In my first post "Back to the Beginning," I listed a bunch of excuses I’ve been using for a long time. Before I started my first 30-day challenge I had to look at my actions and my diet and figure out what was going wrong. Yikes!
Sometimes looking at my mistakes doesn’t feel so great, but then again neither does looking in the mirror at my naked body.
So, I think I finally hit a point where looking at my body in the mirror was worse than looking at my bad diet habits. I know some people really like the idea of going through their whole kitchen and throwing away everything that fits in the “BAD” category but that definitely is not me. Not only do I hate wasting food (how else do you think I gained so much weight???) but I also don’t like labeling food as “BAD.” I’ve tried the whole, “I will never eat sweets again,” and it only makes me want to eat it more. All of a sudden, I turn into this obsessive person that only wants to eat sweets all day.
Fact: Crash or Fad diets are not as effective as life long diet changes.
My 30-Day Challenge
During my first 30-day challenge, I had an eye-opening experience increasing my vegetable intake to 2.5 cups/day. You can read about that in "Back to the Beginning." My 30-day challenge consists of one or two goals at a time and a daily measurement of the goal (like cups of water, or serving sizes). I keep track of my daily progress on a piece of paper next to the fridge. Attached to each goal is a reward. I make sure the reward is something that I can do without (just in case I don’t reach my goal). For example, a haircut isn’t something I must have, but I feel great when I get a haircut. At the end of the 30 days I reassess my efforts and my goals.
Questions I ask myself after the 30 days:
- Was the goal easy or hard to achieve?
- Do I need to work on this goal again?
- Should I raise the standard of my goal?
- What benefits did I experience from my goals?
- Am I ready to add a new goal or should I keep working on these?
Self-Evaluation=Yoga After Hours
Before my second 30-day challenge I noticed that I was consuming a lot of calories after I put the kids to bed. I realized I needed another relaxation outlet rather than turning to food. So I made a goal to do 15 minutes of Yoga or stretching after the kids went to bed. Mind you, I never committed to not eat after the kids went to bed. I wasn’t ready to stop eating after the kids went to bed but I was ready to try a new relaxation technique. I have tried to tell myself in the past to stop eating at night and the only thing I can think about after 8:00 pm is FOOD, FOOD, FOOD!!! It’s like the ice cream in the freezer is screaming my name and my toothbrush is cowering in the corner. Instead of telling myself, “I will never…” I tried “I will do yoga after the kids go to bed.” Was it helpful you may ask? Yes, it helped me relax. No, I didn’t stop eating at night, but I did stop eating for comfort and instead ate because of hunger. My reward for doing yoga every night was getting a pedicure.
The goal wasn't too difficult, I never missed a single day of stretching or yoga. It was a great way to get me out of the habit of sitting down and watching tv every night with a bowl of ice cream. I decided to not continue monitoring the goal because I felt like I had created a lasting habit. Continually checking up on my progress before, during and after my 30-day challenge has really helped me stay on track. Having small, measurable goals makes me feel less overwhelmed or discouraged with the changes I'm trying to achieve.
What excuses are you making that keep you from your goal?
What is something you’re willing to work on now?
How will you measure that goal daily?
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6 Stages of Change developed by Carlo C. DiClemente and J. O. Porchaska.