Step by Step – 5 Steps I’ve Taken in this Journey

So last week, I was all ready to blog about gaining weight – I thought it had been a tough week and had prepared to blog about a gain.  Then I got on the scale and 183.6!  I had lost 0.8 – which is enough to put me at 20.8 pounds lost since I started this journey 10 weeks ago!  Yay!!

This is a crazy journey, people.  Instead of changing my eating patterns, I’ve had to understand my old eating patterns and develop new ones.  If I simply change what I’m doing, then at the end of this when I reach my goal weight of 150, I will go back to my “regular” patterns and thus, back to my “regular” overweight self.  I’m changing the way I think about food and I’ve stopped “rewarding” myself or worse, “comforting” myself with food.  I’m changing my relationship with food – I know… it sounds like a cliche but it’s true.

I’ve had so many of you contact me this week telling me you want to start on your own journey – don’t you dare let me hear you call it a diet.  That word is now a 4-letter word in my world and it is not to be uttered in my presence!  🙂  Anyway, this journey for me has been a tough one – I still have 33 pounds to go.  Here’s a step by step list of what I did to get started…

1.  I got a life coach. (best investment of this entire journey).  My coach, Brian Osher, helps me set attainable goals which motivate me to strive harder to reach the next goal.  He also holds me accountable.  If I set a goal to work out everyday and I miss a day due to laziness or not making my workout a priority, he will not let me off the hook.  In fact, he kicks my butt.  For those of you who have never worked with a  life coach, they typically set up weekly sessions over the phone.  The sessions are typically 30-40 minutes long and at the end, you have a list of 1-3 small steps you’re focusing on this week to help you reach your ultimate goal.  For the most part, coaching sessions are less expensive than counseling sessions.  Several of you have asked why my husband wasn’t coaching me (he’s a life coach, too).  My answer is simply this:  how would you like to live with the person who would kick your butt if you did something to sabotage your goals?  🙂  Tommy Lanham is a fantastic coach with a wonderful Christian world view who has helped me develop my business and coached me in other areas but we both agreed he was too “close” to this situation and it would be better to get someone else for this particular journey.

2.  I got a sponsor. (just like in AA – it’s that person I call in the middle of the night when I’m craving brownies or I’m at the grocery store with a cart full of ding-dongs…  true example by the way.)  It has to be a person (same gender as you) whom you trust, who will understand the addiction you’re fighting and support you no matter what.  They also have to be tough enough to hold you accountable.  In my opinion, when I was looking for a sponsor, I wanted someone who was thin and had fought the fight of losing weight and I wanted someone of like faith.  It’s kind of hard asking a skinny girl who has always been skinny to help you lose weight.  They typically just can’t identify with you.

3.  I read good books. And I don’t mean grab a good romance novel, either.  Find something that interests you in the field of weight loss and read it – grab an inspirational biography of someone who has lost weight.  Read an informational book.  Avoid the “diet” books but read anything that’s motivational or inspirational.  One of the books I have read during this journey was “Dr. Shapiro’s Picture Perfect Weight Loss” book – I found it on the clearance rack for $2.  It was DEFINITELY worth the read.  That’s where I found out that 1 biscuit (one regular, plain old biscuit) was equal in calories to 14 slices of toast WITH jelly!  That book completely challenged the way I looked at food and what I “thought” was healthy.

4.  I did something. With the help of my life coach, I found small, attainable things that could do that would get me moving.  I started taking an evening walk, I found out I enjoyed the eliptical machine (yeah, the one that’s been in my basement for a year), I found out that when I take laundry down the basement steps, I could go back up & down those steps 2-3 times without dying!  Little steps to get started but you’ve gotta do SOMETHING!

5.  I journal.  I write down in a journal things that I read, things I hear on TV or in Sunday’s sermon or things I read in my Bible that inspire me and make me want to keep going.  Then on bad days, I read through that journal.  When I am craving chocolate, I read those thoughts written in those pages and they strengthen me.  I also journal my conversations with my coach and write my action steps each week in there.

I also journal every bite that goes into my mouth.  It was incredibly hard to do and I tried it for 2 months without success.  I would either lose the paper, forget what I ate or just lose interest.  UNTIL I found www.myfitnesspal.com – it’s a FREE website that helps you track your food & exercise and it lays a foundation for you, letting you know the ideal amount of calories, sugar, sodium, fat, etc. for you.  It’s set up a little like facebook – you have a “wall” and you make friends (search for me if you want – my username is TammyLanham) and you can encouarge each other, see what other people are eating and ask questions in the forums.  It’s been a wonderful tool for me.  Did I mention it’s FREE?  🙂

So there you go – the 5 steps I have taken thus far.  I’ve lost 21 pounds in 10 weeks and have 33 more pounds to go.  Are you with me?!?  Click the “Yep, I’m in!” button to the upper right hand side of this blog to join me and others on this journey.  In about 2 weeks, I’ll have a HUGE announcement, an exceptional benefit for those of you (ONLY) who are following this blog.  So sign up, share this on your facebook page & get ready to jump in!  Let’s take this journey together!  (Be aware, I also blog about extreme couponing on this blog so you may get some pictures of me hanging out of dumpsters and walking out of the grocery store with almost free groceries… something I’m sure you don’t want to miss so sign up now!)

This was Christmas Day, 2010 at 204.4 pounds.

 

This is April 10, 2011 at 183.6 pounds.

 

 

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Frustration

Weighed in this morning… very frustrated.  I only lost .4 this week.  I guess I should be happy I didn’t gain but I really worked hard this week and was wanting to reach the 10 pounds lost mark (194).  My session with my life coach Brian Osher last week may have actually prepared me for the number this week.  He was really encouraging and kept telling me “Slow & steady wins the race.”  In fact, my husband Tommy Lanham preached a message on Sunday morning entited… “Moving Forward in Faith – slow and steady wins the race.”  What??  Are you guys ganging up on me now???  Geesh!

Anyway, I think I did pretty well this week – I worked out on the eliptical every day (even the 3 days I had a tummy bug) for at least 10 minutes and did 15 on Monday.  I was careful with my portions and added extra fruits and veggies to my diet.  I did however have some drama in my life this week and I HATE drama.  I think satan is trying to tempt me in the area I am most vulnerable – emotional eating.  I thought I had done well and made it through.  I certainly did not overeat any this week – which, by the way makes for 17 days in a row that I’ve been sober!  🙂  I write in a journal every day and it’s mostly verses I read or things I hear that are encouraging to me.  On the hard days, I go back through and read some of the entries.  Here are some for this week.  Maybe they’ll help you, too:

“Good habits take time to develop.  This is a crockpot, not a microwave.  There are no shortcuts to maturity.”

Proverbs 28:9  “God has no use for the prayers of the people who won’t listen to him.”

Phil 1:6  “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.”

“Slow and steady wins the race.”

Though unseen, God’s strength and power are under me, pushing me up, protecting me and enabling me to fly.

Proverbs 25:16  “When you’re given a box of candy, don’t gulp it all down; eat too much chocolate and you’ll make yourself sick.”  (How appropriate is that for me this week???  My #1 weakness is chocolate and unfortunately, I’ve been known to eat it all in one sitting.)

“Replacing habits takes time.  don’t expect it to happen overnight.”

“Results will come the right way.”

All of these things are quite encouraging but when reading them after a week of focus and effort with little reward, they kind of irk me.  I want to lose weight NOW – I’m tired of this, I want the scales to reflect my discipline… my giving up chocolate that day this week when I really could’ve eaten the whole box!  That’s at least worth a pound lost, right???  Then I turn on the TV and see The Biggest Loser where people are losing double digit amounts of weight every week – I can’t even make it to one whole digit!  See my frustration?

I’m not giving up – it’s totally a mental thing because right now my body and spirit say “Forget this… it’s not worth the hard work for such little reward.”  But I know it’s for the good – I have to keep remembering the words of my daughter in that fitting room… “Mommy, your legs are fat.”  Yep, I’ll keep going for another day, and then another, and then another.  I will not give up.  Don’t you give up either.  I’ll kick your butt.  😉

Confessions of a Food Addict in Recovery

So I’ve been on this journey for an entire week now… guess that doesn’t quite make me an expert now, does it?  But I have started and I will finish this.  I’ll re-cap for those of you just discovering this food addict’s blog.  I am Tammy Lanham and I am a food addict.  I have been sober for most of the past week.  Definition of sober:  showing no excessive or extreme qualities of fancy, emotion or prejudice.  The “excessive” part is where I have problems.  I eat to relieve stress, calm me down and when I’m emotional.  I use it as a drug.  I have been comparing this struggle to an alcoholics struggle with becoming sober.  Thank goodness, I have never had to fight the horrid battle an alcoholic faces but I’m battling my own demon, the demon of overeating.  I do not belittle an alcoholic’s struggle in the least – in fact, since I’ve started viewing my own battle as an addiction, I can better appreciate what an alcoholic goes through, although I am sure I still haven’t a clue. 

You see, I’ve tried losing weight for the better part of my adult life.  It’s my genes, right?  Not my fault so might as well have another doughnut, right?  Maybe it’s my thyroid…  See the problem?  I’ve made excuses all my life.  I’ve made bad food decisions all my life.  I’ve belonged to gyms, gone to weekly weight loss support groups and been on more diets than I can count.  I didn’t even want to set any goals (resolutions) this year because I set the same goal every year:  “to lose weight” and every year, I get frustrated and fall off the wagon.  So I waited until mid-January and with very little gusto, decided to try this thing one more time.  And I might add, this was about the same time (okay, the exact same day) that my 7 year old daughter with her nose sneered in disgust quietly told me in a dressing room at the clothing store that “Mommy, your legs are fat.”  Crushed me into a million little pieces.  Still puts a lump in my throat just thinking about it.  It was a very low moment for me. 

I contacted my life coach Brian Osher and he set my wheels into motion.  You see, I’ve lost weight tons of time (and gained even more back) but I have never done THIS before – I have never tried to beat an addiction, to remedy a disease.  I have to view it this way so my brain doesn’t tell me “You’ve done this a million times before and it never works.”  I have to scream at my brain to “shut up!”  So I’m telling it that I’m overcoming a disease – an addiction that has taken hold of me and is literally trying to kill me.

I hate exercise.  I know that healthy eating AND exercise are the keys to beating this but I HATE exercise.  At the end of my coaching session last Tuesday, Brian asked me to set a goal for the week.  My goal was to climb onto my eliptical machine (the one that’s sitting in the basement collecting dust… yeah, that one) for at least 5 minutes every day.  Okay, Brian, I can commit to that.  And I did it!  In fact, now I’m doing 8 minutes a day.  And this week, I’ve committed to doing that every day and adding in one Christian yoga session.  Baby steps…  a little at the time. 

Here’s a shocker – I eat pretty healthy.  Some of my favorite snacks are dried banana chips, sunflower seeds and dried apples.  I eat whole wheat pastas and breads.  I eat lean red meat and organic veggies and fruits.  The problem is that I don’t know when to stop.  I eat all the time – I think the proper terminology is “grazing.”  I’m not really hungry, I just eat because I happen to be walking through the kitchen as the cabinet doors fly open, grab me and pull me over while shoving yummy snacks down my throat… at least that’s what it feels like.  So this week’s goal is to cut out second helpings and stop grazing.  I can have a snack but I have to put it in a small bowl (make it a portion) and sit down & enjoy it.  No more sitting a bag of chips on the counter and eating out of it until half of it is gone.  To help me remember to stay out of the cabinets, I have a rubberband holding the handles of the cabinets together.  Sometimes, I wish I had a padlock… but the rubberband will do. 

Another baby step I’ve taken is to find a sponsor – isn’t that what they call the people who buddy up with the alcoholic to help him/her through a tough time?  I’ve got a sponsor who has lost weight, kept it off and is passionate about health.   She is setting an example to her 2 young children.  She will kick my butt if I don’t follow through on my commitments (and believe me, this woman WILL severly kick my rear end into shape – it doesn’t matter if she’s 10 hours away!)  She loves me and encourages me daily.  She’s on speed dial on my phone. 

Another baby step – I’m keeping a journal and filling it with positive thoughts, scriptures, quotes I see on facebook or hear in my husband’s sermons.  My favorites from this week:  “Temptation is a sign that Satan hates you – not a sign of weakness or worldliness.  Every temptation is an opportunity to win, to overcome evil and to do good… an opportunity for victory.”  – Tommy Lanham   “Sometimes you have to believe in somebodys’ belief IN you before your belief kicks in.” -Les Brown

This week, I lost 3.2 pounds.  That’s 12 sticks of butter according to my good friend Tom Hailey.  🙂  Thanks Tom…

So you see, I’m not setting any long term goals.  I know what weight I am comfortable at and I’d like to get somewhere in that area but for now, I need to make it through THIS day.  I will make good decisions for THIS day – I will be sober today.  I will exercise today.  I will spend time with my Creator today.  I will take care of our children today.  I will respect my husband today.  I will succeed TODAY.  I have no idea what will happen tomorrow but as for TODAY, I am doing this!