Best Practices and Tips, Tools

How: My Tools and Tactics

A goal without a plan is just a wish.

In July ’15, I started using a DayDesigner(R) by BlueSky, and still love it. I however, failed to journal and plan my food as consistently or with the same vigor as I have for my DayDesigner. Thus, I’m using my regular planner to track the when/what, since I will see it every day for other tasks/goals. Losing forty pounds sounds intimidating, so I have to break it down to not seem as scary, as explained below.

Monthly Goals and Plan to Accomplish Goals

Starting with the “big picture” goal, I then broke out my months into smaller, digestible pieces:

  1. Monthly Numbers/% to be tallied at end of month
  2. Events where I will be challenged/stressed, aka likely to cave
  3. Physical accomplishments- going from a full assisted to only half assisted chin-up at the gym, or finishing C25K (highly recommend), as examples.
  4. Success habits that, no matter what, should be done every day of the month.

Weekly Goals and Actions

Using a planner with a month-view followed by a weekly view allows me to actually understand not only where I may be pressed to give in to temptation, but also identify opportune days to take measurements, plan my meals and take progress pics. Without a plan for these things, I’d probably just go back to what I was doing, which clearly, wasn’t working- haphazardly journaling my food in myfitnesspal, but if the day got too far ahead of me, I’d rarely journal at end of day. In my planner, I’ve planned out the days with actions such as:

  1. Every 21 days= Progress Pics
  2. Every Saturday is weigh in and measurements day
  3. Sunday is meal plan/prep (More on this later)
  4. Since I’m starting 21DayFix on the 5th, I numbered the following days through the 21st day I’ll be on the plan, through January 25th.
  5. The Last Saturday of the month, I will tally the results, and also edit my progress pics to be next to one another. I don’t want to do this the same-day as the pics being taken because the pics should be quick, then it’s back to business. I don’t want to get stuck over-analyzing my pictures when I shouldn’t.

Other Tools to Help the Journey:

In addition to planning out the months with numbers and when I will measure/record my progress, I’m also tracking my workouts, water intake, and activity and feelings. It sounds like a lot but I will sum everything up shortly.

Same one, but mine is cooler because I added a Zelda sticker.
  • Hydroflask(c)– This steel canteen goes with me everywhere, for water refills on the go. I put ice in it before camping, and on the last day of camping, my ice was still in solid form in this thing. I like the steel over plastic because it keeps the water taste pure, to me. It’s also more rugged, and looks pretty cool, in my opinion.
  • 21DayFix (21DFX) food containers, and meal plan. I didn’t buy the entire kit, because I really need to learn portion control and focus on whole foods. I don’t need workout DVD’s, or yet another protein shaker. This is risky though, because it means I won’t get the online community interaction/support I would if I paid full cost for the full kit.
  • Workout Journal-Peaceable Kingdom Kitty Cat Diary with Lock & 2 Keys Ages 5+I have a 4×6 lined journal I use, to track what I did as a workout, when. I glued some simple workouts I like, onto a few pages, so I can reference them if I want to mix it up, or forget what I should do. I’ve found this little journal holds me way more accountable than a google calendar invite. I can just dismiss the invite. I can’t dismiss a journal I’ve neglected for three days, staring at me on the kitchen counter (keeping the journal in a spot I look at every day is helpful). I can quickly see in here that two weeks ago I was using a lighter weight so maybe I should challenge myself in the next workout, too!
    Last, I use my fitness journal to track my progress- my measurements are recorded, along with my weight, on a few pages I horizontally lined to make 8 columns, in the very back, flagged with an adorable paw-print sticky note. 
  • Food Planning Journal- This is a 3×5 journal that has a monthly view, followed by a weekly view page with several lines. I put what I’ll eat on the monthly front view, then list anything I need to buy for it, in the lined weekly section. Out of the three journals I’m using, I recognize this may be a bit much. It’s the most at-risk for not being used, but I’m trying it to see if it makes sense, or if I should do something else. I like the size because I can toss it in my purse when heading to work, then to the grocery store, so it’s with me when I ‘m eating, and when I need to go get food. I plan out the week in advance, on Sundays, for the week, in case I need to prep any food items or food containers with meals. More on this later.

  • Smart Watch, or Fitness tracker- This motivates me to move more, and tells me when my heart rate is at the elevated rate that burns more calories. I got a Moto360 for Christmas, so it’s both in one. Excited to take this thing on a run!
  • Pinterest. Pinterest. Pinterest– I’m storing tons of yummy 21DFX recipes, workout routines, others’ personal journey to be a healthier person, and inspirational quotes, on my boards. I have a few boards for specific nutrition plans, such as when I doing Keto to drop weight fast, but 21 day fix has some carbs, although in moderation, so it’s got it’s own board.

All items considered, the two simplest things I believe, to achieve success, are nutrition, and a plan, entailing sacrifice. How one monitors his/her nutrition, and maps out their plan for success, is a matter of preference.
What tools have helped you along your fitness journey that you can’t do without?

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