Stress, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, food allergies, and too much sugar. Enough to make anybody gain weight.
The last 2 years, I learned to balance life and work and family and struggled to find myself again. Dance classes, zumba and weight lifting at the YMCA, making jewelry, spending more time with the kids.
In the process of losing weight, I've learned some all important rules:
1. Muscle boosts your metabolism by burning calories even while you are sitting still.
Muscle definition is SEXY. Take 2 skinny people who are the same height and wear the same size clothes, but one has muscle and the other doesn't. The one with muscle will weigh more but look better.
Muscle also helps you maintain your weight so that you don't get yourself into trouble again.
So I lift weights, go dancing, read books on the elliptical, and ZUMBA about 4 times a week. LIFTING WEIGHTS is an important part of it.
2. Eat 6 small meals a day.
For me, this works out to 2 meals and 4 snacks (a handful of nuts or some fruit). This keeps my blood sugar levels from dropping, keeps me from going into starvation mode, keeps my muscles healthy, keeps me from reaching for all the unhealthy foods I shouldn't eat.
3. Make wise eating choices.
Eat to support your exercise routines!
I have a BREAKFAST full of proteins. Since I can't have eggs, I have FISH every morning with some fruit and chocolate almond milk.
More fruit, less sugar.
More healthy fats (nuts, olive oil, fish, avocados), less fried foods and animal fats. I never skimp on healthy fats, which can be as much as 50% of my diet. It helps keep the hunger at bay.
More whole grains, less refined foods.
Drink tea and water instead of soda.
Notice how all my wise food choices replace bad foods with good foods? Focusing on what you CAN have helps to keep you from reaching for what you CAN'T.
If I say, "I won't eat brownies, even though I love all their chocolatey goodness," my focus is on the brownies, and all I can think about is how deprived I am.
But if I say, "I'm going to have strawberries, juicy and sweet and yummy." I am enjoying the foods I eat and reveling in my new found health. It's an important mind trick for any behavior change you want to make in your life.
4. Sleep and rest and destressify!
God really was thinking about us when he created the Sabbath Day. It's a time for spiritual, physical, and psychological renewal, and we suffer if we don't get it.
And without it, we have bad luck because we're worn thin and brittle and everything around is grows spiritually depleted as well. Which means all that self destruction that I caused by focusing on my writing goals to the exclusion of all else was a POINTLESS WASTE OF TIME. I couldn't have achieved my goals when I was spiritually, mentally, physcially depleted.
An empty soul has nothing within it to produce art.
Because I'm replacing fat with muscle, my results are slow. In total, I've lost about 10 pounds, with about 25 more to go, but I've also lost at least an inch off my waist.
Most importantly, I'm happy with myself.