It is true that life doesn’t change or get better unless you kick those old habits to curb and make some real changes in your life. You don’t grow or evolve as a person if you consistently ignore change. Me! For a huge majority of my life, I didn’t like change. But I did. I moved all around Wisconsin and made the move to Houston not more than 10 years ago. I got different jobs since I entered the workforce. I did go to college and earn a degree. But for the most part, I lived by a simple routine everyday. Pretty boring, huh?
Oh yeah, did I mention of one the worst changes that I had to accept was living with mental illness? Oh yes! This is a game changer on so many levels. Part of this has made me reluctant to change. I prefer to do this and not this. I’d rather sleep nor exercise. I’d rather eat crap instead of healthy. One of the healthiest things that I’ve done in the past few months is started a blog. It’s been like a new lifestyle change, if you will. Everyday, I write. It’s kind of like therapy or brain exercising for me. I get to write about me and what I experience daily.
One of the major things that I’m struggling with aside from sleep (that’s getting a lot better thanks to melatonin), is eating and weight management. Since this is my first venture in weight loss, I’m a newbie and quite particular on which meal or diet plan will work the best for me. This admission of denial took a long time (years, in fact) to finally admit to myself that there’s a problem. Denial is an ugly thing. But I need to make changes and I need to start retraining my brain on eating healthy instead of eating crap.
You can imagine the constant thoughts that are plaguing my brain right now on how to go about this carefully as possible. I did ask readers to give me their suggestions on what diet plans worked for them and mainly, it’s all about moderation and self-control. I get that and also realize that all diets work for different people.
Not all diets are equal/Finding the right diet plan: There are tons of diet plans out there including the Paleo diet, the Keto diet, the vegan diet, there’s a 80/10/10 diet and more. There’s also Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem, but I’m a little iffy when it comes to choosing a particular diet. I know some that are strict vegans, some are Keto dieters and some just eat regular foods but in smaller portions. The wide variety of diets is enough for my head to explode. Which one should I choose? What if I don’t like it? What if I stick to it and then fall off the bandwagon? I don’t trust my own brain. I know I should. But I can’t even make a simple New Year’s resolution without breaking it after 5 seconds. A nice long chat with my primary doctor in the coming days may give me more direction and ideas to help me get my butt into gear.
And sticking to it: Once you’ve selected your plan including your exercise plan, here comes the hard part: sticking to it. For a solid week, I could do what I’m told and after that; bye-bye diet. This is my brain being its usual nuisance. “Why should we do this for?” If I didn’t have mental illness, I would be a lot more driven and motivated to do anything. I mean anything. My life could be totally different. That’s how debilitating this disease is. This is why I need a drill sergeant there with me telling me what to do.
Learn more about cooking and learning to read labels: I will not lie when I say that I don’t cook a lot and if I do, it has to be something quick and easy. If you can shove it in the microwave or oven, then that’s perfect. Actual cooking such as cutting, slicing and dicing, and stirring and sautéing gets on my nerves. Some find cooking relaxing, I find it stressful and a time sucker. But there are easy prep meals out there. Investing in a good healthy and tasty cookbook is a must for me. It has to be healthy, but has to taste and smell good enough to eat or else, I will not eat it. Shopping in general isn’t my forte. I hate clothes shopping with a passion. I’m not a girly girl. So shopping in a grocery store and staring at every label is also time consuming. Just have the label light up and say: “Eat me. I’m the healthiest and tastiest option.” But no. I will stare at calorie counts and sodium counts when shopping for entrees and other foods. But I’m very antsy because of my anxiety so don’t expect me to spend more than 15 minutes in one aisle staring at the same thing.
Losing weight and then gaining it back: I know people who have been on diets and lost weight. They felt better about themselves, only to have that weight make its comeback. You do all this work and what happens? You’re back to square one. Sometimes, we fall off the bandwagon and eat to fill a void or something else. I would hate to lose all this weight and then have it come back. I would get so mad that I would stop eating in general because I would say: “I give up.” But weight management is hard. Who said it was easy. Sometimes you just have to look on the bright side and start make the right choices.
Professional help and/or surgery (if desperately needed): For me, I’d rather have a dietician help me on this. God, I hope insurance covers most of this. Lord knows, I don’t trust my “unmotivated” brain do it. I’m a procrastinator and that’s something that I want to kick out of my body once and for all. Bariatric surgery would be a last resort option. I hope it doesn’t come down to that. If so, I don’t forsee how I would afford that with insurance. Again, only a last resort.
Getting outside and doing something active: Does getting out of bed count? It should. Any sufferer will tell you that this is a challenge. Especially when your body wants to lay in bed all day or lounge somewhere else on the couch. When you have two small yipping dogs that have more energy than you combined they kind of annoy you, but motivate you to get up and take them out. What’s the old adage? Get moving and get your 10,000 steps in. Again, does work count, too???? I’m on my feet for 8-9 hours a day and I’m constantly on the move. Going outside and walking in the neighborhood by myself isn’t a problem. It’s motivating my “unmotivated” brain to do that. One thing that I enjoy is getting some walking around at the outlet mall but that doesn’t help it when there’s a lot of people and traffic as well. In order to do that, I have to drive about a half hour away (longer with traffic!) and then park it. Then start walking. After you’re done, then go back to your car and drive home. A less costlier and easier way is to walk around the neighborhood. A little hard to do when one lives near two schools: one high school and one elementary school. So avoid the hours of 7am and 3pm.
More hydration: I will admit that I’ve cut down to one soda a day. The past couple of weeks have been like drinking a half a regular can. Maybe not even that. It would be equivalent to the size of those mini cans. It’s both good and bad. Soda is still a weight gainer (even diet soda, too!), but it’s addiction is getting closer and closer out of my body. Same thing goes with coffee. One small twelve ounce cup of ice coffee a day (helps me stay alert, but not too anxious) that’s just straight black is my go to at work. After that is consumed, then it’s H20 for the rest of the shift. And I don’t know about you, but H20 by itself is OK, but infusing it with lemon, limes, and other fruits may help me, too. One of my closest guy friends swears by water infused with lemon or limes. It helps clean out the toxins in his body and makes him feel better and less hungrier. Another co-worker of mine does shots of apple cider vinegar everyday. I’ve tried it before and almost threw up. I think it was the vinegar in it, but it didn’t settle well in my stomach. So I don’t think I will try that. Maybe in pill form only.
Starting the day right! Eat your breakfast: For the past couple of weeks, I’ve started the mornings around 8:00am (sometimes early as 6 or 7am) and I will get hungry by this time. I invested myself in eating breakfast. Which means that I get up, get out my bowl of Cheerios (whole grain, no sugary cereal) and eat. And with that I drink a lot of water. I will dress it up a little by just making scrambled eggs along with water. Or at work before my shift starts, I will get out one of my least favorites to eat: oatmeal. Pure and simple oatmeal with nuts and no sugar. I usually will drink my ice coffee with this and may add a little sweetener to keep my glucose levels in check. I will incorporate more veggies and fruits (and while I say this my inner child is going “Ew!”) into my diet to help me stay less hungry throughout the day. It doesn’t hurt to look into foods that are superfoods that keep you energized and full. Because I hate it when the old stomach starts growling at the wrong time.
Lunch: Salads are something that I will eat for lunch. Dinners will probably be the biggest meal. It depends on if I’m closing or working the early shift. I have to plan accordingly. One of my favorite places are Panera and Salata. And I will check out their ingredients, their toppings, and calories before I start making a selection. I love that calorie counts are available on menus because I wouldn’t know how many calories I’m in taking without a number. Typically, my green of choice is kale (by itself) or kale mixed with spinach leaves. From then on, I will get your basic vegetable toppings. I don’t like fruits on my salad. Call me weird but I like them separate from each other. I usually avoid their protein because their meats are precooked and marinated in spices that can make me sick. Besides, who knows how long those meats have been sitting there. I’ve got food poisoning before by the number one culprit: chicken. My usual salad order is kale with carrots, green peppers, olives, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, quinoa, nuts such as almonds or walnuts, and a light dressing. I could go there everyday but I don’t have $8 dollars to spend on it everyday let alone drive several miles a day to get there. So I have to memorize my order and make it myself. Why? It’s called life and called living on a budget. Eating out is a sin that I’m guilty of. But I’m getting a little more better at it everyday.
Stop eating out and eat in more: Again, arrest me and book me for charges. I’ll plead guilty. You got me. When you’re constantly on the go, it’s hard to eat right; but you can always make time. You can find some time and squeeze it in and make your lunch/dinner. Save your money for groceries and other necessities. Again, it’s hard but not impossible to do. My dad eats a sandwich, fruit, and a one soda for lunch everyday. Not OK on the soda part, but at least his lunch is consistent. I personally can’t eat the same meal over again twice. That’s too mundane and unappealing for my picky taste buds. We need something new on a daily basis. This is where a cookbook and meal planning come into play. I know that some cook their meals in advance for the week so that they have their three meals waiting for them to cook. Smart idea. Why didn’t I think of it? Because I didn’t.
I can change. You can change. We all can change. It’s possible. It’s no easy task. But I can try to put my “uncooperative and unmotivated” brain to the test. If I have to set up a cheating jar like a swear jar for all of the times that I cheat, then I will do that. I will instill some discipline in myself if I want to do this and change my lifestyle.