In order to keep me accountable through my weight-loss journey, I used the x-effect method to track my habits. However, since I started my second and third cards–which were to follow my diet plan and to walk at least 5,000 steps per day–I had a hard time achieving them, because:
- I easily gave in to food temptations; and,
- I let the World Cup distract me from getting enough sleep, and therefore do not have enough energy for a morning walk.
However, the World Cup has ended a few weeks ago, yet I have barely filled in another square. These left me stressed out and disheartened that I felt like quitting (again).
But then I stumbled upon the blog, El Capigringo. In one of its blog entries, the author, Steve, talked about the delicious temptations he had to face the previous day, and how he almost celebrated triumphing over them by eating donut holes he found in the fridge (fortunately, he was able to resist). He then ended his post with,
Today’s battles will be the same, but different.
This sentence struck me because when you’re trying to lose weight, what you do each day matters. While each victory may help you get to the finish line, each stumble may set you back by at least one step.
In weight loss (as in everything else), consistency is key
When you consistently follow your diet plan or show up for your workouts, then you will surely reach your goal weight with minimal problems. But if you’re like me who says yes to every type of food offered by my coworkers or loves her bed too much to leave it, then don’t be surprised to see a higher number on the scale on your next weigh-in.
Of course, just because you realize you can’t stay consistent doesn’t mean you have to quit now. Below are three tips I’ve tried myself which can help you build your habits and stick to your goals every day:
#1: Set daily goals…and read them out loud every morning
When I decided I want to lose weight, I set my ultimate goal of weighing 132 lbs., which is said to be the healthy weight for my height. But because I don’t see myself looking this slim, I then set a short-term goal of losing 44 lbs. by January next year, for when I plan to have my wedding dress made.
Now I realize, though, I don’t see myself looking 44 lbs. lighter either, especially in a wedding dress. This is probably why I easily cheat on my diet and skip on my morning walks. If January 2019 seems light years away, then you don’t feel as pressured to follow your plans.
Of course, the x-effect method is actually like setting your daily goals, too. So what was I missing?
Well, when you create your x-effect cards, you’re supposed to place the cards somewhere you can easily see them. However, since I don’t like using too much paper anymore (and I am terrible at drawing lines without a proper ruler), I made my “cards” on Google Sheets instead. Because of this, I tend to forget about my daily goals until the end of the day when I have to fill in the cards.
In order for me to stop forgetting about my cards, I recite my daily goals along with my reasons for wanting to achieve them as I make my bed in the morning. What I said tends to stay in my head all day, and since I do my walk in the morning, I usually get halfway through my daily step goal by 7 AM.
While I have not had a perfect week yet, I am definitely seeing an improvement.
#2: Do something different every day (or every week)
To be honest, I do not like this tip because I am a stickler to my routine. Once I added something new to my day, I get completely thrown off.
But there are also times when I get bored of what I eat or where I walk. As soon as I recognize this, I find ways to break from the monotony without giving up on my goals.
Whether you’re the type who hates routines or you’re just like me who lives by them, doing something different in your diet or workout can help you stay alert and interested in what you’re doing. They don’t have to be too drastic; here are some easy-to-follow examples:
- When making your weekly meal plan, set a theme for each meal or each day. (See this article on Epicurious for inspiration)
- If you’re doing meal prep and can’t do #1, it’s okay! Just have a variety of snacks in your pantry or office drawer.
- Work out different parts of your body each day, follow a different workout video, or add a challenging move to your walk/run. (I particularly love these moves on SkinnyMs.)
- Go to a different gym, fitness class, or running area.
#3: Don’t wait until you get too hungry to eat
There was one time when I got home really late. Because my dinner (which I ordered from a healthy food delivery service) was at home, I did not want to ruin my diet by eating something that’s not part of the plan. So for at least two hours, my stomach was grumbling, and I ended up binging at dinner, not only eating my delivered food but also some leftovers I found in the fridge.
I learned a lesson that evening, though, and I now bring my dinner to the office as well and eat it before I go home.
According to Coach Calorie, being hungry isn’t necessary in order to lose weight. When you are hungry all the time, you are more likely to binge, which will definitely not help your weight-loss efforts.
So instead of waiting until your stomach continuously grumbles before eating, measure your hunger level on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being so full you’re in a food coma. The website Pritikin explains the hunger scale really well. Basically, it is best to start eating when you “feel a bit of hunger pangs but can still control what you eat” (level 3); then stop eating when “you think you could eat more but already feel satisfied and light” (level 6).
To wrap things up
Your triumphs over your food temptations won’t matter today, but you can make every day matter when you set and achieve your daily goals. On the days when you feel blah, do something different to keep you alert. And of course, don’t over-restrict yourself or you’ll just make a beeline to your favorite fast-food chain because you can’t stop thinking about their meals.
Have you set a daily goal for yourself? Can you see how the healthier, slimmer, or stronger you looks like? Please share your ideas in the comments!