Winter is normally not a time people think about diet and exercise outside of a New Year’s Resolution. These well intended resolutions to strive for better health usually don’t make it past the second week of January before old habits come back. I think this is because few people don’t give enough time for positive change to take effect. Far too many people think that adopting good habits are merely a matter of making a decision and acting on that decision. The fact that highs and lows, wins and losses, up days and down days are not taken into consideration. This is why so many people give up on good intentions after a couple rough days. Very few people make allowances for setbacks and screw ups.
For my diet and exercise routine, the second half of 2015 was one setback after another. I didn’t exercise enough, I was under too much stress, I ate too much, I got out of the habit of keeping track of what I ate, I quit lifting weights, and I wasn’t getting consistent sleep. Consistent sleep helps with weight loss and mental stability. Without consistent sleep, hormones can become out of balance and that alone can mess with weight loss. I gained at least 30 pounds from early July to New Year’s Eve precisely because things like exercise, sleep, stress levels, and eating were not consistent. For most of the summer and fall of 2015 I was pulling two all nighters per week on average. I’d try to sleep during the days but it just wasn’t the same. I didn’t have enough sleep and I also didn’t have the quality of sleep I needed for weight loss or mental stability. I didn’t get the consistent good nutrition I needed either. Looking back on July to December of last year, it’s no wonder I went in reverse. I’m also not surprised that I had two nervous breakdowns. Fortunately I didn’t have to go to the hospital either time.
But since the first of January I have consciously made choices for better health. I don’t pull all nighters any more. I don’t skip taking my medications. I take more time to relax and not feel guilty for having a small amount of time every day to clear my mind. I exercise for at least 10 minutes every day rather than go hard for two days and take a day off like I was in the fall. I’m back to lifting weights three times a week and I’m noticing improvements after only a few weeks. I eat when I’m hungry and never just because the clock tells me it’s breakfast or dinner time. Somedays I’ll have my last meal of the day by 5pm. And others I won’t eat “breakfast” until 11 am. I also make far more mental notes on what I’m eating. I don’t track as strictly now because I know how many calories most foods have just by looking at the serving sizes and the labels. But it took over a year and half of hard tracking to get that level of knowledge.
As a result of my efforts, I’ve lost seven pounds since January 1. I want to eventually lose 150 more pounds. But this is a life long commitment to a lifestyle change, not just a diet to be followed and endured for six months and then discarded once a goal has been met. Overall since I started this lifestyle overhaul I’m down 35 pounds since March 2014. The road has had detours and potholes along the way. But I never gave up the dream of a healthier body and a more stable mind even when it seemed nothing was going right.