Be Gentle with Yourself on Your Weight Loss Journey, Part 2

Well, I’m finally below 200 pounds, for the first time in quite a few years. I achieved this status in March but wanted to see if I could maintain for a while before crowing. Well, I’m crowing! I’m at 193.6 this morning.

It seems that my weight loss goes in spurts. I will lose 5-10 pounds and then sit at that weight for a while. This has happened several times now, so I guess it’s the way my body adapts to 1200 calories a day.

I know, right? Doesn’t that seem like too little food?

Here’s the kicker – I am satisfied with 1200 calories a day. I have caught myself eating more (at holiday dinners) and felt over-full. I’m full on fewer calories per meal.

So, what does 1200 calories a day look like? Well, here’s my menu from yesterday.


½ cup of plain whole milk yogurt, a slice of multi-grain bread, 1 TBSP of honey, sweet mini peppers, fresh berries, coffee with Bailey’s creamer


Fresh fruit and a few mixed nuts


Half a sandwich (multi-grain bread, deli turkey, swiss cheese), raw carrots and celery, fresh fruit


3 cups of plain popped popcorn, unsweetened iced tea


Two ounces of beef, 2 cups tossed green salad with lightly spritzed olive oil, ½ cup of au gratin potatoes, a fuji apple and 2 squares of 74% cacao dark chocolate

I’ve lost over 30 pounds and am continuing to lose. The trick is to be gentle with yourself. You need a plan to work. My goal is to lose 1-1.5 pounds a week until I’ve reached my goal of 140 pounds. At my current rate of loss, I should reach my goal in another year or so. I used to become frustrated by the slow rate of loss, but now I realize that slower weight loss is more effective. It gives your body time to adjust to the changes you’re incorporating into your diet and lifestyle.

One other tip – I’m exercising five days a week. My husband, Keith, and I ride our bikes early every morning during the week. We’re up to 6.5 miles and working toward 10. Exercising daily requires discipline. We chose an activity we enjoy doing. The fact that we’re doing it together is motivation to keep going. Some days I don’t feel like it – but I ride anyway if it’s a weekday. I end up feeling virtuous, which is a good feeling.

The most important key is understanding you. I know that I need interim rewards as I progress. New clothes work. An outing works, if not for food. I’ve had to adjust my habits to eat smaller meals more often so I don’t get too hungry. Otherwise, I end up indulging in some sweet gooey thing that tastes great – until I’m finished and realize what I’ve done!

Not to fear. I have a solution for overeating or overindulging. I forgive myself for the backslide and start again where I left off. These episodes have become much less frequent. That’s because I can see the difference in my appearance since I’ve lost 30 pounds. It keeps me motivated to keep going.

It might be that you need a cheerleader, or a coach, or an accountability buddy. Whatever motivates you and keeps you moving forward is what you need to make allowance for in your life. Often, we downplay our own needs so we can evoke a feeling of virtuousness. Better to feel virtuous for doing something healthy. For example, I feel virtuous after a bike ride. That stokes my inner fire for the rest of the day. I find that I’m better able to stick to my food plan when I experience those good feelings.

Still, down days happen. Be of the mindset that the blues seldom last long. Plan your next exercise activity. If you’re sick, allow your body time to recover. Then get back to it. We all encounter illness, injuries and other upsets. These are part of the human experience. Keep your mind focused on your goal. That will help you get past these difficulties, without losing your forward momentum.

I practice mindfulness meditation and yoga to help myself focus better. The meditation is teaching me to flow with my thought patterns instead of fight against them. Yoga calms and centers me, body and spirit. I’m finding peace in accepting my new retired life. All is well! For the moment, anyway 😊

Warm regards,

Mary Hansen


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