After a difficult 2015, I may have practiced the art of emotional eating a little too intensely. Like, 10-15 extra pounds intensely. As someone who has struggled with weight and food since the dawn of time, this was not too surprising. Surprising, no, but disappointing? Heck yes. Now that I am starting to be semi-present in my life again, I am making some small but powerful changes to get me back to my running weight. Running is by far my favourite form of exercise but the heavier I am, the more difficult it becomes. I keep saying weight/pounds/etc. but disclaimer: this isn’t primarily about loss on the scale. It is more about being able to run long distances without tiring. It is about feeling strong. It is about taking better care of myself. While making these changes will no doubt lead to some weight loss, my main goal is to be healthier and happier with myself.
- Drink more water: We all know drinking water is important but it is easy to get distracted, especially at work, and forget to get your 8 glasses a day. If you need 10 good reasons to regularly drink water, check out this list from Bodybuilding.com. If you are a person who doesn’t enjoy the taste of water (you cray), try adding some frozen fruit like strawberries or blackberries, or freshly sliced lemon or cucumber.
- Track my food: If you have a history of disordered eating, definitely skip this one as it can become an unhealthy obsession for some. But if you are able to track your food honestly, the good and the bad, without it driving you bananas, then I highly recommend this process. My favourite app is MyFitnessPal: it is easy to use, has a huge database of food, and you can encourage friends along the way.
- Find a healthy alternative: Want chips? Have popcorn. Want candy? Have a mango. Find the things that still get you excited about food but are healthier alternatives. If we have fresh fruit in the house, I would pick them over candy, they are so good!
- Track my exercise: Like being conscience about my food, this helps keep me on track and set goals for the week. I want to cover 20 k one way or another? Better get to walking, running or cycling. I also use MyFitnessPal for this, combined with Strava. Strava tracks my distance, pacing, time, calories burnt, and so on.
- Recruit some buddies: Most things are more fun with friends, so why not challenge some friends/co-workers to exercise more often or eat healthier. A dozen of my co-workers are currently tracking our workout minutes per week, and a little competition goes a long way. If you need some extra motivation to make good choices, it helps to have others around you supporting you and challenging you to work harder.
- Walk more: Like drinking more water, this one is so simple it is ridiculous. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, get off the bus one stop early, try to add a few extra steps wherever you can. I am looking forward to getting a Fitbit for my birthday so I can start tracking my steps.
- Being honest with myself: This is one of the most important things. If you can’t be honest with yourself about your eating habits or exercise, it is impossible to make real changes. The days I own my actions leads to real progress. I am much happier when I can be lazy or eat something horrible but still log it and acknowledge it. It isn’t sustainable to work out every day and eat well all the time, so the sooner I come to terms with that, the better!
- Being kind to myself: This is THE most important thing. While it is great to be honest when having a bad day, the key is to not beat yourself up about it. Getting down on myself just leads to worse eating, and less exercise. So you had a stressful day at work and ate ice cream for dinner. It happens. Enjoy that moment, own it, and move on.
Do you have any good tips for taking better care of yourself?