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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Weight Loss Revolution: Step 1 - Journal It!

I stated in my last post that I am tired of diets. I am also tired of hearing depressing statistics about how much weight Americans are gaining yearly. I just read a 2007 article posted on the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health website stating, “If the rate of obesity and overweight continues at this pace, by 2015, 75 percent of adults and nearly 24 percent of U.S. children and adolescents will be overweight or obese.” Are you kidding me? Seventy-five percent of adults by 2015? That’s really soon and I hope they were off in their numbers, but this should scare everyone straight.

Let me also say that I do not believe everyone is born to be thin. I am not classically thin. My percentage of body fat is pretty good, but I am thicker. I also have a lot more muscle on my frame than a lot of women because I lift weight a lot, therefore I weigh more. We cannot base everything on a scale. However, it can be your guide. You know if you need to lose a few pounds. I could probably stand to lose about 10-15. Just don’t attempt to lose weight and exercise because someone else wants you to do it. You have to want to be healthier for you and you only.

I am proposing we take baby steps right now to improve our health. I am not calling for a New Year’s resolution. I am simply saying that each and every one of us needs to take a very small step in changing our behavior and our health. I am never going to tell you to quit eating carbs and start eating low-fat everything. What I am saying is take it one step at a time. Example: If you drink 2 or more sodas per day, start paying attention to how many you are drinking and drink one less.

What is the best way to know how many you drink per day or how much you are eating? Start keeping a journal. This is step #1. Keeping a journal is the simplest and easiest way to improve your health. If you start keeping track of what you are eating and when, you will know better how to make changes. Don’t worry about tracking calories, carbs or fat grams.

Here’s what I want you to keep track of in your journal:

1. What did you eat? Just what you ate to begin with and if you had one helping or more. Later you can start keeping better track of serving sizes.

2. What time did you eat? Just the time of day will be sufficient.

3. How did you feel when you ate? How hungry were you when you started eating? How did you feel afterwards? For example, were you only a little hungry when you started eating and then really full when you stopped? Or were you really bored when you started eating, were you tired, depressed, anxious, happy, stressed, etc?

4. How much sleep did you get last night? You can log what time you went to bed and what time you got up if it makes you feel better.

5. What are you thankful for today? After logging all of the other stuff, I want you to quickly think of one thing you are thankful for today. Write that down. No one else has to see this but you. If you don’t feel you have a whole lot to be thankful for, just use being thankful for being alive or thankful for something small like your eye color, having hair, etc. Start anywhere and continue this daily.

Don’t make any excuses about having to wait to start a journal until you have gone out and purchased one. I don’ t care if you use the back of old envelope. You can also find free journals online. Get started right this second.

This journal is for your eyes only. I want you to be the one to really give it a look. Keep this journal for a week or two. After that, take a look at the journal and see where you think you could make some changes. Maybe you find yourself snacking needlessly on junk in the middle of the afternoon when you are tired or bored. Start preparing for that mid-afternoon slump by bringing healthy snacks. Ger up and take a quick walk in the afternoon to wake yourself up before the snack. You may find you have more energy. Are you eating breakfast every morning? Is it the right kind of breakfast? Do you have enough energy? Are you getting enough sleep?

Sleep can play a key role in your health. I will post more on sleep later. For now, start your journal and find out where you are. Happy journaling!

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