Monthly Archives: November 2011

Guilt-free eating

Last night I had a dinner engagement with colleagues from work. The restaurant offered two menus: fixed and surprise. What to do. In the past, “business dinners” have caused me some anxiety over whether to try to eat according to my food plan (and thus decline the bread basket, leave certain foods on my plate, skip the inevitable dessert) or to eat what is served to me.

Last night I decided to use my weekly cheat meal. As it turned out, the feast was one primarily for the eyes. Three-plus hours later, I left the restaurant still feeling more than a little hungry. I thoroughly enjoyed the food. I ate the one dinner roll offered and the dessert (which included an incredible coffee-flavoured ice cream and other indescribable delights). I could have but didn’t ask for non-dairy selections. I felt comfortable at the table and relaxed about my food choices. Afterwards I felt a little “cheated” in my cheat meal selection since I had not stuffed myself with “forbidden” foods.

I credit my comfort level with having made the decision in advance that I would eat what I wanted and enjoy myself. That was easier than having to make on-the-spot decisions all night long in reaction to a tempting food and feeling regret that I had planned but failed to avoid certain food items.

And the best news is I’ve met my first weight-loss milestone of five pounds.

Where is your attention?

Recording what I eat every day helps me pay attention and make progress towards my goal, which is once again, getting leaner and lighter. I have specific targets for calories, protein and net carbohydrates. Keeping a log helps me analyze the results I am seeing. And it reminds me that I have a goal that depends on the choices I make at every meal.

Many paleo advocates suggest not weighing or measuring your food, and staying away from a scale yourself for a month. Maybe this works if you are strictly following a food plan. But I haven’t used this method with any success. And besides I think the data I collect is useful.

I don’t think it is necessary to keep a food diary or journal all the time. But I will until I reach my goal and stabilize at the new weight.

I have used a couple websites that I like. Fitday.com is free and has easy data entry but doesn’t track sugar, which is important to me. I have not found a mobile app for fitday however, another important feature.

MyFoodDiary.com offers a lot of tools and will evaluate your meals based on the typical calories in, calories out model, favoring low fat, moderate protein and high carbs. I do not like getting little red boxes on my food journal telling me I’ve eaten too much saturated fat and protein and not enough carbs. I do however like the social support I receive through the community forum. That is the only reason I keep paying the monthly access fee.

My current favorite for keeping my food log is a website I discovered through the app for my phone: fatsecret.com is free and works perfectly with a calorie counter on my phone. I love the scanner, which allows me to scan the label and saves having to manually enter the item and its nutritional information. I also like the reports it generates, which I can easily send to my trainer to review.

Plus there are some great social features like buddies, email, challenge threads, groups, diet plans, and so on. You can make up your own diet and share it too. I am really liking it a lot.

If you are not making good, steady progress toward your goal, then take the time to figure out why not. If you don’t know why not, then consider keeping a food journal for a couple weeks. It is not as hard as they say to get leaner. You simply need the right tools, the right information, and the right skills.

The pain of discipline or the pain of regret

The power is the moment of choice.

So tomorrow, I’m riding with a fellow triathlete who has a donor heart. I just watched a video about his story, and learned that he trains with one of my running coaches. And they ride on wednesdays with my neighbor and club-mate. And they invited me.

I’m already inspired. And here I am wincing from DOMS from lifting weights yesterday. No more excuses.

So, are you a donor? Me too.

3 seconds

That’s all it takes to stay on task in the face of a triggering thought. A three-second pause. In that moment we have a chance to label the thought and decide to stand firm. Giving in erodes our confidence in our ability to keep our agreements with ourselves.

In that moment, we can ask the 10/10/10 questions. If I give in, how will I feel in ten minutes, ten days, ten months? Or you can scan even further into the future. If nothing changes, how will I feel in ten years? What is the aftermath of continually giving in to a craving or a food trigger?

In that moment, we can also accentuate the positive. If I can tolerate saying no to this craving, I will get the benefits of my food plan.

The most direct way to relief is the power of No Choice. This ends the struggle-reminding ourselves that the decision has already been made and we are sticking with our plan. This is the pathway to pride in ourselves.

Once you’ve interrupted the triggering thought, you can put some other strategies into play. Get some distance from the trigger. Go to another room, discard the food, or put it away. You might also try drinking some cold water. Or get busy doing something else.

Just three seconds to victory.

making the goal easier to reach

When I ran the Rotterdam marathon, I used a mental strategy to make the race a little easier. A race of 42 kilometers is just four 10-km runs with a sprint to the finish line. Okay, I wasn’t sprinting at the finish. But the race felt more manageable to visualise it in 10-km increments. I am using the same strategy with my 20 lb weight loss goal. Four times 5km races. I can do this. I’m nearly finished with my first mini-goal.

Breaking up a big job into smaller steps helps me get started and to keep going. I don’t have to finish, I just have to get to the next milestone. Over and over, and then I’m there!

Photo

56 days until another set of New Year’s resolutions

I think I made some last year. I can’t remember.  But I figure, why weight until 1 January. I have goals. And action steps. Some big, some small, all moving.   Why wait until January? Everything begins with an idea. So conjure up your future now!  An internet friend gave me this inspiration. I too can have 13 percent body fat and great abs.

Hope springs eternal.

I tried a planned indulgence aka cheat-day today. It was weird. To purposely and deliberately eat exactly what I want. Which makes me wonder why not eat like this all the time. Why should I eat something I don’t want to eat? Like fake diet food.

What I noticed is that I asked myself before eating, do I want that? Do I want more? I stopped eating when I felt satisfied (good). And didn’t want more even though technically I could eat as much as I wanted on this Planned Indulgence Day. But I didn’t want to feel sick, which I would if I ate when I didn’t want to.  Very strange. Let’s see how I feel in the morning and whether next week I have any interest in another day of planned indulgences.  Either this is a good idea or one-helluva-way to derail what’s been a good streak of 10 days of dieting.  Maybe I will have to pick up another white chip tomorrow.

The path to success

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
Bene Gesserit, litany against fear, Dune.

The key to getting started down the path of being remarkable in something is to simply act with the intention of being remarkable. You can’t simply go with the flow. It is not enough to wish for something. You must take intention-driven actions towards that outcome. Stop wishing and start doing.

We have control over what is probably the most important part of our lives-our health-but walk around as if it is something we have no control over it.

So, what is the smallest meaningful change that you can make towards your goal? Do it, and create momentum.