Ever since I hit the big 4-0, I’ve struggled with my weight. I took up jogging, zumba, cardio yoga, even boxing and kickboxing! No amount of exercise seemed to do the trick. I may have built up some muscle and possibly lost inches, but the scale didn’t budge and neither did my belly—my biggest problem area.
I finally lost 19 pounds in a little over a month this past September. I lost the first 10 in a week and the other 9 over the next four weeks. How I did it is another story—involving a Living Social Deal, a strict diet, fat burning vitamins, and daily exercise—but keeping it off has been a bit of a challenge. I gained back 4 pounds over the holidays and resumed some of my bad eating habits. And while a total weight loss of 15 pounds is still good, being on my own without a strict diet made me realize that I still have an issue with food. So when I was presented with the opportunity to review journaling guru Mari McCarthy’s new book, 28 Days Weight Control Journaling Challenge, I embraced it like I would a juicy cheeseburger.
MyFitnessPal that I highly recommend. It’s free and has almost every type of food you can imagine in its database, and includes the nutritional information and calorie count. The one thing I didn’t consider was noting how I felt when I was eating and where I ate, which I discovered was frequently in front of the computer or TV. So I would use the app during the day to record my food intake, and later in the evening I would journal through the book’s exercises and note how I felt and where I was at each meal.
At first, I didn’t think I was a good candidate for this challenge. I’d already lost the majority of the weight I really needed to and had minor weight loss to go, and I exercised six days a week. But as I went through the challenges, I realized I had a lot to learn about myself. For instance, I didn’t make any solid health or fitness goals, which Mari encourages you to do right away. “In one month, I want to cook healthy dinners at home five days a week. In three months, I want to run a 5k.”—Goals that didn’t have anything to do with a scale. I also realized that I have somewhat of a negative body image . . . I mean, who doesn’t, right? When I looked at myself in a mirror, I always searched for the flaws instead of my strengths. Mari helps turn these negative messages into positive affirmations. She also helps us examine the past and where these issues stem from.
Many of the journaling prompts are about food and exercise; and from everything I’ve learned over the past few months on my weight-loss journey, Mari’s advice is right on. She promotes fresh over processed, small portions, healthy alternatives, and staying active—no matter what type of physical activity you choose—and gives you the journaling exercises to motivate yourself. One of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with in my weight-loss battle is my family’s eating and activity habits. She helps you deal with these issues, too. If you’ve been one to try every diet under the sun and found that you couldn’t stick with it or it just didn’t work, then I suggest trying Mari’s 28 Days Weight Control Journaling Challenge for a fresh, new approach to weight loss. Mari also offers a private Facebook group for those taking the challenge and the opportunity to get positive feedback. Her next challenge starts February 1, and you can find out more here: http://www.createwritenow.com/28-days-weight-control-journaling-challenge/
I’d like to personally thank Mari for helping me form some healthy new habits! Thanks to her journaling exercises, I realized I’ve been eating way too much sugar, and not really enjoying my meals as much as I should. So now I’m making time to sit down at a table and eat (instead in front of the computer or TV) and savoring the tastes and textures that we writers love to describe. I’m also staying away from the junk food aisle and doing the majority of my shopping at Sprouts—a great little farmer’s market chain that has lean meats and fresh produce, and is easy on the pocketbook. What makes Mari’s book so successful is she helps you deal with the underlying issues that are holding you back and gives you the tools you need for a healthy lifestyle change.