Update: Creating a Healthy Lifestyle

The Golden Rule: Consistency + Time = Results

I wanted to create a little more accountability for myself by posting an update on my previous blog entry: Creating a Healthy Lifestyle. While starting is never easy, it is certainly easier than finishing. In my original blog, I listed what I felt was a modest goal of 4 pounds per month. It is now almost the end of March, which would be a target of 12 total pounds. I am at 15 pounds now with a few days left in March. My goal remains 4 pounds per month without borrowing or banking pounds, each month starts fresh with another 4 pound goal regardless of my overall weight. You can see my current progress/results listed here. Talk about accountability! Fortunately nobody reads this blog :). It isn’t a sprint, it is a lifelong marathon, but it is one that I hope to finish well and healthy! I am eating healthier (I don’t starve myself or stay hungry at all), exercising moderately and physically feeling better. And as a result, I feel much better about myself and have a more positive outlook on everything.

These numbers are generated by MyFitnessPal.com and I am using both their website and their mobile apps (iPhone and iPad) to track my calories, exercise and progress. I am not counting calories, but I am tracking them. This has been extremely helpful for me for a couple of reasons.

    • Tracking my calories holds me accountable day to day and helps me focus
    • Listing my foods reveals hidden calories I may be overlooking
    • Researching my foods allows me to make healthier choices
    • Monitoring my calories keeps me from feeling guilty

There are several apps available to help you research your foods, including (and especially) your fast food choices. One thing about the MyFitnessPal app that is really helpful is it allows you to scan barcodes on your foods. I have yet to find a barcode it didn’t find. 🙂 That is a simple way to record your foods, and that was extremely important for me. I didn’t want something overly complex and complicated. When you don’t have a barcode, you can simply search for your food, and you will likely find it in the MyFitnessPal app, things like fast food choices and restaurants. You can even create your own custom entries. However, you can also use an app like Restaurant Nutrition for the iPhone that will show you all kinds of information. Some restaurants and fast food choices have their own dedicated apps, like Wendys that will give you all the nutritional information you need to make healthier choices. There are apps to help you locate healthy food choices around you (GPS) and apps you can use to compare certain food choices. The tools are available, but tools are only good if we use them.

I have found it interesting and surprising that some of the foods I thought were good choices, turned out to be a little deceptive. As a side item, I had been choosing a broccoli and cheese potato instead of fries at Wendys, only to find out it was 470 calories. By contrast, a small fry was only 320 calories. Better still, a small chili was only 210 calories. By choosing a small chili over the potato I was able to save 260 calories! I would have never known if I had not checked the app and recorded it. The grilled chicken sandwich at Wendys is 400 calories. The grilled chicken wrap is only 270 calories. I went from 400+470=870 calories to 270+210=480 calories, a savings of almost 400 calories in one meal! Granted, Wendys may not be the greatest choice for healthy food, but it is an example of a real life choice we often make. Educating ourselves on our food choices is essential in the quest to create a healthy lifestyle. I have certainly become more aware of my choices, and I feel like overall I am making more informed choices.

work

Another interesting side effect of recording my calories is that I feel much less guilty. Knowing my calorie target for the day and what I have already consumed allows me the freedom to make choices that otherwise would have made me feel guilty. For instance, Beth and I have started having a Weight Watchers dessert sometimes in the evenings, something I would have balked at before because I didn’t need it (even though I might want it). Now, by recording my calories and tracking my progress, I see that I can easily have my dessert without feeling like I am cheating or overeating for the day.

The other thing tracking my progress on MyFitnessPal.com’s website and app is doing for me is helping to hold me accountable for my exercise. I am able to record my cardio and weight training within the app. You can even use an app like Endomondo to track your walking and other exercises and it will automatically update into MyFitnessPal. I walk 2 miles every morning (weekdays) on the treadmill at the gym (4.0/30 minutes), and I am doing some moderate weight training as well. It is essential for my health that I combine healthy eating with moderate exercise. It isn’t either/or, it needs to be both. Sure, there are days I don’t want to get up and go to the gym. By the same token, there are days I don’t want to get up and go to work too, but somehow I manage to do that. 🙂 However, the way I choose to see it is this… I don’t decide every morning to get up and go to work, that decision is already made and is non-negotiable. I don’t go to bed thinking “should I get up in the morning and go to work, or should I skip tomorrow?” I just do it. My exercise is an important appointment that I need to keep, and since my health is the most important client I will ever have I need to just do it as well. I have to resist the temptation to make my exercise optional and instead make it just as important and necessary as getting up to go to work. My financial health and well being depend on me going to work. My physical health and well being depend on my exercise. Just do it.

I am looking forward to dropping a little more weight by the time our Alaskan cruise comes around! Woo Hoo!! Voyage of the Glaciers on the Diamond Princess, Vancouver to Anchorage in May. For the record, I plan to eat healthy and continue exercising the week I am on the cruise as well. I am making this a lifestyle choice for me, not a diet.