There’s something to this notion of getting to know yourself. I assume it happens for different people at different times and over different things. Maybe it’s something you never learn – you get set in your ways at a certain point and from there it’s solid, no matter what. Or maybe, like with me, it’s an ongoing process.
For instance, it wasn’t until just a few years ago I realized I like my coffee not too strong and with milk (a fair bit of it – I like it to be the light tan of an IKEA Billy bookcase) and no sugar. Here in Lithuania, that usually means an Americano (decaf – because I realized that caffeinated coffee gives me an upset stomach) but I can shake it up from time to time. Nevertheless, that’s my usual drink because it’s what I like, what tastes good and I realized I don’t need to worry about anyone else caring what I drink.
I also realized, fairly recently, that accountability for things helps motivate me to stick with a continuing task. My personal writing, for example. Many years ago, I had created a deadline for myself – the Monday Morning Mailing list. The purpose of this list was to make sure I not only wrote every week, but wrote a minimum amount in that week. It worked, too. My problem was that I wanted to write, but it was too easy to find excuses not to, and then huge swathes of time would pass without me realizing it and nothing would get done. So I made the list to give myself accountability.
Somewhere along the line, the list fell off, life went on and my personal writing fell by the wayside (professional writing was always completed because a) deadline and b) paycheck). Then a few years back, my friend Matt challenged myself and a few friends to write a pilot script for a competition. Matt and I were the only ones to finish it and actually submit, but finish and submit I did. I had no goal of winning, that wasn’t the point. The point was to finish and that I did (so in that sense, I did win – take your victories where you can, right?). One of the things which came out of that experiment though, was the word tracker.
Turns out, I like having the tracker. It helps me know when I am, and more specifically, when I’m not, writing. I can see at a glance when I’ve missed a few days in a row. I don’t keep track of everything the tracker offers, like my time (although I probably should) but it keeps me on track to get personal writing done because I’m embarrassed for myself when I don’t. And then my friend and former writing partner Troy created a friendly competition tracker where we could see who was writing more. Even though he’s not really writing that much these days, I still use that tracker as well – mostly because it tells me different things than the first one and I like having both.
All of this brings me to weight loss.
I’m anywhere from 10-20 lbs over where I should be for my height and body type. I have been for a while. It’s not horrid, but I have a bit of a belly and it’s something I’ve been self-conscious of, but never really did anything about it. I know exercise isn’t the best for weight loss and what really matters is smart consumption. In other words, not so much what you eat, but how much… among other factors (yes, I know, this is a gross oversimplification, but I’m getting there). Now, I have been eating better since Rasa cooks for us at home 97% of the time, but her cooking is good (see her blog for examples) and she tends to pile my plate. Being raised in America in the 70s and 80s, I know I need to finish my plate. Additionally, I eat rather fast so what ends up happening is my blood sugar doesn’t catch up to my appetite and I end up eating too much and feeling bloated and ill.
We’ve been trying all sorts of different things to limit portion size but so far, nothing has really worked. Then a few days ago, I found an old email from some website called SparkPeople, which is a health monitoring site that offers a food tracker. Now knowing my predilection for trackers, I signed up and have started obsessively entering my calories and keeping track of things (edited to add I dropped SparkPeople and went with My Fitness Pal instead. Much better database of foods and easier interface). It’s fascinating. To be fair, mostly I’m guessing and rounding up since the products which are in the data base are American and the system here is odd – everything is based on 100gms so it’s a matter of figuring out how many grams you’re eating and doing the math.
I’m not really changing what I’m eating, But I am changing when and how much. Once I noticed how many calories are in my little inter-meal snacks, like nuts or potato chips or even cutting off a hunk of salami and popping it in my mouth, those have stopped. Also, I’m not going for seconds when I see what’s already in my list. (side note – with all of Monki’s mashes in mind, Rasa made a vegetable purée last night with potatoes, carrots, and cabbage… and it was good! let the healthy eating continue!) I still need to work on timings – I’d like to stop eating after 6pm, but with our schedules, that’s not the easiest thing in the world. Now that the semester has started, I’m back to walking more than I was in January, so that’s helping. And yeah, once the weather warms up a bit (it’s -12/-25 with windchill these days) I’ll start exercising a bit.
So far, in just the past couple of days, I’ve gone from 77.3kg to 77.1kg. It’s not much but it’s a start. I’d like to get down to about 70-72kg by the time swimsuit season rolls around. We’ll see how I do.