Monday, April 30, 2012

Tips and Tricks

Everyone has their own special ways of eating healthy or staying focused on a goal. I thought I would share a few of mine since it is getting close to tank-top-and-shorts-weather (in other words, time to really focus on those fitness goals ;)

Put on Clothes
It seems silly but putting on work-out clothes or a pair of jeans can be a motivator to get you off your hiney and to get moving. I tend to be in more comfy (aka worn-out) clothes since I am chasing a toddler all day and its not like I need to impress her with my fashionista style. If I find myself wanting to do nothing but laze on the couch putting on work-out clothes or a pair of jeans will usually get me in the mood for a dance video or a walk around the block.

Drink Water
Wandering the kitchen telling yourself not to nibble on anything? Try drinking a glass of water. Oftentimes we're thirsty but we think we are hungry so go noshing when we should be guzzling. I've gotten in the habit of leaving a glass of water or unsweetened tea in the fridge so when I go looking there is something to play with while I re-examine all the leftovers. I usually end up drinking half to the entire glass before I realize I'm really not hungry and leave the kitchen.

Wash Dishes, Sweep Floor, DO SOMETHING
I'll admit it, I'll eat when I'm bored. And sad. And upset. And stressed. And nervous. And...heck, I probably eat when I'm happy too. If I find myself staring in the fridge (again, even after drinking that glass of water) it usually means its time to find something to do to either get my mind off whatever problem is floating around or just to alleviate boredom (yes, even SAHMs and full time students get bored). Sometimes I start cleaning the house or go out and pull a few weeds from the garden or even just brush my teeth. Those few minutes of re-direction can change my "must nibble" impulses into "food? Nah, I'm good, thanks" thoughts.

Keep a Food Journal
Sometimes we think we are doing awesome and then go to measure or weigh ourselves and the numbers haven't moved (or, the horror, they've gone up). I started keeping a food journal on and it has been a great resource. The US Dept of Agriculture also has one, called SuperTracker. I found the USDA's to be interesting but rather distracting with the different options. I prefer Fitday's very clean and simple approach(Fitday also doesn't constantly nag at me to eat more grains and less protein).

The best thing about tracking what you eat is your able to notice patterns and make adjustments. For example, I knew I was an emotional eater but I hadn't realize how badly this affected my weight loss until I saw how much I was eating on stress filled days. By noticing these patterns it has become easier to change old, bad habits.

Measure and Weigh
You just weighed yourself and you've gained 3 pounds. Might as well have a cookie, all that eating healthy and exercising was pointless. How many times have you done that? I know I used to do it a lot. Don't give up though, pull out the measuring tape and see if you've lost any inches. There have been times I have gained 5 pounds (and just wanted to bawl) but then tried on a pair of pants that hadn't fit in months and they were loose.

Part of getting healthy is adding on muscle, which we all know weighs more than fat, so using measurements as a progress guide is often more precise than the numbers on a scale. Another good trick is to have an item of clothing you want to fit into (a smaller pair of jeans, a shirt that didn't fit quite right, you get the idea). Once a week try it on and check yourself out. Sometimes changes are so small we don't really notice them on the tape but when we try on an outfit suddenly it fits correctly. Not to mention, pulling on a pair of pants that should be snug and having them fit perfectly is a much bigger and better motivator that seeing you lost a couple pounds.

So those are my tips and tricks that keep me motivated. What are things you do to stay healthy and on track?

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