When I decided to start this blog, I knew that I didn’t want it to be about just my journey because the truth is I am not doing it alone. No one does. I do it with the help of entertainment during exercise, healthy recipes I find online or in magazines and through daily doses of inspiration from strangers and friends/loved ones. Today’s guest column comes from a friend of mine (also named Amber- my first ever friend to share my name and I live in California, y’all) who has managed to lose almost 75 pounds in just one year. This friend of mine is incredibly strong, crazy smart, and one of the most driven people I know. She’s also among the more encouraging people I have ever had the pleasure to have as a virtual workout buddy. No matter what hardships she is going through she is always there with little bursts of inspiration. Her trademark? “You got this!”
The following is her story. If you want to share yours on this blog to inspire others, email me at email@example.com
I had to change my mind to change my body!
By Amber Norman
Losing 74 lbs in 12 months wasn’t easy and was more than a fad or magic pill. I had to start with the way I thought about things.
Let me take a second and start at the beginning, I used to be quite skinny when I was young and going through what most would call their wild years. During this time I got pregnant and gained 90 lbs in the last four months of my pregnancy. When I had my son I fully intended on losing the baby weight but found myself gaining another 65 lbs over the next 8 years.
Oh it’s not that I didn’t try. I tried fad diets, starving, and many other ways to lose the weight…some healthy, some not. I failed every time.
I got to the point where I was afraid to do things with my son because of my weight. I thought about how I didn’t want him to ever be embarrassed of me and then this thought came to my mind: did I want my son to have a mom die young because she slowly killed herself with food? That hit home hard…I’m his only parent. I couldn’t do that to him…it wouldn’t be fair.
I bought the Jillian Michaels Body Revolution in fall of 2012 and decided I would start it January 1, 2013. I took the few months I had to read about the nutrition aspect of her plan as well as figure out why I had failed so many times in the past and how I could make this work.
I realized the following:
1) I always set really big goals and kept my sight on the end result number instead of the process: this was setting me up for failure. I would say “I want to lose 145 lbs” and when it didn’t happen as fast as I wanted, I got discouraged and gave up. I found when I looked at the big number, I forgot why I was doing this…I lost my motivation. To be honest it was just laziness.
2) I was afraid of the kind of person I would be when I lost the weight. I know this sounds silly so allow me to explain. When I looked back at the life I was living when I was thin, I wasn’t really happy. I didn’t like who I was. I was afraid if I went back to thin I would be that person again. I was afraid of getting hurt by someone, or being snooty or (fill in blank here). I didn’t want to lose my personality or heart that I had found over the last 8 years.
3) I love food. It is yummy. I mean seriously…if food wasn’t good or didn’t make people happy…we wouldn’t have obesity.
So for the few months I had before Jan 1. – I had to figure out how to address these issues. I had to look inside and work this out. If I didn’t I would fail…again.
So how did I do it? I knew you were going to ask that ( I mean even if you didn’t..I would have still told you!) so here it is:
1) I decided to take it one day at a time. Getting through each day and doing my best to be healthy was my goal. I didn’t say I wanted to lose (enter # here) much weight, instead I said…today I want to succeed. It allowed me the freedom to meet my goals daily. The Jillian program really motivated me in this too. In case you aren’t familiar with the program backed by the toughest trainer on The Biggest Loser, it consists of materials and menus that teach you how to eat and what to eat, and interval workouts that frankly…kicked my butt. For 30 mins a day and for the first week…I would start it, throw up, then finish it. It was hard work. The program came with a menu and cookbook that was full of yummy recipes too.
What kept me going was a quote from Jillian herself, “You have to remember why you are doing this. If you keep your why in your mind, the means by which you get there is bearable and there is no magic pill or drink…you have to just commit to work out and eat right.” So that’s what I did…I committed. The menu was easy for me but the working out… Uhhh yeah. But I did it when I was tired, not feeling well and when I would have rather been lazy. I pulled my mat out, hit play, and worked – cussing Jillian out the entire time, only to finish it feeling proud of myself.
2) I stayed grounded in who I was. I had a strong support system and realized no matter my size or shape my heart didn’t have to change and that losing weight didn’t have to mean losing kindness. It was a mental break through. I wasn’t going to let the fear of something, keep me from making necessary changes I needed for my happiness. It wasn’t being selfish, it was about finding the why that really mattered, it was about being the best mom I could be to my little guy. I knew that the workouts and cooking meals in advance took some of my time from him, but ultimately when I was happy, I was a better mom.
So that’s it, no magic pills, wraps, fads etc… Hard work, exercise, eating right and committing to a change that was uncomfortable at first, sticking it out through the pain and coming out stronger.
Find your ‘Why’, find your inner strength, find your worth….you got this!
Editor’s Note: To follow Amber’s progress check her out on Twitter at @alexmom623