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50/50: What I’ve learned now that I’m more than halfway to goal

Ekberg Risher’s journey to her goal weight hasn’t been a straight line – “more like a winding, stop for a little rest, then dance a little, do a sidestep, then walk some more kind of road.” Special to The Forum

Weight lost: 30 pounds Halfway through the year, more than halfway to my goal weight, and I think “what a ride!”

It hasn’t been a straight line by any means – more like a winding, stop for a little rest, then dance a little, do a sidestep, then walk some more kind of road.

Did you start your journey with me? If not, hop on right now – it’s always a great time to start. What have I learned so far? I want to share some Susie Insights with you.

  •  Listen to yourself, and figure out what makes sense.

I’m the youngest of five girls, and one of my difficulties growing up was that I felt like I had five mothers. Everybody seemed to feel the need to tell me what to do, how to feel, how to think.

When I first started this journey, I heard the following advice:

“You don’t need to lose any weight – you look fine just the way you are – you’re supposed to be chubby when you’re older.”

“You maybe need to lose 50 pounds – don’t focus on the numbers.”

“Drink this drink, take this supplement, follow this detox/cleanse program.” I got at least 40 suggestions like this.

  • Slow and steady totally wins the race. I had to let go of the short game. 

As soon as I started moving on a regular basis, I instantly could not abide my fat jiggling on my body and wanted it gone – now. That could’ve led to frustration, sabotage and ultimate failure.

But the weight didn’t come off instantly because it needs to come off slowly. One lazy day or misstep doesn’t mean I’ve failed. I believe in myself and every choice is a decision I get to make. If I choose health more often than non-health, I’m headed in the right direction – forward movement is good.

  • Moderation is key. It’s one thing to lose 10 pounds in 10 days, but how did you do it and can you keep it off? You want to get in shape, but running five miles right out of the chute maybe isn’t the best idea. 

Setting small goals works well for me – I started with committing to moving a half hour every day, and finally (finally!) I’m consistently walking 6,000 steps a day.

You want to modify your diet to be healthy, but instantly cutting out everything but organic chicken and vegetables may be too drastic. Maybe start with one healthy habit and add one a week until you feel you can maintain that diet for the rest of your life (remember the long game?).

  • Get a buddy. Or two. Or 1,400. My sweet friends, Jen and Karen, and I started a private group where we share our successes and struggles. I love them. I trust them. It helps to have a place where I can be 100 percent vulnerable and honest. 

I also rely on my tribe to mirror back to me if I get too goofy or go overboard on anything. Find friends or family you trust, will be honest with you and support you. They’re priceless treasures.

  • Experiment. I won’t be all cheerleader-ra-ra and say, “Gluten free is FUN!” because frankly, sometimes, I look at those warm chewy loaves of bread at Panera and just want to stuff a whole loaf in my mouth. 

But I do feel so much better, so I stay gluten-free. I’ve found some amazing recipes on Pinterest, and I’ve discovered so many wonderful gluten-free alternatives like Mehl’s Flour (so I can still have pancakes and waffles!), quinoa noodles and even coconut flour.

Instead of refined sugar, I use stevia, a touch of maple syrup, agave or honey. But really, I hardly ever eat any of those because once I gave up sugar I lost the craving, and even cauliflower tastes sweet to me now.

  • Focus on the positive. I really love how I feel. I love how much energy I have and how I have a spring in my step. 

I take time to really taste my food and express gratitude for it. I know I’m helping create beautiful health for my body and for my life with every apple I eat, every glass of water I drink and every walk I take. And all of that goodness overrides any temporary happiness gained from a Snickers bar or a coffee with mounds of whipped cream on it. Really.

There’s so much more, but we’ve got another six months together, so let’s just keep walking hand in hand. I’m here for you, and we can do this. Now I’m thinking I have a 100 percent chance of succeeding.