On diet and exercise planning

The results are in. My enhanced 90 day exercise and diet plan appears to have worked. That was greatest and most welcome news of the year.

Changing routines and habits takes time and energy. Making wholesale changes to diet and exercise requires a certain degree of commitment. They have to be changes that are sustainable. My motivation to take action was very real. I have always had access to gym equipment and can reasonably control my menu choices. The changes had to happen. They did happen. Now the question is about whether or not they will be sustainable. Consult a trained medical professional you trust when building a major exercise and diet plan change. I talked to my doctor before making these changes.

Here are the steps I took:

Step 1: Stop drinking soda (diet or regular), energy drinks, or eating candy. This was a major change to my diet. I have consumed several regular or diet soda beverages every day for years. The hardest part of the change was ordering water at restaurants and avoiding fast food. This change is pretty easy to start implementing. For me this was the line in the sand that started me down the path toward being healthier. I have even stopped carrying a pack of emergency skittles or gummy bears in my pocket. I eat a square of very dark chocolate (high cocoa) when absolutely necessary.

Step 2: Resolve to drink coffee (black), green tea, and water. Some people can go without caffeine. I’m not one of those people. At a minimum, I have one cup of coffee per day. I purchased two different water bottles. A little 400 ml that I use for traveling and a 1000 ml bottle that sits on my desk at home. Drinking enough water was not a priority for me over the last few years. I have made an effort to drink the right amount of water throughout the day and when traveling.

Step 3: Start walking 30 to 60 minutes per day. My initial attempts to get going on a treadmill involved walking at about 2.5 miles per hour. Even that much training was enough to raise my heartrate. I have gradually moved up to walking at about 3.7 to 4.0 miles per hour. This year a treadmill has been setup in my basement. That addition to my workout arsenal should help ensure that no barrios exist to walking a few minutes a day.

Step 4: Reduce and manage meal portion sizes to include the right amount of the right things. This step was the most challenging. Meal planning has never really been on my radar. I’m not a dietitian or a food science expert. At the start of this plan, I knew to avoid things that were deep friend and that eating more vegetables was probably a good idea. I ended up attending a class on what to eat and how to manage my portions. Some things can be done to remove some of the complexity. I elected to eat granola and Greek yogurt for breakfast every day. I mix things up by having whole wheat pancakes every once in a while, but for the most part my breakfast routine is very well established. Making that decision ensured that 1/3 of my meals would be on track. When I’m working from home it is easy to grab a vegetarian or vegan Amy’s meal from the deep freezer. Traveling always presents challenging food choices. Dinner choices have revolved around good portion sizes and trying to eat more vegetables.

Step 5: Stop eating random and unhealthy snacks. I have stopped snacking all together. I eat appropriate portions for my meals and avoid any other consumption of calories. Making this change was super difficult at first, but was possible. My snack choices were never very well balanced or nutritious. My travel bag does include a couple protein bars and a package of nuts just in case a meal gets delayed. Chips and salsa are one of my favorite snacks. I have been actively trying to avoid sitting at my desk and eating.

Those five steps have worked for me. That does not mean they will work for you.

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