I had a mystery on my hands the last few days: ever since Thanksgiving, I could not stop eating and I had no idea why. I mean, sure there were delicious leftovers, but once those were gone I still had the incredible urge to EAT ALL THE THINGS EVERYWHERE and it was really bugging me. My brain felt different, I was sliding back into behaviors that only days ago weren’t a big problem, and I just really wanted all the sugar and all the carbs the world had to offer and I wanted them in my face NOW.

And then this morning, something shifted. As I was eating my oatmeal, I actually said to myself “I feel better now…I feel like I’ve turned a corner and feel like eating well again…I wonder what that’s all about?” and then not ten minutes later, I’m not even kidding you, I felt that old familiar stab in my lower abdomen and then the light bulb went on over my head. “Oh…it’s THAT time of the month! No wonder I’ve felt like I couldn’t get enough food!!” I had totally forgotten that it was time for my cycle to begin – I just thought that I was seriously backsliding away from all the good habits I’ve cultivated throughout the last year. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to know I’m back in my right mind now. 🙂

Then a friend of mine posted this article on FB and I thought it was a timely read. I do feel like my ultimate success will come down to whether or not I can let go of old habits and embrace new ones. I’m also working on some emotional eating concepts, but I believe that those things are tied in with habits as well. The subject of habits is really interesting to me – it just clicks with me regarding my weight loss (or lack thereof). I have to cultivate the habits that will lead to weight loss – I think I always sort of believed that once I lost weight it would be easier to have healthy habits, which when I type that out makes no sense whatsoever, but sometimes the brain just believes what it believes. As I said in my last post, sometimes my brain is a weird and confusing place.

One thing I know is key when changing habits is having patience. Losing weight at approximately one pound per month over the last 11 months has taught me loads about patience! Only in the last couple of months have I learned to be okay with the fact that it might take me 2 or 3 years to reach my goal weight – of course I wish it would go faster, and if I continue to work on changing some more habits, it probably will, but for now I realize that if I keep doing what I’m doing, I WILL lose weight, but it will be slow. And I’m okay with that.

Here’s a list of some of the habits I’ve adopted that seem to be coming pretty easy to me lately:

  • Having dinner early in the evening. I like getting dinner over and done with before 6:30 so I can have the rest of the evening to digest.
  • Going to Zumba twice a week. Zumba for me is less about working out and more about doing something I enjoy. I’ve found a class where the instructor and other participants are welcoming and a lot of fun. It’s a small class and I really enjoy it. Around here, I could find a Zumba class for every day of the week, but I think I’d get burned out if I went more than 2 or 3 times a week. So for now, twice a week is perfect.
  • My weekly calls with Amanda from Selvera. Knowing I’ll be talking with her keeps me accountable, even when I want to eat all the food in the world. I have no doubt that I’d be well over 200 pounds if I wasn’t working with her.
  •  Getting up 15 – 30 minutes earlier in the mornings. I got so tired of rushing around every morning trying to get myself and my family out the door for school and work that I decided to get up a few minutes earlier to give myself some breathing room. It just makes my day go so much more smoothly when I have time to actually drink my coffee instead of letting getting lukewarm on the kitchen counter. I’m really pleased with myself for developing this habit.
  • Getting plenty of sleep. I’ve been getting at least 7 hours of sleep at night and  I LOVE IT SO SO MUCH.
  • Blogging more often. It really does help when I come here and unload or share thoughts or just ramble incoherently for a little while. It’s such a release. 🙂

Some of things I’d like to work on cultivating in the next year are:

  • Daily workouts. I would really like to find something that I enjoy as much as Zumba for the days when I don’t go to Zumba. Right now I can’t think of anything that I would like to do for an hour that would also work up a sweat. The thought of getting on the treadmill in my cold dark garage is about as appealing as a root canal and I don’t want to mess up my sleeping mojo by having to get up at 4:30 am to do an hour long DVD. I’m beginning to think that I might be a social exerciser, meaning that group classes might be the way to go, but I still don’t know what I would like to do.
  • Eliminate grazing after work. This is my Achilles Heel. For as long as I can remember, as soon as I came home from school (or later on in my life, work) I would head to the kitchen and grab a snack or six. Eating was a way to unwind or celebrate being home. I could easily polish off 1,000 calories and then STILL eat dinner two hours later. This habit wasn’t a problem for me for a long time because I was so active throughout the day, but when I got this desk job and became sedentary…it caught up to me in a big way (pun fully intended). I am working on this habit now and have come a long way with it, but I still need to keep working on it.
  • Eliminate emotional eating behaviors. I eat mostly in response to emotional cues. Bored? Let’s eat. Sad? Let’s eat. Happy? Let’s eat. If there’s an emotion, there’s an appropriate food to match. This is another deeply ingrained habit that I learned at a young age, so it’s going to take some time and effort to replace it.
  • Finding things that I enjoy doing. If you asked me what my interests are, I would say Zumba and reading, and that’s about it. I don’t really have a hobby that I get excited about. I like getting together with friends, but sometimes it’s hard to coordinate schedules. Maybe I should find a book club? I don’t know, but this is one of those things I need to actively work on in the next year because enjoying my life will ultimately lead to my leaning less on food for entertainment.

So there you have it…I’m working on shifting some beliefs and actions so that I can live a healthier, happier life. Do you have any habits that you have changed or are in the process of changing? I’d love to hear all about it – you can comment below or you can email me at sassypearblog@gmail.com if you don’t want share them here. 🙂