A little over two years ago, I went on a camping trip with my family.
Stay with me here folks, it will come around to being relevant.
We stayed at a pretty nice campground, with a kids’ playground and a little lake and nice beach. The bugs weren’t too bad and the local town (Vulcan, AB) had some fun things to do as well. All in all, it should have been a really fun weekend for everyone.
Except that it was one of the worst weekends of my life, and it was a turning point in our family’s summer recreational pursuits. Allow me to explain.
It was on this fateful camping trip (a few short weeks after the Hubster and I first joined Weight Watchers) that I decided that camping was, possibly, the worst way for a mother to spend the weekend. Why? Well because you have to all the regular motherly/wifely jobs WITHOUT the modern conveniences we are so dependent on. Let me tell you this: doing dishes after spaghetti dinner for four with cold water that I CARRIED to our campsite from a WATER PUMP and then had to CARRY to the grey water disposal site is an experience this gal is only willing to go through once in a lifetime (barring nuclear holocaust or some other similar technology-destroying disaster).
I know, it looks innocuous enough…
It was immediately following this weekend that one of the few ultimatums I’ve made in my marriage was uttered: "No more camping – ever – unless we change the way we do things."
Later that same summer, we went to Jasper National Park to camp for three days. In our cooler? A litre of milk, mini cereal bowls, a jar of peanut butter, a jar of jam, apples, oranges and several cans of Stagg Chili and Chunky Soup. Our meals? Cooked IN THE CAN on the Coleman stove and eaten out of said can. Doing the dishes? That consisted of dusting the PB&J crumbs into the garbage and washing one or two spoons and a knife.
I actually enjoyed that camping trip!
We hiked to the top of Whistlers (named after the whistling sound the hoary marmots make) Mountain.
Anyway, I promised I would get around to being relevant, so let me try. We just got home from a five day camping stint in Jasper National Park yesterday. Now, my "no dishwashing" camping policy has slipped a little bit, but remains largely intact. As a result, healthy, fresh food didn’t figure very strongly in our weekend fare. There was more than one trip to the ice cream parlour (hey, cut us some slack…the temperature hit 35C on Sunday!), and a bag of chips might have kept us company on the five-hour drive. Hot dogs and marshmallows highlighted our wienie roast night, and the brand new jar of Nutella came home more than half empty. To top it all off, we were all so exhausted when we got home last night that we ordered pizza & wings for dinner.
As you can imagine, both hubster and I vowed this morning that we needed to get back to eating "real food" – we feel sluggish, fat and actually rather sick.
So wasn’t it perfect timing for me to read Christine’s latest post in Team Urbanmoms called "What is Normal Eating?" She offers up some great tips and there’s already a good conversation going in the comments…you should be sure to go by and check it out.
It really got me thinking. I lost 50 pounds, and two years later I’ve managed to keep 40 of them off. I must be able to impart some sort of weight loss widsom to the masses. So here are my thoughts on "normal eating", or "eating real" as the Hubster and I like to call it:
- There really, really are no quick fixes. Sorry! Slow weight loss is much more likely to be permanent weight loss.
- Your body is smarter than your brain. If you find a "quick fix" diet (I could name a few, but I won’t), count on it that it’ll only work once (the first time). After that, your super-smart body will catch on and outwit you. Cutting out carbs? Great! Don’t plan to add them back in again – EVER – or your body will go into hyperdrive converting every single microgram of simple starch in your diet into sugar and thence into fat in a "so there!" kinda way. Same goes for ultra-low calorie diets and detox/cleansing (except that you do actually cleanse your system of toxins…but after the first fasting/cleansing part, your body will PACK. ON. THE. WEIGHT. if you try to do it again).
- Did I mention that your body is smarter than your brain? I did? Well then brainiac, learn to listen to the smart one in the operation. When you feel hungry, eat a little. When you feel full, stop eating. When you feel sick, change what you’re eating.
- Learn to tell the difference between hungry and thirsty. This was H.U.G.E. for me. Huge. As soon as I started drinking enough fluids (mostly water, but not exclusively) I realized that a lot of the time I thought I was hungry, I was actually thirsty. And – imagine this – eating did not make the feeling go away!
- Preparing "real" food is actually not a lot harder than preparing/buying junk food. And it’s a whole lot tastier, more nutritious, enjoyable and rewarding. Try it…you’ll like it! I promise…
- It’s a simple mathematical equation. If you input (i.e. eat) more calories than you output (i.e. exercise) you will gain weight. You want to reverse that equation. So if the odd "bad" indulgence still needs to be part of your life (it does for me) then you have to step up the output part of the equation. So get out there and get moving. And by the way, you don’t have to join a gym or run a marathon, either. Ride bikes with the kids; dig out the wagon and take your toddler to the zoo; wake up before everyone else, put on your iPod and go for a walk first thing in the morning; walk up a flight of stairs at work instead of taking the elevator. I personally like to indulge in my Wii Fit and I also frequently sneak out for a 10-20 minute stint on the trampoline when the kids are otherwise occupied.
So there you have it…my "secret to losing weight and keeping it off"
Good words of wisdom! It’s so true about the quick fix diets – my BIL goes on the South Beach Diet at least once a year. He gets ticked when I suggest that it’s not really working if he has to keep going back on it!
that was really motivating, kath! wow, keeping it off for 2 years is such a great achievement – you look great!
yes, yes, it’s true. especially the math part…