Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Keep fit and have fun: health awareness

As with many women, I have struggled with my weight and body image for most of my life.  I learned to eat my emotions and, despite knowing this, I continue to do so.  What can I say? Chips taste better than sadness.

Last year in the spring, I started Weight Watchers.  People thought I was nuts for going on a diet during the summer, but I decided I was going for it and I went.  I downloaded the iPhone ap and tirelessly plugged in everything I ate and did. I loved it. It was structure and routine and a goal.

I kept my weight steady for a year.

The downside to it all was, it cost $22/month for Weight Watchers.  To have access to an ap I could use on my phone.  I decided it was too expensive for me and I would do just fine without it.

Enter 4 months of incredible workplace stress, planning to build a house, selling our house (which was an on-again/off-again ordeal), packing up the house, moving to a rental, and applying for new jobs, I was beat. I wasn't keeping track of a darned thing and I was eating everything.

EVERYTHING.

If there was a glass of wine, I would drink it.  A piece of gluten free cake? I was there.  An extra bag of chips wouldn't last long around me.  I was drinking as much pop as I could to stay awake.  I didn't say no to myself very often because I "deserved to have a break".

Once we settled into the rental, I knew it was time to get myself back on track. Eating better, not eating as much, and not having takeout for every second meal because cooking was just WAY TOO MUCH. I found myself doing better, but still not quite fitting my clothes the way I had been.

Finally, I had to admit it. I don't need to diet, but I do need to keep track of what I'm up to. I need to know what I've eaten in a single day and how that compares to the amount I should be eating. I need to keep track of my exercise because, otherwise, I can convince myself that the walk to the fridge is good enough.

I got the livestrong.com My Plate ap on my phone.  I don't like it as much as the Weight Watchers one, but it works well enough.  I use it to basically keep track of what I'm eating and try not to go too far over the base calorie amount of 1750 (with added calories for any fitness I do).  I don't find it as easy to use as WW or as accurate, but the ap cost me a one time $3 (there is a free one too) and that's a lot cheaper than $22/month.

The most important thing for me is awareness. If I don't pay attention, I will eat my weight in anything. I don't care if I'm skinny. I don't much care if I'm super fit either. I just want to be active-ish and not too much at risk for scurvy or diabetes.

How do you manage to keep yourself healthy and eating better?

34 comments:

  1. Perfect timing! I had decided that when the kids went back to school, I was going to "smarten up" my eating habits. After three months this spring of cutting out all (read most) refined carbs, I had lost a considerable amount of weight but still had a long ways to go. Then came summer with it's BBQ's and trips to Disneyland. I still made MOSTLY good choices but added in too many refined carbs. After Disneyland, it all went to hell in a hand basket!

    Today is THE day though. A number of years ago I made my own excel document to keep track of my intake. It works for me because I'm mostly at home anyway. I'm half-way through Day 1 and I haven't screwed up ... yet!

    I have calorie counter and myfitenesspal apps on my iPhone (free) but haven't taken the time to learn to use them.

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    1. That's smart, Marvel! That is in part why I use the iPhone app because I have it with me all the time.

      And I'm trying not to see little slips as "screwing up" (though I know what you mean) because I always use that as a reason to give up.

      Instead, I am saying I made that choice and now the consequences are I can't have this other thing I wanted. It works for me!!

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  2. "Chips taste better than sadness." Truer words have ne'er been spoken.

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    1. Agreed. I tried to explain it to Wade once like this: If I'm feeling bad about something I have no control over, I eat chips until I feel bad about them. That I had control over.

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  3. Ugh, I hate that it's such a struggle, the whole weight/food/health tangle. Despite attempts at diets etc., all I can really do consistently is aim to feel good in the longer term (eating nutritious foods in reasonable quantities, limiting alcohol and processed stuff, being active once a day or so), and try to be gentle with myself when I overindulge and then have a variety of bad feelings.

    I like the Fat Nutritionist for when I want to read something that's supportive of self-care w/r/t food and weight. Apps are no use to me, I never stick with any specific thing long enough for it to make a difference.

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    1. I will have to check out that book!

      It's so easy to beat ourselves up over overindulgence. The thing is, we can't be perfect! We just have to be the best we can. As long as I try to have some self-control, I will be happy with that.

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  4. Ah, you speak my language! I love "chips taste better than sadness" and funny enough, I just wrote a blog post this morning called "Yesterday I Ate Chips for Lunch":) Good luck with your new app.

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    1. I read that and signed up. I might hate you for that! I might still eat chips for lunch one day any how, but I will balance it out with veggies!

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  5. I let me pants do the talk.

    Once my pants are tight, somehow, unconsciously I motivate myself to look after my portions and type of food.

    mamaandthecity.com

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    1. I wish I could do that just based on my pants. I always assume it's just too tight from washing!!

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  6. Hey. Did my comment get cut? Too long a comment? WHAT HAPPENED?

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  7. I never saw it. Maybe you didn't press enter? You have been struggling with the computer today!

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  8. I think you've done a great job making changes, under some challenging circumstances. Good for you for getting back on track. I also have an app, and (when I use it!) I do like it. I have a similar relationship with food, and I'm trying hard to make changes that are sustainable. It's a struggle! I do think it helps to stop and acknowledge the changes and what you have accomplished. Everything helps!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement! As long as I don't think of it as dieting, I'm much better. If I think about it like I'm just tracking my choices, I find I make better ones. (Though, I did buy a bag of mini OHenry's tonight! I just didn't eat many!!)

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  9. Did you sign up for Carols bootcamp (she commented above)? I'm doing it, to get back on track! Good luck with whatever you choose to do - remember, it's not going to happen overnight!

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    1. I did! I'm looking forward to it! I also started doing yoga again! I found a great thing on you tube called the 30 day yoga challenge! It was tons of fun.

      I'm glad you signed up too! We can all support each other!!

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  10. Erg. Will try again:
    Snacking. (Came out snaking the first time, something I am not opposed to). I became hyper aware of how often I reach for a little something. The problem being that many little somethings are as bad and very possibly worse than a big something.

    Skipping snacking. Yeah, I know, that seems to be saying the opposite. I added having a healthy snack between breakfast and lunch and between lunch and supper. Cut out the mindless grabbing of candy/pastry/chocolate that was happening all the time.


    Doing one active thing, even if it was a short walk or doing the stairs at work. Something to get me off me arse.

    There were other things in the original comment but they have left my brain.

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    1. Smart! Sometimes it's the little things!!

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  11. Definitely the time of year to get back to routine for all of us! This is a great way of keeping track of what you are eating. Best wishes!

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    1. It really is that time of year. I always feel this is the "beginning" rather than New Years. Thanks for the encouragement!

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  12. It's a neverending commitment to being active/eating well. My dog keeps me active for the most part. I find the hardest part of eating well for me is at work during the day. There are so many temptations! One of the tricks I use is making sure I bring lots of fruit & veggies with me to work. That way, if I'm hungry I can mindlessly eat something low cal while I work away.

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    1. I thank God for my dog! He's the only reason I leave the house some days. If he wasn't so annoying without a walk, I would be a full-out potato. I love to take fruit and veggies to work. My downfall is there are chips, chocolate, and pop there for the taking.

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  13. I'm with Nadia - my clothes lead the way... and with Carol - sometimes I'll eat chips for lunch! So I've joined in with Heather and signed up for Carol's boot camp to get back on track!!! Good luck with your app - what a handy way to keep track! :-)

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    1. We're all in the same boat then! I'm excited for the boot camp. Well, as excited as I can be.

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  14. This summer has been one packed with lots of good vittles and better wine. I am making a conscious effort to put more water and veggies in my life before the snacky foods. Also, no snacking after dinner. That's the toughest one for me. It's when I like my snacks the best!

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    1. I always have one small snack before bed. An apple and cheese. It's healthy and then I don't wake up in the middle of the night starving!!

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  15. I am so up and down. I am hoping that my eating habits will improve now that soup season is here :)

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  16. Ooh! I love soup season. I have borscht in my fridge as we speak!!

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  17. I go in waves of being super conscious about what I'm eating and then I'll bake a cake and eat a piece for 5 days straight. I think it's finding a balance and setting your self up for success by planning ahead and having healthy food at your fingertips. Here's to new starts!

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    1. That's all I'm going for. Balance! It's the planning ahead that I have trouble with. All we can do is keep trying!

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  18. Oh boy, you are in my brain!!! My name is Laurie and I'm a professional yo-yo! Been on every diet, exercise routine going. Do they work, nope, not for me, Miss excuse maker! Balance, that's the formula and to keep on trying, keep on getting back up on to that wagon, regardless of how hard the climb is! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi Laurie, I'm not only a member of the yo-yo club, I'm the president! I found that "dieting" isn't worth it. I can only keep healthy by making a point of keeping track of everything. I think I just need the accountability! Thanks for commenting!

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  19. I try to workout as much as I can, and eat healthy as often as I can. We all fall off the wagon, but it sounds like you've figured out what works for you. I do thing that if you like the WW app better, than the $22 is an investment in your health that's worth making.

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    1. Mara, I am really trying. It doesn't stop me from occasionally eating a whole bag of chips, but I'm more aware when I do it! And you're right, if I really hate this app after a few months, I may revert back and money be darned!

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As much as I like to hear myself talk, I like to hear from you too!