So what do you get when Walmart gives you $100, 4 weeks, a suggested list of healthy grocery items, the promise of some samples and the goal of having a healthier year?
Yeah-I don’t know either-and that’s what we are here to find out!!!
How many times have you made New Years resolutions? And how many times have you stuck to them? It is always so much easier to make a plan than it is to actually stick to it. So this year my first goal is to be realistic about my goals!
1. Lose weight.
In a perfect world I’d love to lose 35 lbs. I’d settle for 20. Now before those of you who know me and have seen me in real life jump in and tell me “You look great, you don’t need to lose” let me say this. This goal is not just about looking better-I am perfectly aware that I still look pretty good-especially when I take time with my appearance.
The truth is, I have gained over 20 lbs in the last 18 months. That is far, far too much. I can feel the difference. I am uncomfortable in my own skin, less flexible, more easily tired. I can FEEL the extra pounds. They need to go.
That means I can’t keep doing the same things in the same ways. I am going to have to make the comittment to make certain things come first-before this blog, before the housework, even, sometimes, before the family.*
This will be the hardest goal to stick with-if weight loss were easy, there wouldn’t be such a huge industry built around it!
2. Exercise a minimum of 3X a week.
I spend way to much time doing what I am doing right now-sitting in a chair in front of the computer. I need to get up and move, really move, more. I think three times a week is a reasonable goal. Would more be better? Of course-and I am actually going to try to do more. But once the newness wears off and I “fall off the wagon” rather than getting discouraged and chucking the whole business, I’m going to remind my self that the goal is a minimum of 3X a week.
3. Drink more water.
I used to drink a LOT of water. For years. Somehow in the last 18 months or so that has quietly and without intent totally gone down the tubes. I realized that I am only drinking about 32 oz (or two large glasses) of water a day. Not only that but my caffeine intake has doubled, which makes that water I have drunk even less effective**. How did that happen? It’s something so easy to fix that has so many health benefits. I can drink 64oz a day no problem. . .IF I pay attention to it.
4. Eat even less processed food.
I could just say “eat healthy”-but that is so open to interpretation. We don’t eat a ton of processed foods here at the Frugal Upstate house-as you all know I cook mostly from scratch. So there aren’t a lot of “meal in a box” type processed foods here. Well-except for when I’m out of town, then I do buy those for Yankee Bill to make life easy.
We do however purchase a lot of pasta, tortillas, crackers and cereal-all of which are pretty processed.
In order to lose weight you need to eat less and exercise more (I’ll be addressing the exercise more in a moment).
So to eat less I’m going to start by keeping a food diary. Studies have shown that keeping a food diary or journal helps you to lose weight. But you have to write down every. single. thing. that you eat for it to work. That means bites, nibbles and tastes people!
Although I’m considering joining Weight Watchers Online (they have a new points plus program that takes protien into account now) and using their journaling tools, I’m not sure about spending the money. So to start with I’m just going to keep my own journal.
If you don’t already have a method of food journaling, check out the Healthy Living Tools on Walmart.com-there is a calorie counter, and exercise tracker and a food tracker-all available for free (you do have to sign up). It also has mobile access that lets you add to your food tracker while you are out on the go.
If that’s too high tech for you, just buy a little notebook and keep it in your pocket to jot down what you eat. The way you do it isn’t really as important as just DOING it.
Another great tool that Walmart has (in conjunction with WebMD) is the Diet Evaluator. Just spend a few minutes answering questions and watching a couple of short videos. It then gives you an online report with “Your Goals & Plan”, “Overcoming Hurdles”, “Keys to Weight Loss” and “Diet Tips from Walmart”.
To make sure time to exercise actually happens, I am going to block out the time on my calendar 3 days a week. When you schedule something it is much more likely to happen!
My dad gave me a 6 month membership to our local gym for Christmas, so that will be a big part of my exercising for the next few months-especially since the weather is bitter here right now.
Don’t worry though, there are plenty of low or no cost ways to exercise out there! I can use items we already have at home to exercise-both low tech things like soup cans for weights or high tech like jamming out to the “Dance Dance Revolution” Wii game my kids got for Christmas. I’ll be talking about the exercise piece much more next week!
3. Visual Reminders
Each morning I will be filling a water jug with the 64oz of water that I should be drinking and leaving it on the kitchen counter. Each time I walk through the kitchen I will see it an have to think “Hey, gotta drink my water!”.
4. Smarter Choices
It’s time to really think about the food that I purchase. My goal is to increase fiber content and lower fat wherever possible without causing my family to revolt! I’ll be doing a lot of label reading, let me tell you.
The Way Ahead
So there you have it, my Fresh Start goals for the year ahead. They say it takes 30 days to create a new habit, so I’m going to really concentrate on sticking to these goals for the next 30 days. Each week I’ll work on all of the goals, but really concentrate on a specific area and post an update on how I’m doing and the lessons I’ve learned. This coming week I’m going to concentrate on my water intake and food journaling. Make sure you check back and see how I do!
*Note: Not that I would ever ignore the kids or my husband or not take care of their basic needs-I just mean that sometimes I need to make sure I make time for taking care of me instead of just concentrating fully on taking care of THEM first. I don’t always need to be the one who takes the chipped plate 🙂
**Note: Coffee is a diuretic, which means it causes your body to create additional urine. This means when you drink coffee you need to drink even MORE water to make up for the water it will cause you to lose.