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Hurry up and wait.

Let me tell you, it’s not all guts and glory. While I am 100% on board with the mission and goals of this project, there are days like today when I just feel “meh,” as the kids say. In this day and age, when information is just a few clicks away, fast food restaurants are open 24/7, Amazon has 2 day shipping and the beauty salon can transform your look in just a few hours, it’s inconceivable to imagine how long it will take to get to my ideal weight.

I keep trying to tell myself that it will never officially end, though, because I know exactly what will happen if I stop exercising and counting calories: I WILL GAIN THE WEIGHT BACK! I lived that life for the last 25 years and I am done with it! So what are my choices? I must keep moving forward and making adjustments as needed. This means adding variety to my menu, finding new forms of exercise and incorporating stress relief activities to help pass the time.

There are no two ways about it – exercise is my #1 form of stress relief. Most of the time, I leave class feeling like I could conquer the world! If I exercise at noon, I go back to work with added vigor and motivation to jump into the next project, and I have forgotten about any issues that may have come up in the morning. When I am taking a class, I focus all of my attention on following the direction given by the instructor, while listening (and sometimes singing) to the loud music.

Right before class starts, I click on the fitness icon on my Apple Watch and select the type of exercise I am doing so it tracks my movement and heart rate. When the class is over, I swipe right on the face of my watch and hit “end.” Since my watch is connected to the My Fitness Pal app on my phone, the data from my work-out is then transferred to my phone, telling the app that I have earned some exercise calories for the day, which allows me to actually eat like a normal person! I guess in some respects, dieting has also gotten faster because tracking calories and exercise has become automatic.

Over the past 25 years, I have used many methods for tracking calories – paper journals, worksheets, beads on a bracelet and many different apps. Weight watchers had a nice app, but it cost me about $40 a month. I downloaded the free version of My Fitness Pal, which had a lot of ads running, many years ago and have always done well when I used it. So it was easy to start again because all I had to do was open the app and start tracking. I just love how it remembers your favorite foods and makes it so easy to click them again. You can even swipe right and add a whole meal if you eat it often enough! The data on the app comes from the users, too, so I rarely have trouble finding restaurant or grocery items using the search bar. There is no doubt about it – tracking food has never been easier!

Today, for instance, was extremely easy to track. I eat the same breakfast most days, so I just swiped right and it listed my egg, 2 slices of 45 calories toast and coffee with regular and sugar-free creamer. I had a protein shake for lunch so I found one on the app that has about the same amount of calories, even though it has a different name and no doubt has different attributes, like fiber, fat, etc. Today’s snacks included a banana, granola bars and nuts, which I often eat, so once I selected one item, the others were listed underneath so I selected them at the same time. Then for supper, we made deer sausage, which we eat often, so the app brought it up as soon as I started typing “deer” in the search bar. We served it with pre-packaged hash browns and a salad mix, so I just scanned the barcodes on each package and entered the amount that I put on my plate. It literally took me longer to type this paragraph than it did to track my food for the day. Mind-blowing!

All told, I earned 750 calories by walking for about 75 minutes and kickboxing for 45 minutes. My caloric goal for the day started at 1,280 but because I exercised, I was able to eat 1,947 calories and still be UNDER my goal, which is based on the idea of achieving a 2-pound weight loss per week. It’s all supposed to be scientific and measurable, so I do my best to be accurate. After over 14 weeks of tracking, I have lost over 31 pounds, which is 3 more pounds than expected, so I would say that it’s calculating correctly!

But like I said, it has not been happening as fast as I would like, of course. I still look in the mirror, or see my reflection in a window, and wish there was a little less of me looking back. One-derland still feels like miles away, even though it consistently shows up now when I click my favorite button at the end of every day, “Complete Diary.” Today, the next screen said, “If every day were like today, in 5 weeks, you’d weigh 198.8 lbs!” Warm sandy beaches, long flowing oceans and ice cold Michelob Ultras - here I come!

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