Written by: Debbie Stokes
We all have struggles we deal with from time to time. So, for this post I wanted to share with you my current struggle. My weight loss journey is in full effect not because it’s a New Year’s resolution but because it’s for the sake of my health. I am on a mission to lose 40 pounds.
Yes, that’s right 40 pounds.
The first thing people usually say to me is you don’t look like you need to lose 40 pounds, but trust me I do. The reason why is because it’s in the most dangerous place… my stomach. The place where it controls how your clothes button and fit, how you bend over, how you sit down, and how you breathe; but that’s not the worst thing, the bad part is it’s the unhealthiest place for fat to be stored. And truthfully, so many Americans are suffering with the same problem… belly fat.
As a matter of fact, not only does it present the problems I mentioned above, it also creates health issues that include: heart disease, diabetes, strokes, heat attacks, obesity, high blood pressure, and a host of other illnesses. So, I knew it was time to do something about it.
Don’t get me wrong, the road hasn’t been easy. For some reason my fat has shacked up in my belly and won’t vacate the premises. (Funny, but not funny). I’m sure some of you know exactly what I’m talking about… the battle of the bulge. Being overweight. Obesity. Whatever you want to call it. You know when you find yourself wearing larger clothes to try to hide the so-called potbelly or pregnant-look, not realizing that it’s only making you look bigger. Trust me, I know from experience. Or you wear black trying to cover it up thinking people can’t see you behind the darkness. Well guess what, they can. I think it’s something we make up in our minds to believe, but the truth is deep inside it hurts because we know people really can see it.
How many of you are on my street? Sometimes I have to laugh to keep from crying, but then again, sometimes I do cry. Why? Because I get scared that I won’t be around to see my grandchildren grow up and my youngest daughter get married. I pray it’s God’s will to allow me to be around. However, what I understand is that a lot of times we cause things to happen to ourselves, so I know this fat problem is self-inflicted; and if I’m going to do anything about it, I have to stick with my plan… exercise, healthier eating, and prayer. I failed miserably the last time, but this time I’m committed.
The crazy thing is that I don’t eat a lot of food. My issue is the choice of foods I eat… fast food or eating at restaurants. It’s been hard but I’m doing so much better. If I could give a visual picture of how I fight through my cravings, it would be this. My cravings attack my mind causing my mouth to water. As my mind continues to imagine my mouth biting into the food I’m thinking about, my heart begins to pound harder and harder. Then from nowhere, my head begins to throb with pain as my mind starts talking… go get it, eat it, you know you want it. Just when I give in and I am about to get the food I was yearning for; I find the strength to snap back to reality. Thank God. Sadly, there was a time when the yearning would get the best of me, but I’m determined to win this time.
I can see it now, my waist size back down to what it was in my twenties. I can’t wait! Right now, “I’m dancing on the ceiling,” like Lionel Ritchie said in his song. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. Well how about, I’m smiling and feel like I could dance on the ceiling. Haha! Journey along with me as I tell you about the things I’m doing to change my health life, so I can live a better life, hopefully free from ailments and medication.
Here are some things I have done and I am doing to help me win the weight battle this time, and if you are struggling, they can help you too:
- Changed my mind first. Figure out your reason why. Be specific because If you don’t have a reason it will be easy to fall back to old ways. Mine is that I don’t want to die prematurely or have debilitating illnesses. So, I’m doing it for both my health and my life.
- Set a timeframe. When you set a goal it gives you something to work towards. But you can’t be too hard on yourself if you fall off the wagon. The key is to get back on. Just be sure to set steps that’s doable for you. Also, celebrate your small accomplishments along the way. If you make things too hard it will be easy to fail. Another point with this step, you cannot compare yourself to what are others are doing. So, don’t try to keep up. Do what works for you. The whole idea is for you to reach your goal at your own pace.
- Removed the temptations away. Throw out what you have that is not good for you and that is a distraction so it will be hard for you mess up. You want to be around things that work for you and not against you.
- Got an accountability partner. It’s best to find someone who is working towards losing too, that way you both can be support for each other. But if you can’t find someone to work with you, at least, find someone who will call and check up on you everyday to keep you on track, and to hold you accountable.
- Eat more plant-based products rather than animal products. This is really hard for me because I’m a very finnicky eater. The truth is I love meat so it’s a challenge. Experts say you should have more colorful vegetables (a variety) on your plate than meat. But as a side note for those who are vegetarians, it’s very important you get adequate protein, iron, fiber, and magnesium. You may have to take supplements to aid in getting those necessary nutrients because they all are vital to the health of your body. But I have to tell you… the struggle is real. I have found myself eating a lot of the same vegetables because there are so many vegetables I don’t like, which gets boring. But I’m committed, right? With this one, my truth is I will probably never become a vegetarian. However, it’s still possible for me to lose and be healthy. In fact, I will eat fish and chicken most of the time for my protein, and sometimes, I may splurge on red meat. Yikes, I know but I’m being real with you. It’s my truth and I’m a work in progress with exploring this one. Pray for me.
- Use Irish Sea Moss in my food. Irish sea moss contains the necessary minerals our bodies need. I buy a pack, prepare as suggested, and then make it into a gel. The good news is that it is also packed with beta-carotene, B-vitamins, protein, pectin, vitamin C, and taurine (often not in vegetarian diets). Also, it is very effective at helping with pain and inflammation, your digestive health, thyroid support, mental health, weight loss, ridding the body of mucous, and it has so many other health benefits. For instance, it can be applied to the skin to moisturize, hydrate, and help with skin disorders like dermatitis. I generally put it in my hot tea in the morning or hot soup, but you can be creative with it. It can go in your smoothies, soups, drinks, food, however it works best for you. My suggestion to you would be to look it up for yourself and if you see the benefits, go for it.
- I have joined the gym and have committed to go 3-4 days a week. The key to losing is burning off more calories than what you take in. If you can’t go to the gym, find a place in your house where you can exercise, whether it be working out or dancing, or you can start walking, riding a bike, swimming, or anything that gets you moving to burn calories. The key for most people is you have to find a way to get up and move. The hard fact is if you don’t move, you won’t lose. Now, granted there are non-traditional ways of losing like: weight loss surgery, getting shots from a doctor, paying a lot of money for weight loss food programs, and that’s great for those who do that, but I’ve made the decision for me to lose naturally. Mind over matter… right?
- Eat healthy snacks throughout the day. I have found this works pretty good for me because it keeps me from feeling hungry, while at the same time I am getting health benefits. Some of the things I eat are: an apple, raisins, carrots, celery, almonds, cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew melon, grapes, cherries, plums, and cranberries. Remember, I said I work with what I like. That’s what makes it doable for me. I do realize I have to learn to acquire new and different food later, but like I said, I’m finnicky and that’s going to take work.
- Drink enough water. I drink at least 64 oz of water per day. Keep in mind, 8oz equals 8 cups, and I drink it 8 times per day, which equals 64 oz total. What I found works for me is to either get the case with 8 oz bottles (those miniature bottles) and drink those because it’s makes it easier to drink 8 glasses. Since they are small, you don’t realize how fast you can run through them. Another option I use is to buy a case with 16 oz bottles and I’ll drink 4 bottles a day. I know some people put theirs in a container and carry it around with them, and that’s cool, but that doesn’t work for me. Doing it my way has allowed me to drink 64 ounces everyday without me realizing that I have finished my quota for the day. Sometimes, I even drink more.
Using all of these methods has helped me lose. No, I may not be losing it fast, but it’s consistent, and remember I said, I’m not trying to keep up with anybody else and you shouldn’t either. The bottom line is to do what works for you and celebrate your small victories of weight loss in your time. However, if you find it’s too hard for you to do it alone, by all means, seek help or find a partner to do it with you. What’s important is that we do what it takes to live a healthier life.
Who’s with me? Let’s work together to live our lives better. We can’t change the obesity problem of this country, but if we each start working on ourselves, just maybe, people we know will be impacted to make a change with them, and then people they know will be impacted, and the changing will continue creating a snowball effect of change. How about it? Let’s start with ourselves. Again, who’s with me? I challenge you to start now.
If you are interested in doing this together and holding each other accountable, I will start a private Facebook group where we will be able to share ideas, encourage each other, share our struggles, wins and losses; and so much more as we lose weight, build strength and confidence, develop new bodies, and in the process gain new frienships. How about it? If interested, reach out to me privately by messaging/inboxing me on my 3 Women Voices Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/3WV.3womenvoices/ or you can always leave me a comment on this blog. Let’s do this together! Let’s take action now! I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
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