About Fogdog's Weight Loss

Don't Focus on the Goal...

If you've followed this blog you know that I've struggled for many years with improving my health. I've finally reached a point where I've managed to maintain a small amount of success. Now it's time to take the next step, but I believe it requires a new way of thinking.

Instead of trying to get healthy, why not shift focus toward learning how to build healthy habits instead. Follow me as I try to teach myself how to Engineer healthy habits that will allow me to take my health to the next level. Let's see where this experiment goes!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Weight Loss Plan

Now it’s time to share my plan. So far this week I’ve been eating healthy, but eating healthy is just a start. In order to be successful I need a good plan that includes how much I’m going to eat, exercise, and how I’m going to track my goals. It also needs to include how I plan to reward myself as I progress through my plan. So without further ado here’s the plan I’m going to start with:

1. Keeping track of what I eat - I’m going to track my calorie intake each day. Now I know what you are thinking “keeping track of calories is a lot of work”. I used to think that as well, but I’ve found a method that seems to be pretty easy. I bought a little notebook a while back and I carry it with me everywhere I go. Every time I eat or drink something, I write it in my little book. Then when I have time I enter it into a spreadsheet I made on my PC. Putting it in the notebook takes no time and entering it into my PC takes less than an hour. I’m going to do a post on tracking calories within the next few weeks, so for now we’ll leave it at that. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t get hung up on every single calorie I consume. Having the optimum calorie intake for weight loss is not an exact science and I know that most people under-count how many calories they get. For me it’s more about getting into a range and taking into account the fact that I might have missed some calories here and there.

2. Setting calorie limits - I’m going to target my calories to a specific daily level. Again, I will be doing a post soon on determining ideal calorie levels so for now I’m not going to say what that level is just yet. It will probably be somewhere between 2000 and 2500 calories

3. Spreading out the calories - In addition to having a target for daily calories, I’m also going to spread the calories over the entire day with the majority coming before dinner. It does no good to starve all day long in order to have a 2500 calorie dinner at 7:00PM. If anything, I would rather eat more in the morning and have a chance to burn it off during the day.

4. Balance the meals - My eating will consist of 5-6 meals each day. The meals will be spread out 2-4 hours apart. Each meal will contain a balance of protein, carbs, fruits and vegetables.
Drinking Water - I will also be targeting my water intake to 80-100oz each day. That might sound like a lot, but that’s really only 1 20oz glass of water between each meal. I’ve done this before in the past and have found drinking a lot of water has been one of the most important parts in determining my level of success.

5. Exercise Regularly - In addition to eating right, I also need exercise. I am currently developing a workout plan for at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. I’ve started getting up at 5:30AM each morning so that when I’m ready, I will do my workouts first thing in the morning. My workouts will be a combination of strength training and cardiovascular work. I’m fortunate enough to have an elliptical trainer and a weight bench so the majority of my exercise will take place in my home. The plan is going to be dynamic (I’ll share in a later post) so that I can change it up every few weeks to reduce boredom.

6. Slow Down - I’ve learned through experience that one of my biggest problems is eating too quickly. To address this, I’m trying to focus on eating more slowly during my meals. This is hard; when I eat I have to consciously focus on how fast I’m eating. I’m trying to note the time I start eating and then the time that I finish so I can make sure I’m not going too fast. This will take a little getting used to.

7. Eat Fresh Foods - My diet will consist mostly of fresh foods. I’m not a big fan of pre-packaged foods because they are always loaded with salt, fillers, preservatives, HFCS and generally other bad things that don’t help your body. Going totally 100% fresh is impractical but I will be eating fresh food as much as possible.

8. Finding Balance - I feel like part of a healthy lifestyle is about having balance. If you eat too much all the time, you gain weight. On the other hand, if you deprive yourself of too much, you end up resenting the lifestyle and go on huge “binges” (and still gain weight). This is something I have learned through many failures. I’ve discovered that weekends are the toughest for me so I plan to cut myself some slack on the weekends. However, this comes with a few strings attached; As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m going to weigh myself every Saturday morning. If I’ve met my goal for the previous week, then I will allow myself to indulge a little over the weekend (keeping in mind that these indulgences will have an impact on my next weigh-in). These indulgences can include going out to eat, but not more than once over the weekend. They can also include some of my favorite foods, but they need to be in moderation. Finally, no matter if I met my weekly goal or not, I am going to allow myself 1 meal where I can have anything I want (again, it must be in moderation).

9. Dealing with Changes in the Routine - When I go on vacation or out with friends, I will not force myself to suffer. Instead of depriving myself I will feel free to eat whatever I like but will try to keep everything in moderation (probably going to be one of my toughest challenges). I will also continue to exercise either directly (hotel gyms) or indirectly (long walks or fun activities that involve moving around).

10. Monitor my state of mind - People think that dieting is all about physical actions (eating less, exercising, etc) but they don't realize that's only half the problem. The other half has to do with your emotional state. How many times have you eatned because you were depressed? mad? stressed? Recognizing these times and being aware of how they affect your healthy lifestyle is a very important thing. This is something that I have given little attention in the past so I need to be cognizant of my state of mind. This blog is a great way to capture those things as I will be doing regular journal updates.

So that's it; piece of cake right? It’s important to notice that this plan is not so much a rigorous diet as it is a lifestyle plan. There’s nothing in here that couldn’t be done for the rest of my life. Now maybe when I hit my goal I might stop counting calories, but the idea here is to create a healthy lifestyle plan, not just something I’m going to do short term to lose weight. That’s why most diets fail, they are designed to provide short term results; not geared toward long term living. As I progress through my journey I might find that I need to tweak this plan a little but for now I think this a good start.

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