Things I will never do:
1. Travel with a cooler filled with grilled chicken and water
2. Eat in front of a mirror
3. Insist I have a thyroid disorder when I can't lose weight
4. Join a gym on January 1
I want to look and feel great, but I know my limits and don't plan on adopting any nutty weight-loss strategies. Before approaching any goal, you have to know who you are and what you're really willing to do. Acknowledging your limits is just as important as clearly defining your objectives. You don't need a doctor or expert to reveal your limits, and while yes, there's a chance they'll expose a few weaknesses (is it really that hard for you to get motivated to exercise?), unless you are completely honest, the needle just won't move.
Last summer a very fit friend of mine asked how often I work out. I was embarrassed to admit that I had no set routine, so I lied and said three to five times per week. I laugh about that lie all the time, because it's truly absurd to lie about diet and fitness habits since the results are self-evident! In fact, overstating how well you take care of yourself serves you far worse when you don't have the booty to prove it. But we do it all the time.
We don't want to admit that we love watching TV, sink money into gym memberships we never use, or that the real reason we make our kids chocolate chip cookies is to satisfy our own cookie dough cravings. We continue to lie to ourselves and then find it shocking when we don't lose weight. I am guilty of all of this bad behavior. I am a liar.
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This has been very apparent over the last few weeks. With my daughter Drew just four weeks old, I'm home and cooking more than usual. Following the recommendation of fitness expert Jay Cardiello, I started to keep a food journal. I didn't plan to change my diet, but we wanted to track what, when, and why I eat. The first pattern that arose: MY LYING.
I'd start the day great, enthusiastically logging my egg white omelet and banana. I'd promptly jot down my lunch of a turkey sandwich with a side of hummus and veggies, and I'd even remember to chronicle my water intake. The afternoons are when things would go haywire. I'd "accidentally omit" finishing my son's dripping ice cream cone or the sweetened ice coffee I downed while waiting for Tae Kwon Do to finish. Of course I didn't think taste-testing my way through dinner prep for the kids or sampling their dessert truly "counted". NEWSFLASH: If you eat it, IT COUNTS.
I also often go out for dinner or entertain friends at home. Though I'd have soft goals to eat well in the evenings, I'd always nibble on whatever after-dinner sweets were on the table, share my husband's wine, or without even noticing, nosh on a couple pieces of bread while waiting for entrees. And when I'd come home, none of this made it into the journal.
Realizing the need to break these bad habits, a realistic plan is crucial. There is little that happens in my life that isn't part of a plan. Whether it's my kids, my work, or my finances, I map out where I want to be and when. It doesn't mean I'm going to make drastic changes, but it does mean I will plan ahead so I know what I'm facing ahead of time.
As mentioned above, I don't plan on showing up to anyone's house with my own container of grilled chicken, but I do plan to have my fridge stocked with smart choices. And instead of logging my meals after the fact, I've got a notebook in my kitchen with my day already mapped out.
Things I will do today:
1. Instead of staring into my cavernous playground of a fridge, I'll know exactly what to reach for before I even open the door.
2. When I'm making my kids breaded chicken, I'll prepare grilled chicken for my husband and me.
3. When my girlfriend asks what she can bring over for tonight's dinner, I'll say flowers instead of flourless chocolate cake.
My goal for the day: Be honest. Because the one and only Shakira is right—"my hips don't lie." And I'd rather not have mine saying "ice cream, donuts, and brownies."