Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Secret to Losing 25 Pounds in 10 Weeks

Photo by my grandson Henry, age 5
The secret is, there is no secret. It's math. Just math. Expend more energy than you take in. Simple, right? And even though I've just done it, just lost 25 lbs. in 10 weeks, it's not so simple, it turns out.

I've been dieting ever since I can remember. I dieted myself from a thin person in my teens (115 lbs.) and 20s (125 lbs.) into an overweight person in my 30s, year after year, losing a little, gaining back a little bit more, until by my 40th birthday, I was very overweight, close to 200 lbs. at just 5 feet, 4 inches.  I would go through phases of no carbs, or no fat, or just yogurt, or Slim Fast, or Weight Watchers, or Nutri System. All temporarily successful, but all a waste of money, and all in vain. In 1993 alone, I struggled through the tragic loss of my dad, the devastating loss of my marriage, the loss of the intact family that was my dream, my life. Everything and everyone I cherished was either gone or hurting. I had to find a new direction, a healthier way to be, emotionally and physically, not just for me, but for my kids. But I didn't know how. The next year, 1994, my sister Patsy hosted a surprise 40th birthday party for me. I had gained even more weight by then. I remember buying a new outfit at Bon Ton for a dinner I was going to that weekend, which I ended up wearing at the party. It was a loose, lacy sweater and big baggy pants. I thought it was pretty, but it wasn't. It was huge and an outfit that fit my body but not my psyche. I felt completely alien in it. At the party, there was a poster with photos from my younger years. One, my high school senior portrait, had someone at the party ask "who is this?" He loudly refused to believe that thin, pretty girl was me. That was a very sad moment on what should have been a joyful day. It's what I took away from an evening meant to be a celebration, and as much as I love my sister and family for such a wonderful party, I allowed that 10 seconds of shame to be the lasting memory.

So I needed a new start, a way back to me after such a difficult few years. I started by taking courses at Skidmore College, at first one, then a couple more, and then more until I had an English major under my belt. Ten years later, in 2003, I graduated with honors from Skidmore's English Department, under the guidance of Catherine Golden, a superb professor and a forever friend. I went on for my masters, and took my time, earning my degree, again from Skidmore, in January of 2010. Even with all that accomplishment, the weight was never under control. I'd lose a few, gain a few, back and forth, year after year. I was either dieting or feasting, aware of every single calorie or point, or completely oblivious. I exercised like a fiend for months on end, with obsession, alternating with months of inactivity. I had a masters degree, but felt that I was a failure at the one biggest challenge in my life - my weight. Ever since 1997, I have had encouragement from my boyfriend Russ, an accomplished athlete, a chiropractor, and the epitome of fitness. His efforts to help me were at first welcome, then resented. I wanted him to love me for me, but I didn't… I was self-sabotaging. I would not allow myself the gift of a healthier self. I seemed to be punishing myself in a body that always felt foreign and not my own. I have always felt that I've been hidden inside a cocoon, one that would one day miraculously unzip and release the real me, but not wanting to do the real work required to get there. I just wanted it to happen, to wake up and find my old self. It was a delusion.

Then I was diagnosed with diabetes II, just this past February. I started nutritional counseling and learned of an upcoming study at Skidmore College. (I'd participated in studies before, with great success, and then they were over.) What I need is a way to end a study and maintain the momentum, the good habits, the lifestyle. I believe I have finally found it now, along with my daughter Katie, and we just completed a 10-week program with incredible, yet hard-won, results. For the past 10 weeks, we've lived on Isagenix products and one healthy dinner every day, with one "cleanse" day a week. Going forward, we'll continue with Isagenix products, but fewer, incorporating more whole foods for the next 6 months, and an exercise component. We're more on our own, and with Katie as my partner (and me as hers) I know we'll continue to have tremendous and healthy results. I am more joyful for her success than my own. There's something about seeing your child accomplish something so significant, knowing it will make her life so much healthier and happier, that can't be beat. And she's done so much to be proud of in her life already, but this is special because we are doing it together.

So, the secret is, there is no secret. It's hard work, commitment to yourself, and a willingness to keep going when it seems too hard. You'll have weak moments, and tough choices, but you'll get through it with self-respect and determination. If you don't do it for yourself, it will never happen.

The secret is, you deserve to live the best life you can, in the healthiest body you can give yourself. That's my gift to myself for my 60th birthday, March 15, 2014. It's going to be the healthiest birthday of my adult life, and I am running to 60 with arms wide open. I can't wait!

(I'll post before and after photos when I am more "after" than I am now. - thanks for your patience!)

31 comments:

  1. I am so proud of you Jeannie!! Go you!

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  2. "I just wanted it to happen, to wake up and find my old self." That sentence made me sad. I never knew your old self, but I love the Jeanne I've known for years. And I hate that you would think of her - in any way, shape, or form - as not good enough. In every way, Jeanne, you excel above and beyond most people I know.

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    1. Thanks so much, Sue. Your words mean the world to me.

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  3. Hey Jeanne,
    Saw you this week for the first time since you started this program and I think you look terrific and I'm sure you feel well, too. It is a process/struggle, but so worth the results -- good health. Good luck to you.

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    1. Andrea, it was so good to see you, and thank you for your kind words. So appreciated. :)

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  4. I am so proud of all you have accomplished in all respects and touched you mentioned me in this blog.

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    1. Well, Catherine, you are a big part of all that I have accomplished, of inspiring me to reach far beyond anything I thought myself capable, and I am forever grateful.

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  5. Your words in addition to your actions....speak volumes to me. Thank you for sharing so intimately. You have made a difference in my life. Love you!

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    1. And, my friend, my life is so much richer with you in it. You make me laugh, and cry, and realize that friendship is priceless. Love you right back, little one!

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  6. Jeannie need I tell you that I'm in tears, or merely that I'm inspired?! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me reason to believe, and to keep grinding my way through Zumba classes! You are, unbeknownst to you, my life savior and constant guiding light, and for that, I shall be forever thankful! xoxo

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  7. Congratulations Aunt Jeanne! It takes a strong woman to admit all that, and even stronger to do something about it.
    It's so great to acknowledge the hard work it takes to eat right and exercise. So many people are looking for a quick fix that requires no work.
    I love that you and Katie are doing this together. A buddy helps to stay motivated.

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    1. Teresa, thank you so much. I have wanted that quick fix and realize there just isn't one. So much of what's going on in our heads and hearts determines whether we'll be successful at our goals, and having Katie along for the ride has made the process so much easier. She motivates me and wanting this for both of us makes me even more determined to finally get there. Appreciate your comment, Teresa. Love you!

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  8. Well wonder women,you are a true inspiration ! Glad I can call you my friend! CKJ

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    1. CKJ - grateful for your support from day 1, and so glad we have reconnected through fb and this blog. Just as glad to call you my good friend! xox

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  9. Jeannie - YOU are the inspiration! Reading this entry - I was in tears when you talked about your 40th birthday and the shame you felt. You are a very strong, loving and nurturing, fun individual who should never feel shame ~ you are a wonderful daughter, sister, mother, aunt, grandmother, friend, girlfriend....and person. I know our paths just cross on campus - but when I see you I think, and believe, that the world is very lucky to have someone like you in it! Keep up the great work and the inspiration that you are providing! <3

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    1. Kim, thank you. I'll try to live up to your estimation of me (which I believe is very generous). Thank you.

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  10. Jeannie...so many of your words echo in my heart. This weight issue is like a constant heaviness in my brain (no pun intended). I am actually looking forward to retirement and the ability to rediscover health. I'm hoping to find joy in planning healthier meals and walking. Here's to your success and to being the healthiest Grandmas we can be! Love you -
    Di

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    1. Diane, I am willing to be your partner in rediscovering your healthy self. I don't know when you are retiring, but I am here, and ready, any time to join you in being the healthiest Grandmas we can be. xoxox

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  11. As I read your heartfelt words, I am as I have always been, in awe of your beauty,selflessness and pure unadulterated honesty. I continue to struggle with my own weight/eating issues but because of you I am working out more (two Zumba classes a week) and going to the gym more often,too. Thanks for inspiring me and I am sure many others. You are keeping me honest.

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    1. Mary Beth, I'm glad you find my words inspiring, though it's really just my story, one that has it's bumps and bruises and less than pretty moments. These are the things that make us wiser, though, and I have a much better understanding now, at age 59, of why it is SO important to get my weight under control once and for all. It's been an oppressive factor in my life for too many years, too many decades, and losing this weight is like giving myself the key to walk out of a prison of my own making. And it is exciting to think that 25 pounds are gone. It's like losing a Butterball turkey! Good luck to you in your quest to be a healthier you. You are such a determined, strong woman. I have no doubt that you can do anything you set your mind to!

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  12. Jeanne..I am thrilled for you because you are. I've always admired & loved you for the beautiful wonderful woman you are. Thank you for sharing your story from your heart with us. Thank you for your friendship over the years near and far. I'm a year behind you & hope I can make 60 as great as you will! Love you dear friend..

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    1. Cathy - such kind words, thank you. I am grateful to call you my friend. xox

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  13. Wow, Jeanne! You have a gift for hitting home with your writing. I think your blog is captivating, not only because of the great food posts and pictures of your gorgeous family, but because you make a lot of us feel connected. We all can relate to struggles and feeling like we're the only ones feeling this or that while we put on a good face and I'm not sure misery loves company as much as we all just need connections . I think your blog does that in a positive way even when there's a serious undertone.Thanks for sharing.! Wishing continued success to my gorgeous sister. (Something I always took as a compliment I didn't quite deserve). LHP

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    1. Linda, you captured in one comment my reason for writing this blog when you say "…you make a lot of us feel connected." That's what it's all about for me, to write honestly, even when exposing my tender underbelly, in order to create that connection with my readers. Thank you so much for articulating what essentially is confirmation that this blog does do what I had hoped! Our connection goes way back, LHP, to our high school days and I was honored to be your look-alike then (two Irish girls with black hair and light eyes) and even more honored to be your friend now, just a "few" years later. So grateful for your life-long friendship!

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    2. Right back at you!!!

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  14. I know exactly where you are coming from. I so wish I had a "before" picture but I found myself hiding behind things over the months preceding the study...like peering around trees etc...We are really doing this, aren't we?

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  15. Jeanne I didn't see this post until know. you've come so far . It sounds so similar to my story . keep up the goo hard work. i think your beautiful the way you are but you will be a lot healthier.

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