It just dawned on me yesterday. Almost exactly a year ago, I headed to a local clothing store to pick out a new outfit.
I discovered a great pre-Christmas sale and wrote about my cozy new outfit that chased the chills away.
(Oh, mercy! I really don’t like my hair in that picture…)
I loved that outfit, but I didn’t explain the real reason I had to buy it. The truth was, the clothes in my closet were all becoming too small and uncomfortable to wear.
This event coincided with some goal planning exercises I was doing for my blog. As I thought about my blog goals, I also started to think about my personal goals. Eventually, I came up with a specific goal and game plan to deal with my (increasing) weight gain issues.
Now, a year has gone by, and I needed to head to the store again…This time to buy smaller jeans. (A much more exciting shopping trip, I must say!;))
Sometimes it’s good and beneficial to look back and remember. Lots of little changes in the past (almost) 365 days have added up to big results, and the scale tells me I’m 28 pounds lighter than when I stepped on it January 1st.
I write this post not to brag or gloat or to make anyone feel they need to do the same things I did. But, I wanted to encourage those of you in similar situations, and share what worked for me. Maybe it will be of benefit to you in one way or another. That is my hope.
Here’s How a New Year’s Goal Helped me Lose 28 Pounds
I named the specific goal I was working toward.
After much thought and deliberation, my goal became to “develop healthy habits in my daily life“. I had tried the “lose x number of pounds by such and such a time” before, and that never worked for me. This time, I wanted to shift my focus to long term results, not instant gratification. I’d already tried (and failed) the Weight Watchers Diet online, the Military Diet, the Juicing Diet, and the Cabbage Soup Diet. Obviously, “diet” anything wasn’t going to work for me…
I defined the big “why” of my goal.
As much fun it is to be motivated by the possibility of being a smaller size, I knew that focus wasn’t going to work for me. I believe with all my heart that beauty is NOT defined by the size you are. I have always lived under the philosophy that no matter what size you are, you are beautiful…So, what was really my motivation?
Yep. That was it! I have been observing my immediate family all my life, and watched how many of my family members developed diabetes later on in life. I want to try to avoid that, if possible. My reasoning was that if I could figure out how to eat healthy now, maybe I won’t be faced with that complication later…
I came up with a game plan with specific, measurable tasks (pun intended!).;)
Google & Pinterest became my friends as I researched and researched healthy eating habits. After reading lots of articles, I came up with 3 specific things I wanted to do every. day. ~ Essentially, these were my 3 main new “healthy habits” for the year.
I spent time writing up 3 pages in a bullet journal to help me keep track of whether or not I was completing my new daily “habits”.
Here’s what they were:
- Drink 2 big Starbucks cups full of water a day.
- Weigh myself every. single. morning.
- Use My Fitness Pal app to track what I was eating every day.
I researched & experimented with recipes and meal plans to fit with my daily calorie recommendation.
This was a big learning curve at first. The My Fitness Pal app calculates your recommended calorie amount based on the information you give it when you sign up. My calorie recommendation was 1200 calories.
I quickly realized that if I didn’t choose my calories wisely, I was going to be very, very hungry all day long!!:)
For instance a tiny little piece of fudge is very high in calories, and won’t fill you up for long. In contrast, a huge spinach salad with all kinds of veggies and deli turkey meat is very few calories and fills you up for hours!
I planned what I was going to eat before I was hungry!
This was a key for me. I spent time with paper and pen and wrote out daily meal plans at first so I knew what I could eat that would add up to 1200 calories. I also learned that in order to stay on track, I needed to eat breakfast, lunch, & dinner plus a morning, afternoon, and evening snack. (Basically, I eat all day long!;))
A big turning point for me was when I figured out that I could eat the same breakfast and lunch everyday. I know that won’t work for some of you, but I absolutely love it! I love the fact that each day I only have to think about what to make for dinner, and I’m happy as a clam eating my breakfast of 1 scrambled egg, 1 piece of turkey bacon, & 1/2 an english muffin and a lunch of a (huge!) spinach and veggie salad with turkey deli meat.
I didn’t deny myself of any food group (or sugar, or chocolate, or gluten, or…)
Thankfully, I don’t have any food allergies, so I didn’t consider any food “off limits”. I focused instead on eating what was the very best in the big picture. For example, I have a big sweet tooth. So, instead of telling myself I couldn’t eat anything sweet ever again, I “treat” myself every day to one square of really good quality chocolate. It satisfies my sweet tooth, but doesn’t add a ton of calories to my daily quota.
I had people encouraging me on this journey
I know a big part of weight loss groups’ success is that there is a support system in place. I understand now how important it is surround yourself with people who encourage you in your journey.
Thankfully, my husband has been on the healthy eating journey for even longer than I have. For three years he has been tracking his eating and exercise on his My Fitness Pal, and has lost nearly 40 pounds.
His motivation to start, incidentally, was the pictures we took when we were in Hawaii.
This was us then…
My co-workers have also been a huge blessing as I started this journey. Their kind words of encouragement have been so helpful for keeping up the new habits for the long term.
I don’t think of this goal as having an end date
This is both encouraging and challenging. I want these new habits to carry on indefinitely ~ not just until I can get down to my goal weight. I have found myself “stuck” at the same weight for quite a while now. And, I admit that I’m finding the Christmas goodies to be really hard to resist somedays…
So, I will keep reminding myself of these new habits and work on them ~ some days with more success than others…
Exercise is also a component that I’m lacking motivation in…
Maybe that should be this year’s new goal??;)
A few months ago, I did a Facebook Live mini workshop on Organization. I dedicated one session to goal setting, and described in more detail how I used a Bullet Journal for weight loss. You can see it here:
If you have any questions or suggestions on how to develop healthy eating habits, please share in the comments below. I’d love to learn from you!