I have struggled this past year. In 2012, I lost 45 lbs. In 2013, I have maintained that weight loss most of the year and then gained a few lbs in November which put me at 222.8 at the very end of November. Still a huge loss from 260+ at the beginning of 2012, but not quite the 45 lb lost I had been at. This whole year, it was pretty much one bad thing after another. We had some work things happen that I was working 60+ hour weeks for months and literally not having any time for anything else. I had a lot of bad family stuff happen around the same time, which can be really hard living 12 hours away. Then, my Grandmother became really ill towards the beginning of the year and ended up passing away in October after a long battle with cancer. All of this combined did not really make me feel up to working on weight loss.. I was just happy if I didn’t gain.
However, I have come to the realization that no matter what is going on in my life, I need to make my health a priority. I am back to working normal hours and not 60+. I will be staying in Ohio for Christmas since I spent Thanksgiving with my family. I decided the second I came home from Thanksgiving last Tuesday, I was going to be back on track. This week, I have worked out 5 days (slow work-outs at first, but I’m building momentum back up). My eating has been spot on and I have lost 3 lbs since coming home from Connecticut last Tuesday putting me at 219.8 this morning.
I am back on track and I will not falter again. I am proud of myself for spending most of the year at the same weight and only gaining recently with my trip. Knowing that I maintained for 10 months straight without gaining makes me feel like I did take away some healthy habits from my weight loss last year. I do compensate bad meals by eating well the rest of the day. I balance my diet better than I used too almost instinctively. I just wasn’t cutting enough calories to actually lose weight and had trouble fitting in work-outs with how much I was working. That is behind me. I’m determined to make 2014 a year of weight loss. With 2013 almost behind me, I am focused again. I have 70+ pounds to lose and I will lose some/ hopefully all/ this year.
I need to remember that one bad meal doesn’t mean I messed up everything. Missing a day of working out, does not mean I can blow it off for a week. And stress will always be there, it shouldn’t be an excuse that derails my progress.
It’s all about the little baby steps, right? I made some giant baby steps last year in 2012. In 2013, my steps were very very small and mostly about not resorting back to eating every single thing that I want.. But in 2014 - and even starting right now in December 2013, I will again make some giant leaps in the right direction!
Last time I did a typical dinner night post, some of you asked for more! They are nothing special but kind of help with quick dinner ideas.
On Thursday night, I made a quick fix to enjoy during the Sound of Music. First I roasted peppers, zucchini, squash, carrots, and onion with olive…
You thought you were eating healthy. Talked to some doctors, friends, or perhaps even did some research online. The number of processed foods you have bought steadily declined, but you still do not feel your optimal best.
A lot of products that have been advertised as being “healthy” are actually sabotaging your health and overall well-being. These products contain GMOs, chemical fillers, colourings, high sodium and refined sugar content as well as high levels of saturated and trans fat. Getting your health food information from TV or radio talk shows, or relying on your doctor or magazines to tell you what you should be eating probably isn’t your best bet.
Taking responsibility for your own health, and doing your own research is the only way you can be certain that the food you are putting in your body isn’t toxic. Eating fresh, whole foods like organic & local fruit and vegetables is quite simple in this respect because you know what is in your food, and don’t need to put much thought into it (hence, why I like to promote a high raw vegan diet devoid of any and all processed foods).
Find out why these perceived “healthy” food choices aren’t as nutritious as you thought:
Prepared salads you buy in a store usually aren’t the healthiest option. These are often hidden with low-quality, artery-clogging fats like mayonnaise and rancid oils. Choosing to make your own salads from scratch doesn’t require much more work, and you will be saving both your waistline and wallet.
Not all smoothies are created equal. Just because it is labelled as a “smoothie,” doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthy. A lot of smoothies are loaded with refined sugar, fat, un-necessary extra calories and other unhealthy chemical-related ingredients, which, instead of making you healthier, are actually sabotaging your health. It is much cheaper and easier to make your own smoothie in the morning and bring it with you instead of buying a smoothie on the go. Click HERE for ideas on constructing your own smoothie.
That trail mix you thought was oh-so-healthy is actually oh-so-deceiving. If you are buying these pre-mixed and bulk, you will often find ingredients like high-fat peanuts, chocolate (such as M&Ms), dried fruit with added sulphites (preservative), and some other type of nut which are probably rancid (nuts and seeds that sit for awhile tend to go rancid quickly on shelves, but grocers still sell them). Instead, when you want a snack, grab some fresh fruit or vegetables, or make your own trail mix from scratch by making a mix ofgoji berries, chia seeds, pumpkin & sunflower seeds, organic raisins, un-sulphured coconut flakes and cacao nibs.
“Low-Calorie” Frozen Dinners
These range from things like Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers frozen dinners. These products are loaded with sugar, chemical preservatives, exceedingly high levels of sodium and provide less nutrition than wallpaper (I can make a joke, right?). If you are pressed for time, don’t sacrifice your health by popping a meal in the microwave and having it ready in under 5 minutes – instead, make a solid meal plan that you can stick to. That way you won’t need to resort to these excuses for “food.”
A lot of the energy and granola bars sold in grocery stores and even health food stores are filled with high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, and artery-clogging saturated and/or trans fat. It is much healthier to make your own batch of granola bars at home, such as this raw granola bar recipe. If you make a large enough batch and stick them in the freezer, they will last a lot longer, save you time and money!
Store Bought Muffins
A lot of people think that muffins are a healthy breakfast or snack option – think again! If you haven’t prepared them yourself, chances are they are loaded with refined sugar, colouring agents, chemical flavourings and lots of saturated fat and high sodium levels (some rack up at 600mg of sodium PER muffin!). If you haven’t noticed, a lot of the muffins found in stores and bakeries today are about 5 times the size of a regular muffin baked at home. Reduced fat muffins aren’t any better because they usually make up for the loss of flavour by adding in more sugar and more synthetic chemicals to make them taste better.
Fat-free processed foods do not ensure weight loss. Fats, in general, provide a feeling of satiety (a sense that we have had enough to eat). Eating fat-free processed foods simply leaves an individual wanting more, eating more, and in the end, consuming more calories than if they had simply gone with the regular version of the fat-free product. Stripping away the fat in these products also leaves them dull and life-less tasting, so to make up for flavour, companies will add sugar, modified chemical ingredients and a bunch of sodium. It isn’t worth it! Eat fresh, whole foods, so you can avoid this mind-ache all together.
Frozen yogurt is not, by any means, a health food (contrary to what you might have thought!). These blessings in disguise are filled with refined sugar (around 76 grams for 1 16-oz cup!) and contain synthetic hormones as well as naturally occurring hormones which interfere with our own body’s hormone processing. Instead, make your own guilt-free fruit ice-cream which takes seconds to make by clickingHERE!
Sports drinks, vitamin waters, diet drinks or anything of the like should be crossed off your list of foods you thought were healthy. These chemical concoctions are no better than reaching for and drinking your nearest all-purpose cleaner. Often filled with synthetic chemical sweeteners which are confirmed and known to cause cancer, these drinks are a big no-no. Instead, drink young thai coconut water to replenish electrolytes, or just infuse some water with various fruit overnight. For some healthy vitamin water fruit infusions click THIS link.
Whole Grain Bread
Are you sucked in by the wording on different bread packages? Perhaps it was the multi-grain lingo or 7-grain heavenly bliss that drew you in. These package labelings do not mean the bread itself is healthy. Make sure you always read the ingredients, or better yet just make your own bread from scratch using a gluten-free flour. Many of the breads out there which are labeled “multi-grain” or “7-grain” and “wheat” are usually made with refined grains, and thus, you are not benefiting from the full nutritional benefit of whole grain. If you see anything labeled as “bleached” or “unbleached enriched wheat flour” you should steer clear.
If you’re like most people, this year’s resolutions are going to look a lot like last year’s resolutions (and those from the year before). The problem with making New Year’s resolutions is that changing your behavior is hard. Over the years, you have developed lots of habits for the way you eat, the time you spend at work, the days you do (or don’t) exercise and the interactions you have with family and friends. Your motivational system is exquisitely set up to help you keep performing those habitual behaviors over and over.
Changing your actions is not as easy as resolving to do things differently in the year to come. A simple statement that next year is going to be different from this year is not enough.
Unfortunately, changing your behavior requires work.
That hard work has to happen in several facets of your life. If you prepare properly, you can be ready to do new things in the new year. Here are a few recommendations.
Set positive goals. The way you set your goals determines how easily those goals can be turned into habits. If you set a negative goal, like eating less, then you are forcing yourself to focus primarily on not performing an action. You cannot create habits for avoiding actions; you only create habits for performing actions. So, refocus your goals positively on actions you can take. Think about the kinds of foods you want to eat in the new year and how you can add them into your diet.
Restructure your world. Generally speaking, people prefer things that are easy to things that are hard. Chances are, you underestimate the influence of the environment on your actions. So, restructure your world to make the desirable behaviors easy and the undesirable ones hard. You don’t need studies by psychologists to tell you that it is harder to eat ice cream if you don’t keep it at home than if you always have a freezer full of it.
Disrupt your habits. So much of your life is done on autopilot, and that is generally a good thing. You succeed at many tasks in life because you have developed good habits to promote desirable actions. When you need to change your behavior though, you need to switch around aspects of your environment that support your behaviors. If you find that you eat mindlessly at home, for example, then move around your dishes and silverware. Now, every time you go into your kitchen, you have to think about your actions. And that gives you an opportunity to initiate new behaviors.
Engage people. When you find your motivation to change starting to flag, find a partner in change to help you out. Enlist a friend, neighbor, family member or colleague. Get them on board with helping you make changes. Give them permission to nag. Call them when you are about to give into temptation. We humans are social creatures. Use that social force to your advantage.
Start a journal. Before you can make lasting change, you need to get to know yourself better. It is helpful to put together a journal to help you plan your path to a new set of behaviors. To help you on your way, I have created a Smart Change Journal, which you can download for free here. Although the journal was created as a companion to my new book “Smart Change,” you can get started filling out this journal even without the book.
By spending a few more weeks getting ready to achieve your resolutions, you will stand a much better chance at success than you have in the past. And just think: Next year you can try out a completely different resolution rather than revisiting the ones that have failed in the past.
working on it!