In my opinion, to be a happy and productive writer, one must also be healthy. Despite my insatiable love of food (see yesterday’s blog post), I’ve always striven to be as healthy as a I can. In some regards, I do quite well. I eat almost no processed foods or beverages and I cook most of our food from raw, whole, organic products. In other areas, I miss the mark by a mile. My favorite foods are full of fat — cheese, butter, cream, cured meats. And then there’s the whole exercise side of the equation.
I hate to exercise, and when it comes to things I don’t enjoy I can be one big lazy fool. Motivation is a major issue and I’ll latch on to any excuse to avoid exercising. When I was younger, my metabolism was awesome and I could get away with this. Not so anymore. I’ve gained 10lbs in each of the last two years. While I might be starting with the advantage of being slim, that won’t be the case much longer. Extrapolate out 10lbs of weight gain a year for a few more years…a troubling and unhealthy trend by any measure.
So, regime change time. I have to start exercising and eating more moderately (let’s just say that little trip to France didn’t help matters).
Enter another problem: I am a woman of extremes. I’m always either boiling hot or freezing cold, starving to death or so full I’m gonna throw up, bursting with energy or so tired I JUST CAN’T GO ON. This little character flaw extends to every exercise and weight loss endeavor I’ve attempted. Usually I wake up one morning and announce I’m going to get fit and lose weight. I rush to the gym, totally overdo it for about a week, and starve myself on a calorie restriction diet. This results, as you might imagine, in injury or physical collapse. The outcome: I stop exercising.
Time to learn the art of moderation.
I resolve to exercise and eat moderately with the goal of gradually, rationally losing 10lbs by the end of the summer. Since I’m big on accountability (it’s the only way to avoid the “any excuse to stop” mentality), I’ll use a few tools to help me stay on track.
First, with regard to food, I’ll keep track of my calories on fitday.com. This site is free and provides a number of handy pages for counting calories, entering activity (calories burned), and tracking progress. It informs me I’ll need to keep my caloric intake under 1800 calories a day to meet my goal by August 31 (either through calorie restriction, calorie burning, or a combo).
Second, I’ll reinstate a tool that’s helped me in the past: Miranda’s Chart of Shame. This is a simple excel spreadsheet I worked up that displays each day of the week with the type and amount of exercise I should do that day. If I do it, I get to cross it off. If not, I have to write SHAME in bright, huge, block letters on the day in question. The chart is printed and displayed on the front door of the apartment, for me to look at every time I come and go. It’ll be there, JUDGING ME, every minute of every day. For the first month, I’m going to start gradually with 3 days a week of cardio, 1 of weightlifting, and 5 of stretching and exercises for my back (from an injury sustained the last time I tried to exercise regularly). After a month, I’ll reassess based on my progress.
Third, I’ll post my progress here on the blog — the good, the bad, and the ugly. At the end of each week, as part of a general weekly update, I’ll include whether I met my exercise and dieting goals for the week or not.
I’m hopeful this system will work. It is a good time of year to start adopting better habits, after all. Nicer weather makes it more enticing to go out and exercise, and all that colorful spring produce makes it easier to eat right. So, wish me luck, guys…and if you want to join in my crusade to get healthy, let me know!
7 thoughts on “Regime Change”
Yay for exercising! I’ll be reading along with your progress 🙂 The SHAME tactic would absolutely terrify me. I do better with long-term goals. Also, paying to see a trainer once a week hasn’t hurt! Totally makes me more accountable. Good luck!!
Thanks for the encouragement! I wonder what it says about me that shaming works better than motivational goals? 😉
I have seriously contemplated a trainer. They have good ones at the Y and the prices aren’t horrid. I think if this little plan of mine doesn’t produce results, that will be my next step – maybe add them in for my Friday workout (the one that is always most likely to fall by the wayside 😉
I totally say go for it!! I’ve had an incredible experience with my trainer (I feel more confident and stronger every month) and she’s become my best friend. Hope you find someone you like to work with too!
I can sympathize with having a formerly amazing metabolism beginning to slow down. I have found that breaking up exercise throughout the day works well. I do a little before breakfast, plus 20 minutes or so once or twice during the day. You avoid having to dread a long work out session. Become the master of home workouts, then you can cook or netflix while you pump (I love P90X and can even do pulls ups now). As for healthy food, my current favs are kale chips (baked in oven with olive oil and sea salt until crunchy, stirring several times) and amaranth (you can even toast it on the stove until it pops and then eat it with a little honey). Best of luck. Post your good ideas for staying motivated.
Thanks for sharing your experiences 🙂
Those Kale chips sound pretty amazing…may have to give that a try.
I find that keeping a food log really helps. I usually plan out my entire week’s worth of food. That becomes a contract I have to keep with myself. It also gives me a chance to try out new things. Tonight, for example, I’m making a new lentil and chickpea salad.
Exercise I am currently having more difficulty with, and I am hoping that once work disentangles me, that will get better.
I feel your pain. It’s hard (and sometimes impossible) to make time for exercise.
Keeping track of food is really instructive. It’s quite interesting to learn how many calories are really in the various things I like to eat, how quickly things add up, and so forth. The danger, though, is getting obsessive about it – a little problem of mine 😦
How’d the chickpea salad turn out?