Now that baby has gotten past the tiniest phase of the newborn stage, this mama is ready to rejoin the ranks of the skinny people. It’s been way too long.
I was thinking about how I’ve successfully done this in the past, my most dramatic success without a diet or a gym, and I thought I’d scratch it down for myself and for anyone else who might find it helpful. I know I was 20 then and I have a post-baby, post-30 metabolism to deal with now, so I may have to be a bit more intentional, but I think the principles still hold true. This may not work for everyone, but it worked for me so it might work for others.
I’ve never had a successful diet. Not one single time. I tried dieting many times during my fat teen years, but it never worked. I remember crying because I was eating a bowl of iceberg lettuce with a few shreds of cheese and one chip every day for lunch, and I wasn’t losing anything. I remember drinking nothing but a sprite for lunch and having my diet partner laugh that she had blown the first day of our diet, and feeling so discouraged that I just gave up. (I know, you can tell me already why I failed.) Even more reasonable plans didn’t work, so I finally decided that I was going to be happy with myself the way I was and if I lost weight, great, and if not, I’d be happy anyway.
That’s when I started losing weight! It was very slow (like a pound a month) but it was happening, and it was long-term.
I don’t know about anyone else, but the key for me was to take my focus off of food. Diets made me obsess about my fatness and about how much I wanted to eat. When food became less important (I wasn’t obsessing and I learned to ignore food and substitute my desire to eat with other activities) and being skinny became unimportant, I had success. Go figure.
My parents rented while we remodeled our new farm house, which was about 2 miles away. I had no transportation, so I walked to the farm house and back every day, at least once. I went from being out of shape to feeling good and having stamina. I still wasn’t losing weight quickly, but again, I wasn’t focusing on it and I was getting fit.
I didn’t have a workout wardrobe. I did this wearing a baggy jean jumper and cheap shoes that hurt. Not that I recommend that. But I’m just saying, you don’t have to have special clothes to get fit.
Eat When You’re Hungry, And Only Till You Are Full
A few years and a few lost pounds later I adopted the radical concept of eating only when I was hungry and only until I was full. I ate whatever I wanted as long as I was hungry. I had fallen into the habit of eating healthy foods when I wasn’t hungry because “It’s just fruit.” It added up enough to make a difference. I snacked, I sometimes had dessert, but I wasn’t eating when I was full. It was nice to come to the table hungry. That choice, coupled with meeting my future husband (happiness, excitement, and something else to think about) was the clincher and I got down to a very healthy weight quite quickly, without trying.
The Goat Barn Workout
Before the wedding I wanted to tone up more, but a gym membership wasn’t an option (long story). So I did the goat barn workout. No joke. I was still walking several miles a day. I walked really, really fast when I was mad, which was fairly often at that point (not at my fiancé, thankfully), so I was getting good cardio.
We had dairy goats and I milked them, a job I enjoyed. It was pretty much the only privacy and alone time I had at that point in my life, so I loved those quiet times with just me and the goats! When I finished milking, they always had to finish their feed and I took advantage of that time to do squats and press-ups against the barn wall. I don’t remember how many sets I did, but after a few months of that, I was pretty toned. Not perfect, not like I would have been if I had been lifting or doing something really strenuous, but not bad.
The bottom line is this. You may not have the time or money for the gym, but if you’re reasonably able-bodied, you can still be fit if you are determined enough.
Now I need to go take my own advice!