Starting Over From Scratch

I spent the weekend thinking really, really hard about how to get started on my weight loss again.  It’s one thing to acknowledge that there’s been a whole lot of stress in my life recently, and to realize that this is why I’m off track.  It’s another thing to translate that into the ability to make positive changes and get going again.  Particularly since I have a terrible habit – and I’m sure I’m not alone in this – of saying “why bother?” and really blowing my goals if I miss a little bit.  It’s like I find myself thinking that if I’m 100 calories over budget, I may as well go ahead and be a thousand over.  Or if I miss one day of exercise, I may as well blow off the rest of the week.

It’s counterproductive, is what I’m saying.  So, I put a lot of thought over the weekend into what I can do to change things and get going again, and I got really excited.  And then the bronchitis came back, and everything went into a tailspin once more.

Still, here’s the things I came up with.  And some of them are things I can still do right now, even while I recover from being sick.

First off, I need to change up my eating patterns.  During the work week I get into the office at 5 am, and that’s when I eat breakfast – ideally the one I made in advance.  Then I end up having lunch around 9:30 am, but don’t eat dinner until between 4 and 5 pm.  This is not, clearly, a good idea if I’m trying not to snack and/or overeat.  So, here’s my new plan:  since I generally have two breakfast wraps for breakfast, I’ll eat one at 5 am and the other on my first break (usually 7:30 to 8 am, when most people are eating breakfast).  Then I’ll have a snack of some sort – fruit, or carrots, or the like – around 10 am, and eat lunch round about noon.  Then dinner at 4 to 5 pm like usual, and it should help take care of my noon food cravings I’ve been getting.

Secondly, I really need to stop carrying cash or my debit card as a regular thing.  Generally that’s a good idea because it helps curb impulse spending, but specifically it’s helpful for weight loss because it helps curb impulse snacking.  It is, after all, really hard to buy a snack if I don’t have any way to pay for it.  (This probably won’t be a permanent thing, but I need to enforce some discipline on myself until I learn to exercise it responsibly).

Third, I really need to avoid unplanned snacking.  As I tell my son, there’s nothing wrong with a little cake (or chocolate, or ice cream, or whatever) as long as you don’t eat too much and as long as you have a healthy diet.  I tell him this, because I want him to be healthy but I don’t want him to get a complex about food or weight because he’s watching me work on my food and weight issues.  So, snacking can happen.  But it needs to be planned, and for the most part it should be fruit.  And it certainly shouldn’t be opportunistic impulse snacking from the vending machines.  So, I’ll be making all my own snacks and packing them with my meals, after weighing them out and calculating the calories and factoring it into my daily budget.

That brings me to point four, my daily calorie budget.  I’m way off, right now, so I’m “starting over”.  For the month of March I’m returning to the 2,500 calorie budget I started this whole process with.  It’s still not excessive, particularly when I’m exercising, and it feels more doable as I get back on the wagon.  In April I’ll cut it a little and go to 2,400 calories.  Then, in May I’ll cut to 2,300 calories.  And I’ll probably keep it there for a while.

Fifth, exercise.  At this point, I’m not planning on changing my daily workouts – they’re only about twenty minutes (thirty with the extra stretching from my Kung Flow practice), so that’s not all that bad.  My walking goal is going to be reduced a little, though, because I need to get back into the habit.  So, for March, I’ll be aiming for a minimum of 4.5 miles a day.  This goes up to 5 miles a day in April, and 5.5 miles a day in May.  And, of course, I’m certainly allowed to exceed goal.

So, there it is.  When I first came up with these ideas, I was worried that I’d feel like I’d failed.  But, you know what?  I don’t.  I feel like I’m acknowledging that I need to rebuild, and I’m creating a plan to do just that.  I actually feel really good about all of this.  March will be the month where I get back on track!

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