One at a Time

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[photo by Jenna Cole]

Last week, I shared some surprising before & after photos.  [and by after, I mean during] I had stumbled upon the before photo in that post when scrolling through my Facebook profile photos of yesteryear, and I was taken a back.  As my boss said upon seeing the photo, “That doesn’t even look like you!”  Seeing the weight loss progress I have made in the past two years, I felt inspired; motivated to keep working hard to shed the pounds and find my healthy, happy weight.

This weekend a few of my best friends and I set up a little challenge for ourselves.  Instead of calorie counting, or seeing who could lose the most weight in a 6 week period we are focused on certain health goals.  We have a spreadsheet where we track our points, which are rewarded for things such as getting 7-9 hours of sleep and consuming 5 or more servings of freggies.   We also are motivated to get moving by receiving one point for each 15 minutes of exercise we complete.  I was so excited while building the spreadsheet, and couldn’t wait to start the friendly competition where we encouraged each other to reach our goals. The challenge officially started today.

Although motivation coming from the photos and the excitement of the challenge are fresh on my mind, the enthusiasm didn’t seem to last too long.

I completelyoverslept today, leaving me with less than 5 minutes to get ready before leaving for work this morning. [that is not an exaggeration.  I haven’t overslept this majorly since 1999.]

So much for packing a healthy lunch and snacks for the day; while I did manage to throw a Chobani and a pear in my bag for breakfast and an orange for a snack, I knew I would just have to order lunch.

When the LARGE breaded buffalo chicken sub was delivered to my office, I ate half.   I was completely satisfied as I continued working at my desk.  I wasn’t at all hungry, and yet 10 minutes later, I finished the second half of the sandwich – leaving me completely stuffed. Ugh.

I’m vain and often like to reread things I’ve wrote in the past. [Sorry, I’m Not Sorry]  Ironically, as I finished the last bite of my sandwich and felt the need for a nap creeping on, I started reading a post I wrote last April, Secrets.

I shared about eating in secret.  Overeating and emotional eating.  Words I had never before formed about my weight gain and a timeline of the how and when the pounds crept on before I ever started to admit the need to drop them for good.

“I would ALWAYS order extra.  I would ALWAYS stuff myself.  I would ALWAYS do it without thinking. I would ALWAYS only do these things when I was alone.  It was just something I did.”

Rereading this honest look into my hidden food habits was a reminder that I can be, and am, in control.  It refreshed my acknowledgement that Healthy Living is about making ONE HEALTHY DECISION AT A TIME. [then making another.]

I know that overdoing it, and feeling stuffed to the brim one day is not going to ruin my life, or my progress. The best part of the “make one healthy decision at a time” goal I try to adhere to is that when I make an unhealthy decision, there is no need to do anything drastic; simply make the next decision a healthy one.

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32 thoughts on “One at a Time

  1. Natasha

    I’m a new reader and I have to say that I’m loving your blog more and more with each post. Today’s is not exception. I love the idea of rewarding yourself for things outside of the ‘norm’. And, I can appreciate having to reevaluate your behaviour frequently in order to make substantial changes. As a hidden overeater myself (when I was a kid, my dog once ratted me out to my mom by pulling to bag of fig newtons I had hiding under the bed) I know the importance of being on top of my eating habits each and every day. I tend to eat without thinking and it’s a battle at times to get myself to focus on the behaviour instead of getting upset at the result.

    Thanks for being a continual inspiration for me, and I’m sure many others.
    Natasha recently posted..Frumpy to Foxy – Making Myself a Priority

    1. Heather Post author

      Natasha – Thank you for the kind, insightful comment! I agree that focusing on the behavior instead of responding to the result is SUCH a difficult task at times! It takes practice!!!

  2. Liane

    Um, the only thing stopping me from running out to find a buffalo chicken sub right now is the fact that I accidentally left my debit card at home.

  3. Nicci

    Great way of thinking, I always tel myself if nad when I slip up…there is always tomorrow. It’s not good to beat yourself up over a little thing.

  4. danielle

    Such an important lesson. I’m a new reader to ypur blog and need to go back and read ypur Secrets post, I have a feeling I will relate. I really need to start focusing on one decision at a time– that seems manageable. Thanbk you thank you thabk you for posting this today!

    1. Heather Post author

      you can TOTALLY make a difference in your life by making ONE healthy decision at a time! I challenge you: what healthy decision can you make for yourself next?

    1. Heather Post author

      Sarah –

      I set up an “example spreadsheet” for you, so you can see how we are tracking. You can see it here:

      Also, some notes:

      1) whoever has the most at the end of the challenge got a PRESENT from each of the other friends.

      2) the reason we liked this challenge was because it was attainable, but also – if there is a day we do NO MOVEMENT at all or eat junk food all day, its OK – because the next day you can still earn a good amount of points. It keeps us on track without being CRAZY.

      3) The weeks start Monday and end Sunday. It’s a 7 week long challenge.

      4) we each have our own tab on the google doc. Each person tracks her own points each day/week/etc.

      5) The challenges in the columns are pretty self explanatory –

      Columns B-F you can get one point a day for.

      The Column F: Different Dinner = getting out of the habit of eating the same thing every day. The idea is not to eat the same dinner twice in one week.

      Columns G-J you can get multiple points per day (for example: if you do 45 minutes of strength training, you get 3 points in that column)

      Also, S/Y/P = stretching, yoga, pilates

      Columns K-L you can get one point per WEEK.

      Weekly: Treat 1 time a week: We each have one item that we should probably consume LESS of. For example, for me, it’s “fancy” coffee drinks (lattes/cappachinos/etc) – rather than cut them out COMPLETELY, I try to have no more than ONE a week. If I make it through the week only having ONE (or none!), then I get a point.

      Weekly: Alcohol 5 srv or less: Serving = be reasonable. 4-5 oz of wine, a small mixed drink, a shot ;), a beer, etc. It doesnt matter when you have them – you can have a glass of wine with dinner 5 days, or save all your servings for one major FUN PARTY 😉 As long as you have 5 or less servings a week, you get a point.

      6) also – there is a WeighIn Column – but you don’t have to use it. It’s optional to each friend doing the challenge – and not all of the friends are even TRYING to lose weight, so it’s COMPLETELY optional. I just need to keep myself accountable to someone if I really want to continue to be serious with my weight loss goals and these ladies being some of my biggest encouragement are the right team to be accountable to.

    2. Heather Post author

      Also – the list of goals came from a collaboration of personal health goals each of us wanted to work on. For example, for one friend – getting a vareity of dinners through out the week is something she is striving for and we all have adopted it as our own.

      The same thing happened with the one dessert a day goal, or trying to get 5 servings of freggies. these are goals that started as specific suggestions from ONE of us, but that we all agreed to adopt as our own.

      I can’t tell you how great it feels to have friends who are willing to join me on MY own biggest struggles/goals, and who I want to join in their own goal chasing as well! It’s an awesome collaboration!

      1. sarah (sarah learns)

        hey heather, i just wanted to give you an update. my sister and i started doing a similar challenge to this one with each other! it’s been AWESOME. it’s keeping me so accountable. seeing her points go way up (she’s a workout fiend) has totally motivated me to get my butt moving so i’ve got a chance at winning this thing! 🙂

        just wanted to say thanks again for the idea!
        sarah (sarah learns) recently’s a fiesta!

  5. Sana

    I know you wrote an awesome post, but the only thing I can fixate on is that buffalo sub…. Can you tell I love to eat?

  6. Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun

    I love you. Seriously!

    I love that you are doing a challenge with such a healthy approach and motivation. I love that you open up to us about the struggles you already encountered. I love that you recognize it is not the end and in fact you have already accomplished so much. Like I said. I love you!
    Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun recently posted..Self-Love Reflection- Perseverance

  7. Amanda

    I’m a new reader to your blog, and I really like this post. On the one hand, it’s important to take a whole-lifestyle approach to health, and on the other hand, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by it! Focusing on one thing at a time and having a simple mantra (e.g. ‘my health is important’) have been really helpful to me in my effort to overcome emotional eating.

    1. Heather Post author

      THANK YOU! I am totally writing “My Health is Important” on a post it note for my desk!!

  8. Rachel Wilkerson

    I love the way you are doing this challenge! So many people set milestones and only care about getting to the end goal, but setting behavioral goals that will actually get you to the goal are totally the way to go! I really love the idea of getting points for good decisions.
    Rachel Wilkerson recently posted..Living in Sin- Moving Too Fast

  9. Kayla

    Absolutely LOVE this! Since I’m also on a weight loss journey, it’s sometimes hard to not focus just on the number on the scale or the size of the jeans. What a great reminder of other things that are SOO important when losing weight (and to just be healthy in general). I may have to see if a couple of friends want to do something similar with me. You’re just awesome, Heather!
    Kayla recently posted..You are Beautiful and Capable- Part 2

  10. That Pink Girl

    I know this is a serious post. I commend you for setting HEALTHY goals and encouraing your friends to do the same. Accountability is very powerful!
    But I must say, I’m really digging your yellow flats. Very cute!

  11. Megan Orcholski

    Additionally, picture of you in push up stance is also amazing. Copy of that as well please!

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