Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Journal It #myheartdayresolution

I am a big fan of journaling. I encourage my clients to use journals as a tool to help them change their dog's behavior, especially during housebreaking and I used journaling to help establish a sleeping and eating schedule for my little one, so I was right on board with the suggestion of many weight loss sites to begin my journey with journaling.

According to an article on WebMD (which apparently first came from Good Housekeeping) entitled The Single Best Way to Lose Weight, journaling is the single best way to lose weight. According to the article, most folks have no idea how much they eat and if you make it a rule that you write it all down, you tend to eat less and lose weight by default. Wouldn't that be awesome? (Well I can tell you right now I didn't lose anything this week.)

Now originally I was thinking I'd just journal for the month and then do my monthly check-in, but it's really a waste of time. When I tell my clients to journal it's for a week or two, never a whole month. The idea is to identify patterns of behavior, triggers, habits you're not aware of and to target them and I feel that after a week I have really gained all I'm going to from just journaling.  So, here's what I've found.

Diet Journaling Tools

The first tool I tried was a handy diet journal at but I had some trouble adding foods because I am a home cook. So I needed a way to record my own recipes and determine their nutritional content. You can record additional foods in the WebMd journal, but you have to know their nutritional content first. I was excited to see that has this feature, but it doesn't work. Very disappointing! But I was able to find what I was looking for at However, from what I can see you have to share in order to save your recipes and I don't feel like sharing so I can't save. Bummer. But I can save the nutritional information from recipes on the WebMD site so I guess it's okay...

All of this got to be rather cumbersome, so I looked for something that had more of what I wanted and that's when I found which seems to be the best of both worlds and it has an app for a smartphone, which I can't use. It also links you Facebook which I might play with a bit. Best of all, I can share or not, whatever I feel like doing. And, it has tickers:

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Weight Loss Tools

While journaling online is handy and a little bit fun, it's not practical when you spend half your life in the car so I needed something I could take along with me. Some solutions have smartphone apps which would be awesome if I had a smartphone or my husband's Kindle Fire, but I only have my little old Kindle Keyboard and I rather like it. I have an app on my Kindle called Notepad which suits my needs just fine although I did look for a journaling app and couldn't find one. Someone who knows about apps should take note of that. I want a journaling app for my Kindle keyboard, mkay? I know probably nobody is making new apps for the Kindle Keyboard.

My Discoveries

When I tell my clients to begin by journaling, the idea is to discover their dog's natural patterns as well as to identify triggers for unacceptable behavior and habits that may need to be broken or adjusted to reach the goal. So that was really the goal for this journaling project. So here is what I found.

1. I actually have a lot of good eating habits.
  • I don't get a lot of calories from beverages. Aside from my morning cup of coffee, I drink only water and skim milk. 
  • I always eat breakfast. (I frankly don't understand how anybody can function without it.) And my breakfasts tend to be pretty healthy. Usually oatmeal with raisins, cinnamon and pecans OR a scrambled omelette with veggies and feta cheese and a banana. Occasionally I have pancakes, but we're talking once a month at the most. I have found by analyzing my recipes, however, that my breakfasts aren't the healthiest and have adapted my recipes accordingly.
  • I am disgusted by super-sweet things. When I do have a sweet tooth, it can usually be satisfied by a few semi-sweet chocolate chips or a piece of dried fruit.
2. When I don't eat on time, I tend to overeat or eat all the wrong things when I finally get the opportunity to eat.
3. The "junk food" I eat is usually of the fatty and salty variety. I love gravy, french fries, fried chicken, chips, the fatty bits on meat, cheese.
4. Most of my eating of all the wrong things tends to happen when I'm on the road.
5. I also eat when I'm stressed.
6. I will eat as long as I am at the table and I eat a lot faster than my husband and infant son. (My older son scarfs down his meal and bails. He doesn't stick around for the conversation.)
7. I will continue eating as long as there is food within reach, even if I am not hungry.
8. I get almost no exercise. I do the occasional "how to walk your dog on a leash" lesson, but these only last about 30 minutes maybe once a week and I do as much standing around shouting orders while they walk as I do walking myself. Other than that, my exercise consists of pushing a cart around the grocery store for an hour once or twice a week.
9. I drink a lot of water.

All in all I think the journaling project was useful and enlightening and I will continue journaling for the duration of my weight loss project in order to keep track of my progress.

Days journaled this week: 5

Weight: 196.5
BMI calculation: 32.76
Waist measurement: 42.0
Hip Measurement: 45.5
Waist to Hip Ratio: .93
(WTF! Not the early success I'd hoped for. Oh well.)

Next week's goal/habit: Get active

Some other interesting links I've found:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Heart Day Resolution #myheartdayresolution

Okay, here it is. Heart Day and my Heart Day Resolution is:

I resolve to lose 30 pounds.

I actually need to lose 50 pounds but I am thinking 30 is much more attainable. Hopefully, all the wonderful habits I practice over the next year will result in continued gradual weight loss past the deadline. My doctor has been griping about my weight since before my last pregnancy and I am now heavier than I was at its peak. Not pretty. I used to be really proud of my physical health. Being chubby is somewhat depressing. I have never dieted before. This is going to suck. BUT I can do it. I know I can.

Just to remind me, my resolution steps are:
1. Set a reasonable goal to be met in one year. (Check)
2. Set monthly checkpoints to review my progress. (Check -  I will check in monthly on the 14th with a weigh-in and measurements.)
3. Develop new habits or mini goals and explore them each month in my checkpoint blog.

Exploration Questions

Why do I want to achieve this goal?
Being fat is no fun. My doctor says I am endangering my health. My favorite clothes don't fit. I wear out easily. A 110 pound rotty kicked my ass last weekend. That doesn't happen to me!

How will it benefit me?
I will be a better dog trainer when I can match the dogs for strength and endurance (I know speed is too much to hope for). I am looking at borderline diabetes here. I don't want diabetes. My clothes will fit again (yay) and I'll feel better buying new clothes. I will feel and look sexier and have more sex. More sex is good. Also I will be a better mom and wife, more active, stronger, better able to keep up and enjoy activities. I will be healthier for the rest of my life if I lose the weight now.

What are the drawbacks?
I am sure this is totally going to interfere with my lifestyle and eating habits.
Let me just say, that I love pie. And I am going to keep eating it. This goes for fruit pie as well as meat pie. Cream pie I think I can give up. Does cheese cake count as pie? I can't give that up either. Besides that, I am sure there will be some serious schedule issues.

How does it fit my values?
Hearth- My family deserves a healthy, energetic mother.
Heart - That is self-evident.
Earth - I am not sure how it will benefit the Earth, but it won't do Her any harm either.

How will this help with my ultimate goal of Arete?
Physical fitness was often mentioned as an example of the excellence of greatness in ancient Greece.

What are my obstacles?
I am breastfeeding. This precludes most chemical interventions. I can take no weight loss herbal supplements or drugs.
I am lazy.
I have very little time to myself. Babysitters are scarce unless I'm working.
I am on the road a lot and eat on the go pretty often.
I love food.

How will I measure success?
My goal is to lose 30 pounds. When I get there I will know I've succeeded. Also, see first check-in below. I expect the check in section to grow as things progress and I add more mini-goals to this project.

What are some habits I will need to develop to make this a success?
Some ideas I've gotten from the internet include: Keeping a food and exercise journal, meal planning, controlling portion sizes, eating in more than out, watching sugary beverages(I don't drink these, bonus), eat breakfast (I already do that. Bonus again), increasing physical activity, working out in the morning, brushing your teeth after meals, lay off the simple carbs

Some mini-goals I can accomplish along the way?
 Establish a regular work out schedule, join a community, start journaling, explore more tools to help me on my way, consult with my doctor, consult with a personal trainer.

First Check-in
Weight: 195.1 lbs
BMI calculation: 32.51 (according to my Wii Fit)
Waist measurement: 40
Hip Measurement: 45
Waist to Hip Ratio: 0.88 (Per
Goal Weight: 165 lbs

The first habit I will explore is...
Diet and exercise journaling

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My Heart Day Resolution Pre-amble

This year (and if it works out every year hereafter) I am setting a resolution on Valentine's Day to do something good for my Heart. Not just my physical heart, but everything it symbolizes. My Self. My health. My emotions. My relationships. But I am only allowed to pick one goal per year.

So, Heart Day is only two days away and I am formulating my resolution in the back of my head but first I wanted to come up with a plan, a sort of framework for what I'm doing to keep my brain organized.

First, I thought it would be nice to have some sort of special ritual to mark the occasion. I haven't been able to think of a ceremony per se, but I think I have a good idea for a ritual.

I am going out today to buy myself a greeting card and on it I am going to write:

Dearest Heart:
I love you and I want you to be strong, happy and healthy and so today I promise you that I will do this thing for you:
{Insert resolution here}
Yours forever,
Signed me

I will put it in my card box and mail it to myself when I send out my Valentine's Day cards next year.
Won't that be sweet.
I think I'll also buy myself a present.

As for the resolution itself, I wanted to set a few guidelines for myself and for that I turn am digging some goal-setting wisdom out of the back of my brain from a class I took years ago and adapting it because that's what I do.

First, we must look at the resolution or goal itself. When I set my goal it needs to meet the following criteria:
1. It must be attainable and realistic.
2. It must be something that results in a tangible, measurable change. That is, I can say here is the proof that I have achieved this goal and point to it.
3. It must have a reasonable deadline. In the case of my Heart Day (and other) resolution, the deadline is one year.

It is one thing to set a goal and give myself a deadline but the most important thing is to keep myself on track. These are the steps I will take to do that:
1. I will assign regular check in days to review my progress. I will make this the 14th of each month.
2. I will create mini-goals to accomplish throughout the year. One per month, to give myself little victories and successes to keep myself positive and so that I am not trying to do everything all at once.
3. I will share with you, dear readers, my progress and what I learned in pursuit of my goals. In part to keep myself honest and also to maybe help you out on similar goals. I will tag my Heart Day posts every 14th of the month with #myheartdayresolution. Yea, it's long. Whatever.

Exploring My Goals
I will structure my Resolutions with a series of questions to give me a clear view of what I'm trying to accomplish and what my path will be.

Why do I want to achieve this goal?
How will it benefit me?
What are the drawbacks?
How does it fit my values?
What are my obstacles?
How will I measure success?
What are some habits I will need to develop to make this a success?
Some mini-goals I can accomplish along the way?

Check in will take place each month on the same day the resolution was originally made. For each resolution the check in will be slightly different. I will define the check in to suit each goal at the time the resolution is set with the understanding that its structure may have to be adapted as I go along.

Now that I have a plan, I am ready for Heart Day!
Please let me know if you're going to join me. I would love it if you did!!
(And if you're reading this and it's like August, who cares, pick your own Heart Day and jump right in!)