Health Goals: Consistency is the Challenge
No matter method what you use, consistency is key.
When it comes to developing habits consistent with the goal of weight loss, consistency is the real challenge. Whatever method you choose to approach weight loss or health goals, whether its just generally "eating healthier", or counting calories, or avoiding carbohydrates, or going vegan... whatever approach you take, it doesn't work if you don't do it consistently.
Consistency is hard, but habit is easy.
Its hard to be consistent with something that doesn't just come naturally to you. I mean, it is natural for me to want to shower every day, I've done it daily for so many years that I don't even feel awake until I've done it. So being consistent with that is easy for me. Its as natural to me as looking for something to eat when I'm hungry, or putting on a sweater if I'm cold. There is no question that if it is at all possible I'm going to do it. I mean, I might skip it if the pump to our well breaks down or something, but I never just skip it because I forgot or because I didn't feel like it.
But when it comes to things that aren't just second nature habits... remembering to do them is hard.
Even when I remember, disciplining myself to do do them when I don't feel like it is hard.
Taking the necessary steps such as measuring food, cooking healthy meals instead of stopping for pizza, recording things on sparkpeople, can be hard at times, but most of the time the actual steps are not the problem, its just remembering and being determined to do them.
Developing consistency, making it a habit
What I need to do is to develop these things as a habit that I just do... like taking a shower. Just like with showering, there may be times when circumstances force me to not act on my regular habit, but whenever it is humanly possible, these things should just be automatic. I need to do them long enough to make them habit.
To that end, I am keeping a habit tracker. I started one last month, but I think I was trying to develop too many habits at once and got kind of discouraged. So I've paired down my habit tracker considerably for this month.
Some things like Bible reading and prayer, will always be on my habit tracker. Other things may be dropped once they are established to the point of being second nature.
For the month of August, my habit tracker looks like this:
As you can see, the main habits I'm focusing on in regards to physical health is to walk every day, track my calories each day, and stay in my calorie range at least most of the days. I am putting priority on the walking and the tracking calories for now, because I want to hold myself accountable to track even if I am going over. Even if I am guessing at calories at a restaurant or something, I want to enter something into sparkpeople that shows what and about how much I ate. Lets say I am eating sweet and sour pork at a Chinese restaurant. I may not know exactly how many calories, but I can find an entry online for sweet and sour pork, and enter those calories... knowing that I'm going to be closer that way than if I just didn't track at all, which usually results in me eating more, and unhealthier choices for the rest of the day.
I think I'll also add, "weigh in on Mondays" to my habit tracker.
Not all my desired habits relate to physical health
Other things on my habit tracker are daily habits I need to develop for other purposes. Such as Bible reading and prayer, which relates to my spiritual and mental health. Cleaning and organizing for one hour a day at least most days is just a personal goal I want to work on to help bring order to my life. Some are business goals like tending my etsy shop, which means updating listings that need better tags, adding new listings when appropriate, renewing listings when appropriate, deactivating listings that sell at the art co-op, or that are seasonal and their season is past for the year. Other business related goals are things like updating my art blog at least twice a week, to keep the site active and give people something to see when they land on my page. I also have a goal to update this blog weekly, probably most often will be on Mondays.
Now on the habit tracker, for daily goals I color in a square when I finish a goal, for a goal that happens only once or twice a week, I will mark off 7 day increments (like I did above for the blogs), then on the days I do those things, I will color in that square. At the end of the seven days I will draw an "x" through the days that were not "required" on my goal. If I didn't do the required days however, I don't get to "x out" any days on those seven, because the goal wasn't met. A row of colored in or x'd squares shows a goal met, while blank squares at the end show a habit that needs a lot more attention to develop.
My current weight
In keeping with my goal of weighing in and blogging on here once a week, I wrote this bog, and I also weighed in this morning at 278.4 lbs, hopefully by next Monday that number will a bit lower.
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