Hypocritical Me

This picture lit a spark within me, that has since turned into a flame.

No, this isn’t going to be a self-loathing post, nor a plea for sympathy or compliments. I am going to talk today about a hypocrisy about myself that I have been working to correct over the past several months. A year ago, I took this picture of me standing by the tractor. It became clear to me when I saw it that I had been eating a little too much of our delicious beef. It’s not like I didn’t already know it, but it’s a lot easier to pretend that extra weight isn’t there. There is something about looking at a picture of yourself that makes it undeniable, though. I am certain I am not the only person who feels this way, right?

I mean, how could I put myself  “out there” as an advocate for the benefits of an industrialized food system while being obese? That’s one of the things critics will hold up, that our food is too cheap and people have too easy access to the wrong kinds of food, and not enough to the right kinds.   No one ever told me I was a hypocrite to my face, but I’m sure they thought it. I know I did.

The weight had crept on over the past 8 or so years. I started dating Justin-gained 10 lbs. Got engaged-gained 10 lbs. Got married-gained 10 lbs. Had Russell-gained 10 lbs. Had Lucy-gained 10 lbs. Had Hazel-gained 10 lbs. Yes, seriously. I blame my hormones and laziness. Add that to the fact that taking care of myself was low on the priority list, and there you have it. Almost 60 lbs in 8 years.

So, I set out to prove a point. That one can lose weight by watching their calories and exercising! What an original concept! I didn’t really change what I ate beyond a few minor changes, I simply changed how much I ate. I started keeping track of how many calories I ate. I discovered an amazing website, sparkpeople.com, and signed up for their emails. I began exercising regularly. You know, boring stuff, no miracle cure here people.

I eased into it very slowly. First, the minor diet changes: replacing white flour with whole wheat flour, drinking 8 glasses of water per day, no more full-sugared pop, and scheduling (and not always adhering to) exercise time. The 100 calorie paks you find by the cookies in the grocery store…miracle cures for chocolate cravings! In the beginning, I wasn’t overly committed to losing weight. I spent a lot of time researching and experimenting to figure out what worked for me. Over the course of about 3-4 months, I only lost 10 lbs.

Then, in September, I turned 29. I think I may have experienced a minor quarter-life crisis, and it’s quite possible I still am.  I was driving home one night, listening to Dr. Laura on the radio, when a caller who was struggling with her weight called in.  She was complaining how hard it is to lose, and how long it takes.  Dr. Laura’s response was simply, “So? So what if it takes a long time?  Would you rather be 10 lbs lighter a year from now, or the same weight?”  Something about that statement really hit home for me. I threw the Pepsi I was drinking out the window. (Lord forgive me for littering!)  I had been putting off losing weight until my life was more stable.  Well, really, that was stupid.  I have three kids, a husband, and a farm to care for….my life will never be “stable.”  And why carry all that extra weight along with me through it all?!?

I vowed to myself that I would shed the extra weight before I turned 30 years old.  I buckled down and got serious.  I set a goal with Sparkpeople.  Started computing the calorie count of my recipes.  Measuring and weighing my portions.  Still just tracking calories and exercise, but following my plan much more closely.   I was very quiet and private about my endeavor.  Don’t ask me why, it’s just how I am.  I do better when I am accountable only to myself.

I still had days where I “fell off the wagon.”  I still do today.  But I’ve found that I’m no longer falling flat on my face, now it’s more like a little stumble.  I truly feel that my success has come from my consistency.  I’ve created habits that have become difficult to break.

One thing that has become apparent to me, and I want to stress to others, is that I already had a “healthy” diet when I was overweight.  I ate lots of fruits and veggies, dairy and protein, and had sweets on occasion.  I cooked from scratch.  I was pretty active (what mom isn’t?)  My problem was in how much food I was eating, my portions.  I didn’t give up anything, and still indulge once in awhile. I still eat beef every day.   It was a simple math equation: burn more calories than you eat.  1 lb of fat equals 3500 calories.  In order to lose that weight, an individual must burn that many more calories than they eat…or vice versa. (3500 extra calories equals 1 lb of weight gain.)

I do worry about regaining the weight I’ve lost, and only time and my persistence will tell if I can keep it off.

As of today, I’ve met my goal.  I’ve lost all of those 60 lbs and moved from being “obese” to “overweight.”  I’m going to keep going, eating 2000 calories per day and exercising for 30 minutes 5 times per week, and see where I end up.  I’m ok with being “overweight,” because, quite frankly, I’m happy and healthy.

Here I am. Feeling great, one year later and 60 lbs lighter.

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34 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Judy Schnittjer on April 27, 2011 at 2:43 am

    I noticed in church Sunday how much weight you had lost…didn’t get a chance to tell you and hadn’t gotten an e-mail sent, but you look great….and seemed much more glowing (not that you don’t always). Obviously it’s make a big difference in many ways in you. Keep going, girl. Proud of you!!!

  2. Posted by Wayne Nieman on April 27, 2011 at 3:05 am

    Great read! Can’t wait to share it.

  3. OMGosh Liz! Congrats to you and what you’ve worked for….and are working towards! Too bad you’ve had to cut back on your amazing beef 😦 Yeah, you work it, you deserve it!

  4. I am CRYING reading this post. First CONGRATS. As a mom of three…with yo-yo weight gain, I have experienced it and know it. What a HUGE accomplishment and way to boldly share. You’re inspiring Liz. Totally inspiring.

  5. You look amazing! A perfect role model for all those out there…it just goes to show, moderation is key to almost everything in life! congratulations!!

  6. Posted by Sharon on April 27, 2011 at 4:48 am

    I have been noticing the “smaller you” in pictures in The Spokesman. This is absolutely remarkable. What an encouragement for us all. Be sure to update your picture of the top of this article.

  7. Posted by Larry Sailer on April 27, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Great job Liz! It is hard to share personel stuff.

    • Larry, yes it is. But, it is the stuff that people are the most interested in, it’s the stuff that connects us. Thanks. 🙂

  8. You look amazing! So inspiring. It really is those little decisions we make every day that can impact our health. My biggest challenges are portion size and sweets. I try to get some exercise – even just walking – 5 days a week for my “sanity.” Just wanted to note, beef can definitely be part of a healthy diet. There are many lean cuts that are comparable to boneless skinless chicken breat, but with important nutrients like zinc and iron.

  9. Posted by Stacy M. on April 27, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    You look AWESOME Liz!! Good for you! Debbie told me that you were looking good! I went through the same trasnformation in between children, wanting to be healthy for my family. This pregnancy has been somewhat of a struggle for me, not wanting to put on any extra weight, I have accepted that it is ok, and know that it will come back off very soon after I have the baby, it’s just not about me right now. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Stacy. You have been an inspiration to me. I know how hard it is to get on that scale and see the numbers go up, but, like you said….that little baby will make it all worth it and you’ll be back to normal in good time.

  10. You go girl! I’ve lost 40 pounds the same way – counting calories and exercising. I still have about 15 stubborn pounds to go – but I feel so much better about myself! You are looking great!

  11. Awesome – you should be so proud of yourself!

  12. Posted by Wendy Holroyd on April 28, 2011 at 1:47 am

    You look great Liz, what an inspiration for people to read this!!!
    Thanks for all your blogs, they’re very interesting!

  13. Posted by Michelle on April 28, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Just popped over for a minute from Kitchen Stewardship, and wanted to say congratulations on the weight loss! My husband is on the same journey (was obese, now overweight) and making the same changes as you: eat less, exercise more. Slow and steady!

  14. Posted by Annette on April 29, 2011 at 12:21 am

    I am so very proud of you! You look super. I know what a struggle it is. Perserverence really pays off. You are setting a wonderful example for your children and that is very important as a mom. Keep up the good work!!!

  15. Posted by Shana on April 29, 2011 at 1:11 am

    Hey girl, you look great! LOVE this post, it is sooooo where I am right now and I really needed to hear your story to get my but kicked back in gear! I am exactly like you, gaining weight through every life change and baby and never getting it back off! I’ve been watching calories and moving more since January and slowly and steadily making progress. I made the mistake of stepping on the scale at Easter and discovering I had lost 15 lbs. Instead of motivating me, it sabotaged me! I started eating what I wanted again! Back on the wagon I go. Thanks for this great post to push me back in the right direction!

  16. Posted by vm on May 2, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Congratulations, you look great and healthier !!! I know it is really hard to eat the correct portions of food when you work on a ranch or farm, sometimes we come in SO hungry because we have possibly not eaten all day !

  17. Posted by Brooke on June 7, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Liz –

    Hi, I’m Brooke! I just came across your blog – it’s AWESOME. Also, you’re a complete ninja! {realize that a ninja is approximately 3 steps above a rock star!

    Keep up the uh-mazing blogging work!

    Brooke

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