Recovery of a No Excuse Mom: New Year’s Reassessment…What’s working for me and What’s Not

Anyone who has ever tried to make lifestyle changes for health and fitness reasons has to know one thing….
It takes CHANGE. The New Year is a time that a lot of people are planning changes.
Usually in the beginning, it’s pretty easy.
Anyone can start a new diet.
Anyone can begin to exercise.
Anyone can have the desire to be fitter than they are.
What divides the group of “anyone’s” from there is the ability to persist.

What makes you eat the right thing when faced with a box of donuts?
What makes you put on your workout clothing and exercise?
What makes you achieve the goal of being fitter than you are now…?
Being that this is far from my first attempt to change my lifestyle and my body, I have made a few ground rules for myself to base all of my fitness decisions around……..
First and foremost…..
I refuse to start anything that I have no intention of doing for the rest of my life.
That means: no quick fixes, no cabbage soup diets, no expensive supplements to speed up my metabolism, no gym 6 days a week for 2 hours each time, etc.
If that’s what you want to do…. More power to you.
But I have done all of those things I listed before – and for me – all it has led to is Yo-yo dieting, inconsistency in my long-term fitness level and I’m pretty sure at least a slightly damaged metabolism.
I’m over it.
My current approach has probably made me less progress overall, but I really believe I am making changes – however slowly – that I can keep up for the rest of my life.
(Although I may or may not have had a solo argument with myself over how unfair it is that I have to work SO HARD to gain so little progress…. But I digress.)
So, what HAVE I learned over the course of the last year….?
The first thing that I learned is that I have a problem with food. I’m pretty sure I was addicted to sugar. I’m a muncher. I’m a boredom eater and my job leads to MANY instances of boredom eating. (I drive between 100-200 miles most days and on long drives, the first thing I want to do is munch…)
I have also noticed a trend in my lifestyle. Being that I am a single mom living on my own, I have a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it all. It seems that most weeks If I have time to get to the gym consistently, then I don’t have time for true meal prep and tracking my meals (read that section as: EXCUSE.)
While it is true that I have limited time available to do ANYTHING outside of work, mommy time, household chores, etc… I’m a fan of the saying that if you want it enough… You will make time for it.
If I’m honest with myself, I spend way too much of my “spare time” doing mindless things; like scrolling through Facebook and playing games on my phone.
While a little bit of “zone out” time is probably not a bad thing, if you are spending 30 or more minutes doing these things, then you can easily swap in healthy tactics like a quick workout during that time.

If you’re like me, then your “zone out” time is when you don’t really WANT to be doing anything else.
Like right before I wake up my daughter.
Right when I get home from work.
After dinner and before bedtime routines.
…or after you get your kids to bed.
But like I said, if you want it enough… You will make time for it.
As far as my eating habits go, I have decided to make my meal planning and eating habits my goal for the New Year. Since this has been such a LONG-standing problem for me, it requires more attention. That means that if I really and truly only have time for one thing on a given day, I’d rather kick some royal butt in my eating habits than exercise. Not that I won’t plan to exercise! But if you’re a single mom, (or any sort of normal human being) then you know things don’t always go as you plan them.
I have found that when I eat lots of vegetables, I feel tremendously better. Plus, every time in the past that I have had great success, it was with eating whole, natural foods.
Within the last challenge that we had, I focused on eating a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the day. If you’re a muncher, then eating tons of cucumbers, strawberries and peppers probably isn’t going to make your waistline any bigger.
I ‘ve been a fan of the “Clean Eating” movement, eating fresh, cooking from fresh with as little processed food as possible.
But the problem that I found during the challenge was that if I would eat a lot of fruit… I would end up craving more sugar.

Hello… sugar addict.
So, for the beginning of the year, I am cutting out all sugar, including natural sugars.
At least for now.
I started the new year off with a Vegan style of eating. And though I have no intention of never eating meat products again (sorry, Vegan friends and more power to you!!!) After this initial time of clearing the sugar from my diet, I plan to eat a primarily plant-based diet, with some meat sources such as chicken and eggs and dairy.
My other thought behind starting Vegan is as an elimination diet. Although vegan is not wheat free, I have also cut this out. In the past I have found that wheat causes me to feel bloated, exhausted, and (TMI) constipated. When I don’t eat it, I feel 100% better.
After my month of Vegan eating, I will reintroduce other foods that may be difficult to tolerate, but NOT wheat. (although I have found that taking a probiotic/enzyme supplement when I do eat it helps the symptoms.  I’ll save that for a rare or special occasion.)
I started by drinking more water. With my job in home care, I have found that my water intake is SEVERELY low if I don’t keep track of it.
I discovered an app that I am in love with called “Water Time Pro”.
It notifies you every hour on your cell phone to remind you to drink more water.
You can tell it whether you had water, coffee or tea (10% counts toward hydration), milk or juice (80% counts toward your hydration).
While I still am working on perfecting this, having an app to keep me accountable has been VERY helpful.
So… while I definitely had some progress in 2017, I didn’t have as much as I wanted.
I’ve said before how Molasses slow my weight loss tends to be. And this time through, is no exception.
I just need to trust the process.
Stay the course.
Be Consistent.
… and believe that I CAN.