Renewed Enthusiasm 

To say I’ve fallen off track with my healthy habits recently wouldn’t be exactly correct. However it also wouldn’t be right to say that I’ve been 100% on track with my objectives. On the downside, this means that I have not lost any weight for a few weeks. On the positive side, I also haven’t really gained weight, although I’m not real excited about how some of my clothes have been fitting.

There’s no real reason for this. Even if there were, the important thing now is that I’m ready to renew my goals and start hitting things hard again.

A couple months back, I decided to test out a few strategies for jumpstarting my weight loss. The first strategy was to increase my protein to 45-50% of my daily intake for at least 3 weeks to see if I would see weekly loss. If you read my posts from around that time you’ll know it worked! Sort of. For 3 weeks I thought I was hitting that goal and I saw weekly loss. Than I realized I was tracking something wrong and I was really getting 35-40% protein.

I fixed the problem and started hitting my real goal and, for some reason, that steady weight loss fell flat. So, as part of my goal renewal I’ve decided to try getting 35-40% instead. Obviously that was working before so I figure it’s worth a shot before moving on to other strategies. It’s also something I figured I’d need to do soon regardless. High protein may be great for losing fat but it’s poor for providing the necessary energy for intense workouts. I was really starting to feel that trade-off before and I suspect that’s why my weight loss stopped.

Beyond that I really want to get back to hitting my daily step goal (12,500). Also, I’m excited to start a new 30 day training program today for a Savage race I’m doing in March. I’m going to need all the help I can get to prep for that so I’m excited for the new challenge. 😄

As usual, the most important thing is that my healthy goals are never far from my mind. Even when I have bad days or larger bumps in the road, I keep reminding myself that it’s up to me to make  sure I don’t let those problems grow out of proportion.

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Balancing Act

The new year has brought an interesting but familiar challenge for me that I’m struggling to overcome. The desire to stay-the-course for my health journey and the desire to accomplish another large goal of mine: writing. 

For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a novelist. I’ve always joked about my “writing moods” – periods where all I want to do is write and nothing else…at all. For a few years (ugh, yes, years), words just haven’t been flowing the way I want. But last year I finally found my groove again.

And then 4th Quarter hit. Just like the end of the year at work made being healthy a challenge, it made writing nearly impossible. So you can only imagine how happy I am now that we’re in a fresh year and I have time to write again.

So why is this a problem? Because in order to write I have to – you guessed it – sit! I’ve already found that focusing more on my writing with the start of the new year has led to me getting in less exercise and I don’t want that to become a trend.

I have two thoughts on how to combat this. First, I think it would be helpful to set some daily minimums. Because writing involves so much variety – between actual writing, editing, and the business side of things – I think it’s adequate to say I need to do SOMETHING every day. That task can be as small or as large as the day allows. For exercise, I’m going to commit to 30 minutes daily. That’s manageable even if I’m having a crazy day and all I can do is a 30-minute walk. 

Obviously, for both of these goals I want to do more than these minimums most days but I can be happy with myself if I can’t. I also want to incorporate other healthy habits I’ve already built into my writing. For example, since I’ve started this lifestyle change, I walk whenever I can incorporate it into normal activities. So if I’m brushing my teeth/hair, texting, blogging, or just stewing over something, I walk while I do it. Writing involves a lot of thinking – building out plot points, getting into the mindset of characters, etc. That’s all stuff that I can do while pacing around my apartment – so I SHOULD!

As always, even just thinking through this problem and its solution already has me feeling more confident about my approach. Now it’s time to just get on it!

Next Mission

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! For me, it was nice because the family I visited is also working on losing weight. That means I had plenty of healthy options and got a lot of activity in to make up for the unhealthy ones. 🙂

Now that that’s over and my work craze is basically done, it’s time to target my attention and try some new things on my weight loss journey. Overall, I’m pretty happy with where I’m at because I’m still losing. That being said, it’d be really nice if I could start losing weight a little more quickly. Right now I’m losing an average of half a pound to a full pound every two weeks and I’d like to bump that up to every week, if possible.

I’ve tried quite a few things over the last few months to increase my loss ratio but nothing’s really worked – probably because I haven’t been able to stick with anything consistently. So, what I’d like to do is some test runs – try a new strategy for 3 weeks at a time. If I can get 3 weeks of consistent loss (no matter how much it is) I’ll stick with that strategy for a while.

In thinking through strategies, I intend to focus primarily on my food, which is a little out of character for me. I always gravitate toward trying a new workout or increasing physical activity. However I do know that nutrition is 90% of the issue so I’m putting my faith in that for the moment. 

My current nutrition isn’t bad – I consistently hit a set deficit and get plenty of good calories in. But if I’m being honest, my current nutrition is probably closer to what it should be once I’m aiming to maintain my weight.

A few ideas come to mind on what could be off with my nutrition:

  • Protein percentage. If I don’t think too much about it my protein intake is usually less than 15% when compared with fat and carbs. If I really am mindful I can get it around 30% but I’ve read that it should be close to 50% to maximize fat loss.
  • Deficit. I currently work off a 500 calorie deficit but I worry that I may have inaccuracies with how many calories I’m burning, which may mean I’m inadvertently eating less or more than I should.
  • Grams of carbs. In theory, this would go down if I focus more on protein but I’m noting it because I noticed my grams of carbs tend to be higher than they should be even when my intake percentage doesn’t seem that high.
  • Sodium. I inconsistently hit my sodium goal. It’d be interesting to see what kind of difference consistency could make.
  • Sugar. Since I started working on weight loss I’ve worked hard to cut out artificial sweeteners. Of course that means my real sugar intake has gone up so lowering that number by true reduction in sugary foods would probably help.

To kick this mission off, I’m going to start off with the goal of increasing my protein percentage. Not sure yet what my strategy for doing that will be but I’m working on it!

What about all of you? What kind of tweaks could you make to improve your nutrition?

Another Milestone!

I know, I know, it probably seems like I’ve forgot about my blog. I promise I haven’t though. I’m just caught up in the craze that is the end of the year for me at work and every moment seems to be taken up with something. Except Sundays. Between the rest of the week and my half marathon training (Sunday is my long run) Sunday’s have inevitably become the day I don’t do much at all. I think it’s because I’m physically and mentally exhausted by that point so all I can do is sleep or stare at the TV in a stupor. 😛

Despite all that craziness, I do have an exciting milestone to share. I have officially hit my 25-pounds-lost mark, which is also the halfway point for where I ultimately want to end up. Yay!

The funny thing is I suddenly feel waaay smaller now that I’ve crossed that line, so I’m ordering the next size down in pants to see if they fit. I feel like I’m swimming in my current pants so having something that fits would be really nice! 😄

Of course, I’ll always be happy hitting a milestone but this especially makes me happy because last year all of my work craziness was the downfall of my weight loss. Now I’m more than halfway through my busy season and I’m still going strong!

I will note that my weight loss has slowed waaay down. In the last 4 months I’ve only lost about 6.5 pounds. But I’m still excited and eager to be seeing progress. As long as I don’t see the scale go up I consider each week to be a success and I keep trying new things to find that right combo that will kick things into gear again. To pass the 25-pound mark I tried something new that resulted in 1.5 pounds lost last week (the highest I’ve seen in one week in quite a while) so fingers crossed that this is the right combination!

I’m dropping in a couple pictures for fun. The first is one I found from Christmas last year and the second was taken this weekend in the same clothes. It’s so fun to see what a difference 25 pounds can make! 😄

Success!

I just wrapped up my full week of work travel. I still have a tiny bit of traveling to do next week but not much, so I’m considering myself to be past the hurdle, and I’m happy to proclaim my trip to be a success!

As a quick refresher, this same work travel last year threw me off my weight loss plan for a solid 6 months. Since I’ve gotten back on track I’ve spent a lot of time building healthy, sustainable habits. I’ve also spent a lot of time dreading this year’s trip – afraid I’d fall off track again.

Well not only did I not fall off track, I lost a pound! Yay! That full pound is also the most I’ve lost in one week in quite a while, so that gets me pretty excited. 🙂

Now it’s time to move forward and hope that I can sustain this positive movement!