I was so stunned by something I recently read in a magazine, that I decided I just had to write about it. I sat and pondered the opposing viewpoints for several days, because one of them left me speechless. I’m a writer and am seldom speechless. I wonder when you get to the end whose decision you would support, and whose life would you like to model yours after.
In this magazine was a letter to the editor from a person named J.J. This person wrote: “I lost barely one and a half pounds, and except for our Thanksgiving meal, I wasted a whole week eating clean. From now on, I’m going to eat the junk foods I truly love – and I’ll enjoy life even if I’m considered an outcast by my ignorant neighbors”.
A little back story – I’ve gone through three Thanksgivings now on my healthy lifestyle journey. Two of those were on the weight loss side, and one was on the maintenance side. If I ever made it through the week of Thanksgiving close to maintaining or even losing a little, I would check that off as a success. My best friend and I spent the last two Thanksgivings running the Turkey Trot with 19,000 of our closest friends before eating the meal. That is definitely a change for us. So I was surprised by J.J.’s attitude that her loss was no good.
The second story in the magazine is the story of Marian Ferguson. She has lost 101 pounds. What I realized as I read her story and looked at the numbers is that she lost an average of .98 pounds a week during her journey. That is less than 1 pound, folks! It took her two years (104 weeks) to lose the 101 pounds. What she said was, “I stopped making excuses!” Even more impressive is she did this in her mid fifties. How many of you have said “I’m just too old?” She changed her habits from eating cake for breakfast to working out and eating healthy. She says that fitness feels effortless now.
If she had the same mentality as J.J. she could have given up any one of those weeks, and resorted to blaming others for her lack of progress. My weight loss journey was pretty similar to Marian’s. I lost an average of one pound a week during the course of a 95-pound drop. Were there frustrating times during that trip? You bet, and I blogged about them many times. I learned along the way all the things I personally need to do to get and stay healthy – one freaking pound at a time.
We are blasted all the time by marketing on how to lose the weight fast, shape up our abs in six weeks, etc., and I think it’s impacted our ability to be rational about what losing weight is really like for the majority of us. I’m quite sure that if you polled any of the SparkPeople who are mentioned in the Success Stories section, that none of them would say, “Well you know what, I decided to lose weight and eat right and in one week, I lost 25 lbs!” It takes hard work to reverse years of being out of shape, unhealthy, and obese.
Did you know that if you start working out, it can take your body 2-3 months to show the results on the outside? Your body starts making changes on the inside at a cellular level, adding something called mitochondria to individual cells. That is essentially an engine for your cell. So it starts by creating the capacity to do more work. It will also improve your cardiac efficiency, increase your respiratory capacity, and increase maximal oxygen consumption. All those things have to happen in order for you to be able to work out efficiently because your muscles need oxygen and energy to function.
If you add strength training to that cardio work, the body will also work internally to improve bone density. Added benefits include better control of blood glucose levels, lower cholesterol, and improvements in lean body mass. Healthy recommendations for losing weight are to stay in the 1-2 pound loss range per week. What J.J. didn’t realize is that he/she had a very successful week. Marian had it right all along to lose weight in a healthy fashion and to stop making excuses.
So next time you jump on the scale and you see that one-pound drop, remember there are dozens of improvements going on underneath the skin that you cannot weigh or measure. You can either choose to learn how to eat healthy and work out for the long haul in order to do what is right for your body like Marian and many others here on SparkPeople, or you can sit around eating junk food and call your neighbors ignorant.
What is your reaction to the two individuals from the magazine? Has your attitude been like J.J.’s? Can you switch it to be more like Marian’s?
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