After giving birth to my second child, I was what the doctor labeled obese. I knew I was overweight, but after my six-week follow-up I looked at the numbers on the scale and thought that while they still seemed high, they didn’t put me into the obese category. I waited almost a year before taking action to get the pounds off.
My family and I eat sit-down meals together daily. It was a ritual I grew up with that gave me time to talk to my family and bond with my siblings. Today, it is even more important to take that time together, but with our busy schedules sometimes it isn’t possible for some families. Mine usually does, though, and I guess I thought that because we were not eating out all the time we were eating healthy meals.
After joining a weight-loss program, I actually became educated on what is involved in a healthy lifestyle – and food is just one of the factors. I was shocked to learn what an actual serving size is, and even more shocked that one would actually fill me up. And who ever knew that when counting calories you needed to include liquids as well? I was also shocked to learn that not exercising was just as much of a health risk to me as smoking.
I also never realized the benefits of eating whole foods vs. processed foods. I know we were told to eat our veggies as children, but I never really knew why. I thought eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich was healthy, and I made them often. I didn’t realize that fruit preserves were the better choice, on whole grain bread. I negated all my efforts by eating white bread that really had no nutritional value whatsoever. So I decided to take it slowly and learn more about nutrition first, then move on to exercise.
I tried changing my diet, and my family reaped the benefits as well. We cleared the cupboards of all the junk food and processed foods and replaced them with healthy options. That was the first step. Planning meals ahead was next. A couple of weeks after I thought I had mastered that, I moved on to exercise. Well, that in itself was as foreign to me as healthy eating.
We joined the local YMCA so that my whole family, again, reaped the benefits. I was overwhelmed to walk into the fitness center and see a bunch of machines I did not recognize, other than a treadmill and stationary bike, and even those I had no idea how to operate. But the staff was more than willing to help, and even assigned me a personal trainer to start me on an exercise routine I could handle. My husband and I were able to work out together as our children played safely in their childcare area or an age-appropriate area for them.
Everyone got moving and eating better, and now almost five years later we are all still managing to maintain that lifestyle. I admit, there have been setbacks. Having dealt with a weight issue throughout my life is comparable to drug addiction, in my eyes. A drug addict or an alcoholic is always a drug addict or alcoholic. I am a food addict, and it takes enormous effort for me to recognize that on a daily basis. Every setback is an opportunity for defeat. Either you let it defeat you or you defeat it. I choose to defeat my addictions, and work at it constantly.