Having finished a six-week challenge with an online friend, I'm embarking on a 10-week personal challenge much like the one just finished. I have proven I can be successful in adhering to a program over a shorter period of time, and now want to see if I can have the same discipline for an extended period.
A couple of items reinforced my approach this week. I caught a bit of Oprah one day as she presented 50 or so women who had been on a trainer's program in which they did 300 minutes of exercise per week and limited calories to 1700 per day. They also had a skin care routine and sleep advice in their simple program, much like my own except that my calorie intake has been even more limited than that. Individuals lost between 6 and 27 pounds over a period of 60 days. Much depended on their adherence to the program.
On the same day I saw a news item about a man (a college professor perhaps, I'm not positive) who wanted to prove that you could lose weight regardless of what you ate as long as you paid attention to the total calories consumed. To prove his point he lost weight while eating Twinkies and other junk food.
Well yes, I completely agree a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, and to lose weight you just need to burn more calories than you consume. During my program I had at various times spaghetti and meatballs, mac n cheese, creme brulee. But not every day. And always compensated for with other calories during the day. But I have found that I'm much better off to get my calories from foods that provide the most possible nutrition and also satisfy my hunger over longer periods of time. For this reason I include breads and pastas in my daily calories and lots of veggies. I've eliminated butter and nearly all added fats and have greatly reduced the sodium I consume simply because I eat so little pre-prepared food. I do take a vitamin/mineral supplement too as I'm not confident I'm getting everything my body needs. The bottom line is that I've found you can consume a pretty low number of calories and not feel hungry depending on what you choose to eat.
Yesterday at work a co-worker brought in a big plate of homemade cupcakes for our meeting. I estimated in my head the calories and decided I could have a cupcake or lunch but not both. I opted for lunch.
These are decisions I make every day. I don't have chips, cookies, ice cream in the house unless grandchildren are coming. If I want a sweet snack like chocolate, I buy a single portion, to allow no leftovers to tempt me later.
And I don't cheat. If I cheat, the person I sabotage is myself.
I have such a sense of my life changing right now with so many transitions taking place, and I feel this is so right to get myself as physically healthy and fit as possible for last decades of my life. That has been motivation enough to keep me on track and committed.
I appreciate the many words of encouragement from those who check in here from time to time. If you are facing similar issues in your life, I urge you to try a simple program like this. It is so rewarding when you see the results. If you do, would you let me know? I'd be very interested.