Positive Attainable Goals

It’s always good to have goals and the goal of this blog is to show our progress in our change to being healthy. One of the results to being healthy is losing weight. Weight loss, in theory, is an easy task to do. It’s really about calories consumed vs calories burned.  When the calories consumed is less than the calories burned throughout the day, you are going to lose weight. I know it’s much more complex than what I explained and I know from personal experience that it’s much more difficult to execute; but that’s the short end of it.

Controlling my diet has been a positive experience so far. I know I have made a definite change in my food choices and especially in the amount of food I eat. I have recently added exercising back into my routine. These two things will be a lifetime goal that I would like to maintain from this point on.

It’s also good to have some short term goals. I read that it’s good to gauge yourself within three month increments. It's short enough that I can't procrastinate to make any changes. It's long enough to show some significant results in my progress in maintaining a steady weight loss.

Finding an attainable goal is very important. A goal that’s too challenging would only cause failure in the end. I would find myself feeling defeated and even wanting to quit since I would fail time after time, goal after goal. Nobody likes to lose. Disappointing yourself is one of the hardest losses to bounce back from. On the other hand, having a goal that is too easy would be just as much of a waste of time. If I were to have a weight loss goal of five pounds by the end of April; then of course I would be able to achieve this. Let’s face it, ANYONE can lose five pounds in three months with just a small incremental change. In my opinion, that wouldn't even feel like a challenge at that point. However, even that isn't a total loss. At least you are losing weight.

So for my three month goal, I would like to see myself 30 pounds lighter by the end of April 2015. I believe 30 pounds is a pretty high number but very much attainable. I have done it once in the past but was very challenging. I would have to maintain my healthy diet while on a continuous exercise routine and so far I’m on the right track. 

I'm also aware there's a good chance of failure. If I managed to only lose 20 pounds then all is not lost. Losing 20 pounds is still great progress and something I haven’t achieved in years. For the next three month goal, I might need to adjust my goal or find out why I didn't make it. Did I eat the wrong foods, perhaps too many cheat days or did I slack off when exercising? If I lost another 20 pounds in three months, that would still be fantastic. Not many people can say they lost 40 pounds in six months or even a year. Always maintain a positive attitude. The only negative you should see is in the weight you lost and in the size of your waistline shrinking. 

Listening To My Brain And Not My Stomach

One of the things I have been trying to do is listening to how my body feels. Like many of you, I have a 9-5 weekday job where I wake up, go to work, and then go home. Rinse and repeat for five days a week. Somewhere in my day is breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I'll talk about what I actually eat for my meals on another day but right now I want to comment on the fact that I have started to listen to how my body feels when it comes to hunger.

Unlike many people I know , I actually make time to eat breakfast. One reason is that it helps to subside the struggles of hunger as I approach the mid-day, better known as my lunch break. I try to pack my lunch because it's less expensive than eating out, and gives me better control on what I will be eating. When I pack my lunch, I think about what would be enough food for myself at that given point in the day. For example, I eat only what I had packed for lunch. When I say I eat what I packed, I mean I finish everything, but not more than what I had pre-planned. 

A while ago, I realized my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and all of the other adult figures in my life helped cultivate a dangerous seed in my young and impressionable mind. I'm sure many people have heard these statements: "Finish your food! Don't waste it because children in <insert third world country here> are starving so be grateful you have food in front of you."

I'm not putting all of the blame on them, and I know their intentions were good. I see many children and adults today being so wasteful, and I can't stand it myself. While living and growing up in the Philippines, I noticed that fresh cooked food was a luxury many people didn't have; and throwing it away for any reason was like treason. Unfortunately those words resonated with me all the way up to my adult years, instilling the behavior that I HAVE TO finish all my food, regardless of whether or not I feel full.

As long as I enjoyed the taste, I ate until the message relayed to my brain from my stomach that it's full. Too bad that message was running on 56k dial-up and I was eating at the speeds of broadband cable. Once I realized that one plate of food was actually enough, I was already two or two and a half plates in. Room for dessert? ALWAYS!

I still find it a little difficult to gauge what will actually fill me up; especially on those days where I'm were too busy to eat at my usual time due to workload and other factors. Once that hunger hits, all I feel is the need to stuff my face and get food in my stomach until my brain says "stop". Well, I know that story never ends up well for me.

I have now slowed down my pace ... or at least I'm still  training myself to let my brain catch up to what my stomach is actually trying to tell it. I found that waiting about 3 to 5 minutes after finishing a portion of my lunch has helped me significantly. It allowed me to gauge if I need the extra banana that I packed or the other half of that chicken adobo that I brought for lunch. If I still feel hungry after a few minutes, then I'll eat what I have left. If not, then away it goes for the next day, or perhaps my dogs will get an extra treat that night.

I know that giving myself a few minutes to digest and reassess will lengthen my  usual "eating time". I'm also aware that I will not always have that luxury of extra time whenever I eat. In the end, a few minutes to myself can literally gain years to my life in the end. That's one message my stomach and brain can instantly agree on.