Make a healthy lifestyle change…

I’m fat.  I’m out of shape.  I have no muscle tone.  I eat junk food.  I’m always tired and out of energy, I have no flexibility…these are a few of many excuses we all sometimes tell ourselves when we decide to make the health choices that we do so we drink the soda and scarf down the fast food because it’s convenient and life goes on.  Intentions are always good, but one slip up and it’s back to overeating, not exercising or caring about our health.

Every year on New Year’s Eve, I make a list of resolutions of how I am going to be better in the new year…as if that magical day, January 1st, is the start of a new adventure towards Perfectsville, USA, and every year, I break my resolutions…some on the first day!  haha  For me, a lot of things are all or nothing and that’s where I usually fail in my ‘getting healthier’ attempt.  If I eat the wrong thing for breakfast, well then…the rest of the day is ruined so I may as well skip the salad for lunch and dive into the pizza.  This past year though, I decided enough was enough and I was going to take charge and change my attitude and increase my willpower one thing at a time.

I’ve always thought that giving everything up at once was the right way to go.  I’ve been trying that for years and you’d think that since it never really works out, I’d go a different direction, right?  Nope!  Keep on the narrow path…I had to change my thinking.  How can I slowly pass on the things that are unhealthy for me but keep my sanity at the same time?  I finally figured it out…what works best for me, and January 1, 2016 was my start date.

Instead of giving up everything on the 1st, I decided to start with the one item that I was most addicted to…soda.  Coca Cola.  I drank it in place of water.  Literally.  Every day.  All day long.  Did you know that Coke is used to clean the rust off of nails or clean out that ring in the toilet?  Yuck!  Can you imagine what that does to your stomach lining?  It was an addiction.  Part of my everyday existence.  I never thought to NOT drink it.  I started in January with this…give up soda for the entire month.  Could I do it?  Let me tell you, it was hard.  First came the headache that lasted for days.  A dull throbbing pain.  Next came sweating profusely.  Attractive.  It’s like I was detoxing from drugs.  I was cranky and mean…ask my family…haha…but I did not touch a drop of soda for the whole month.  I made it and it felt good.  I stuck to something and accomplished it.  I also lost a quick 20 pounds by the end of January.  All that high fructose corn syrup and sugar was gone from my diet and it showed.  To be honest, I did feel like crap til the middle of February, but by then the cravings left and I was feeling less achy and irritated.

I could do it!  One item at a time and it felt like an accomplishment which spurred me on to the next challenge…No processed snacks.  This is a hard one also because my girls eat junk food, but hey, if I could give up soda…look out!  No potato chips, pretzels, snack cakes…anything that came in a package for munching.  I must note that now I had two things off the list for February…soda and snacks.  I carry the item from the month before and really, the cravings do go away after 30 days so it wasn’t that difficult.  I trained my brain to not want soda and I would do the same for processed snacks.  Turned out to be not as difficult as I thought it would.  The sense of accomplishment is a real motivator and although I gave up two things, I was still indulging in what I normally did.  Hey!  If it wasn’t on the list, I still did it.  Another 8 pounds down.

No soda, no chips and on to March.  In March, I was going to do something beneficial instead of taking away.  Too much taking away is awful and a bit frustrating at times, plus the goal is to be healthier and that doesn’t just mean food.  I decided to make sure to take a multi-vitamin every day.  This probably seems like an easy task for some, but if you hate taking pills like I do, it was a job.  I always had a medicine cabinet full of vitamins, but would normally forget to take them so I put a small basket on my nightstand with vitamins and extra supplements like Vitamin D, CQ10 and B12.  Before bed, I grabbed a bottle of water and downed all my ‘pills’.  It’s just getting into the habit that takes time.  Once you do it, it becomes second nature.  Again, at the end of the month, another accomplishment completed.  Down another 4 pounds.  I don’t think the vitamins helped me lose weight, but I had more energy to take on new projects and that helped.

April was back to “let it go”…sugar.  This is a tough one, especially with Easter and chocolate bunnies.  I should point out that while I gave up sugar such as cakes and candies, I still enjoyed sweets.  I continued to use honey in my tea or Stevia in my coffee and if I went to a restaurant and had a salad with dressing, I didn’t sweat how much sugar was in the recipe.  The point was to stop the desserts.  No soda, no processed snacks, take my vitamins and now no donuts, cookies or pies.  Once your body detoxes off that junk, you honestly don’t miss it and again, achieved my monthly challenge.

For Mother’s Day, my daughters bought me a FitBit.  They are expensive so I felt like the only choice for the month for me was to add walking to my program, which I needed to start exercising anyway so it worked out fine.  Do you know that you are supposed to get in 10,000 steps a day?  What?!??  That’s a lot and I was nowhere near that.  I work in an office at a computer all day.  The FitBit is cool because not only can you track your steps, but also how far you’ve walked, your calories, water intake and it gives you a gentle buzz reminder every hour when it’s time to move so you make your goal for the day.  A simple pedometer will also work to track your steps.  I started out slow…3,000 steps a day walking up and down the street and parking farther away from the stores, did it.  So, to recap…by May, I gave up soda, processed snacks, added vitamins, gave up sugar and forced myself to walk 3,000 steps a day.  Down another 8 pounds.

June…Water.  Gotta drink water.  A lot of water.  The body is mostly made up of water so it only makes sense to stay hydrated.  Not only is it good for your skin, but it actually fills you up so you think less about food.  A lot of times that you feel hungry is actually just your body telling you to drink more fluids.  Water isn’t my favorite, but I’ve trained myself to think ‘no choice’.  Just drink it.  I add lemons or fresh mint and a squeeze of non-calorie, non-sugar flavoring helps.  Also, ice.  Lots of ice.  My understanding of how much water to consume is this…(and I’m not a doctor)…take your weight and divide it in half.  That’s how many ounces of water you should drink a day.  My FitBit kept me on track as I put in each time I drank an 8 oz glass.  My skin looked amazing.

July is halfway through the year and I really don’t feel deprived.  I figure everything I’ve been doing so far has only improved my quality of life and health so I’m not pushing too hard this month.  I decided that once a week for this month would be ‘no meat’ meals.  We live off chicken, beef and pork.  My husband loves his meat and potatoes, but once a week for dinner we ate nothing but protein from eggs or beans, rice and lots of vegetables.  Mostly grilled vegetables since it’s Summer and everything tastes better on the grill.  Lost a few more pounds.

I decided for August to do something more beneficial.  Smoothies.  I bought myself a Nutri Bullet and man that thing grind everything up to nothing.  Smoothies can be loaded with sugar so I made them with plain yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, bananas and honey.  I was concerned with more natural ingredients than fake sugar and calories so adding a splash of cream really made it rich and creamy.  Smoothies or fresh fruit every day for the month.

Let’s be honest at this point…not every day was a winner.  I did have cheat days or days I was sick and did nothing, but I changed my attitude that even if I messed up, to keep going.  Not go backwards and have to start again.  Some of those things were really hard to do and I didn’t want to have to do them again. Practice makes perfect and although I was far from it, I followed my program 90% of the time and in the end lost weigh and felt much better.

September, October, November and December are hard to do since that’s really the start of the holiday seasons.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas.  Lots of parties.  Lots of party food.  I just reminded myself to follow everything I did from the previous 8 months and to keep party food to a minimum.  These were the months I really learned how much to eat at a setting.  Portion control.  You really can eat whatever you want as long as its within a one serving size.  I read that you really only register the taste of food from the first two bites, then it’s just to pound it down.  I kept that in mind when offered appetizers at parties or desserts at the holidays.  Don’t ever deny yourself a treat.  Just take a few bites of it and move on or share it with someone.  I would always drink a green tea before meals, which helps burn fat and fills you up.

Hope this list was helpful.  My advice is to start with the hardest thing you’ve got.  Once you get past that, everything else will be…a piece of cake!  Leave me a comment or send me a message and let me know how it worked out for you.  Thanks for reading my blog!

About elderberrygirls (13 Articles)
...life, love, decorating & all things pretty! Mom. DIYer. Blogger. Follow my lifestyle blog at elderberrygirls.com!

5 Comments on Make a healthy lifestyle change…

  1. Your story sounds so similar to mine. I love your honesty! It’s so true that getting healthy starts with a change in the mind. Great work!

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  2. This was very motivational. I always want to try and accomplish more than I’m really able to and so I just give up on all of it. I’m going to try your monthly strategy. Thanks for sharing! And way to go!! That’s hard stuff.

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  3. clairahart // June 11, 2017 at 10:26 am // Reply

    I absolutely love this! I am definitely guilty of committing to be healthier in some way, only to give up on it a few days later! Going all-in must be the problem. But making one small change each month, and carrying it over into the next month sounds like something I can actually stick to without backing out! Thanks for the inspiration!

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    • It really does work. Start with your hardest thing to give up. Everything else won’t seem so difficult. Still eat and live the way you have been without that one thing. It’s really the only way that worked for me.

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  4. This is awesome!!! One step and one day at a time. I am onboard.

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