Being Healthy Takes Habits, Supports, and Accountabilities

Vegetables on a cutting board.

I’ve written several posts about losing 20 plus pounds about two years ago. I worked hard at it and treated the process very much as a lifestyle change that included healthier eating and more deliberate exercising. I’ve kept up the exercise, but in the past few months the healthy eating has been, well, less than healthy.

While one of the keys to my weight loss was tracking what I eat using the MyFitnessPal app to make sure I was getting a good balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, and not going wild on calories. Lately, I’ve been less diligent about using this. First, I I started ignoring the balance aspect and then blowing far past my recommend calories. Then it turned into me not logging everything I was consuming and occasionally not using it all day. I stopped being mindful about what I was consuming.

I’ve seen this reflected on my scale recently and have been a bit frustrated, but have tried very hard to not focus too much on numbers. What I can’t ignore is my drop in energy and that I haven’t been feeling physically healthy. That has to change. Just as poor mental health can have a negative effect on physical well being, the reverse is of course true as well.

I was thinking about this a lot on Tuesday and yesterday one planned and one unplanned occurrence helped me to refocus on my physical health. 

First, I had a an appointment with my therapist and knew that this is what I wanted to talk about. I’m going to be traveling next week to give a workshop in Alberta and then attend a conference in Phoenix. Traveling can make it even more difficult to eat healthy so together we came up with about getting back on the path I want to be on and some specific travel related strategies. 

Most important, I need to regain my focus on why I wanted to be eating healthier to begin with – to have more energy, to feel healthy, and to be a good example for my daughter. Keeping that priority in mind will help me to get back to considering whether what I’m going to consume is going to help me in the long run or hurt me. One or two cookies when I’ve eaten healthy all day is fine. Three cookies after having several slices of pizza cannot be a regular thing because I’m either going to feel it during my workout the next day, or the combination of those unhealthy eating days will eventually add up to the way I’m feeling right now.

I had a good routine for traveling and I need to focus on that next week. Take my protein powder and bars with me to top me up so I don’t eat three Nanaimo bars. Drink a lot of water. If I’m feeling stressed, climb the stairs in my hotel, meditate, go for a walk outside. Just I’ve been open about not drinking, I can be open about trying to get back to healthier eating. This creates both accountability on my part and usually discourages others from offering me something that’s not healthy.

The unplanned, yet related occurrence was that author and productivity guy Chris Bailey and his wife Ardyn Nordstrom (she’s an economist working on her PhD) released their latest podcast titled “The Weight Loss Challenge”.  They’ve had a chaotic year (travel for work, got married, went on a honeymoon) and both put on some weight in the past year, which they’d like to take off. They’ve been eating less than healthy and not exercising as much as they were.  In the podcast they set their own goal for pounds to lose by January 14, 2020 and invited others to join them via an email indicating how much the individual wants to lose by then. I jumped in and said “6 pounds”, which is what I’ve put on this year. 

The number isn’t my drive, but I know that to do that I’ll need to keep up my workouts and eat healthier, two things that will help me to feel healthier and have more energy.

Chris and Ardyn, talked about what they’ll be doing to help them meet their goals and, for the most part, they’re the same things that I need to return to doing. They track their activity using their Apple Watches, use the MyFitnessPal app to keep track of what they’re eating, they’re sharing their goals and progress with others for accountability, and their planning for obstacles (like traveling to a conference). 

I didn’t realize how unhealthy I felt before I started eating healthy and having a workout plan, but I certainly noticed how much better I felt once I did, and now I’ve been reminded how it feels when I bail on my healthy habits. It’s time to get back to it. 

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