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One Habit

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.


1 Lavonne @ *Our Wish* { 03.23.16 at 8:47 am }

I have been doing the same. Trying to get back in the habit of logging my food, getting to the gym on a semi-normal basis and just overall drinking more water. I would realize some afternoons that I hadn’t drank anything all day. I have a Liter bottle that I try to drink at least 2 of. So far so good. Good luck!!!

2 illustr8d { 03.23.16 at 9:54 am }

That $20 idea is genius. Though giving it to Josh may be overkill. (Sorry Josh.)

3 Justine { 03.23.16 at 11:39 am }

Can I buy the house next to you so that you can motivate me to do yoga every morning rather than get myself and my kids up at 6 so I can get them out the door at 7?


Serenity now … external motivation welcome.

4 Cristy { 03.23.16 at 1:20 pm }

I’m with Justine. I need to do this too, but am horrible about following through. Having someone near who I was accountable to would keep me accountable.

May these first steps bring results and motivate you.

5 Ana { 03.23.16 at 1:34 pm }

I always try to do a million things at once and fail miserably, too. One thing at a time is a great idea, as is the $20 one. I may have to try that. The positive rewards weren’t helping, especially when it came to food. Sure, I could get $1 but I wanted that bowl of crackers more…

6 Northern Star { 03.23.16 at 8:41 pm }

The sleep thing is so simple in theory but… So elusive at the same time! I was so good at this in January and fell off the wagon. I was so surprised at the happy, positive person (me? Is that you?) that resulted from this. Who knew?

7 Mali { 03.24.16 at 12:25 am }

Sleep is good. I’m not getting enough. I did last night though, and feel a lot better. Or is that the glass of wine I have next to me?

Not sure if the punishment motivation would work for me. I feel bad enough when I slip up, without beating myself up even more.

8 Queenie { 03.24.16 at 5:38 am }

I’m doing this, too. Except my list is: drink more water, eat lunch (which I often skip because I’m so busy), and eat less refined sugar. I am living on caffeine and candy. When we moved back to the US, my long-time insomnia came back with a vengeance. I have no idea how to stay asleep all night (I fall asleep fine, but can’t get back to sleep after waking in the middle of the night), and coffee/candy get me through the day. Such a terrible cycle! But you are right. . .one change at a time, slow and steady.

9 Lori Lavender Luz { 03.24.16 at 3:51 pm }

You’ve inspired me to drink more water. Just for one week.

I wanna join the yoga and health commune, too.

10 Jess { 03.24.16 at 11:27 pm }

It sounds like you have a great plan… little steps to build up your routine. The negative incentive sounds interesting, too, but I feel like for me I would get resentful real quick. I am trying to set myself up with fitness goals because a picture revealed cellulite on my arms and I do not want to start my 40s that way… Right now I am doing a pilates-yoga-strength-stretch type video on Sundays and Wednesdays. Once I get that as a solid routine I’ll add another day, and keep up my walks on most other days. I’m good for two weeks, so I’m pretty darn proud of myself. These fitness and healthy eating goals just seem so much harder the older you get and the more other responsibilities you have on your plate. I salute you for daily yoga!

11 md { 03.28.16 at 1:27 am }

yes!! i need to drink more water too. i keep a bottle in the room, but i should move it to the desk.. i can totally see that if i got one thing down, i would be motivated to begin something else! little steps 🙂

12 Geochick { 04.02.16 at 7:37 pm }

One thing that helps me with MFP is to treat it like its data to help me figure out how to eat. It’s neither good nor bad, but if I don’t enter in that data I’ll never know how to improve. Also, ignore the calorie counts it gives you and go to health-calc (Google will point you in the right direction). You probably need to eat more than you think. Perpetual calorie restrictions damage our metabolisms and leave you with no where to go. I’ve learned a lot about how I should eat over the past several months and it’s been eye opening! More good info can be found on gokaleo.com or eat to perform.

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