Do a Favor for Someone

All day long I felt like I was on a secret mission. I was on the hunt to do a favor for someone. It was an interesting feeling because it felt like I was taking an active stance for kindness. All I kept thinking was I am a force for good… even if, it’s just a few small acts. Whether I was helping a friend, lending a hand with a colleague’s project, or just doing something thoughtful for my husband. I can go to sleep tonight knowing, I made things just a little nicer for the people in my life. This knowledge filled me with a great deal of happiness. See there is joy on the journey.

What Works for Weight Loss

Sometimes you need a little guide on the side when it comes to knowing how to begin something new. This is especially true when it comes to a weight loss journey. There are so many competing ideas, and with it being a 3.8 billion dollar industry it can be easy to get “sold” on something that won’t work for you. Here are my top ten habits that are helping me lose weight:

  1. Daily weigh-ins: this has helped me know my patterns betters and has made me less uptight about seeing “the number”
  2. Drinking 64 ounces of water each day: I notice that when I am hydrated I feel less hungry between meals.
  3. Daily exercise: when I work out I feel better, and since I enjoy spinning and I own a Peloton, it just works out.
  4. Daily food tracking: I am a Weight Watchers member, so I do all of that on my app and it really gives me the structure I need.
  5. Weigh and measure portions: I find it difficult to eyeball a serving. A food scale and measuring cups really help me. I’m not overeating or undereating I’m eating a serving and it helps.
  6. Making healthy foods obvious: it helps a lot to have grab-and-go foods for meal prep. Hard-boiled eggs, cut-up veggies, or low-point/calorie snacks bagged up can make a big difference
  7. Daily reflection for gratitude is more helpful than you’d think: if you decide to focus on all that there is to be grateful for it changes the daily story we tell ourselves. It’s important to enjoy this time on the journey and not just wait for things to get better after weight loss.
  8. If you’re a learner it’s important to intellectually engage the weight loss process: read about health and nutrition to keep your head in the game. If reading is not your bag, there are plenty of podcasts out there.
  9. Plan ahead: for me the meal that’s the hardest is dinner. I use the Paprika Recipe Manager to plan out the week. The great thing is I can send myself the grocery list on the “Reminders” app on my iPhone.
  10. Build a community: having spaces you can share with others really makes a difference. Get a friend to join you on a weight loss journey, be part of a bigger group meeting, and/or engage in virtual platforms. If you are reading this and decide to comment you are making a move to be part of a community.

Here is a little door prize for reading today, this is a great habit tracker. Feel free to download this to try it out. If you would like one of your own here is my Getting to Goal Amazon List. You will find that and some other products that are helping me on this journey.

What do you think?

On the surface, a weight loss journey seems pretty straightforward: Decreased caloric intake and increased activity levels will result in weight loss. It is more than getting in a spin class and prepping some vegetable sticks for a snack. If it were that simple… we would all be at our goal weights. It’s not simple because there are so many factors that influence the choices we make on any given day.

There are few of us who would argue the point that weight loss is a daunting process. However, I would also say, that with the right mindset, the process can be a great vehicle for self-reflection and personal growth. So I am offering you this space to consider, what would you like to learn more about:

You Have Arrived

It was a beautiful morning, the sun was bright, and the clouds seemed extra high up in the atmosphere, framed by a pale blue sky. The world looked a bit more colorful, and plump. Spring has arrived and winter had begun its retreat. I thought about this (on my morning drive to school) heading south on the Sunken Meadow State Parkway,

The radio played the Clash, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” and my thoughts drifted to high school, and I remembered what early freedom felt like, it felt a lot like flying. Just then I began to slow down as my fellow commuters and I merged again over Route 25. Everyone gets to go if we just cooperate. My inner voice chimed in as a red Toyota Celica made its way into my lane.

Once again, my thoughts were diverted and circled around my reading during breakfast. This quote from Atomic Habits captured my imagination, “The cause of your habits is actually the prediction that precedes them. The prediction leads to a feeling.” I often refer to weight loss as a journey. I say this because it’s not only about arriving at my goal weight, it’s about everything I discover about myself along the way. What does arriving even mean to me?

I flipped my visor down, and to the left to shield my eyes from the sun’s glare. Does arriving mean a static number on the scale? Does arriving mean wearing a certain size? Does arriving mean feeling a certain way? “The prediction leads to a feeling…” part of the quote surfaced again. What if I have already arrived? Even though I still have plenty of weight to lose, I feel as though I’m there already.

The repetition of my habits has created some automaticity I don’t have to work so hard to sustain them. That feels a lot like freedom. If the habits I keep, define who I am then I am a person who is vested in her health and well-being. This is who I aspired to be and now I’m actually living my life this way – I have arrived.

Monkey Brain Strikes Again

“Wait, how many of these did I eat?” Looking down you see the shiny wrappers of “fun size” (a name crafted by Lucifer himself) candy wrappers in a cheerful pile seemingly indifferent to your dismay. For no rhyme or reason (everything was going great) and then BAM the candy bowl just took you down.

Congratulations, you are human, and we are not born into the world with a blank slate. Our amazing brains come with these basic behaviors that, by design, help us to survive. Evolution is a powerful magnet and for hundreds and thousands of years, human beings have had to hunt and gather food. Imagine early humans scratching and digging in the forests… scarcity is the driver when it came to food. Calorie-dense foods are extremely beneficial when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from. It is human nature to desire foods that are: high in fat, sugar, or salt.

Succumbing to food cravings is certainly not a deficit of character on your part. These cravings are an extremely powerful behavioral response. It is a basic human instinct, so when that internal critic pipes up: “I can’t believe it, I blew it! What’s wrong with me? How could I ruin all my progress by eating…?” First, don’t do that. Second, and hear me, you are amazing and you are human; craving fat, sugar, and salt is truly our nature. However, just because it is written into our DNA doesn’t mean weight gain is written into our fate. Here are some strategies you can try when cravings strike:

  • Being aware of the reason why these cravings come out of nowhere is powerful. Now that you know it is part of being human to crave these foods when we come across them in our environments we can de-escalate the impulse.
  • Being mindful while eating these kinds of foods slows us down. Experience eating the food, and enjoy it. Set a limit for how much you’ll eat.
  • Be strategic – if you can’t de-escalate and you don’t trust yourself to be mindful of limits, then avoid it altogether. Stop the craving (that we all have for unhealthy foods) before it can start. Limit those foods in your environment, and if you can’t remove yourself from the situation.

For better or for worse, we are a product of all that came before us – so expect powerful cravings in your future. Even when you give into the natural predisposition to overeat unhealthy foods it doesn’t mean that it’s the beginning of the end of your weight loss journey. It’s a moment, what happens next is what really matters, and (the good news) you are the one who gets to decide what happens on your weight loss journey.

A Clean Slate

New Year’s offers us a clean slate, and is there anything more appealing than a clean slate? Just like that (as if in a snap) all of the mistakes of the past are discarded, and everything is brand-spanking-new. A well-constructed resolution is truly something to admire. As if it were frozen in time, or under glass like the constitution or something. Especially one that has to do with weight loss, it catches the imagination, a new year, and a new me. It invites the willing heart, “This year will be my year to reach goal.” I can hear myself whisper it as if it were a magic chant just as the ball drops. For that moment it is easy to believe that a resolution will remain potent long after the strike of twelve. It is a belief that is, in a word – unspoiled – it is perfect.

Here is a secret, perfection is an enemy to process. Losing weight is a process of letting go of unhealthy habits while embracing healthy ones. So, why romanticize perfection when it comes to weight loss? For one, the inner critic loves perfection because it is unattainable. The very idea of it offers up bountiful opportunities to pummel the fledgling habits that are, let’s face it, a lot of hard work to establish. Another reason for the allure of perfectionism is it requires no work on our part. It is a symptom of a fixed mindset if I can’t be perfect, then it can’t be done. Intellectually, it is easy to call this out as being irrational and dumb. Emotionally, it is another thing altogether. It is like wearing a scarlet WW across one’s chest. Yes, you failed and everyone knows it because you sure can’t hide weight gain.

Is it all that dreary as we approach our end to another orbit around the sun? Chin up buttercup. It’s going to be okay. The good news is, I’m not perfect, and neither are you. There have been some false starts, and sudden stops to my weight loss journey this year, but I still believe I can do this. And you know what else? I believe you can do it too. Just don’t expect it to be easy and you are halfway there. Surround yourself with some inspiration, and some positive people who can help you along the way. So cheers to 2023 and imperfection! We are better together, and together (with a lot of hard work and persistence) we can get this done.

Home for the Holidays

How have you set yourself up for continued weight loss during the holidays? It is no joke, it’s hard to get through this holiday obstacle course. There is always something to do, and it’s easy to just order in. Then there is cookie making, and it just goes on and on. But the big question that can help is to ask yourself, what do I really want? No matter what the answer, so long as you’re being completely honest with yourself, it is the right one.

Maybe this holiday season, you want to let go and start in earnest in the new year. Maybe you want to maintain your weight wherever you are right now. Maybe you want to lose. If you are clear about your intention the rest will become more manageable because you know what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it.

I Did It

Today is the last day for my WW goal. I blogged every day for a week to reflect on my “why.” On one hand, I feel really good about keeping my promise – I set a goal and I achieved it. I tracked every day, I thought about my food choices, and I did not deprive myself. All of these things are a total win. On the other hand, I know I have a long way to go (again) and that can be extremely daunting. It is extremely daunting. This blog has always been a safe place for me to tell the truth and this success this week is a celebration, and it’s also a little bit sad.

I am doing this to improve my health, to have more energy, and to feel better about myself. I am worth this effort, and (if you want to lose weight) so are you. Come on, let’s do it together. This can be the best gift we give to ourselves.

Watching Love Actually tonight looking at the tree and thinking about all the gifts I have to wrap.

The Best Thing

The best thing about a person’s day can be so many things. What’s the best thing to me, may seem insignificant to someone else. It really doesn’t matter what the “thing” is it matters that it is acknowledged. For me, the best thing was that I got right back on plan. I didn’t spiral into a binge, and I didn’t make the decision to put this goal of weight loss away on a shelf until after the holidays. That’s the best thing for me today.

The First Snowfall

I woke up to snow, and it was beautiful. The first snowfall of the season was nothing more than a momentary skift. It was just enough to cover the rooftops and hide patches of brownish-green grass. By lunchtime, it had been erased as if it were never there at all. Reflecting on the morning from this side of the early evening has reminded me that appreciating the beauty of nature is an important part of my weight loss journey.

It’s a Monday, and I am still tending to my “why” I want more energy, and confidence, I know how it feels since I have gotten to goal in my past and it does feel amazing. But for now, I want to focus on being positive about where I am at this particular moment.

So what went well today? I tracked all day and I am in that healthy eating zone (in WW speak blue dot days). I packed my lunch, and prepared a healthy dinner, which I did enjoy. My WW leader, Lisa, says it’s important to eat “happy” That phrase has found a home in my inner thoughts, and I find it to be helpful.

Writing these posts feels a lot like I’m telling myself a story about how I want this journey to go – like helping me to remember why I want to be on the journey for starters. Is it hard that I’ve allowed myself to gain weight? Yes, it is disappointing. But I do have faith that it is as it should be, and I can look back and feel bad about it or I can look to the future and take action. Onward I go, and I know I am in good company.

Check out this skit from SNL so funny (silly but funny)…