Monday, May 4, 2015

I'm Worth It? Yes, Dangit - I AM Worth It! And So Are You.

As I've gotten older, I've come to realize a simple truth:  I'm worth it.  I mean, I was always worth it, but I think it's pretty normal for women, especially once you've become a mother, to put your needs aside.  Add to that spending a lot of years being overweight, and failing at both diet and exercise plans time and time again, and it becomes hard to justify spending any kind of money on things that make dieting and exercising a little easier and a lot more comfortable.  I started thinking about what advice I'd tell a newbie, who is looking to get started on their own healthy journey (to fit!):

If I had it to do all over again, right from the first week of my diet, I'd get myself fitted for a good pair of walking/running shoes.  Yes, I'd have been embarrassed to bring my 250+ pound self into a running store, because I was sure they would be thinking "who does this woman think she is...she obviously doesn't exercise" - but knowing the staff that I've encountered, in running stores from Texas to Oregon, California, and North Carolina, I now know that I was making the wrong assumption.  These people just want to see everyone wearing the right shoe, because they understand what a difference it can make.  And now that I've been wearing shoes specifically fitted for me, rather than sheepishly buying a cheap pair from a sporting goods store, I can tell you that good footwear will not only make you more comfortable to get out there and go for a walk, but also, you'll be more likely to go for a walk the following day.  We all know that's the hardest part about exercising - doing it more than once!

If I had it to do all over again, I'd have started walking right from the start.  I was too embarrassed to walk down my street.  What if my neighbors saw me?  They'd think I was fat.  OK, I know they SAW me on a regular basis, but something about being overweight and exercising was shameful, in my brain.  It makes no sense, but that's where I was coming from.  I was overweight, I needed to exercise, but god forbid I actually do it in public.

If I had it to do all over again, I'd buy myself a pair or two of exercise capris - in technical fabric.  I had no idea that this stuff would make such a difference!  Not only do you jiggle less when you're wearing something with a bit of spandex, but the technical fabric helps to wick away the sweat, which means that you are less likely to chafe as your thighs rub together.  And hey, did you know there's a product called Body Glide that can help with the chafing, if it happens?  I didn't...but boy, would that have made a difference back then!  It's one thing to not feel like exercising, but it's another to have your skin feel like it's on fire because of chafing...how do you say "oh, sorry - I can't exercise today because my thighs are going to burst into flames from rubbing together"?

Along with the capris, I'd buy a couple of technical fabric shirts.  They do come in plus sizes, and aren't super expensive, especially if you can shop at TJ Maxx or a similar stores.  You wouldn't think there would be a difference between a regular old cotton t-shirt and a technical one, but again, sweating and chafing - it's real, and it's not comfortable at any size. Sure, these workout clothes are going to eventually become too big for you because you'll be so successful with your new healthy lifestyle, but it's OK to feel good on your way down.

As for dieting, if I had it to do over again, I'd not stress so much over calories in fruit - I didn't eat much of that for a long time - but I would definitely still track everything (I think My Fitness Pal is super easy to use), and I'd buy a simple food scale right from the start, which makes tracking really easy.  I'd also buy a couple of sets of measuring cups, so I'd always have the right size available, which would make me more likely to measure out a proper amount of granola, or cheese, or whatever, instead of eyeballing things.  I'm pretty sure eyeballing food is what got me into trouble in the first place!

What about you - what advice would you offer someone who is just starting their weight-loss journey?  Let's hear it in the comments!

25 comments:

  1. one word.
    CONSISTENCY.
    small steps. daily. TAKE THE TIME FOR IT (dont ask). try your best. and get up again the next day and recommit.

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  2. I think Carla's advice is perfect! Couldn't have said it better.

    We all make "mistakes" in this journey but we learn from them which helps us to our goal in the end. For what it's worth: you are a great example how to do it and an inspiration to many, including me.

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  3. My advice would be to not expect perfection. It's a lifelong thing and to expect perfection over a lifetime is impossible.

    I also wish I had found techinical material earlier. How many years I spent sweating in cotton t-shirts! Eeek!

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    1. You are right about that perfection thing. Being able to let go of that helps when you DO go off the rails, because you can see that it was just one day or incident, and that makes it easier to get back on track rather than saying "I ate this much, I might as well eat that and that, too."

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  4. Such great advice, Shelley, from a proven winner. Funny, because I was thinking this weekend as we're finally breaking out of endless crap weather directly into high 80s that I want to get some "real" exercise clothes...not just tee shirts that become like wet horse blankets when sweat starts pouring! Not a good look, and definitely a worse feeling! Though I comment rarely, I read every post you write, and appreciate your hard learned wisdom.

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    1. It's great to hear that you are still reading, Leslie! :) Thanks for sticking with me all these years.

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  5. Great post!! My advice would be to not look for that quick fix. I've wasted so many weeks, months, years searching for something that would work quickly. Slow and steady, watch your food quantity and quality and move. Simple as that :) I'm planning on purchasing some "real" exercise clothes. I always just feel like I'm to big to wear them, I usually go with a big ole t-shirt to cover everything and then some. :)

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    1. I think you'll be so much more comfortable wearing "real" exercise clothes - you might even feel pretty good about yourself! :)

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  6. What a great post! Such good advice--I hope every woman trying to lose weight finds and reads it.

    I think I might follow your advice, and go to a running store to get just the right shoes for me to walk in!

    I think my advice would be to think right from the start--"is this something I can do for the rest of my life?" The answer to that might change over the years, but it might stop you from doing crazy restrictive dieting, or exercising four hours a day.

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    1. Very good point. Going into a diet with the mindset of how you're going to maintain that weight loss is a great idea.

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  7. All of these comments are so good and right on time!

    I would say, as you begin to lose weight, buy clothing and underwear that fit you properly. It doesn't have to be expensive (think Marshall's, TJ Maxx, even consignment shops!) but it will be worth whatever you can afford to spend. It's amazing how much better you will feel if you buy clothes that fit no matter what size they are or what size you are!

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  8. Excellent advice....especially on the shoes!
    My two cents....journal your food. That can be a real eye opener! I think physically writing it down makes you more conscious on your food selections.

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    1. Journal/track you food is really helpful. I usually plan out what I'm eating for the day, log it all in, and then I can see where I need to make adjustments.

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  9. I am totally with you on spending money on shoes - you know me I buy my shoes at thrift stores, but having shoes that work with how I walk is awesome. And I had some WW friends at meetings would talk about not wanting to eat bananas because of the points, and the WW leader said "have you ever known anyone to get fat eating fruit?!" Good point!

    Love your tips!

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  10. That's a lot of great advice! I recently went to a running store and got properly fitted for shoes, and they have made ALL the difference! I was having issues with one of my knees, and ever since I got the shoes it feels SO much better. I would also tell people not to look at food as being "good" or "bad"... food is just food, and you get to choose how you want to fit different foods into your lifestyle.

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  11. This is awesome advice! And it always amazes me to hear the shame many heavy people feel when caught "exercising in public." Hope this becomes a thing of the past! I can totally understand how it comes about, but it still pisses me off that people have to feel that way.

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  12. My advise to anyone of any size would be: 1. quit worrying what other people "might" think, and 2. self-care isn't selfish.

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  13. I love how you always write from the heart! My advice to others would be consistency and tracking". It's great to get all the gadgets and get all the proper gear but if you're not using it consistently then you are cheating yourself out of results! I'd say track your progress too!

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  14. I love this post. Thank you. My journey has been different, but I have shared so many of these thoughts.

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  15. Great post! Such good advice. Good shoes are so important, as are good socks, imo. The rest of my workout clothes I get on clearance at Target or at Costco. When I see *heavy* people exercising or at the gym I am always in awe of them and think good for you!

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  16. "something about being overweight and exercising was shameful, in my brain. It makes no sense, but that's where I was coming from. I was overweight, I needed to exercise, but god forbid I actually do it in public"

    Yes, this, absolutely. I always had the same thoughts! I'd go to the gym and assume people thought I didn't "belong" there. And when I started running, I thought everyone would know that I wasn't a runner, and had no idea what I was doing. But we all have to start somewhere. Most people probably aren't even paying attention, let alone judging, but who cares even if they are?

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  17. I wish I'd learned earlier that small steps really do add up--and fast!

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  18. Late to the comments, but I want to add that, much like your experience with running store staff, I think most people only want to see someone else be successful at adopting a healthy lifestyle. I loved how I was accepted as a runner by other "real" runners, simply because I showed up and ran. I'm sure there are some who will be Judgy McJudgers no matter what, but I have been encouraged on the trail, at the gym, in the running stores by people who know that there's plenty of fitness to go 'round, it's not going to run out if a newbie hops on the bandwagon!

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  19. What a wonderful post!!! We are all worth it!!! For me, persistence and commitment. If you fall "off the wagon" just get back on and keep at it.

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  20. LOVE this! You are so right - we are worth the time and the energy and the money. It's so hard to get over that first hump and try when we feel heavy and awkward and embarrassed, but we are WORTH it.

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