Saturday, July 18, 2015

An Exercise In Control

In all our years together, my husband has lectured, preached and bored me with endless tips about healthy eating.  He's had health issues since childhood, so I guess this was always his way to tackle the problem the best way he could.  He gets this ridiculous high from eating right and working out regularly.  He is freakin' annoying!  However, for the first time, he said something that actually stuck with me.  It goes with the whole concept that weight loss is 80% diet and 20% workout.  Yes, we've heard this before.  But he went on to say that even if you don't have time to dedicate to your workouts, you are still in control of your diet.  You have complete control over everything that goes into your mouth.  No one can force you to eat crappy food.  You control the choice of what to eat every time you sit down for a meal.

That one word, "control", resonated with me above and beyond everything I've ever learned about health and fitness.  Over the last couple of years, I had lost control of my eating and desperately wanted it back.  To do that, I had to face my dietary vices head on.  One by one, I needed a plan to regain control.  Here they are listed below and how I have been dealing with them for now:

  • Starbucks:  My occasional Starbucks treat turned into a daily routine.  I never ordered just regular brewed coffee either.  My pallet craved flavors like cinnamon dolce and white mocha.  Even when I held back on the whip cream and substituted soy or almond milk, I still ended up with a 300+ calorie drink, swimming in 50 grams of sugar before I touched any ounce of real food for the day.  To fix this, I either have regular brewed coffee or the skinny versions of my fave Starbucks treats once a week.
  • Energy:  I wholeheartedly recommend for anyone that is going through their own slump to find a natural energy booster.  For me, that is baby spinach.  Within a day of adding this food into the rotation, I get my mojo back and have enough energy to maintain my early morning workout routine.
  • Snacking:  My weak time of the day is late afternoon, which begins at work and continues even after I arrive at home.  Salty snacks are what I normally reach for, which includes things like popcorn or tortilla chips with guacamole.  These snacks aren't 100% horrible, but they are if I eat half the bag in one sitting.  Now, I plan ahead to have 2 cups of air popped popcorn with a little sea salt and it gives me the fix I need.
  • Breakfast:  It has always been my favorite meal of the day, but I wouldn't actually eat it until a good three hours after my morning workout.  No doubt, this probably brought my metabolic caloric burn to screeching halt.  Add on top of that, the first thing in my mouth was a sugary Starbucks drink and you can begin to see how the pounds packed on.  I used to blame not having enough time in the mornings, but that was bull and I knew it.  Now I simply knock back a protein shake right after working out, and it buys me a little time until I can sit down for some oatmeal a little later.
  • Protein:  I have been happily content as a vegetarian for years.  However, I admit that I needed to make some changes if wanted to step up my protein content.  Drinking more protein shakes and increasing my bean product intake just wasn't enough to keep me interested.  So, the happy vegetarian has added fish into the diet and she hasn't died yet.  No, I am still not all that interested in chicken, beef or pork.  Trust me when I say that I've tried, but they just don't do it for me.  Oh well.
  • Meal Prepping:  I've done the meal prep thing in various ways many times before.  I would buy all my favorite healthy foods and pack my cooler the night before work.  However, I never put much effort into planning an entire week in advance.  Now I am going that extra step and packing each meal into its own container, so I have a full week of meals stocked in my refrigerator.  It has made all the difference in the world in keeping me from reaching for other processed convenience foods.

None of these changes are earth shattering and you surely have heard of them countless times from other weight loss stories.  It just happens to be the combination of things that are working for me at the moment.  In the past month, I have lost a modest 6 pounds.  It is no biggie because I have lost and gained the same 5 or 6 pounds before, only to have one margarita too many and gain it right back.  I don't have the usual feelings of anxiety about getting the weight off this time.  Reminding myself that I am fully in control of the process has made all the difference.  

Don't tell my hubby that I actually listened to him this time.  All the running, all the kickboxing and all the yoga in the world will do absolutely nothing for my body if I don't fuel it properly.  I am living proof of this.  In spite of the fact that have a consistent workout routine, I have still managed to eat my way back up to what I weighed when I was 9 months pregnant with each of my boys.  But I won't be here for long.  Being back in control of my diet is an addictive feeling that I won't let go of any time soon.  Looks like being a control freak finally turned into something positive this time.  My hubby might agree with the control freak part of that statement.

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