Now, despite what I may have alluded to yesterday, there's nothing revolutionary here. (Which is actually the whole point.) I simply ran out of steam to fit everything I wanted to say in one post!
Let me start by saying that discipline is not my strong suit.
When it comes to diet and exercise, I firmly believe that strategy is better than discipline anyway. (I did not invent this concept, and I can't remember where I heard it, but I love it!) The problem is, lately I've lacked the discipline to implement and stick to a strategy!
It's a vicious cycle of staying up too late, getting too little sleep, waiting until I'm already starving to plan or prepare meals, and generally being reactionary about my eating and exercise.
But as I've been listening to one of my favorite podcasts, The Nutrition Diva: Quick and Dirty Tips for Eating Well and Feeling Fabulous, several ephinanies crashed together all at once.
1. I listened to one podcast about Weight Loss Myths, and here's the bit that hit me between the eyes:
"Losing weight [too] quickly virtually guarantees failure. Rapid weight loss creates long-term hormonal and metabolic changes in your body that make it extremely difficult for you to maintain that hard-won weight loss.
Let’s say, for example, that Mary and Sue both weigh 130 pounds. Mary has been about the same weight since college. Sue, on the other hand, has just lost 50 pounds on a crash diet. Both women are now maintaining their current weight—but, in order to do that, Sue has to exercise twice as much and eat 15% less than Mary for the rest of her life. It’s horridly unfair but true.
If you want spend the rest of your life battling your weight, be sure to lose weight as quickly as possible. Otherwise, I suggest losing it as slowly as possible."
Whew. Rapid weight loss has NEVER been a problem for me. Maybe I can be grateful that my pounds melt off slowly, if at all. Maybe.
2. Then I listened to a podcast about sticking to New Year's Resolutions. The ideas that stood out to me from this podcast were:
A. Be Specific. Rather than making a goal that says "eat more vegetables," make your goal ridiculously specific, as in "eat three servings of vegetables by 3 p.m. every day."
B. Stay Focused on Your Actions not Your Results. Aha! This one is for me. If I focus on a result of a certain weight on a scale, I feel discouraged all along the way. But if I focus on an action that isn't tied up in a result, then I stay more motivated. Like in 2002, when I did lose 22 pounds, it was because I was focused on an action (healthful eating and 5 hours of stringent exercise a week) rather than a specific outcome.
C. Make Your Goals Positive. Rather than making the goal "stop eating sugary cereals," make the goal something like, "choose cereals that have at least 5 grams of fiber and less than 5 grams of sugar." (Another of Nutrition Diva's tips.)
C. Go On Record. The Diva says, "To give your resolution a little extra staying power, share it with others. There's something about making your resolution public that makes it just a little harder to abandon."
These recent thoughts have been swimming around in my head, along with all of the information I've absorbed (but not implemented) about healthy eating over the years. Below is a simple strategy I'm going to try in order to get myself started on a healthier trajectory again, and break the bad habits that have kept me stalled for the last 2 years.
Starting now, I will set one eating goal and one exercise goal at the first of every month in 2013. These will be small, specific, positive goals that are focused on my actions and not on an imagined result. I will focus on just these two goals throughout the month, slowly making them a part of the fabric of my life, until they become automatic and long-lasting.
I will print these goals and magnet them to my refrigerator where I can see them daily. And I will post them on my blog, so I will feel more accountable to stick to them.
I will take a "before" picture of myself. But I probably will not be willing to post it publicly unless there's a reasonably apparent difference in my "after" picture. (Wink.)
My husband will join me.
We will continue to build on the foundation we set, and see what we're motivated to tackle from here. In other words, I will not abandon February's goal in March. Instead, I'll continue to stick to that habit while layering a new healthy habit on top.
My February Habits:
Travis's February Habits:
Do these sound too easy?
Here's the thing: I've set goals that are too lofty too many times in the last two years. And I've tried to make too many changes at once too many times. With the number of current demands on my time, I don't have the available energy to overhaul too much of my life all at once. I want to be realistic about my goals, so I can build up the will and the confidence to tackle bigger and better things.
I've been trying for 2 years, ever since baby Keira arrived, to exercise more regularly. And every time I make a goal of "5 days a week," it fails. I tell myself that I've done 5 days a week before, so I should be able to do it again. But back when I've done it before, I didn't have a toddler while maintaining a demanding work schedule.
So that's it! We're going to make 22 healthy new habits in 2013. And if we lose some weight, I'd love it. But once again, I am not going to make a number on the scale my goal.
Feel free to join us!
Note: Calendars are from the Paislee Press 2013 Calendar Kit, available here. I would have posted a picture of them magneted to my fridge, but the printer is also the scanner and, as I mentioned yesterday, it has just kicked the bucket.