5 Ideas for a Healthier Body

Over the last 2 months I have lost 8 pounds - about 1 dress size. That isn’t necessarily very interesting. I have done this before. What makes it interesting is that I have managed to lose weight without hating every minute. This time I am doing it in a sustainable way, not impatiently waiting for the pounds to come off and the diet to be over so I can get back to real life.

One of the purposes of this blog is to have a place Nathan and I can talk about what we are learning and how we are growing. This weightloss journey is one of those stories we plan to regularly share.

So a little background. I was a skinny, athletic teenager. I could eat whatever I wanted and it never made any difference to the size of my waist. It required no effort or self control on my part. As time passed, I got married, had children, slowly got older, and eventually my body could no longer keep up. I admit, I thought of this as a problem with my body, that my body was failing me. I just wanted it to continue to function like my teenage body had.

Over the years, as my weight slowly crept up, I took action - by going on various diets. I thought if I could get back to a good weight, my body would naturally keep me there. At that point I would be able to go back to eating how I had when I was younger and it would all be good. I would be happy and life would be paradise because I was a size four again and I would be able to eat whatever I wanted.

These thoughts weren’t realistic though. My body was older. I was no longer a teenage athlete. I would never again be able to eat the way I did when I was younger if I wanted to have a healthy body. This journey isn’t primarily about losing weight, it is about changing who I am and how I think about myself.

So what am I not doing? I am not exercising for an hour each day - that is what I did 3 years ago when I lost 20 lbs, but then proceeded to put it all back on. I am not starving myself - that just makes food the center of my attention. I am not counting calories, or measuring out my food - I don’t want to do that for the rest of my life. I am not labeling my food as good and bad (and as a result myself as good and bad) - I want to be happy with who I am regardless of what I eat. I am not really doing anything special or fancy - I am creating a lifestyle I can live with for the rest of my life.

What am I doing:

  1. I have a health coach, my husband Nathan. He doesn’t tell me what to eat or what not to eat, but he does remind me if I am not doing what I said I would. His job is just to keep me honest - to myself! His other job is to help me talk through my thoughts so I can make my brain work for me and not against me.
  2. I am trying to stop focusing on the scale. As Nathan is reminding me, and I am finally starting to believe, this isn’t about weight. It is about living and eating in a healthy, sustainable way that I can be happy with by creating habits, not goals. Every morning my scale used to determine if I was happy or sad. If I had gone down an ounce that made me happy. If I had gone up an ounce that made me sad. It was ridiculous.
  3. I am staying active. I have added some simple exercises to my day that easily fit into my schedule. I can do these everyday, regardless of how busy I am, and not feel tired or sore the next day.
  4. I am learning that this journey isn’t a short term solution. I am trying to become someone different. When I was 18, I could eat anything I wanted and stay 115 lbs. Now if I eat too much I will put on weight. I have to accept that my body will never be 18 again. I have to take responsibility for what I eat. I have to take responsibility for how I stay active. This is going to be true for the rest of my life, so any changes I make now have to be sustainable for the rest of my life.
  5. Finally, I am working on my motivation. In the past I could motivate myself for a few months or longer, but eventually my motivation would fail and I would return to my old habits. This time I am trying to make changes that are easy, that are sustainable, and that won’t require significant ongoing willpower to maintain. The question is, am I really doing this, or am I just highly motivated right now? This is something only time will prove.

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My husband and I are excited about this journey we are on (Nathan is working on improving his lifestyle as well). We are excited to see if we can really change the way we think and feel about food, exercise, and ourselves.

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The purpose of “The Couple Project” is to learn more about what makes a strong marriage or relationship. We share what we are learning, which ideas we are trying, and which ideas helped improve our relationship. We realize not everything that works for us will work for you, but we still hope you will find our journey valuable.

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