Let's Get Back to Basics!

I have an admission to make... I have been slacking since December.  "Slacking" as in I've only been exercising sporadically, I've barely logged my food, and my walking is way way down from where it should be.  What's my excuse?  Oh, ya know... I have plenty of them that I feed my own self-criticism.  "I've been so busy with moving!", "I've been sick all winter and the prednisone is adding water weight.", "There has been so much tragedy in my family this winter"... and on and on.  And, yup - they're all valid if I want to be someone who can't even be honest with my own self and needs to make excuses.  But that is BULL!  I am dedicated to reclaiming myself and being the best I can be.  I slipped off track for a few months.  Now I'm back and feel the commitment again and am ready to get back at it by building on the basics of weight loss and fitness that I *KNOW* work for me.

I'm going to have another challenge this month and I'd like to have you join me.  Back to Basics Challenge.  That is it. Nothing fancy. No gimmicks. No weight loss pills or magic potions.  Just dedication.  Dedication to 1) self-discipline, 2) planning your food to equal the calories you want to consume daily  3) measuring and weighing your food  4) journaling each and every bite you take 5) drinking 1/2 your body weight in water daily 6) 20 minutes of exercise 4x week (and, for me... walking daily at least two miles and more when and if I can).

I'll repeat the challenge parts:

Self-discipline.  If I say I'm going to get up at 7am to walk, I'm not going to let myself down and turn over in bed.  Self-discipline is the key to leading a successful life.  As a morbidly obese person I was also so incredibly lacking in self-discipline it wasn't even funny.  It was pathetic. I was pathetic.  I refuse to be that any longer because of how horrible it made me feel about myself.  Now, when I make a promise to myself, I'm going to keep it.  So... number one and the most important part of the Back to Basics challenge is:  Self Discipline

Plan out your calories and your daily food.  If you cannot plan ahead for the week, at least plan out your day at the beginning so when the office surprise party at 4pm happens, you know whether or not you have the calories left to have that one cookie for 200 calories.  You don't have to be perfect every single day and you shouldn't feel like you're depriving yourself, but you do need to stay close to what you set as the right calories for trying to lose weight.  Remember, as the Vtrim Online program finally taught me a few years ago... 3500 calories = 1 lb.  If I want to lose 2 lbs per week, I'm going to have to cut out or exercise off 7000 calories. (It is easier than it may sound!)

You're going to be surprised at what one serving is if you haven't measured food before.  My guess is the majority of us are doubling our portion sizes and thinking it equals one serving size or one portion.  That bottle of iced tea you're picking up at the convenient store on your way to pick up the kids at soccer... the one you glanced at the nutritional label and saw it said 180 and you thought "oh, that's not too bad"?  That bottle is 2 and 1/2 servings and you just drank about a third of your daily calories. Ut oh!  That piece of skinless chicken you're about to toss on the grill and are feeling all proud about?  That's not 6oz of lean white meat... that is 10 oz and you just nearly doubled what you thought your evening calories were.  Back to basics: buy a small food scale (they're inexpensive) and get out your measuring cups, read every nutritional label and check calories and fat grams... measure & weigh your food.

Journal (write down wherever is convenient for you) and log every bite you eat as quickly as you can.  This is so easy to do in our tech driven lives.  iPhones, Androids, online journals, a pad of paper, apps on the internet, Twitter, Facebook.... doesn't matter where.  Just keep track because as the day goes on and it gets to be 11pm at night and you're just THEN logging your food for the day, if you're like me, you're going to forget that you had that banana at mid-day or that hot chocolate in the morning.

Here are two of my favorite online sites for logging and food planning: FitDay and MyPlate.  If you could share your favorites with everyone in the comments, that would be terrific.  I also journal my exercise because it makes my self-esteem rise daily when I see my exercise increasing.  I make comments, too, about how I'm feeling because I've found it helpful to go back and read how I was at a specific time of the month or a year later.  (November, I have found, is a great month for me... January is historically for me just awful!)

Water intake is key to every part of your body.  By the time you are thirsty, you're already dehydrated. When you're on a weight loss journey, think of water as your best friend.  I try to drink 1/2 my body weight in water daily.  I don't always get there, but I often do.  I make this easy for myself by keeping four water bottles: one in my car, one at my office, one in my kitchen, one in my bedroom.  The car water bottle goes to the gym or on walks with me.  The office water bottle is the one I use the most.  I was given a couple of great water bottles through blogging events but I highly suggest you invest in a water bottle or two that you will like and use.  Two of mine have designs that I love and the other two are plain.  DRINK WATER = you can't get any more basic than that! : )

My Yoga Online co-founder Michelle Trantina, courtesy of My Yoga Online

Exercise 20 minutes four times a week.  That is the challenge bar to try to attain.  Twenty minutes a day of SOME SORT OF MOVEMENT!  Take the stairs, try online yoga, do a Chris Freytag DVD, WiiFit routine, riding your bike, walking your dog at a brisk pace... it doesn't matter.  Just get moving to the point where you begin to be aware of your heart beat increasing and you're breaking or about to break a sweat. That's when the magic begins to happen. You HAVE to move it to lose it.  There is no magic pill.  There is no "Wishing Away the Pounds" diet out there.  This is all about healthy, long term, lifestyle change.  I'm going to do the 20 minutes three times a week, too, and will be posting here on the blog during March what I'm doing - even with pictures of my own red face when getting my workout on! : )  For me, the big thing is to begin walking again - daily walking.  And that starts tomorrow morning.  No excuses.  If you want to walk along with me this month, I would love that!  Try to get 20 days of exercise in during March and take only 11 days off.  I *know* you can do that even if you're morbidly obese. Start slow and gradually work up to 20 minutes all at once. Wait until you do 20 minutes all at the same time... you're going to feel so good about yourself! ; )

The month of March can be YOUR month!  It is going to be mine, so let's make it "our month"!  The month when you exercise your self-discipline muscle and commit to yourself to begin (or continue on) the journey to reclaim your health and wellness.  I *know* you can do this if I can do this.  Together we will support each other all month.  Someone on Twitter asked me if I'd be willing to talk with them on the phone or on Skype if they began to get discouraged.  Easy answer:  Yes.  If you guys would like to do a Skype call all together or get into a chat on Twitter all together one evening, of course we can do that!

We're worth this effort.  We're going to be SO proud of ourselves this month.  We're going to go into March like a LION and end March like a LION.  Back to basics, baby!  Who is "in"?  Leave me a comment and let me know! : )

Dream. Believe. Achieve!
Jan / HealthyLoserGal


Susan February 29, 2012 at 7:24 PM  

I'm in!! Just started Weight Watchers last week so I'm all about the basics!

Anonymous February 29, 2012 at 9:54 PM  

I'm in. Trying to stay on track, but haven't been as good as I could be. My excuse, no time...MUSt make time :o) @marteaux

ff12a March 1, 2012 at 2:47 AM  

wow I thought you were speaking directly to me. Seriously. Drink more water ... check. I gave up soda in September and have not had a drop since. Exercise made commitment to walk the dog 5 out of 7 days... check ( the unusually warm weather is to thank there though, if it was cold I would have used that as an excuse). I gave up sweets and candy for Lent... check been good there now for a snack at night I eat popcorn. But the dang food thing. I get frustrated or embarrassed and do not journal. Frustration when I have something that I do not know how to log ( chicken salad or other multi ingredient foods). Embarrassed when I realize what I have eaten like a half of bag of Hershey kisses while watching tv at night (before Lent). I know what I need to do, why is it so friggin hard to actually do it? I know better than committing to get up early to do anything - that is just setting myself up for failure, I am not a morning person. You are so right though, I know the basics I just need to actually follow through and do them. I too have had all the excuses and used up every one the last month or so. Wasn't my New Year's Resolution to hold myself accountable for my life and the things I do...? Ugh!

Elina (Healthy and Sane) March 1, 2012 at 11:03 AM  

I love this!!! I totally have been slacking off myself which is really strange because I am now working from home so I thought I'd have so much more time for it (apparently, this time has been spent making trips to and from the trip, oy).
I just restarted counting calories (using My Fitness Pal) a few weeks ago and it was motivating the first few days and then I started slacking off again. No more!
Same with exercise. I started P90X back in December and still haven't finished it because I keep taking days off. Time to do it right!!
Question for you - when you say, drink 1/2 your weight in water, what does that mean? How many cups is that?? I know I've been bad about that one!

ff12a March 1, 2012 at 12:55 PM  

Elina- half your body weight in oz. of water. Like if you weigh 200 lbs you should be drinking 100 oz of water. 8 oz of water equals 1 cup.

HealthyLoserGal March 1, 2012 at 2:50 PM  

Yay - so happy you're all joining the March challenge!
Melanie, I hear you on the frustration of trying to figure out calories... but it does get easier! (especially if you make it yourself) and the defeated feeling of wolfing down something you shouldn't have (that would be me in the movie theatre with the jumbo Junior Mints! Hello?!)... but we're going to do this! Elina... so glad you're joining in and I'm about to post about water and measuring! :)

Unknown March 1, 2012 at 2:56 PM  

count me in, the biggest hurdle will be drinking the water, Im really bad on that so maybe this will give me the incentive to do better!!

Leslie March 1, 2012 at 3:14 PM  

I can't believe it's March already! I'm in. Got a higher dose of thyroid medication yesterday-hope it helps with weight loss and energy. And even if it doesn't, I'm doing it for my health.

MJ March 1, 2012 at 7:12 PM  

I am in!!

aj March 1, 2012 at 7:20 PM  

Count me in.

HealthyLoserGal March 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM  

Sooo happy to see everyone ready to make March OUR MONTH! Hope the weekend has been good for you with measuring, journaling & staying on plan! What is everyone doing for exercise? :)

lizette March 9, 2012 at 12:18 PM  

Im in! back to basics is what i need big time gained back everything i lost before and hate myself because i lost my will power. summer is coming and i dont want to hide away like i did last year! exercise is a biggie and portion control so i have to dust off my scale and start using it again! thanks for the motivation im turning 40 this year and its about time i got healthy

motherrimmy March 10, 2012 at 11:21 AM  

This is all terrific advice, and I need to do the same thing. I made it through the holidays just fine, then for some reason, January got away from me. Back to basics for me too! Have a good weekend. :)

weight loss March 20, 2012 at 8:15 AM  

Losing weight requires careful planning, motivation, and actual implementation of the plan.

Speaking Inspirational May 9, 2012 at 8:42 AM  

I like the way you explained about Let's Get Back to Basics! Now I can help my neighbor about his problem. Thanks.