Well, friends, it’s January. The month of healthy eating and working out is upon us. Let’s just brace ourselves.
I am not even going to pretend like we should all just “eat mindfully” all year round and then no one would gain any holiday weight or have to make Desperate New Year’s Weight Loss Attempts. That kind of thinking is obviously bullshit. From Halloween to New Year’s Eve, we are faced with nothing but candy, pies, cookies, cakes, cocktails, wine, heavy holiday meals, and other festive fare. And we ought to enjoy it just as dog intended, right? Right. I am so glad you agree.
Somehow, this holiday season, I managed to end up about twelve pounds heavier than I was some time in late October. How the hell is that even possible, when — even if I am slacking off on other workouts — I still always run at least 15-20 miles a week? I don’t know. But I did it. Where is my medal?
If looking at myself in the family Christmas photos wasn’t enough of a red flag, the number on the scale when I weighed myself on December 31st sealed the deal. I will have to take this January diet business somewhat seriously if I want to avoid buying a whole new wardrobe of fat pants behind which to hide my festive holiday rolls. So here’s what I’m doing:
- I am tracking my food with the LoseIt app — the same one I used to originally lose ~120 pounds (of which I kept off ~110 long term, and now am at just ~100 I have kept off). I love this app and have used it off and on for years. Needless to say, I was not using it for the holidays; rather, I was stuffing my face with any- and everything I wanted. It was fun. But that’s done.
- I am tracking activity with my FitBit and using their guidelines on calories — the FitBit app syncs with LoseIt, so it knows what I’ve eaten and lets me know if I’m in the right calorie ballpark. The reason I don’t just use FitBit’s own food tracker is just that I have years of recipes and custom foods already saved in LoseIt, and I just like their interface and tools better. So I combine the two.
- I’m running 3-4 times a week, 15-20 miles total. I try to vary the workouts: some hill repeats, some speed intervals, some longer runs, some easy runs, etc.
- I’m also doing the Betty Rocker 30-Day Challenge, which, this year, consists of a different 15-minute circuit-style workout every day. I don’t honestly think this is going to do much, as the calorie burn for a 15-minute workout, no matter how intense, is just not going to be that great. I’m also modifying anything that calls for participation from my right shoulder, because that shit is not feeling great right now.
- I’d like to add: a bike workout on the trainer and/or a cycling class when the school rec center classes start again; maybe 15 minutes of PT exercises a day, to stack on top of the Betty Rocker workout and keep my hip healthy; and some brisk walks on my non-running days, to keep my step count high.
For me, especially when I’m already at a healthy weight/normal BMI, which I am now even in spite of the holiday gain, the only way I can lose weight is by watching my diet. Exercise alone won’t do it. Hell, exercise alone won’t even stop me from gaining, if November and December are any indication. So I’ve got to clean up my diet.
- I’m focusing on: fresh fruits and vegetables, especially lots of greens; unprocessed proteins such as beans, nuts, tofu/tempeh, some fish (i.e. no “fake meats”).
- I’m limiting: grains, eating only whole grains, and only 0-1 serving per day of oats, quinoa, brown rice, millet, etc.
- I’m avoiding: alcohol, added sugars, “junk” foods (anything deep fried or obviously unhealthy), overly processed grains or proteins (such as bread, fake meats, etc.)
Food is going to be pretty boring, with a lot of salads, smoothies, kale, baked tofu, etc., but after eating nothing but casseroles and desserts the entire Christmas trip, I am relishing having some really fresh food around. It feels good.
So here we are. It’s January 3rd and I ve been at this for two and a half days so far. I’ve lost, officially, 0.2 pounds as of this morning. Can you feel the excitement? No?
Well, I’m going to weigh in every weekend and see how this goes. I’m sure I can lose at least five pounds this month, and I’d like to lose 15 over all. Of course, any long term weight loss/diet/exercise plans are subject to change if our TTC efforts actually produce results, but until then, I’ll keep on keeping on.
I know some of y’all are doing January diets/fitness challenges or what have you — best of luck to you! And feel free to friend me on FitBit if you want to motivate each other there.