On January 1st of this year, I had the humbling realization that I weighed only 3 pounds less than when I checked into the hospital to have my first baby 21 years ago. I hadn’t been able to fit into most of my dress pants for well over a year, and I was tired of having to wear the same few pants over and over. I refused to spend money on bigger clothes and have to figure out where to store the old ones. At 16 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight, I set a goal to lose 12.
I lost about 5 pounds rather quickly simply by tracking my food intake. I know people say it doesn’t take a lot of time to track, but to me, it does take too much time – even with the SP food tracker. And frankly, I just don’t want to do it. So of course, I didn’t stick with it.
The result was I stayed at that weight, more or less, for the next 2+ months. At least I wasn’t gaining, though.
Since I know I won’t track my food… at least, not long-term, I needed to find something else. So I set a new exercise goal for myself – something I enjoy. I decided to enter a summer race series to see if it might motivate me to train again. There are seven races and you earn points based on your finish placement. At the end of the series, they award top 3 overall, top master, and top 3 in each age group.
At the first race, a 5K, I won a surprising 3rd place in my age group. I knew if I made an effort to train a little more, I’d be able to run even faster the next time. So I made sure to run at least 4 days a week and do a little hill training, too.
At the second race, a 4-miler, I came in ahead of the woman who had won 1st place in my age group at the previous race. In fact, I wound up winning the 1st place female master award (meaning out of all women over the age of 40). The most satisfying thing, however, was that my overall pace was faster than the 5K just 3 weeks prior. My training was working.
Then to my surprise, the running club posted the first ranking of the people in the race series. My name was at the top for female master. Seeing my name there motivated me to do what I can to stay there, which means to continue to run as well or better. To do that, I really need to drop those extra, unneeded pounds and get to my goal. The general rule of thumb in running is that for every pound you lose, at a certain level of exertion, you can run approximately 2 seconds per mile faster. 7 pounds less… 14 seconds per mile faster… that was a great incentive.
Knowing that I won’t track my food, I decided on the “just don’t buy it” method, combined with the “keep busy” method. Luckily, there’s a lot going on in my life right now – good things – to keep me busy and away from the TV (a trigger for me). That, combined with better training, has led to another 3-pound drop in the last month. I hope I will reach my goal weight by mid-July.
I always tell people who are starting to exercise: you have to find what you enjoy. If you don’t have time for it or dislike it, you’re not going to stick with it. We each have to find what works for us and is sustainable, long-term. I have found that getting that ball rolling is the hardest part, but once it starts rolling, it almost feels like a downhill with the finish line in sight.
I have no idea where I’ll end up in the final rankings of the race series, but in the end, that particular result doesn’t really matter. The victory will be to keep rolling along until I reach my goal weight and the successful completion of the race series.