I have lost 50 lbs. since Memorial Day.
I have never seriously tried to slim down before. Sure, I would announce, “Alright, that's it. I’m going to eat healthy from now on,” and my new willpower would last about a week. I just love food. More to the point, I love the not-so-good-for-you food. And lots of it.
Before Memorial Day, I would occasionally hike or walk around the neighborhood with my husband and the dogs, but it was never a major, habitual undertaking and rarely heart-pumping. The only time I got close to 10,000 steps was at a concert. What can I say? I love music. And my couch. And my bed. And all the food.
However, on May 27, in the car on the way to my father-in-law's house in Kentucky, something clicked. I realized I had to change my ways. My last doctor visit revealed I weighed 257 lbs. The 300-pound mark did not seem that far away or entirely implausible.
I had been seeing ads for Noom on social media. I’m not sure exactly what made me take the plunge, but I did it. I signed up for four months. On a holiday that kicks off summer and all the cookouts you can handle, for Pete’s sake.
In the moment, I thought I couldn’t have started this new way of life at a worse time. We were away from home. My mother-in-law was not doing well. In a few days, I would drive back home alone to North Carolina and get violently sick on the road about 30 minutes before pulling into our driveway.
I would spend the next three days on the couch, hardly eating at all, then travel to Nashville to try to have a fun weekend with one of my best friends. This was also my first experience with logging meals and trying to make good food choices. It was not pretty. And I was pretty sure I couldn’t do this.
But now, after Nooming for the past six months, I can honestly say there is no perfect time to start. Just do it. Life happens. You go on trips. You celebrate holidays. You get sick. You have fun. You get back on the wagon. Noom teaches you to roll with the punches, even if you’re punching yourself.
The program uses cognitive behavior therapy. It talks you down from all-or-nothing thinking, teaches you about slips and surges, and really digs into your psyche. It’s all about figuring out why you do the things you do. Noom is also about taking small steps, building habits, and celebrating small victories.
My mindset has changed so much since May. I don’t even recognize the person I am now. But I like her.
I added exercise to my routine because I soon figured out the more I moved, the more calories Noom allotted me to eat. Virtually every morning, I would go for a two-mile walk. If for some reason I couldn’t walk in the morning, I'd be antsy the rest of the day until I got it done.
Circumstances forced me to postpone my walk several times, like weather or scheduling, but instead of giving up, I eventually would get it done somehow. Even if I had to walk a mile inside my house or at work. I now have a treadmill I use only for rainy days. I'd much rather be outside.
I ate reasonable portions. I measured. I weighed. I went over labels and menus with a fine-tooth comb. I researched every restaurant before I sat down at the table. I bought fruit. I bought vegetables. I did my best to eat them before they went bad.
I turned down treats at work. All. The. Time.
I made a serious attempt to drink at least 60 oz. of water a day. I hit 80 oz. maybe once a week, and even 100 oz. on occasion, but sometimes it’s just hard to do. Because I drank so much water, I did not want to drink Diet Coke or sweet tea so much.
I worked towards a goal, and I saw results. That’s what kept me going, even with setbacks like hitting weight plateaus or having one too many craft beers. Talk about calories!
I didn't eat just rabbit food either. Noom is not about restriction; it’s about moderation. I still ate the things I loved to eat; I just didn’t eat them all in one day -- or in one sitting. And I tried new foods or gave foods I didn’t think I liked another chance. Hello, sweet potatoes :)
I really had no idea how many calories I was consuming until I started to keep track. It was insane. And a lot of it was fast food. Now, even though I know it’s okay if I go over my calories, and I can start fresh the next day, I don’t typically want to binge. Eyes on the prize.
What is the prize? Longevity. I want to be around for awhile, and I want to enjoy life while I’m here. I want to be my best self. Not only physically but mentally.
Having said all of that, there have been plenty of slips, setbacks, and frustrations. Trips, holidays, evenings out. Did I mention craft beer?
And all of the habits I've developed like choosing smaller portions, exercising, drinking water...I didn't do that all at once. I took on one thing at a time, and I took small steps to incorporate that habit into my life until it was second-nature.
One of the most motivating factors in this journey was the support I received on Facebook. I joined a few Noom groups whose members are so encouraging and uplifting. We all share success stories, ask each other questions, and proclaim NSVs. Those are "non-scale victories" like wearing a size large shirt instead of XL or no longer needing a seatbelt extender on an airplane.
My friends and family, the ones who were aware that I was losing weight, have also been extremely supportive. I have a group of people I text every time I lose five more pounds. They write back words of encouragement and celebration each time. And my husband is my biggest cheerleader.
Even though I've been writing in past tense, I'm not quite finished losing weight yet. I am still logging, weighing, and measuring food. I am still making better choices at the grocery store. I am still drinking tons of water. The one thing I'm not doing as much is walking.
That's because I'm running.
I started Couch to 5K eight weeks ago, and this Sunday, I will run my first "race" in uptown Charlotte. I'm super slow so calling it a race seems odd :)
But I'm doing it. I'm moving and improving. And loving every minute of it.