One of my bigger goals for #Project29 involves losing 29 pounds by the end of July 2015. Although I do want to lose the weight, I know that ultimately weight is just a number. I’m more interested in the larger picture. I want to be healthy inside and out as I enter into my 30s. I want healthy eating practices to be so ingrained into my life that I don’t need to think twice about them.

Beyond that, in the future I want to practice (what I assume) I preaching to any future kids of mine. It’s so easy to turn to processed food or fast food, but I know that eating fruits and vegetables and unprocessed foods makes me feel better and it’s what I will want for my kids.

I know that from here on out losing weight is only going to get harder and harder, so getting to a happy weight where my body functions at a maximum is key. Maintaining my weight in it’s happy place is the biggest thing I can do to keep my hormones and body chemistry in check, which is an issue I’ve struggled with since my teens.

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When I was in Washington I went vegetarian and that decision has really helped me to be very conscious of what I’m eating. I’m constantly looking at my meals to make sure they’re balanced and most importantly that I’m getting enough protein. I genuinely love fruits and vegetables, so those are always a big staple of my diet. My downfall tends to be sugar. I have a serious sugar addiction and I tend to turn to sugar when I’m stressed, which is a constant state of operation in grad school. I’ve heard stories about people who gain weight during their comps or dissertation writing and I am proactively working to do the opposite. While the sugar or diet coke taste good in the moment, ultimately they make me feel like crap.

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In an effort to help myself lose the weight, I’ve decided to (re)join Weight Watchers. Following the Weight Watchers program helps me to be ever more vigilant of my daily food choices. I have to track all of my meals and snacks, so it helps stop me from mindlessly eating. It’s also a reality check when I eat out. The other day I grabbed a multigrain bagel from Dunkin Donuts. I’d run out of the house and knew I should eat breakfast. I thought I was making a smart choice, but in reality that bagel and cream cheese was about a 1/3 of my daily points allowance.

As opposed to tracking calories, Weight Watchers uses points as a way of tracking food intake. Each point is figured out by looking at the fat grams, carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. I think it’s a more well-rounded way of looking at a food’s nutritional value. Also in Weight Watchers, fruits and vegetables are considered zero points. So when my sugar craving hits, it encourages me to each for a banana or an apple and skip the ice cream. I know that a four point ice cream isn’t going to satisfy me and more likely it’s only going to perpetuate the sugar craving.

Another big motivation for doing WW is that being more vigilant about portions is important for me. It helps me really evaluate whether I need as much food as I might typically lay out for myself. It forces me to really stop and think about how hungry I am and to listen to my body’s hunger signals.

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Finally, based on my mom’s suggestion, I’ve decided to set some rewards for myself as I make certain goals for the weight loss. I’m hoping that this will motivate me to stay on track with my efforts. It’s so easy to get discouraged after a minimal loss or even a gain. It’s also easy to let one day snowball into a week of bad days or even just give up. I know that this is more about the process and the journey, so I’m accepting that this might a very slow process and that’s okay. It took me years to gain the weight, so it’s not going to come off in weeks.

Anyway, the rewards will be for a 5% loss, 10% loss, and then my goal.

When I reach my 5% loss, I’m going to get acrylic nails. I’ve never been one to take good care of my nails, but when I did them for Ashley’s wedding I really liked the way they looked. It also made me feel a bit more put together. So I’m going to try out the acrylic nail thing.

Then at 10% I’m going to get these TOMs.

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How perfect are they for #Project29? They say “live your dream,” which I LOVE.

Finally, at goal I am going to try out the Stitch Fix service. It’s an online personal shopper service. I suck at dressing myself and tend to choose the safe options when I go shopping, so having someone pick out clothes that I normally wouldn’t choose for myself might be fun.

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I’m really excited to start this journey and to blog about it.

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