Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Who’s Wagon is this Anyway?

I’ve always been concerned about my size/weight, even when I was a slender teen and young adult.  Oh how I want to visit my former self and slap her across the face and tell her how fabulous she looked!  But I digress…

Being Active Duty Air Force for 11 years forced me to stay in good shape, so up until a few years ago, even though I was heavier than I wished to be, I was still in good shape.  Now, my shape is: round, my texture: squishy.  Some (namely my Handsome  Husband) would argue that I just had a baby.  I’d like to point out that my youngest is 9 months old.   I think that excuse is losing validity, fast.  I saw a glimmer of hope after baby was born, slimming back down to within 10 lbs. of my pre-pregnancy weight within a month.  Granted, my starting pre-pregnancy weight was 30 lbs. heavier than ideal for me, but I was just happy that the “pregnancy” weight was coming off so easily/quickly.   Then, the floodgates of my baby nursing appetite collapsed and I began to eat, voraciously and with fervor, anything in my sight.  I don’t remember being so hungry nursing my first son, but this time around, I couldn’t seem to eat enough.  I honestly don’t remember feeling “full” until 3 ½ months post-partum.  Unfortunately, my food choices during this time were less than ideal.  The scale began to climb almost as fast as it had come down.  Darn!  I wanted to staple the vacuum of my mouth shut forever.  Then, I reached a point where I decided to react and joined WeightWatchers.  It worked well at first, then, I got comfortable and lazy and stopped tracking my food and “points”.  In all honesty, I’m terrible at writing down everything I eat.  It makes me obsess over food because if I’m not thinking about it, preparing it, or eating it, I’m writing it down for the sake of “being accountable.”  Now, it’s the week after Christmas and I’m afraid to step on the scale in my bathroom. 

I’ve been officially “off the wagon” for about 2 weeks and I’m petrified of the number that’s going to come up on the scale if/when I step on it.  When I picture “falling off the wagon,” I see myself falling off an old horse-drawn wooden wagon on some dusty road; bruised and watching the wagon speed away, my face covered in the dirt of the road.  I know, it sounds like an old spaghetti western movie.  I’ve always pictured my weight loss adventures (and mis-adventures) with this metaphor.  But tired of conventional thinking on weight loss, I’m tired of the wagon that I keep falling from.  So, what I want to know is: who’s wagon is it anyway? 

Certainly, if it were my wagon, I’d have changed it by now or gotten a new one.  I mean, really; I’d have put some sides on it to keep passengers in, some better wheels and suspension to make the ride smoother, and fired that crazy, speeding horseman who is apparently trying to set a new land speed record.  Why am I riding in someone else’s wagon? It’s my body isn’t it?  So, I’ve decided to make my own wagon.  I’ve decided to make my own plan to get to a healthier weight.  After all, I know all the things I “should” be doing and the science behind them.  I could have a degree in the amount of nutrition and weight loss research I’ve done in my lifetime.   It’s time I trusted myself with my body instead of some scientist or nutritionist somewhere that has probably never been more than 5 or 10 pounds overweight if at all. 

 I have to admit, it’s kinda scary.  If it doesn’t work, I only have me to blame.  Why do I feel so unqualified to figure out what’s best for my own body, even after all of my research?  You’d think I’d be Ms. Confidence.  I think what the root of that feeling is that I don’t want to fall again, and I really don’t want  the wagon I fall from to be my own.  So, this is going to take a lot of trust.  Trust in myself to figure out a sound plan, and trust in myself to stick to it.  Thank goodness I can also trust in God to give me the strength I need.  The trick is, remembering to lean on Him in my times of weakness; so often I forget that part. 

So, I don’t have the plan completely laid out yet, but here’s what I have so far:

Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants (must give credit to Michael Pollan’s book “In Defense of Food” for this one) – Eat real, whole food, eat enough to be satisfied,  increase my plant intake.

Eat when I’m hungry, and only when I’m hungry  - I have a very recreational relationship with food, so eat just about anytime or place if it’s good food (more to come on that subject later)

Don’t drink my calories – aside from fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies, drink water

No refined sugar – I am a sugar addict.  I love all things sweet.  Just like an alcoholic shouldn’t have wine in the cupboard, I shouldn’t have sugar in the cupboard. 

Only sweeten with natural sweeteners, only if completely necessary – no artificial sweeteners

Give myself one day a week for free – eat what I want 1 day a week (I might change this to 3-5/meals per week)

Get active – do something active that I enjoy.  I don’t want to slave away on a treadmill

Get more sleep – I wake up at 4:30am to get to work at 6am, I have no business staying awake past 9pm

Love myself – this should be the easiest one of all, but in all honesty, I find it the hardest.  So often, I feel like I don’t deserve love, kindness, respect because I’m not thin.  (I’ll have to explore the reasons for this)

So here’s the plan so far.  I’ve given myself the flexibility to adapt as I go.  I really really want this to be a lifestyle and not a temporary thing.  I want to make choices consistently that are sustainable through my life.  I really want to be proud of myself a year from now that I made my own way and it worked. 

Here’s to making my own wagon and testing it out!

Is anyone else trying to make positive changes in their life by choosing their own way?


  1. I'm trying to take small steps toward living healthier. I've deleted soda from my diet and have began acquiring a taste for green leafy vegetables. If I have the choice to eat something healthy, I have enough will power to take it.

    Granted, I just gulped down a packet of Fun Dip. It's a work in progress.

    I am joining AFROTC, which will help to keep me active and force me to stay in shape. Right now, I'm just focused on leaving behind bad habits and picking up good ones.

  2. Sounds like a great wagon Ashley :) Your flexibility will help you in your journey; you're right, it's a work in progress!


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