The Uphill Skater: Living a Healthy Lifestyle
“The word ‘Journal’ is not only a noun, it has morphed into a popular verb and gerund, too. That is what happens to buzz words. Unfortunately, that does not change the fact that it is not only an important tool for a healthy lifestyle, but can be a real heartbreaker, as well.”
~The Uphill Skater
Well, sisters, November is a time for harvest, gratitude and self-evaluation. OK, I know that harvest and gratitude are not really conducive to self-evaluation, but now is as good a time as any, especially with all of the yummy food coming our way as Thanksgiving approaches.
This is my time of the year; I love fall and winter food like sweet potatoes, squash pudding, pumpkin pie, apple cobbler and on and on. Leftovers are always around, too. Mmmm, it’s so easy to open the fridge with fork in hand and just dip out a little bite or two (or three!) of sweet potato pie, or to stand over the sink and have a quick nibble of frozen Halloween candy. Not that I would stoop to freezing Halloween candy, mind you. I’m just saying.
What to do about all of this? The answer is both extremely simple and impossibly difficult. That is usually the way with something that really works, and let me tell you, keeping a daily food and exercise journal honestly works. It is a slap in the face, a kick in the butt and a truth diary all wrapped up in one. It is a snapshot of the real you, if you are honest. In my experience, journaling is the most effective tool for following and sticking to that elusive path to a truly healthy lifestyle.
>> How to start? <<
Well, it is very simple. Start with a spiral notebook and a pen. Write down everything you do and EVERYTHING you eat for three days. Anybody can commit to three days! That’s all it takes to see a picture of your habits—a very real, detailed picture. If you find it daunting, there are some tips to make it easier to continue so you don’t get disheartened. When I first tried it, my excuse was I did not have time for all of this stuff; so of course, I dropped it. Bad move. Better move—discover some shortcuts that make it easy.
>> Discover your Routines <<
I usually eat the same breakfast every day—cereal, berries, banana and walnuts with half a cup of non-fat milk or a carton of Greek yogurt— which totals about 300 calories. Unless I go out, or my darling husband makes pancakes, I just write down 300 in my journal, instead of going through each ingredient every time. It helps to be a bit of a creature of habit. I often make many of the same dishes each week. Therefore, I figured out the calories one time and refer back to it each week when I eat that meal. It’s a great timesaver.
It can also be applied if you have a regularly scheduled exercise time or class. Just put things down like you would on your calendar. Again, this is on the honor system and to truly get the most out of journaling being honest is imperative. Don’t say you went to the gym if you didn’t. The purpose of your journal is to benefit you, discover you, as it is all about you. It is like looking in the mirror, I promise you.
>> Get a Full Picture <<
Finally, it is confession time. It only took me one day to see my downfall. I am a snacker. I already know that, of course, but I had no idea the extent or number of calories my snacking was adding to my daily intake. I was picking and snitching more calories than I was eating in a meal. I also used to drink quite a few wine calories. It did not take me long to figure that out— 100s of extra calories lurking in my glass of relaxation.
It’s easy to allow things to get out of control when you are not paying attention. Keeping a journal is your foolproof way of paying attention, discovering your habits and taking back control. Knowledge is power and in daily dieting, the more knowledge you have, the more weight you will lose.
Get real and get in touch with yourself. Start keeping a daily food journal and let me know what you see result wise. Isn’t it exciting to find out more about yourself?
Tune in next month for some surefire ways to avoid the Christmas present that is more dreaded than an ugly scarf: The gift of a 7-pound gain from all of those parties and gatherings. Yes, Christmas is the gift that keeps on giving. Why do you think they invented New Year’s resolutions?