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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A New Decade of Pounds

My official weigh in this week is 188.4!  I’m out of the 190’s and in a new decade!  That’s -2.6 pounds for the week and -15.8 pounds for the year.  I’ve lost 62 sticks of butter!  🙂

This is been a unique week.  I fought cravings like crazy this week and I also had female stuff going on.  Typically during this time, I gain 5-7 pounds of water weight.  This time, I gained .4.  That’s a huge difference for me!  I’ve learned several things about cravings this week – when I have them, I eat what I’m craving.  God gave me that craving for a reason – my body needs it.  The thing I’m having to learn is that my body does not need 3 of what I’m craving!  I also have figured out I eat when I’m thinking about food so I change my thought pattern or get involved in something else (walk away from the kitchen, go play with the kids, walk out to the mailbox, turn on the radio, go work out).  I’m still doing 20 minutes a day on the eliptical (except for Sundays) and trying to work in other active times – going to the park, playing with the kids, going for a family walk, etc.

My food choices are changing.  That book I mentioned last week (Dr. Shapiro’s Picture Perfect Weight Loss 30 Day Plan) has been a very good resource for me.  Again the calories in 1 biscuit = 14 slices of toast with jelly… totally blew me away!  There’s so much more that I’ve learned from that book!  I’ve tried garden burgers this week, I ate salmon w/ roasted veggies (seriously, roasted veggies are FANTASTIC), roasted veggie pizza, salsa soup… I love to cook so I’ve had a fun time learning new recipes. 

I’ve stopped rewarding my kids with food as their treat for doing extra work or helping out around the house.  I didn’t realize how much I did that.  When my daughter lost a tooth this week, we gave her a book under her pillow instead of candy.  She loved it!  When we talk about celebrating, we don’t involve eating out.  This weekend is the opening weekend of the NCAA Basketball Tournament and my husband and son go spend a few days with my father-in-law.  It’s a girl’s weekend for my daughter and I and we were talking about what we wanted to do.  Instead of going out to eat, we decided it would be fun to go roller skating and then take some healthy foods to the park & have a picnic.  Creating memories…. and changing the way I (and my family) think about food.   I’ve always heard you have to change your relationship with food and I think I’m starting to understand what that entails.  I’ve still got a lot to learn but I’m getting there. 

I decided to set some specific number goals with my life coach last week and we decided a reasonable goal for me to reach is 173 by June 1, 2011.  (Getting closer to you Tom Hailey!!)  That would put me at -31.4 pounds for the year and 23 pounds left to my goal weight of 150.  We broke that down into smaller weekly goals of 1.5 pounds per week or to take some weekly pressure off, we decided on 6 pounds per month.  That’s a good, slow, steady weight loss that I can accomplish.  This is a marathon – a slow and steady race that will not be won if I’m in a hurry.  My sponsor, Terri, is amazing.  I know I talk about her & Brian (the coach) every week but I cannot stress how vital it is to have a support system OTHER than your spouse.  It’s too much responsibility to put on your spouse so I urge you… don’t put that pressure on them.  The relationship dynamic is too challenging. 

I appreciate all of your support, your encouraging comments and your prayers.  I shared this battle with my church family this week and they have been very supportive and encouraging.  I encourage you to share your battle with someone.  It’s insanely hard to open up and share this stuff with strangers on facebook & the internet but it was especially difficult for me to share this with my church family – the folks that see me eat a doughnut Sunday mornings or see me in the grocery store weekly.  It adds a whole new level of accountability and support.  Thanks for reading my ramblings….  subscribe to this blog to read my ramblings every week!  😉  Click on “Yep, I’m in!  Sign me up!” in the right hand column of this blog and you’ll get a reminder whenever I post stuff on here.  Share comments with me – let me know how you’re doing on this road to recovery. 

If you do what you did, you get what you got.

Missing: 50 Sticks of Butter

FINALLY!!  I see progress!  Last week I was the photographer for Johnson Bible College’s 2011 Homecoming in Knoxville, TN.  With the travelling, it was hectic so I didn’t get to blog or check in.  I had very little sleep and ate when I could (mostly at the school cafeteria buffet) so I was a little nervous about this week’s weigh-in.  Just to catch you up, I weighed in at 196.0 two weeks ago.  This week, I weighed in at 191.8 – that’s a 4.2 pound weight loss in 2 weeks!  I’ve lost 12.4 pounds since I began this journey in January… that equals 50 sticks of butter!  🙂 

I’ll tell you what I think made the difference – the food.  I know… duh, Tammy… right?  I’ve been working out and not really paying much attention to WHAT I was eating.  I paid close attention to the portions and I ate pretty healthy anyway, or so I thought.  I eat lots of fruits & veggies and whole grain pastas and breads.  Did you know that 1 biscuit w/ a small pat of butter is equal in calories to 14 pieces of whole wheat bread WITH jelly??  I had no idea!  I’ve been eating whole wheat bread for years now but did you know the kind I was buying (those nicely wrapped, wide loaves) bread that “cost” 200 calories per slice.  That means a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wheat bread was costing me nearly 500 calories!  Just by looking at labels this past week, I’ve become quite educated.  Now I buy the 100% whole wheat bread slices that “cost” me 35 calories per slice. 

I’ve been reading a book called “Dr. Shapiro’s Picture-Perfect Weight Loss 30 Day Plan” that I found at 1/2 Price books on clearance for $2.  (Because you KNOW I’m all about saving money…)  Might end up being the best $2 I’ve ever spent.  The book is full of photographs that show the comparison between what you thought was healthy and what really is healthy.  One page shows a biscuit w/ butter and the next shows the 14 slices of toast w/ jelly.  I’m very visual so this helped me see the difference.  One rainbow cookie = four scoops of sorbet, etc.  Very eye-opening. 

It also challenges you to keep a journal and changes your relationship with food.  I am very impressed.  I am still working out at least 20 minutes a day (except on Sunday) and having weekly calls with my life coach Brian Osher.  If you’ve never worked with a life coach, I suggest you give it a try.  The first session is complimentary so you have nothing to lose.  I check in regularly with Brian and my sponsor Terri Newcomb.  They’ve both been very beneficial in this process and I don’t know what I’d do without either of them.  “God doesn’t give up on us when we fail.  He lovingly starts over, eliminating the flaw and adding the elements of the Spirit, the accountability of friends and the guidance of the Word to start shaping us again.”  Thank you my friends for helping me get through this.  We’ve still got a long way to go and I have no doubt that you’re in this for the long haul. 

My husband, Tommy Lanham, is a speaker and one of his messages last week was about getting cooked in the squat.  I know… sounds a little nuts.  He told of a story when a little boy went to his neighbor’s home for dinner as often as he could.  One night he noticed the biscuits were flat asked the cook “What happened to the biscuits?”  She replied “They squatted to rise and got cooked in the squat.”  That has stuck with me.  I lost a lot of momentum a couple of weeks ago and wasn’t seeing any progress on the scales.  I was frustrated but I kept going because of sheer determination – not because I was motivated by any means.  I almost got cooked in the squat but this week, I saw the rise.   

Keep going, folks… a lot of you have committed to do this with me – don’t get cooked in the squat…. wait for the rise.  It’s amazing when it happens!  Be sure to click “Yep! I’m in” or “Follow this blog” (to the right of this article) so you’ll get a notification each time I update (should be weekly).  “Like” the article and share it on facebook if you have friends who may benefit from it.  Thanks guys for your support.