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New Week...New Month....New Goals!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lately, I've been trying to remember what I did that made me so successful just a few years ago!

My goals through the holidays are pretty simple, and right in line with my normal goals...just more emphasis on consistency and accountability.

I WILL get in 300 fitness minutes per week. Even if I'm just walking, I will work out!!

I WILL remember to strength train and stretch, and will incorporate more yoga practices to my routine!

I WILL cook for myself and use healthy cooking/baking substitutions whenever possible!

And a goal I haven't had in over a year -- I WILL track calories weekly instead of daily!!

This one requires some explanation....

For years, I did what I wanted without thinking about the consequences. I didn't exercise...ate takeout every day...ordered a large pizza or a big serving of my favorite dishes from the Chinese restaurant and thought nothing of eating it all in one sitting.

And it bit me in the keister!

I topped off the scale at 215 before I finally stopped whining about my weight gain and decided to do something. I was in a size 16, and those clothes were too tight. I didn't know how to cook, didn't know how to exercise or have a gym membership or anything. Every previous attempt had been horrible -- I was hungry constantly and ended up binging after a week of bland salads with no dressing. I ended up sore for days after deciding to run for the first time, and so I gave up. But I knew that gaining 70 pounds in just two years....well, I needed to make some really big changes or I was going to eat my way into an unhappy and unhealthy life and an early grave!

I started slowly. After the first couple of months, when I was only showing a few pounds in weight loss, I started to get depressed and think the weight would never come off. Just like all the times before. And of course, my comfort would be food. Which would make the whole situation worse.

That was the first time in my life I ever threw away a scale.

Best thing I've ever done. Because I stopped focusing on three little numbers, and focused on how I felt. I couldn't make myself get on the treadmill, so I bought a couple of DVDs and focused on walking outside. And then hiking. And then biking, and eventually kayaking....and found that those really fun activities burned WAY more calories than the stupid dreaded treadmill.

And I started cooking. First it was simple stuff. Mexican casseroles and quesadillas were my favorites, but then I started trying new things. And found that while I will never stop loving food and eating, I loved the cooking part just as much. My recipes got healthier and more inventive, until I finally reached the point where I was cooking almost everything from scratch. But I was still loving almost everything I ate. It was just a matter of making it healthier and stopping myself after I reached the point where I wasn't hungry anymore.


It took almost two years, but I finally reached the point where I was BELOW my original goal weight of 175. And those habits have stood me in good stead. I'm still regaining and relosing the same 10 pounds (155-165) over and over, but I have not gone back up over 170 since.

So what's the difference? Is it that little part of me that doesn't want to give up a glass of wine in the evening, or a slice of cake on special occasions? Is it the part of me that enjoys taking 1-2 rest days rather than pushing myself to exercise more consistently?

Or is it the part of me that feels like all of this is "old hat" and has grown complacent? Is it those tiny extra calories that I forget to track creeping up on me? Or those days when I go a little over sabotaging me?

Early on, I identified one bad habit and finally managed to vanquish it. I thought that if I had "blown" a day -- gone over my calorie goals -- it was blown and I should take full advantage. And then I would let myself have those pizza rolls for a late-night snack, or that ice cream or cake I had been avoiding for the last couple of days. And instead of just going over by a few calories, I would go over by several hundred.

When I realized that weekend eating and those "blown" days were probably the reason I wasn't losing weight, way back at the beginning, I started tracking EVERYTHING! I pre-portioned all my foods and counted even the mustard I put on my hot dogs, and was pretty shocked at how much those "little" things like salad dressing, condiments, and so forth were adding to my calories and in particular salt and sugar intake. So I started cutting them out. But my friends all went out for dinner on the weekend, and I didn't want to miss out! So....what to do?!

I started tracking by the week. I multiplied my daily goals for calories and fat and carbs and protein by 7, and kept a weekly range. So if I stayed at 1200 or so calories during the week (i.e. skipping that second helping, eating my baked potato plain, not ordering fries with my burger, etc.) I could "bank" some calories and go over a little on the weekend without wrecking my diet.

It worked. The weight came off, and for the first time, I really understood what a healthy lifestyle meant. It meant making a few compromises, enjoying yourself without going wild and pigging out...and then getting right back to your healthy meal planning the next day.

Have I grown complacent on "going over" my goals one or two days a week? I no longer have that mentality, and I don't take advantage of the situation by pigging out on everything. But I DO have designated "cheat" days, where I'm allowed to eat out, and I do tend to be forgiving around the holidays and don't track that second serving of cranberry sauce and "guestimate" how big my servings are...or I track the pie but forget the whipped cream that goes on top of my pie.

Soooo....back to basics. Track it all, even the condiments, even if it means I don't get a gold star on my Spark calendar for the day. Don't half-a$$ the workouts, put in your full hour even if you have to walk or march in place the last 10 minutes! Put away the scale if I find myself obsessed with the numbers or giving up hope that I'll ever get back on track and lose the rest of the weight!!

And track weekly calories instead of just daily. Let myself enjoy a reward or an evening out every now and then. And then get back to meeting those goals...and losing that weight!!!
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