I know how cliché these types of New Year’s goals are, but…I am determined to lose weight in 2019.
As of New Year’s Day, I am the biggest I have ever been in my life. I am twenty pounds heavier than I was on my wedding day, and thirty pounds heavier than I was at my smallest. I’m just not happy with how I look and feel at this weight – clothes that I love don’t fit, and I don’t feel confident that I can do all of the things I like to do (like 50+ mile bike rides).
Does the extra weight make me feel as though I am not as worthy of love? Not at all; in 2018 I accomplished long-term goals and my achievements made my self-confidence skyrocket. Could I be happy at this new weight for the rest of my life? Honestly, the answer to that question is no. Everyone has their own perceptions of themselves and I feel that I just look better when I’m leaner.
I know that in order to be successful, I need to make a plan. Last August, I wrote a blog post about going back to what worked for me in the past when I lost weight and maintained the loss – counting calories and sticking to a workout routine. Over the last several months I have gotten better about tracking my food and activity in MyFitnessPal, but I would routinely go over my allotted calorie amount and find excuses to skip working out. What did work for me back then is not working for me now. I still think calorie counting is the best approach for me, but decided that my food and workouts needed evaluating. I also strongly believe that I should only make changes that I’m willing to live with forever, with means crash diets are clearly out and I’m looking to instead make more moderate and sustainable changes.
A lot of diets center around having a variety of food options, so that the dieter doesn’t get bored. The opposite actually works well for me: I typically like to eat the same breakfasts and lunches every day during the week, so that those meals become routine and I don’t have to think about them. I want to continue doing that. But when I really examined my eating habits, I was able to pinpoint some things that were leading to failures. First of all was my attitude toward breakfast. Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight has heard that it’s very important to eat breakfast, and so I do so religiously. But when I started paying attention to my hunger levels, I found that I’m not actually hungry at 5am when I get up for work, and I was eating breakfast merely out of habit. That also meant I was eating a very light breakfast and not staying full for very long. In January, I decided to try switching it up and eating a more hearty breakfast of eggs scrambled with turkey sausage and bell peppers, but not having my first meal until I got to work around 7am. Probably not shockingly, with this new regimen I am actually hungry when it’s time to eat, and the food I’m eating is keeping me full until lunchtime. Since beginning this experiment there hasn’t been a single time that I wanted a mid-morning snack.
Lunch was the next meal I decided to evaluate. In the past, I had success by making a Shakeology shake with almond milk and bringing that for lunch. I don’t remember hunger being an issue in the past, but lately I noticed that I would have my shake and then feel hungry again almost immediately. This would leave me craving snacks, and more often than not I would give into those cravings. Since my shake wasn’t working for me anymore, I decided to swap it out and have been bringing a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread for lunch. The sandwich I make is only 60 calories more than the shake was, but it is SO much more filling and satisfying. I do still find myself feeling hungry by around 3pm, and when that happens I’ll have a snack, usually a Greek yogurt. Bill and I are pretty good about pre-planning weeknight dinners and cooking healthy meals at home, so I am not planning to make changes there.
Honestly, my biggest downfall when it comes to food is on the weekend, when we like to go out for dinners and drinks. I love eating out, and I also love high-calorie snacks like popcorn at the movies. I do not have a lot of willpower or self-control when it comes to these things and I know it. I also know that they should be treats, not habits. My goal for the weekends, at least for right now, is to limit them to one splurge. I’m hoping that the promise of one really nice treat will be the incentive I need to plan healthier food the rest of the weekend.
I can also mitigate some of the weekend splurge damage by working out on Saturday and Sunday, and I am determined to make sure I take full advantage of extra time on my days off to exercise. My gym offers Red Hot Dance classes that I absolutely love on Saturday mornings, as well as on Monday and Wednesday nights. There is rarely a legitimate reason why I can’t go to the classes. During the week, I’m tired when I get home from work so I let myself skip class to stay home, even though I know I’ll feel better if I go. On Saturdays, I rarely get up and moving around in time to be at a dance class or anywhere else at 10am, but that is easy to change. To achieve my best results, I really think I need to be workout out 4-5 times per week. To start out, I am going to set my intention at four days a week. I can attend the three dance classes at the gym, and work out with Bill on Sundays. I don’t want to get discouraged, but once I’m comfortable in that routine I want to add a fifth day and work out for at least thirty minutes one day during the week.
The last part of my plan is to be open and honest with myself about my progress and struggles, which includes writing about them. I know that this process is going to be hard. Forming new habits is hard. Workouts are hard. But achieving my goals will make the hard work oh so very worth it.