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When a Diet Becomes a Lifestyle Change

By Lisa Spodak (ResultsNotTypical@worldnow.com)
Provided by WorldNow

Week 25 Weigh In:

Change this week:  -.5 lbs.
Change overall:  -51 lbs.

This was a good week.  No highs.  No lows.  No real struggles.  Just a good, solid, run-of-the-mill week, ending in an incremental loss.

So… what to write about?

I talked to my friend Chris last night about how I was having trouble thinking of something and he suggested that I just write about exactly what I’m going through – what it’s like when what you’ve been working on and what you’ve been focusing on become the norm instead of the special.

I’m not sure when it happened exactly, though it was probably right around when I hit the 50 pound milestone last week.  Looking back now, it really amazes me how caught up I was in hitting that number.  And in a way, the best thing about finally doing it was that it feels like it’s freed me up to just go about my business.

I’m far enough in to my program now to know that it works and to follow it without too much work.  I’m still always logged in to the Weight Watchers site and I’ll look up nutritional information on the web before deciding to eat something – but it’s not hard.  It’s just part of my day.

And this week I took a couple days off from going to the gym – which felt like quite a bit of slacking until I realized that my cut back schedule still included five walks or workouts in one week!

This is a tricky time, though.  If I get too cocky and self-assured, I run the risk of making too many little exceptions and slipping back.  I’ve had that happen before – lost a big chunk of weight and then, suddenly, without even realizing it, gained it all back plus some.  I can’t let that happen this time.

So here are the things I’m focusing on to make sure I stay moving in the right direction:

1) Tracking/Food Diary

For me, it’s Weight Watchers. But, it doesn’t have to be. For whatever you’re doing, I recommend tracking everything you eat and drink. On the computer or in a notebook – it doesn’t matter. What does matter is having an honest record – at the end of the day, at the end of the week, at the end of the month – of everything that’s passed through your lips. If things don’t go the way you want, this is a place to start to see what might have gone wrong.

2) Consistent Weighing

As we know from the last few weeks, the number of times you should actually weigh is discretionary and really open to personal preference/need. For me, right now, it’s two or three times a week. I think the key is making sure you don’t just start skipping it! I know in the past, if I thought I might gain I just managed to “forget” to weigh in. Now, no matter how the week has gone, I make sure I step on that scale for an “official” number every Tuesday. I will not have any unnoticed weight gain this time around!

3) Exercising at least three times per week

I have a gym buddy, Melissa, and we try to go to the gym twice a week – on Tuesdays and Fridays. Sometimes it’s pretty obvious that both of us really want to bail. But neither of us wants to be the one to cancel. So we go to the gym. And every time, we both say afterwards how good it felt that we made it! I can’t remember a time when I’ve actually regretted going to the gym once I managed to do it. Though I certainly get down on myself when I don’t manage to go. Even if it’s just a walk in the park, getting out and doing something always makes me feel better and more dedicated and healthier.

4) Planning my day each morning

Yeah, yeah… “the best laid plans” and all that. I know that everything I plan in the morning is subject to change, but I find that it helps me to lay out what I’m planning to eat for the day anyway. My breakfast rotates through a few choices based on whether or not I’m going to the gym and how I’m getting to work – coming from the subway, I stop for an egg sandwich; coming from the bus or walking, I grab cottage cheese and fruit. And lunch is pretty standard – a roast beef or club sub from Subway. But it helps to plan out an ideal dinner and some snacks, too. That puts me in the right mindset and makes me really think about any variances. Last night, I was planning all day on getting a big salad at my regular Tuesday night haunt. I passed by a pizza place and craved pizza for about 30 seconds after getting a whiff. But I was so ready for my salad after planning on it all day that it was actually easy to just keep walking past the pizza. It’ll still be there tonight if I decide to put it in my tracker today!

5) Cutting myself some slack!

This may seem to go against some of my other tips, but, at the same time that I’m trying to stay focused and disciplined, I’m also trying to remember that I’m going for lifestyle change over a “diet.” So, if one day isn’t perfect, it’s okay. As long as that doesn’t stretch into an irreversible tide.


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