The New Weight Loss Rules for 2016

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In my first post for 2016 I mentioned a list of rules that I was going to focus on following as I work toward my weight loss goals. I said that I wasn’t going to tell you specifically my most important goal because I was following the rules of “5 Days to Your Best Year Ever” (a program by Michael Hyatt) that suggests you  only share your most important goal with one close person in your life. I did however share two smaller health goals that I have: 1) to walk/run 2016 miles in 2016 and 2) to write down everything I ate for better or worst every day for the first 90 days of the new year. I believe these two goals will help me to achieve my most important health goal for 2016.

I wanted to take this opportunity and use this post to unpack the new rules that I told you about last week.

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The Rules:

1.  Stop Eating by 8pm – Sunday through Thursday

2.  Eat greens at every meal.

3.  Drink 10 glasses of water every day.

4.  Dessert is available  on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

5.  Write down everything you eat.

6.  Measure (or weight) everything..

7.  Take one long run a week.

8.  Eat at the table.

9.  No starch after 3pm – Sunday – Thursday.

10.  Dress well every day.

Let me explain.

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Rule #1: Stop Eating by 8pm Sunday – Thursday.

I made this a rule mainly to shorten the time period in which I’m eating. I think that I may also start eating later on the weekends for the same reason. My reasoning is this: if I simply allow my “eating time frame” to be a shorter period of the day then that’s a smaller amount of food I can eat in one day. Pretty simple logic it seemed to me. And the reason it is Sunday – Thursday is because my husband and I usually go out to eat on Friday or Saturday and the schedule can fluctuate a lot. I still pretty much am eating by about 8:30 pm but the time when I end the eating could be later. I’m also attempting to apply the 80/20 rule and I figure that I have a better shot and being consistent with my behavior if I aim to follow all the rules 80% of the time and then if I am still aiming to hit them that other 20% but allowing myself some slack then I’m more likely to be consistent and I figure consistency at 80% will get me to the results I want quicker than the on again off again perfect for 95% that I’ve been aiming for in the past. Allowing myself 20% wiggle room straight up makes me breathe a lot easier. IT’s okay to give yourself a break! It just may make you more successful. Imagine that.

Rule #2: Eat greens at every meal. side plate of broccoli

This was a rule I had for 2014 and it works so incredibly well that I just wanted to put it up as a reminder that it’s not really a hard thing to do. In 2014 I practiced this idea I got from a book called The Happiness Project and the idea is that you take a big goal and break it down into 12 steps or 12 behaviors and you aim to do one each month but the trick is that you have to add on each month and continue doing the things from the month before. Ideally by December you’ve mastered 12 behaviors that go you to your ultimate goal. It’s a pretty sweet trick, especially for learning new behaviors.   Anyway one of my health steps in 2014 was to see if I could include greens at every meal and by like March I was doing it 100%. It was relatively easy if I just kept in my mind. So, I just wanted to remind myself that this is a goal that I like and it keeps me extremely regular. And yes, I am allowing us to discuss our digestive system on this blog. Relax. We can handle it. It’s going to be okay. Just breathe. People do not realize how important this is but believe me, try eating greens of some kind at every meal and that means breakfast too! And you will see how much it clears you up. You will love it! (you can thank me later)

Rule #3 Drink 10 glasses of water every day.  glass of water

I don’t hate water. I really don’t. But my drinking habits suggest that I do. I don’t know what is wrong with me but I do know that last year when I did the 21 day Virgin Diet, the biggest shift in weight loss came in that 2nd/3rd week when I amped up my water intake. It’s like my body was given permission to sort of “flush” the system and I did. So, I dowloade this free app called HydroCoach. And I set myself up to drink 90 oz of water. This is based on my height, weight and how much I want to lose. I know 90 oz. – Ouch! But go big or go home, right?

So the app reminds me all day long to drink water. And it says funny things and encouraging things and it even says things like, “I’m scared for you, you can’t survive without drinking more water!” or Don’t you know your body is 70% water? Drink up! It’s hilarious. The only thing I don’t like is that it’s silent. Or if it’s not then I haven’t figured out how to turn on the sound. So if you don’t look at your phone a lot then you won’t see the reminders. I wish it had a ringer on it. I’m going to keep looking to see if I can find one that has sound. I think that would help me more.

Rule #4: Dessert is available on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.   cupcake

If you are paying very close attention to everything I write on this blog and I know you are – then you’ll notice that I changed the language of this rule slightly from last week. I reworded from “Dessert only on” to “Dessert is available”very important change. It was a suggestion from my awesome Nutritionist who reminded me that although it is good to restrict dessert to the weekends and not have it every single day it is also okay to go without it on the weekend too. Just because I can have it on the weekends doesn’t mean I have to have it.

I wrote another post about this topic last year. I think that sometimes we get so caught up in our plan or out “diet” that we forget that life happens and sometimes we just don’t want that dessert or we run out of time to have that 3:00 pm snack and as much as we want to stay on our plan we forget that not only is it okay if we “mess up” a little it can even be a good thing if it means we ate less simply because we just didn’t feel like eating.

In fact, it’s a terrific thing if you think about it because to me it means we’re getting closer to the behavior and lifestyle we as overeaters dream about – that lifestyle where we naturally eat what we want in moderation. So I am allowing myself to eat dessert on the weekends and I am restricting myself from eating dessert on the weekdays but I am acknowledging that dessert is not a “have to” part of the plan. If I decide for whatever reason that I don’t want dessert and it happens to be a Sunday, I don’t have to have it. And yes, that does mean that I won’t have dessert again until the next Friday which is six days away, but again – breathe. Relax. It’s going to be okay. We can do this.

Rule #5: Write down everything you eat. diary

As part of the program “5 Days to Your Best Year Ever” by Michael Hyatt, I had to take a look at the past year and really assess what went right and what went wrong and I had to kind of figure out the repeat themes of the year. One of the big ones I noticed was that my biggest success with weight loss and money and a few other goals occurred when I was diligently writing things down. I love making lists like to analyze how I’m going to solve a problem but I’m not good at consistently writing things down every day for like what I did at work or what I ate or what I spent my money on. But when I am able to keep that up for any consistent period of time – the results of drsastically different. I can not deny the difference So – one of my big focuses this year – WRITE IT DOWN. WRITE IT ALL DOWN.

No matter how much time it seems to take I’m going to write it all down because even if it feels like I’m taking up a lot of time, my argument is that I bet at the end of 2016 if I’ve done less stuff but been very diligent about writing things down I’ll actually finish more stuff an accomplish bigger goals that I’ve been trying to get done for years. And that would make it all worth it.

To give myself huge momentum in this theme of “WRITE IT ALL DOWN”, I made a goal of writing down every single thing I eat or drink for the first 90 days of the year. Ideally I’d do this 365 days of the year but I figure my odds for the year will be a lot better if I at least start the year with a perfect first 90 days.  And I am starting by writing old-school – pen and paper and that’s because I don’t want to stop myself from writing it down because I don’t like how it looks. And I’ll be honest, I have mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, remember when I wrote about the great things about using Fitbit or MyFitnessPal?  I wrote about how you can start the day writing out what you plan to eat and seeing it all in black and white and deciding then and there if that’s truly the way you want to spend your calories for the day. You also have the option of shifting a little throughout the day depending on how you feel and still coming out victorious. BUT – I would easily get caught in a trap of only wanting to see the good days and not wanting to face up to days where it was clear I was going to go well over my allotted calories for the day.

But the goal of writing it down is not to be perfect, it’s to be present.  The point is to acknowledge your actions for better or worse every day and say that’s what today is, that’s who I am today – and that’s okay. And when you hide from yourself two things happen. #1- you’re bound to continue the bad behavior a little longer than you would have if you were writing it down and it was staring you in the face. And #2, you lose the history. Writing things down consistently can easily be the most important thing you do for your own progress because it gives you a long and detailed history of what you’ve been doing. Then you can go back to past weeks, months or even years and see the changes you made which can give you encouragement to keep going or it can give you reminders of what you did in earlier times to help yourself get back on the wagon or make adjustments. It’s an incredible tool – simply writing it down. You owe it to yourself to give yourself that gift of remembrance because the natural mind will not remember. But if you wrote it down – then there it is.

 Rule #6. Measure (or weigh) everything.  measuring food

This is just plain honesty folks. No more eyeballing. Count out the chips; weigh the meat; measure the drink. We have to know how much we are truly consuming if we want to cut back. This blog is all about overeaters and how we can overcome our insatiable need to snack and overconsume – how we can heal our relationship with food. In order to do that, we need the facts. You can’t change what you don’t know. This goes hand in hand with writing it down. You have to know how much granola you naturally eat before you can make decisions about how much you need to cut out. Right? So, measure it all. The other lovely result of doing this – if you are a massive snacker like I am, you’ll simply get tired. Measuring out chips will get on your nerves! Trust. And so you’ll eat less as a result. Winning!

Rule #7: Take one long run a week.  me_working out

As I type this I am laughing because I realized that this topic deserves it’s own post. In fact, I didn’t realize that until I had written down my explanation and it was almost as long as one of my normal posts. Hilarious! That’s one of the things I love about this blog though, it’s a great place to share and get your brain all sorted out. Sometimes you don’t realize how passionate you feel about a subject or how much you’ve been thinking about something unitl you start to type it out on the computer. Then you look back and you’re like: Man! I really had a lot to say about this. So, bare with me and please look for a post right after this one that goes into further detail.

For this post, let me keep it short and say, I didn’t run one single time in 2015. That is crazy since I used to run about 4 times a week and no less than 4 miles in each run. So I’d like to bring that practice back minimally by just trying to keep up a rule of doing one long run a week. This rule may not show up in actual practice for another month or so depending on the weather and everything else I have going on but I feel strongly that it will make me happier in the long run (no pun intended) so I really want to keep it on the rule book so that I don’t let another year slip by where I didn’t run at all.

Rule #8: Eat at the Table.  table setting

This is straight from my new favorite book the Course in Weight Loss and from my nutritionist. Both gave me the same advice for the same reason. When you eat at a table, preferably one that has a beautiful table setting, you are more apt to acknowledge what you’re eating and how much you’re eating and feel more fulfilled by the meal buecaseu you took the time to eat it with an intentional conscious mind as opoose to eating at the coffee atable in front of the television or while you’re working on the computer or God forbid, standing up in the kitchen.

We as overeaters have got to start being conscious of our mindless eating. We don’t have to beat ourselves up about it but we’ve got to take the time to acknowledge what we’re doing and ask ourselves – am I truly hungry? Is that enough food for now? And when you sit at the table and have a meal, you’re taking that moment to say: I’m eating right now and this is enough for now. And then you can finish the meal, get up from the table and say to yourself, “I’m done with the eating portion of this time right now. On to the rest of my life.” You put a beginning and end to your meals. This is right. This is healthy.

Rule #9: No starch after 3pm, Sunday – Thursday.    bread

I’ll be honest. I got this from Bob Harper’s book: The Skinny Rules: The Simple, Nonnegotiable Principles for Getting to Thin. I didn’t even read the book, I got the list off of Pinterest. I’ve read lots of different studies supporting this rule and lots of others saying it doesn’t make any difference. I’m going with the thought that – it can’t hurt. Carbs give you energy and I’m thinking you don’t really need as much energy in the evening. I don’t. I get up at 5:30 am. Half my day is over by noon. I am not a night person. By 3 pm I am winding down and I will continue to wind down the rest of the night so having a lot of extra energy isn’t necessary. But notice that I said “starch” not carbs. Again, my awesome nutritionist thought it might better suited for me to say no starch, leaving me free to eat some fruit or say hummus.

So we’ll see how this goes but I like the idea of it. It will also keep me in check on some of my less nutritious snacks like Pop Chips and Wheat Thins and keep me more inclined to have my olives/tomatoes/hummus snack instead. See? Tricky, tricky. J

Rule #10: Dress well every day. me shopping

So here again, make note that I will have a full post about this in detail. This is another realization I made when reading the Course In Weight Loss. I know I keep mentioning that book but honestly it was the most important book I read all of 2015.

Putting this rule on my list is all about living in the now and not waiting for some future moment when I’ll be the perfect weight and life will be grand. Life is grand now. Very grand indeed.  And I must live now the way that I want life to look later.

Transformation is not a future event it is a present activity. – Jillian Michaels

So those are my rules for 2016.   Of course I reserve the right to change my mind at any time. That is my right as a woman. I will try however to make changes based only on sound observation of my progress toward my health goals for the year.

Do you have any set goals that you’ve given a lot of thought to – let me know what they are and why. I’d love to hear about them!

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