Saturday, September 27, 2014

Keep on track this weekend

I love the weekends, but I must admit, it takes a lot more effort to keep on track when I'm not in the routine of getting up and going to work. On a typical work-day, I would have already taken my 2-mile walk by now. At the moment, I'm drinking coffee in my pajamas with no desire at all to move. I'm sure I’ll walk later because it's supposed to be a beautiful day, but still, weekends are a challenge because of social situations and other temptations.

 During the summer months, my extended family is up north here many weekends, and I'm surrounded by big breakfasts' and BBQ dinners.  I often have social events on the weekends that require me to eat away from home. Next weekend I'll be traveling to a wedding and will be away from home for several meals; another challenge that I need to plan ahead for. Yes, it takes more effort...but it can be done. I'm three years into my journey and have yet to succumb to a way-overboard...."I wish I hadn't eaten that" "Oh my goodness, I totally blew it" type of meal.'s hard....but it CAN BE DONE!  It all comes down to choice.  Ask yourself……..What do you want more:  that burger and fries....or freedom and victory?

Although I've not yet given in to that cheeseburger and fries, I certainly have had weekends when all I wanted to do is munch. Certainly, the protein bars can be an issue, because out of boredom, I often reached for a protein or fiber bar, telling myself that it was an "okay...on plan type of food," but not being mindful that they still have calories...and often a couple hundred of them!  One of my biggest struggles then...and with portion size and I have to remind myself that just because the food is "on plan or good for me" doesn't mean I can eat all I want of it. I am a food addict.  Although some foods metabolize differently and are better for you, calories are still calories....and if/when I eat for any other reason than to fuel my body, there are going to be consequences.

One of the ways I survived Saturdays in the early days of my journey involved clothes. As you know, I am a thrift-store and garage-sale shopper. I have to be because I love clothes and shoes and am not in a financial position to buy new things.  I also am well aware that I have way more shoes and dresses than I need, but I can justify it because I get them for a couple of bucks a piece. (Same principle I need to address with food….just because it’s lower in calories…(lower price or from a garage sale) doesn’t mean I can…or should…have or buy more than I need. Take comfort, my friends….that just because I have lost 270+ pounds doesn’t mean I have it all together…Sigh….. I am a work in progress.)  With that being said, however, thrift store shopping became a way of life primarily because I was losing weight so fast that I often out-grew clothing every 4-5 weeks. I dropped 14 jean sizes (from a 40W …not waist size but actually woman’s size 40 to a size 12) so it was really kind of silly to pay full-price.  But I digress….

What I did to keep motivated on the weekends was to try on clothes.  About once every 6 weeks, I would go to a thrift store (my favorite was 55 miles away one way) and I would purchase an entire cart of clothing. It would take me about 1-1/2 hours to shop and I often got things on the 5 for $5.00 days.  I had to eventually replace my entire wardrobe during this journey; actually more than once. Even shoes, boots, necklaces and bracelets were too big. Belts, bathrobes, pajamas…EVERYTHING…eventually became too big and needed to be replaced.

 I was/am very particular about what I purchased; looking for items in my current size…but also one size smaller.  I never had to worry about trying things on…THEN….because I knew that I was going to eventually fit into them, even if they were too small when I brought the items home. It was an all-day thing on Saturday to travel to the store…shop…then come home and try everything on and finally, launder the items that fit and put them away. The ‘too-small” things went into a bin in the spare room.

It was motivating for me to wear the new outfits to work the following week. It felt good to be wearing styles and brands that were ‘foreign” to me and that I never dreamed I’d be able to wear. Skinny jeans….and/or red tights……REALLY????    There was a time when I was 400+ pounds when all I dreamed about was losing enough weight to wear a size 32W or 5X….the largest size sold in the plus size mall stores like THE AVENUE or LANE BRYANT….instead of having to purchase tent-like clothing from a catalog. Putting things together and trying new styles made me feel good about myself…which in turn made me want to work even harder…although it was kind of bittersweet when I outgrew some pretty rocking outfits. 

The clothing that was too small was also motivating.  Every few Saturdays when I was bored (rainy or winter weather especially)…and wanted to eat, I would move that bin to the living room and would try on those clothes. It was empowering to discover that something that didn’t fit 3 weeks ago now zips! You go, girl!  Are you really wearing a 3X….or size 24…..and so it went. Month-by-month the sizes were getting smaller; the clothes were getting cuter; and I was gaining more and more motivation and confidence. If an item was still too small, I worked even harder and tried again a few weeks later.  It really helped fill up those long, Saturday afternoons…but I eventually leveled off….and am currently wearing the same size that I was in 18 months ago….but that’s a good thing, both physically and financially. Sure, I’d like to lose 20 more pounds eventually….but I’m not concerned about that right now. I’m focused now on maintaining the weight loss and gaining strength and muscle.  But…with that being said…my weekend motivation tool no longer involves trying on clothes….but it does include garage saling, gardening, blogging, speaking, little day-trips, errands, etc…  BUT…..after writing this post…..I’m really thinking I need to leave my “to-do-list” today aside and visit the new Salvation Army store in Houghton Lake though…..SIGH…..

What works for you? What keeps you focused on the weekend?  How do you stay on track?