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Jan
11

Finding My Happy Weight

This past summer, while reading “healthy living” blogs, I came across blogger Erin Coates and her blog The Healthy Apron.  Erin, a registered and licensed dietician,  was running a series of posts she titled Your Best Self One Month Makeover! This sounded good to me, so I followed along for the month.  I’ve since become a regular reader of The Healthy Apron (and I’ve mentioned the blog in a previous post.)

Today I want to talk about what I learned (and in fact, still learning) from Erin’s month-long program.  This program is about finding “your happy weight”.  It is NOT about dieting, counting calories, eating only certain types of food, etc.  It’s a no-nonsense approach to eating and exercising.  Some of this stuff should be “obvious” yet had never occurred to me.

This is what I took away from her program.  I could probably go back through the whole program right now and learn new stuff.  But here is what I learned, about me, over the summer.
1)  Natural Eating.  Should be intuitive, right?  It means you should eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.  For me, “natural eating” is NOT intuitive.  It’s hard work.  Am still working on it.  Snacking is my biggest nemesis.  Prior to reading Erin’s program, I would feel hungry and go in search of a snack.  Often I was not sure what I wanted so I would eat this and that, and this and that, and… (get the picture?)  Now, I try to follow these steps:

  1. Ask myself if I am indeed hungry.  Or am I just a little bored, looking for something to do.  Eating is “something to do”, right?  But there are other things to do that would be better for my body, like: talk a walk, call/write a friend, read my book, etc, etc.
  2. If I am truly hungry I ask myself: “What do I really want to eat right now?”  Do I want sweet? salty? savory? crunchy? creamy? cold? hot?  No foods are “bad foods” so if I can figure out what I’m hungry for, I eat it.  Sometimes I ask myself, “if I could get anything I wanted to eat right now, even if it’s not in my kitchen, what would it be?”  Then I take it from there.  For example, if that “something” is a piece of chocolate cake then I know I’m hungry for something sweet and soft.  I may not have chocolate cake in the house (I rarely do) but perhaps I have a piece of a good chocolate bar.  That might do it.  Or I might have chocolate pudding.  That might also do the trick for me.  Too many times in the past I would want something that I felt I shouldn’t eat so I would eat something else.  But that wouldn’t satisfy me so I would eat another something else, and so on.  The old way was not honoring my hunger.  Now I honor my hunger.  I eat when I’m truly hungry, and I eat whatever it is that I feel like eating.  (And I try to stop when I’m full.  Still working on that one.)
  3. When I eat, I try to really enjoy eating.  I try to minimize distractions and just focus on my food.  Again, this is one I’m still working on.

2) Move It To Lose It.  I workout every day.  And I work out hard.  I run.  I cycle.  I workout with weights (sometimes).  I take long, power walks.  Don’t I already get all the exercise I need?  Erin made me realize that even though I may have a good, hard workout every morning, I was spending the rest of the day pretty sedentary.  She introduced me to the idea of “Fidget-cize”, or spontaneous, physical activity throughout the day.  Erin has lots of suggestions of how you can “fidget-cize” 5 to 8 times each day.  For example, I now do leg-lifts while I brush my teeth in the bathroom.  Looks funny?  Sure.  Does my huuby think it’s weird when he sees me?  Probably.  But hey, it’s effective and not at all hard to fit into the day.  You just have to remember to do it.  Go to Erin’s site to all her tips/suggestions on this.

4)  The All or Nothing Mentality.  Oh, this is sooooo me.  Not just when it comes to food or exercise.  My husband often says to me, “You know, there might be something in between all and nothing.”  Yes, I know.  I just forget most of the time.  This is another area where much work needs to be done.  Just because I’ve eaten something I didn’t really want, when I wasn’t even hungry, I don’t have to eat it all.  I need to get rid of the attitude that tells me: “you’ve already blown it, might was well it eat all.”  Same is true for exercise.  Just because I don’t have a full hour for my workout, doesn’t mean I can’t workout at all.  It’s ok to sometimes only workout for 20 mins.  Really, it’s ok.

Erin also give lots of other great advice and tips in her program.  Many of them are along the lines of how to pick healthy foods.  I’m not going to discuss that here because while I agree with all that she says on the topic, I already knew that stuff and already had put it into practice.  My intention here is NOT to repeat everything Erin suggests.  You can go to her blog to read all about it.  I just wanted to talk about the key things I learned.  I learned a lot.  Don’t cha think?

Ok, this post is getting too long.  I want to leave you with a totally unrelated photo.  Just cause it’s cute.  It’s Sneakers, of course!

8 comments

  1. Lindsay says:

    It sounds like you did learn a lot!! I particularly enjoyed your #2. I too am sedentary at a desk most days, and not always super active at night. I am hoping to make a real change in that department to keep my energy levels up.

    1. Elizabeth says:

      I found it helps to think of it NOT as exercise, but as little actions to keep the muscles working throughout the day. Good luck!

  2. Words of Encouragement. | The Healthy Apron says:

    [...] that said, yesterday I received the most wonderful email from my friend Elizabeth at RunwithSneakers. Liz wrote an encouraging post relating to the Your BEST Self One Month Makeover series that I [...]

  3. Andrea says:

    I think natural eating will become intuitive for you eventually. I used to have a real problem with finishing everything on my plate. I was so concerned about wasting food, that I just ate everything. And if something was offered to me, whether I was hungry for it or not, I ate it. I tried to change that a few years ago and I’ve gotten pretty good at it now. I eat what I want until I’m full and just because someone offers me ice cream doesn’t mean I need to eat it!

  4. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday says:

    It’s really amazing how little calories you burn when you’re sedentary all day, even if you do have a daily serious workout. I have a Gruve calorie tracker that shows this and when I’m at work I burn barely any calories. I could go for a 7 mile run on a work day and still not hit my calorie burning targets and yet I easily hit my targets on the weekend when I am out and about or doing things around the house.

    1. Elizabeth says:

      Never heard of the Gruve device before, but after checking it out I’m intrigued. Am curious to know if you like yours. Did you post your review of it on your blog?

      1. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday says:

        Yup. Here’s the link if you’re interested.
        http://gamereviewwiki.com/bikinibirthday/2010/11/16/gruving/

  5. meri says:

    this sounds like a great plan for a lifestyle of health and happiness. good luck, stick with it! I’m going to try to keep some of these habits better too :)
    meri
    merigoesround.blogspot.com

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