being accountable

How Do You Track?

Being accountable, even only to yourself, is how you stay on the path to weight loss and successful maintenance. It’s a very different beast to kind of “count/guess” in your head and to actually write it down. Seeing it in black and white can often be the shock of reality that is needed. At least, it was for me.

If you need to catch up on some old posts on how to lose weight, here are some links:

Week OneWeek One Check In

Week Two , Week Two Check In

Week Three

Week Four

Week Five

Five Truths of Weight Loss

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. How do I track my food and fitness? Do I track every day? Yes, nearly every day. Every once in awhile I take a few days off from counting, sometimes when I’m on vacation I take a few days off but not too many. It’s been awhile since I’ve taken a break. Sometimes our brain just needs a break!

Tracking Fitness

I see people on Twitter  posing this question often: how do you track your workouts? When I’m in the gym lifting weights, I see a lot of the serious people with a little journal keeping track of what they’re doing. I’m incredibly impressed that they can do this. It lasts about a week for me. I just didn’t want to track which machines I used, how much weight I lifted, etc. (Don’t tell Suzanne!)

I *do* however keep track of mileage for running and biking. I use simple Excel spreadsheets, nothing fancy, and just keep a log there. It helps a lot when I am training for an event. I keep track of my individual mileage as well as my weekly total.

Tracking Food

When I first started counting my calories I wrote it down on paper in a little journal. Not very high-tech. Eventually I got an iPhone and started exploring the apps that are available out there. My favorite is by far the Cronometer because of the in-depth analysis it gives me.

I want to make sure I am doing the right things, eating the things my body NEEDS and kind of assess what I’m eating too much of (um…sugar, carbs…dammit….). The Cronometer gives me good feedback for that.

Eating out at restaurants is one of my weak points and I’m sure you guys struggle with that, too. It’s difficult to go to a restaurant and stay on a plan when you have no idea how many calories are in something. Some of those weight loss apps have restaurant information. Check it out.

The single biggest factor in keeping the weight off is TRACKING. Keeping track of my food has helped me so so much I cannot even stress that enough. It has to be done consistently to work, too. It’s not like tracking food one or two days a week will do the trick. In order for a lifestyle change to be effective and stick, it needs to be a healthy habit!

QUESTION: How do you track everything?

How to Lose Weight – Week Three

Disclaimer: I’m not a dietitian or doctor. I did not go to school to get a degree in Nutrition. Please see your doctor before starting your weight loss journey.

You can read Week One and Week Two to catch up.

Great job! You’re ready to start making the changes that you need to do in order to lose weight. Week Three will be hard but it’s totally worth it.

Each week you should be weighing in, measuring your body and recording it in your journal. Pick a day that will be your Weigh In Day. One suggestion is Monday morning: it will prevent you (hopefully) from overindulging on the weekends. Or Sunday morning if Monday would be to hectic.

Last week you stopped drinking regular soda. Try to limit the diet sodas you drink to one a day.  Be sure to be drinking a LOT of water. It will help cleanse the body and curb hunger pains.

 

Step One – Exercise

You’ve already made the list of activities you enjoy. Now it’s time to do them. If there was one that stood out as the most enjoyable, do that one. For me it was swimming.

I went to the nearby community pool and bought a punch-card. I wasn’t sure how committed I would be yet so I bought the cheapest, smallest amount I could purchase. I think it was a 10-time punch card. I bought the swim gear I knew I needed – goggles, swimming cap and nose-plugs.  I already had a swim suit (not the type I should have had, but I wasn’t investing any money into it yet).

I went to the pool at a time of day I didn’t think anyone would really be there. I got in the pool and did the breast stroke to the other end of the pool. I had to rest on the other side for several minutes. Then I swam back. I did this a few times for 20 minutes or so. I was really slow. My heart was racing. I thought I was going to die. 🙂 But I stuck with it! Each time I did it I could do a few more laps than before. Then it got to the point where I could swim a little faster, than I could swim a little farther and finally I could swim without resting.

Some Exercise Ideas:

 

Start small. Now that you’ve chosen your exercise, schedule it this week for 2 days. This exercise should be vigorous. Warm up before you start and be sure to stretch afterward. Whatever sport/activity you choose it should get your heart rate up.

Snowshoeing

 

If you’ve joined a gym I suggest you ask someone that works there to show you how to use the machines. Starting an exercise program after being sedentary for a long time can be difficult. Don’t push yourself too far (again, make sure your doctor okays activity) but you should break a sweat when you’re doing it.

If you’re the type of person that needs encouragement–or a Drill Sargent–I encourage trying a personal trainer. Just make sure you pick the right one!

You’ll find that the more you exercise the hungrier you’ll be, too. So make sure you pick the right kind of snacks and food to fuel your workouts. A good post-workout snack is low-fat (non-fat) milk and chocolate syrup (not much).

 

Step Two – Ask For Support

The most crucial part of the weight loss equation is a support system. This is probably one of the reasons Weight Watchers is so successful. Having a meeting to go to each week to talk with people who understand what you’re going through is very helpful.


Another reason to have a support system is for even more Accountability. You’re being accountable to yourself by logging your food/calories/exercise/measurements in your journal. Take it a step forward. Some ideas:

  • Post on Facebook/Twitter that you’re trying to lose weight and ask for support from friends and family.
  • Find a buddy that wants to lose weight too. Use each other as motivation and inspiration to keep with it.
  • Tell your friends and family members what you are doing and ask them for help.
  • Join Weight Watchers, or Weight Watchers Online, SparkPeople, MyFitnessPal, etc.


You’ll be surprised at how positive and supportive people are (especially within weight loss communities). Take advantage of that.

 

Step Three – Really Make a Commitment

To yourself. To your health. I can’t lose the weight for you. You can’t just read my blog and the weight will magically melt off your body. Trust me–I wanted the easy way, I wanted to do the minimum work required, I wanted to be able to do NOTHING and lose the weight. Unfortunately there is no magic pill. It takes hard work, determination and the drive to want to change your lifestyle. This is not a quick fix or a short term fix: this is a lifestyle change!


Don’t just put the clothes on–do the work too!

 

Check out this great article with some tips.

QUESTION: How are you doing with the steps? Are they harder than you thought? Easier?