The 80/20 Rule…by Liimu

I have often heard that the formula for success in weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise. I guess that would explain why my progress has been slow.  Those of you have been following will definitely agree.  I have been learning how to eat intuitively and refuse to “diet.” That doesn’t mean I haven’t learned some valuable lessons along the way.

First, you really are what you eat. If you eat intuitively and always opt for chocolate and chips, you will maintain your weight, at best. You will also feel like crap. I learned this the hard way, and now eat extremely healthy most days. I start my day with 1/2 ezekiel muffin and a fried egg, or maybe a bowl of oatmeal with fruit and nuts. For lunch, I usually have a big salad or maybe a bowl of soup.  My problem has been from the time the kids come home to when they go to bed. For instance, today my daughter suggested we get soft pretzels from the Philly Pretzel Factory. I have acquiesced too many times and thought to myself – it’s a couple pretzel nuggets. What’s the harm? The harm is that opting for half-assed health choices results in half-assed health.

Second, if you are going to eat back all the calories you burn from exercise, you might as well not exercise at all. Unless you just like pushing your body to the outer stratosphere of pain for hours at a time for fun. I have been working out like a maniac – have begun kickboxing, in addition to my regular hikes and sessions with my trainer (www.healthyfitgirl).  The difference now is that my goal is to exercise. Period. I don’t factor that into my calorie goal. I shoot for 1500 a day, regardless of how much I move. I have signed up for two half marathons – one in August in Wildwood and another here in Philadelphia that I do every year. Yet more incentive to get this extra weight off so I can actually run these races, rather than walk them. This weekend, I’m walk/running a 5K with my 9 year old and I’m hoping this will be the last race I have to hold back from running due to my physical limitations.

Third, you can still take charge of your eating even though you’re not technically dieting. Going on a diet suggests that you will at some point go off of it.  Taking charge of your eating means that you gather the data you need about what is being consumed and what is being expended and then make changes accordingly. At some point, I may be able to even do it in my head, but I can imagine keeping charge of my eating in this way for the rest of my life. It doesn’t mean I restrict or deprive myself. It means I make the right choices to support my optimal health. I have been logging using MyFitnessPal for several months now and am loving it. This app has everything – the ability to log calories (and see a complete nutritional breakdown) and to log activity expenditure, to find foods from a comprehensive database and even scan the bar code to add a new item!I am now focusing on getting the bulk of my calories before 5 pm, and keeping my daily calories below 1500.

And so, I feel like I am starting my journey anew.  I am taking this one day at a time and am finally accepting that if nothing changes, nothing changes. The attention to what I’m eating, when and how much is the last piece of the puzzle that’s finally in place. I think this will make a huge difference, and I am excited to share my success with you guys!

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