I’m a liar. To be fair, it isn’t on purpose, but it doesn’t change the fact that unless I’m using a food diary on a regular basis, I lie about what I eat. I did it without thinking about it and didn’t even realize it until I actually started keeping a food diary. It didn’t occur to me that this could be my problem until I watched an episode of Ruby, where she is confronted about lying. Something about that episode rang true for me too.
How do I lie? I lie about portion sizes. I’m honest about the food I eat, but unless I’m tracking what I’m eating, I don’t really report the truth about how much I’m eating. For years, I’ve struggled with losing weight. I could lose 40 pounds, but I’d put it back on, no matter how hard I tried. I had countless conversations with my doctor, and always reported that I was eating mostly grilled chicken or other lean protein and vegetables. That was true, but I didn’t realize that instead of eating four ounces of chicken, I was eating 12 or more ounces because I didn’t measure it. Instead of eating two tablespoons of salad dressing, I was eating 10 or more.
It wasn’t until I really started tracking and measuring it, and realized that I didn’t really know how much I was eating, that I understood that I’d been lying to myself. I wasn’t eating 1200-1800 calories. I was eating 3000 or more calories because my portions were out of control.
I got a Smartphone and found a recommended food diary app in a fitness magazine. I downloaded it and have been using it ever since. When I slip, my portions get out of control and my weight shows it. The food diary keeps me from lying to myself and to others.
In addition to lying about portion sizes, I realized that I was lying about exercise too. In 2010, I was on a good path—yoga twice a week and bootcamp twice a week. I lost 40 pounds in a few months. Then I got promoted. I found it impossible to attend the four classes anymore. I was working 12-16 hours per day and the last thing I wanted to do was exercise at the end of my day—and I’m not a morning person so I never considered that an option. So I always said that I was too busy to exercise.
About six months after my promotion, I managed to cut my work hours back to a more reasonable amount of time, but I still kept telling everyone and myself that I was too busy to exercise. And then I’d go home and watch television for 4—5 hours per night. What did I watch? Shows about dieting, overeating, exercising, losing weight, makeovers and addiction. I did that until June 2012. Then something just clicked one day and I said out loud, so I could hear myself say it, that I was able to work out and I just chose not to because I would rather watch TV. I asked myself why I was watching all of those shows instead of taking care of myself the way the people on TV were.
I also told myself that I had to stop blaming my husband for my not exercising. I joke that he’s a vampire because he doesn’t like to go outside or exercise. We have been together for 10 years and I have blamed him the entire time for not doing active things. He prefers to be indoors, watching television and movies or playing video games or reading. I let his preferences override my desire to be outside and active and I blamed him for it. When I finally realized that was what I had been doing, I also said that it didn’t matter anymore if he didn’t want to be active with me. I was going to do what I wanted and stop blaming him for not doing it.
The last week of June 2012, I decided to start running. I was a second place sprinter in high school and I thought that since it worked for me in high school and because I still wanted to run (I just couldn’t at that point), that maybe I should go back to what I knew.
I downloaded a couch to 5K trainer app (I went through five of them before I found one I liked) and decided that I would fully commit to the three day per week program. I never missed a day during the eight week program. I completed the program and moved on to the same company’s 10K trainer app. Then I moved on to their half marathon trainer app. Not once, during the past seven months has my husband tried to keep me from running. He’s been my biggest cheerleader. Even my boss supports it and will let me work my schedule around running any time I need to.
I should say that I’m no second place sprinter anymore and I am only running four miles—I used the 10K and half marathon apps to increase my distance slowly, but I am out there doing it! I’ve lost 65 pounds since 2010—25 of them since June 2012 and 13.75 inches since June 2012. Once I stopped lying and started being honest, I could develop a plan of action (I’m a Planner by profession), which I could stick to. It hurt to be that honest, but look where it has taken me!
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