It's been 9 weeks since I started this new plan. I just read my Day 1 and Week 1 entries to my blog. It's amazing to me how just a few short weeks can revolutionize your life. When I started Day 1, I was over 310 pounds, couldn't walk to the mailbox without getting winded, and in general a train-wreck when it came to personal health.
Fast forward 63 short days, and it's quite a different story. So far I've lost 55 pounds and am almost half way to my ideal weight goal. Before I started the plan, I was needing to buy new clothes because I was getting to big for what I had. Now, I'm needing to buy new clothes because I am getting to small for what I have. In fact, it has been fun to pull clothes out of the closet that I saved because I was "going to get back into them someday." Now I'm in all of those clothes, and in another two or three weeks, they will be too big as well.
After 21 days, I realized I was grinding based on will-power and self-determination with a lot of encouragement from my health coach, wife, and friends. But the choices I was making weren't based on any habits.
They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit. So at the end of Week 3 I did a self-examination to see what new habits I've formed. After all, I want this weight to stay off when I reach my goals. No going back to 300+ pounds again for me. In fact, I don't even want to get up to the 250s! I determined after 21 days, I didn't have any new habits formed. I was grinding based on will-power and self-determination with a lot of encouragement from my health coach, wife, and friends. But the choices I was making weren't based on any habits.
Then I read, and subsequently wrote that the 21-days-to-a-new-habit concept is really a myth, that it really takes closer to 66 days for a new habit. Now almost to day 66 myself, I'm revisiting that earlier blog with some startling conclusions:
First, I'm not missing anything. Sure, every once in a while I would like a bagel or a doughnut. But different from day one, doughnuts aren't a temptation to me anymore. I took my kids to ice cream the other night, and it didn't bother me in the least to just watch. Out with friends at a pizza place, I ate a salad. At a wedding reception last weekend I realized that the food being served would be okay to eat, but it really wasn't in my plan. So, I skipped it and ate later. On Day 21, it would have been difficult if not painful to do that. Today, it's about feeling good--not just physically, but emotionally and mentally.
On Day 21 I wrote that I was in Phase 2 of habit formation--having to fight through. Because at Day 21 I still wanted pizza and fettuccine alfredo and ice cream. Today, because I've been litigious and regimented in my health plan, I can honestly say I am in Phase 3 of positive habit formation. What I'm doing has become second nature. I don't wince passing the buffet anymore. I'm finding it easier and easier to say, "No thank you." And I don't have the feeling of missing out that I used to endure.
But, if you're where I am, be mindful of this caution. Being in Phase 3 can also give the feeling of invincibility. And with invincibility comes the possibility of backsliding. To combat this, I constantly remind myself that it's easier to make bad habits than good ones. Good ones you have to work at. But when you do, the rewards are immeasurably better.
Here are 3 things that helped my stay focused and allowed me to build new, healthier habits.
1. Every day is Day 1. Even though I've completed more than 60 days, in my mind, I'm still on day 1. Every day is a new day and an opportunity for success. Every new day is the beginning of the rest of my life--therefore, I want it to count.
2. Remember were I was--daily. As long as I remember where I was and what stimulated my desire for change in my life, I am less likely to revert back. I didn't like where I was--why would I want to go back to it?
3. Talk about what I'm doing to others. I'm amazed at how many people are interested in what I'm doing. In a way, I get to be an inspiration for someone else, and don't kid yourself, that feels good. Talking about it also builds in accountability. It's amazing how much more disciplined I am becoming as I share my story and goals with others. Not only that, it helps them to know and be an encouragement to me as well.
Week 9, 63 Days--Down 55 pounds overall.
On to Week 10 and more victories... and more good habits!
If you missed my post on Day 21 about Habits, here is the link:
I was traveling last week. A much needed vacation from work and life responsibilities. A trip to Moab, Utah, with friends seemed to be the perfect prescription for refreshment. A week of good weather, trail riding in off-road vehicles, and the fellowship of friends, what more could you ask for?
I did however, have one concern: How could I maintain my health plan? I mean really, they're all going to want to go out to eat. As a vegetarian, I've discovered dining out is a challenge on my health plan--unless we're talking breakfast. There are travel days. Could I get my meals in like I'm supposed to? How could I stay on my health plan without becoming an imposition to my friends and feel like a party pooper?