How Bonny Got Skinny – Part 2
Why I Stopped Drinking…Soda
Ginny had almost completely stopped drinking alcohol, and I was so proud of my friend. I decided to give up something too, and that thing was soda, yep, evil diet soda!
Most Americans don’t know it, but the soft drinks that we get with our meals at restaurants and the many cases of it that we purchase from stores each day in this country is like a weight gain epidemic! I had no idea how unhealthy it was making me.
A few months before starting my diet I actually thought that I was doing myself a favor by guzzling the different flavors of it down instead of alcohol, but found out that the carbonated drink sometimes contained even more bad calories than booze!
When I say that I had it bad when it came to soda, I mean I was one of the worst. It was almost like an addiction to me. For example, when I would stop and get gas, be it morning, noon or night, I just had to go and get the big 64-ounce cup of it from the convenient store as I paid for my petro.
If I didn’t buy one, it felt like something was missing when I got back to the car, and sometimes I’d even take the time to go back in to retrieve it. Ginny teased me one day about it when we were at her place before starting our diets, warning me that I may be just a little crazy about the sugary, fattening beverage as we sat and ate pizza.
“I can’t believe that you are calling them to come back just for that,”
she told me after the delivery guy forgot to bring the free one with our order.
“I gave him a good tip,”
I responded angrily.
“He could’ve at least remembered to bring my mountain dew. I don’t care if it was free, it was mine!”
My girlfriend just laughed.
“Dang, girl! You’re a soda fiend!”
“I have Kool Aid in the kitchen, bottled water, and I think some lemonade is in there. The delivery guy isn’t coming back in this weather. Besides, they are almost closed.”
It was one of those rainy Norfolk nights that the city is known for. That’s why he probably was in a rush as he brought our food to her door, but had forgotten my favorite green-colored pop. “You know what, you’re probably right,” I responded while looking at the clock. “Where is your raincoat?”
“Girl, I know you aren’t going out in this storm for a soda!”
And with that, I drove to the nearest gas station and got one.
I found out later that I wasn’t alone in feeling the strong urge to have several soft drinks every day. In fact, millions of Americans are hooked on them. No one really knows if there is a complete addiction present, but the ingredients that even diet soda contains can greatly affect our health.
For me, it was the taste I think. I mean, every meal just seemed better with a soda, but I was tacking on so many additional calories by indulging in what I felt was harmless. If anything is addictive in soda, according to the experts, it’s the same substance that’s found in coffee.
That would explain a lot, at least in my case. I don’t drink it, but the amount of pop I consumed every day sure had to skyrocket my caffeine intake.
The other “addictive” thing in it they say are the “invisible sweeteners“.
My drinking soda so much was just as bad as someone who ate too much candy or scarfed down plastic wrapped snacks habitually on a daily basis.
It all has to do with the way sugar affects our mind before it actually starts to sneak all of the extra pounds around our waistlines.
Experts say that our brain uses up to half the sugar in our body, even though the organ itself takes up only about two percent of the space in our entire physical frame. I looked at my everyday routine and the times that I usually wanted a soda, and it coincided with the times during the day when someone who drank coffee regularly would grab a cup of Joe. Those times were in the morning, and in mid-afternoon.
My situation was a little worse, though, since I would also drink a lot of soda at night.
As with all of my decisions nowadays, I thought about my baby boy DeVante after doing the research. One major disease that I could possibly develop faster over time because of soda made me afraid that I wouldn’t be healthy enough to enjoy future good times with him.
I mean, the risk of developing diabetes was catapulted to 26% by a person who drank just a couple of cans a day, and I was chugging way more than that. The 64-ounce convenient store cups of it, for example, had about 700 calories in them, and as I sat in my work office without one for the first couple of days I felt like I was a person who was craving cigarettes! I had really developed a horrible habit.
But, by my calorie calculations, if I could cut it out, I would be able to drop the weight that I planned as long as I stuck to the same workout three or four times a week.
It really was a mind control thing in the end, and I eventually replaced my sodas with healthier alternatives.
I started drinking the zero calorie ones at first, but they reminded me too much of the real thing. So, I started drinking other things during the day, such as naturally sweetened tea, lemonade, real fruit juice, and regular bottled water. In a week or so, I started feeling more alive in my workouts.
My body felt hydrated (being that all the sodas really dehydrated me to the max, especially with the way I was now sweating everyday) and pretty soon getting through the exercise routine more fluidly meant more than the fattening fluids that I’d been previously drinking. Ginny was as proud of me as I was of her when she stopped drinking booze.
Fun Ways to Drop Pounds
We were way ahead of schedule in the weight loss diet. Approaching six weeks we didn’t think that we’d be past 20 pounds gone, but both of us were just over that. Everything that we’d done up to that point had us ready for Thanksgiving, and we felt like brand new women.
We were so proud of ourselves that we took a day off from working out (the day we did, according to my journal entry, was November 26th 2011) We laughed and joked as we tried on smaller-sized gear at the mall for the fall season, went to Subway for lunch (our new favorite place to eat) and then headed back home to watch our favorite prime time shows.
Us taking a day off was in celebration of knowing we were going to reach our goal.
Our bodies were tired and needed some rest that day, which I read is actually good for losing weight. A well-rested person burns a lot more calories doing everyday activities, even if those tasks aren’t that physical. Plus, we felt like we deserved it, and didn’t stray way from our plan at all, getting back on it the next day.
As we sat and talked about everything from men to money on my porch, we saw some preteen girls about a block away playing a game that made us reminisce about our childhood. “I used to play that all the time,” Ginny said as we gazed at them.
“Me and my sisters and cousins used to see who could go the longest.”
We both looked at each other, smiled, and went over to the young ladies up the block taking turns with the hoola hoop. We talked them into a game to see who could spin it around their waistline for the longest time, and ended up staying out there for about an hour.
When we went back to my steps, the young ladies were still playing as we panted and sat back down.
“I thought we weren’t working out today?”
I said in between breathes.
“This is how I can tell I’m getting old!”
“Look at them. They don’t seem tired at all. I wonder how many that was?”
After monitoring them for the last several weeks I knew just what she was talking about. It was almost natural for us to want to know the amount of calories an activity burned at that point in our diet, and anything that made us break a sweat we considered figuring out the exact number of them we’d eliminated.
The online search said thirty minutes of hula hooping equaled 300 calories burned, but we were out there at least double that.
“You aren’t gonna believe this. We just did probably around 500!”
“We were just playing!”
“I know! Not as much as the Insanity program, but about half. Not bad for a day off, huh?”
That was the moment that I really realized that losing the weight had me in a wonderful frame of mind. Yeah, surprisingly there are many people who report not being happy after getting back in shape, but I was definitely an exception.
I mean, we were as spontaneous as teenagers when we went over there to play with the girls, and it had actually helped our diet. Ginny and I did our regular routine for the next couple of days.
Then on our day off following them, we sat on the porch again, hoping that the girls would come back outside with the hoola hoop. When we saw them we almost started arguing about who would get to go first.
Ginny and I started brainstorming about other fun, active things to do on the days we didn’t work out. After being so focused four days out of the week on our normal routine, we just couldn’t sit still on our days off from the Insanity program.
“What else did you like to do as a kid, Constance?”
“I know I used to roller skate all the time.”
“I never learned. My son can, though. He learned from his friends.”
“Well, you have a friend, too. If he can do it at age 6, then you can at 26! And don’t you want to spend more time with him?”
Ginny knew my angle. Anything that involved DeAndre and me she knew I’d go for, and before I knew it we were at the local rink in the middle of the week on hump day. “This is the perfect day to learn since no one is hardly in here,” she said.
“If you say so…”
I uttered while holding on to the walls.
“But I’d rather hoola hoop!”
I don’t know if the 400 or 500 calories that my crazy skating burned in an hour counted falls, but I sure did hit the floor a lot the first few days! I had it down by the following Wednesday, though, and surprised my son when he got off the school bus as I came down the street behind it on roller blades.
“What are you doing Mama!?”
he said with wide eyes.
“Just working out,”
I said with a wink.
“Go get yours!”
When he came back out we skated around the neighborhood for about two hours, and made it a fun activity a couple of times a week. He started to suggest other things we could do. We shot basketball, tossed the Frisbee some days, and even when it rained he showed me the boxing game on his Nintendo Wii that made me sweat like I was in a Billy Blanks routine!
What I learned is that exercising can be fun if you get back in touch with your inner child, and that ‘working’ out doesn’t always have to feel like work.
The Final Two Weeks
When I Stopped Checking the Scale
We had found a balance between doing the hard work out and simply engaging in fun, exercise-like activities during the week to reach our goal in 60 days of losing 30 pounds. It was now the first week in November of 2013, and already we were both just at 25 pounds shed.
We were sure we’d make it before Thanksgiving, so we decided to challenge each other once more. “Let’s not check the scale again after today until the week of the holiday, Constance,” she suggested, “just for fun. Let’s take the actual pounds off of our minds and simply do what we are supposed to do until then. Deal?”
“Okay, and whoever ends up losing the most weight has to cook Thanksgiving dinner!” I responded.
We shook on it, and it was on. I upped my Insanity workout by a day and went extra hard for the next couple of weeks. I even took my scale out of the bathroom so that I didn’t sneak-check my weight, and Ginny said she would do the same.
During that time I was beginning to look just like my picture on the shelf in my living room, but I wanted to trim fat around my waistline even more, so that’s where I put my focus.
I have always had big hips, but even now I couldn’t seem to get the type of stomach that I wanted. I felt stronger, but now it was time to trim off the ‘extra fat’ around my midsection that I always battled with, even back before I’d picked up the weight in the first place.
I didn’t exactly have what most women refer to as a very
muffin top, but I still wasn’t ready to wear the belly shirt that I’d bought at the mall yet; I was still too self-conscious right then. The weather had been surprisingly nice in Norfolk lately, and it was set to be that way for Thanksgiving. I knew that I’d be able to possibly wear that top then, and I wanted a six pack!
I had heard from one of the ladies in neighborhood that shedding weight from the inside out could also actually take off one or two pounds permanently. She advised colon cleansing.
This is usually used as sort of a ‘helper ’ to weight loss, in that it revitalizes the body and increases its ability to take in nutrients from the foods we eat. I knew that my eating habits had improved and I felt great, but with the race to lose the most weight and not have to cook for Thanksgiving I just did the procedure for the hell of it!
The doctor said that the lady was right, and that it was possible to take off sometimes a pound or more that I didn’t realize that I was carrying around. He told me that if a person never gets the procedure done, that they will never really digest all of their food 100%, and that things like various toxins and nasty mucous in our colons can easily accumulate over time, even if we take a regular laxative.
Without getting cleansed, our body is slow to absorb the best, most nutritious parts of our meals, and that’s why many people feel sluggish or tired sometimes after eating; the body automatically feels that it actually needs to shut down and go to sleep in order to take in these essential healthy vitamins from the meal we just ate because of toxins hindering the process. It should happen a lot faster.
After doing the cleansing, I felt sort of the same, that is, until about a day later after our normal workout. Most of the time when we ate I wanted to take a nap, but I actually threw on the skates and DeAndre and I went out for about an hour.
I told Ginny (who was winning the race by about two pounds when we’d last checked our weight) that I’d gotten the procedure done, and she teased me.
“Girl, you could have saved your money!”
“That’s not gonna help you win! You might as well get your apron ready for Turkey Day!”
“Ha! We’ll see! Get your oven mitts on standby!”
I increased my abdominal workout as well, doing about 50 curls in the mornings and evenings, and by the Monday before Thanksgiving (the day when we said we’d pull out the scales again) I was ready. I walked out of my bedroom wearing the tummy tee. “Check you out!” Ginny said. “I must admit Constance, it looks good on you.”
I stepped on the scale barefoot, and the digital display read 134.3
“Okay, your turn.”
Ginny got on, and couldn’t believe it.
“Oh my God. 134.5! I had you by a close to two! This can’t be…Where is DeVante?”
“Outside playing, why?”
“Close the bathroom door! This can’t be right…”
My funny friend took off every piece of her clothing and stood back on the scale.
“Oh, hell no!”
“Two can play that game!”
I took off everything, and stepped back on it in my birthday suit while Ginny died laughing at how we were acting.
“Well, I’ll be damned – I guess the cleansing worked,”
“Guess I’ll be sweating in the kitchen alone later this week.”
I put back on the rest of my clothes and put my hand on her shoulder.
“We’ll be sweating together, girl,”
“Don’t we always?”
My Plans for the Future
After Ginny and I cooked Thanksgiving dinner we picked up about two pounds over the weekend. The following week we got back on our workout again, and have maintained in the mid 130’s ever since.
When Mark saw me, his mouth just dropped, but I was a lady about it and let him see his son for Thanksgiving like a good mom should. My family said that I hadn’t changed a bit since the previous year, and I just laughed and said thanks. Little did they know it was quite the opposite.
During your weight loss diet, remember who you are doing it for, yourself and your children. The healthier you are, the longer you will be around for the good times when they get older. I am dating again, and feeling like my old self now that the weight I put on because of my breakup is a distant memory. I feel healthy, happy, and at peace.
I plan to not try to be perfect, but to maintain my weight where it is now by eating right, working out, and spending fun, physically active time with my son and my best friends, especially Ginny.
Without her taking this journey with me, I don’t know if I would have been as successful as I have been, and I encourage you to do the same. Still, I realize that friends like her come only once in a blue moon. So, if you don’t have one that will work out with you, that is still no reason to not get healthier.
Put your faith in God, and he will see you through to your goal of losing 30 pounds in 60 days.
I have faith that if you stick to it, you will be able to shed the pounds, but it takes patience and persistence. It will not happen overnight, so don’t look at it that way. Simply taking it one day at a time worked for Ginny and me.
And, once you get used to the workout routine (whichever one that you choose) it will be second nature for you to get it in on the scheduled days. Keep your eyes on that 60th day, remember to simply stick to the plan, and you will make it.
I know that I am not the only woman in the world to lose someone they love. I lost my husband that I have been love with since high school. Someone else may have lost someone to something worse, maybe someone even has passed away that you cared about deeply and now you are turning to food to fill that void.
We women are emotional by nature, and the places our feelings take us are many times ultimately where we end up. If we indulge in overeating or excessive drinking to try and solve our problems, then we are simply covering them up.
There is no reason to practice self-destructive behaviors just because things in life have not went in the exact direction that we wanted them to.
Still, if you are reading this at a time when you have found yourself overweight, whether its because of life circumstances that you were running from, or if weight has been something you’ve been battling for a while, I say take it head on.
This is your life, and only you can determine how healthy you want to be. Keep your children in mind, yourself in mind, and remember that God is always right there as your permanent workout partner if you are going at it solo.
I wish you the very best in your weight loss success. God Bless.