How a Blank Calendar Can Help You Lose Weight

Dun Dun Dun! Introducing, one of the most powerful (and understated) weight loss tools in the known universe. A blank calendar for the month of November 2016.

november-2016-calendar-printable-free-blank-calendar-2016-2

The Power of a Blank Calendar

You might have read my earlier post about the fresh start hypothesis.  If so, you know that a clean slate (for example, a new month or week) can either help or hurt your weight loss efforts, depending on your own circumstances.

The blank calendar is mighty.  Why?

  • It’s a great way to leverage the positive psychological benefits of “starting fresh.”
  • It forces you to break a large daunting goal into smaller, more immediate goals (which translates to a higher rate of sustained motivation and success).
  • The concrete action of writing your goals down might alone be enough to keep you sticking to them
  • It can serve as a visual reminder of the bigger picture, which helps when motivation starts to wane
  • It’s effectively free! (Provided you have access to a computer and printer).

How to Use a Blank Calendar for Weight Loss

Step One. Find a printable blank calendar (I googled “blank calendar 2016”) and print said calendar
Step Two. Choose an achievable weight loss goal for one month (for example, 8 pounds). Subtract this goal from your current weight, and write your new goal weight the last day of the month.
Step Four. Create weekly weight loss goals, and write each new weekly weight at the end of each week.
Step Five. Surrender to the blank calendar (optional).
Step Six. Tape the calendar somewhere visible.
Step Seven. At the end of each week, reevaluate your goals. If you lost more than your weekly goal, you can change your next weekly goal post to reflect your current weight. If you lost less than your weekly goal, you can do the same. The key is that you can keep adjusting your goals as you get closer to the end of the month. (For more details, see this post.)

Weight Loss Cal 1.png
Your calendar might look something like this.

But How Do I Actually Lose Weight?

Obviously, the calendar itself is not a weight loss plan.  It’s just a tool to help you stay organized and to improve your stick-to-itness.

As far as losing the weight itself – there are plenty of different ways.  The right way will depend largely on your own circumstances and preferences, but removing processed foods and focusing on a plant based diet will likely go a long way.  In any event, you need to do what works for you.

Additional Uses of the Blank Calendar

In addition to using the blank calendar to plan your weight goals, you can also use the blank calendar to plan concrete actions on specific days to help you reach those goals.

These actions can be related to food intake or to exercise. Just remember to keep your actions achievable.

Weight Loss Calendar 2.png
Example of calendar with concrete behavioral actions

Also, keep in mind that missing one day doesn’t mean you should give up on the rest.  In fact, you will be better off if you plan for failure.

Rewards.  You can also use weekly or monthly rewards for making your goals (mani-pedi, anyone?).  Just remember not to be too hard on yourself if you miss a week.  Weight is weird, and it’s not the best measure of fat loss. On my own weight loss journey, I found that I lost weight 3 out of 4 weeks.

If you try this method, let me know how it works out for you.

If you have any thoughts on modifications, I’d love to hear those also.

Happy calendaring 🙂

unspecified-720

If you love Fat Girls Fitness, subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter.

And/or follow Fat Girls Fitness on Facebook

 

Advertisements

Falling into Fatness

8t8r2rr

As a basic millennial of the female type, I am under enormous pressure to enjoy Fall.

Yes, I’m white. Female. Twenty-something.  I understand well what my obligations are.

Boots are cute, everything is orange, and all the pumpkins have features carved into them. I get it. And I don’t mean to distance myself from my cohort, but I just don’t enjoy Autumn.  (Except, of course, for all the dogs in costumes.)

Fall makes me cold, and when I’m cold I want to eat creamy delicious things called “food.” When the leaves drop off, my body begins to sense that Winter is coming. This bodes poorly for my upper arms.

FullSizeRender 14.jpg
my only consolation

In Summer, hot long days bring me joy and food barely crosses my mind.  During Fall, I sometimes find myself wondering how the fella adjacent to me on the subway would taste drenched in Nutella.

Speaking of which, I had a rough weekend.

I ate a jar of Nutella – the whole jar. (In all fairness to me, it happened over a two day period. But also, I ate it with buttery crackers).

This is what happens in Fall. Bad bad things. Bad chocolatey things.

I don’t consider eating a jar of Nutella a setback, actually. And I’m not “Falling” into Fatness.

My former self would ruminate, and to be perfectly honest – my current self is doing some of that also. But my current self also has a sense of proportion: Nutella happens, life goes on.

Fall is an easy time to put on weight for me, as I suspect it is for many people. But the key, I think, is to allow yourself to let go a little and remind yourself that not every decision needs to be a great decision.  The important thing is that you regularly make good decisions.

There is no such thing as falling off the bandwagon. There is no such thing as “all or nothing.” To the extent these things exist, they are products of your own imagination. Products of my own imagination, and I’ve lived with them for years.

This weekend I ate an entire jar of Nutella. With crackers. But today, I’ll eat eggs and veggies. I love eggs and veggies, and I’ll enjoy the contrast.

I don’t think weight maintenance should be such a tricky thing. It’s hard as long as you make it hard, and for me, it’s harder in the colder months.

My simple tricks are these:

  1. don’t freak out;
  2. don’t keep tempting caloric things in the house;
  3. don’t avoid the scale (catch problems while they’re small)
  4. exercise if you want (long walks are nice)

I’m also going to try a bit harder to find joy in the colder months. Starting with cute new Fall boots, and MAYBE (just maybe) a new fitness regimen 🙂

unspecified-7

 

 

 

Oprah Loves Bread (and dough)

Oprah loves bread and I love Oprah. So whats the problem?

The 12 Million Dollar Tweet

Back in January, the internet was abuzz with Oprah’s 12 million dollar tweet. In all fairness, the tweet did contain a 30 second video. And also, in all fairness, the video was about losing 26 pounds. Hard? Yes. $12 million dollars hard? Maybe. Especially when you consider the fact that she did it all while eating bread.

The Oprah Effect

Now, experts are beginning to look at Weight Watcher’s stock for the “Oprah Effect.” And indeed, it appears that Oprah’s recent involvement is starting to pay off.

Carbs are the Devil

I think capitalism is the best. And I think Oprah is the best.  But I can’t help but wonder whether it’s time for companies like Weight Watchers to do more to change the story about carbs.

I get it. It’s all about low-carbs these days. Weight Watchers, which has been struggling recently, is trying to generate PR by taking an active stand against the recent “establishment trend” of a lower carb approach. It’s Goliath posing as David, and right now it works.

But here is the thing – people, in general, are misinformed about EVERYTHING when it comes to nutrition. Our science is bad, our information is bad, and I would pose that our entire approach is misguided.

Is it ok to eat a few carbs? Sure. Everything is ok. But it’s time to stop pitting fads against fads. We need to just get closer to whole foods.

Weight Watchers May be OK, But it Probably Isn’t

I’ve done Weight Watchers before. In the late 90’s. In the 2000’s. In the 2010’s.

I’ve tried all their various formulations. Many times. Who hasn’t?

Weight Watchers does some good. Last time I checked, veggies were unlimited. And I like that. There is a focus on physical activity as well. Great. Maybe Weight Watchers is just what some people need.

But in the end, it didn’t work for me. Sure, it “worked” in some sense. But it didn’t WORK. Not in that deep way that changes how you approach nutrition. And that’s because in the end, it was about counting and restriction. And that is not a satisfying lifestyle for most people.

Another problem is the focus on processed foods. I don’t care how much I count, if I’m eating processed foods, I am never satisfied. It’s just not how people are meant to eat.

Most People Who Do Weight Watchers Regain the Weight

So I’m sure this is true with any diet. Which is exactly why it’s best to avoid weight gain in the first place, by keeping a healthy metabolic state and living on what we were meant to live on – whole foods.

What I find slightly suspect is this statement from a former Weight Watchers business plan from 2001.  The plan emphasizes that its participants “demonstrated a consistent pattern of repeat enrollment over a number of years.” The average person would sign up for an average of FOUR separate program cycles.  Furthermore, in a documentary called “The Men Who Made Us Thin,” former CFO Richard Samber explained that the business was successful for this very reason.  The majority of customers regained the weight they lost.

But Maybe Weight Watchers is What Works for You

I don’t want to be overly critical of Weight Watchers. Losing weight is hard. Sometimes it takes a few tries, and often it never works out at all. Maybe WW is the right thing for you.

But I do want to make one point. Part of the reason that losing weight is so hard is because there are so many factors stacked against you.

In order to lose weight, you need to be strong not only in the face of physical temptation, but also cultural and family pressures. And that’s not all. You also need to be strong in the face of actual misinformation. You need to make smart choices in a world where choices are so often limited to processed foods.

So when Weight Watchers celebrates bread and pasta – some of today’s biggest modern culprits, it’s not really about carbs.

Because sure, a little bread is fine. But what’s not fine is their message. That, in a world of processed foods, it’s preferable to lose weight by restricting calories and focusing on portion control, rather than cutting out food groups that are especially addicting to overweight people. (Keep in mind I use the term “cutting out,” liberally, as if to say cutting out on the vast majority of days.)

The surest approach to maintaining a healthy weight is to fundamentally alter your understanding of what good nutrition means. It means, for the most part, eating food that comes from the earth. And I think the higher ups at Weight Watchers know that.

Of course, you CAN take a whole foods based approach while on the Weight Watchers plan. But that’s besides the point. If you eat whole foods that come from the earth, you don’t need to count anything. Whole foods make you full. It’s only processed foods that make it this way.

So even though Weight Watchers can technically be done the right way, I suspect that many more people are gingerly enjoying their carefully counted bread and pasta servings each day.

Bread every day is, after all, Oprah’s selling point. And I think it’s an irresponsible one.

What do you think?

unspecified-7