, , , , , , ,

The challenge is coming to a close but I KNOW this is just the beginning of your success! Give yourself credit for these first 15 days! What did you learn over the course of them? How are you going to take what you have learned to continue with your plan for the rest of your life? What is going to ensure you are successful?

As we learned before, accountability is key to making sure you are successful on your journey! What accountability (finding an accountability buddy, finding clutter-clearing buddies, hiring a coach, etc.) are you going to implement into your future plans to set you up for success?

How will your life be different in one month if you stick with your plan? Six months? 1 year? 5 years? What does your life of Vitality entail? Go nuts and don’t be afraid to dream! If you would have told me when I started my journey less than four years ago I’d be where I am now, I would have NEVER believed you. YOU have it in you to change your life, make it happen!! 

As I wrote yesterday, I have been evaluating my past successes and failures with Weight Watchers, coming to the conclusion that, perhaps, regular “cheat” meals and treats were a key component in my success.

But even on those times where I was able to lose 5 to 10 pounds outside of those two cases, there was another thread that hied them together. I was counting. Points. Calories. They’re the same thing, essentially.

And even though I said I’m not going to count calories because I know what a healthy diet should look like, I’m not sure that’s the best approach. In every approach to lose weight that I’ve tried that involved not counting points or calories lasted maybe a day (excluding the 5 days on the Whole30 last year). South Beach. Paleo. Simply dividing my plate and filling it halfway with veggies. It never lasted.

However, the whole cheat meal thing was definitely easier before. When we went to Weight Watchers meetings on Tuesday nights, it just made sense that our week would run from Wednesday to Tuesday. Even though we knew that, technically, that 5 to 6 hours between our weigh-in and midnight counted, in our minds, that time didn’t exist. It was a black hole for calories.

It’s harder to keep to a free meal per week when you weigh in first thing in the morning. Even though I know that nothing else really changed, it’s just the mental thing.

Plus, counting calories has started to make me feel guilty about treats on a daily basis. It makes me feel bad for having a banana and a packet of maple almond butter as a snack. Sure, that doesn’t sound like a horrible snack, but it’s around 300-350 calories depending on the size of a banana. It’s 5 points on Weight Watchers PointsPlus, and on the old plan it would have been 7-8 points. On my first round of Weight Watchers, I could have two meals for the same cost of the banana and almond butter, and that is at least one meal on the other approaches to counting.

Yet, I don’t know anyone who would consider a banana and almond butter to be a meal.

I mean, I really know what I have to do. I know that, even if I don’t count calories, I can make serious improvements by just eating reasonable serving sizes. I don’t need to eat 3 or 4 eggs. 2 eggs is plenty. I can measure out a tablespoon of oil or butter max per meal. I don’t need to eat more than a cup of rice or quinoa. An ounce and a half of cheese is a serving of dairy, and I don’t need to be eating more than that.

Calorie counting just helps me keep those things in line, but there is a fine line between being being kept under control and being under an immense amount of pressure.

Without calorie counting, I do not trust myself to keep my portions in check. I might make the healthiest of meals, but I might overdo it too much- even with the best of intentions to practice portion control. With calorie counting, I am afraid to waste my calories and still come up hungry. There’s no winning.

I’m not really sure where I see myself in 6 months or a year or whatever because I’m not even sure what my plan is. I know that I’m going to include a treat in every day and have a weekly cheat meal, but I also have doubts about that. After all, the common theme I was given when I proposed the idea of a daily treat on Sparkpeople a while back was that it was a bad idea. So, I have my doubts. Perhaps, setting a daily treat requirement isn’t the right way to do it, but allowing myself a treat every day is. I don’t have to have a piece of chocolate every night. I’m still doubtful no matter what my decision.

I’m still blogging (though, I’m looking for some prompts because I’ve been a little stuck), and my best friend, Alex is also in the same kind of position with giving the weekly “cheat” meal and a daily treat another try, so we’re basically just trying to determine our own individual approaches using the same generalized approach.

It’s just hard to say what my next step will be when I am constantly going back and forth about what I am going to do.