Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I exceeded my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with good support.
Taking a couple days off, resting and relaxing after a minor medical procedure today. Instead of writing a long post, I'm republishing a post from the archives.
Original publish date: September 23rd, 2014
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.
It's important to find what works for you. We're all different. What works for me may not work for you.
Thank you for reading and your continued support,