Dieting is About Self Control. Have You Tried Moderation?

It’s Wednesday, I haven’t worked out all week, I’m exhausted. I’ve been working so much, I’ve chosen sleep over exercise, which I don’t regret. It’s times like these, stress used to get to me; I’d end up eating a quart of ice cream in one sitting.

Unfortunately, as we age, our metabolisms slow down – I can attest that mine has definitely slowed way down, almost to a halt LOL. Hence, I cannot sit and eat gluttonous amounts of ice cream when I feel like it. Although it’s sad to say those days have passed, in all honesty, I seldom miss them.

I used to be overweight, not dire, but definitely not fit. A handful of years ago I made a lifestyle change that proved to be immensely simple, with definite results. I’m not talking “I lost a 100 lbs in one year” type thing… No, this was much more gradual, which, I believe, has made it easier. With gradual weight loss comes another proven fact: losing weight slower almost guarantees you’ll be able to keep it off, instead of gaining it all back sometime in the near future.

So, what’s the secret? Sticking to it.

A lot of people begin their weight loss journeys but fail for all the same reason: lack of self discipline. My sister used to tell me “everything in moderation,” which is sort of where my lifestyle change began. So, what’s the change? I know y’all eager to find out.

First thing’s first, I needed to stop eating my emotions lmfao. Then…

80% diet, 20% exercise. You’ve heard it before, right? I began by cutting out chips, fries, and bread (wahhhh! Adios, bagels – cue *crying face emoji*). I made an active effort to buy more fruit at the grocery store. I began this when I was a pescatarian, so I wasn’t eating land animals either. For not eating meat, you’d think I was good about eating veg. Wrong. I did not eat as many salads as you think I would; so, I began fitting salads into my daily meals.

The end result is quite simple: eat more produce and less processed foods / carbohydrates. Fiber is key. What shocked me was that I would occasionally reject the diet thing and eat a cookie, or a scoop of ice cream, or drunkenly go to McDonalds after a night out with my friends. That one cookie, or that one large fry, didn’t harm the weight loss agenda. Because those instances occurred in moderation, I continue to lose inches even with the occasional binge.

But, that’s when I realized that my diet doesn’t depend on moderation, my whole life does (especially my drinking habits haha). Dieting isn’t about limiting yourself to what you can and can’t eat. Dieting is about self control itself. I learned so much about health and fitness on this journey, but I’ve also learned a lot about life.

I learned stuff like sometimes you can put a shitload of effort in, but time is still needed to see results. I learned that you can fall off track but what matters is pulling yourself back in line. I learned that moderation doesn’t just keep us healthy, it keeps us alive.

Moderation, by Merriam Webster definition means avoiding extremes of behavior or expression: observing reasonable limits. Observing reasonable limits.

Reasonable limits.

To me, that’s exactly what moderation is – understanding that we are human. Humans have limits and we must respect those limits. There is inevitable danger in extremes.

It’s been about 3 years since I implemented this whole “lifestyle change.” Those 3 years taught me that my stomach, my energy, my time, my metabolism all have limits. As I’ve lost inches (and now at a figure I can maintain) I’m comfortable with eating bagels again (thank god!) and other foods I had cut out originally.

But, I only indulge in moderation.

My final words of wisdom on the weight loss thing: you can’t expect one change to produce mass outcomes. Big change is followed by many little changes, a lot of small gears, turning to move the machine. With weight loss, diet is a pretty large change in itself; yet, exercise, rest, and mental stimulation all contribute to the greater goal. I wrote a previous post about how exercise literally does wonders to the human brain and why we need it for our sanity – you can read it here.

(As a disclaimer: everyone has different body shapes and metabolic types; thus, not every diet works for everyone). What works for you?

Quarter Life Reflection

It’s August 17, 2018 and I’m driving to the airport, Salt Lake City bound. I’m off on another trip to celebrate my birthday, reflecting on my 24th year of life, looking forward to turning 25. When I was younger, I used to think about what my life would be like when I was “all grown up.” The strange thing is, I would fantasize life at 35 to 50, sometime when I was old, wise, established. It’s funny how as you age your perception of old changes, when 35 doesn’t seem so old anymore, when you’re 10 years away from being established, wise, old.

I’m alarmed I’m turning 25 because I never imagined I would ever hit my “mid-20s.” Life moves so quickly that I couldn’t picture my life at 25 because I was so engrossed in being 24, 23, 22, or so on. As your teen years pass, quick as they may, you stumble into this really influential period of life. It’s this era of your twenties, when even a single year exposes you to quantum experiences, and decisions you make now have the ability to define your immediate future, or the rest of your life. You’re changed in leaps and bounds, exponentially…until you hit your mid-30s or 40s; then, life seems to settle down.

I felt like my 20s proposed a choice: I conform and live as I was raised or how I think society would accept me…or I choose who I will be for the rest of this life, free of predisposition and fear of judgement.

This is the threshold between who you used to be and who you choose to become.

That’s a pretty big decision to make. It took half of my 20s to figure this out. What’s even more alarming is: the older I get, the more unpredictable life seems to be. I thought I’d age, and things would become clearer, when, in fact, I feel as if navigating life has become increasingly more difficult.

This doesn’t necessarily mean I’m afraid to age. Actually, I’m rather fond of growing years older, because with each passing year, I am a better version of me than my previous self. What I’ve been through changed me in ways I wouldn’t even want to predict, not knowing is half the fun of living. This uncertainty is exciting, refreshing, enlightening. What I am most certain of is life’s infinite uncertainty.

the only constant is change

The older I get, the more I understand the only constant is change. We’re in a constant state of change. We’re constantly trying, failing, learning, experiencing, transforming. I don’t know who said it but I wish I could give credit to whomever once quoted “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” If one thing dawned on me during this quarter life reflection, it would be that.

I am celebrating life at a quarter century. I’m looking forward to my half century reflection. I hope we all make it to 100!

182 Days

182 days through the year; 182 days remaining. July 1st is the half way mark through the 365 days we spin on this planet. (it’s true, I’m posting this with 158 days remaining because I was flying to Alaska on July 1! However, I was able to jot thoughts down on the 5 hour flight, see below).

It’s 12:34 am and I’m currently 30,000 feet somewhere above the Pacific Ocean, on a Boeing 747 a half hour from touching down on one of the many runways in Anchorage, Alaska. It’s 34 minutes past the start of July 1, precisely midway through the year. I usually don’t spend time reflecting on if I’m still dedicated to the New Years resolutions I’ve dictated for myself…because I hardly set resolutions to begin with…nonetheless record them in any formal manner…or remotely follow them thereafter…

With the turn of 2018, I’d been compelled to make lasting changes in my life, and although I haven’t kept religiously to my resolutions this year, at least I began by writing them down. The notebook I brought on this trip happens to contain the list of resolutions I created (I’d almost forgotten about tbh). When is a better time to reflect on your daily routine or occasional habits than in the middle of the night, no where in particular, gliding above the atmosphere, without direction or sufficient leg room? Exactly.

I had recently learned there is a difference between goals and objectives. Most people use them interchangeably. Goals are what you want to become. Objectives are a way to measure those goals. At the start of 2018, I created a list of goals and objectives:

    • Goal: yoga everyday
    • Objective: 20-30 minutes of 3-5 poses
    • Goal: daily exercise
    • Objective: gym 5 days a week for 30-90 minutes, rest 2 days a week
    • Goal: read everyday
    • Objective: read 1 book a month
    • Goal: ride on Saturdays
    • Objective: bike or skate for 30-90 minutes
    • Goal: Success Journal everyday
    • Objective: write 1-2 successes in your Success Journal
    • Goal: kick it on Sundays
    • Objective: spend time with friends on Sundays and relax 2-4 hours

182 days of my goals and objectives: I made it to 2 60-minute yoga classes, hit the gym almost consistently 5 days a week, I injured myself pretty badly from a 10-mile-an-hour crash off my longboard last Saturday, haven’t written in my Success Journal at all.

This year, I’ve come to understand that I don’t always stick to goals, but that doesn’t mean I’ve wasted my time. In fact, 2018 took me by surprise. I accomplished things I’d never imagined. So, now, I reflect on the 182nd day of the year to see how far I’ve come.

      • Roadtripped to Santa Barbara to catch up with an old friend I haven’t seen in a couple years
      • Surprised my sister for Tundra’s birthday party (her cat turned 2 years old in March)
      • Ran a Night Nation Run (5K fun-run to end cancer)
      • Celebrated a close friend’s gender reveal and baby shower

The short-end of 182 days is life offering us opportunities and we take them, whether it be roadtripping to a music festival or running for charity. Spontaneous activities appear same-day, like the classical music performance I attended on a Saturday afternoon, or vacations require months of planning, like the Alaska trip I’m currently on. There are so many aspects of life,  goals and objectives, we never think to write down, but still accomplish everyday. What we don’t write down may even be the most significant things of all…

The long-end of reflecting on 182 days is not only an analysis on my goals and objectives, but also a look into the creation of new ones. I didn’t pick up a book until May of this year – it took me damn-near half the year to begin. Books come in various lengths; if I want to read everyday, I should have created an objective such as “read 60-90 minutes a day,” rather than “read 1 book a month,” because I’ve finished 5 books in 2 months. With the onset of reading, I might have been inspired to investigate more hobbies. In turn, sometime in June, I decided to launch a blog, with the objective to post every week, which was completely unplanned (and pretty much an utterly rash decision all around, if you ask me).

Overall, it’s important to reflect on how far you’ve come. Most times, you forget you had goals and objectives to begin with. Sometimes goals and objectives simply aren’t met, other times they’re replaced by alternate activities. At times, goals and objectives change and even lead to new ones. You are half way through 2k18. What can you accomplish in the next 182 days?

The Quest Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Why live? Life was its own answer. Life was the propagation of more life and the living of a good a life as possible –Ray Bradbury  (The Martian Chronicles, 1950)

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I wanted to be an actress. I took acting lessons, went to auditions, and I think I landed a commercial once (but my parents didn’t want to fly me down to LA, rather I stay in elementary school, from what my little brain remembers haha). I wanted to be a vet; started volunteering at the Humane Society when I was 13 and completed 4 years of Future Farmers of America (FFA) in high school. I wanted to be an astronomer, trophy wife, translator, farmer, social worker, author, blogger.

You know when you have goals and those goals change? When what you wanted  when you were younger is no longer what you want now. You know those dreams you’ve always had, never really gave up on, but also never acted on?

This is one of those dreams. (excepting I’m finally acting on it)

Being a blogger is one of those things I’d always thought I’d do. But, I never started a blog, I guess I didn’t know what to blog about, thought no one would read it, or even wondered if I was cut out to manage one. My internal monologue talked me out of beginning one every time.

I’m far past the edges of early adulthood, gazing (or peeking behind my fingers in utter terror) at my future. I’m 24 examining my life and satisfaction of it on a scale of bored to extremely happy, finding my score to be somewhat neutral. Then, I got to thinking…What could increase my happiness on the satisfactory scale?

There are aspects of ourselves we know, yet somehow forget over time.  This is one of those things I had totally forgotten about, as I filled my life with a plethora of sports, organizations, and hobbies throughout adolescence, well into college. I had been totally distracted by life that starting a blog was a far-fetched idea, not nearly a priority.

Recently, I’d been speaking with friends about my goals and passions, in hopes of discovering how to bring a little more life to my life.  I find reading & writing entertaining; blogging came up and so did that internal monologue. I’d always told myself writing a blog wasn’t even a possibility. This time, my friends talked me out of listening  to myself. They instilled faith in me that I could start one (John Lennon & Paul McCartney had it right: I get by with a little help from my friends). Thank you, beautiful souls and supportive loved ones.

On this journey to live a happier and more meaningful life, I’ve decided to give this a shot because 1) even if no one reads it, I’ll still be entertaining myself. LOL. 2) I have nothing to lose.

Step #1: Start a blog.

Check.

What’s your step #1?