One of the most common complaints for women of all ages is weight. Finding time and willpower to lose weight or make other health-related changes is particularly difficult in life after divorce, but it is possible.
In a recent blog post, I shared a not-so-secret way to increase your chances of making the changes you want. One of the examples I gave in that post was using accountability to lose weight and get fit. I’ve had requests for more information on how to make that happen, which I offer in today’s blog post.
My struggles with weight began in my pre-teen years, and I admit to many crazy diets in my teens and early 20s. (Beverly Hills, Atkins, brown rice – if it promised quick results, sign me up!) Adding exercise, particularly distance running, in my college days, worked wonders for a time, but desk jobs and long commutes after graduation made it harder to keep my weight down. I was never clinically obese, but I was always a little bit heavy – “stocky” was the kind word for it.
In my childbearing years, my weight went up and down with pregnancy and nursing, mostly up. Working and parenting didn’t leave a lot of time for exercise and healthy shopping and cooking. But as the kids got older, my weight and fitness stabilized at a level I could live with. During my divorce, I lost a little weight, but over time it began to creep back up.
A couple years ago at a routine physical, the scale crossed 150 pounds. At 5’3”, that’s a lot of weight, even on a stocky frame. I was really frustrated. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life obsessed about my weight, but I didn’t want to be a fat old woman either. I didn’t know what I could do that I hadn’t already tried, but I was sick of worrying. So I gave up.
That surrender looked like this:
I’m sick and tired of weight being an issue. I eat a healthy (vegetarian, low carb) diet and exercise regularly.
I don’t know what else to do.
Either show me what to do or give me peace about my weight as it is!
Later that day I got some answers to a prayer I didn’t really know I’d said. It occurred to me that it might be helpful to track my food, and that there might be an app to do that. I found the free myfitnesspal app and began to use it. After just one day of tracking, I could see where the extra calories were coming from (cheese), and I began to measure my food. I also tracked my exercise (increasing time and intensity to burn more calories as I saw the results in the app). I lost 15 pounds in the first 3 months!
I felt guided to make additional changes after about 6 months, switching from vegetarian to vegan, though not without some resistance. (That’s another story for another blog post!)
As I continued to track my food and exercise, and made gradual changes using the information provided through the app, I lost over 30 pounds while increasing my strength and fitness levels. I’ve maintained my new weight now for well over a year, and I continue to use the app for monitoring so I can adjust when I need to.
I believe my surrender gave me willingness to try something different, and being accountable to an objective information source gives me the information I need to act without feeling judged or embarrassed.