It’s been a week since I announced that I am officially making an effort to become fit and fab, and to live a healthier lifestyle. Week one hasn’t been as challenging as I thought it would be, but that’s mostly because I decided not to be so hard on myself. Lol. I chose instead to observe myself more, and find out what works for me and what doesn’t. From there, I’ve developed five ground rules that I believe are absolutely vital to the success of this project.
1. Set a daily calorie limit.
I know, I know, I know, calorie counting can be a real drag. But with apps like My Fitness Pal, it’s actually become easier to monitor your daily calorie intake. So thanks to technology, we no longer have an excuse not to do this. I am a firm believer in calorie counting, mostly because it means I can still have a Big Mac when I want to (which I did last Thursday), as long as I make sure to use my remaining calories for the day wisely (which, unfortunately, I didn’t do last Thursday).
Of course, it’s better that you eat healthy, cut down on salt and sugar, and if possible, eliminate junk food, soda and fast food entirely, unless you’re going to a McDonalds children’s party. It’s all a matter of making the right food choices, eating the proper portions, and keeping things balanced.
2. Write down what you eat, when you eat and why you eat.
With calorie counting comes food journaling. It is important to keep track of what you eat so that you can keep tabs on the good and bad stuff that go into your body. At the same time, it’s a good way of knowing more about yourself and your eating habits. Yes, emotional eaters do exist. I should know, I like to eat when I’m stressed out or working late. I do a lot of mindless eating too.
For example, I realized last week that I usually look for bread, cookies or cake to go with my afternoon coffee. I also noticed that my “mid-day coffee time” usually happens in the late afternoon. That actually explains why I have trouble sleeping early at night. Also, having coffee plus baked treats means a high-calorie afternoon snack, which usually leaves me with only a few calories left for dinner. And no, I don’t believe in skipping dinner. So now I know that I’m better off having a light snack in the afternoon, and probably skipping coffee altogether so that I can go to bed at a reasonable time.
See how keeping a food diary for just a week has already taught me a lot? Awareness is key! Ironically, I’m having a huge mug of coffee as a write this. No cookies though, but the ensaymadas in our kitchen are totally calling out to me. Oh dear. Well, beginning tomorrow, no more afternoon coffee for me.
3. Exercise is a must.
It is so difficult to get moving in this heat, but it’s something that must be done. You can log your workouts on My Fitness Pal too, and believe me when I tell you that earning extra daily calories because you’ve burned some during exercise feels really rewarding. Five times a week, 30 minutes per workout. That’ll do pig, that’ll do.
4. Reward yourself, but not with food.
No diets means no food restrictions, which means that there’s really no reason for cheat days or cheat meals. Instead, treat yourself to a foot spa after a week of running. Get yourself nice exercise clothes or a new yoga DVD to keep you going. Eventually, you’re gonna have to start buying smaller clothes too, and that would be a great way to reward yourself for your efforts. Whatever it is that makes you feel happy, fulfilled and rewarded, go for it. As long as it doesn’t come in the form of a giant sundae.
5. It’s more fun with friends.
After my post last week, a bunch of friends and family members said they’d go on this fitness journey with me. A few blog readers joined in too! I love it. I know that with the support of others, these goals are totally attainable. So if you’re trying to get fit, eat healthy, lose weight start living healthy, I say let’s do this together. Fab moms Marryl and Antionette already said yes to joining my mommy fitness circle! Yay!