I have made no progress (at least in terms of weight loss). I was really hoping that by adding more activity to my day I could lose twenty pounds without changing the way I eat, so the goals I've been working on since the summer have revolved around walking more and swimming more. I am walking about one hour a day 4 to 5 times a week, and trying to swim for 30 minutes every Saturday. I get my walking done by marching the boys to school and back M-F. Each leg of the journey is about 15 minutes, so that gives me an hour for the day. In the warmer months I was taking Esther on long walks down by the river on the weekends, but since the weather has gotten colder, we haven't been doing that very much.
What I admitted to my group yesterday is that I don't think that I will be able to achieve my goal of reaching a healthy weight without changing the way I eat. But whenever I think about restricting my food in any way I am filled with dread. As a teenager I was in great shape. I ate whatever I wanted, but I also swam, did ballet, lifted weights, and rode my bike all over town. I probably exercised 3 to 5 hours a day on average. As a mother, it has been hard enough for me to get into the habit of walking 30 to 60 minutes a day, with a swim thrown in every now and then. It is not realistic for me to expect to find the time to exercise as much as it would take for me to lose weight and continue to eat with abandon.
Our teacher at the YMCA, Diane, reminded me yesterday that to lose one pound a week I only need to reduce my daily calorie intake by 500. This could be 250 less calories consumed in food, and 250 more calories burned in exercise. She pointed out that I may be feeling hopeless about changing my eating habits because I'm picturing a much more drastic change than I actually need to make. I was reminded of a time a few weeks ago when I decided to eat a bowl full of roasted vegetables before eating my normal lunch of rice and beans. The vegetables were delicious, and I was full after only 1/2 cup of my second course (I would usually eat a cup or more). I rarely eat vegetables, and I know this is one of the biggest weaknesses in my eating habits. So yesterday before lunch I ate a bowl full of frozen corn and peas. And today for lunch I had a bowl full of edamame (soybeans in the pod). Now I'm not feeling hungry at all, and I haven't even eaten my "real" lunch yet.
I'm really hoping that by increasing the amount of vegetables I eat each day, I'll be able to reduce my total calorie intake without having to calculate and measure every single thing I put into my mouth. That is exhausting and does not feel sustainable. I am looking for changes I can make that are small enough to not be overwhelming, but will still make a difference for good over time. I want to make changes that will last.
If you have found any small steps toward a healthier lifestyle that have worked for you, I'd love to hear about them.