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.