My keys to weight loss
I’ve really been thinking lately that I need to carve out more of an identity for myself in this blog world. I keep asking myself “Who am I?”
But some people just click on a certain post and then leave thinking “oh this girl really likes peanut butter” and not realize the journey that got me to this point.
It’s been about so much more than weight loss for me. But that’s a good place to start.
This was Josh and me during the Christmas season in 2005, the year we got married! This was also the time of my highest weight.
In January 2007, I started a major lifestyle overhaul that would eventually lead me to a vastly improved, healthier life. Part of this was losing 70 lbs, which took me about a year to achieve.
One of my keys to the weight loss I experienced was Journaling.
- I logged everything I ate (or drank) in a journal (like this one) and tallied up (as best I could) the totals for calories, fat, carbohydrates, protein and fiber.
- I also tracked how many glasses of water I drank every day.
- The times of meals were recorded.
- It also had space for exercise.
- In the section labeled “notes” I tried to write something like “good day” or “wow, I ate too much” to gauge my mood or how I thought the day went.
Doing this made me aware of my habits. Previously, I had just sort of flown by the seat of my pants. I had no idea how many calories I was eating, I was hardly aware of what I was really eating at all.
Here’s what I do remember. Before, my day would consist of this:
- No breakfast at home; if I did eat, it was either Pop Tarts or chocolate donuts from the vending machine when I got to work.
- Lunch was usually from Wendy’s or McDonald’s, hamburger or chicken sandwich with fries. Sometimes I skipped lunch altogether or ate a frozen dinner (usually when I was attempting Weight Watchers).
- Three Musketeer bar and diet soda for that 2 o’clock slump. Speaking of diet soda, it’s pretty much all I drank.
- I honestly can’t remember what I ate for dinner. Sometimes I would just go through the drive thru at McDonald’s when I got off work (usually when I skipped lunch) and crash on the couch when I got home. When we went out to “real” restaurants, I always stuffed myself to the point of sickness. I took lots of Mylanta and Tums back then.
- Sometimes a 3 Musketeer for dessert. Or a Frosty, Blizzard, etc.
Even when I did Weight Watchers, I’d do my best to tally up “points” but I still ate those same foods, perhaps a bit less. I always lost 20 lbs, then stalled and gave up only to put on more weight.
I know the program has changed a lot since my time, but when you have the books with the points listed for every fast food restaurant menu, that does little to help the root of the problem.
When I started educating myself and realized the reality of the stuff I was putting into my body and what would happen if I continued down this road, I knew I wanted better.
In fact, I realized that I didn’t even really like that food, I had just gotten into the habit. I was eating food that was terrible for me and I didn’t like because it was convenient and because I didn’t care enough about myself or my body to take proper care of it.
But thankfully, I finally woke up and realized I am worth it. I also started associating what I ate with how I felt, which was a real eye opener.
Journaling worked well for me but I know it is not for everyone. I continued to journal more informally once I reached a comfortable weight.
This blog, in some ways, is like a food journal only I’m not trying to lose weight anymore. I am however, staying aware and still learning!
To this day, I plan my meals and snacks (apart from the blog) to help me stay on track (and try new recipes!) but I’m much more relaxed now. If I start to feel crappy or my pants start fitting too tight, I will keep a more detailed log until I feel back in control again.
Have you ever used a food journal? Do you find it helpful or not?
I’ll post another key soon, this barely scratches the surface. Thanks for reading!