I got an email from one of my dear readers Shawna earlier this week, and I knew it was something that I wanted to respond to publicly. So, Shawna… I’m so sorry I haven’t responded until now, but thanks for the GREAT question.
I’ve been following you for about 6 months and wanted to ask you something: how do you stay motivated on JC for so long? I’m on JC again, for the 4th time, and although it’s the easiest program I’ve been on and the food is super yummy, I am having a heck of a time sticking to it. I have about 80 pounds to lose, travel like crazy so I eat out a lot, but I’ve only lost 10 pounds since JANUARY! So lame!
I’d love any words of wisdom.
I can relate to your story more than you know! Well, if you’ve read NTTC for 6 months, you know…. I truly feel like I’ve been on a diet since I was about 14. Always “planning to eat better tomorrow”, and always having quite a bit of weight to lose each time I’ve “re-started” my diet.
When I selected Jenny Craig this time around, I chose JC because it was something COMPLETELY different that I hoped would keep my interest. I’d been on Weight Watchers SO many times, that I got a little bored by the process. When I look back, I don’t think I was really BORED. I now know that I wasn’t 100% committed losing weight.
That being said, what was different this time? What made me stick to it? What has helped propel me through this process?
Here’s a few things…
I made the food transition as comfortable as possible for myself – With Jenny, they choose your meals for you. That made it easy for me. I didn’t have to decide what I was eating, especially when I was so incredibly out of control when it came to eating. With my travel, I found a few meals (literally, 2-3) that I talked through with my JCC and that’s what I ate when I was on the road. These meals for me were Subway Veggie Delite sandwiches, salads with lean protein and lots of veggies, and Jenny Craig food that I could pick up in most cities I traveled to.
Planned snacks also worked really well for me. JC allows me to have a few snacks every day. I like the idea that I’d get to have snacks, even on a very planned out weight loss program. This pre-planned snack also helped me to plan for what I was going to eat later (and I always had something to look forward to!)
I’ve also done a lot more planning this time around. I plan to eat well, whether it’s a JC meal or a lightened up recipe I cook. I keep veggies and fruits on hand, and plan to eat those over granola bars whenever possible.
I also didn’t force the exercise. I used to HATE to workout. So, rather than go from hating it and being sedentary to an instant marathon, I tried to do a little bit more each time I worked out…. and then the next time, a little more than that. I was reasonable with myself about it, but made sure I was moving more than before!
I take it one pound at a time - The big numbers are daunting. They just are. Right now, my number is 10. That freakin’ 10 lbs is huge. It’s been lingering forever… If I focus on 10, it seems horrible. If I look at it 1 lb. at a time, it works.
I also celebrated every 5-10 lbs. 5-10 lbs are significant!
Psst… Shawna – 10 pounds is NOT lame! That’s 10 pounds you no longer have to carry up the stairs everyday!
I focus on the now – Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard several mentions of the “now.” I took a time management course at work, where the instructor said that “nothing happens in the future; everything happens now.” How true is that?? I really try not to focus on what I did yesterday or what I will do tomorrow that will be better or worse. I really just try to stay in the moment and impact my life TODAY. That means making the decision to go to the gym TODAY, when I have zero interest in going. That means waiting in line at Subway rather than driving through at a local fast food restaurant.
Geneen Roth has been talking about the NOW in her book Women, Food, and God as well. She talks about the importance of living in the moment, taking positive steps today, and forgiving yourself for the past.
Everyone is telling me to focus on the now, and I’m doing my best to do so.
I mix up what I eat and, for the most part, eat what I want - Whether I’m volumizing my JC meals or trying something new, I eat what I love every day. I never feel deprived. With the internet loaded up with so many healthy resources, I seriously see no reason why I should ever cook in an unhealthy manner again. It just doesn’t make sense.
Last night I had the Healthy General Tso’s Chicken, and tonight I had Jenny Craig’s Meatloaf dinner. Both were EXACTLY what I wanted to eat, and both contribute to my weight loss plan in a positive way.
I don’t feel deprived. I think that helps.
I constantly come up with new habits - I refuse to let myself get into a rut. I literally try to come up with new things to try…. just to try them. I refuse to get bored, and I really try to stay open-minded.
For example, I took my first Pilates class a few weeks ago. Just to try it. I could have totally hated it, but instead I’ve been back a second time. I’m thinking about taking a Hot Yoga class. Not because I want to sweat like crazy, but because I want to see what it’s about. Fitness-wise… new habits, new classes, new strength training, it all helps!
The new habits don’t end with exercise. I’ve also started socializing differently. I’ve got a few friends who have been VERY supportive of this. Rather than getting together and having a big dinner, sometimes we just watch an outdoor movie. Rather than going out to the wine bar once a week, I go maybe once every few months (and savor every morsel and every sip.)
I feel like I owe it to myself to get there, and I also owe it to “my village” – For the first time in forever, I also feel like I deserve to be healthy. I deserve to be at a comfortable, healthy weight. I deserve to experience success.
This weight loss process has been influenced by an entire “village” of people. My friends, my family, my Jenny Craig Consultants (Amalia at Westminster, Alicia at Sugarhouse, and all those who’ve helped me inbetween), all of my readers who’ve taken 5 minutes out of their day to say hello or even those who have silently read, my co-workers who patiently wait while I order my complicated meals, other bloggers I follow, my yoga instructors, the folks that check me in at the YMCA… there are so many people in my village. While I’m working toward this goal for myself, I know when I get there…. we all get there. I can’t let any of us down. I won’t!
I recognize how far I’ve come and seek to understand how I got here – I have set up intervals of rewards throughout the process which have kept me motivated. And, outside of those tangible rewards, I’ve recognized non-scale victories as well. That first person who told me I looked thinner. That day I noticed how much better I fit in the airline seat. Selling all of my plus size clothes, as a symbolic end of the cycle of going up and down in sizes. Completing my first spin class.
I write about my growth, but I also reflect upon it. I think this has been critical to my success and ongoing motivation.
I also seek to understand…. I read other bloggers who are on the same journey, and I consult the experts reading articles and books by the industry’s finest. I want to learn this time around. I don’t want go through this process again. I want to get it right this time.
Lastly, I’ve had a glimpse of the rest of my life, and I love how my days look now. I love the promise of the future, and I know what it’s going to take for me to maintain this lifestyle.
Frankly, it’s not over yet… that’s what keeps me going!
I’m sure that I’ve made this sound too easy, but it’s my truth. Now that you’ve heard how I’ve done it… I’m sure that you’ve got a story of your own to share.
What keeps you motivated? How do you stay on track?