Thursday, May 31, 2012
I have no idea what came over me. I had several days in a row of successes...I was eating all the right things, sticking to my exercise plan, and felt good about my progress. But then, all of sudden...
...enter "The Sloth!" With no warning, my evil arch-nemesis arrived and took control. It was as though I was outside watching in. On a day I had nothing in particular planned and plenty of time available to be a productive citizen of the health and fitness universe,"The Sloth" retreated to the bedroom, coming out only to mindlessly grab and consume mass quantities of food. ("The Sloth" must be from France...does anyone remember the Coneheads from the early days of "SNL?")
Confused by the unexpected appearance of this ne'er-do-well, I could only shake my head with disappointment. When I woke up in the morning, I was determined to make sure this villain would not return.
Yes, "The Sloth" was indeed a formidable opponent, but I could be stronger. After all, I work out WAY more than SHE does. I created my own super-hero personna, and dubbed her "Go-Girl." While "The Sloth" has super-powers of apathy and slovenliness, "Go-Girl" has super-strength and an appointment book.
Yes, an appointment book. Keeping busy all day long keeps me from grazing inappropriately.
"Plan ahead or plan to fail." It's been said many times and rings true every time. On days my appointment book is looking pretty open, I schedule things to keep me busy, right down to my personal work-out time in the gym. If need be, I could even schedule time to clean out the refrigerator, organize a drawer, or even watch TV (as long as it's not more than an hour).
I do my very best on days when I'm NOT at home for much of the day. I plan my meals ahead of time (at least the day before) with a few things that are interchangeable if I suddenly decide I need a change. I usually have snacks with me and end up eating six small meals a day, averaging 200 calories each to keep me at my 1200 calorie limit.
Sparkpeople recommends having visible reminders of our goals posted to help us stay on track. If I was a better artist, I'd come up with comic-book style pictures depicting "Go-Girl" as she defeats "The Sloth." But for now, I have a powerful visual image, and am reminded of my physical and mental strength every time I work out.
Just like "The Joker" and "The Penguin" kept returning to give Batman grief, I am sure "The Sloth" will make a return from time to time. And if she wins an occasional battle, I know I'll win the war. One appointment at a time.
Saturday, April 07, 2012
I have learned an important lesson in all my years of yo-yo dieting. If I concentrate on restricting my food intake, I may enjoy short term success at the expense of meeting my long-term goals. I can only play the martyr for so long!
My focus is on what I can ADD to my lifestyle, not what I must cut out. If I add enough things (food and otherwise) that are positive, the negative habits (at least some of them) will be squeezed out of my life. An example: I'm trying to find whole grains whenever I can. Having done that, there is hardly the need to use white bread. And I have discovered some very satisfying flavors I would have never tried before.
When consuming a healthy diet, the number of calories is certainly an important consideration. The way I look at it, I have a "budget" of 1200 calories to spend. Just like a child learning to spend his or her allowance wisely, the calories are there for me to make similar choices. Will I spend 200 calories on a handful of jelly beans? Or will I choose instead to spend them on a half-sandwich made with whole grain bread, lean turkey, sprouts, cucumbers, tomato, lettuce, and a light brushing of mayonnaise or honey mustard? Which snack will leave me more satisfied? Hmmm...
My favorite tool at Sparkpeople is the nutrition planner. I do my best to plan my day BEFORE I actually eat. It's much easier to tweak the plan than it is to "un-eat" something! I shoot for six small meals each day averaging 200 calories each. But yesterday was a successful exception to the rule. I was fortunate enough to have 3 out of 4 family members sitting down for dinner at the same time. The highlight: Filet Mignon, my favorite. It's not something I have very often (maybe twice a year) because it's packed with 430 calories! But by snacking on lots of veggies throughout the day and serving steamed broccoli with the filet, I kept my calories in check for the day.
In anticipation, I made sure I spent an extra 15 minutes doing cardio. I looked forward to the filet and enjoyed it without guilt!
Now, am I perfect about using the tools? Of course not! A wise friend once told me that it's all about not progress, not perfection. And as long as I continue to use the tools (even if I overindulge or fail to plan ahead) I will continue to make progress.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
My 17-year-old daughter is reaping the benefits of healthier eating, too. She has cut out nearly all fast-food restaurants (despite working at one!) with the occasional exception of Subway (not the chain with which she is employed). She's discovering that not only is she feeling better and looking better...she has more of her paycheck left for things like makeup and new (smaller) clothes!
Thursday, March 15, 2012
I really don't need the croutons in my salad. I'd rather spend the calories more wisely. But I MISS the crunchy little buzzards! I tried chopping up some celery into fairly small pieces, and surprisingly this satisfied my need to crunch! In this case, I was more focused on the texture of the food vs. the flavor. What tricks do you use to spend your calories more wisely?
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