Back in mid-June, I posted about setting goals to help me lose weight. One month in and my report is a mixed bag of successes and failures! Overall I’ve actually put on weight and although it’s only a small amount at 1.75lbs, it’s still disappointing. But this is a journey and tracking my progress regularly will help me learn what does work and what doesn’t work. So reviewing the specific goals
Nutrition – track protein intake – FAILED!
The goal was to hit 126 grams of protein every days. I found it was a lot harder just to track my protein intake let alone hit the target number! Out of the 28 days I tracked, I only hit or exceeded the target on 12 days or 43% of the time. I also found that the habit of tracking was difficult to build and the effort it took drained my motivation and willpower to eat more healthily and exercise and I think that contributed to the weight gain. So I’m scrapping this goal altogether.
Exercise – increase duration – PARTIAL SUCCESS!
The goal was to increase my exercise duration to 5 hours or more every week. I was successful for the first two weeks but then found it difficult to fit in when work and weekends got busy. Last week I strained the ligaments in my right hand whilst at the gym and now I’m not allowed near it for at least another week to ensure it heals properly so I’m going to have to rethink my schedule (and perhaps be less aggressive in my weight training!)
Mindset – research how to deal with stress and tiredness without resorting to unhealthy food choices or portion sizes – SUCCESS!
I’ve been listening to a variety of podcasts recently that have all touched on mindset, willpower and discipline in some form but as I listen whilst driving I can’t write it down to mull over later (and my memory is not the best!). So, today I have taken some time to go back through podcasts, blogs and books on the subject and collate what I know:
- Willpower is limited so setting up your life to minimise temptations reduces the amount of willpower you need e.g. not having biscuits in the house.
- Willpower can get stronger through exercising it in small ways e.g. walking the chocolate aisle in the supermarket and not buying anything.
- Change your environmental cues where possible e.g invite friends over for a home cooked healthy meal rather than going to a restaurant.
- Focus on building small habits that once mastered will require less willpower e.g. go to a yoga class once per week.
- Support and accountability are important e.g. tell family and friends or sign them up to lose weight with you.
- Writing down your goals, specific steps to get there and then monitoring progress can all help to change your thought processes.
- Temptation bundling is where you combine something you want to do with something you should do but might not e.g. listening to podcasts whilst at the gym.
- Make a meaningful commitment e.g. agree to pay money to a family member/friend/charity if you don’t reach your goals (very motivating for someone pursuing FI!).
- Know your personality and build your strategies around it e.g. I’m an obliger (see Gretchen Rueben’s Four Tendencies) so I finding external accountability is key to keeping my commitments.
- Become more mindful of why you are eating and develop personal strategies to avoid eating when you are not hungry e.g. go for a walk instead of eating when you are stressed.
Bearing the above points in mind, my goals for the next four weeks are:
– Make a commitment on StickK.com and attach money as an incentive
– Track treats and limit to 7 per week
– Plan exercise schedule to achieve 5 hours per week
– Find healthy recipes and try one per week
– Practice mindful eating and use alternative strategies to deal with stress and other emotions e.g. take a walk, have a cup of tea, read a book, practice meditation.
The Body Coach – “Is willpower a mental muscle you can train?”
Freakonomics – “When willpower isn’t enough”
Willpower by Roy F Baumeister and John Tierney
Better than Before by Gretchen Reuben
Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat by Michelle May