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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Summer 2011, A Time for Change, Pt 8: Motivation

It's been a while since I updated you guys on my "A Time for Change" series. Mostly because there was nothing really to tell. Until yesterday.

I hit my first major goal!

I've officially lost 20 pounds during the 8 weeks or so of my little experiment. And I'm really proud of myself!! I have 30 more to go to reach my ultimate goal... so there's still a long way to go. But hitting the first major milestone is a big encouragement to me and is actually motivating me to work harder and stay more focused.

I had a sweet email a while back from Michelle, asking me what keeps me motivated. It took me a while to figure it out, but once I started typing my response to her the words kept flowing out of me. (And I want to say thank you to Michelle for asking me that question! It really got me thinking, and I apprecitate it!)

I wanted to share my response with you today, because I need to remind myself of it. Here goes nothing...

What keeps you motivated? Where do you find most of your recipes and do your shopping?

The short answer: I find my recipes from reading a ridiculous amount of blogs and cookbooks, I get my motivation from talking about my weight loss attempts with strangers and with friends and family - I believe being open about your struggles keeps you out of a fantasy world - and I set realistic goals which I write out and have taped above my scale in my bathroom as a daily reminder of what I'm trying to do.
But here's the long answer (after the break, because it's l-ooooooooo-ng)...
I've always been overweight - I've never been athletic and have a really chill personality. I'm one of those people that doesn't get bored watching TV for 12 hours straight. So it's always been a struggle to actually make myself do something physical. 
After I got engaged, about 2 1/2 years ago, I was motivated to lose the 30 pounds I had gained so far in college. After changing my eating habits and working out like crazy, I actually reached my goal weight. That point I reached is the lowest I've been in my "adult life" and is still my goal weight to this day. 
But then I turned 21... I had never had a drink before. And then I went on birth control (since I was getting married.) And the weight flew back on so fast, I actually gained 10 pounds the month of my wedding and had to have my wedding dress altered the day before the big event because it was too tight. It is still one of my top worst moments ever.
Fast forward a year and I had reached my highest weight. I gained 40 pounds in  my first year of marriage. So I went on Weight Watchers. My husband - who's annoyingly skinny - had actually gained 50 pounds in that first year, too. So he did it with me, and lost it all in about 3 months. It took me 4 months to lose 20 pounds, then I plateaued for 6 weeks and gave up.
Fast forward another year, and I was back at my highest weight again. And that's when I decided to do this "time for change" series. 
So that's my history of weight loss/gain. My motivation this time around is purely about sharing with others. I see women who are about 20-30 years older than me and all the health issues they're having compared to my mom, who is in excellent shape because she cares about looking good and feeling good about herself. And I decided I wanted to do everything in my power to learn good habits now and avoid having to have knee surgery or get diabetes when I'm 45. So I decided to be proactive. And my blogging has given me a good platform to be accountable to myself. I like telling people my success story and my frustrations because it's amazing to see how many people are actually in the same place as me.
I also have a really supportive husband. He's almost a jerk sometimes being so supportive. (Not sure that makes sense, but kind of in the same way that Jillian Michaels can be a jerk but it's really out of love??) But he's always told me: be consistent and keep it simple. He laid down the rule really early in our relationship. He didn't care how fat I got, I either had to shut up or do something about it. 
A big motivation is actually really shallow. I want to be able to walk into any store or any boutique and be able to buy a dress. I actually can't buy anything at Anthropologie right now because they only have up to L in the physical stores and I need XL, which can only be found online in select pieces. And it's embarrassing and frustrating to not even walk through Forever 21 to see what deals there are, because I know nothing will fit. I'm a huge shopper and this has really started to bother me as I continue on in the "adult world" with discretionary income and a husband who also likes to shop and actually goes out of his way to take me to Antrho to buy a dress. (He did this for my birthday and I couldn't buy anything because nothing fit. It was really awful).
And then there's the food aspect of it. I've always loved cooking andI've always loved experimenting with new things. At Christmas, C got me Skinny Bitch which turned out to be a Vegan cookbook. I had never looked into the Vegan world and immediately started falling into reading up about that. That perfectly coincided with my plunge into the blog-world, which is full of foodies and Vegans and fashionistas - all who stay healthy and talk about what they're eating and where they're shopping. So it was the perfect catalyst to get me started on my own journey. And I really believe this is "it" this time. I'm motivated, I've set short term and long term goals which are attainable. I've made promises to myself, to Christian and to everyone who reads my blog and my greatest fear in the world is letting people down. So that's my biggest motivator: make a giant promise and then keeping it.
I really truly believe that eating healthy foods will give you enough energy to motivate you to work out. I started with the lemon-cayenne detox this time just so I could see immediate results first - I lost 11 pounds in 7 days - and then use that success to motivate me through the rest of the 10 weeks I dedicated to really working at it. I'm finished with week 5 and I've lost 12 pounds. {this was at the time of writing this letter} I chose to look at it as "I've lost 12 pounds in 5 weeks!" instead of "I've lost 1 pound in 4 weeks..." It's all about perspective for me... and setting yourself up to succeed then fail.
Good luck! Amy 

I know this is really long, but it's really important to me. I have to be able to be open and honest with you guys. And I really appreaciate you taking the time to read my life's story (or at least this part of it!).

After sharing my story, I'm curious. How do you stay motivated? If you're interested in sharing your motivational tactics, email me and I'd love to share it on here!


  1. So amazing Amy!!! You should be soooo proud!

  2. WOW Amy! :) You're incredible and I really admire your persistence and spirit of adventure! (P.S. I sent an e-mail thru your website...hope it makes it! ;)

  3. Your story is so similar to mine. Yo-yo-ing all through college & my early 20s....and some how I gained 10 lbs before my wedding too! That last dress fitting was utterly humiliating. I still cringe looking at my wedding photos! I am pregnant right now after spending the last 6 months trying to jump start my weight loss (again).... And it's totally messing with my head seeing numbers on the scale.

    Anyway, it's nice to see someone so candid and open with their story because I've been ashamed. I think you're right that the public accountability will keep you motivated! Good luck to you :) I'm rooting for you!

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  5. I'm trying the lemon-cayenne detox next week. Also, I drank the Skinny Bitch koolaid a while back. It lasted about a week...I love the idea of veganism, but I just couldn't stick with giving up my beloved dairy lol. Maybe I'll give it another go - You've inspired me! The hard part will be getting the hubby to go along with it haha!

  6. Congrats!!!! That's so great!! Keep up the amazing motivation!

  7. wow! congrats! keep up the good work! I get a lot of inspiration from blogs as well!

  8. Congrats!! That is amazing!! I was so thankful for all the advice you shared with me and I am slowly but surely getting back into things and finding motivation. I just picked up a copy of the book Made To Crave which came highly recommended so I am hoping that can help inspire me. Keep up the AMAZING work!! You are an inspiration!!

  9. I'm so proud of you Amy! Your honesty is the most important part of this puzzle. Having women in our family that don't like themselves very much because of their size, is a cancer in itself. Kudos to Christian for standing along side of you cheering you on. Love, Mom