It had to happen.
Day-after-day, year-after-year, the same problem weighed on my heart: I felt bad about the way my body looked.
For every one pound of extra physical weight, I carried 100 pounds of spiritual weight. When I got dressed every morning, I never felt a lightness of spirit in getting ready for the day. It was an exercise in camouflage that never really worked. There was angst, shame, frustration, confusion, a touch of self-pity and then…
Plain and simple, it dawned on me that having the same problem all the time was incredibly stupid and boring. I mean, really, how much longer did I want to make faces in the mirror before plastering on a fake smile for the world? Wouldn’t it be at least more interesting to take control, and move past this speed bump?
And so, I did.
The month of April was a time I set aside to focus on myself. I had a short window when holidays and responsibilities were at a lull, so I staked a claim for myself.
I didn’t cheat once.
Although there were times when my heels dragged a bit, I was just so ready for a change that it wasn’t too hard to stick with the plan. It was a gift to myself and it had an expiration date.
May is a busy celebration month in my home, which will be immediately followed by summer vacation, a new school year, the farmer’s market reopening, the holiday season…. Knowing that I had a finite amount of time to really focus on myself enabled me to get down to business without any hand-wringing. Of course, I plan on losing a bit more weight and I know I can’t do that during only one month in a year, but I got a great head start, and firmly implemented some excellent habits that will serve me well.
How I Lost 10 Pounds in a Month
1. No sugar or sweeteners.
Sugar is addictive. It operates the same way as heroin in our brains. Freeing myself of my sweet tooth made life easier than parceling out small portions. I got it out of my body and my head. I didn’t place a limit on fruit, because no matter what current fad diets say, fruit is healthy. If I wanted a something sweet, nature supplied it, and that was that.
2. No dairy or gluten.
This had more to do with trying to relieve myself of some chronic pain. I will reintroduce these foods now and see if they cause an allergic reaction in my body.
I did find myself making some creative culinary choices. When I made my family pasta, I had roasted sweet potatoes or zucchini with sauce for my meal. I also used lentil flour quite a bit and developed a deep love of papadoms heated in the microwave. Instead of cooking eggs in butter, I used avocado oil, which is unusual and delicious. It was fun to play in the kitchen again.
3. Greens 2-3 times a day!
I wanted a nutrient-rich diet. Usually breakfast was a fruit and veggie smoothie with an egg on the side. A few days a week, I sauteed spinach and mushrooms and put a poached egg on top with fruit on the side. For years my lunch has been a big salad. Vegetables are always the foundation of dinner. Eating so many plants felt great! It’s a wonderful energy boost.
4. Exercise 10-12 hours a week!
This is key. I jog almost every morning. Two weeks in, I added interval sprints which really helped. I also do a light barbell routine for my arms and an ab and leg video for toning on alternate days. Yoga has become an evening ritual, which is strange because I love a morning practice, but it fits better into my schedule in the evenings. On the weekends I swim a mile in a lap pool.
5. Replace TV with reading books about health.
In the past I’ve read fitness magazines to keep me motivated, but that never really worked. They offer so many different programs, that I always second-guessed my plan. This time I read books about diabetes, sugar, wellness, allergies, you name it. This reading constantly confirmed that I was making great choices for my health. They also shared horror stories about people who did not make healthy choices, adding fuel to my fire.
6. Up protein.
Eggs, nuts, beans, tofu, quinoa and seafood played a more starring role in my diet. Most of those are plant-based proteins which also provide excellent fiber, vitamins and minerals. I made sure to include a small serving of protein in every meal, and also ate a few nuts whenever I was hungry. This kept me feeling strong.
It’s simple and a lot of hard work. Every choice I made I knew was good for me in both the short term and the long term. My plates were full of colorful, healthy food, and my days were full of movement.
I have about 15 more pounds to lose. I probably can’t lose another 10 pounds in May, because the closer I get to my goal, the more stubborn my body will cling to the weight. That’s OK. I have more ideas to shake things up, and a realistic goal of losing 5-7 pounds.
Most importantly, I’ve lost that heavy feeling of failure.
I look and feel great!
It’s been a long time since I could say that.