I’ve been trying to get back into logging my food with My Fitness Pal, though it hasn’t really been working. I forget all day, and then I eat terribly and think, “What’s the point in knowing how many calories I consumed when I clearly ate too many?” And so nothing changes.
I finally realized that there were actually four things I wanted to do to make myself feel better: (1) Do yoga daily, (2) Drink 8 cups of water, (3) Get closer to 8 hours of sleep, (4) Balance and limit my caloric intake. The problem was that I was trying to do all of them at once and it wasn’t working. So I decided to only do one at a time and see if that worked out better.
So the first thing I did was start doing yoga daily. I’ve pretty much stuck with this for years, but not in a mindful way. So now I committed to doing it every morning, and of course nailed this goal since I was already doing it. Sidenote: it helps to start with something you know you can accomplish.
Next I decided to add in the water thing. This is huge because I still wasn’t eating well, but I had to say to myself, “Food isn’t your concern right now. Water is.” So I’ve been drinking 9 cups of water. It’s easier than 8 because my water container holds 3 cups of water, and I just fill it 3 times during the day.
And even though there are two things I’m still not doing, I’m focusing on the fact that there are two things I am doing.
And here’s the thing: I have been eating better because the water fills me up so I’m less likely to go in the kitchen and grab a handful of crackers. (Oh, crackers, I love you so damn much.) Without trying, I’m actually getting closer to a place where it isn’t going to be a big deal to start counting calories again and looking at the nutritional breakdown of my food to make sure I’m getting enough protein and not too much sugar. So that is pretty cool.
I’m currently between step 2 and step 3, feeling like I’ve got a good grasp on the water consumption thing and starting to set a bedtime for myself. I need to begin by not playing video games up until the second I go to bed because that clearly hasn’t been working for me. I’m feeling like 11:15 is a good time for lights out, so maybe I should read during that 15 minute appendix of time dangling off the evening.
And once I stick to that for a while, it will be time to limit my beloved sugar.
I recently read a good post on Lifehacker about setting negative incentives, which sounds like it would work well for me. (Of course, it may not motivate you at all.) The idea is to set a negative consequence that you want to avoid rather than setting a positive consequence for reaching your goal.
I decided to set $20 in a jar. Every day that I don’t stick to recording my food on My Fitness Pal and staying within the caloric goal, I am going to remove $1. At the end of the month, I get to take the remaining money and buy myself a new section of the PS4 game that I’m playing. Each part is about $15, so if I stick to the plan, I will have enough money. And if I don’t, I know that I have no one to blame but myself*.
In fact, I may make it worse and tell myself that the lost money needs to go toward buying Josh one of his annoying albums that he’ll play in the car, subjecting me to his musical noise. So not only will I be unhealthy and unable to play more of my game, but I will have to listen to Josh’s music.
So that is how I’m turning it all around.
* I’m pretty certain I’ll only need to do this for one month. Once I get into a routine, I’m pretty good about keeping it going. I’m just terrible at starting the routine.