I want to take a minute or two to write about habits. I have learned which habits promote weight loss and maintenance. And I have learned which habits keep me stuck or promote weight gains. Here they are:
Habits that promote weight loss and maintenance (for me):
1. Tracking food - writing it down and tallying it up. This keeps me in reality about what is going in. I find it impossible to lose or maintain if I eat too many calories, and certain types of carbs. It is easy for me to lose track, think I am doing ok, etc. if I don't have it written down. Writing it down works. I have proven it to myself over and over.
2. Regular weigh-ins. When I start avoiding the scale I am entering denial. When I weigh in regularly I know whether or not I need to adjust my eating. And I am in touch with the impact food has on me. Plus, it is a nice reminder of my loss.
3. Regular Exercise - This promotes a good state of mind in addition to the benefits of muscle tone and cardiovascular health and burning of calories. If I do it regularly, I keep up the momentum of positive thoughts and attitudes toward my body. Plus it helps with loss and maintenance.
4. Blogging - Blogging keeps me focused on goals and keeps me accountable and involved in my weight loss and maintenance. It gives me the ability to support other people and be supported by them. It helps me remember that other people are doing this, too and we can help each other with ideas and encouragement.
5. Strategic shopping. Shopping regularly to keep the stock of healthy foods is essential. If I run out I reach for alternatives that don't promote my goals. If I stay stocked I am ready for anything and can easily stick to my program of healthy eating.
6. Positive thinking - I have daily readings to assist me with positive thinking, but just making sure I think of things to be grateful for and look for the positives in life makes a huge difference. It takes practice and effort, but the benefits are many. I feel better about life and I tend to stay focused on goals and feel that I can accomplish them instead of giving up.
7. Water, lots and lots of water. Staying hydrated keeps me from the bloating and retention that makes me feel yucky and then I eat.
8. Sleep and rest. If I don't get it I feel out of whack. If I do get it I feel more confident and competent and less stressed.
Here are a few habits that I want to avoid because they promote weight gain and keep me stuck when I am trying to move on:
1. Negative thinking - for example when I have a gain if I focus on the "fat" and the downside I tend to have trouble pulling myself out. It is easy to start on the negative path because of course I am not happy with the gain, but it is better to tell myself that I can lose the excess if I just stick to my proven success techniques.
2. Allowing unhealthy foods. This becomes a habit - It sneaks in at holidays and special events. I do it a couple of times and the next thing I know I am doing it all the time. I have to be careful with this. Unless I follow up and get right back to normal eating I stay in the permissive state and the indulgences become habits.
3. Eating whatever I want whenever I want it. This is the opposite of tracking and planning. It becomes a habit almost immediately when I stop tracking and planning but I can change it at any time.
4. Evening eating - in front of the TV lately. This is a hard one for me, even if I am not in front of the TV. Something about getting home and making dinner and de-stressing for the day makes me just keep on eating. I can break this one if we go to the gym in the evening.
Anything opposite the good habits can become a habit. I am watching myself more now because once I fall into the old patterns I often don't even notice it anymore. That's why blogging helps. I thought I was "doing good" and I experienced a two pound spike that is sticking around. So now I am paying more attention and tracking things. I think next year I am going to have a holiday strategy. This year I just got looser and looser and now I am having to work harder. But that's ok because when I work hard at it I learn things.
More will be revealed!!