Thursday, January 1, 2009

January 1, 2009: 230 Pounds

Today is the Day One to end all Day Ones. It is the epitome of Day One-ness, only to be rivaled by January 2nd, when the real party animals put down the cocktail wieners on toothpicks and pick up the salad or cabbage soup, depending on whether they like their diets hot or cold. How about you? Is this a fresh start for you, too?

Everybody and their neighbor is swearing never to eat another potato chip or slice of cheesecake. Fed-up fatties everywhere are signing up for Gym memberships, ordering diet pills, reviewing their Phase One Food List from the South Beach Diet, and re-reading their Atkins guides. Message boards and diet websites all over the Internet are inundated with newbies pledging to drop the pounds. Google is flooded with searches for "lose weight fast" and "lose weight easy" as folks try to find the magic pill, secret diet, easy quick weight loss plan that will give them the body of their dreams. Even the realistic among us are determined to stay committed to a new way of life. "This will be the year!" they cry, as they chop veggies and lift weights. "I'm really going to do it this time!"

Sadly, by the end of January, the majority of these people have given up and gone back to their old ways. "I tried! I just can't lose weight!" And another year goes by, being fat, waking up every morning regretting what they ate yesterday, drinking a diet shake for breakfast, and then inhaling pizza, chips, and cake for lunch. It's a terrible cycle. One I know all too well.

What can we do to "make it stick" this time? What's the difference between those who succeed and those who fail at weight loss? Is it a special food? A magic exercise? A secret combination of spices? WHAT??

It's attitude. It's not giving up, even when you fall. It's continuing on your journey instead of waiting ANOTHER day, week, month or year to start again. You messed up? Start again this instant. Don't wait.

I listen to one of my favorite fitness people, Jillian Michaels, every week on live streaming Internet radio KFI AM 640 (scroll down, find her and click the podcast, or if it happens to be Sunday morning at 9AM Pacific time, click "Listen Live" at the top of the page.) Last week, she said something wise. If you're driving down the road and get a flat tire, what do you do? Do you get out and slash the other three tires? Uh, no... you fix the flat and go on. That's what we're dealing with here. You are on a journey. If you get a flat tire (screw up on your eating), do NOT say, "Oh well, I messed up, I may as well eat everything else I want and quit exercising" because that is like slashing your other tires. Just fix it and KEEP GOING to your destination. If you do that, YOU WILL GET THERE. You won't be one of the millions of people who, like cars with four flat tires, lay abandoned on the side of the road, rusting in place. Just keep driving. Okay?

Resolve to make today the very last Day One ever. You know why? Because you cannot have a Day One if you never give up. Think about it. If every single day you keep on going EVEN when you mess up, then the next day is another step on the journey. To have a Day One, you have to give up and quit for awhile. So quit quitting, and never have another Day One again.

Today isn't a Day One for me, even though I ate a slice of extremely salty Sbarro's pizza at the mall yesterday that caused me to bloat up like a drunken cat and gain 3 pounds of water weight overnight. That did not *end* my efforts, nor did I come home and say, "oh well, I may as well binge. I can start over again tomorrow." No. I just kept going. I looked at the 2 boxes of glazed donuts and the case of 24 Heath bars that my husband brought home and decided I don't need that junk. They can sit on the counter and petrify for all I care. And those 3 pounds of water will be gone by the end of the week, no problem. Today is just another day in a string of days where I eat (mostly) healthy, exercise, and DO NOT BINGE.

Today isn't any more magical than any other day, but it CAN be the fattest day of the rest of your life, if you want it to be.

If you're desperate for answers and at a loss as to exactly what to do to lose weight, I have a suggestion: count calories. It's easy, it's free, it works. Yes it takes time and effort, but nothing monumental. You can't get a healthy body for free. You have to invest your energy into yourself to get dividends. Any healthy, reasonable plan could work, but if you don't have a plan and need a starting point, give calorie counting a try. It's pretty easy these days, since most foods have labels on them telling you how many calories are in a serving, and there is the free and easy online calorie counter at They have lots of other nice features at that website, but the calorie counter is mostly what I use. Easy. Effective. But you can just write down everything you eat in a notebook and get the same results. Be sure and measure everything you eat and write it down and add it up at the end of the day. Don't know how many calories to eat? That's okay. You can look it up online or you can just spend the whole first week JUST writing down what you ate and adding it up. At the end of the week, if you lost weight, great! Stay at that calorie level for awhile. If not, drop your calories a bit the next week. I personally lose weight nicely when I average 1800 calories/day.

Adding some movement is a good thing, too. Do what you can. Take a short walk. Anything is better than nothing. I started by walking for about 3 minutes. Literally. At 278 pounds, everything is hard. But now I can walk for miles and I can ride my exercise bike 30 minutes every day. It feels great.

If you don't want to count calories, or if you need an extra edge, try going back to my Habit-A-Week Challenge and just doing one habit every week. If you stick with it, you'll drop the pounds. Here's last week's, with a list of links to all the healthy habits. But just try to do ONE per week so you don't get overwhelmed. It is effective and simple. Give it a try!

I am really happy with my progress over 2008, even though the weight loss slowed dramatically after summertime. I've never lost this much weight before in my life, and I have never KEPT off any weight I lost for this long. I know I have made life changes that will drive me on all four tires to my goal of a healthy, strong body. I am so excited to be on this journey!

And remember: Never give up. NEVER.


Kimberly said...

This is hands down my favorite New Year's post. It is all so freaking true.

My favorite bit is:

It's attitude. It's not giving up, even when you fall. It's continuing on your journey instead of waiting ANOTHER day, week, month or year to start again. You messed up? Start again this instant. Don't wait.

There is no magic pill or diet. It takes hard work to do this hard thing. But if you never give up and pick yourself up when you fall, you will make it. It is the most valuable thing I learned in 2008 and I can't believe I never figured it out before.

Excellent post!

Christine said...

Thanks for this...I needed this!

Anonymous said...

You are so right, Lyn. Congrats on your success and good luck to all who are starting or restarting this journey!

Anonymous said...

I found your blog by accident, and I am so glad that I did.

This entry was such a great piece of motivation! You have such a wonderful outlook on this whole "get healthy" thing! (I refuse to say diet; I really do.)

Katschi (Karen) said...

Looking forward to another year of reading of your amazing blog!

elife said...

I LOVE the flat tire analogy; that will stay with me. Also - glazed donuts and heath bars - he is a sadist and you are my hero!

Jeanne said...

What an awesome post!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!


David at said...

Wow, you are doing fantastic. The weight loss pictures you've posted are dramatic. Even better you seem to be doing this by making real, healthy changes, as opposed to quick fix diets, etc. Nice job and keep going!

- Dave

laine said...

I really hope that in 2009 a publisher encourages you to write a book. Your writing and your attitude and your perseverance are such an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year, Lyn! I am feeling oh-so-smug on this New Year's Day because I started on my healthy eating three days ago, three days ahead of the crowd.:)

My goal is to be healthy, eat when I am hungry, and make better food choices. No more crash dieting. No more starving myself for an event. I want to lose 90 pounds in 2009, slowly and healthfully!

Thanks for constantly inspiring me!

Karen in TN

Dutch said...

Thanks for this fantastic post. I really love reading your blog. Have a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Boo Bear's Place said...

Happy New Year look forward to reading your blog this year

Dani said...

Happy New Year Lyn! Great post. This isn't my day 1 either because I had that back in September when I started this journey for the last time. It's only onward and downward! :O) I'm so glad not to have to deal with the aches and pains and frustration of those first on plan workouts! Whew!

Ron said...

What a great post! Happy New Year to you

Meg said...

2009 is our year to shine! I know you will reach your goal, you've come so far already!

Amy said...

Last year at this time I was one of those folks joining the gym (Y). Now, one year later the scale has barely budged, though I feel fitter and have steadily upped my resistance and times in my work outs.

But it took one of my friends pointing it out for me to see that I had succeeded in making going to the Y and getting exercise a part of my routine, part of my nearly daily life.

So now, I'm focusing on that second half of fitness, eating right, and rejoicing in the accomplishment of being an active person. Yup, all about the attitude.

Sharon said...

You know, I just love the way you write. You really know how to turn a phrase and really connect. You've got mad skills girl.

I'm glad I 'found' your blog.

Hanlie said...

I love that tyre slashing analogy! So true!

Thank you for inspiring me every day. I really admire your dedication and learn from you every day.

Lynn Haraldson-Bering said...

Wow, Lyn! I'm not looking to lose weight, but damn, I'm motivated after that post! LOL GREAT analogies. And they don't have to be completely about weight loss. I'm sure there are a FEW places in my life that I can improve ;)

Happy new year, my friend!

Vickie said...

a good, practical approach for newbies. And any oldbies that got lost along the holiday way. Very well said - a nice posting.

Karyn said...

A excellent post, as usual, Lyn. I love the quote from Jillian.... and also the line about today being the fattest day of the rest of your life! Great stuff!

It is exciting to 'see' how much you have grown in the last several months. Your victories inspire the rest of us!

More than that, I think of you as my friend - and am so proud of you!

Marisa said...

You could not be more right! I need to photocopy your post and post it all over my house as a reminder for when I go astray!

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Great post, Lyn. I have heard that several times in blogland now, and am always impressed by the simplicity and truth of it. NEVER GIVE UP. You can't help but be healthier if you never give up.

Thanks for sharing so honestly with us through the year. You have had quite a traumatic year. And yet you have prevailed. Congratulations. And best wishes for an even better year in every way.

Kiki said...

Wow, what a great post! I love the quote about the flat tire. I'll have to remember that the next time I think one mess up qualifies blowing the whole day.

You're Awesome!

Linda said...

Love the tires scenario! Great post!

Heather said...

I definitely agree. for me, I plan on doing this for life and I know I have to. so I cant think of each year as a chance to start over or give myself permission to eat however I want only to start over. its important to "start over" when you fall off the wagon, but it should never be an excuse. you are correct - most people who start the year off this way dont get far, and then they get angry and feel like failures and spend the rest of the year unhappy only to view the next year as another chance. its important to realize that every day is a chance to do the things you need to do to be successful and it is possible with small and significant changes.

Juice said...

Great post Lyn. And your husband IS a sadist. More power to you for resisting! Can't wait to read more.

Lisa said...

thanks so much for posting this, it's a big help!

Pubsgal said...

Happy New Year, Lyn! Terrific post! I also liked the slashed tire analogy. I replaced all mine back in June and have been patching and driving since....

I'm a peaceable person, but good heavens! What number are you on for people who are waiting to smack that guy?!?!?! I think I got ticket #391.