I’m more than two weeks into a healthy eating, fitter living kick – and this time, I intend to stick with it for the long haul. No, really. Yes, I know I’ve said that before. But this time, I have to see it through.
You see, I’m just over halfway through my 49th year, and since I’m very deadline-motivated, that means it’s finally time for me to stop making excuses, quit eating junk food and overeating, get back to working out and arrive at a healthier weight and fitter bod by my VERY big, exciting birthday in May. And then keep these healthier habits in place for the rest of my life.
It’s do-able. I’m ready. I know the changes I need to make, I’ve got reasonable goals in place AND I know how to achieve them. It can all be summed up as “eat less, move more” but there’s actually a lot more to it than that. I’ve got ten tried and true health and fitness guidelines that have always worked for me, and I know they will not fail me now (and I’ll blog about my “top ten” soon!)
I am meal-prepping and eating a ton of healthy, fresh veggies and fruits. I’ve adopted the Whole 30 mentality of eschewing flour, grains, sugar and dairy. I’ve got friends and buddies checking in on my progress and keeping me accountable. It’s working – I’m down almost 9 lbs and feeling great. And no, this isn’t all about losing weight – it’s about being healthier and fitter and stronger and faster as I age – but for me personally, there’s an important weight-loss component in all of that.
So, what will make this time different from ALL the other failed attempts to lose weight and get healthy?
For one, I’m journaling and being self-reflective about why, when and how I’ve sabotaged myself in the past. For as long as I can remember, the following have been danger zones or triggers that result in me going off my program and reverting to old, bad habits. I’m being especially careful to stay strong and keep these in mind – to “stay woke,” if you will. I intend to stay the course and reach my goals this time.
- Success/feeling good. Historically, once I get to about this point – two weeks of virtuous eating and working out, a handful or more of pounds down on the scale – I feel the need to cheat, splurge and celebrate. This is cray and I’ve done it so often in the past. THIS time, I will celebrate instead with some ice water, fresh fruit and a long walk or some yoga… and keep going! And if I do decide to treat myself, I’ll keep it to a reasonable portion and then get right back to my clean eating – no regrets.
- Failure/feeling bad. Likewise, if I’ve had a bad day at work or an argument at home, in the past I’ve tried to comfort myself with a cheat meal or treat that ends up sending me off the deep end and waking up days later from a sugar and carbs-induced coma. NOT this time – I know I’m doing the right things, for the right reason, and the results will come in time as long as I stay consistent and committed. Like I said above, if I do decide mindfully and thoughtfully to have a treat, I won’t let it derail me.
- Plateaus/feeling frustrated. Admittedly, it’s hard to stay strong when we’re not seeing results. The scale can plateau – but it’s just one measure. I also need to consider how my clothes are fitting, how well I’m sleeping and how comfortable I am in my own bod. When those little aches and pains go away two weeks into Whole 30, it’s a sure sign that I’m meant to be eating this way – whatever the scale says! Right now I’m feeling so fantastic, I can’t imagine ever going back to eating any other way.
- Feeling fatter despite my best efforts. I don’t know if this phenomenon is unique to me, but there’s something about losing weight that makes me notice my body and chub rolls more which ends up making me feel FATTER. I have literally quit and gone back to bad habits in the past simply because I “gave up” after finding myself feeling fatter and more self-conscious due to weight loss. This is ridiculous and will NOT happen this time – I’m staying laser-focused on my long-term goals and on how much better I feel when I eat clean and exercise. Yes, I’ve started to feel more conscious of my body and that includes some chub rolls, but I’m on the right track to slim down and I won’t let anything stop me!
- Travel and vacations. It is truly hard to keep to a Whole 30 regimen while traveling and on vacation, but that’s why this six-month period is such a perfect time for me to do this. We have ZERO travel planned until the end of the year! And if I can get down to my goal weight by that Mexico cruise in December, just imagine how much more fun I’ll have splashing in the pool, donning cute sundresses and posing for pictures.
- Visitors and entertaining. While it can be difficult to stay on a clean eating program while entertaining house guests, it’s not impossible – especially in the summer. We do have family coming to visit soon, and they’ll be treated to healthy meals featuring grilled meats and lots of fresh veggies and fruits. I can’t imagine anyone will complain. This will take some extra discipline, but I know I’m up for it.
- Boredom and tiredness. Boredom is a definite program killer, but it also doesn’t happen much these days – we tend to keep things moving! Tiredness, on the other hand, happens often. I just need to stay focused, journal daily about how I’m feeling and stay in touch with what’s going on for me internally. If I’m tired, I need to take a rest – not reach for off-program snacks. I can do this.
- Wanting to treat myself. I don’t know if it’s my personality type or just out of habit, but I have a very strong “treat yo’self” vibe and that can be tough to battle. Once my inner voice starts up with “you’ve worked hard! you deserve it!” it can be very hard to resist. Still, I know there are ways I can treat myself without indulging in sweet treats or carbs, so I will be focusing on non-food rewards and treating myself like a queen.
- Wanting to punish myself. A dark side of overeating is that it’s not always done for pleasure – or rather, sometimes it’s done for the pleasure of self-punishment. It’s hard to admit, but sometimes reaching for sugar or carbs is done out of self-loathing rather than a desire to reward or treat oneself. I am keeping it positive, focusing on self-compassion and self-love, and will journal my feelings instead of eating them. This is a journey and I’m learning more about myself as I go.
So there you have it – stumbling blocks that have derailed my past healthy eating and exercise efforts. I am not dieting. I am making lifestyle changes that I want to continue forever. Over time, as I’ve lost weight and reached my goals, I am sure I’ll allow myself more occasional treats but I am not 20 anymore. I have to face the fact that this new, lighter and cleaner way of eating is necessary from now on to maintain my health, vitality and the lifestyle that I want. And I know I can do it!
Have you had success losing weight and keeping it off – or simply changing your eating habits to a healthier lifestyle? I’d love to hear about your tips, successes – and how you may have sabotaged yourself in the past. Leave me a comment below or over on Facebook.