I’ve struggled with weight most of my life, especially after having four kids. It’s always been a brutal war between eating unhealthy or healthy, overeating or showing portion control, sitting on my rear end or exercising, feeling unhappy or feeling content with my life. I’ve had my seasons of a healthier lifestyle or a not-so-healthy existence. I’ve had times when I’ve been so completely sick of my unhealthy habits that I’ve gone to the extreme and restricted my eating to the point of unhealthy or exercised way too much. These practices always backfired with negative results and eventually sent me back to weight gain and depression over my body again.
So what finally got me to change my relationship with food? Writing my second book for one (the other being good friends who inspired me). THE PERILS OF WRATH, sequel to my first PG-rated medieval action-romance SHADOWS OF VALOR, is slated for release spring 2018. In THE PERILS OF WRATH my heroine is forced into squireship to a stern knight who sends her through rigorous drills of knight training and who changes her unhealthy view of food intake. Needless to say, she ends up gaining muscle and losing some weight in the process. How much and to what avail? You'll have to wait for the book to come out spring 2018 *wink*. Now this isn’t the only theme in the my story, but I won’t touch on the others in this post.
While writing THE PERILS OF WRATH I got thinking that as the author of such a tale, I should be an example of what I write. I can do the same thing my characters do. After all, I write stories not only to entertain, but to uplift and inspire readers to make a change in their own lives if need be, and to feel the confidence to accomplish it. So after I finished THE PERILS OF WRATH, I set a personal goal to, once and for all, gain control over my mind and body to create a healthy relationship with food and exercise. I wanted to “eat to live, not live to eat.”
NOTE: I realize that some people have legitimate sensitivities to certain foods and must adjust their diets accordingly, but for most others, make sure your food choices aren’t just following the latest dietary fad or craze and have nothing to do with your personal needs. That being said, I won't talk about individual circumstances, nor do I have the authority to do so, but I'll simply tell you what I do personally.
What I currently do is quite manageable and successful for me, and it doesn’t discourage or make me feel that I’m “missing out” on anything. I calculate my calorie intake for my height and current weight so I know what will help me maintain or lose, and then I simply REGULATE what I put in my mouth while adding in some light exercise. Yes, it’s that simple, but I know that even simple principles still take effort to follow.
EXERCISE: I try to do some pushups, sit ups, squats and yard work at least three times a week. If I have the time and feel like going out on a three-mile walk or jog, or doing some aerobics inside, I do, but I don’t stress over it if I can’t. And I don’t kid myself anymore that because I’ve exercised I can eat a ton of junk food. It takes a lot more exercise than one might guess to work off even 500 extra calories, and many candy bars have that many calories in just one.
I find activities to keep myself out of the kitchen. Drinking water throughout the day and keeping a bottle of it near me all the time helps stave off the munchies. Going outside and working in the yard or playing with my kids, spouse or friends helps to keep my mind off of food. If it’s too hot or cold outside, I stay in and do chores, find a good book to read, play games, or work on a project needing to be done. I try to eat when I'm hungry, not simply because I'm bored.
Is my weight loss slow? Yes, I suppose it is, but the pounds still come down, and that's what matters. Depending on how “good” I’ve been during the week, I can lose a half to two pounds a week, but my average is about one pound a week. I didn’t used to be satisfied with this slower rate of weight loss and, in fact, have lost up to five pounds per week in the past. But it came off at the price of fatigue, muscle loss, hunger, irritability and gaining it back after I’d burned myself out and quit.
I’ve latched onto the adage that slow and steady (and may I add wise) wins the race. And this isn't a race against anyone else but myself. If I'm the only one racing, I will certainly come out the victor in the end, no matter how long it takes to get to the finish line.
But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that other people contributed to my recent weight loss success. I must recognize that there are numerous people in my life who have also been successful in getting healthier and losing weight. Along my own journey, these people have supported, inspired and encouraged me to keep going, and I love them all for it. Thank you!
Keeping our bodies healthy gives us a greater chance of living a longer, active life with our loved ones and friends. And that is the ultimate blessing of a healthier lifestyle.
NOTE: I lost the weight at different intervals stretched out through a one and a half year period that was dotted with times of weight maintenance and even some weight gain depending on my personal circumstances. It was a roller coaster ride, but such is life.
Find SHADOWS OF VALOR here:
Barnes and Noble paperback
Barnes and Noble Nook
(Or anywhere online where books and e-books are sold)
Deseret News review
Youtube: Shadows of Valor trailer 1
Youtube: Shadows of Valor trailer 2
SHADOWS OF VALOR blurb:
Like weaving Robin Hood, the Scarlet Pimpernel and Batman into one medieval action-romance, Shadows of Valor follows Sir Calan Beaumont, a knight-spy in 1300 A.D. England heading secret missions for King Edward I. As The Shadow, he hunts down smugglers, resisting a vengeful desire to execute lethal justice. And although his dual identity aids him in catching thieves, it causes mistrust from those closest to him. He feels himself slowly sinking into the depths of cynicism as he deals with the worst of society. A beautiful, but scarred woman from his past holds the key to his humanity, however, she harbors a secret that not only places her in danger, but may cause their separation as well.
THE PERILS OF WRATH blurb:
In 1314 A.D., Sir Roland, a gallant English knight, searches for the truth behind a pair of suspicious deaths, leading him to Guildon Castle, a foreboding structure near the war-torn Scottish border. Posing as a disinherited knight to keep himself on the down-low, Guildon’s tyrannical earl gives Sir Roland the unusual assignment to taming his obstinate stepdaughter, Audrina Gibbons, by making her Roland’s squire. A female apprentice? Unheard of! But Audri has an agenda of her own, accompanied by a stubborn attitude and secrets kept from her knight mentor. What emerges is a tale of mystery, dishonorable knights, medieval torture, and hardcore training that stacks up to any modern workout. But most of all, this is a story of love and overcoming personal weaknesses.