I’ve never been one for New Years resolutions. To me they seem more like wishes rather than serious goals, with most not even being close to a SMART goal. Research shows that only 8% are actually achieved, with 80% not making it through February. Ouch.
Roughly 58% of Americans make a resolution of some sort, with nearly 50% of resolutions tied to health and exercise. To put this in context, if you live in a neighborhood of 100 houses with roughly 200 adults heading them, nearly 58 will have a resolution related to health and fitness. Unfortunately the simple math shows that only 5 people out of the 200 in your neighborhood will meet their end of year goal. Will one of them be you?
A 2018 Goal
On the positive side, people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions. One helpful tip to making your resolutions a reality: be public with it, i.e. let others know so they can help you be accountable.
So, in the spirit of sharing, here’s one of my goals for 2018. I’m going to document weekly, the inputs to my simple formula that may validate my assumption about healthy weight loss, and I’llshare the results. Ultimately, I’m hoping to lose another 5%.
What? Why didn’t you just say you want to lose 10 or 15 pounds? Well, I’ve said that before and, unfortunately I was one of the 195 people who didn’t lose weight in my neighborhood. This year, I’m going to focus on the how and not the what, and with your help, hold myself accountable.
Recall in a previous post I shared that last year I lost 5% of my body weight. I didn’t do this by having a goal and then going on a diet, or exercising like a maniac. I blindly joined Thérèse’s eating project and made a lifestyle change to eating real/whole foods (basically foods that are not processed and don’t have any additives or chemicals). 100 Days of Real Food provides a simple definition. As someone who likes to eat meat and drink beer, I’m happy that it incorporates these in addition to the abundance of vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
Bottom line. I’ve realized firsthand that my eating habits are the key to my weight, especially now that I’m not in my 30’s. And I’ve found a way to be more in tune with what my body’s needs.
My last year’s weight loss was very successful but a bit erratic. The ups and downs helped me understand the key contributors to my success. As I mentioned above, the most important factor was how many meals I ate each week that were made solely from real (whole) foods. The more real food, the better I felt and weight came off. In addition, I realized that when I had an increase in my social activities which included eating out, drinking beer and snacking I would gain weight, especially if I didn’t have aerobic exercise to offset.
I like things to be simple. I don’t want to track calories or read labels. I don’t want to go on a fad diet only to regain the weight once I hit a particular weight. I’m looking for a gradual, predictable system. So this year I’ve designed a simple experiment and formula for tracking my 2018 health goal.
My 2018 Lifestyle Tracker
Taking into account my learnings from 2017, I’ve determined there are three key elements I need to monitor. Each week, I will document:
My Whole Food Nutrition
- How many meals I ate (out of the 21 meals available at 3 meals/day) that were comprised of real (whole) food. Basically, I’ll count how many TimeChop type meals I eat each week. If you are interested in what a TimeChop meal is, you can download a free ebook of an entire connected meal plan or download the free app to get all the automated features.
My Moderation & Balance
- The number of beers (or other “funnish” type drinks or unhealthy snacks) I eat/drink. I don’t drink soda, or other sugary or diet drinks, but if I did, I’d count them as a part of this category.
- The number of times each week I get 30 minutes or equivalent of aerobic exercise. For example, a 40 minute run counts as 1. Four hours of snow skiing counts as 2 because I feel like I ran for an hour after 4 hours of skiing.
I will go into the formula details on a future post, but my theory is this: If I eat 19 or more of the 21 meals using real ingredients, I’ll have a greater chance of seeing weight loss. Nutrition is the key driver for my weight.
If my “beer” amount exceeds my exercise amount, it will make it harder to lose weight. The moderation and balance portion can help or hinder in a small amount; they provide a “kicker” to weight loss, but only if the nutrition measure is positive.
What I like about this system is that it’s general enough to incorporate everything I do and it’s adaptable to everyone and their degree of fitness. You follow a couple of rules and use your own honest judgement. For example, yesterday I ate 3 whole food meals (3 for 3), didn’t exercise (0) and had a few handfuls of almonds covered in dark chocolate. If I had only a few almonds, I’d not worry about it, but I had more than that, so I judged that as a 1 in the beer category.
Early January Results
So what have I seen so far? Here’s the first two weeks of data.
2018 Lifestyle Tracker
|Week Ending||Whole Food Nutrition (out of 21 possible)||Weekly Exercise||Weekly "Beer"||Formula Result||Actual Result|
|1/6/2018||19||5||6||Weight Loss||Lost 1 lb.|
|1/13/2018||20||5||4||Weight Loss||Lost 1 lb.|
|1/20/2018||19||6||5||Weight Loss||Lost 1 lb.|
|1/27/2018||17||3||5||Weight Gain||Gained 1/2 lb.|
|2/3/2018||19||6||2||Weight Loss||Lost 1/2 lb.|
|2/10/1018||20||4||9||Weight Gain||No scale for weighing|
|2/17/1018||19||4||2||Weight Loss||Potential Loss (assumes gain in prior week)|
The first two weeks proved successful on two counts. First, the formula forecasted the correct result. Secondly, I lost 2 pounds. I didn’t count calories, I didn’t stress, I had fun, I’m making progress. I didn’t get on a New Year’s fad diet and I feel I’m on my way to a simpler, healthier lifestyle.
The MoJo Report (Monday Journal)
Each Monday I’ll report my prior week’s tracking and results in what I’ll call the MoJo Report. I’ll include any aha’s, learnings, and of course my results. I hope you’ll join me, ask questions and help me determine if this method can be useful to others. Be well!