Friday, December 30, 2016

My Plan to Get Back on Track for the New Year

Let me just say, I am not a New Year's Resolution person.  For me, most of them just don't stick past the first three weeks of the new year.  What I'm really preferring to call this is: My Plan to Get Back on Track for the New Year.  Allow me to explain.

Back in August, I had written about how I was having some minor health issues due to my poor lifestyle choices.  After talking with my doctor, we agreed that the best plan to fix my problem was for me to eat healthier and exercise more often so that I could lose the ten pounds that I had gained in the last year.  I took this very seriously and for all of August and September, I ate really healthy and worked out like a beast seven days a week.  I did really well with losing weight, steadily shedding half a pound a week every week.  However, it became exhausting working out like that.  My entire life was revolving around exercising and it was taking up all of my free time during the week.  Constantly denying myself fries and sweets and the things I loved was creating a constant mental battle between my cravings and my willpower.

When October rolled around, I started to slow down on the exercise.  I switched from cardio and strength training to doing yoga seven days a week but I was still eating a very restricted diet.  Then November came and the week of Thanksgiving I had a really bad cold.  With the combination of the holidays and not feeling well, I basically slouched around on the couch for the twelve day duration of my cold.  I didn't exercise at all and I ate whatever made me feel better - ramen noodles, mashed potatoes, leftover pie... you get the picture, right?

When I finally started feeling better, I got back on track with eating a little bit better but I made no effort any more to exercise.  I still was getting 10,000 steps a day every day but a lot of the time that was achieved by walking in place while watching YouTube.  Needless to say, after Christmas feasting, I've gained back quite a bit of the weight that I had lost.  Some of it is water that I'm retaining from all the excess salt but a good bit of it is also just extra fat that I've gained back from all those extra holiday calories.  I definitely don't want to continue in this pattern, so I've formulated a plan to get back on track for the new year so I can eventually meet my goal of losing that ten pounds.

1. Make healthier food choices.
Losing weight is a numbers game.  You have to burn more calories than you're taking in.  What I've found is that it is easier for me to just eat healthier than try to burn a ton of calories through exercise.  My problem is that I love to eat!  But cleaning your plate when it's full of spinach and vegetables is still a lot less calories than cleaning a plate of chicken fingers and French fries.  I know how to eat healthy, I just need to make an effort to do it.  For me, that starts with having lots of fresh produce and healthy snacks in the house and not having a bunch of junk food around to tempt me.

2. Exercise routinely... only five days a week.
Next, I know I need to get back to exercising routinely.  However, when I was doing thirty to ninety minutes of cardio and strength training and exercising seven days a week, I burnt myself out.  I plan on doing yoga, which I really enjoy both physically and mentally, but only five days a week and for thirty minutes.  Giving myself a couple days off leaves me permission to work around my schedule more.  If I have a particularly busy weekday, I can take a day off and workout on the weekend instead.  Or I can do sixty minutes the next day instead of thirty twice.  Also, I feel like yoga is exercise that I can sustain much better.  Cardio and strength training were making my blood sugars plummet - which caused me to consume more calories to raise it - which caused me to want to do more cardio to burn the calories - horrible cycle.  For me as a diabetic, yoga is much more gentle on the body while still building stronger muscles, increasing flexibility, and calming my overly active mind.

3. Get 10,000 steps six days a week.
Another way I burnt myself out was setting the expectation that I should get 10,000 steps a day, every day.  Even on weekends.  This time, I'm giving myself permission to spend one day out of the weekend just relaxing and recharging for the week to come.  Just that little thing gives me a lot more energy to accomplish my other goals throughout the rest of the week without feeling so exhausted and stressed out about getting steps in.

4. Go to sleep earlier.
Sleep!  It's the missing piece for a lot of people who are trying to lose weight.  Your body needs sleep to power your workouts but also some people who are sleep deprived have an increase in cravings for excess calories.  Plus being sleep deprived makes you age prematurely!  I'm pretty good about getting into bed early but those darn electronics keep me distracted and awake way longer than I need to be.  I need to work on putting the phone down and actually going to sleep.

5. Leave some wiggle room.
Finally, I need to give myself some wiggle room.  Having a piece of chocolate or some ice cream every now and then will not ruin me but depriving myself completely until I have a mental food breakdown may.  I feel like that's sort of what happened around Thanksgiving and Christmas when I definitely had some Cookie Monster moments.  And if I only get in four workouts in a week, that's okay!  I need to learn to not be so hard on myself when no one else has crazy unrealistic expectations for me.

Do you have any New Year's Resolutions?  How do you maintain a lifestyle of eating healthy and exercising?  I'd love to hear from you!  I hope you all have a wonderful, safe New Year's Eve!  Here's to a great 2017!  πŸΎ πŸ₯‚ πŸŽ‰ πŸŽ† πŸŽ‡

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