Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Journey to a Healthier Lifestyle (Part 3)

In case you missed them, you can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here of this series.

As I said in Part 2, my theory as to why I was not able to have real success with losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight was because my methods and philosophy were both wrong. My methods included doing extreme things that I could never keep up with long-term and my philosophy was based too much on the numbers.

So, what is different this time? Well, I started to get serious again about losing some weight at the end of December 2009 when a fellow blogger decided it was time to get healthy and was hosting weekly weigh-ins. I basically just said, "why not" and committed to checking in each Monday with my progress. To be honest, I was skeptical as to whether or not this time would be any different, but I was getting really sick and tired of feeling sick and tired all the time. I had absolutely no energy. Besides the fact I was feeling sluggish all the time, having a baby changed my perspective on things. My family has a history of heart disease and diabetes. I started becoming concerned about my health and realizing that I need to take proper care of my body as I have a little one to care for, too. I want to set a good example to my children of how to live a healthy lifestyle. I wanted to look and feel healthy again; I wanted energy. This time it was about being healthier. Yes, the numbers still mattered somewhat, but ultimately, it was about getting healthier. I think that is why this time is different.

I looked at what I was eating and how much I was eating. I had to get honest with the fact that I had often been guilty of grossly overeating (gluttony), which is sinful. I had to get honest with the fact that I was eating way too much junk food, which was harming my body, the temple of the Holy Spirit. Like I mentioned in Part 1, these were two of the main motivators for me to change my lifestyle. My lack of energy and feeling sluggish all the time were a result of how I was treating my body - what I was feeding it and how much I was feeding it, along with sitting around way too much.

So, my philosophy was different this time. I became more concerned about my health than just the numbers. My methods, therefore, were also different this time. I decided that I was only going to do things that were sustainable over the long-term.

For me, this meant that I could commit to exercising 30 minutes a day most days. I did not commit to more than that because I knew I wouldn't be able to sustain that over the long-term. My philosophy for exercise was this: Something is Always Better than Nothing. This meant that if I had a busy day and couldn't spend 30 minutes on the treadmill, I would just do 10 minutes. This meant that if I was super tired and just didn't feel like doing anything, I would tell myself to just do 5 minutes of activity. To get me motivated to exercise, I decided to set a goal to run 5 km in 30 minutes. I followed the Couch to 5 K program, which only required 30 minutes of training 3 days a week. This was realistic for me and I could blog about my progress to stay accountable. It gave me a goal to work toward where I could see real results each week in my fitness level.

My new philosophy and methods also meant no crash dieting. I was not about to say I would never eat chips, drink pop, or eat cake again. Why not? Well, the reality is that this would not be sustainable over the long-term for me. So I just said LESS of these things and MORE fresh fruits and veggies. I had been addicted to pop and had been drinking it almost every day. I decided to drink less pop and drink it only on certain occasions, such as when we went to someone's house, or when we ate pizza. I would try to share a can instead of drinking it all.

Portion control
was my main philosophy with regards to what I was eating. Basically I just decided to eat less of everything. I knew I had been overeating for a very long time, so I decided to pay attention to my body's cues and simply stop eating when I was full. Instead of a big piece of cake, I'd have a small piece of cake. Instead of my usual 3 scoops of ice cream, I'd have 1 scoop of ice cream. Instead of my usual large plate of nachos, I'd have a mini plate of nachos. Instead of my usual 3 cookies, I'd have just 1. This is really exactly what I did (and still do). I still eat junk food and sweets, I just eat less of them.

I also adopted the philosophy of "instead of this, eat that." What do I mean by that? In Part 4 of this series, I plan to discuss the practical things I did to lose the weight and what I'm doing now to maintain my weight.

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