I don’t know about you but accountability is a big deal for me when I really commit to working on a healthier lifestyle. I am really good about justifying my way into a pint of ice cream or some peanut m&m’s and then feel guilty when I overindulge. Here are a few tips I use that help me stay accountable and focused to help me reach my goal.
Weigh yourself if you must but then put the scale away. This was one of the hardest things for me to do. For whatever reason I loved the torture every day of weighing myself….stripped of all clothing and after I had gone to the bathroom of course. It really did keep me on an emotional roller coaster because I don’t know about you but I can gain 5lbs, according to the scale, practically overnight. Whether it was water retention or my monthly friend or just one night of blowing my healthy eating, I would get on that scale and feel deflated. This especially was disheartening on days when I woke up feeling “thin” only to see the number go up! Especially if you are weight training or honestly exercising in general just put the scale away. Freedom I tell you, total freedom! My scale is now in a cabinet instead of sitting out in my bathroom and while I still do drag it out here and there I honestly pay more attention to how my clothes are fitting instead and that is usually a much better gauge. At the very most I would tell you to weigh only once every month and keep it consistent. If you weigh in the middle of your 28 day cycle don’t turn around and weigh the week before you start the next month.
Everyone knows the secret to losing weight is to consume less than than your body needs for fuel. The only real way to keep track of this is to keep a food journal and record every single item you are eating every day. Is this a lot of work? It can be but it can also be a huge eye opener. There are so many great tools out there to help you keep track. I use My Fitness Pal and it seems to work best for me. It also allows me to look back and see when I do screw up it is not the end of the world and tomorrow is a new day! The other plus to this is being able to take a look at the nutrition you are consuming….not just the calories. I will save some of this for another post but being able to see how much you are eating in carbs, protein, fat and even sugar, fiber, sodium and iron can really help you see the foods that make you feel your best….and your worst. My Fitness Pal, if used correctly, will help you identify where you are lacking and where you may be overindulging in these area.
I do not count calories anymore….not exactly. I have a goal for my daily calorie intake based on my basic metabolic rate which I then reduce slightly if I’m wanting to lose weight. I am still fairly active and will not drop it below 1400 calories. Many times people will drop to 1200 calories and that is just not worth it to me. Sure, I might successfully lose weight faster but the restrictions I put on myself will just lead me to a pitfall down the road when I cannot sustain it for long periods of time. If you want to find yours BMR you can link to a calculator here. This is my guide and only my guide. I fluctuate above and below this every single day and I’m okay with that. My Fitness Pal allows you to set this goal for yourself in the goals section. Here is a little snip of what a “day in the life” looks like for me from a My Fitness Pal report.
It may just be my old accountant days taking over, but if I want to be serious I measure everything. I purchased a scale several years ago so I could appropriately account for the meat I was serving myself. There are so many “rules of thumb” out there but it was too easy for me to justify just a little more without knowing for sure. Honestly what I have found many times is I can have even more than I was allowing myself. The exact scale I have can be found at Target here. I love it because it measures in both lb and kg and you can place a container on it, zero that out and add your item to the container and receive the correct weight. This has been pretty eye opening to me. Look at this amount of pork loin that was only 4 oz!
I have tried working out on my own and it is just not fun for me. I favored team sports when I was younger for a reason….I need the motivation and competition. Being around other women who are working to improve their health is empowering. I have tried running on my own, workout videos from home, joining a big box gym and none of those were a good fit for me. If you are self motivated then go for it but for me I need the accountability. Hiring a personal trainer for one on one sessions was not feasible but I started joining bootcamps and then later power training classes and found a workout “family”. We do not all hang out outside the gym but we have built a little gym kinship and knowing those girls will be there every morning definitely makes me think twice about missing.
Don’t make excuses! If you are serious about living a healthier lifestyle don’t lie to yourself. Here are some of the stories I’ve told myself over the years.
- I can’t eat healthy because my kids won’t eat it. Bologna….if you really want to make a change you can eat what you want!! Does this mean you may have to make a separate meal, or in my case let my picky eater have cereal or “nachos” every night, maybe it does but don’t let that stop you from making a personal choice for your health. At the end of the day you are not going to be a very helpful parent for your child if you are not feeling your best.
- I blew it on Monday so I might as well wait until next week to start eating healthy. This is one I have said millions of times and so there I went the rest of the week throwing caution to the wind and eating everything in sight like there was going to be a food strike. If you have a bad day own it, acknowledge it….LOG IT IN YOUR FOOD LOG…and then forget about it. Tomorrow is always a new day.
- Healthy food is more expensive. More expensive than what? More expensive than dining out on fast food? More expensive than the processed food? More expensive than medical bills? I’m sorry but you can eat healthy and not break the bank. Now, I haven’t taken the plunge into organic food and grassfed beef and all that jazz. I’m sure it is better for us all and all that but honestly I’ve just been lazy and have just decided for now not to stress about it. You can plan healthy meals on a budget. Does it take a little more time and a little more planning? Probably so but it is so worth the time up front. Look into farmers markets and use the weekly sales circulars for planning your meals around the meat that is on sale each week. Eat produce that is in season. All these things can help you keep the budget in check and prepare healthy meals.
- It’s only one serving of…..insert Cheetos, Blue Bell, Peanut M&M’s, trail mix. This is where I finally realized portion control programs did not work for me. Weight Watchers is a great program and it has helped so many people get control of overeating but for me it was only a temporary fix. When you have a tendency to binge eat, having just one “serving” of a trigger food is more than likely not going to satisfy you. I would end up justifying a second serving and so on until I met my goal for the day. Does it satisfy me? Most of the time, no, it ends up leading me to think about the food even more and the next thing I know I’ve awaken with cheese puff stains on my fingers and not a crumb left in the bag.
Now before you think I’m all 100% eating healthy and no fun, I allow myself whatever I want. I just know that sometimes the food I’m craving is really not going to satisfy me no matter how much I have. I had a trainer once (hello Sharon if you are reading!) who said to me “you don’t really need that chocolate chip cookie; you have had it before and you know what it taste like and if you eat it you will just end up wearing it”. It stuck with me. Moderation is key and finding a good balance that works for you is so important. Accepting you may never be a size 6 again is sometimes hard but if being a size 6 means I can never again enjoy dessert with my family or a rich meal on a date with my man then I have to learn to be happy and healthy at another size.
Hopefully some of what works for me might be applicable in your life. I realize it is not a perfect science and I am definitely still learning about this all the time. Be accountable to yourself and stay focused no matter what your goal.
Total side note but maybe I need to get my dog on some healthy living plan….the entire time I have been typing this post he has been passing the most atrocious gas…EVER! TMI I know.
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