I really wish someone would create a magic, natural, healthy pill to miraculously melt away my body fat. If only that person was me I could become a deca-billionaire, or worse! Since neither I nor anyone else has created said magic pill, I guess I’m on my own with losing weight. I’m really too lazy to lose any serious weight, although I think I’ve found something that works well for me.
It really boils down to shame. I have to shame myself into eating right and exercising. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean serious shame, I like myself way too much for that, I mean more along the lines of ‘really? You’re going to put that into your body? Do you know how many calories are in that pie?’ The only way for me to do this is to keep track of everything I eat.
It’s embarrassing to see exactly what I eat on a daily basis. Keeping a food journal is a humbling experience. Did you know one pop tart has two hundred calories? And who can eat just one? I can forgive Grapenuts cereal for not having much flavor once I realized how much good stuff was packed into those tiny morsels. Add a few blueberries and nonfat milk and I have a great start to the day.
There are quite a few apps for food journaling and through trial and error I have chosen MyFitnessPal as my embarrassometer. I like MFP because not only does it keep track of your food and water intake but your workouts as well. So, you start with a given number of calories, mine being 1530 (because I want to lose about a pound a week), and the more you exercise the more calories you ‘earn’. I love it! If I go out for a jog, I can have that second pop tart!
At the end of your eating day, when you’ve tallied all your calories, you scroll down to the bottom and hit <complete this entry>. If I’ve been good it says, ‘If every day were like today, you will weigh five pounds less than you do now in five weeks!’ If I’ve been bad it says, ‘you will weigh a lot more if you don’t gain a few more IQ points!’ Okay, it doesn’t say that, it just gives me a number I don’t want to see.
Along with food journaling, I realized a few months ago, I must move more. I spend a lot of time on the computer, writing and researching, and not a lot of time moving around. So I did the one thing that seems to be helping me more than anything else, when it comes to movement: I adopted a dog, Roxy the Rox Star. I live in a condo so I can’t just open the back door and let her run free. I have to put my shoes on and walk her around the block.
Before Roxy joined our family, I used to go out for jogs or walks once a day and then sit around the rest of the time. With Roxy, I go out and walk several times a day and the difference is noticeable. Since I adopted Roxy, sometime in mid-February, I’ve lost six pounds. Almost a pound a week and I feel much better about my energy and activity levels.
At the beginning of the year I weighed about 185 pounds. When I brought Roxy home I weighed 180. Today I weighed myself at 174 and my clothes are getting annoyingly baggy. For those of you who think 174 doesn’t sound like a lot of weight: just know I am very small boned and I could easily lose another thirty pounds. For those of you who don’t think losing eleven pounds in three months is a big deal: I could’ve just maintained my weight or even gained a pound or two. Any weight loss is good at this point.
I credit Roxy and MyFitnessPal with keeping me aware of my surroundings. I absolutely have to know what is going into my body and I have to move around, revving my metabolism up, several times a day instead of just once. I view food journaling now the same way I view taking Roxy out for walks: I have to make accountability more than just a habit. I have to make it something I just do because I don’t have a choice.