A Millennial’s Guide to Healthy Living on the Go — Part 3: Accountability

MillennialGuide_HealthyLiving

If you missed part 1 or part 2 – head on over there first – this post will be here when you get back.

Part 3: Accountability

Once you’ve mastered planning and variety, it’s time to establish some sort of accountability. While plans do help stay on track, you will need another way to monitor your progress and keep you motivated.

First, it is essential to keep track of what you put into your body. I use the Weight Watchers app to count points, but you can use a food journal, a calorie counter app, the Nike FuelBand – whatever works for you! By entering what I eat into Weight Watchers, I make myself accountable for my actions.

This is also a great way to see how bad your current habits are if you’re having trouble sticking to a plan. If you count your calories for one week – you may shock yourself into making a change for the better.

You also have to establish accountability for daily exercise. For me, the schedule in my planner is enough. I am a list maker, and the satisfaction of crossing off my workout for the day is enough to get me there.

If you’re not as neurotic as me about to-do lists, you might want to try a gym buddy, a personal trainer, or attending regularly scheduled gym classes. By making specific appointments to go to the gym, you’re less likely to skip out.

You could even blog or post about your progress online. No one likes an obnoxious gym selfie, but social media can be a great place for finding a support network. If you publicly announce your goals it makes you more accountable.

You can also try talking with loved ones about your health goals. Saying it out loud will make it more real and sharing it with people who care about you will give you someone to be accountable for.

For instance, my boyfriend is so used to my evening work out sessions that if I come home still in work clothes the first thing out of his mouth is “You didn’t go to the gym?” He’s supportive of my lifestyle change and never judgmental. Find someone who can play this role for you and ignore the haters. If you have friends who judge you for making healthy decisions, they aren’t friends at all.

How do you maintain accountability for your health?

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Losing Control

Yesterday…

I lost control.

I let my anxiety get the best of me like I have so many times before. I let it wrap itself around me and smother me.

Like a chain reaction, one bad event led to another and another until I felt completely helpless and out of control.

Any trigger of stress or anxiety, big or small, can start me on the downward spiral.

Just one cookie. I deserve it.

I really should have eaten that cookie. It wasn’t even that good.I wonder how many weight watchers points that was?

At this point I might search for chocolate chip cookie in the weight watchers system, but then give up when I decide there are two large a range of points values for cookies, and I have no way of knowing how many points it actually was.

I guess I won’t count points today.

God, I’m going to get fat.

But, what’s one day!? I’m going to have another cookie.

I can’t believe I had two cookies already — it’s not even lunch time yet. Maybe I’ll skip lunch.

As I try not to think about food, I don’t realize that I’m chewing on my nails in place of a third cookie.

In 10 minutes, all of my nail polish is in a pile on my desk and some of my nails are so short they hurt.

Is my pinkie bleeding? Gross. 

All of my hard work to grow out my nails — gone in a matter of a few minutes.

This makes me feel worse.

Now I’ve classified today as a “bad day”

Co-Worker: “Want to get lunch?”

Me: “Sure” My day’s already ruined anyway

After lunch I have another cookie or whatever else I can get my hands on. And by the end of the day I’m feeling so lethargic and sad for myself the thought of going to the gym is about as appealing as getting a cavity filled.

And at the rate of my cookie consumption that might be in my future, too.

I make all kinds of jokes about it. But the truth is, at the end of the day like this I feel… well, awful.

I feel out of control. I feel fat. I feel unattractive. I feel sick. I feel small (and I don’t mean skinny).

And yet I do this to myself over and over again. I allow one stressful situation to take control of my entire day. I let it derail my health, my mood and my self control

My anxiety causes me to lose control sending me into a spiral of bad habits that cause even more anxiety and stress.

Once I’ve had three cookies, what’s another? Once I’ve bitten four nails, why not bite them all — make them even.

It’s a never-ending, vicious cycle.

I don’t think this is normal. I’m even a little hesitant to post something so personal on the internet, but my hope is that someone who feels the same might see this and not feel alone, and that they might share with me some way to deal with this constant battle against myself.

What I want is to be able to treat myself to the foods I love once in a while without allowing my emotions to fuel those choices and cause me to overeat.

But I’ve always been an all or nothing girl, and learning to do anything in moderation is easier said than done with me.

I don’t know how to fix it, but what I do know is that I can’t keep feeling like this.

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