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How I Got "Here"

Friday, February 26, 2016

I wanted to capture my recent journey thus far, to remind myself where I was and, more importantly, how I got here.

The short answer: Gymnema and Spark Challenges. emoticon

Let me explain. :)

I've been struggling with a major sugar addiction for probably most of my life. I have early memories as a very young child of gravitating to sweets. I call it "riding the White Tiger."

I start with the sugar addiction because I believe this to be, without a doubt, hands down, my #1 obstacle in losing weight and the #1 reason I've gained so much weight.

9/25/15: My 1st visit with a brand new Dr. Instead of telling me, as many docs do, "you should lose some weight" he says, "How can I help you make this happen THIS YEAR? What can we do?" My response: "Ummmmm, I don't know." Dr.: "When should I see you next?" Me: "Ummm, 2 yrs?" Dr.: "How about 3 months?" Me: "Oooookaaaaaaaay?" (I hate going to doctors.) I set the appointment.

Now I have accountability. Which I greatly need. And he's going to want to see some weight loss.

I'm excited, thinking, this is the year! I'm really going to MAKE IT HAPPEN.

And then I need to eat. And as usual, I make some poor choices. It's so hard to resist fast food (which I literally just mistyped as "fat food" - no joke). I try to avoid sugar, with basically NO success. I try to exercise, but I'm so damn tired all I can do is walk 10 minutes at a time. But I do it. A few times a week.

I start taking vitamins and this actually does give me a bit more energy so I don't feel quite so weighed down (literally). I try walking 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week. I'm barely meeting that goal. But I keep trying; I've got that follow-up Dr's appointment after all.

10/4/15: I find something called "The Biggest Loser Challenge" on Spark and I join the wait list for the Winter Challenge. I'm very excited about this. But bummed I have to wait.

11/24/15: I'm assigned to the Dazzling Diamonds team for the 10-week Winter Challenge. By now, I've completely forgotten about the BLC, and I'm still eating sugar, snacks and fast food. But I think about quitting all of these. I think about it a lot. My 3-month Dr's appointment is coming up fast and I've made basically NO progress.

At this point, my baby steps are so small, it feels like I'm making no progress.

11/25, we start our BLC 2-week pre-challenge. I start checking in on our chat thread at least 3 times a week like I'm supposed to. I start getting to know my teammates and team leaders. I'm motivated to meet my "Miles and Minutes" goal.

12/21 - My 2nd Dr's appointment with new doc. He thanks me for keeping my appointment, which is funny because I didn't even tell him that I seriously considered canceling it (since I hadn't made any progress & what's the point). He suggests I meet with a nutritionist. I make a face; I already know what to eat, it's a matter of NOT eating the "bad" stuff. He suggests I see a behavioral therapist. I agree. Perhaps he can help with emotional eating or something. The Dr. suggests we set a weight loss goal for our (now) ONE-MONTH follow-up. Oh boy. An actual lbs-gone goal. Ummmm ... 5 lbs? He says ok.

End of Dec/early Jan: I start taking Gymnema to help kick the sugar habit. Mind you, this supplement was suggested to me months ago. I bought it, and never took it. Sick of being a slave to sugar (my White Tiger), I decide to try the damn supplement.

It's the REAL DEAL. I don't crave sugar when I remember to take my gymnema.

Sometime in early Jan. my Diamonds team leader casually mentions in chat something called "BLC30." I ask, "What is it?" I read the link she sent, read through all the rules (oh boy, this is intense). I think about it overnight and immediately sign up (making it JUST IN TIME for the BLC30). I'm very excited about a stricter, more involved challenge. More accountability, more expectations. Just. What. I. Need. (Truly.)

I choose Crimson Butterflies team since it's for newbies like me. This is a 15-week challenge (oh boy). I try not to be intimidated. I tell myself, "You can do this!! This is fun!"

And it is fun. emoticon I make goals to increase my cardio slowly and add ST (strength training).

1/25/16: I see my doc again. My scale at home says I didn't reach my 5-lb goal, but HIS scale says I *DID*!!! How is this possible?? He high-fives me; I'm reluctant to celebrate because it doesn't feel real or true. He says, "Hey, if you're not willing to celebrate now, then when? You earned this!" I confess my home scale; he says, "Let's just focus on our scale then." I high-five him.

I love my new Dr. emoticon

On 1/25, I also have the appointment with the new behavioral therapist. He asks, "What do you eat in a typical day?" "Ummmmm ..." I can list breakfast and lunch, but dinner ... What DO I eat?? PB&J, fast food, cheese? I don't know. We talk about tracking my food.

UGH. Tracking.

I hate tracking. I've always resisted tracking. One of my "here's how you quit sugar" books involves tracking. I've never read past that chapter. I've been in weight watchers a LOT before, and I NEVER tracked.

UGH. Tracking.

He says, "Let's try 7 days of tracking and I'll see you in 2 weeks."

2/8/16 (2-wk follow-up with the behavioral therapist): I've tracked 14 days. emoticon

And I learned a lot. It's only initially a P.I.T.A. (Pain In The ... erm, butt), but after I've added my usual foods, it's really easy. I can see how much fat, protein, fiber I'm eating. I now have real information I can use. I even track occasional indulgences and see how many calories are in some favorite treats. And I manage to stay within Spark's calorie limits despite occasional treats.

By early Feb., I've stepped up my BLC participation, posting basically every day in my two teams, earning points for tracking foods, getting enough sleep, drinking more water, doing more cardio, and adding a little ST. I love it!

Finally, after weeks (months?) of effort, I start seeing success on weigh-in days. I FINALLY get a weigh-in of more than .2 lbs lost: I get a 2 1/2-lb loss!! I continue steadily losing .4 (ish) a week. Although I wish my progress wasn't so SLOW, I'm happy to actually, finally be LOSING!! emoticon

Instead of focusing on the scale, I focus on continuing my healthy habits. And I realize, "Hey, wait a minute. I have a LOT of healthy habits!" I'm tracking most days, focusing on eating more veggies and fiber, I'm up to 20-30 minutes of cardio at least 5 days a week. I've added a little ST. I avoid sugar and fast food (for the most part).


And I think, "HOW did I get here?"

Baby steps. That's how. Setting small goals and achieving them. Building on that success and adding more. Continuing with one healthy habit added and adding more. Knowing that I need accountability and finding it here on Spark. emoticon

I've seen people in my teams lose some serious weight, "just" by eating better and moving more. I saw someone's signature in a BLC post showing she has steadily given away about 6-7 lbs a month for over 7 months and is now at her goal. That's some serious, steady progress. I write to ask her "HOW?" And I acknowledge to her, I know it's eating better and moving more, but anything more specific? You know what she said? Eating more freggies, staying within calorie range, doing cardio & ST, and NO SUGAR.

She listed all of my baby steps. emoticon

I'm on the right track!! emoticon

And I see clear evidence that IT WORKS.

I don't focus on the end goal. I have well over 100 lbs to give away; it's overwhelming to think about.

I focus on baby steps, healthy habits, and getting a little better with each of those new habits every week.


And so can you. (You know how people say, "If I can do this, anyone can"? My word, in this case, that's so true. If the girl who couldn't quit sugar to save her life can do it, SO. CAN. YOU.)
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