|While my runner's feet could use a good pedicure, I'm definitely feeling good about the direction the scale is heading.|
And that feels like a great start to the new year, especially considering that while I've had some good, I've also had some really bad days in the last month, including days where I have fallen completely out of the saddle in a big, big way. Even so, clearly, I've had more good days than bad days. And I feel like I'm just beginning to accumulate some really good days.
With a month of eating healthier overall behind me, here's what I think is working for me so far:
First, starting the new year by making the simple choice to eat more fruits and vegetables was a big help because it was a very manageable first step to changing my diet. In fact, it was much more doable than suddenly implementing a no-sugar rule, or banishing certain foods. If I had done that, I would have been miserable, hyper-focused on what I couldn't have instead of all the delicious healthy things I can have. Also, beginning with eating more fruits and vegetables gave me more nourishment right up front, giving my body what it really needs and diminishing cravings overall, making it even easier to eat what is good for me and turn down what's not.
Second, I learned that you don't have to let bad days mean a total failure in striving to eat healthier and lose weight. In the past, I allowed myself to become so discouraged by a bad day that I would fall off the horse for days, weeks, and even months, eating and gaining instead of eating and losing. This time, I've told myself that a bad day is just a bad day and to keep going by eating a salad as part of the next meal or having a protein drink to curb the cravings that result from an especially bad eating spell. I've definitely learned that you can make progress by consistently having more good days than bad.
Third, I've learned that the more I nourish my body over time, the more easily I can have splurges without it turning into days and days of overeating. This past week, I had just two splurges - some lasagne Thursday night and two slices of homemade pizza (made by my teen daughter) last night. I am certain that the biggest reason the splurges didn't turn into binges was because my body was getting the nourishment it needed overall. Last night, I ate the pizza but turned down the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, and that's a great feeling, physically and psychologically. A big success for me.
Fourth, holding myself accountable works. In recent days, I have added a brief blog post at the end of each day, reporting back about how I've done that day. Keeping that accountability report in mind makes me think twice about how I eat on any given day. So, yes, I am having less troublesome cravings overall because I am better nourished than I was a month ago, but holding myself accountable also helps to keep me in line when I might otherwise slip up. Holding myself accountable works.
An Invitation: Consider holding yourself accountable. I will write a post every morning and a brief accountability check-in every evening (though I may not post on Sundays). Feel free to post a comment in the morning with your early morning thoughts and/or commitment for the day, and then check-in at night to share how you've done. Being accountable works. It's made a big difference for me. Let's do this together.