I have seen people all around me reaching for their dreams, some are constantly in motion towards them, others have achieved and are living their dreams. I have always been a dreamer, but have rarely put in the time and effort required to reach them. Can you relate? Or are you one of those people who are constantly re-evaluating your goals, figuring out ways to reach them and checking them off your list?
I remember a while back I bumped into this post about quitting drinking from a well-known blogger, and it made me roll my eyes. A life without alcohol didn’t seem like a pleasant life to me - why not enjoy a glass of wine with a meal, or drink a few beers while watching a game? Isn’t that what Sunday afternoons (and Saturday & Friday nights, & Thursdays, &…) are made for? But Nicole’s post stuck with me, because although I had never been her #1 fan, I had followed her blog for some time, and it went from rants about tequila and vaginas and boys into taking care of yourself, losing weight for your health, and finding happiness through it all. And that is something I can relate to.
My main goal throughout most of my life is trying to find balance in happiness, and happiness in balance. I’m always trying to attain some kind of perfection in my mind that would make everything wonderful and make me happy. But I never honestly tried to do it. I never put in the effort. Even when I had a personal trainer a few years back, I worked out at a gym and ate diet foods and lost weight – I hated every minute of it. It was a necessary evil to look good on vacation and drop the extra baby weight, but I never embraced it.
Embracing a lifestyle change means recognizing that what you have been doing is not working. It doesn’t mean you’re failing at life, it doesn’t mean that everything you’ve done up ’til now sucked, it just means that at this point in your life whatever you’re doing is not working for you anymore. It may not have worked for a long time, but it really takes an honest and scary look at yourself to see this.
My husband & I ‘quit’ drinking a month ago. That was something I didn’t think was possible, and yet, we did it. 2013 is my year of no excuses, living life full of good intention and challenging myself to change myself for the better. Get rid of the things that don’t make me happy. Embrace a clean, yet balanced, lifestyle.
I took a hard look at my diet, and almost couldn’t figure it out – I wasn’t drinking, I thought the pounds would just drop off, but they didn’t. When I kept a record of what I was eating, I noticed that when I was bored I ate carbs. I would devour english muffins and toast, spread thick with Nutella and peanut butter, and often more than just once a day. On top of that, I would sometimes struggle with dinners, whether it be shopping last minute for it or buying something pre-made or ordering it in – and it always led to unhealthy choices.
I started my actual diet on Monday. Here is what I’m doing to achieve my lifestyle change:
- Planning my Food – I have planned what my family is eating for dinner for the next two weeks, and planned my own breakfasts & lunches as well. I know that sometimes things will change, but I’ve made almost all dinners in advance (using frozen slow cooker meal recipes, which I will share with you soon), and it’s saving my sanity.
- Using My ‘Lose It’ App – There are many weight loss & exercise apps out there. I recommend downloading a few free ones and seeing which one works for you. The ‘Lose It’ app is perfect for me, I use it as a food journal, which logs my calories and it’s easy to use since food can be searched for, or the barcode on food can be scanned by your phone. I use it as a weight log, as well as for my hip & waist measurements. I use it to keep me on track by using their ‘Challenges‘ section, and I get badges for following through on things. The app also asks what your goal weight is, asks you how much you want to lose per week (.5 lb, 1 lb, 1.5 lbs, or 2 lbs), and gives you the amount of calories you need to eat per day and when you will achieve your goal.
- Portion Control – in addition to using my app to track my calories (which I do with caution, since I am breastfeeding, so I don’t mind if I go over), I measure most of my food now. Like adding cream to my coffee - who knows how much I was adding before? It was definitely more than 2 tablespoons because my coffee used to be a lot whiter, but 2 tablespoons of half & half cream is all I really needed. It helps me realise how out of whack my food portions were before.
- Holding Myself Accountable – I’m holding myself accountable to this diet by blogging about it, I’ve opened a new tumblr that will serve as a weight loss & food diary of sorts, to get a glimpse of how I’m doing and what I’m eating.
After I get used to these food changes, I will start to focus on which activities work in my schedule – what type of exercise: yoga, running, kick-boxing, zumba, etc. But for now I’ll be focusing on eating healthy, balanced meals, full of vegetables and fruits and lean proteins.
I’m ready to jump on this path towards health and happiness.
(image sources: one, two, three)