According to a recent study by the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, 43% of those of us with celiac disease are not at our ideal weight. Whether working to lose, gain, or maintain, many of us have to pay a lot of attention to what we eat and how much we exercise in order to get and stay healthy. It's especially hard to do when there are significant distractions that pull us off our A-game with our resolve to stick with a meal plan or exercise regimen. That's when I most need to go on autopilot -- that is, take the thinking out of the mix, and stick with the plan as scheduled.
The key, of course, is to have a plan in the first place. Frankly, I think most of us do have some sense of what will sufficiently nourish us to meet our goals. It's when we fail to plan or get distracted and pulled off track that we wake up one morning, pull on a pair of pants we haven't worn in a couple of months and discover that they don't fit anymore. I hate when that happens.
In my world, summer is over, the kids are going back to school, and things at my Day Job are getting a bit hectic. It's more important than ever that I implement The Plan. For me, that means eating a diet that has a high nutrient-to-calorie ratio, a la Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eat to Live program. Essentially that means that I eat a lot of vegetables and legumes and sparingly eat refined carbs and animal products. I have to plan ahead, I need support, and I need accountability. Menu planning, shopping and cooking happen on the weekends, I have help from an online support program called PEERtrainer, and I use a smart phone and web app called LoseIt! to track what I eat to provide the accountability, at least to myself. I also weigh myself every morning, but I track my progress for real on a weekly basis and dismiss daily fluctuations that don't jibe with my perception of my actual effort to stay on plan.
As for exercise, it's easy to let it fall by the wayside when times get busy. My tried and true method is to get up 45 minutes early every day and just get it done. I feel virtuous all day, and usually more relaxed and energetic. Lately I've been biking, but I also like running (okay, jogging). Sometimes I walk briskly. Sometimes I do high intensity interval training (HIIT), but I've found I don't stick with it very long, and the real key is finding something that's adequately entertaining so that I stay with it. When the weather turns bad, I turn on the TV... and do a workout video or a Wii Fit workout program like EA Sports Active. I also have a $10/month gym membership that I use just often enough to feel like I got my $10-worth. When I go to the gym, I do the 30-minute express weight/cardio interval circuit. I found that I understand all of those machines, it works every body part, and there's hardly ever anyone else in the corral of machines. Since I'm already there, if I have time I'll usually throw in some extra cardio on an elliptical machine or treadmill. I have to plan the night ahead what exercise I will be doing the next morning, so that I have the right clothes or gear handy. Mostly it depends on the weather and if I need to leave early for work. The key is having a plan so that when I wake up in the morning, I don't have to decide then. I've learned that it's VERY easy to hit the snooze alarm multiple times when I leave the decision-making up to my theta-wave brain. I know that real exercise experts would scoff at my workout regimen, and that's okay. I know that if I develop a real goal I'll have to make a plan that includes milestones and all that (I've been flirting with the idea of a run-bike-run sort of duathlon because my very cool friend Kia does them, but don't tell anyone.)
I help people develop meal plans and stay on track to meet their healthy weight goals. E-mail me to set up a free half-hour consultation to discuss your goals.