Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September 23rd, 2014 How Do We Remain Consistent?

September 23rd, 2014 How Do We Remain Consistent?

I couldn't sleep last night because of a nauseous stomach. I'm not sure what was going on. A "touch" of food poisoning, maybe? I don't know. I decided a sick day was in order about 3am. I was able to finally get to sleep and slept in fairly well, but still woke mid-morning feeling sick. I finally decided to prepare some food in order to see how my stomach would react. It felt worse, really, so I decided I needed more sleep. I did feel much better upon waking the second time, mid-afternoon.

I took it easy today. I still stayed within the boundaries I've set, of course, but I took a relaxed approach to the day. I was prepared to make this a non-workout day but then, I felt much better after the Tuesday night weight loss support group conference call, so I made the decision to hit the trail for another good 5K brisk walk. This is three 5K days in a row! It's good, because if my Saturday schedule allows, I plan on participating in the Carter's Run for autism 5K Saturday morning. This run is a chip timed event, so I'll have a little more incentive to pick up the pace and get a good time!

The topic of consistency has come up a few times of late. Consistency is key, for sure. This road isn't about perfection. Striving for perfection is the quickest detour to disappointment. Consistency is the goal along this road. If we can be consistent, we can accomplish amazing things. But how do we remain consistent?

In my opinion, it starts with narrowing our focus. Not once have I sat down with a calendar to try to figure out when I'll arrive at some predetermined number. I haven't even stated a particular goal weight, opting instead for a "healthy weight." Who knows what that will be? It doesn't matter how long it takes or when I'll get there because my focus is on today. My goal is to make it through this day with the integrity of my food plan intact and if it's an exercise day, that too. Today is the day. I'm not obsessing about how much time it will take. It will take however long it takes. If I focus on how long it will take to "arrive," I'm suggesting that my efforts will end at some point. And making my food and fitness a big priority in my life is something I do not plan on ending, ever. 

Keeping it simple is important in keeping us consistent. It's super easy to make this really difficult. You can quickly overwhelm yourself with a multitude of numbers, rules, self-imposed requirements and rock solid expectations. Keep it as simple as you need, to fit where you are. If you're planning on waking up tomorrow as a completely different person with completely different habits and behaviors--it could become very difficult, really fast.

I recommend setting a calorie budget or points budget, whatever you prefer, and making the limit you set, sacred. Sacrificing the integrity of this budget shouldn't be something taken lightly. Treat it with the highest importance level. Then, find an exercise of some sort that works for you and your body and do it. Worry less about content and more about maintaining the integrity of your budget and exercise schedule. As you progress and you become more comfortable, you can get fancy all you want!! Allow your food to become a natural evolution of good choices. My choices today look very different than when I first started losing weight six years ago. I wouldn't categorize myself as a "clean eater," but I'm at least 80% clean and that's a big difference for me.  Had I tried eating like this on Day 1, September 15th, 2008, it likely wouldn't have gone very well.

And that brings me to the "joy factor." I believe we must enjoy what we're doing in order to maintain consistency. If we don't enjoy--and I mean truly enjoy what we're eating, how do we expect to keep doing it? I eat what I like and nothing I don't. This doesn't mean I'm not willing to try new things. It simply means if I don't like it, it will not be on my regular "foods I enjoy" list. Somewhere over the years, someone decided that losing weight had to be about eating things you choked down as a means to an end. And as soon as the weight loss goal was reached, you could go back to eating what you like. I say nonsense!! Why not eat what you like and enjoy from day 1? Then, if they're not the best for you, gradually and naturally improve upon your choices. But never sacrifice by eating things you can't stand!!

My first food question isn't "Will this help me lose weight?" My first question about any particular food is: "Do I enjoy eating this?" If the answer is yes, then the second question is, "Will this food help me lose weight as a regular part of my day to day selections?" If the answer to that question is "No," then like it or not, it goes. An automatic "no" for me is sugar. I enjoy eating deep fried egg rolls, fried anything, really, and plenty of other things that if consumed regularly, would have a negative effect on my efforts. The key is finding foods that give you a "yes" to both questions.

The same "joy factor" applies to exercise. Find what you enjoy! If all you can do is walk slowly for short distances, do that. But make it enjoyable. Listen to music, an audio book, or carry on a conversation with someone--whatever you got to do to make it fun and enjoyable. When you're ready to make it something more intense--again, make sure it's something you truly enjoy doing.

Narrow the focus to one day at a time, set your limits and maintain the integrity of your limits, enjoy what you're eating and love what you're choosing to do for exercise. And a big one: Develop a support system that focuses on accountability. Don't remain all hush about your efforts--share it, tell your friends and family--make some declarations and ask for support from those you're confident will give it. Keep a MyFitnessPal food diary or something similar and make it accessible by the friends you accept.

And another big one: Write, write, write--how you're feeling, what you're doing, describe your challenges, write about what you plan on doing to overcome these challenges, and write about how determined you are to succeed once and for all. Get it out on paper, in your personal diary--or on a blog, on your facebook--somewhere, anywhere--just write for you and your own personal clarity. There is no right or wrong. It doesn't matter if you fancy yourself a good writer or not--that isn't the point. If the only person who understands what you're writing is you, mission accomplished.

Consistency brings results. If the results aren't to your liking, change the elements of your consistent efforts until you find the balance you desire.

Speaking of results--tomorrow is my weigh day. I weigh every three weeks. I'm not even going to venture a guess or give it a single thought. It will be what it is and I'll be okay regardless. If I need to tweak my approach, then okay, I will. Whatever I do, I know for sure--I must remain consistent if I want positive momentum.

It's important to find what works for you. We're all different. What works for me may not work for you.

My Tweets today:
















Thank you for reading and your fabulous support,
Strength,
Sean

16 comments:

  1. You are so right, Sean. You inspire every day.

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    1. Thank you Natalie! Congratulations on finishing your novel!! The overwhelming emotion you describe in your latest blog post took me back to the night I finished my manuscript for Transformation Road. I get it. So happy for you!! Can't wait to own a copy of your book!!

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  2. Totally agree, Sean. Consistency over time is cumulative and then the results will come. And accepting that I will not be perfect has been HUGE for me too....I still have some really bad days, but the ability to not dwell on it and get back on track quickly has made all the difference in being able to keep the weight off.

    Dede

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    1. Yes--for sure-- allowing ourselves some grace and compassion is VERY important. Not dwelling--and moving forward--BIG!!!

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  3. Thank you for this awesome post! I follow you on Twitter and enjoy every post. Your approach to weight loss has made the most sense to me without costing me an 'arm and a leg'. Your positiveness is inspiring and infectious. Please continue what you're doing and many, many thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge!!!

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    1. Thank you, A! Glad you're along for the Twitter, too! I'm really proud of the track record I've established there. It's helped me in so many ways--many ways I couldn't have known until I made the commitment to try. I'm glad it's helped give you a different perspective!! I will continue!

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  4. AWESOME topic!!

    For me, simplicity is KEY. If the change is too big or too weird--it will only last 2 weeks, if that.

    Love your tips Sean!

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    1. Kirtley--awe yes--simplicity is key, for sure!! Totally agree with you--in fact, if it's super complicated, I probably wouldn't last a few days! You have an amazing site--love it!!

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  5. This is what I needed today ..so much. You just don't know , Sean. Thank you. I found myself cooking veggies and eggs for lunch one day this week and thought of you. It was delicious. .I notice you don't eat very much bread or am I wrong.? I think I would rather have reduced bread or carbs than no carbs ever because this is a lifetime thing for me. My goals are not to be the 'perfect' model weight for my height. That was probably last when I was 11. It seems unreasonable to think of that as a goal for me. Rambling here. Just what's on my mind.

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    1. PJ, I'm so glad it resonated with you! Flattered that you thought of me while cooking--thank you!
      The bread thing--I've just naturally cut it out. I'll occasionally have a Joseph's pita-- but what I've really done is replace the bread with corn tortillas--taco shells, tostada shells--stuff like that... It hasn't necessarily been an intentional thing-- Many times it's a calorie thing--and of course, with me--it's a sugar thing. I was recently heartbroken when I turned the label over on my beloved Joseph's Pitas (first time in 5 years I've actually looked at their ingredients list) and found sugar as an ingredient. It's low enough that I can still eat them occasionally without too much concern. I'll likely finish the supply in my freezer, then be done with them.
      You find what works for you--what you can handle and accept. For me, I'm discovering bread isn't a big deal if I don't make it a big deal.
      Of course--all this pita talk makes me want to make pita pizzas for dinner. Ooh... I think I will!!!! LOL
      Thank you for sharing here, PJ. I applaud you, always!!

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  6. GREAT post, Sean! Glad you have your system down pat! Hope your tummy is feeling better by the time you read this. :)

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    1. Thank you Gwen! I don't know if I have it down pat-- but if I remain aware and diligent, it does work well!! My tummy is slowly getting better. Looking forward to getting back to 100%

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  7. I no longer strive for perfection, which is a set-up for failure.Today I seek excellence in everything I do, including my food and exercise. We're in harmony, Sean!

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    1. "I seek excellence," yes, YES!!! Love that, Gerri. And excellence simply asks me to do the best I can--give it my all--and it's rarely perfect, if ever-- but it's good enough--and it's actually great most of the time. I think it's too easy sometimes to NOT give ourselves enough credit. We're doing incredible things. Harmony, indeed!

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  8. Great Post Sean! I would also add that people tend to equate being consistent with being repetitive. You can still be consistent with your goals without having to be repetitive in what you do (something I'm trying to learn). Consitency gets you results, repetition gets you bored!
    - FogDogWeightloss.blogspot.com

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    1. OMGoodness---I'm trying my best to learn this, too--FD!! I have to make a point to change things up occasionally or I will get into a rut. A good variety of fundamentals--a "bag of options," so to speak, is a really good idea. Change it up--make it fun--don't get bored!! Thank you, sir!

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