October 20, 2014
It is a rainy Friday afternoon on the west coast and my Mom is at the wheel of her grey ford escape. The sky outside is about the same shade as the vehicle as we are on our way up to Whistler, BC for a much needed girls weekend away.
There are rarely quiet moments between my Mom and we do talk a few times a day between my home in Calgary and hers on Bowen Island, BC. Today is the same and as the road winds and the rain slams on the windshield on the aptly named sea to sky highway we continue our chatter. The conversation steers towards the topic of ‘change’ and I pull out my iphone.
‘Oh gosh, what are you doing now?’ My mom implores. ‘You’re not going to record me are you?’
My Mom has this uncanny way of imparting knowledge and challenging you to introspect without nagging at all. She has had her own fair share of challenges and success with body change over the years and has a brilliant perspective on the topic. After losing 40lbs and keeping it off for years, I jumped at the chance to share her story with you!
‘Yep!’ I reply cheerfully as I press the large red button on my phone to document the pearls of wisdom she is about to divulge. I jump into interview mode and we are off...
Lana: Before finding success with losing weight, what other options had you tried?
Louise: Well, I thought I was doing the right thing by signing up with a personal trainer who did a one on one orientation to the gym with me. I thought that is what it took, you signed up and then they showed you what to do and then it just happened. But it didn’t just happen. I went to the gym a few times and then found excuses or reasons about why I wasn’t going to make it a priority for me. I also joined a weight loss program which initially showed some progress and then after a while, it was not a priority.
Lana: Ok, so what was your frame of mind during the times where you would sign up for different programs?
Louise: At the time, I think like a lot of people, I thought that when I signed up for something, everything would magically happen for you. I didn’t feel that I had to participate so much in the thinking part of the program, I just had to do the program and not participate in other parts of my life. It was something that was separate from my everyday existence.
Lana: Would you say that you were trying to make these changes during a busy time in your life?
Louise: Oh yes, I was definitely busy! And I still am. But what generally happened was that I had a friend that was having some success with a program and when they told me about it, I would say I should do that too! However, just because they were having success with it didn’t mean I would have the same outcome because our reasons for signing up were not always similar.
Lana: So what happened to your mindset in order to get to where you are now, where you have lost weight and have been able to maintain your results for a number of years?
Louise: I decided that I had spent so much time in my life saying that I would make a change sometime soon. I realized that soon never had a date, and it was always in the future. One day I decided the date was today and if I didn’t start to think differently, change would continue to be elusive.
I ended up simplifying my goals - like I started with not eating bread (which is a trigger food for my mom, it doesn't make her feel satisfied meaning one piece isn't 'enough' and once she got rid of it, she didn't miss it). There were other things in my diet that I thought I needed to have in order to feel satisfied and I got rid of those too. I kept the cream in my coffee though! I will never get rid of that.
Another thing I did was realize that measuring and counting does not work for me. I can pick healthy, enjoyable foods and eat until I am full and that works for me. An example is cottage cheese. I can eat it with fresh fruit and stop when I am happily full but with bread it didn't fill me up enough or when it did I didn't feel good.
Lana: What is the biggest nutritional change you have made comparing your life today from 10 years ago?
Louise: I have managed to stop the cycle of sweet and salty foods being my go-to's. I realized I get way more satisfaction and feel so much better when I fill up on the things that I do now like veggies, fruit, boiled eggs..I don't need the sweet and salty foods anymore.
Lana: So it's like a feed-forward cycle? You make better choices and feel better and then do not crave the foods you did before?
Louise: I don't need as many treats and I just don't crave them like I did before.
Blast Fitness Friend Susan Dahl & my Mom Louise
Lana: So what would you say are your favourite types of exercise?
Louise: Definitely, being active doing projects - gardening, mowing the lawn, going for a walk. I have recently started more concentrated one on one strength training which has helped me maintain my strength as I age. It is social and a bit competitive and it makes me feel great when I am done. I can do all the things I want to do!
Lana: And what about dancing?
Louise: I can dance until the cows come home! And I can do what my kids want me to do now. Years ago I wouldn't be able to keep up on trips and activities because of my own habits and I realized I was the only one getting in my own way.
Lana: Do you have any trigger situations?
Louise: For sure, when I am over-tired and exhausted I want to sit and eat something right away without too much thinking. I have to use willpower, but nothing like before. I know now that it is somewhat momentary. I can go for a piece of chicken or turkey sausage to get me on track rather than eating crackers and cheese and dip like before. I always carry a lunch bucket. I have oatmeal and fruit ready and warm for breakfast and boiled eggs for a snack. I often bring a piece of chicken and a bean salad or veggies.
Lana: So if you could offer yourself some advice years ago based on what you know now, what would you say?
Louise: I think you have to be truthful with yourself that it is not simply the program that is going to make the success. It is your commitment to making a change because what is happening in your life has not worked for you. It can be the smallest of changes, it doesn't have to be anything more than one thing. But you have to pick one thing that you can stick with and actually change.
Lana: Looking back now, what has been the best part of the changes you've made?
Louise: I have definitely gotten more confidence in my ability to be in charge of my body and my health. Before I felt that my body owed me something and I expected it to take care of me. I will be 60 in a few years and now it's pay back time! I am feeling much more energized, I can do more things, I feel great, people tell me I look better, and I enjoy my life 100 times more than I did before.
Wow! Thanks Mom!
What did you all think? Great words of wisdom here. Pop us a reply on our Blast Fitness Facebook Page!
Until next time,