Friday, March 09, 2012
8 years ago, I went to therapy for a bit for the various bumps and bruises life can give our mental and emotional selves. It was good for me, I came out of it a lot better adjusted. But one of the things the therapist told me that has stuck with me was "You were ready to change."
That's one thing that I've realized, no matter what you're talking about, that the person has to be ready to change, or they won't. No one can change you from the outside if you are not ready on the inside.
I've tried to do weight loss and diets and exercise before. But I was never *really* ready to change. I wanted the results without having to put in the effort to achieve them. I wanted to lose weight and get in shape, but I wasn't really ready to make the changes required.
I'd even think about the changes I was going to make... some day. Some day I was going to walk more. Some day I was going to not sit at my computer until bedtime. But these were all 'some day', which as we all know, never comes.
Now that's not to say I was entirely unwilling. I had already made many positive changes. I was eating what was arguably very good stuff most of the time, I was just eating too much of it, or allowing too many 'treats' in the mix. I had made some wonderful changes to my diet, but I still had one last bump keeping me from moving forward.
One month ago, my work decided to hold a 'Biggest Looser' competition. The idea was, of course, if you get to the end of the 8 weeks and have lost the greatest percentage of weight, you win the prize. The prize in this case being cash. I could always use a little extra, and I'm pretty competitive by nature. One of the things I hate about exercise is having to do it alone (my closest friends tend to live just far enough away or have just different enough schedules to make it hard to coordinate with them.)
But this... this was a competition with cash! I'll exercise alone for that! And so I started. Day one of the contest, I took myself for a walk on my break. And then on day two. And on day three. And suddenly I was walking every day on both breaks. And then sometimes I was walking on my lunch breaks, too! I even bought an xbox with kinect so I could exercise at home.
Sometimes others in the contest would walk with me, sometimes I walk alone. And I'm finding that when I'm walking during the work-day, I rather prefer being alone for those 10 or 20 or 30 minutes, getting out of the office into some fresh air, listening to the wind or the birds, just letting my stress fade and my head clear.
Five weeks in, I'm 7 pounds down. Five weeks in, I look forward to my daily exercises. Five weeks in, I'm tracking like a fantasy character Ranger and making a daily challenge of keeping in my calorie range. Five weeks in and I am rocking the portion control and healthy restaurant choices. Five weeks in and I'm being told how much of an inspiration I am to others in the contest.
Ten years in, and I am finally ready to change.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
It was raining yesterday. Now by that I mean I live in Washington state, and it was raining too hard for *me* to want to go out in it. That's pretty heavy rain. Also, I forgot a jacket, which might have something to do with it.
I remembered the jacket today, but the rain stopped.
But that's not the point. The point is, yesterday's rain prevented me from going on my daily walks, and I can't tell you how bad it threw off my entire day.
I felt more edgy, tired and unfocused yesterday afternoon than I have in the two weeks since I started my daily walks. I felt so tired that by the time I got home I could barely do half of my strength exercises and no cardio at all.
I knew I felt better after my walks, more energized, calmer and better able to get through the day, but I had no idea that missing just one day would throw me off to such a degree.
As if I needed another reason to keep up my walking, the fact that it daily makes me feel better, think clearer and gives me tons more energy is something I don't think even I can argue with!
Here's to my daily walks!
Thursday, February 16, 2012
It's no secret that portion sizes at restaurants have grown, and that the plate in front of me is usually two or three meals worth of food. Especially when I am so careful about my portion sizes and dish sizes at home, it can be far too easy to forget that I've got three times the amount of food in front of me that I'm used to and over-eat to not just a diet-killing but a stomach-aching degree.
The best solution I've found for this is when I order a meal, ask for a to-go box to come with it. If it doesn't come with my plate, I'll ask the waitress again for a to-go box right away. I'll empty half (or more) of my plate into the box before I've ever eaten a bite, and get a much more reasonable portion size in front of me.
That way, I'm not tempted to eat more than I should either because I can't tell how much I've actually gone through or because it's "there" and I just keep picking at it.
Putting the extra portions away at the very beginning ensures that I only eat as much as I intend to and get the satisfied feeling of a clean plate. I also have the bonus of an extra meal or two without any additional cost! It's a great way to keep from over-doing it on those rare nights out.
Friday, February 10, 2012
I track my food for the day first thing in the morning.
Rather than eating first and then logging it in, I try to track my meals as early in the day as possible. This is a great way to plan meals and think of recipe ideas or ponder what the pantry holds before I get home. It's nice to know what I'm going to eat (or have to buy at the store) before it's time to actually have to fix it.
This not only allows me to keep to a schedule and eliminate 'boredom' snacking, it also lets me see - early enough to do something about it - if I'm going over or under my targets.
I can tell before I've even eaten lunch whether or not I'm planning too many calories or not enough protein for the whole day. I can alter my meal plan early in the day before it's too late to adjust and I don't feel satisfied with what I have to have for dinner to be within my daily ranges.
And best of all, it lets me have a *plan* for fitting that piece of fluffy pink birthday cake in without the least smidgen of those horrible feelings of "guilt", "failure" or "regret" that so often accompany eating what is labeled "bad for you", doubly so when on a "diet".
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