A few months ago I decided to use myself as the guinea pig for the 6 step process I use to take action and achieve success in my life. One area I needed to change was my weight, as I had gotten to 192 lbs, which was approximately 22 lbs over my ideal weight for my age and height.
I started my lifestyle change on December 1, 2014 and to date have lost 10.6 lbs. I thought it would be a nice change of pace to talk about my experience thus far: struggles, victories, foods changes, etc. So here is my healthy living adventure revealed!
For those who don’t recall, my original plan was to keep it simple. I have always been a big picture person and hate getting bogged down with details, so I decided to figure out my target caloric intake (1750/day) and simply eat less calories than my target each day. Seemed like a good plan, simple, yet effective and kept me from worrying about carbs versus protein or good fat bad fat, blah, blah, blah. I found a great healthy cookbook from my friends Mark and Kim (hi guys!) and decided to eat the majority of my meals from the recipes in the book. I really rely on experts when I make a change because I have very little interest in being a trail blazer in every aspect of my life. People have successfully lost weight before me so I found an example and followed, saved time and energy.
Anywho, I downloaded an app that allowed me to search foods and track my calories each day. Once again I chose the simplest app that allowed me to track my weight and look up calorie values for meals. It also allowed me to create meals and input the calorie info from the cookbook. I emptied my cupboards of all food items that were not a part of my new lifestyle and refilled them with food needed to prepare 3-4 recipes from the book. The only other changes have been to limit eating out to twice a month, if that, and drink lots of water. Simple, right?
So far things are going good. I weigh first thing every Monday morning before I eat or drink anything; this past weigh-in was 181.4!! I really like seeing my waistline get smaller and slowly have more room in my clothes. Also, it is awesome to experience more confidence when looking in the mirror and liking what I see! My ears enjoy the sound of the words, “wow, you’ve lost weight!”
But with all the good feelings I have with weight loss, the biggest difference I have noticed is I have more motivation in other areas of my life. I have more energy and find myself procrastinating less. I find myself wanting things around me to be and look better, for instance I keep things cleaner and less messy. It is easier to construct my day to get more things done; and I like that fact! I guess because I am feeling better about myself those positive feelings are permeating other parts of life. And knowing I can reach goals has increased my expectation of myself. Not to mention that I have realized a slight reduction in the pain associated with MS. I did not expect the increase in personal responsibility but I appreciate it!
There have been a few struggles though. The most notable struggle for me has been eating a lot less junk food. I no longer eat any processed food of any kind and have greatly reduced my candy eating. AND I LOVE MY CANDY!! It took a couple weeks to train myself to reach for an apple instead of cookies, but with a little time the cravings lessened dramatically. In the beginning I wanted to eat my normal stuff but i had to constantly remind myself to do right. Other than junk food, I found it aggravating at first to have to plan meals versus throwing something in the microwave. Eating better means combining ingredients in order to actually cook a meal and it takes time to get accustomed to doing so. Lastly, it is a constant exercise in will power to make healthy food choices versus grabbing fast food or junking out at the house. But, I quickly learned what was necessary to keep my calories under 1750 each day and changed to accommodate. Most of the aggravations of this lifestyle change were prevalent in the first 4 weeks and have diminished since. Things becoming habitual have greatly reduced the need for as much will power as the temptations simply are a lot less.
I recommend making sure to find healthy snack items as it makes it easier to reach goals eating apples, lowfat cottage cheese and almonds versus cookies, ice cream and chips. I still eat some of that stuff, but in very small quantities and always log it! Honestly, logging and seeing what I put in my body holds me responsible and quickly changed my habits; I didn’t want to let myself down. I originally planned to walk every day for 10 minutes and have done so. It only accounts for burning about 40 calories per day, but something is better than nothing. Plus, my legs and feet can only take so much so I do what I can. The 10+ pounds I’ve shed so far have been strictly based on counting calories and chosing better food to eat. Simple and easy to do, which is the way I like to keep it! I noticed after a couple weeks that my motivation was to see that smaller number on the scale. My entire week is focused on losing 1-1.5 lbs and I use that to convince myself to make great food choices. And it works!
Now I have promised to always be honest, so I will admit I allow myself one “treat” meal. If I reach my Monday weigh-in goal, I allow myself a small lunch at Culver’s. I don’t break the calorie bank, but I have a small burger, small fry and small soda. I always log the calories (usually 1,000!!) and I take time to allow myself to enjoy it! I plan my whole day around it! Lol. It’s my time to just relax and eat something that tastes so darn good. Fitness trainers everywhere are probably cringing, but I LIKE CHEESEBURGERS and knowing there will be relief at the end of a committed week is also motivating. Another thing that I do is I allow myself to eat whenever I am hungry. Some reading I have done says to never eat after 7-8 pm, but I use common sense. If it is 9:00 and I am hungry I will carefully chose a small snack to eat. It may have slowed my progress a bit, but I am in this for the long haul and am comfortable with my progress.
Overall I have found the process so far to be challenging, but over time the results have become more motivating than the struggles are difficult. Changing my food lifestyle is now a habit and I rarely find myself craving sweets or sugar of any kind. I notice a huge difference in how much worse my body feels after my Culver’s lunch and will eventually phase that out.
My research tells me that my body will level out once I get to my ideal range of 165-170 pounds, but I didn’t really set that as my long-term goal. My long-term goal is to change my eating forever and let my weight be what it is. I have 2 months under my belt, the future is up to me!