…or does the apostrophe go after the ‘s;’ I’m never sure.
In any event, yes, I’m one of the millions of people who have vowed to become healthier/more fit/lose weight/blah blah blah, but this year so far I’ve been successful for 8 days, which is probably 5 days more than whenever my last successful streak occurred.
This time around I’m trying something different–I’m using moderation and mindfulness. Here are some of the ways I’m attempting to be successful this time around:
- I don’t have a “goal weight” or anything like that. I haven’t and I don’t weigh myself. I personally don’t care about the number (until I go to the doctor for something, of course; then I’m obsessed with it for like a week). I care about how I feel, how I see myself, and how my clothes fit. In the last six years, I’ve gone up approximately 2 sizes (depending on make of clothes, I can be anywhere from a 7 to a 10). I mentally place blame on a variety of factors, but I’m not in the interest of declaring those here. So now I’m trying to change that. And I can say that after a solid week, I already feel a difference. Maybe it’s due to these strategies and maybe it’s all in my head, but either way, noticing seems to be helping keep me on track.
- I drink more water. I’ve always tried to drink more water, but once again I’m being extra mindful about it. When I get a headache, first I’m trying to drink a full glass of water before assuming I need ibuprofen or Excedrin. I pay attention to my urine, which I learned should be a light yellow color, and how often I’m going to the bathroom. I recently read somewhere “if you’re not urinating once per hour, you’re not drinking enough water.” I try not to let it get to hourly because that’s like torture, but I do try to manage every other hour. I’m not thrilled about it, because I hate water (yes, even water with fruit in it), but it’s slightly easier in the winter when having heat on all the time completely dries out the air, making me more thirsty overall.
- I count calories and I document them. When I notice something is a ridiculous amount of calories, I can’t justify writing it in the book. I then do one of two things: I have a much smaller portion of it or I refrain from having it altogether. My book is structured to allot one page per day and at the top I write the date, what time I woke up, and what time I actually got out of bed. I then document the time and what I eat throughout the day as well as the approximate calories and keep a running total. I measure portion sizes rather than grabbing a bag of potato chips and eating 60% of it in one sitting. So now I’m eating single portion-sizes instead of six of them at once. In the book, I also write what time I went to bed and what time I believe I fell asleep as well as any naps I took.
- I don’t deny myself things. If I want a cookie, I calorie-budget in a cookie (or two). If I want Fritos, I eat a serving of Fritos. I pretend like I might “run” it off later, but I hate that system (because I never do it and then I wind up having way too many calories!), so I typically just trade other calories out or keep the intake low (e.g., only one serving).
- This system, however, includes alcohol. It wasn’t until I started counting alcohol calories that I realized how many calories I was drinking. Five ounces of white wine is 125 calories. Most beers are around 200. Vodka is one of the lowest-calorie alcohols, but I’m really not that interested in having a glass of vodka at the end of my long day (and I typically don’t do mixers other than water). So not only has this helped lower both my alcohol and calorie intake, but it’s reduced the alcohol-induced munchies and it’s been helping me to prepare for my 2nd annual “no-alcohol February.” I certainly won’t be replacing wine and beer with non-alcoholic substitutes though this year–just think of all the wasted, empty calories!
- I am doing two 30-day challenges: plank and cardio, and the easiest level for each (beginner level 1). After numerous failed attempts at working out over the years, I realized that incremental steps is probably the most likely way to get me to do more extended workouts. I’ve nailed the first week of both (up to a 35-second forearm plank & 3.5 minutes of various cardio exercises, from a 10-second plank & 3o seconds of cardio), but I know it will get hard and I will want more than anything not to do it. I hope I stick it out. I do them when I feel like I have energy or, failing that, while watching something on TV that I like enough to provide the biggest distraction. Have I mentioned I hate workouts? Oh, and I also don’t calculate negative calories or document exercises. That may just be because it’s so little right now, but ideally I’m not looking to trade exercise for food. Running for 20 minutes doesn’t mean I can have a slice of cake. I’m not deducting the calories burned from the running total, but I may if/when it becomes a more substantial number.
- If I make it through January with those, I’ve decided to try out the local YMCA in February (I figure all the January failures–hopefully not including myself–will be gone by then). I have a 3-day pass and I’ve checked out monthly memberships (doable and worth it if I’m going to go regularly). I also printed out the group fitness schedule and posted it on my fridge as a motivator and reminder.
- I threw out everything that was going to be tempting, even if I would allow myself to have small portions in moderation (e.g., pancakes, cheese, pasta, rice)–things in the fridge, by the way, not uncooked in the cabinet. I imagine that if I get to a place where I’m satisfied with my progress, I will re-introduce those foods in my diet. Plus, I can always donate them if I don’t.
- I buy things that are healthy and I also like. This is unlike the past because I used to buy things that I thought I could learn to like (e.g., strawberries, apples, other healthy things). Now I just stick with things I know I’ll eat and I find creative ways to use them (e.g., my recent cauliflower-tots). So I wind up eating cauliflower (bread crumbs not forbidden, just in moderation, see?) and I’m excited by a cool, tasty thing that I’m also proud of myself for making.
- I have a “cheat day”…sort of. Rather than being like “fuck it!” and eating and drinking anything and everything I want on once-weekly “cheat days,” I continue to count calories and I work to keep it as close to 2,000 as possible. This way it’s closer to a standard non-diet amount of calories and reduces the likelihood that I’ll be undoing my progress by adding weight.
- I’ve bitten the bullet and started to “unfollow” food accounts. Mac Mart, Spotburger, the myriad of other food trucks from back in Philly…I love you all dearly, but you make me hungry for things that I just can’t eat right now. Plus, like 80% of them are inaccessible from where I live these days anyway, so I’ve just been torturing myself for no reason.
So that’s all I can think of for now that I’ve been doing (it’s plenty though, I feel). I told myself I couldn’t document my progress until it had been a month, but there’s always the possibility I don’t make it a month, and I want to be able to look back on what strategies I was trying to assess where I may have gone wrong. Plus, if it doesn’t all go to shit, I will be able to say that these tactics were successful! So either way it’s useful.
And now…to have a few ounces of chicken breast (50 cal/oz.) with some of my cauliflower tots (20 cal/tot) and a cup of tea with a teaspoon of sugar (15 cal/tsp.)! Tasty and healthy!