Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Organized Weight Loss

You may have noticed I took nearly all of the month of April off from blogging. I have another focus right now for me. Losing weight. Eating healthy. And getting more exercise. And since this isn't a weight loss blog, I didn't want to bog down the blog with my goal. However, I figure one post on it can't hurt if it helps someone!

First, I did lose 9.5 pounds! I needed to move the scale in the other direction and I did it!! I have more to lose and will continue doing things that work for me with goal of losing 20% of my current weight by early November.

I used some fantastic tools that helped keep me organized and focused on the goal. I highly recommend them all to anyone who has the goal to get healthy!

I used My Fitness Pal, a free app and website, where I tracked my food intake with calories. It has a huge database so you can find nearly any food you put in your mouth. The number of calories in some foods is quite eye opening. It helps define your daily intake of calories based on your gender, current weight, height and activity level. You can track water intake everyday, too. There is also a place to record your activity and input calories burned or it will estimate how much you likely burned as well. There is a social component as well, although, this is require at all. I have some friends on the site, that will at least like my status when I eat under my calories, workout or lose weight. There are forums on the website and places to blog about your journey as well.

In December, I found a great deal on a used FitBit Flex and purchased it. I then told my husband to give it to me for Christmas! :) I didn't want to spend the full amount as I just wasn't sure how much it would motivate me to move. The FitBit tracks your steps, with the goal to reach 10,000 steps each day.  If you meet the goal that day the FitBit will buzz a little on your wrist and some lights jump around all excited for a few seconds. Kind of a happy dance! It also tracks your sleep, if you wear it to bed. I will say I was obsessed with checking my steps in January. I still wear my FitBit, but I'm not as obsessed. It does make me aware of how much I did or did not move each day. Some days I'm just more motivated than others to be honest. I definitely don't regret the purchase, but the FitBit by itself had not been enough to lose weight.

What finally changed this last month, was I joined DietBet. This does cost money. The bets vary though, so you do have a choice. I joined a Kickstarter bet for $30. I bet that in 28 days time, I would lose 4% of my initial body weight. If I lost, I would not get my $30 back. If I won, which I did, I get my $30 back, with the chance to earn a portion of the money from those that did not win (I don't yet have that figure, but will update here when I do).

I was motivated mentally to lose the weight despite the Diet Bet. I just knew I needed to go in another direction than I was going. The Diet Bet gave the extra edge to working towards a specific short term goal. It specifically helped during the last few days of the bet. The week prior I was not as active and not watching my calories as faithfully. I was very close to my goal weight, but not quite there. Without the Diet Bet, I feel I may not put in much of an effort to get to the next pound lost. I did not want to lose the money, so I made a push on the last two days of the Diet Bet to eat really good foods, stay under my calories, drink lots of water and get in exercise. And it worked! I put in the effort and reached my goal.

I have a weight loss goal that I cannot meet in one month. It will probably take me six months in all to get there. That seems so overwhelming! The Diet Bet is helping me break down my weight loss into smaller more specific terms. It's organizing a plan for healthy weight loss essentially. And there is a reward at the end of each bet...more money. I happen to be a fan of more money so it's working for me!

Did you notice that my weight loss didn't come around because of just one thing? I had to have some tools in place to help track food and exercise calories. I used the FitBit to bring more awareness to my exercise. And the DietBet was just another tool that kept me motivated. (DietBet does have a social component to it as well that was nice to check in on once in awhile to see that other people were succeeding and some struggling as well) I'm not saying that this is the key for everyone with weight loss, but if we have a goal we need to keep looking for what works for us. And that may be different for us in different stages in our lives.

I will also mention, that I was the most disorganized with meal planning this month!! Which is quite amusing to me. I knew I wanted to avoid as many processed foods as possible, particularly bread. I wanted to eat lean meats, lots of fruits and veggies, and whole grains. And that is what we bought at the store. I then found recipes online or made up my own version of a meal. Was I perfect with my eating. No. I ate some foods I really should never eat, such as Fudgecicles! But I forgive myself for not being perfect. I won't die from eating it, but I know that I can make much better choices.

My take away insight from this last month of weight loss:

Set goals. Make them measurable. Don't give up. Make the extra effort. Find tools and social networks to assist you. Start again if you need to. Let go of perfection. Don't hold on to that which is not good for you.

I think these could all be applied to all areas of our lives. Yes, even decluttering and organizing! Read those insights again from the decluttering point of view. See?

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