Tag Archives: goals

The Get Fit Journy: Step Two (Food)

Breakfast

Welcome back to my closer look at how I lost 100ish pounds in the past year. You can check out my previous posts here and here.

Food was the thing that I figured I would struggle with the most. I didn’t know where I was going to find the willpower to say no to my favorite foods (I have a sweet tooth for sure!). As with most things along this journey things weren’t quite what I expected. Saying no became the easy part, it was tracking what I was eating that was the hard part.

So let’s start with the question I get asked more than any other question: What did you eat?

Fruits and Veggies

I am the type of person that if you tell me I can’t do something I will fight with all I have if I need to in order to prove you wrong! I can do ANYTHING I put my mind to! The same thing happens with me when it comes to food. If you tell me I can’t have something it becomes all I can think about. I HAVE to have it! For a girl who loves herself  some carbs and loves ice cream this is not a good thing when you are trying to get healthy.

This is why diets have never worked for me before. You limit what I can eat and it will set me up for failure. I would try a diet that limited certain things and as soon as I failed (and I did many times) not only was I upset that yet again I didn’t lose any weight but I had the added shame and guilt of not being able to control what I put in my mouth.

Cooking

So rule number one for me this time around was that I would not cut a single food out of my diet completely.That’s not to say that I didn’t cut back on things but I refuse to go to a birthday party and not have cake! I refuse to go to Thanksgiving and not have pumpkin pie! And you know what, I go to birthday parties and eat cake and I go to Thanksgiving and I kill that pumpkin pie and there is zero guilt and I still lost weight and continue to keep it off.

The secret for me (and it’s really more of a hard reality than a secret) is portion control and tracking literally EVERY SINGLE food I put in my mouth everyday at the beginning of my journey! If you have tried to lose weight in the past you have heard someone say you have to track your food intake. I had heard it a thousand times but never felt I needed to do that. Boy was I wrong, in those early days of making lifestyle changes keeping a food “diary” made all the difference in the world. There is no way I would be where I am today had I not done it.

That being said it was by far the most involved thing that I did in the beginning. There was a time when I am pretty sure there were more photos on my phone if nutrition labels than of my children.

Strawberries

The first step to create my food diary was figuring out how much to eat each day in order to lose weight and do it SAFELY! I was willing to do what I needed to do to see changes in my body but I would not go hungry and I would not do anything that would put my health at risk. I started doing a lot of internet research to start about the right amount of calories needed for someone like me. After I felt like I had a pretty good idea of how many calories I should have each day (as well as my exercise plan) I made an appointment to meet with my doctor and go over my plan with him to a) make sure what I was planning on doing was healthy and b) to have someone to hold me accountable.

After chatting with the doctor and getting the go ahead I had to come up with a way to stick with my calorie count each day. For me that meant logging into SparkPeople multiple times each day. There are a ton of “food diary” sites out there but with all the features (food diary, exercises, community, etc) that you get for FREE with SparkPeople I decided it was the site that worked best for me. Some things were easy to track like single serving foods. It was recipes made from scratch that became the real work.

I had a pretty good idea of the amount of calories I wanted to have for each meal. I wanted to eat often enough to keep my metabolism moving so I made sure to eat every two hours. 3 meals a day with 3 snacks in between. I then split up my calories among those six meals/snacks. It was figuring out how to stick to those numbers that caused the most work. Now, I will admit I am a spreadsheet kind of gal! I love me a good Excel document! So what worked for me was creating an Excel document that had a column for each item on the nutrition label and each item that I put in a recipe would get its own row in the spreadsheet where I would enter the nutrition information. So if you can imagine me in the kitchen with my phone taking a picture of a nutrition label putting the ingredient in the pot and repeating the process until I have pictures of every ingredient in a recipe on my phone you can see that anyone walking into my kitchen those first couple months would have thought I was insane. I would then grab the laptop while the food was cooking and enter everything into the spreadsheet. That then gave me the total nutrition information for that particular recipe. I would then divide the total by the number of calories I allotted for that meal and that told me how much of that particular recipe I could have. So I could eat what I wanted but if it was something on the not so healthy side I just knew I wasn’t going to be able to eat as much of it as I would be able to if I had made a healthier choice.

Writing it out it seems so complicated and while it is time-consuming (I won’t lie about that) it really made all the difference. It made it a lot easier to make better choices. I could look at my calories for the day to see how I was doing and it actually made it super easy to say no to that Dairy Queen Blizzard at 7:30 at night when I could look and see that I had stayed on track all day and I really didn’t want to ruin it when the day was almost over.

While tracking everything was what I believe made the biggest difference that is not to say that I didn’t change my eating habits at all. It became more about making little changes, slowly. We are a family that doesn’t have a lot of time between the time we get home and bedtime so we are always in search for quick dinners. We would easily eat at least one if not two frozen pizzas a week. We now have pizza once a month and make it at home and you know what, it takes less time than cooking that frozen pizza. Instead of ice cream a couple of times a week I will treat myself a couple of times a month. That birthday cake we talked about before, I will split it with one of the kids. It’s little changes like these that made the change to better eating habits relatively easy. After a while my tastes changed and having a lot of something sweet didn’t even taste good. I got used to not having that sick feeling you get from eating too much and now I know it’s not worth it. A little taste of something not so healthy is enough. The first bite really does taste just as good as the last bite. I don’t need an excessive amount of bites in between.

I am obviously not a doctor or a nutritionist and this is just what worked for me. Hopefully though you have found some helpful information here.

Do you struggle with your nutrition? What tips and tricks have you found? Let me know in the comments below or find me over on Facebook or Twitter.

Until next time!

The Get Fit Journey: Step 1 (Goals)

Last week I shared with you the first year of my get fit journey (364 Days Since My Journey Began). I want to spend the next couple weeks delving in a little deeper and share with you how I was able to accomplish it.

I knew the first thing I needed to do was figure out exactly what my goal was. I knew for me it wasn’t about a number on a scale or the number on the tag of my jeans. For me it was about feeling better and being healthy, but what exactly did that mean. How would I know when I accomplished my goal? Enter the idea of a SMART goal. SMART goals have proven to help people stick to their goals for the long haul.

So, what is a SMART goal? SMART goals are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. I am a firm believer that setting a goal for yourself in any area of your life keeping these five things in mind will help you make any dream a reality!

Let’s start from the beginning with making your goal SPECIFIC. Having a broad goal such as “lose weight” or “get healthy” sound good but you need something a little more concrete so you can have some sense of exactly what you are working toward.

To help come up with a specific goal it is helpful to think of the  “What”, “When” and “How” of your goal. “getting healthy” was my endgame but what exactly does that look like? I knew I needed something more specific that I could track, measure my progress and would ultimately represent “getting healthy” to me.

I had been thinking about becoming a “runner” for quite some time but I was in no condition to run for more than 10 seconds at a time. So, that became the “What” of my goal. I decided that running a 5K would represent “getting healthy” for me.

Next I moved on to the “When”. Being in a state that can get darn cold in the winter and having never run a mile in my life I set my eyes on spring. I knew that would give me the time I needed to work toward that 5K without trying to push myself too far too fast.

Lastly, the “How”. I was pretty much starting out at zero so I knew that I was going to have to start slow and work my way up. So I decided to start with using my lunch break at work to go for a walk 3 days a week. After a month of that I downloaded the “C25K” app for my phone and used that as my guide to lead me to being able to run a 5K.

Once you have a SPECIFIC goal in mind you need to make sure that it is MEASURABLE. You have to have a way to measure your progress. If you can’t see yourself progressing you are very likely to give up and quit. Measuring my progress was pretty easy as I was using the “C25K” app at the time and was able to see myself running longer each time I used the app.

Next up is making sure your goal is ATTAINABLE. While it is good to think big when goal setting if you make goal too big you’ll set yourself up for failure. You need to be honest with yourself and ask yourself if you really believe you can achieve it and you have the resources available to you to accomplish it. You need to make sure that your goal falls in line with your priorities. Part of this for me was family time. I don’t get to spend the amount of time with my family that I would like as it is. I was not willing to give up time with my family to do this. For me that meant getting up before the family, hitting the gym on my lunch hour and going to bed after everyone else.

Your goal also needs to be RELEVANT. Your goal has to be meaningful to you and fit with your lifestyle. If I hated running and I had decided to make running a 5K my goal I never would have stuck with it. You need to ask yourself why you want to reach your goal. The reasons why you want to achieve your goal are going to provide you with the momentum and inspiration you need when the going gets tough, and it will get tough!

Lastly, your goal needs to be TIMELY. You really can’t gauge your progress and tweak your approach if you don’t have a deadline in mind. This will also help to hold you accountable. I would have days where I just didn’t want to go out and run but I knew that I would feel good once I did it and having that end date in mind and knowing if I didn’t get out there I was setting myself up to fail really helped keep me motivated.

Once you have your SMART goal all set and you are working towards it make sure to check in now and then and see if you need to make any adjustments to help you along the way.

Just in case you are wondering, I did accomplish my goal and ran my first 5K in March of this year. I now have several under my belt and have set my sights on the next goal which is to run a 10K. My 10K is coming up next month and I have been hard at work training for it!

If you are a fan of worksheets like me, SparkPeople.com has a great goal-setting worksheet that you can use to create your goal right here.

What are your goals? How are you measuring your progress? Let me know in the comments below or find me over on Facebook or Twitter!

Good luck reaching your goals whatever they may be!

%d bloggers like this: