Monday, August 26, 2013

Dieting, Distractions, and Dedication

I've been asked if I thought that my success at losing weight this time was partially due to not having young kids at home...as a reminder, I started my last diet in May of 2008, when our youngest was just about to graduate from high school and would be moving away for college in a few months.  I've always said that yes, it was much easier for me, not only because I didn't have to think about making meals for my family (well, meals that my kids would be happy with - my husband is happy any time I actually cook for him, haha), but I also didn't have to deal with having food in the house that was a temptation for me.  I was able to keep my kitchen and pantry a safe zone for me and my diet - I got rid of trigger foods, stocked up on things that I liked to eat, and knew that I could come home after work and that food would still be there and not have mysteriously disappeared when a swarm of hungry teenagers came through.

Because my children were older and away at college, I had a lot of time to focus on me.  My distractions were minimal, and I had the energy to put toward changing my lifestyle, doing everything from reading other dieting blogs to help me stay inspired, to being able to schedule my workouts whenever I wanted (within reason, as I was still working part-time back then), to trying out new-to-me food without hearing the "ewww, gross!" chorus that most parents are familiar with.  As the months passed by, I became more and more dedicated to being a much healthier person - between the scale, the dressing room and the mirror, I was seeing results, which kept me motivated to keep doing what was working. 

But that was then.  This summer, I've been distracted.  It began with the month of May - planned things, like our youngest kid...er, now adult, graduating from college and my parents coming out for that, plus my birthday party and my best friend and her daughter coming out for that - and unplanned things, like having the person who was going to be the organizer of our running club up and quit in the week between the graduation and birthday party, and me taking that on.  Then, we had the bathroom flood on June 6th, and that brought an entire new level of distraction and discombobulation into my life.  My orderly, quiet little world has been in a state of upheaval - I've had deadlines and decisions and dealings with things that are waaaay outside of my comfort zone.  I've had every reason to stress eat and slack on my exercise in order to get through this. 

Here's a little secret:  I've sometimes discounted my dieting success, knowing that many other women have it much harder than I did since they still have young children living at home, or are working full-time (or both, yikes); occasionally I get a twinge of guilt over the fact that I didn't have to deal with those daily demands, and feel bad for other mothers who comment and email me about the very real challenges that they face on top of trying to diet and exercise.  But over the past four months, I've had my own share of distractions thrown at me, and I've managed to not eat myself into oblivion plus I've also, surprisingly, ended up exercising more than normal.  So today, even though I'm sitting here with yet another list of things I have to do for running club, and I'm still without a shower in my master bathroom, I'm feeling a little more confident that not only will I get through these unexpected, unplanned-for and uncomfortable situations, but that I can, and will, continue living the healthier lifestyle that I began over five years ago. 

A few years back, people were congratulating me on my success, saying that I was proof you could still lose weight when you were over forty.  Now, I'm owning my overall success, not only for the initial weight-loss, but for my continual dedication to living a healthy lifestyle, even with distractions.  I've always said that if I can lose weight, anyone can, but now?  I really, REALLY mean it.  So don't let anything distract you from being the healthy person you were meant to be.

21 comments:

  1. Sweetheart I don't ever want to hear you say again that losing weight for other people is harder than it was for you. It is hard for everyone, no matter what our circumstances are. You are an example for many of us and I am one of your biggest fans. I have a note next to my computer called "motivation". Names on that list: Shelley, Helen, Biz, Lori and Michiel (I work with him and he lost half of his weight).

    You and the other girls (who also read your blog) are my motivation and inspiration. Now all I have to do is put my words into action and lose weight ..... but not before I go back to work next week LOL.

    xxx

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  2. NEVER EVER EVER EVER DISCOUNT.
    in success, in what you charge :-), in ANYTHING.

    you have worked your ...glutes off to get where you are today.

    xo

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  3. I'll just ditto on the don't discount your own hard work. We all have our burdens to bear, so to speak, and each and every one of us could make an excuse. Look at Oprah Winfrey! She has all the money and resources a person trying to lose weight could want: personal chefs, personal gyms, personal trainers... and yet, she has shown us over and over again, it's not about that. It's simply about actually doing what needs to be done! Which is what you have done. Celebrate that!

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    1. Thanks! Although I'd still like to try it Oprah's way...

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  4. I am happy you are proud of how far you've come Shelley - you should be proud of yourself! Somehow this summer I've realized that food doesn't solve your problems - who knew? I'll have to email you on the side, but it's been a stressful summer for me, and the fact that I didn't run to McDonald's, Taco Bell and eat it with a box of wine next to me is a complete miracle! :D

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    1. It's a bit of a harsh discovery, when you figure out that a Big Mac won't fix anything beyond momentary hunger...dang it! ;)

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  5. What a good article!! So many of us stop at the distractions. Its that dedication that gets you through.

    You are a really calm person! I read that list of really big events that happened to you all in one summer--Man! Its hard to believe all those things happened within a few months. You just took one event at a time, and kept plugging along. Good for you!!

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  6. It's a long, tough road- IMO at any age or time frame to keep weight off long term. Learning to manage weight maintenance at any age and then make the adjustments to keep the weight off as each year comes a long is key.

    For each long term maintainer, there will be unique challenges.

    It's a lot of work, so give yourself a lot of credit. Important to own whatever comes your way (without using food to sooth) like a boss at any age. Onward! Karen P

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  7. I can't deny it any longer (your blog guilted me!). I've used distraction as an excuse all summer and it ends TODAY. Each of our lives comes with varying distractions, and mine are different than yours, but it doesn't mean they are any more or less difficult.

    And I agree with Debby. You seem so calm through all this. Is the extra exercise helping keep the insanity at bay?

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    1. The extra exercise might have helped, as I've only had a couple of really pissy moments regarding everything, which is pretty good for me.

      Good on ya for moving beyond the distractions!

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  8. My friend and I were just talking about this today. Yes, I don't have kids to distract me, but that emptiness is filled with other things. Life swarms in and fills up all those spare minutes. It's just a magical thing of figuring out how to mesh the 'new lifestyle' with lifes obligations.

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  9. You really have changed your whole life - don't ever discount any of that work you did.

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  10. As someone with no kids, no hubby, I understand the discounting. I've often felt I somehow had it easier, but then I realized that it's the same determination and commitment, no matter what our life situations. So YOU rock! And so do I! :)

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  11. Loved this post, as I am so fond of discounting my middle name should be Clearance Sale. Funny how easy it is to notice all the ways in which we have it easier without also noticing the challenges we face or the tenacity we have.

    So yeah, be PROUD of your accomplishments, because anyone looking at them from an objective viewpoint certainly would be impressed!

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  12. What a great post Shelley! And you continue to inspire!!!

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  13. You are a Rock Star, Shelley. You earned every bit of success you have received!!

    I've come to realize that it's not my kids that have kept me from losing weight, it's me!! I can make it work if I really want to (and I really want to!) Thanks so much for this post today. :)

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  14. Awesome post Shelley! Glad to see you taking some ownership of your success. Losing weight is a lot easier than keeping it off and the lifetime commitment you've made is inspiring for everyone!

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  15. I just hope I can be as successful as you. I have an empty nest, but I still seem to have a lot of distractions. But I am determined to get this done and I will.

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