Focused on Me
Health & Exercise

Focused on Me

I initially wrote the first draft of this post over a year and a half ago. Shortly after that, my life changed dramatically and the focus had to shift to others. But I hope I’m back on track now. I’ve edited my original writing and updated it to be more current.

Have you heard of the “pain thermometer”? I’m not talking about physical pain but emotional pain. Years ago, when I was working, we often had a local psychologist speak to us about change, and how you had to reach a certain level on the pain thermometer before you were ready.

I’ve reached that point with my weight.

Let me give you a little history first. Eighteen years ago, I went through a similar experience. I was fed up with how I looked and how difficult it was to find a pair of jeans that fit!! It was tough because growing up, I actually wanted to gain weight. So, I was used to being able to eat anything I wanted. I reached a “ten” on the pain thermometer and became very disciplined with my exercise and eating.

I eventually lost 35 pounds. It didn’t happen overnight. Although I did lose about 18 pounds fairly quickly, it took over a year to get to my lowest weight. It helped that at that time I was drinking orange juice every morning and regular Pepsi every day. Once I cut both of those out, I lost the easiest pounds.

This time – a year and a half ago

I was tired of looking in my closet and seeing clothes I couldn’t wear. Or clothes I could wear but didn’t look very good on me. I was tired of wearing the same pair of shorts all summer. I was tired of feeling ugly.

Up until then, most of my efforts were half-hearted. I’d eat well for a few days and walk a little bit, but then I’d be right back eating all the wrong things and I’d stop walking. I could blame the eating on Tim, but that wouldn’t be fair. I need to have willpower, no matter the temptations.

Well, I hit “ten” again.

I made positive changes for a while – eating and exercising – and then Tim had his injury. He was home every day and we were fighting over who could use the treadmill because he didn’t feel comfortable running outside. We both like to get it done in the mornings.

Then my mom had her fall and brain injury. There were months of up and down and never knowing what I’d be doing each day. Tim took over the grocery shopping and most of the cooking. When we didn’t feel like cooking, we’d grab whatever we could for meals. It was a bad cycle.

I was doing better over the summer but then my mom spent nine days in the hospital at the end of July and that completely set me back. No time to exercise and eating was hit and miss.

This time – now

Last August, I became aware of an eating plan that could help me get back on track. Earlier in the summer, a friend of mine introduced me to a company called Melaleuca. It’s an online “store” that sells natural products. They were promoting a diet plan called R3 – Reset, Reintroduce, Real Life.

I was very disciplined with the plan the first two weeks and I lost 5.4 pounds and 8.25 inches. After six weeks, I’d lost 8.2 pounds and 14 5/8 inches. I started walking with a goal of 4 times per week with distances between 2.5 and 3 miles.

Initially, it came off pretty fast, but I’ve kind of plateaued since November. I’m not letting that discourage me. You see, I’ve done this before so I know what to expect. That definitely helps me mentally. And I keep thinking about how I’ll feel when I get to where I want to be. I know that feeling too.

Even after the first 5.4 pounds, I felt better about myself. And while I’m not doing as well as I could, as of March 22 I’d lost a total of 14.2 pounds and 21.75 inches. I’m looking in my closet with a fresh perspective. I’m pulling out a few things I haven’t worn for a while. While I’d like to lose at least 15 more pounds, I’m encouraged. I’m feeling more self-confident and good about myself.

I have good and bad eating days, but I don’t let the bad ones change my overall behavior. I am faithfully walking 4 times a week. I’ve had a few nice outside walks this spring and I can’t wait for our temperatures to stay a little higher so I can regularly move my walks from the treadmill.

I don’t want my retirement to be about letting myself go. And while I’m doing this for me, I want my husband to be proud to call me his wife.

Looking ahead

As hard as losing weight can be, maintaining it is even harder. I know that from experience too. How do you think I got into this mess again? That’s why I have to think of this as a lifestyle and not a diet.

I’m not saying I can’t ever eat sweets again. I love them far too much. But they will have to be for a special occasion or I’ll have to stop after one cookie instead of eating three without thinking. See, my problem is stopping once I’ve started.

I’m better off if I eat none of those things, which is what I try to do. It was a little tough during the holidays but I was pretty careful. The last time I did this, I didn’t start until the first of the year so I got all of the holiday eating out of my system.

It feels good to focus on me. There’s definitely an aspect of wanting to improve my appearance, but it’s much more than that. I want to feel healthy and confident. And after my last doctor’s appointment (read this), I definitely need to watch my sugar intake.

I want to feel good about myself again. I want to look in the mirror and like the person I see. I am definitely worth it!!

21 Comments

  • Christie Hawkes

    Thanks for sharing this honest, personal post, Linda. Weight is something many of us have struggled with–emotionally and physically–as you can easily see from the comments. I lost about 25 pounds more than a decade ago and managed to keep it off quite comfortably until the pandemic. Now most of my clothes do not fit. I’m made a decision to take better care of myself as well. I love my strong healthy body and want to treat it with kindness and respect. I also recognize that what I eat and how I move affects my energy and my mood. If I want to be vibrant, curious, motivated, I need to take care of my body. We’re in this together!

    • Retired Introvert

      Thanks Christie. You’re so right about the relationship between food and how you feel. I need to remember that as I eat something I know will make me feel sluggish later. It’s too easy to get lazy and grab the wrong thing. Good luck as you lose those pandemic pounds!!

  • Donna

    I’ve tried to write about body image and weight, but I can’t quite put a coherent piece together. You’ve done an excellent job!

    I lost 50 pounds over three years when I was in my early 20s and then gradually lost another 10 over the last six or seven years. The biggest thing for me is lots of exercise, homemade food and reasonable portions, including sweets.

    It sounds like you’re doing all the right things. My only advice is to not set a deadline. Accept yourself as you are and think of this as a journey.

  • Patricia West Doyle

    I understand the feeling of “looking in the mirror” and “clothes fitting” components. For me, I’ve acknowledged I’m never going to be “skinny”. Size 12-14 is it. I like to eat too much. But I also like when my clothes fit easily. And I like how my body feels when I eat less sugar and less salt. So I focus not on dieting, but on trying to eat more fruits and veggies, smaller portions, and not the whole bag of chips at one time. 🙂

    • Retired Introvert

      I know I won’t be skinny again either. My goal is to be comfortable in my skin. I’m in the 10/12 category but prefer being closer to 10. Because of my height, I can hide some weight but the killer for me recently has been seeing myself in pictures. I might think I look acceptable in the mirror but then I see the truth in the picture!!

      I do feel better eating less sugar. I just need to remember that as I’m snarfing down chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven. And I could easily eat that whole bag of chips and a whole carton of dip!! 😮

  • Mona R McGinnis

    Oh, Linda, I think you were reading my mail when you wrote this post. I reward myself with food, I love to cook and eat, all of which resulted in weight gain and clothes that were too tight. Portion control is so important to my eating plan. For the past 2 weeks, I’ve focused on portion control and no eating between meals. I still allow desserts but only at one meal of the day. And I’m not looking for the chocolate in the pantry and the cookies in the freezer. I’m noticing the difference in my sleep patterns when I’m not indulging in the simple sugars. Good on you for focusing on yourself.

    • Retired Introvert

      It’s definitely tough. Portion control helps a lot but I also need to watch sugar and carbs. And I heard somewhere, no amount of exercise can take care of a bad diet. I’m focusing on good snacks as I need something between meals or I get too hungry. Especially in the afternoon. Sounds like you’re on the right track!! Good luck.

  • Pam

    I so know what you are talking about! My sweet tooth is so out of control. I like to walk outside but I am a fair weather walker! Yes,
    I have a treadmill but that is SO boring! Even with a tv!
    I am interested in the Melaleuca plan and R3. Is there any other
    recommendations from you?
    Have a Great Day!

    • Retired Introvert

      I’m a bit of a fair weather walker too so having the treadmill helps me avoid weather as an excuse!! And with the treadmill I can watch TV shows I record.

      If you are interested in becoming a Melaleuca member, I will email you the info you need to get started. Let me know!!

  • Lana Hitchens

    Great heartfelt message! We love Melaleuca! The R3 program is for everyone…teaches us healthy eating…not a diet plan…but it works to take the pounds off!

    • Retired Introvert

      Thanks Lana. Exactly, it’s the way we need to eat – always. We are loving Melaleuca too. Have lots of favorite products we order repeatedly. Thanks for introducing me to it!!

  • Barb

    Good for you for taking care of yourself. I ma not concenrating on my wieght, but the exercise portion and eating healthily (said as I have my second coke of the day so the caffeine will combat possible headaches). The five fruits and vegetables, the fiber and so on. It’s been easy to not do that and rely on no walking and comfort food, I tell ya.

    Self care is important. And if you don’t take care of you, who will. And you will take care of others better if you are in good shape.

    • Retired Introvert

      It’s so easy for us to let ourselves come second. Or I think I sometimes let it happen because it’s easier. I need to stop finding excuses and remember that I want to age gracefully by being healthy. I’m the only one who can make that happen. Thanks Barb!!

  • KC

    Good for you. I’m in the same boat. I had surgery in October and was rather ill for a few months. I have gained several pounds that NEED to come off this old body. Good luck and it sounds as if you’re on the right path.

  • Cheryl Prior

    This sounds so similar to the path I’m on, thanks for sharing and being transparent. I too have a sweet tooth and can’t stop once I indulge but like you, I have to learn how to treat myself occasionally and still stay on track.

    • Retired Introvert

      My problem is I can’t say no when my husband wants a treat. At least on a long term basis. I did great saying no at the beginning but not so great lately. Just say no, right?

      • Sue

        Dear Linda and Friends, jeans (and pants on women in general) are nothing but secular self-righteous mockers…gain three measly ounces, and they loudly proclaim it.

        • Retired Introvert

          Yes, it’s definitely tough to hide those pounds with some of today’s styles. My problem is all my weight lands in my midsection so I struggle with tops.

  • Marty

    Congrats more than anything on being able to re-shift the focus back to yourself; that’s a victory. Keep going!

    Boy, I hear you about eating the ONE cookie and not three. I’ve had the hardest time getting my brain to understand that I doesn’t have the stomach I had at 35 or even 40. For me it isn’t about weight so much, but that I just can’t eat very much at one sitting because I’ll pay for it for hours thereafter. I have the appetite but not the stomach capacity any longer!

    • Retired Introvert

      Thanks Marty! Unfortunately, my stomach has the capacity!! I need to stop before I’m full which is tough with something I really love to eat.

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