By Crabby McSlacker
Time has a way of marching right along, doesn't it? Somehow, summer is here!
(And never mind any foolishness you may have heard about summer starting on June 21st. Solstice, shcmolstice, I say summer starts in June).
Anyway, does anyone else find that sometimes the shifting of the seasons seems to call for new goals, or at least a change in emphasis? Especially when tried and true approaches to living a healthy fulfilling life get boring or are yielding crappier and crappier results?
Or maybe it's just me. I know the whole weird shifting from coast to coast thing we do every six months tends to magnify the impact of changing seasons.
But whether you feel like it's Time for a change or not, it is at least Time for a fun giveaway:
It's a wooden watch from Jord. Besides being stylish and natural and classy, these comes from a sponsor who will ship internationally so this giveaway does NOT require that you be from the United States to enter!
They have both men's and women's watches, but I'm thinking the look is especially dude-friendly, and one might make a great Father's Day gift. (More about the watch and how you can win one below.)
Anyway, so this is more of a personal goal update, not one of those "how to" sort of posts where I take stuff you know already and remind you of it, maybe dressing it up a little with swear words or a Natalie Dee Cartoon.
OK so I lied, maybe it's partly that. But let's make it quick:
Four signs you might need to make a change in your goals or your approach:
1. You're not happy with the results of what you've been doing, and you discover an alternative, research-backed method of self improvement that looks promising and realistic.
2. What you've been doing suddenly seems like too much of a pain in the ass to keep doing.
3. Life f--cks with you and forces you to approach things in a different way.
4. A shiny new approach suddenly sounds way more fun, and the hell with whether it makes and freakin' sense or not!
Sure, Why the Hell Not?
But many of you are doing just great with whatever you're doing, and I mostly am too. So keep the stuff you're enjoying that's working for you!
However, a few weeks ago I started noticing signs #2, 3, and 4 above in a certain area of life, and decided it was Time for Something New.
Crabby's Possibly Foolish Weight Loss/Maintenance Experiment:
Yes, I am one of those annoying people who never got very overweight in the first place. I lost about 25-30 pounds decades ago, and mostly stay now within a ten pound range. When I get to the top and am still gaining, I know it's time to do something about it. Compared to the heroic battles some of you are fighting, this must all seem ridiculously trivial, but whatever.
One thing that has always worked great for me when my weight has started to creep up is to start tracking calories. It's a huge pain in the ass, but logging what I eat and how much I exercise and making sure to run a slight calorie deficit has always been The One Thing that's enabled me to reverse a trend of packing on pounds and get myself back on track for healthy maintenance.
Note: I eat a very healthy diet, and know how to get a lot of bang for my buck in terms of satiety and flavor and nutrition off the minimum number of calories necessary. So none of this is about sacrificing nutrition for the sake of weight loss.
Not only has this approach worked for me before, but tracking makes so much sense! If I don't know how much I'm consuming, and don't hold myself accountable, I am way more likely to eat more than I need to maintain my weight. Plenty of research backs up food diaries, calorie tracking apps, etc.
And yet, I started going hardcore with MyFitnessPal at the beginning of 2014, and kept it up until a couple weeks ago-- when I lost my freakin' Fitbit One. I took a few days of MyFitnessPal because I was feeling pouty because I couldn't automatically get step credit, and then realized I just didn't want to go back.
Because with all that effort, I was not losing any damn weight!
True, some of it was periodic non-compliance: portion-control "holidays" well-documented on the blog, like the Natural Products Expo West, or the South Africa trip. But sadly, 95% of the time, I was actually eating fewer calories than what I thought should result in weight loss, and I was using reasonable formulas given my age, weight, activity, etc. I know I was consistently eating less than I had before when in "weight-loss" mode.
My metabolism has apparently changed a LOT in the past couple years. Thanks so much, post-menopausal weight gain!
Of course, I could just accept that I'm getting older and allow myself to add another pound or two a year, even while mostly trying really hard not to, and stop giving so much of a crap. But I don't want to go that route yet.
Another sensible course of action might be to just ratchet the calories down further and keep tracking. Why give up the one tool that works? And I may well go back to that.
But instead, it's summer, and what the hell, time for a new approach. So: I'm using the lack of obsessive tracking as a bribe, to do something much harder: to stop eating when I'm not actually hungry.
But that's hard, because I tend to think of eating stuff 'cause it tastes good as some sort of constitutional right. I'm very attached to it. Life is short! I'm still philosophically all in favor of eating things for the pure fun of it. And yet... with all my brain rewiring efforts, the ability to strategically say "no" more easily has started to feel more and more important to me.
The problem with tracking: it allowed me the sense that if I had calories available in my budget, I could use them, as I always have, for purely recreational eating. Which is fine if I weren't such an ass about it! But it set me up for cravings, for entitlement, and for a lack of self control. I started to lose the ability to pass on tempting snacks, to stop after sensible portions, and I tended to rationalize that I could just walk it off later. Which I'd been doing--the whole time I averaged over 15,000 steps a day, plus weight training and other miscellaneous activity--but somehow the numbers still weren't adding up right for weight loss.
I will probably go into more boring details of exactly what I'm doing differently now to make this "not eating if I'm not hungry thing happen...if it works. Or, who knows, I may abandon it all tomorrow. It's too early to tell if it's helping, and I'm not weighing either, but I think I'm eating less by listening to my hunger more and exercising more self control than I was when I was tracking. I figure if these changes still aren't enough, I'll add back in more accountability again, but least I'd like to have some better behavioral skills to add to the mix.
Whew! I rambled on forever on all that, sheesh!
So let's get back to those cool watches and find out how you can win one!
Quick Product Review of Jord Wooden Watches:
In addition to being wooden and cool looking, the Ely watch they gave me has:
- Hardened, Scratch-proof glass face: 26mm diameter
- Frame / bezel: 34mm diameter
- Band width: 21.5mm
- Lug ends: 40mm
- Single action locking clasp (stainless steel)
- Premium Citizen Miyota movement with date window
It's hard to see from the picture, but the watch face (behind the glass) is wood too and has these great textured striations--unfortunately in my crappy photo, one of them caught the light and it looks like a crack in the face. It isn't; just a weird angle.
The watches are quite reasonably priced for a unique and fancy watch--the Ely goes for $129. And Jord avoids using toxic chemicals in treating the wood, so allergic people are less likely to have a reaction. (Though Jord is not foolhardy enough to guarantee against allergic reactions).
They have lots of other styles and colors too, check out the Jord product page!
Well, they're a bit big in scale for small women's wrists; mine was the smallest size. Also, because they are made of natural wood, they eventually require cleaning with olive oil and lemon juice. And they need to be sized by taking out some links, either by a jeweler or by using a tiny screwdriver.
But otherwise, they are all kinds of awesome! And again, a great Father's Day gift, though you may prefer to score one for yourself.
How to Win a Jord Watch:
Leave a comment relating to your summer goals (or lack of same, it's all good) either here or on the Cranky Fitness Facebook page, or both to up your odds. AND leave a reply to someone else's comment (here or FB). Some generous commenters do that anyway, and I love them for it! But I'd like to encourage others as well. The best comments will selected and pooled, then of these, one will be randomly chosen as the winner of a nifty Jord watch like the one I got for review.
Winner will be announced next Wednesday June 11th, be sure to check back an email me by the following Monday the 16th or a new winner will be selected!
And now comes the best part, reader comments!
How are things going with your goals or pursuits? What do you have planned, is it Time for any sort of change?