I’m not into dieting. At best, I think it’s pointless, and at worst, detrimental. Any pounds lost on a temporary diet change will eventually return when the regular diet returns. The evidence suggests that our bodies don’t respond well to deprivation, and that dieting sets up a harmful cycle that will do more harm than good in the end.
But I am into developing good habits: healthy habits that can be maintained over the course of the days and weeks (and special occasions) that make up our lives. I’ve allowed some very unhealthy habits to creep into my life in the past couple years, and I’m starting to see the consequences of those now-ingrained choices.
The fact of the matter is that motherhood and pregnancy changes you. Emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and yes, physically, you will never be the same person again. In my case, the sweet tooth that I succumbed to far too often during my first pregnancy has never gone away and has begun to show up on my person in the form of undesired extra deposits of fat.
Time to Kick the Sugar Habit
It’s time for me to kick the sugar habit! Pregnancy is not currently an excuse for me, and neither is breastfeeding, so I’ve got to reign in my sweet tooth for real. Otherwise, I will never fit quite comfortably into my pre-baby clothes (or size) again!
My growing desire to develop more discipline in this area coincided with an invitation to join 18 other bloggers in a 12-week “Get Healthy Get Fit” series. Each of us have different goals and plans for achieving these goals, but in the end, we all want to improve our health and develop some healthy habits to help us make better choices going forward.
My Get Healthy Goals
One consequence of the excess sugar I’ve consumed is weight gain that I want to stop before it gets any worse. Weight gain is like a boulder that’s rolling down a hill – it only gains speed as it goes, and I don’t want that weigh to pile on any faster! I would really like to lose the excess weight that I’ve gained since having children, about 10 pounds.
Waist (inches): 31
Honestly, I don’t really have specific numbers that I’m looking for other than an approximation of about 10 pounds weight loss; I just want to be able to fit comfortably again in my clothes. I hope I can lose 3-5 inches in the butt and hips area, but those numbers are much slower to go down than the others, at least for me!
I also want to develop good dietary and exercise habits that will help me keep those pounds off and keep me healthy as I get older. Developing good habits now will help me maintain better health as I get older, because, let’s face it – I’m not getting any younger, that’s for sure!
The Plan: The 5 Healthy Habits I Want to Develop
- Reduce sugar and carbs. All the evidence points to sugar – and by extension, carbs, especially refined carbs – as the culprit in weight gain and a host of other diseases. As one expert put it: “Carbohydrates drive insulin, and insulin drives fat.”
- Eat more whole grains and other healthy carbs. And I mean “whole”. I’m trying to limit my intake of flour and flour-based foods, even whole grain flours, and am focusing more on grains served in their whole form. Quinoa, brown rice, barley, and more, are all delicious served whole and make great side dishes at meal times. And when it comes to non-grain carbohydrates, like fruits and starchy vegetables (think potatoes), I’m going to stick to meal times and smaller portions of those. I don’t think it’s a good idea to eliminate these foods completely, because that is not a sustainable habit over the long run.
- Increase protein consumption. I’ve already started that – check out my recent post of Authentic Simplicity on protein-rich snacks. Protein will increase energy and lasts longer than refined carbs.
- Eat more vegetables. Vegetables provide lots of healthy vitamins and minerals and I’ve always been really bad about eating adequate amounts of them. My aim is to keep a supply of greens in my fridge at all times and have a salad once a day: That will give me a good veggie boost! Vegetables will also help keep my digestive system moving even as I reduce the amount of carb-based fiber.
- Exercise regularly. I learned recently that exercise doesn’t help you lose weight. That was kind of a mental revelation, but I realized that practical experience had already taught me that. However, exercise has benefits beyond weight loss, and I think it’s a good habit to maintain. Personally, I prefer Pilates, but I’ve been hearing recently about HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) that also helps to regulate your hormones – including insulin – so I’m considering experimenting with that as well. But fast-paced exercise and I don’t get along too well so we shall see if that actually happens!
Every Monday, I’ll update you on my progress, and share with you what I’m learning along the way. I’ll also direct you to resources I find helpful as I come across them.
Feel free to join the other bloggers in the Get Healthy Get Fit Series, and check out their plans and progress, too! We certainly would love your moral support as you cheer us on. We also have a Pinterest board you can follow because we will all be posting tips and information around the internet and from our own blogs there. Be inspired to get fit yourself! You can also follow our conversation on Twitter with the hash tag #healthymomseries. See you there!
What healthy habits have you struggled to develop?