After the Indulgence Meal: Re-embracing the Strategic Mindset

Oh. My. Gosh! The Super bowl food was soooooo good! Wasn’t it!? We made grilled steak, chicken, bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers, tater tots, keto tortilla chips, guacamole, and a veggie tray. For dessert, we made air fryer breaded Oreos, and air fryer Nutella filled donut bites, and maple and glazed donuts. With the desserts, we should have stopped at the Oreos, because the rest of the donut variations were mediocre next to those!

Leading up to the feast, I had done about a 21 hour intermittent fast, and then broke my fast with this delicious meal. The most liberating part of this day was that I didn’t have to log my food for the whole day (One of my indulgence meal rules is “no food journaling” for the indulgence meal)! Ahhhhh… sigh of relief! Taking a break from the rigidity of the process feels so good!

Of coarse, I did end up eating too much! My tummy hurt, and my head was pounding from all of the sugar. I made a mental note, in the aftermath, to remember the physical discomfort of eating way too much. Maybe next indulgence meal I can pull that stored memory and use it to apply a little bit more restraint in my food consumption.

Steak, veggie tray, tots, poppers

But… none of that is what I actually want to emphasize in this post.

oreo
Air Fryer Breaded Oreo

Where I find I struggle the most is the next meal or the next day following the indulgence meal. It can feel like quite the chore to re-embrace the strategic mindset after allowing yourself free rein on the indulgence type foods. I know I’m feeling it today. We still have some leftover Nutella donut bites, and it’s taken a number of pep talks to not take a snitch! In addition to that, it’s required a little bit of work to remind myself to log my food intake in my food journal.

The beauty of what I am about the share with you is that it can apply to you whether you had an unplanned binge, you’re coming back from vacation and need help letting go of vacation eating mindset, or you need help “flipping the switch” after your indulgence meal. So here we go.

Weight loss efforts take some serious concentration, right? It’s nice to have an end goal, but it is in the baby steps we take which help us to reach the final outcome that we want. It’s also while we are in the midst of our journey that we come across a million little distractions that can cause us to break our concentration (i.e. indulgence meal, birthday parties, feeding the family foods different than you feed yourself, going on vacation, unplanned treats, etc.). That’s just life. The key to success is in our efforts to constantly (and quickly) refocus our concentration back to the process.

Let’s talk Strategy

Here are three strategies which can help you to improve your concentration on your weight loss efforts, and quickly re-embrace the strategic mindset:

Self Talk

I want you to talk to yourself! No wait, hear me out! Self-talk is essential to your success! When we are feeding our mind with positive thoughts, we can increase the confidence we have in ourselves. You might give yourself some motivational self-talk which will focus on increasing your energy, effort, and positive attitude. Try repeating the following out loud: “You’ve got this”, “Come on, push yourself a little harder”, “I can make it to my next meal…”.

Or you might give yourself some instructional self-talk which focuses on technical or task-related aspects of performance to improve execution. “It’s not that much extra work to log my food intake, I can do that.” “I can say no to this food right now because it’s not in my plan. I can have it at my next designated indulgence meal.” “I can choose to eat veggies with each meal, even breakfast.”

By feeding ourselves positive thoughts, we are taking a necessary step which will affect performance. Thoughts are so powerful. They can either make or break the trajectory of our course. Shakespeare said, “There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

You guys, I do this all the time! I know I’ve mentioned a handful of times in these posts that I’ve had to give myself a pep-talk. I firmly believe that positive self-talk can drive us to accomplish great things. We make it through so many obstacles as we mimic The Little Engine that Could, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!”

Routines

Routines are an essential aspect of maintaining concentration on the tasks which will lead to our weight loss. A Routine will also help you transfer your focus away from the non-strategic thoughts and actions, and towards the thoughts and actions which will help us see success. Having a routine in place enhances the probability that you will avoid being distracted. Routines help us create that habits, or allows our behavior to stay automatic, which will ensure our success in weight loss. Routines also give us a sense of control. Regardless of the circumstances we face, the pressures we feel, the distractions we come across, we can still take control of our weight loss by going through the routine.

I can personally vouch for the strategy of making routines. Since I’m, now, almost six weeks into my journey, habits have been created. This process feels WAY more easy now than it did in the first few weeks. It’s far easier to say no to the foods that I used to eat mindlessly. Routines have given me a liberation from my destructive food addictions. I know that I talk about feeling liberated at my indulgence meal. But the freedom that I feel because of the routines I’ve set in place far outweigh the moment of liberation that comes with the indulgence meal. I do feel in control now. I’m no longer giving myself a chastisement in the mirror at the end of the day because my actions didn’t line up with my values.

Self Monitoring

Self-Monitoring is an important tool which requires one to be completely honest with themselves. It places a mirror in front of us and helps us observe our behaviors. This “mirror” shows us how we are doing compared to the goals we’ve set. We are then encouraged to work harder to reach these goals. We can apply the tool of self-monitoring by journaling when a behavior occurs, the conditions we are in when the behavior is displayed (How we felt? What was happening? What triggered our response?).

A twist on this is Positive Self-Monitoring. This happens when we observe only the positive aspects of our performance at the time. “Okay, I stayed within my calorie goal for this meal”. “I got three workouts in this week”. Often times it might look like, “I only had one bite of the dessert when I wanted to eat the whole thing.”

We all need a pat on the back, and positive self-monitoring provides that. We are able to be kinder to ourselves and, in turn, our self confidence grows. I’m all about each of us implementing some major self-love as we are working to be the best version of ourselves. For more on mindset and self care, here is a great site with additional info.


So there you have it. Three new tools to add to your belt that you can use when you are ready to flip the switch back into a strategic way of eating. As you move out of an indulgence mindset and into a strategic one, these tools can get us there. So go ahead, give one or all of these a try!

That’s it for today. Talk to you soon!


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weigh in, woman girl fitness

Week 5 Weigh In: Perfection is NOT Required For Success!

This was one of those weeks where I tricked myself into thinking that absolutely no progress has been made. I knew that I had veered from my plan, just enough that it could have potentially effected my weekly results. My food intake has been less than perfect, and my exercise has seemed to be slightly lesser quality.

With my workouts, I’ve felt a bit less energy than normal, requiring myself continued self-pep talks to keep it up. But this can happen when we are in a caloric deficit state. Eating less means that we might be utilizing all of our food energy in other body processes. That’s ok, because the body is so smart, and adapts to the environment that we place it in. As I continue to strive to take in the most nutrient dense foods, my energy levels should balance out, and I’ll find myself dragging a little bit less.

Let’s get to this week’s results.

End of Week 5: Before and After Pictures

Week 5 Food Journal:

Here’s the log for today’s food intake. Today is one of the only few days, this week that I actually followed my meal plan. The rest of the week’s food journal entries will be at the bottom. As always, I don’t always eat the food in the order that I logged them in. (Who has time for such nit-pickiness? Not me!)

This week’s food intake was a bit all over the place. I had a couple days where my calories ended around my Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), or maintenance range. There were a couple days where I did an intermittent fast as well. I feel like I had a whole bunch of mini unplanned indulgences between the bites of the Bloomin’ onion and bread from Outback Steakhouse, crackers, and homemade Mac and cheese. Mostly, I just didn’t really follow my meal plan, even with all of the food prep that I did. So the rest of the time, I was doing a bit more “winging it” by eating strategic foods, but not in the order that was planned. I’ve also caught myself drinking Diet Mtn. Dew almost daily for the last handful of days.

What the heck!?!? Haven’t I learned enough by now to know that my body doesn’t respond well to either diet soda or caffeine? When will I even learn? Today, I’m fighting the headaches, for sure!

I’m trying to decide if there was a trigger to my more rebellious eating, or a psychological reason for indulging a little bit extra. I can’t decipher anything huge. But I have recognized moments of missing my old life where I didn’t think about what I was eating (I know, totally destructive line of thought). I’ve allowed that thinking to escalate, and have recognized times when I was feeling like I was in food prison. Even with really good, strategic, food to eat all prepped and ready in the fridge. I’ve also recognized myself wanting to eat when I am feeling bored or overwhelmed.

I need to revisit my why’s for taking on this journey, and allow myself to love the process of following the rules which I know will lead me to my end goal. I need to stop allowing myself tiny tastes of the unplanned foods and need to recommit to following the meal plan, and not veering off course. Since nutrition is the largest piece of the weight loss puzzle, I need to give the rules the respect that they deserve. Time to let go of my- in the moment- wants!

But even with all of the areas I feel like I could have done better this week, progress still happened!

Week 5 bioelectrical impedance assessment results

Do you remember last week when I found myself a little bit shocked by the drastic muscle gain and fat loss? Do you remember how I questioned if my results fell within the 4% margin of error that can take place when using a bioelectrical impedance assessment machine? After this morning’s weigh in, I’m pretty convinced that was the case. Today’s progress falls much more in line with progress from Week 3 rather than Week 4. I’ll show you a comparison of both weeks in the results below. I mean, my eating and exercise were off, but really not by much.

My total body weight: 135.8 lbs (Down .7 lbs from the last two weeks, remember my weight was the same the last two weeks. Total of 7.1 lb. lost since start date).

Breaking my total body weight down into different categories of body composition

  • Total Body water: 78.7 lb. (Decrease of 3.1 pounds since last week, but increase of 1.6 lbs if we are comparing this week to week three. Total of 0.4 lb. increase since start date).
  • Dry lean mass: 29.1 lb. (Decrease of 0.9 lbs. since last week, but increase of .3 lb. if we are comparing this week to week three. Dry lean mass is the exact same this week as it was in my first weigh in. Remember that this includes muscle, organs, and bone minus any fluid)
  • Body fat mass: 28 lb. (This was a 3.3 lb. increase from last week, and 2.6 lb. decrease comparing this week to week three. Total of 7.5 lb. of fat lost since start date!)
  • Skeletal muscle mass: 60.4 lb. (Decrease of 2.2 lb. from last week, and increase of 1.1 lb. muscle compared to week three. Total of 0.4 lb. increase in muscle since start date)
  • BMI: 23.3 (Decrease of 0.1 in the last two weeks. Total BMI decrease of 1.2 since start date)
  • Body fat percentage: 20.5% (This increased by 2.4% from last week, and decreased by 2% compared to week three. Total of 4.3% decrease in body fat percentage since start date.)
  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): 1427 calories (This decreased by 38 calories.)
  • Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE): 2214 calories (Because my BMR decreased, this number decreased by 53 calories from last week)
  • Calorie target range for weight loss: 1560 calories (I’m keeping this target range the same)

Week 5 measuring tape results:

  • Right calf (measured at widest part): 14 3/8 inches (Same as last week, and down 3/8 inch from first measurement)
  • Right thigh (measured at widest part): 22 3/8 inches (Down 1/8 inch from last week, and down 5/8 inch from first measurement)
  • Hips (measured at widest part): 38 1/2 inches (Down 1/4 inch from last week, Down 4 1/2 inches from first measurement)
  • Butt (measured at widest part): 37 5/8 inches (Down 1/8 inch from last week. Down 1 3/4 inch from first measurement.)
  • Right below my muffin top: 34 3/4 inches (Down 1/4 inch from last week, and down 1 1/8 inch from first measurement)
  • Waistline (measured across belly button): 33 5/8 inches (Down 3/8 inch from last week, and down 1 5/8 inch from first measurement)
  • Chest (measured at widest part): 36 3/4 inches (Down 1/4 inch from last week. Down 1 inch from first measurement.)
  • Shoulders (measured at widest part): 40 inches (Down 1/8 inch from last week. Down 1/2 inch from first measurement)
  • Biceps: (measured at widest part): 11 1/4 inches (Same as last week, and 1/4 inch from first measurement).

This is what my workouts looked like:

Summary

I’m feeling much better about this week’s results after comparing all the numbers to both last week and the week before. If we compare to last week, it looks like I did a terrible job with my efforts. But if we compare to the week before, it looks like my progress is right on track with my efforts. I think the moral of the story is that perfection isn’t required in order to succeed at weight loss. We succeed through consistent effort. Even our tiny tastes of food, here and there, are okay when the rest of our actions are about 90% consistent with the rules around weight loss.

Thanks for sticking with me through this journey. Can’t wait to see what next week brings! Talk to you soon!


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Here are the food logs from the rest of my week:

Friday, January 29

Saturday, January 30

Sunday, January 31

Monday, February 1

Tuesday, February 2

Wednesday, February 3

Why is losing weight so hard?! Or is it…?

I get it. Losing weight can seem like you’re climbing a 14,000 foot high mountain. As you stand at the base of the towering rock, you wonder how in the world will you ever survive making it to the top. Now, I will be the first to tell you that your own weight loss journey will most likely not be easy, but it will be extremely rewarding. New habits will be created while old habits are purged. You will have to face sacrificing the “old” way you did things in favor of creating a “new” you. Through all of this, thinking about the length of time you’re required to commit to the process can seem daunting, overwhelming and even so heavy, you simply won’t start! And believe me, there have been many times where I have done just that! I gave up. I gave in. I felt so hopeless it was depressing. But, as you get your mindset adjusted, just like climbing that 14,000 foot mountain (we call them 14’ers here in Colorado), it begins with your first step.

Here are a few of the weight loss processes that I’ve felt discomfort from in the last twelve days of this project:

  • Creating the habit of a daily food journal
  • Saying “No!” to the chocolate chips that are in the cupboard, or the stock pile of soda in the fridge, or sugar cereal in the pantry.
  • The slow pace
    • Only being twelve days into this project (That’s it!?!? I swear it seems like it’s been months already).
    • Not seeing a distinct visible change…yet (It can often take a week or two for you to notice your own change, and up to a month before other people start to see it as well).
    • Acknowledging that I still have months of work ahead of me
  • Knowing that I still need to go a little longer before I allow myself my first indulgence meal.
    • Thinking ahead to my indulgence meal, fearing that I’ll allow it to be a binge session rather than a reasonable reset meal.
  • Meal planning
  • Meal prepping (It makes me grumpy how long it takes!)
  • Eating the same thing multiple days in a row
  • The changes to my body as it is adapting, such as detox headaches, lack of energy, acne break outs on my face, needing to pee ALL. THE. TIME. (TMI?)

I could sit here and give an explanation for why we have to go through each of these things (and more), but that’s not what this post is all about. This post is intended to show you that you CAN push through the discomforts of the weight loss process.

Let’s talk about mindset. What does that even mean? Trusty old Miriam-Webster defines mindset as a mental attitude or inclination or a fixed state of mind. This being the case, we need to first dig deep and hear what our thoughts have previously been telling us about how we feel about the weight loss process. If those thoughts are what have kept you away from embracing the work to lose weight, then acknowledge that. This might require you to call yourself out on the fact that you had a previously fixed state of mind which was against doing the work required. Have you heard of the six stages of behavior change? These stages are:

  • The first stage of change is known as the Pre-contemplation stage. In this stage, you might not even realize, or you straight out deny that there is anything that needs changed about your current behavior. This is where you might be unaware (blissfully or otherwise), that you have habits or behaviors that aren’t doing you any favors.
  • The second stage of change is the Contemplation stage. In this stage, you have become aware that there are benefits to making a change. But you are also aware that these changes will come at some sort of a cost. You might be hindered by your awareness of the sacrifices you’ll have to make in order to make the change. You might “hang out” in the contemplation stage for quite a while as you work to wrap your head around the work required towards self-improvement. You’ll weigh out the pros and cons, and at the end of this stage, you’ll finally make the commitment towards the change, which you believe will help you improve.
  • The third stage of change is known as the Preparation stage. Here, you begin the process for change. Since our focus is weight loss, you might take steps like joining a gym, hiring an online personal trainer, throwing out the non-strategic foods from your pantry, adding a few extra veggies to your shopping list, write goals or motivational quotes on your mirror in dry-erase marker, and join support groups, etc. You might work to learn new ways to alter your behavior in this stage (Perhaps since you’re hanging out with me here in “self-improvement blog land”, you’re finding this is the exact stage you’re in?).
  • The fourth stage of change is the Action stage. This is the point that you’re all in with your efforts. You understand the processes required of you, and you are working hard to make consistent efforts (Notice that I don’t say that you’re working for perfection, just consistency). It’s important to point out that many people find themselves retreating to their old ways after only a few weeks in the action stage. (This is why all of the regular gym goers love the last week of January. At this point of the year, all of the “New Years Resolutioners” have cleared out by then, and it’s less crowded on the gym floor). This can be avoided by making sure that you mentally work through each of the previous steps before “going all in” on a new goal. Make sure that you are also rewarding yourself for the efforts you are taking. I had a grand idea recently, that for every day I comply with my nutrition and exercise strategy, I would put $2 into a jar. Then either monthly, or when my goal is met, I can go and buy myself something fun. I have yet to act on this, though. I guess it’s still sitting in the contemplation stage until I’ve processed it enough to move the idea up to the preparation stage.
  • The fifth stage of change is the Maintenance phase. Here, you are in the habit of continually avoiding former behaviors and consistently acting on new behaviors. You have systems in place which help you to avoid the temptations of breaking your goals. You are replacing old habits with more productive and positive ones. Once again, rewarding yourself is a useful tool to help you continue to maintain your efforts. If (or dare I say when) you have set backs, you’re kind to yourself. You quickly get up, brush yourself off, and are back to work. You understand that your efforts are not sabotaged by one slip up, allowing yourself to continue recognizing the positive behaviors that you’ve been exhibiting. This stage is really empowering as you’re able to recognize that you have changed yourself from your old ways, and you are able to continue making progress in your efforts.
  • The sixth stage of change is Relapse. That’s not what you want to hear when you feel like you’ve made it to the top with maintenance, is it? Since you’re human, this is part of the process. In any behavior that we are working to change, it can be a common eventuality that one experiences a relapse. When this happens, you might find yourself frustrated, disappointed, wanting to quit altogether. But don’t! You can’t allow these hiccups to undermine your self-confidence. If a relapse happens, call a time out, and dig deep to understand why it happened. What was the trigger? How did you entertain the trigger to hang around with you? How can you avoid such trigger as you continue on your journey? The best thing you can do for yourself is to keep going in your efforts in the preparation, action and maintenance stages of change.

Where do you find yourself on this list? What do you need to do to move yourself up to the next stage of change? What are you going to commit to in moving yourself forward with your weight loss efforts?

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