This time is different.

I have spent my whole life overweight from my teens onward.  That of course means that I’ve also spent much of my adult life on some kind of diet.  I am now a firm believer that prescribed diets are doomed to failure.   Sure, they work in the short term.  But a “diet” as I think of it requires the steel resolve to deprivation.  I spent over 20 years close to or well over 100 pounds overweight.   Heck, at my highest non-pregnant weight of 338 pounds I was about 200 pounds over what the charts say I should be.

So I’ve been on a ton of different diets.  Weight Watchers a bunch of times, Nutri-System (back when they were in centres and it cost thousands of dollars to sign up and then buy their food every week), simple cutting calories, various cabbage soup diets, Slim Fast and other crazy things.  I’m embarrassed to say that once for a few months in my teens I even tried laxatives and sleeping in a garbage bag from the waist down (you don’t want to know how that bag smelled in the mornings…).   I even discussed weight loss surgery with my doctor on one occasion.  I lost various amounts from almost nothing to 50 pounds in these attempts.  Why didn’t I stick it out?  Well, because in all of them, I had a “diet” mentality.  That I was doing this for a certain amount of time and then I could stop.  I’m pretty sure in the back of my mind I was thinking that I’d be able to go back to my “normal” way of eating.  Stupid.

Exercise was an issue too.  At over 100 pounds overweight, moving is HARD.  Intellectually, I knew that exercise was important but for most of my life, I hated it.  Almost every “diet” I started I would reluctantly add exercise as I knew it was expected and knew it would help with my weight loss efforts.  At various points I managed to stick with exercise for a few months but it was never enough to make obvious changes to my ability to move.  As I got older, it just got harder.

When I hit my 40’s it really got bad.  I live in a 3 level townhouse.  Carrying a basket of laundry up the 2 flights of stairs required a stop to catch my breath.  How sad is that?  I avoided doing physical things with others because I was embarrassed at how little I could do.

So in December of 2011, I decided something had to change.  No matter what happened with my weight, I wanted to be able to move without pain and/or discomfort.  My sleep also sucked badly and I knew that exercise would help with that.  My friend Tammy and I decided it was time to get selfish about US and make it a priority to get some movement in.  At the weight and fitness level (I use that term very loosely…) I was, I knew that aquafit would be the best way to start moving without potential damage to my joints so we started going 2-3 times a week.  I made the conscious choice not to “diet” as I knew I needed to focus on just getting my body moving.  For 7 months, that’s what I did.  Slowly, I started to notice changes in how I felt and what I was able to do.  And during that time, I lost 20 pounds without changing my eating plan.  By that time, I actually enjoyed my workouts, looked forward to them and prioritized my time to around my workouts.  It was time to make the package complete.

I needed something that I would be able to sustain for the long term and that I wouldn’t ever feel deprived.  I wanted control over my own eating choices rather than a prescribed diet.  I had used before and loved the moderate approach and tools there.  I had lost 50 lbs using it before but without the exercise component making a difference, I had given up.  This time, I “got it” and rejoined for a new start.  As of today, I’ve been “Sparking” for over a year and in total, I’m down 98 pounds.  Yay, me!  The best part, is I truly have made this a lifestyle choice and will be using the tools on the site for my nutrition and fitness even once I’m at whatever goal weight I decide on.  *Disclaimer:  This is what is working for me but I know that everyone is different and may need different tools to help them.  But I think the key is that it needs to be something sustainable for the long term, not just losing weight.  The whole, “make it a lifestyle, not a diet” I had heard my whole life and agreed with but privately treated as the complete opposite has finally clicked into place.  I get it now.


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