Monday, December 21, 2009

Healthy Habits in 2010

I see so many people writing about losing weight, both in the blogosphere and in other media. Advertisements and programs like The Biggest Loser tout losing weight fast and in huge amounts and can easily make the rest of us feel like a failure when we can't produce results in kind.

I've never been what you would call 'thin' (thank you large bone physique!) but I've also only had a brief time when I could be called more than 'chubby'. Right now I'm between a good weight and 'chubby' - about 5lbs over what my personal ideal body weight is. For me this is the weight that keeps both myself and my doctors happy without having to either deprive myself of food that I enjoy or exercise like mad 7 days a week. It's also the weight where I keep my body fat percentage in a healthy range without going crazy. Yes, I currently need to lose 5-8 lbs to get there.

I have two chronic medical conditions - one that is effected by diet, exercise and, ultimately, my weight. That means I also have a registered dietitian that I work with. What I've been working on for the last year is portion control and healthy snacking. Those are the key things for me to work on diet-wise right now - I'm doing pretty good on the portion control by now but need to work on snacking. I also need to exercise more - 2 hours a week plus a lot of walking doesn't cut it. I'm working on keeping 3x a week and moving up to 4 and wearing a pedometer to track my steps (I'm at about 5000 steps most days and working toward 6000 - ultimate goal of 10,000-12,000). (Side note: Try wearing a pedometer if you think you're active. You may be surprised at how few steps you actually take a day. I know I was!)

So why do I work at this? I have three reasons.

I want to keep my chronic illnesses under control. One is digestive and is controlled with diet and exercise. This, in my mind, is much preferable to popping a pill, not to mention it just makes my life easier to control it rather than having to deal with things because I've let myself go. I've spent so long being sick and I now know that being healthy is not something to take for granted. I have learned that I only have control over what I have control over, so I better take care of what I can!

I want to be healthy. My parents are in their upper 70's and are healthier than my in-laws, who are 20 years younger. Seriously - people think they are the same age or that my parents are younger, and that they're all in their 50s! I want that for me too. I want to be strong and fit. I want to have energy. I want to have a healthy immune system. To do this now and in old age. And I know it begins now.

I want to be a good example for my kids. I want them to know that eating healthy is tasty. I want them to know that it's not okay to sit on their behinds in front of the TV all day. I want them to remember having a Mommy who played with them, and that that's what Mommy's should do. I want them to be healthy when they grow up - a healthy weight, a healthy amount of muscle and body fat, a healthy diet, and a healthy life. I want to be the example my Mom was for me. Someone who does the right thing even when it's hard and has the self-control to face a mountain of sweets or other not-so-good-for-me foods and enjoy in moderation and not binge. I want to counteract the bad eating habits on my in-law's side, by showing them what it's like to be a healthy, strong woman who has energy and strength even when she's "old".

Motivation is important. I used to want to lose weight so I 'looked good'. Guess what? That doesn't keep me motivated for long. Plus, it made me feel like a failure when I never reached that goal of looking like someone I can't look like in the first place.

My goals for 2010 in this area:
  • to Jazzercise 3-5x per week by the end of the year.
  • to walk 10,000 steps per day 5 days a week by the end of the year.
  • to snack 2-3x per day (morning, afternoon, and evening or just afternoon and evening) in healthy, controlled portions of 100-150 calories per snack. No binging!
  • to refill only the fruit and veggie portions of my meals, being satisfied with the meat/protein and starch portions I have.

Why? I want to be healthy, keep my chronic conditions under control, and be a good example for my children! That's why!

Why are you motivated to get in shape, loose weight or otherwise adopt healthy habits in 2010?

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Thanks,
Lea