, I am now.

I will admit that these past few months have been difficult for me.  I have let myself feel guilty because I feel my clothes get tighter, then loose again, then tight again, then loose... etc. I've been afraid to post about my progress.  I've felt like I needed excuses as to WHY I wasn't down another dress size.  (I'm not UP a dress size either, but it's a lot easier to focus on the negative side of things- isn't it.) It's not like I have a TON of people reading this blog, but somehow, putting it in writing and out there for everyone to see made me feel like it was SO final.

I kept telling myself that I would post my progress as soon as there was something to post about. Well, it's not a huge change, but here you go.

In the past 4 months, since my last photo, I have not lost another dress size.  As I said before, I waiver between loose and tight on my jeans. But, I haven't had to drop another size yet.  So, I LOOK the same. HOWEVER, in the past 4 months, I HAVE dropped a SHOE size!  WHAAA?!?! I know, that sounds weird, but my FEET are thinner. PLUS, I think that my body finally adjusted to being two dress sizes smaller and realized that it didn't have to carry around so much awkward fat.

Here is the KICKER! Notice that I didn't say that my body adjusted to my WEIGHT.  Nope, it adjusted to my new body SIZE.  What is the difference?  Well, I will tell you.  Since starting my journey, I have only lost a total of 12 lbs!!!!  That's it!  Yes, I'm sure that it has something to do with muscle vs. fat, etc.  But seriously, no wonder I would always quit my previous efforts to lose weight.  See, losing the WEIGHT was my focus.  When I would step on the scale to see results, they weren't there! And, if I DID see results, it was because I was being SUPER strict with what ever program I was doing.  Don't get me started on my OCD with Weight Watchers Points!  I'm a points NAZI! That alone just isn't healthy.  I stopped because I couldn't live my whole life worrying about everything that I put in my mouth!

Look, there isn't a magic equation that works for everyone.  Some people can just lose weight like crazy, some can't.  Some people need more calories, some don't .  For me, if I would have only measured success through a scale, I would be a failure. 8 months, and the only thing I have to show for it is 12 lbs. But in reality, that isn't it at all!  I FEEL so much better than I did!  I can't tell you how FREEING it is to not count calories or points, to not weigh my food, and to exercise when I feel like it.

I don't know how long it "should" take to get my body back to where it should be. But I DO know that it took awhile to get it in the shape it was in before.  SO, I figure that this is a marathon, not a sprint.  Almost a year later, and The Healthy Redhead has been a success.  It's not mind-blowing.  It's not a miracle, but I can honestly say that I will NEVER be that size 20-22 again! Nope, never. Why? Because I've learned too much.  I've come too far. And, it just isn't natural for me to live that way anymore. THAT is what these past 8 or 9 months have done for me.

There is so much more to learn!  Like, how to get rid of the flabby arms, or the "c-section belly."  But that will come. In May, I will celebrate my YEAR of being The Healthy Redhead.  Looking over my posts, I have learned so much!  It took time to research, understand, and implement what would end up being "my" way.  I'm glad that it is taking time to reach the final results.  I'm a real person, with a real life, a real plan, that gets me real results.  REAL takes time.

Be patient. Don't skip around from diet to diet.  Don't weigh yourself every day.  Just... live.  Be conscious of eating, exercising and living.  I promise that you will be happier.  I am.

8 months!!!  12 lbs. 2 (almost 3) dress sizes. Smaller feet. Smaller fingers. Nicer skin. Healthier hair. Happier disposition. Not bad... not bad at all.  And it will just get better! Can't wait for my YEAR report!


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