How Come You Put On So Much Weight?

This is a question I get more often than one might think. And I think it is a good question. Weight does not just suddenly pop up and it is not like I do not want to be healthy and look good when I stare back at myself in the mirror. Believe it or not, I have thought about why I keep gaining weight for more than 25 years. I have roughly 100 hours of psychology hours behind me,  several bad habits and eating disorders behind me, along with 10+ books about weight loss and about 10 different fad diets under my belt (anything from Weight Watcher to electricity run through my body).

My husband asked me this question a few days ago, as we were talking about when I was anorexic with a tendency to binge. This was the time, I was skinniest. I was 130 lb. So not insanely skinny but still lower than the average I should have been at (144 lb). More about this later.

This question got me thinking. I am probably not the only one who has had this question asked and I am sure a lot of you are asking yourselves this very question, but you might be to polite to ask (my husband is not). It is, also, an important question to ask one self when trying to lose weight as you need to dig in and learn about your habits more deeply than simply “I should not eat that”.

Everyone has their story and no story is better or worse than others, as we are all different and react differently to what we are exposed to in life that build our habits. Mine started in early childhood and simply kept getting reinforced through my childhood. Once those habits have been instilled in you they are insanely hard to break. Not until I was in my 30′ did I start really understanding my habits and you can’t change them if you are not aware of them. So lesson number 1. Learn about your habits, good and bad.

One of my first memories of childhood was when I was 3-4 years of age. My parents were fighting (which were not uncommon in those days) and to spare me from the stress of the yelling they would place me in front of the TV with a small bowl of candy and they were off to the kitchen. Of course I could hear them yell anyways, which would make any child feel unsafe so I emerged myself in the TV and my bowl of candy. The reason why this exact memory is so important is that it is my first memory of what happens when I binge. I am in front of the TV or computer and sugar just goes in, one after the other. After a stressful day or if I have been in a fight, my go to remedy to make myself feel better is the TV and my bag of goodies.

This habit got reinforced throughout my childhood. My surroundings where not getting any calmer. Matter of fact, they got worse. At age 5 my parents divorced and soon enough it was time for my sisters and mother to fight each other.

As I started growing into my teenage years, I was not the rebellious type. I internalized things more than my sisters. With the insecurity of trying to find out who you are as a teenager and the fear of being unpopular started my next habit. Binging! It started out with me wanting to lose that “baby fat”. I put it in quotation marks as that was what my mom called it, although others were not as nice about it. Ever since I was a kid, I was body shamed and food shamed by pretty much everyone in my family (a few exceptions, love you dad!).

Looking back, I was not overweight, I was just not skinny but that was considered overweight and that is something I still live under today. I have a hard time distancing myself from that image and just accept that my body is more voluptuous than those of my sisters and mother’s side of the family. My dad’s side of the family had a bigger tendency to carry more weight than average but unfortunately, we did not really engage with that side of the family and my father’s mother died when he was very young so I never got to meet her. Although, I am told, that I look like her. She must have been a very good looking woman 😉

To put the pressure into perspective. When I was skinniest at 130 lb, I was still called overweight and having “baby fat”. Yes, insane, I know, but my shape and voluptuous features simple gives me the look of being a bit choppy.

This constant pressure, although, I am sure it was not intentional, drove me into my dabble in anorexia. I say “dabble” as I had a friend at the time, whom saved my life and made me wake up from what I was doing to myself, fairly early into my days of not eating or binging with purging afterwards. If he is reading this, he knows who he is and I simply want to say: Thank you!

As the pressure was still there, the habit of using food as a comforter was readily available, I instead started binging and that is how I ended up with the other side of a eating disorder – over eating.

Over eating was something I hid as I felt it was shameful. I was not supposed to eat all of those treats and foods as I was supposed to lose weight and be skinny like my friends and sisters. But my feelings were overwhelming and I could not control my urges. This urge simply stayed and I tried over time to control it in different ways. I still have the urges today but with some really capable psychologists, I have gotten some great tools to recognize when the urge comes on, why it is there and that I have a choice. The choice is harder than you think, but I am slowly learning to accept my choices. Good or bad. And I think, I am finally growing up.

After over eating for roughly 20 years, you put on weight. I have had more excuses than I can count but at least now I see my excuses and I can choose to act on them or grow up and say no.

The bigger picture of my story is showing how important positive body image is for especially young people. I hope that my blog will help people to realize that they are beautiful no matter who they are and what they look like. It is truly, what is inside that determines your outer beauty.

XOXO

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Training – Motivation at the Gym

I have always been of the mindset that, if I am going to the gym, I might as well make the most of it as the hard part is getting out the door. That is still the case for me but not in the sense you might think.

The past week I have gone 11 days out of 14. This does not mean that I give it my all every single time. It is about being smart when going to the gym. I do the full workout 3-4 times a week and the rest I do a simple walk or elliptical for 30-45 minutes. Those minutes are to help my joints not get completely stiff after a tough workout and it really helps. There is nothing worse than the day after a tough day at the gym and it hurts when you are trying to sit down. The walk the next morning, is the solution but never forget to stretch after a workout.

I was doing a bit of research online to find out how I could make the most of my workouts and most research agreed with what I am already doing. Whew! What a relief, cause I like my routine.

If you are looking to learn how to run longer or faster, most suggest 3 days of actual running and 3 days of some other exercise with 1 day of rest. Military.com, Runnersworld.com and Active.com vary slightly so all in all it depends on your motivational level. Military.com is what you would suspect. Hardcore with no resting days until you get to a pretty high level but they are starting you off slow to avoid injuries. Runnersworld.com has you set at 5 days of training and 2 resting days while Active.com has you average out at also 5 times per week but you can get away with 4 times per week but they do not specify if you need rest in between.

I know these are simple articles and perhaps not as trusted as medical advice or university research but when I do a simple google search for university level research, the results are not too dissimilar. John MacKenzie at Delaware University, also, suggests 5-6 days of training with 1-2 days of rest in alternating weeks. Although, his take, is slightly different from the articles I first found. He has you running all of the days but in different speeds, styles and levels. The Mayo clinic is similar to John MacKenzie’s style with 5-6 days of training but they are adding in more walking in between. This has been my primary style, when I have been training for a run.

I had never really done proper research on how I should be running or training for a run but it looks like, I was not too far off. Although, I am not training for a run (although I have one coming up next week), I am using the same principles for my workouts. And why will come in my next article about training, which will be about the balance between cardio and weight training.

I would not suggest that you start off with a 5-6 day training routine per week as for any starter that will be too much and you will lose your motivation. If you are a newly starter or you have a hectic schedule, go for a more manageable training schedule of 3 days per week but if you have a sedentary job, think about taking a couple of smaller walks during the day. Personally, I try to get to roughly 10,000 steps per day as that will add roughly 500 calorie burn per day. That is 1 pound per week, in weight loss or more of the delicious food that you like to eat. Mind you, this is for me and my current size, the smaller you get (are) the farther you need to walk to burn the same amount of calories.

I am no doctor or training expert but I have done my fair share of research and I have tested it all out on my own body. With minimal injuries, I would say, my recommendations are not too off. However, it is always important to listen to your body and seek medical advice if you are unsure or over the age of 40.

Let me know if you want to work out with me. I couple of you have already signed up to be a support 😀 Love it!

XOXO

 

 

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Results – Step 4 To Losing Weight

This last step might be obvious but it is the most important. Results! The point of all of this is results so they should be highlighted and celebrated.

I know that in the long run, I might not see results every week but the goal is to lose a 100 pounds. This is not simply for the reason of looking good, fitting into clothes better etc. It is about my health and how I would like to live my life.

My husband and I have a goal of retiring as soon as possible and then travel the world. We want to make sure we spend as much time together as we possibly can and that means that I need to take my health seriously.

As I have written in previous posts, I have high cholesterol. That in itself is not killing me at this very moment but it can in the long run. Especially, with my family history, it is important that I take that seriously as it could shorten my life significantly or decrease my life quality in such a way that I would not be able to enjoy the things that I look forward to the most.

Although, this is a great motivation in itself, it is at times not enough, so I have set up a few small rewards each time I hit my goals. As my first main goal is 30 pounds with 5 pound intervals I have come up with 6 rewards to begin with.

So below I have listed the desired pounds with the reward next to it.

248 lb – New summer workout capri pants. The ones I have, all have wholes in them and some of them are not really that comfortable and convenient.

243 lb – It might seem odd but I love being organized, so cleaning out of my clothes is actually a treat. Yes, I want to sort my clothing and find out which I need to get rid off and which I still love and use and which I think I would want when I have lost my weight. This should be fun and I will make sure to post about the fun times.

238 lb – My feet seriously needs some love, so I will get some products that can help me out when taking care of my feet.

233 lb – Gloves for working out. I am making use of bar and dumb bells more and more and it does at times hurt my hands. So thought gloves might be a good idea.

228 lb – I think it is time for a new dress or two. If you know me, you know that I have way more dresses than a woman needs but they are just too pretty, practical and fun.

223 lb –  As this is the 30 pound mark, I want to celebrate in style, quit literally. Therefore, my 30 pound reward is to get my hair done. My favorite hairdresser is really expensive so it is a once a year treat (if not more seldom) but I would love to go back to my short hair.

I knew, I had gained weight and above number is way higher than what I stated last time but I just learned that it matters where you set your scale. Where I have been setting it roughly takes off 20 pounds so I did not gain that much but it just gives me a more true look at what I weight. I, therefore, now have to weigh myself in the kitchen where there are tiles and not wood or carpet. Bummer, for my confidence but looking at the true numbers is more important.

As I get closer to my 100 pound goal, I am sure the results will have to adjust slightly but for now, I know I can loose 30 pounds without too many concerns and I will go through the results as I get closer to my 100 pound goal.

I am really excited to reach my goals and I hope you will be with me along the way, cheering me on, go for a run or simply share your most delicious healthy recipes.

XOXO

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