At the beginning of this summer, I decided to make a conscious change in my eating habits. I began by counting my daily calorie intake. My motivation for this mundane activity was when I finally noticed that one of my favorite leather belts was getting tighter and tighter and I simply couldn’t allow myself to start using another belt loop. I have two loops that I’ve used over the last twenty years and there’s no way I was going to relinquish another loop.
So I dug in. I decided that enough was enough and the only way I could truly do my new healthy eating habit justice would be to measure the calories I was putting into my body. At first, I was under the impression that I needed to be concerned about what type of calories I was putting into my body, but after some due diligence and getting tired of reading blog after blog written by health experts and nutritionists, I reasoned that if I wanted to reduce my waist and lose weight then I would have to consume fewer calories then I was burning up each day. It sounds simple in theory but in practice, I found out how difficult it can be.
The other new habit I decided to get into was to start weighing myself daily, as well as, measuring my waist. I thought it would motivate me to keep going if I saw my weight and waist were reducing. I made it a morning ritual and within days I could see I was making some progress.
My first four pounds came off within the first 9 days. It doesn’t take long to shave off weight if you go on a cleanse and stop eating for a few days. Plus it’s a lot easier than you think it will be once you get busy and get out of the breakfast, lunch, dinner and copious amounts of snacks habit. I noticed that I had some ingrained habits like going for seconds at dinner and the same applied to drinking beer or wine. One glass was never enough and after a couple or four drinks who can resist the quest for peanuts or sweets to try to appease one’s appetite?
“Optimize your life for health & happiness…
Wealth may or may not be a part of this equation…
But with Health & Happiness surely other riches will come!”
What I learned from this exercise is that I have been overeating most of my life. My caloric intake was way beyond what my body actually needed to maintain my current body weight. In fact, I was consuming about 1000 calories in excess of what my average daily allowance should be. No wonder I was pinching more than an inch. So this new routine of counting calories and measuring my weight and waist taught me quite a lot about myself and my over-consumption habits.
Also, I found out that my eating habits are twice as bad when I travel. I tend to go for unhealthy options way too often when I’m on the road.
I noticed that my energy levels and moods were directly proportional to my food choices. This is obvious I know but because I was filling my journal with every drink and morsel that entered my body I was also becoming more aware of my energy levels. My take away was clear that I didn’t and don’t need to consume copious calories to feel satisfied and I can eat small bites more often throughout the day rather than sitting down to eat a big lunch and then later feeling tired and bloated.
Writing down the number of calories in everything I ate quickly became a boring exercise but I persisted right the way through my 15 day USA road trip in July, my European trip in September and finally stopped just before I traveled to the East Coast of Canada. This meant I amassed about 4 months of prodigious and valuable note-taking. Regardless of the boring task, I can safely say it was time well spent because I now know how many calories I should be ingesting each day, as well as, where the big calorie/ little satisfaction foods like potato chips should fit in, if at all, in my daily life.
This daily task of conscious calorie counting has allowed me to form a healthy new habit of monitoring how much and how well I eat and encouraged a more regular exercise routine. I’m happy to report that my journey this year has stopped and hopefully reversed the insane extra weight I was putting on and carrying around with me.
I can say that I lost 10 lbs in that four months and because I stopped consciously limiting my calories I’ve ashamedly put about 5 lbs back on. This has spurred a new insight that I will pursue in 2018. I will look at ways to increase my calorie burn through more physical movement and fun exercises that will allow my work-in-progress goal to be reached and maintained over the next 12 months. Sure, I’ve slipped up a bit this year but I am proud that I have not allowed my persuasive lazy ways to win out and consume my core healthy self.