Six-Month Spark Anniversary

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Today's blog entry comes on the date that marks six months on Spark. Two months ago, I blogged about what had worked and not worked and I tried to set some short-term goals. I have done OK on some of those short-term goals:
Goal Status
1. Stay on Spark. Done!
2. Manage beverages better. Getting much better at drinking fluids and limiting alcohol.
3. Exercise like mad! Switched to less intense and got better weight loss results.

After six months, and only 12 pounds lighter, I think I am in this for the long term! I still have another 20 pounds to lose. It’s time to take stock again of what has helped me stay on track and to identify the major hurdles to overcome in the coming months.

Three things that have helped me stay on track:

1 – Eating in. Cooking for yourself is probably one of the most neglected elements in weight loss. I see a lot of info how to get a low-calorie meal at such-and-such a restaurant, or what prepared diet foods (low fat or low carb) are a good buy, but rarely does anyone sing the praises of home cooking from scratch. For me, reconnecting with my kitchen has been what has kept me on track. When I go off the rails, it is almost always because there are prepared foods in the house or I am eating out.

2 – Getting out. Going for walks has really helped. Even though this is not an intense workout, it still burns calories and it is good for the brain, too! When I feel like eating just for the heck of it, talking a walk can help get my mind off of that. And it is ‘down time’, not focussing on some task, just out and about enjoying the scenery.

3 - Managing beverages better. Drinking more water, more herbal tea, and less beer and wine has helped. Especially substituting light beer for regular, and cutting wine out altogether. Many people, myself included, will munch a lot more when they are having a drink, so by limiting alcohol, I have also limited food binges.

Three things I want to overcome:

1 – Get control of carb binges. I can only place so much blame on hormones for my binges on breads and other carbs. This is a struggle which has been getting worse as my carb intake has increase 10% over the past 2 months. I think this is partly an offset to my decreased fat intake, but also just because I have a lot of difficulty controlling carbs. I need to work on carb substitutes.

2 – Plan better when traveling. I have noticed that whenever I am on vacation or on a business trip, the calories are off the chart. Since I have some trips coming up in the short term, this is definitely something I want to work on right now. When I am home, I use the Spark trackers to plan out what I am going to eat, trying to stay within my goals. But when I am on the road, I lose all notion of calories. This tells me also that I am not truly ‘there’ yet in the process of developing a healthy lifestyle. It is still a ‘diet’. This is a long-term goal, and I am trying to identify the hurdles in the here and now (like travel) to help me reach this one eventually.

3 – Sleep. This is the first time I am identifying sleep as part of my weight loss plan. I get bouts of insomnia and stay up late and consequently eat at all hours of the day. I think if I can sleep better, I will be able to regulate hunger better and also not feel like I have to eat all the time to keep my energy level up.

Spark has given me the opportunity for some surprising self-discovery in the past six months. I will keep checking in regularly since this blog is a great way to document that.

Best of luck to all!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thanks! I am grateful for your encouragement. And that's a great tip, literally cutting calories with your knife by lopping off half that bun! emoticon
    3518 days ago
    Hooray! You have analyzed what you are doing and why. Now work on those areas, step up on activity and those last 20 pounds will fly off. One trick I have added to my arsenal is no bread at home. If I eat a sandwich, home or out I take off 1/2 of the bread, be it a bun, etc. That does help. Keep moving, keep tracking.
    Happy 6 month anniversary!
    3518 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.