Friday, January 11, 2013

Food for Thought: Break It Down

So how are your New Year's goals going?  Mine are doing fine; I am human and have some challenges, but I'll get through them.  I got to thinking about goals and how to make them more manageable, and I decided to share my weight-loss story because it demostrates how to make large, seemingly impossible goals manageable!

Everyone goes so strongly at the beginning of January to reach that goal of "losing 20 pounds", but by the end, they burn out.  It's happened to me many, many times until I realized that, like the saying goes, "Rome wasn't built in a day".  I have yo-yo dieted for YEARS...  Last year around this time, I (and my doctor) got fed up with myself.  I realized that weight-loss is not something you can do for a few months; it's a COMPLETE lifestyle change.

I changed my goal from lose 20 pounds to being healthy.  Concentrating on feeling and looking my best by doing little things each month to improve my health rather than a number will make this process much more enjoyable.  That's how I lost 40 pounds, and I have kept most of it off!  I will NEVER be a size 2; in fact, a size 8 is pretty much out of the question too.  The smallest size I have been is a 12, and I have come to accept that.

The story of my weight-loss is peppered in with my suggestions to help you in your goal to be healthy in 2013!  As always, please consult a physician before engaging in any exercise or diet!

January-GRADUALLY reduce soda/juice/sport drinks/high calorie coffee drink intake and increase water intake.  If you drink lots of soda et al don't quit cold turkey; that just causes stress, and stress will cause you to go right back to it.  For instance, if you drink 4 cans a day then cut it down week by week to one replacing the lost can with water instead; that'll cut at least 5 pounds right there if you drink it on a daily basis (I know someone that lost 20 pounds just doing this!).

February-concentrate on your eating habits.  When you are eating, cut the distractions: phone, TV, computer, etc.  Think about what you are putting in your mouth!  Keeping a journal will help track what you eat and when.  Also, are you eating when bored or stressed even when you're not hungry?  (I am VERY guilty of this but getting better!)  You'd be surprised how much you do!  Instead, concentrate on doing other activities like going for a walk, drinking water, playing with pets, etc.

March-concentrate on portion sizes. Know your portion sizes by looking at the nutrition info and only eating one serving--you'll be surprised by how much you are overeating!

April-reduce 'junk' food intake.  Concentrate on what you are eating, and substituting healthy snacks like fruit, small salad, granola bars, nuts, and dried fruits (pay attention to serving sizes because too much can be just as bad as the junk food!).  Click here for more information regarding proper nutrition.

May-add exercise to your daily life (consult with a doctor).  You don't have to go to the gym for 2 hours a day to see benefits; just walking around your neighborhood for 30 minutes a day is beneficial.  You can increase your walking time over the course of the year.  Make it a competition!  Time yourself and aim to do better daily!  If you miss a day, don't beat yourself up.  Tomorrow is a new day!  Make your workout something you can FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.  The reason I say this?  You wanted to change for a reason--why would you work sooooo hard to lose weight to just go back to your workout (if you did one) before you changed?  Exactly!  I like to dance, do yoga, and "Shred It" with Jillian Michaels.

June-find a diet you can live with FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE (consult with a doctor).  The same reason as stated for exercising.  Let me tell you from experience--denying yourself is not a diet.  I eat butter, whole milk, chocolate, etc because I adhere to a small portion size.  If I have a craving for random things like a McDonald's cheeseburger or Arby's french fries, I grab my husband or a friend to get a small, and then we split it.  I concentrate on what I am eating so after 2-3 bites, my craving is satisfied.  If you deny yourself, you typically eat until you find a substitute or you get your craving food.  My diet?  Lots of fruits and veggies, lean meat, almost no dairy, whole grains (barley, quinoa, rice, etc), legumes, red wine (up to 6 oz daily) and dark chocolate (up to 1 oz a day).

July-reduce stress.  This is different for everyone, but it is important to know about yourself.  If I am stressed, I like to drive to a national park and hike, take a hot, aromatherapy bath, or play with my kitties.  Try to avoid 'escaping' into Facebook, YouTube, TV, or other media outlets.

August-make time for yourself.  No it's not crazy.  If you like to read, make the time.  If you like to golf, make the time.  It will allow you to decompress and enjoy the things you love!

September-get more sleep.  Everyone has a optimal amount of sleep they need to feel their best.  Mine is about 8 hours, and I aim to get that much daily.  However, life doesn't allow you to do that sometimes, and that is okay.  Also, try to go to sleep and wake up around the same time so Monday isn't so hard for you!

October-experiment with new foods.  Never had a parsnip before?  Find some recipes and make it!  I am having a blast doing this!  It helps to add variety to your diet.

November and December-remember your portion sizes and to continue exercising through the holidays!

That's my story/advice!  What is your weight-loss story?  Do you have any advice?  I'd love to hear it!

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