How do you make it a lifestyle change?

2

Replies

  • PokeyBug
    PokeyBug Posts: 482 Member
    Here's a tip that will only work for someone as OCD as I am: Get over-organized. With your hectic schedule, it might make things easier in the long run.

    I plan 7 days of meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including planned fast food type stuff) on Saturday morning, buy my groceries that afternoon, and just cross out the planned meal after I fix it. I also have a workout calendar. I downloaded one of those free Microsoft calendars to print each month, and I plan what I'll do on what day. It's typed on the calendar in INK; I have no choice whether to work out or not. Some days, I'm so busy with kids' stuff that I don't end up working out until 9:00 pm. Sometimes, I have to make up a workout on a planned day off, but... It's on the calendar, so it has to be done. Did I mention I was OCD?

    Fast food tips, because sometimes you've got to eat on the run: Little Caesar's makes the best wings (560 or 580 calories for plain wings; less than 600, anyway) of all the pizza places, for only $6. McDonald's makes awesome grilled chicken salads (Bacon Ranch with Low Fat Italian) for about 300 calories. I'm not sure about the calorie count for Chik-fil-a's grilled chicken salads, but I'm sure it's pretty similar. Fresco tacos at Taco Bell are all in the 150 calorie range. Just explore the online menu of your favorite places, so you've got a plan in place for those nights you've got to grab something on the run.
  • acorsaut89
    acorsaut89 Posts: 1,147 Member
    So, please help!! Tell me how you managed and give me any tips you have.

    one day at a time. seriously. i have one goal to meet each day... stay on plan. that means eating my macros, getting to the gym and doing my workout for that day (whatever it happens to be), drinking my water. that's my goal for today, and it'll be my goal for tomorrow too.

    making goals simple and daily (albeit repetitive) means that i'm only focusing on the now. i'm not trying to lose 30lbs by christmas, or fit into a specific outfit for a specific day. it's just about focusing on what i'm doing right this second.

    if i don't meet that goal for whatever reason, then it's ok. it means i try twice as hard to meet my goal for tomorrow. but the nice thing is that by concentrating on what i'm doing today, i'm not overwhelmed by trying to stick to something FOR. EV. ER. after a while, i can look back and realize that i've been sticking to my goal for a month, or two, or 6.

    Definitely this! It sounds like you're making it out to be this big goal at the very end instead of small goals which all add up. When I lost my first 50lbs, I bought myself a coach wallet - which is what I really, really wanted. I am not saying you have to have goals like this, but having the small attainable goals makes it seem much more realistic than looking at it like one overall goal.

    Just take it one day at a time and break your end-goal (IE - your goal weight, goal size, whatever) into smaller bits. If you want to lose 60 lbs over all, break it into smaller chunks. Or if you don't know how much you want to lose, then similar to the post above have daily goals to ensure you work out and hit calorie goals.

    Good luck :)
  • ThomasGinter
    ThomasGinter Posts: 36 Member
    I agree with everything that @chadya07 said about attitude. I have also found that it is a LOT easier this time as I am also doing a few things that help me to be more successful.

    1. Find an activity you love, your "exercise" should be based primarily around things you like to do as an incentive to doing them. For me this is hiking on mountain trails. All my strength training, HIIT training, etc. are mere appendages to my hikes and are completed with the goal of allowing me to hike further in less time.
    2. Break bad habits with good ones. For example, perhaps you have a habit of grabbing a donut at work for breakfast because for some reason your office provides them every day. Some good habits that would overcome this challenge would be to prepare your breakfast the night before, have easy to prepare breakfast items ready to grab, waking up 20 minutes early to give more time for breakfast before arriving at work. All of the habits have the same overall goal of allowing you to arrive at work satiated instead of starving.
    3. To make good habits start with small changes. For example, instead of trying to cut out soda all at once you could try cutting down from a 6 pack of soda to 5 cans of soda per day. Once you have only drunk 5 cans a day for a couple of weeks then drop down to 4 cans, etc.
    4. Log accurately and often. Preferably log a meal or snack before you eat it.
    5. Life is like a game. Think of each success as leveling up and each setback as temporary.
  • gmoneycole
    gmoneycole Posts: 813 Member
    It's really all about self motivation and building habits that will stick in the long run.

    I decided a year ago that I wasn't going to let any more excuses get in the way of me getting fit and healthy. Here are some of the things I did...

    Exercise:
    I bought a cheap elliptical that I used almost every day until it broke
    walked, jogged and then ran outside as I built up stamina
    found a circuit training routine that I could do at home and did it nearly every day
    invested in some dumbells and pull up bar that I can workout with at home
    after the elliptical broke I joined an inexpensive gym

    Diet:
    cut portions in half
    Made healthier choices
    eat small portions / meals / snacks throughout the day

    MFP:
    logged diet and exercise almost every day
    built a great list of friends who supported me and I support them

    You can do it. Just find things that work for you and fit within your budget. Diet is huge and takes discipline but if you are committed you can have success with it. I still struggle with it some but get myself back on track through the logging and will power. When you exercise make it count, whether it be a 20 minute circuit training session, a 45 minute spinning class or an hour and a half doing strength training at home or in the gym. Push yourself within your limits, raise the heartrate and really get great burns and you will have more success. I see people at the gym that spend a good bit of time socializing or not really maximizing effort and just going through the motions. This will not generate the positive results you are looking for. Make it count! It's like anything in life, you typically get out what you put into something. If you maximize the effort you will get better results.

    Good luck!
  • georgiaTRIs
    georgiaTRIs Posts: 231 Member
    we have been in your shoes. The kids should be your inspiration. You can get moving by walking, running, aroebics, yogo whatever. Keep looking for that workout buddy. But just remember -- it's up to you. You are a special person and can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
  • MinnieInMaine
    MinnieInMaine Posts: 6,400 Member
    Discalimer - didn't read any othe replies. I feel our pain with not having races to motivate - had the same trouble myself this year.

    I'm blessed that one of my best friends is a personal trainer. While some of her advice leans towards whatever is trending, she has shared some amazing thoughts that have stuck with me. And one of them is - if you can't do it for the rest of your life (or at least not for several years), it's not a lifestyle change. This basically applies to fad diets, extreme diets, weight loss pills and anything else involving completely unrealistic expectations.

    This along with a similar conversation helped me realize that all my previous attempts failed because I tried to cut out the foods that I love (very low fat, very low calorie, very low carb diets). They also failed because I tried to do everything at once -while that usually works pretty well initially because you're excited, after a month or so, it gets overwhelming and you get to the point where it's easier to quit than keep trying. Sound familiar?

    Try setting small goals. One a week, or even one every two weeks. Just get used to logging your food and then try staying in your calories a few times a week, then 5-7 a week, then start eating more fruits and veggies, etc etc. Same with fitness goals. Don't try to be too gung ho. Just keep doing your walks and maybe get back to running when you feel ready.

    And don't be too hard on yourself. Have a bad day or even a bad week? Ok, put it in the past, think about what you can do to make it better and move on.

    Planning, and packing are my big helps. Every weekend, I make my grocery list around the dinners, lunches and snacks I'll be making that week. Every morning I pack lunch and snacks. Both of these can really do away with temptations - if I've got a nice lunch packed, I'm not going to go down to the cafeteria and get some huge deli sandwich with chips and a cookie. And if I've got chicken thawed in the fridge, I won't waste it by ordering pizza. Prepping helps too - I've gotten out of the habit this summer but need to start donig things like making up a batch of oatmeal for the week or boiling some eggs for breakfast/snack.

    Best of luck!
  • DarbiB
    DarbiB Posts: 88 Member
    I agree with everything that @chadya07 said about attitude. I have also found that it is a LOT easier this time as I am also doing a few things that help me to be more successful.

    1. Find an activity you love, your "exercise" should be based primarily around things you like to do as an incentive to doing them. For me this is hiking on mountain trails. All my strength training, HIIT training, etc. are mere appendages to my hikes and are completed with the goal of allowing me to hike further in less time.
    2. Break bad habits with good ones. For example, perhaps you have a habit of grabbing a donut at work for breakfast because for some reason your office provides them every day. Some good habits that would overcome this challenge would be to prepare your breakfast the night before, have easy to prepare breakfast items ready to grab, waking up 20 minutes early to give more time for breakfast before arriving at work. All of the habits have the same overall goal of allowing you to arrive at work satiated instead of starving.
    3. To make good habits start with small changes. For example, instead of trying to cut out soda all at once you could try cutting down from a 6 pack of soda to 5 cans of soda per day. Once you have only drunk 5 cans a day for a couple of weeks then drop down to 4 cans, etc.
    4. Log accurately and often. Preferably log a meal or snack before you eat it.
    5. Life is like a game. Think of each success as leveling up and each setback as temporary.

    THIS! Everything about this.

    Double cosign the pre-prepared food stuff. It really helps me escape the trap of the breakfast pastry. #3 incremental changes are where its at. Plus it gives you little victories to feel good about when you're plateauing.


    Also:

    The best advice I ever heard was "forgive yourself." You said in your OP something to the tune of "I'm unsuccessful at keeping up diets." You know what? Its okay when you fall off of the wagon! Forgive yourself, move on, get back on the wagon! Everyday you eat well is another day you got healthier.
  • Blueseraphchaos
    Blueseraphchaos Posts: 843 Member
    One tiny step at a time. The first thing i did, before even setting a weight loss goal, was cut out soda and juice so that i wasn't drinking any calories. Then, when i got that down, i set a goal to lose 5 lbs. I also set a goal to do at least 5 minutes of cardio per day (no days off)..only 5 because i was a seriously sedentary person. Once that became a habit, i raised my time and gave myself a day or 2 off per week if i really want it, need it, or don't have time to do it (REALLY don't have time, no excuses).

    Once the first 5 lbs was off, i made a goal of 5 more lbs. I have a meal plan for the week, and i pre-log everything, so as someone said, there's not much decision making in it and my willpower doesn't crash and burn. And keep trigger foods out of the house.

    Everything adds up, and before you know it, you've made a lifestyle change, not a temporary mindset change.
  • cherishe1
    cherishe1 Posts: 11 Member
    Well said
  • kimny72
    kimny72 Posts: 16,023 Member
    This is just me pretty much agreeing with all the great tips you have already gotten!

    Instead of looking at it as one giant process, make small changes and choose small goals. Set yourself up with a goal of 1/2 lb per week so you have as many calories as possible to start out with. Maybe even change your total goal to lose 10 pounds. Then when you get to 10 lbs lost, you might think - wow, I really can do this! Then make your next goal 20 lbs at 1 pound per week. Or heck, stay ay 1/2 lb per week if it works for you. With smaller goals, you can always see the light at the end of the tunnel!

    Pre-prepping some food for the week is a huge plus.

    Pick one area in your diet where you feel you are sabotaging yourself, and focus on fixing that one thing. Then once you have that won, pick another one.

    Ask your family to help. The people who love you will want you to be healthy! And since they know you better than we do, maybe they can see where you start to go off the rails and give you suggestions for how to stay on track.

    Good luck, you can do this :drinker:
  • ang82much
    ang82much Posts: 30 Member
    The key to making it a true change rather than a diet is removing the decision-making from it. If you have to debate with yourself over whether or not to eat that cookie, it takes a lot of willpower, and eventually you'll be tired or grumpy and willpower will buckle. Make it a habit. You just never eat cookies unless you pre-log it, or it's homemade, or a special occasion, etc. Create your own workable rules to live by.

    This works for me.
  • ShannonMpls
    ShannonMpls Posts: 1,936 Member
    I stopped letting the excuses win.

    There is no better answer.

    OP, your post is full of excuses. You can probably find excuses for all the other excellent suggestions in this thread, too.

    But nothing will work until you stop letting the excuses win.
  • Stripeness
    Stripeness Posts: 511 Member
    By starting by just logging.

    That way I was able to make the RIGHT small changes for me. Look for something small and obvious, based on YOUR log. Who cares what someone else started with?
  • chadya07
    chadya07 Posts: 627 Member
    This may not sound 100% healthy but it works. If you get somewhat addicted to the whole thing, you won't be able to let yourself slide. Don't let yourself stay away from the MFP site.... log at least once a day. Spend time on other health and diet related web sites. Think often about planning healthy foods, exercise, etc and look in the mirror a lot. Feel areas like your stomach and hips with your hands to gauge whether you feel mostly soft fat or hard muscle, and measure your waist, hips, bust, upper arms, and thighs regularly. If your mind gets used to running on this track, when you start to move away from it, you'll miss it and won't feel right without sticking to your weight loss and fitness behaviors.

    That said, definitely avoid ED behaviors like skipping meals, binging and/or purging, ridiculous bony thinspo pictures, punishing yourself with too much exercise, etc. You don't want to tip over that edge.

    i TOTALLY agree with this. i may be obsessed at times and at first i was just totally obsessed but i had to be. and i still am although i have mellowed a bit. because i pretty much gained it by being obsessed. i was obsessed with food. and now i had to move that obsession into something else. for me i was constantly reading magazines (i like self and womens health and fitness magazine), to keep myself in the mindset with simple motivations and ideas coming in all day. i read up on nutrition, i read a nutrition book for kids to my son and then re-read my college textbook for depth. made sure i knew why everything and what would work best. just constant ly thought about how to turn it around and that obsession... was extremely important. i also got obsessed with fitness. working out gave me an even better feeling than food ever did and i push myself harder each time. i find i eat the most on weeks when i work out the least because i dont get that healthy energy, so i try to make calories give it to me, especially sugar.
  • das0nz
    das0nz Posts: 8
    if you want something to be a lifestyle change, you have to allow whatever that is to fit in with your lifestyle. Trying this and that in terms of exercise is good because you are eliminating what isn't working for you. I hate running, I hate the gym. I thought in order to look like I'm losing weight I had to work up a sweat, have a towel around my neck and walk out of a gym feeling like I just accomplished a good day's worth of calorie burning. I did that for a while but I didnt like it. It didn't fit in with my lifestyle and wasnt me.
    I eventually found my true calling, my pleasure and enjoyment. SWIMMING!. I will go to the pools, do laps, play around, to aqua jogging. I really dont care that I look like a beach whale in the water. (which is really funny because I probs look way worse in the water than I do in the gym) but it's where I like to go. I love just paddling around with no care in the world and as long as I am moving n the water, i am burning!
    I stress the importance of finding your 'thing'. DOnt get caught up on what others are doing or what you think looks like hard work. youll know when youve found it. You will love it. You will want to do it..and while you are out enjoying it. The calories will burn :):bigsmile:
  • micheledavison39
    micheledavison39 Posts: 821 Member
    One Day At A Time...

    Planning is essential, so is forgiveness. I have been on MPF for about 18 months and only in the last 2 have I really cracked down and gotten on a good and reasonable path. It can take time to be mentally ready to make changes too. I started with small ones: eliminated trigger foods, planning breakfast for the week so I had fewer excuses to stop at Panera/Burger King/McDonald's; then moved on to planning lunches and dinners and snacks. I schedule my training sessions a month in advance and get a phone call/text if I don't show (I work with a trainer in small group sessions 3x a week), I also schedule my horse-back riding time so I have no excuses. Do you watch TV after the kids go to bed? Do mini workouts during the commercials.

    Forgive yourself, don't stress over shoulda/coulda/wouldas or what you did in the past. It is over and done with, focus on making today better than yesterday. BTW, there are days when I take them an hour (or less!) at a time. I tell myself, you just have to make it to 3, then you can have chocolate. Don't cut out all the fun/"forbidden" foods either, make room for them in your meal plan. I plan chocolate into each and every day, if I don't eat it, I have a better deficit, or can have more of something else. The occasional overage of calories isn't the end of the world so long as it isn't happening every day.

    I make daily goals; I will walk at lunch, I will work out with the trainer, I will stay under my calories, I will drink 8-10 cups of water, I won't kill/maim anyone today. I have long-term goals too but those are sooo big that the thought of losing 80+ pounds is overwhelming, so I work on each day, and don't focus so much on the big goal.

    Get your family involved with the meal planning and prep, if everyone is on the same "wagon" you won't feel left out or deprived because they are having something you "can't".

    Get a Fitbit or a heart rate monitor to track your workouts so you can more accurately calculate what you are burning for calories.

    Repetition makes habits, habits make a lifestyle. Good luck and have FUN!!
  • AboutT1ME
    AboutT1ME Posts: 39 Member
    Best advice i can give you that is so far working for me, Do it for yourself, and believe yourself. If you dont want to do it 100% your just setting yourself up for sadness. you can say your on a diet and eat healthy but you need to be happy while your doing it.
  • mitchfergustitus
    mitchfergustitus Posts: 28 Member
    A friend of mine says that an excuse is the skin of reason, stuffed with a lie. We all have excuses we can use, we can try and reason our bad choices but they may not be true. I have found that making my workouts and sticking to my meal plans a priority has really made a difference. I log in all my food, water intake, and exercise to MFP faithfully and I like the instant feedback of how much I would weigh if I ate/exercised like this everyday. I'm under 200 lbs for the first time in a long time and still have 25 lbs more to go, but I take it one meal at a time, one workout at a time, and I don't let myself get sidetracked. I keep my schedule flexible enough to be able to respond to any sudden bumps in the road. Planning and preparation are key also. I lay my workout clothes on the bed so when I get home in the afternoon I immediately put them on and go work out. I think out my whole meal plan for the week and buy groceries accordingly. I also cook several meals in advance. Go through the pantry and remove the junk. Take one meal a week as a cheat meal. Enjoy it and don't feel guilty about it. It's not what you do occassionally that will make a difference, it's what you do consistently that will. Best of success
  • ksolksol
    ksolksol Posts: 194 Member
    I'm going to start by saying I hate the word "excuses." I believe people have priorities and barriers. For me it helps to recognize those without judgement and figure out where my priorities lie and how to work around the barriers I have and then start consistently (as in more than not, not necessarily 100%) making better choices, rather than beating myself up for making excuses. Beating myself up just makes me want to cry into a bag o'chips. ;-)

    I try to make changes that I am willing to do permanently to maintain the weight loss, not just to attain it. If there is something (eg. being constantly hungry) that I am not willing to do long-term, I need to figure out a strategy that is sustainable but still involves healthier choices.

    Some people have said baby steps, small changes. Yep.

    I try to keep in mind that health is not an on/off switch. That is, if I make a less-than-healthy choice, it doesn't mean I go into an episode of "Girls Gone Wild: Diet Edition." Blowing my goal for the day doesn't mean it's time to eat the whole cheesecake or anything. It's a process. I also try to evaluate how I've done, not pass judgement on myself.

    One of the best concepts I've learned is treating my calories like a budget. There are days I might splurge a little, days I might be more frugal, but overall I have to stay within limits.

    Good luck!
  • mitchfergustitus
    mitchfergustitus Posts: 28 Member
    Having someone take the journey with you is a huge help. You can be held accountable by each other. You both understand how difficult it can be at times to find the time to work out, plan meals, etc and be each other's cheerleader if discouragement sets in. Only someone going through the process themselves can truly understand how difficult and frustrating it can get at times. We can all use a pat on the back and a word of encouragement every now and then.