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15 Things I Learned From the YMCA's Real You Weight Loss Program

15 Things I Learned From the YMCA's Real You Weight Loss Program
I am participating in The Real You program courtesy of the Parker Hannifin YMCA to facilitate this conversation. All opinions are my own.

My eight weeks of the Real You Weight Loss Program at the YMCA completed! 

Fifteen pounds. I've lost 15 pounds plus two inches from my waist and three inches from my hips. I'm finally in a size 18 without having to push and squeeze. 

It does not seem like a whole lot, but it means a lot to me.  

Fitness goals

Okay, almost 15 pounds. And, I have such a long, long way to go. 69.2 pounds to be exact. 

Instead of sharing what 15 pounds means to me, I want to share 15 things I learned over the last eight weeks.

15 Things I Learned From the YMCA's Real You Weight Loss Program

1. The first two weeks are the hardest

15 Things I Learned From the YMCA's Real You Weight Loss Program

In other words - they suck ass. This is not a surprise. Anyone who ever went on a diet or changed the way they eat knows this. You want to see immediate results so you stay motivated and you don't. You feel deprived and exercise sucks. You just have to keep going.

2. You'll gain weight - don't get discouraged 

There may be a week that you do everything right and the scale goes up. I stayed under my calorie budget, went to the gym five days and even took long walks. The scale went up a pound or in my case two. Keep going. It will come back off.

3. Find something you like to do

I will never like exercise. I don't care how many people say that I will. I like the moment it is over and that I don't have to starve myself. I've tried the rowing machine, treadmill (walking and running), elliptical, stairs, and stationary bike. I only like the bike. I tolerate the others.

15 Things I Learned From the YMCA's Real You Weight Loss Program

I tried the stationary bike once years ago and that lasted about four minutes. My knees got tight and my legs felt heavy. I felt like something was wrong and since I had trouble with my knees in the past, I gave up.

Our YMCA trainer had us try all the workout equipment and machines. And, for longer than four minutes. After the ten minute mark, I realized that it was my knees waking up and saying, "Hello! Thanks for finally using us!"

4. Log every bite

I log everything in MyFitnessPal, even the 'bad' foods. Especially the 'bad' foods.

I sit with my phone out at restaurants to figure out what I'm able to eat. If the restaurant is not in the app, I pick something that is close.

I use the repeat yesterday's meal feature. I create recipes in the app when I know I will be eating it again. Sometimes I do it even when I know I won't eat that recipe again because it's easier. If a food isn't in the directory, I will add it.

My point is, log every bite.

5. Perseverance

There are days I have to skip a workout. There are days that food choices aren't ideal. I can't give up anymore because of one bad choice or one shitty day. I'm too old. I have to be able to put it behind me, at the gym.

6. Accountability

Half our life our parents tell us what, when, and how to do most things. Some parents do a better job than others, but we are all thrown out into the world to figure out how to do it for ourselves. Of course, some of us are better at figuring it out. I like having someone tell me that I'm doing a good job or feeling disappointed when I'm not.

7. Community

There's something intimidating about walking into a gym for the first time. But, everyone has had a day one. You are not alone. I've toured gyms that I knew I just didn't belong. I haven't felt that way at the downtown Y.

My Real You class was small and everyone was at different fitness levels. Never once did I feel out of place. We worked at our own pace and did the best we could. We got stronger as a group.

8. I'm not on a diet

Everyone who eats is on a diet. I just had a poor diet. Now, I'm eating (or not eating) food for what my body needs to lose weight.

15 Things I Learned From the YMCA's Real You Weight Loss Program

Why does this matter? I don't want to cry when I see my husband eat a bacon stout brownie and I want one, too. This really happened. It was not a great moment in our marriage. I don't want to deprive myself, but I will make sacrifices to get down to my ideal size.

9. Size instead of pounds

I would rather be a size 10 than be 146 pounds. I loved being a curvy size 16 and 195 pounds. I just want to feel good in my body again.

10. I'm not a morning person

I'm not a morning person or an evening person when it comes to getting a workout in. I'm a middle of the day kind of gal. I can't wake up in the morning. One look at my Fitbit sleep stats will tell you that I only get about four solid hours of sleep per night and not all at once.

I could workout after work. But, that's time spent on dinner, spending time with family, and writing. All that's left is my lunch hour.

I found that a good thirty-minute workout, every weekday is going to help me get to my goal.

11. Everything counts, sort of...

Every bite, every mile, every plank I'm working towards losing weight. But, not everything counts the same. I can't replace a meal with ice cream all summer and walking around the office is not an exercise to log. Having my Fitbit counting every step has forced me to move a lot more but not enough to replace a real workout. I do love challenges with friends.

12. Drinking more water is important

All those people are right. Drink water any way you can. I count my black coffee and unsweetened ice tea. I add mint or basil to fresh fruit to make water taste less bland. And, I love adding cinnamon to cold brewed coffee. I rarely drink soda anymore and never diet soda. I also started adding apple cider vinegar to a glass of water to curb my appetite. I've come to appreciate the taste.

13. It's okay to eat

I enjoy the taste of food. I've conditioned myself to believe that carbs and sugar are just bad. I lost ninety pounds on the South Beach diet and kept it off for several years. Accepting that fruit is good for you and an occasional piece of bread will not be the end was hard. Now, if I decided not to eat bread it is because I'd rather spend the calories on something else.

14. My body is strong

15 Things I Learned From the YMCA's Real You Weight Loss Program

My body is strong; I birthed two children for goodness sake. I can push myself a little harder each day to make myself stronger. Even if I have to go to bed hungry so I won't eat that big piece of cake.

15. This is not a journey

I'm not on a journey with a destination. 
page 61 of 365 in the book about me

I'm changing how I eat and that will never end. Temptations are all around so even if I reach my ideal weight, I will have to work to keep it off.

A journey will end. This will not.

I'm not in a hurry. I'm healthy, I'm happy, and for the most part - I love my body. I just want it to be healthier and fit in my favorite jeans that I still have packed away.

Thank you

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