Decide – The Most Important Step to Meeting Your Goals

When Intention Meets Action

Decide“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”

 
Decide. I posted the above quote on my Facebook earlier this week. It struck a chord with me. I’ve struggled with my weight and my unhealthy relationship with food  for so long it became my comfort zone. My food behaviors started in childhood. I know that change was a long time coming and the turning point didn’t just happen in an instant, but it felt like it. One day I just got fed up and disgusted with the way things were and I decided. I decided to make the change that would allow me to move towards my goal and break the chains that have held me back from my purpose. At this point I can’t tell you what took me so long to get to this place. I am just glad that I did.
 
Within an hour or so of posting this quote on Facebook I was helping out at a health fair for work. We had a table with diabetes information and some models of what 5 lbs of fat looks like compared with 5 lbs of muscle. That sparked some conversation with people. Some people would pick it up and talk about the fat they needed to lose. Others would pick it up and talk about their success story. One woman had lost 100 lbs. Another woman had lost about 20 lbs and spoke so confidently about how she intended to lose the rest. She talked about how she used to live and the changes that she had made in her eating and activity. I asked her, “What changed for you?” and she said, “I decided that I didn’t want to live this way any more.” She decided. The words echoed in my head. Could it really be that easy? 

Are you ready to decide that you’re not going to stay where you are any longer?

Focus

Once you decide it’s time to focus. Focus on actions that move you forward towards your goals. Focusing on the past does not move you forward. It’s OK to learn from the past but don’t hang out there. Focus on what you can control. What you focus on drives you. 

Knowledge

There is value in gaining knowledge but don’t get stuck acquiring enough knowledge until the time is perfect. The time will never be perfect. Take what you know and take a step forward. Build momentum.

Action

Continuing to build knowledge and applying that knowledge with action. Each day start out stating to yourself what your goals are and the steps you will take today to move towards them.

And now as William Wordsworth said, 

“To begin, begin.”

Intermittent Fasting & Keto Diet

What have I learned this week combining intermittent fasting & keto:

I don’t need breakfast. What, what?

Since my body is burning fat for fuel now I can go longer periods of time without needing to eat. I am doing intermittent fasting. We all fast at night when we sleep. Extending that fast until later in the day has all sorts of benefits. I do what’s called a fat fast meaning I have some fat in the morning in my coffee but no other food. I eased into this gradually I started by keeping my feeding times down to 8 hours (fasting for 16 hours).  So I was eating for the first time at 10 a.m. and stopping eating by 6 p.m.  This past week I worked on lengthening the fasting window to 11 or 12. I actually went until 1:30 one day when I was busy at work. 

You can do intermittent fasting along with any nutrition plan. I am doing it along with a ketogenic diet (keto).  Keto helps my body prefer fat as fuel and doesn’t stimulate insulin spikes. Since insulin is a fat storage hormone this helps me stop the continual gain and begin to lose fat.

I also love the flexibility of intermittent fasting. I don’t have to follow a strict schedule. It’s all about finding what works for me. As for right now I’m fasting 16+ hours a day during the weekdays. On the weekend I’m planning to eat breakfast with my family so my fasting window will be shorter. One thing that challenged me at first was wanting to snack near bedtime. I used to do this every night. In the hour before bed I used to have cheese or nuts or some other snack. I wasn’t hungry. I just did it because I wanted to. Purely out of habit. Now I’m mindful of my behavior and I distract myself when I feel the need to snack at night. Or I just go to bed.

What about breakfast being the most important meal of the day?

Well, I used to think this too.  I taught it to others for years. I thought that my body would go into starvation mode and I would do more harm than good. The funny thing is I believed that this was true while carrying around 35,000 extra calories stored right on my own body. Now I am allowing my body to burn those extra calories for fuel. And the result of that is that I’m losing weight and I feel great doing it. I’m enjoying delicious food along the way.

Learn more about intermittent fasting:

If you’re interested in learning more about intermittent fasting I recommend you watch Dr. Jason Fung on YouTube. This is a good one to start with:

He also has a great book called The Obesity Code that goes into detail about this concept.

Making Keto Easy

Don't Complicate It

keto bacon

Source: Flickr cookbookman17

I see so many people making keto complicated and it doesn’t have to be that way. I thought I’d write about some of the ways I make it easier for myself. This is week 6 of keto for me. I’ve lost 9.5 pounds so far and best of all I feel great.

Since I work full time I take about an hour out of my weekend and do food prep. One hour of food prep saves me much more than that throughout my work week. This weekend I prepped bacon, baked cheese, hard boiled eggs and cut up veggies.
 
To make the bacon I lay out as many strips as I can fit on a baking sheet. I bake it at 400 for 11-14 minutes (for thick bacon). It doesn’t splatter and the pieces come out nice and flat and not all curled up. For the baked cheese I cut up sliced cheese. This week I used Tillamook pre-sliced cheddar. I cut each slice into 4 squares and place them on a baking sheet with parchment paper. I baked it at 400 for about 6 or 7 minutes. I sprinkled them with Everything But the Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe’s. So yummy! I usually eat these plain but you could also use them to dip into guacamole or something similar. I peeled and cut up some carrots (I limit these because of carb count), celery (for filling with almond butter or cheese) and radishes. 

Sample daily keto menu for workdays:

On waking: I start my day with a cup (or two) of fatty coffee. I use 1 cup of coffee, 1 teaspoon grass-fed butter, and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or MCT oil. I put this in the blender so the oils blend in and don’t float on top. It gets nice and frothy like a fancy coffee house drink. It’s delicious and keeps me satisfied until mid-morning.
 
Breakfast: I usually take 2 hard boiled eggs and 2 pieces of bacon to work. This is where the food prep really pays off. If I am eating at home I will also saute some greens (kale or spinach) in butter.
 
Lunch: I usually bring 3 ounces of meat for my lunch. Most often it will be whatever leftovers we had from the night before. Otherwise I will bring a hamburger patty (I prep these ahead of time and keep them in the freezer for just this purpose). Another option is to prep some chicken salad or tuna salad and divide it up into daily servings. I also bring veggies or a green salad. For fat I will usually bring an avocado that I enjoy with just salt and pepper.
 
Snack: many days I’m not hungry in between meals so I don’t need a snack. If I do need something there are lots of choices: pickles, cheese, almond butter or other nut butters, veggie sticks, bacon, etc. 
 

Dinner: My family is not eating keto so dinner is more variable. The easiest is when we have meat and veggies. (i.e. steak and asparagus, pork chops and greens or other combinations). I will add some sort of healthy fat to that like grass-fed butter, avocado, or coconut oil. If they are having something that is not on my eating plan I will modify. For example if they are having spaghetti I will have some meat sauce over zucchini noodles. If they have burgers I will eat mine without the bun. There’s always a way to modify. If all else fails I’ll scramble up some eggs with cheese. 

Keep it simple!

Eating this way doesn’t have to be hard. I track my foods as an opportunity to learn. I find that I naturally eat way less calories by eating this way and I’m not hungry. It’s very refreshing!