the WHAT of tracking

You want to track. You intend to track. But, what do you track?

Don’t say everything. Unless you’re already tracking close to everything, everything might be too much.  Since tracking helps you focus your attention and energy on changing behavior and habits, consider what you want to change.  Then track that.

You could track…

individuals walking shoes

Your steps: If your goal is to get more steps, then tracking the number of steps you get each day is important.  If you don’t know how many you did yesterday, then how will you know you got more steps in today unless you track it. Check out how 100 more steps add up.

Cute parson russell terrier dog on lead on walk with his owner10 minutes of activity: If your goal is to move more, you could track your time in 10 minutes blocks of physical activity.  A walk around the block for your morning break could be one check-mark. Vacuuming the house could be another couple of marks. Walking the dog, yet another.  Soon you’ll want to mark off one more block then you did yesterday, or you’ll make the effort to get at least one in today. Change it up.

 

green and red healthy foodYour servings of fruits & veggies: If your goal is to eat 5 or more servings of fruits & vegetables each day, then give yourself a gold star for every serving.  Soon you might be planning your weekly menu around your veggies to ensure you get your gold stars. Increase your plant slant.

 

water with mint, cucumber, and limeYour water: If you’re trying to make water your go-to beverage choice, tracking the number of glasses or ounces you grab each day can help.  Celebrate and mark each time you choose water over soda.  Drink up.

 

use the remote control to change channels on TelevisionYour TV time:  Your tracking goal doesn’t just have to be about increasing the better choices. Sometimes tracking can help you decrease behaviors that you want to change.  With a goal of no more than two hours of recreational screen time each day, you could track your TV time to identify your baseline watching and then make changes from there.  Remember, I may have written TV, but this could include your computer, smartphone, and tablets too.  What’s in your day that shouldn’t be?

 

bigstock woman decision donut fruitYour emotions, feelings, level of satisfaction, or stress:  Tracking creates awareness about choices, situations, and behaviors.  If you track your emotions or stress level before you eat, you could identify a trend that when you feel bored, you reach for crunchy snacks.  After certain situations, you note that you’re feeling extremely stressed, and you go for chocolate.  If you track your satisfaction level during meals, you may find that you stop eating when you feel comfortable and not waiting until you feel full. Make each day delicious.

WHAT will you track this week?

keep, let go, begin in 2016

I love the week between Christmas and New Years.  It’s a great time to dream about what I can accomplish in 2016.  But it’s also a time to look back and see what worked, what didn’t, and move forward.  I don’t set resolutions, but I do choose a motto for the new year.  I also look at what I want to KEEP, LET GO, and BEGIN in the next year.

weight_loss_tracking_for_small_steps

KEEP Tracking — Okay, I did let the tracking go over the last couple of weeks, but I’m going to keep tracking my food, my treats, and my activity.

 

Cute parson russell terrier dog on lead on walk with his owner, isolated on white background

LET GO of excuses — There will always be more to do in re-establishing my organizing business here in Pennsylvania.  I will let go of the excuse that I’m too busy, or that I’ll just finish this or that before I go to the gym or for my walk.

 

illustration depicting a sign post with directional arrows containing a life choice concept. Blurred background.

BEGIN asking — Whether it’s asking how a meal is prepared or asking for additional support on my journey, this year I’m going to ask more questions and make more requests.

 

What will you Keep, Let Go, and Begin this week?


 

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simplify

There never seems enough time to do all the things you want to do and all the things you feel you need to do.  Simplifying routine tasks and one-off projects can free up time for yourself.  Making things simpler can also improve your chances of doing them and maintaining your progress.

To simplify means to make things easier, to decrease the steps involved or limit the decisions to make.

Here are some things you could simplify this week:

  • Restaurant choices:  Pick three restaurants that have on-plan food options.  When you’re asked out for lunch or dinner, you have your suggestions ready.
  • Tracking:  If you’re tracking consistently – keep going.  However, if you’ve stopped tracking consider something simpler.  Take a photo on your smartphone, jot your food choices in a small notebook, or mark it on a white board you’ve put on the refrigerator.  Don’t worry about numbers, just track choices.
  • Your expectations:  What is success?  What is good enough?  How much do you really have to do?  Is success losing those 5 (or 50) pounds?  Or is success walking up the stairs without getting out of breath?

Take a look at one of your daily routines (weight loss related or not) and identify how you could make it simpler and easier to accomplish.

What will you simplify this week?

Check It Out

If you have Weight Watchers® eTools there are videos available to help you estimate the PointsPlus Values for restaurant meals.  Here’s The Untrackables Go Out for Mexican

Huffington Post has a great slide show of 11 Oversized Restaurant Meals in their article Restaurant Portion Size:  Nearly All Entrees Exceed Nutrition Recommendations.  The article is good but scroll down to the slide show.  You may not have the restaurant in your town but it’s still a good reference.  Check out the salad.

 

Leave a comment and share how you are balancing, prioritizing, or multitasking. 

If you found this post useful, supportive, interesting or fun, please share it with a friend.

tracking AGAIN

I’m sticking with tracking as my small step this week.

I went from 0 days of tracking to 4.3 days of tracking last week.  If you do the math correctly, my percentage increase in tracking is infinite.  After all something is infinitely more than nothing.  Yes, even though I only tracked 61% of my food last week, I still had an amazing increase from the week (or rather months) before.

So…I’m sticking with tracking this week and focusing on the value of tracking.Yes, You Can!

What’s the value of tracking?

  • It makes me aware of my choices, at least after the fact. I can then make a different choice the next time I’m reaching for something to eat.
  • I become aware of the amount of food I eat.
    • How much satisfies me.
    • How much does my brain think I need vs. how much my body really does need.
    • What 1/2 cup really looks like.
  • I lost 1.6 pounds.  Even with tracking only 61% of my meals, I lost weight.  This week that 61% won’t have the same effect but as my tracking improves, so will my results.
  • I can look back at previous trackers when I’ve lost and use those same meal ideas.  Meal planning done!
Will you track with me again this week?

Check It OutSuccess is not final, failure is not fatal:  it is the courage to continue that counts.  Winston Churchill

Other things to track and other ways to do it:

challenges, changes, and journeys

I’m still working on getting back to reasonable portion sizes this week.  After last week’s caloric excesses (see oops, I forgot to plan my vacation), my plan, goal, and intention was to get back to reasonable portion sizes, but….  Steve and I have been spending the last week eating his favorite foods and going to his favorite restaurants.  He’s leaving for a job in Pennsylvania and I’ll be staying here in Hilo for another year or so while I get the house on the market and wait for it to sell.

We are starting on our next adventure, and of course the change is a great excuse to eat and drink too much.  But I’m not going to let it take me any further down that path.

Here are the potential challenges I see ahead and, take action on your challenges, changes and journeysmore importantly, here are some strategies I’ll be using:

Emotional eating because I’m missing Steve — we are planning to Skype and enjoy a cooking date.  One or two Sundays a month, we’ll both make the same dishes and freeze the extras for quick and healthy meals.  Time together AND healthier choices!

Less exercise — Hey, anyone in East Hawaii want to meet for a walk on:

  • Friday afternoons & Saturday mornings TBD

Or, does anyone want to try being virtual exercise buddies?

Eating too much of the wrong things — I’m tracking again.  Tracking works. I know this.  We all know this.  The challenge is making it a habit again.  I could track every bite, I could start with tracking what I eat at dinner only, or  I could track all the in-between meal snacks.  I could track using an online tool like Weight Watchers eTools, or go my usual way — paper and pen (and gold stars).  I think this week I’ll try online and see how that works for me.  And, yes, I’m going to track everything.  I need to bring my awareness back to what and how much.

I know you have your challenges, changes, and journeys too.  What do you want to have happen?  How do you want to handle them?

Will you track with me this week?

Check It Out

I needed some new pans and found these – GreenPan.  Cooking and clean up are easy.  They’re a great choice for cooking low fat.  In fact, use only a little oil for taste, as a little goes a looooong way.

Check out Steve’s latest book.  It’s a short story, a fun read and only $0.99

If you found this post useful, supportive, interesting or fun, please share it with a friend.

mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard, oh my

Four small steps this week:

#1 – spend 15 minutes and clean out the condiments in your refrigerator

  • toss anything that is expired
  • toss anything that is not on-plan
  • toss anything that you don’t like or haven’t used in awhile

#2 – read the label on your condiments and verify the PPV* or the calories (however you track) for every condiment left in your refrigerator. Check out the added salt or sugar if those are ingredients you’re watching out for.  Here are two links that point out what to look for on the nutrition facts label:

#3 – add your own label to give you a quick visual for which condiments you can use liberally and which you want to measure carefully.  Here’s one idea – put a gold star on the cap for the ones you can use with no measuring.  Or write the PPV and/or serving size on the container in big letters so that you can easily see it.

Check out my list of condiments and their PPV

#4 – try something new.  Hungry Girl’s Best Low-Calorie Condiments

*PPV – PointsPlus Values® from Weight Watchers®
How will you liven up your meals this week without going off-plan?

Check It Out

Organize for Weight Loss – 3 areas you can organize to support your weight loss goal.

If you found this post useful, supportive, interesting or fun, please share it with a friend.  

organize for weight loss

This week I’m sharing the recording and handout from the Organize for Weight Loss teleclass I gave on Thursday.  Some of the strategies may be familiar to you as I’ve written about them here in Small Steps.  Other ideas may be good reminders and still others may suggest whole new options for you.  Enjoy the teleclass, it’s about 50 minutes.  The handout has even more ideas and strategies, so make sure to download it.

Listen to ORGANIZE FOR WEIGHT LOSS 2014

Download the Organize for Weight Loss HANDOUTS  – please provide your name and email below to get the link. [email-download download_id=”1506″ contact_form_id=”1766″]

Additional resources and program offers:

My Kindle books are only $0.99 to download from Amazon:

 31 Small Steps to Organize for Weight Loss

31 Small Steps to Organize Your Life

Also available in paperback for $4.99 from Amazon:

31 Small Steps to Organize for Weight Loss

31 Small Steps to Organize Your Life

Interested in support and focus?  Try my Stop Dieting and Start Organizing: 6 Weeks to Organize for Weight Loss (and Health).  Click Here for more details.

What organizing idea will you use to help your weight loss this week?

Check It Out

My partner on the calls this month was Amy Tokos of Freshly Organized.  She presented organizing strategies for the family.  If you would like to listen to her teleclass or take a look at her handouts, go to freshlyorganized.com.

 

If you found this post useful, supportive, interesting or fun, please share it with a friend.

just for today

I’m keeping it simple this week.Im doing the best i can_linda giles

List 3 reasons you want to lose/maintain weight:

  • _______________________
  • _______________________
  • _______________________

List 3 reasons you don’t want to do those things that are necessary to lose/maintain weight (i.e. tracking, exercising, limiting portion sizes, choosing different foods, etc):

  • _______________________
  • _______________________
  • _______________________

Now which is more important to you today?

I’m not asking you to choose which is more important for the whole week.  I’m asking you to make a choice that affects the next 5 minutes, hour or maybe the next 10 hours.  That’s all.

I’m focusing on today. I’m asking myself these same questions. Which is why, I’m once again putting my computer down and going for a walk.  When you’re done here, I encourage you to do the same.

What are your reasons today?

Other Links to Check It Out 

Whether your goal is to write, lose weight, exercise or anything else, Hugh Howey has it right – assume the position.

You’ll probably be getting gifts from friends, neighbors, and clients, many of which will be candies, cookies and other goodies.  Check out my listing for the Weight Watchers PointsPlus Values for some of them.  Let me know of any others you want added to the list.

My video – One More Small Step that Can Make a 23 Pound Difference

walkin’ the dog

Amazon yo yo Do you ever feel like a yo-yo exerciser?  No, I’m not asking if you take your yo-yo for a walk (though walking the dog in real life is good for you both).

Are you the type that has gone from the couch to the 5k finish line and back to the couch?  Maybe more than once?  Have you gotten into an exercise routine, enjoyed it so much you even thought about becoming a certified instructor only to be distracted by life and found yourself on the couch again?

I don’t think I’m the only one that is a yo-yo exerciser, so I’m sharing my intention for this week.  I know that I need to get moving in order to be healthy, but that isn’t motivating me.  Knowing that the extra pounds I’m carrying around will come off a bit faster if I get off the couch doesn’t change my behavior.  Even using the incentive of having that treat totally guilt free if only I got my activity together isn’t working to getting me on my feet and out the door on a routine basis.

So…what am I going to do this week?  Back to taking small steps.  The only step I’m taking this week is to track my steps each day.  I have my pedometer Amazon fitbit(Fitbit) and I actually wear it every day.  It’s a normal part of my dressing.  Wake up, get dressed, clip on Fitbit, sit down and write Small Steps.  Brush teeth, change clothes, clip on Fitbit, go to work, type on my computer.  Come home, change clothes, clip on Fitbit, lay on couch (or sit at computer).  I’m wearing it.  Now I’m going to record it.

Dug is a Catahoula Leopard Dog
Dug is a Catahoula Leopard Dog

I know that I will naturally begin to add more steps just because I want to get to the next 1000 (or 100) steps.  I’ll begin to take steps just to beat yesterday’s record.  Steve and I will race to put the shopping carts away and count those steps.  I’ll take one more lap around the driveway with Dug (walkin’ the dog!).  It will become more of a game then exercise.

 

 

What small step will you take this week to get off the couch?

energy and persistence _ ben franklinCheck It Out  

 My blog on pedometers and a link to a Consumer Reports review of pedometers.

I know I share stories and pictures of my dogs more than my husband so here is a chance to see a picture of him and read his Dug story (big dog, big dreams).

2013.18

 

what’s in your day, part 3

Where are your tools?

By now you have a short list of things youThere are no short cuts to any place worth going.  Unknown want to bring into your day and activities you feel are taking up too much of your time. So what tools will help you make the transition from doing what you’re doing now to accomplishing what you want?

Activity Specific Tools:  In part 1, you chose one or two activities you want to add into your life.  What do you need to do it and where will you put these items?  If you want to go to your Zumba class after work then can you get your jazzy outfit and sneakers together in a bag by the front door the night before, ready to grab on the way out no matter how rushed you are in the morning?  If you want to journal every morning, do you have your journal,  pens, and a comfy spot to go to?  What do you need and where will you put it so that it’s ready when you are?

Alarm:  Use the alarms on your cell phone to remind you to start your chosen activity. If you want to go walking in the morning, set your alarm.  If you want to do your meal planning on Tuesday nights, set your alarm.  If you want to leave the office on time so you can make your yoga class, set your alarm.  I often set two alarms to help me transition from one activity to the next. The first is a reminder to wrap up and the second is to get going.  Will you use an alarm to remind you to start?

Timer:  Timers can keep you focused and get you started.  Use a timer to help get you started by giving yourself permission to ‘just do 15 minutes’.  Use a timer to limit the time you spend on the activities you identified in part 2 (activities in your day that shouldn’t be).  I also use a timer to make progress on a project I’ve put off doing. I give myself 23 minutes of work and 23 minutes of play and repeat until the project is done.  Will a timer help you?

Planner / Calendar / Schedule:  You most likely will never find the time to do what you want, so you need to set the time, make it a priority and schedule it first. You want to meditate or exercise, when will you do it? Put it on your schedule. If you want to do meal planning each week, when will you do it? Block out that time in your planner. I have to admit all the books tell you if you want to exercise, schedule it and treat it like any other appointment you’ve made, but I still find myself slipping the activity to “later” or to “tomorrow”.  So, though the advice is sound, I can’t tell you how to keep the appointment with yourself; it’s an area I’m still working on myself.  However, by putting it on my calendar I am more likely to plan my day and have a better chance of doing it.  Of course, if I’ve scheduled that activity with a buddy, I rarely cancel.  Will you put yourself on your own priority list?  Can you schedule an appointment with you?

Tracking Tools:  Tracking can be as simple as a piece of paper and pen by the TV remote control marking hours of screen time. Tracking can be colorful stickers on a calendar showing the days you got your walk in.  In can also be a computer/smartphone app that sends you reminders and kudos as you track your progress. What you focus on expands, continues and supports your desired change.  That’s all that tracking is – a tool to help you focus. By the way, tracking should be a tool not an activity in itself, so keep it as simple as you can to keep you coming back.

Acceptance:  Acceptance is a tool, a skill, and an invaluable asset to your health and happiness.  Acceptance that change takes time, that new behaviors and activities take effort, and that less-than-perfect adherence to your plan is still progress towards where you want to go.  Keep going!

Where are your tools this week?

Last week’s what’s in your day, part 2 — what’s there that shouldn’t be?

Previous week’s what’s in your day, part 1 — what’s not there that should be?

What’s in your Easter Basket?
Check out the PointsPlus® Values for a few common Easter candies on my blog, www.smallsteps.us/2013/03/30/weight-watchers-pointsplus-values-for-easter-candy

(2013.13)