By Karen Preston
lives, plays, and works
in Portland. A member of TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), she also founded
Pounders, a weight-loss support group focusing on being fit through
exercise and healthly lifestyle changes. Her story
was recently featured in Self magazine (September 2003).
still find each
day too short for
all the thoughts
I want to think,
all the walks I want
to take, all the books
I want to read and
all the friends
I want to see.
A Work in Progress
Many of you reading
this know that I lost 184 pounds over the course of nearly three and
a half years. What I havent yet shared with you is that Ive
gained back some pounds in the last year. A combination of injuries,
working two jobs, and marital problems added up to a truckload of stress
and 27 extra and unwanted pounds. After quitting my second job a few
weeks ago, Im back on track working to lose a pound a week. Three
weeks of losses have already made a difference in the way I feel.
As I write, its
the beginning of the marathon-training season. Half a year from now
thousands of men and women will line up to walk 26.2 miles during the
Portland Marathon. By my count I should be right back to my goal weight
So I can hear you
asking, Karen, what are you doing to lose those extra pounds?
Good question! Of course theres no way I can discuss all the different
techniques I use in one column, but it all boils down to the three keys
of losing weight. One, is eating the right foods in the right portions.
Another is exercise getting out there and burning off extra calories.
The last, but most important, is attitude. Its hard to accomplish
the first two keys if you arent feeling positive. Thats
the area where my column usually focuses.
Your attitude affects
both your healthy eating and exercise. To make exercising easier, pick
activities you love doing. I really enjoy cycling, dancing, and, of
course, walking. Because of my busy life, its easiest for me to
walk in the morning before work. Everyone is different, but I find that
too many distractions come up in the evening for me to consistently
follow through with my walking plans. The great thing about morning
exercise is that I feel so much more productive afterwards. I seem to
have extra energy on the mornings I walk.
In the past Ive
found that exercising with a partner helps keep me motivated. When I
dont have a buddy to accompany me, its much easier to hit
the snooze button and grab a few extra ZZZs before work. Im
not likely to sleep in if I know that someone will be waiting at the
corner for me.
Finding a willing
walking partner was harder than I expected. But I knew how important
it was in my success, so I kept asking friends and acquaintances until
a friend mentioned a woman who lives close to my neighborhood. I made
a phone call, and the next day Mary and I met for an early morning walk.
How quickly that first walk went while we got to know each other! Thats
another nice thing about walking with someone else the chance
to make a friend.
Luckily Mary and
I are both training for the marathon. If you arent always motivated
to go out and walk, sign up for races. At this time of the year, theres
something to enter nearly every weekend. Ive found that it helps
to have an event Im in training for. Believe me, a
5k or longer race every month or so keeps me focused on putting in the
mileage. Ill keep you updated on my weight loss progress and look
forward to hearing about yours.