“Spark”ing a Change

In my recent “week in review” post I mentioned that I strapped my FitBit back on after a short break from it, and have made several other changes and choices that I promised to discuss further.

What it comes down to, first and foremost, is that I am not currently happy with the state of my body. Some might look at me and scoff, because I’m certainly not huge by any stretch of the imagination, but it doesn’t all come down to specifically size. I’m not happy with my weight, for certain, as I’ve somehow managed to climb up to my 9-months-pregnant weight recently, but there are other aspects as well. I’ve been quite sedentary for quite a while, coupled with extremely poor eating habits and a tendency to snack on things like chips and candy every day, and the results are not pleasing. I’ve put on a lot of belly weight, which we all know is not healthy at all, and my thighs – which are rather thick and muscular to begin with – have grown as well, to the point that it actually hurts to wear jeans because they’re too tight all over. On top of all that, I just haven’t felt healthy, specifically in a cardiovascular sense. Playing with my daughter in any way that involves physical movement is almost certain to wear me out so quickly that I wonder if I haven’t aged 30 extra years and not noticed. All this comes together to create an extremely frustrating self-image that I am no longer satisfied to simply live with.

It’s time for some changes.

The first change that I decided to focus on is simply drinking enough water, which is something I’ve always struggled with, and I’ve recently found out that it’s even worse than I thought. I always subscribed to the well-known idea that we should all be drinking 8 glasses of water a day, but it turns out that the proper number is not nearly so rigid. Evidently, it actually depends on your body weight. Take your weight in pounds, cut that number in half, and the number you’re left with is how much water, in ounces, you should be consuming in a day. By these calculations I should be drinking nearly 20 oz per day more than the more well-known number, which I was already failing to reach. Even better, because caffeine is diuretic in nature, drinking coffee and tea does not add nearly as much water to your total as many people might believe. In truth, for every 8 oz of coffee or tea consumed, your body only absorbs about 1 oz of water, meaning you have to drink even more in the long run if you’re consuming that caffeinated goodness. So, with all that in mind, for the past week I’ve been taking much greater care to drink water constantly throughout the day. I haven’t been hitting that number every day, but thanks to cutting out things like pop and juice (which is also an excellent change to make), I’ve been doing much better and it’s been helpful in a number of ways.

The second change I made was to return to an old friend that I hadn’t used in a long time: SparkPeople. If you’ve never heard, it’s a site (and app) that combines food-and-exercise trackers with a sprawling online community rife with support, as well as numerous articles and resources to help you reach your goals. There are options to have the system create meal and exercise plans for you, teams you can join, exercise videos you can watch, and much more. It’s helped me before, back when I was pregnant and doing my best to stay within a healthy weight gain range, so I figured I would try it out again, if only for the ability to easily track how many calories I’m consuming. Much to my surprise, within a couple of days of setting up my new account I was contacted and asked if I’d like to join a challenge team. I looked into it and thought it sounded like good fun, and I could always use the support of teammates, so I’ve gone ahead and joined that as well. I’ve got high hopes, and fingers crossed, and I’m also a big fan of accountability, so if anyone here is interested in checking out SparkPeople and wants to trade off on pushing each other to the limit, feel free to add me as a friend: my username is TRACEYFROMTB

And the final change, which isn’t really a “change”, but is just something I’ve done that I hope will help, is that I’ve gone ahead and gathered as much “before” info as possible. Along with weight I’ve taken measurements all over different parts of my body, and posed for a “Before” photo, which may or may not have made me want to cry a little. I’ve set all this info aside and plan not to look at it again until I’m starting to feel discouraged, because chances are there will have been significant change by then that I’ve simply failed to notice. At least, that’s what I hope.

I could have written this post a week ago, but I was too busy actually working on these new plans to bother trying to talk about them. Now, however, I’ve gotten into a bit of a groove, and I’m happy to report that I’m already seeing results. Nothing huge, nothing worth throwing a party over, but enough to solidify in my mind that I can do this and I will do this. Mark my words. It’s time for a change.

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