Month #1: A rocky start

Before writing this, I thought I’d read my first blog post and see how I had fared on my first month. And boy am I ashamed.

When I revived this old blog, I thought it would motivate me to lose weight and have something to show off by August, even if it’s just a smaller belly. But that’s a huge burden to ask from something with no mind of its own. So over the month of July, I gained weight from 206.8 lbs. to 211.2 lbs.

What happened?

Aside from the distractions I confessed in my previous post, I realized I made two more mistakes:

  1. I prioritized blogging over working out or sleeping; and,
  2. I failed to manage my everyday stress.

Mistake #1: Misplaced priorities

Because I was so excited about getting to blog again but at the same time anxious that I would neglect it again, I made an exhaustive editorial calendar. This includes when I should start researching or outlining my post so I can publish it by Monday, and how much time I should dedicate to each task. I put so much thought and effort into this blog that I almost forgot what it was for–that I had to work out and eat right.

Mistake #2: Stress unmanaged

Sometimes, I wish I was rich enough that I could just quit my job and focus on losing weight. It’s because I notice that every time I set personal goals, real life suddenly tackles me headfirst. So even if I made that editorial calendar, I still failed to put out a new blog post every Monday because unfortunately I had more pressing things to do. Thus, I find myself overwhelmed on what I should put first.

Goal for August: Stay afloat

Because of the hurdles I had to jump over last July, I decided to go easy on myself this month and focus on my health. This means:

  1. Instead of just aiming to walk every morning, I also need to sleep earlier and for at least 7 hours so I can feel rested when I wake up for my walk. Even if it means not doing anything blog-related for the evening when I get home too late.
  2. Instead of just eating within 1,200-1,500 calories per day, I also need to find the best time for me to eat without getting too hungry in between meals. Even if it means I have to sneak a snack during afternoon meetings.
  3. Instead of worrying about everything, I need to find ways to relax and have a more positive outlook. (Which is easier said than done, so if you have any tips on how to achieve this, please leave them in the comments below.)

 

Photo by Dmitry Bayer on Unsplash

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3 tips to losing weight consistently

Photo by Mikito Tateisi on Unsplash

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:

  1. I easily gave in to food temptations; and,
  2. I let the World Cup distract me from getting enough sleep, and therefore do not have enough energy for a morning walk.

CURRENT WEIGHT: 209 lbs. (+5 lb. weight gain) . Last week was a terrible one for me. I only planned to “cheat” on the 17th because of our office party, but I ended up cheating for the rest of the week because I gave in to peer pressure. (Boo 👎🏼) . My sleep schedule is still messed up, too, because of my growing addiction to playing Cities Skylines before bedtime. So I am cutting this off now before it gets any worse . At least I learned a new lesson, though: if other people ask me, “what’s one donut [or other sinful treat]?” I can answer with, “one donut alone will do no harm, but one donut plus all the other food I eat this week will determine how I feel about my weighing scale on Monday.” . #weightloss #weightlossjourney #transformation #cleaneating #weightlossmotivation #healthyeating #losingweight #fatloss #exercise #weightlosstransformation

A post shared by Nelle Zaragoza (@amozzarellaorange) on

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:

  1. When making your weekly meal plan, set a theme for each meal or each day. (See this article on Epicurious for inspiration)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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!

 

5 simple things you can do now to start losing weight

I remember reading this article about a woman who gained weight from waiting until Monday to start a new diet and then eventually falling off the wagon after a few days. It reminded me of how I used to wait until the beginning of the week, too, before I start exercising or eating less. Thankfully, the woman in the article lost weight after realizing her mistakes and sticking to a program that works for her.

If you have to wait until the next Monday, the next month, or even the next year (!!!) to start, then you are wasting time. Remember: each day you don’t spend working towards your goal is a day lost.

The difference between planning and procrastinating

glenn-carstens-peters-190592-unsplash compressed
Planning: Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

My “start-on-Monday” attitude was justified by my desire for perfection. Because I wanted everything to go smoothly by the time I actually start dieting or working out, I did a lot of research on healthy food, fitness tips, and even ways to keep myself accountable. Come Monday, though, whatever methods I found ended up being forgotten.

If you’re like me who would really like to start their diet or exercise on a Monday but don’t want to procrastinate, here are two simple guide questions to help you:

  1. What will I start doing on Monday that would help me lose weight?
  2. What can I start doing NOW that would help me ease into my weight loss program?

The first question asks for your actual program: what kind of diet and exercise routine you plan to do.

Meanwhile, the second question asks for simple tasks that you can do before you actually start your program, so you can prepare yourself for what’s coming. If you’re not sure what to answer, below are some suggestions.

#1: Get rid of temptations.

Especially if you’re going on a restrictive diet like keto or vegetarian, you need to remove the foods that are not allowed in your diet. And by remove I mean giving it away to a relative or to charity, not by eating it before Monday, when you plan to actually start dieting.

#2: Stock up on healthy snacks.

Of course, it’s sad to have an empty pantry, so stock up on healthier alternatives to the food items you just disposed of as well as healthy snacks that you can nibble on when hungry. Adjusting to a new diet will be tough (I’m still finding it challenging myself and I’m on my fourth week of low-carb diet), so it’s good to have something to nibble on without feeling too guilty about it.

#3: Try out healthy recipes.

You will most likely have to make your own food. Instead of waiting until your diet starts before deciding what to eat, why not compile two weeks’ worth of meals and try out some of them? This way, you will already know which ones you like and don’t like, and which recipes are easy to make.

#4: Walk more.

Even if your only fitness routine will be to walk 10,000 steps a day, you can already get a head start on this by knowing how many steps you walk each day and then aiming to walk 1,000 more steps every day until Monday. You will need a pedometer for this, and I’m warning you, monitoring your step count can be addicting.

#5: Sleep for at least 7 hours.

A good night’s sleep has been said to provide so many benefits: it can help improve your memory, drive your creativity, and can maybe even help you live longer. Sleep can help you lose weight, too: it helps you fight cravings and make healthier choices and helps you do better at your workouts. If you usually get less than 7 hours of sleep, then it’s time for you to snooze more.

Pre-game your weight-loss journey

You don’t have to procrastinate reaching for your goal when you can do so many easy things to work toward it today. While the steps above may not give you a 10-lb. weight loss off the bat, these will help you get into the winning mindset, which you will need for the weeks to come.

How did you kickstart your weight-loss journey? Share your story below!

Hello, world: One weight-loss journey starts with a blog post

I am back with a blog I’ve always wanted to create, and it only took me getting engaged to have the balls to finally do it.

When I said yes to my now-fiancé, two things came to mind: first, that I look forward to spending the rest of my life with this man; and second, that I want to look my very best on our big day.

Short-term goal: Be the #hottestbridealive

I was 230 lbs. on the day I got engaged, and as an Asian woman standing 5 feet 4 inches tall/short, that puts me on the chunky side. I also had a couple of health scares because of my weight, and I have developed a fear of sitting on plastic chairs.

This is not my first time to attempt losing weight either; I was just not motivated enough to stick with the previous 100 times I tried. Now that I’m about to get married, I thought I could use that as motivation to finally achieve my goal weight of a healthy 132 lbs., or at least lose as much as I can before the deadline.

But why blog my weight-loss journey?

Because eating less and exercising more are two activities I don’t really look forward to doing, I wanted to balance it out by doing something that makes me happy–blogging. By this time next year, I am hoping to be at least 52 lbs. lighter and this blog would have at least 52 published posts.

What to expect from A Mozzarella Orange

Since I plan to publish a new post once a week, most of what I write will be about my progress, what I learned, and any tips and ideas I just had to share. However, I will try to post about things too (read: favorite workouts and recipes).

By sharing my victories and struggles (mostly the latter), I hope to connect with other women who are in the middle of their own journey and maybe even inspire those who want to lose weight but feel overwhelmed about where to start.