I use rewards to help me get back on track. One of the most effective systems I've used in the past involves using a 'two account' system for my behavior. Here's how it works. Account #1 is my splurge account. I deposit (notionally) a small sum into it for each day that I engage in the behavior I'm trying to turn into a habit, with a little bonus at the end of the week if I have been consistent. For example: $1 for each day I eat 5-6 servings freggies, $1 for each 30 minute workout, and $1 for staying within calorie range, plus an extra $3 at the end of the week if do the things listed above at least 5 times.
Account #2 is the charity account. I deposit (notionally) a small sum in it for each week that I don't meet a basic minimum in terms of my habits (e.g. $2 if I don't eat 5-6 servings of veggies at least 3 times, $2 if I don't do a workout at least 3 times, etc.) Also, if there's something that's a really major temptation and trigger of further backsliding (for me, it would be eating tortilla chips - I just can't stop), then I also deposit $2 if I do that.
The important thing here is that you don't subtract account 2 from account 1. At the end of the month, or 3 months or whatever period you choose, spend the money in account #1 on something completely frivolous and fun for yourself. Give the money in account 2 to a charity you care about.
I find that converting the small "failures" in my behavior into charity stops the downward spiral of guilt, self-loathing and demotivation. If I have a bad day or bad week, I am comforted and re-energized by converting my slip-up into something that helps someone else.
Another reward system I use is to buy something (clothes, jewelery, music) but only let myself wear it/use it when I have engaged in the behavior that I'm trying to convert into a healthy habit. For example, when I've been slacking on my healthy eating, I've purchased a pretty pair of earrings that I only wear if I ate appropriately the day before (and while I'm wearing the earrings). Or I download a few new songs to my MP3 player and only listen to the music when I do strength workouts.
I believe you can turn this around and get back into healthy habits! Good luck.
Like others said, don't get discouraged. That is a great number for 3 months. I've been struggling for 3 years and only lost a little over 30lbs. It takes time and sometimes we make mistakes. I often slip up. Only recently have I knuckled down.
Tracking food was always really hard for me too. I found when I was getting disouraged and slipping up it was because I was being to restrictive and needed a few treats here and there. I hope you the best of luck. Keep your head high.
12/22/11 1:15 A
Floppyreturns: After your comment I realized that I did a lot better when I worked out in the mornings. I have gotten used to feeding the baby and then falling back asleep but I think I will try at least a few days a week to get up and work out before I go to work.
Seajess: I am terrible about tracking my food. I do well until lunch and then......BOOM!...nothing gets tracked and I eat EVERYTHING! I know that it will help and I am going to really try and stick to it. I LOVE tea so that is a great suggestion.
12/15/11 3:19 P
Weigh, measure and track EVERYTHING. Start easy. Cultivate the attitude of "what can I learn from this?" and "How, if at all, do I want to change?"
And drink lots of water or tea before and between your meals.It's easier to substitute tea for a snack than to try to give up snacks right away.
Fitness Minutes: (13,735)
12/15/11 12:57 P
That's great, Pilquista! Keep it up, you can do it!
I am also kind of new at this (only about two months on SP), but I find that for me how I start my day makes a big difference. I try to get up early and get a 45-minute workout followed by a healthy breakfast. This makes it so much easier to stay on track for the rest of the day. Also, even though it was a little cheesy, signing the SP pledge card helped me think of this as a lifestyle change, rather than a short period to lose weight and then get back to the way things were. So in that sense, I guess there is no turning back for me now. :)
12/15/11 1:14 A
Thank you all for all the advice and encouragement! Because of all your help I did MUCH better today and I feel good about continuing on a healthy path.
Fitness Minutes: (62,884)
12/14/11 3:32 P
I found success following the Clean Eating diet because I eat 6-7 times a day Small healthy meals throughout the day. I use the SP nutrition tracker.
I have several friends that I can text if I am tempted, who will support me at anytime. I would also recommend that you add strength training 2 times a week. Building muscle will speed up your metabolism and burn more calories than cardio alone If you're new to it and are not sure where to start, try some of Coach Nicole's videos on the Healthy Lifestyle tab. Those are free and you can do them at home.
You can do it!
Fitness Minutes: (251,490)
12/14/11 9:35 A
Don't beat on yourself because your let some less than healthy habits creep back into your life. You know you want to make a change and that's what matters. You can't change the past, but you can influence the future. Definitely start with small changes you can stick with. What are some simple things you can do ?
How about starting with a daily walk ? Walking is wonderful exercise. Cardiologists will tell you that taking a 30 minute walk each day can reduce your risk for heart disease by over 30%. If 30 minutes seems like too much, then walk for 10 minutes. Walking for 10 minutes three times during the day still adds up to a 30 minute walk. You can break your workouts up into shorter segments and still get all the benefits.
As far as what to eat, do you eat 6-9 servings of fresh fruit and veggie each day ? Probably not. So, why not start by eating 2-3 servings each day for one week ? Do that for a couple of weeks. When you're comfortable eating 2-3 servings, then try eating 3-4 servings each day for one week. Each week, keep adding a serving until you are eating 6-9.
Do you drink enough water ? If you're used to drinking soda instead of water, how about swapping two cans of soda for 4 glasses of water ? Decrease the amount of soda you drink by slowly increasing the amount of water you drink.
Do you eat breakfast ? if you're not used to eating breakfast, starting making more time in the morning for a healthy breakfast. Studies have shown that people who start the day with a healthy breakfast lose more weight than those who don't.
Take the stairs instead of the escalator. if you take a bus, get off one or two stops before and walk the extra way. park at the far end of the lot and walk the extra way to the door. Those may not seem like much, but those too are simple things you can do to make your day more active and your life more healthy.
Don't try to do everything at once or you will end up frustrated. slow and easy really does win this race !
Fitness Minutes: (24,072)
12/14/11 1:53 A
Track honestly, & Little rewards (non-food of course) A week of honest tracking, and achieving targets earns you . . . ?
Something that you love but don't do very often 1. Buy a new nail polish 2. Watch some trash TV 3. Bubble bath with all the trimmings (candles, music etc)
whatever means something to you, and fits your wants, lifestyle etc
Good luck with finding the drive again!
Fitness Minutes: (0)
12/14/11 12:30 A
I've gone through similar problems...what has helped me on both accounts is counting calories with complete honesty. Not only does it give me a better idea of what I'm eating (ignorance was one of the things that let me eat poorly for so long), but it kind of turns into a game. If I go over a bit, instead of being disappointed I look at why I went over and apply that knowledge the next day. :) I look forward to trying again to get it right. We're not grandmasters at chess the first time we play, it takes a little bit to figure things out and plan ahead.
12/14/11 12:10 A
So after three months of working out and eating better than I ever have as an adult, I am slowly slipping back into old habits. I have let snacking become normal again. My "healthy" choices are completely NOT healthy and I seem to just keep pigging out to the point where I feel like throwing up. I have been bouncing between 184 and 179. Now, I only saw 179 on ONE day and I was INCREDIBLY HAPPY. I have not seen the 170s in years. I am so frustrated and terrified that I'll lose all motivation and gain again. I FINALLY notice a change in the clothes I wear and I don't want to undo all that I've worked hard for. I have two questions for you all ... 1) What are some small changes I could start making to get me back into goal oriented thinking ... and 2) Any advice on how to get motivation for eating healthy back? I say eating healthy because I have been working out everyday for at least 30 min and I haven't had a pop in over two months. I especially have trouble with my snacking at night after I eat.
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