a birthday present to myself

What prompted it this time?  What was it this time that made me say, “I don’t want to be fat anymore”? In actuality, it wasn’t a single event, but a collection.

Incident #1
Last Saturday, I put on a pair of capris that I hadn’t worn since last summer. I could barely get them over my butt, and my legs looked like sausages stuffed into casings. Yeah, not attractive. I took them off and found a different pair.

Incident #2
On Sunday, I stepped on the scale at my parents’ house. No change. No gain, but no loss.

Incident #3
A few days later, I got an email from Alysia, blogger at Try Defying Gravity and one of the organizers of The Oxygen Mask Project. She was letting me know that my “Stroll with it, baby!” post was scheduled to be published over at TOMP on Friday. It made me think, “Did I follow through like I said I would? Did I make changes to be healthier like I wrote about in that post?”

Incident #4
Two weeks ago, my husband asked, “What do you want for your birthday?”

It wasn’t any one of these things, but the combination of them that is prompting me to get my act together. As you might guess from Incident #4, I have a birthday soon. Next week, in fact. I decided to give myself a gift: healthier living. My goal is to lose at least 38 pounds by my 38th birthday next year.  Having lost the weight before, I know I can do it again. I just have to make some changes.

Once a month, I will blog about what I’m doing. Today is the first post. In keeping with the spirit of the Oxygen Mask Project, I’m not going to write about my son. Sure, by losing weight healthily I am setting a good example for him. But I’m not doing it for him. I want and need to do this for myself.

I have a specific, measurable goal and a target date for reaching it. Now, I need a way to reach that goal. I’ve read before that it takes about thirty days to truly form a habit (good or bad). So I’m going to pick twelve healthy habits and do one a month over the next year. The plan is to layer these actions on top of each other to change my lifestyle for the better. Here is a list that I started.

  • Write down everything I eat
  • Exercise more
  • Go mostly meatless for a month
  • Either 3-5 servings of fruits and veggies per day or include a fruit & veggie at every meal
  • No fast food
  • Announce my plans to increase accountability
  • Purchase a scale and track my weight on a regular basis
  • Try new foods that are healthy

The ideas need to be fleshed out and the best order determined. Since the list is a work in progress (like me!), I welcome your suggestions.

I’m starting with something not included in the above list: track my exercise every day for the month of August. When I was brainstorming and wrote “exercise more” I later had to ask myself, “More than what?” Until I get a baseline, I won’t know if I’m doing more.

I’ve used a website called SparkPeople in the past. It is fairly easy to use and offers lots of ways to track goals. On Wednesday, I logged back into the site and starting tracking my mileage and time for all of my walking.

I’d really love to hear feedback about this post. If you have successfully lost and kept off weight in the past, what strategies worked best for you? What tools have you used to track your progress? How have you rewarded yourself for meeting your goal?

Thanks again to Alysia for providing one of the kicks-in-the-pants-that-are-too-tight that I needed. It is time for me to get into the best shape of my life.

Here are two other mommy-bloggers who are on their own weight loss journeys. Stop by and give them some words of encouragement, too.

Sara at Eye on “One”derland
Rachel at To Hab and to Hold

11 thoughts on “a birthday present to myself

  1. First of all, I’m sending you a virtual hug. *Hug* (I am not much of a hugger in real life, but I feel pretty comfortable with a healthy, friendly virtual one.)

    Secondly, I think this is a really healthy approach to make a huge life change, because that is what it is. Someone very close to me is also making changes in their life to lose weight and I understand how much of a challenge it is. After my second child was born, I was very unhappy with the amount of weight gain I had acquired and dieted and exercised until I had reached my goal. I bought a yoga dvd and a bike and made use of those on a daily basis along with some other exercises like sit-ups, light weight-lifting, and lots of cardio work-outs. I also binged pretty frequently on carrot sticks, celery sticks and pretzels. 😉

    Lastly, I think it is very important that you are making “you” the reason you are losing weight. Sure, others will benefit from you feeling better, but it has to be for you. We mothers tend to focus so much time and energy on our children and other responsibilities that we wind up overlooking ourselves in the process which is definitely not a healthy way to be. Good luck to you in your endeavors!!

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  2. Here’s hoping you reach your goal. This weight loss battle is a tough one. I know for me, I have to take really small steps that I know I can manage. It’s all about not biting off more than you can chew. (Ha! Pun intended) So when I wanted to lose some weight I started with cutting out 2 unhealthy food items at a time. Like no french fries and soda. I had to be realistic with myself. Good luck!

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    1. That sounds like a smart plan. I know I can’t do a complete overhaul overnight. If I try too many changes at once, it’s easy to get frustrated with slip-ups.
      Thanks for the words of encouragement.

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  3. Congrats on a good and important decision. I was exactly where you are at, I was 36 and at a store and tried on a pair of white capri pants. They looked absolutely horrible on me. I stood in that dressing room and said, “This ends now.” It was 3 months from my birthday and I decided for my 37th bd I was giving myself the gift of healthy aging. I lost 25 pounds. I did it by watching what I ate, but mostly through exercise. We had a treadmill and I started running. I was awful at first but I did it 2x a week for a month. Then after those first 4 weeks I found myself actually WANTING to run. Like my body was telling me I needed it. It was an excellent way for me to not only burn off calories, but also work off stress. This was 2002. I ran my first 5K in 2003 and have been running ever since and now I work at the YMCA helping others reach their fitness goals. I have only a few don’ts. I don’t eat fried food and I don’t eat fast food. I also don’t beat up on myself. If you slip, forgive yourself. Beating up on yourself is not healthy. Good luck! You are doing a good thing. 🙂

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    1. Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve wondered about running as an exercise, but haven’t seriously tried it. Between the dog and stroller, I’m not sure how safe it would be. But your idea of starting with just twice a week is intriguing. It would be a good way to increase my activity level.
      I think it’s great that you not only helped yourself, but now you are helping others keep fit. That’s inspiring. Thanks!

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