About a month ago, I got a Fitbit. After my mom tried it out and didn’t like it, she sent it to me. I strapped it on and have learned some very interesting things since then.

For starters, I don’t drink enough water. Like, elosing it Screenshot 2015-11-10 18.36.28ver. Since I live in the desert, it’s amazing I’m alive, actually. This one is weird to me because subjectively, it seems like I’m constantly guzzling water and constantly visiting the facilities as a result. But the data doesn’t lie. If anything, I overestimate the amount of water I log.

Conversely, I do get enough sleep. On a regular basis, I get more than eight hours of sleep; only rarely do I sleep less than eight hours a night. And when I do miss out on sleep, I really feel it. I didn’t need a fancy gizmo to tell me this, but it confirmed what I knew.

I don’t get enough exercise. Even though I work out regularly, I am still falling significantly short of one hour a day being active. And I’m only making my workout twice a week consistently. My goal is for that to be five days a week, or more.

By the same token, I don’t take enough steps in a day. I dialed down the built-in goal of 10,000 steps (about five miles) in a day to 6,000 steps, but even so, I rarely make it. My average is less than 5,000 steps—not enough. That means I am still too sedentary. My last weekly update showed me an average step count of 3,004 a day.

I really like the Fitbit, because it shows me exactly where I need to make improvement. As long as I am faithful in logging food, sleep, water and exercise, it gives me an accurate picture of what I’m actually doing as opposed to what I think I’m doing.

Turns out I have a real disconnect there: I think I’m doing way better than I actually am.

I don’t know about you, but for me the days whizz past so quickly it’s hard to keep up. One day of not watching my diet or of slacking on exercise can easily turn into a week. A week turns into a month with hardly a ripple.

Over and over, I am returning to my strategies of taking baby steps, of taking daily action, of going back to the beginning when things do not go as planned, which is pretty much always.

This week, after watching the calorie intake data, I decided I would tighten up my diet. Since I started logging food, I can see easily that I have two basic issues about eating: I eat too much, and periodically I throw my diet out the window. No, that’s not right. Every so often, I just launch my diet restrictions into space. Big time.

I’m trying an experiment in November: Careful meal planning, to a level I have never wanted to do before. Plan each meal. Stick to the plan. We’ll see how it goes but I expect to lose some pounds. I also cut processed food out of my diet. That’s pretty easy at home, but is harder out in the world, because the world is full of donuts and chocolate cake. The sooner I come to grips with that, the better!

I’ll be having a protein shake for breakfast, and I have homemade lunches that I prepared over the weekend. I have fruit and cheese and raw almonds for snacks. I’ll have another protein shake at home after work for supper.

That last one is my particular weak point, and it’s one of the reasons I’m doing this experiment. I have a sugar craving that hits me late in the day, and it hits hard. I’m planning to basically close my kitchen this week. My lunches are prepared ahead of time and the protein shakes don’t require cooking.

I’m working to re-wire my brain and how it responds to food and eating. Hunger is not my issue. Eating when I’m not hungry is. So my strategy is to close the kitchen in the evening, and drink tons of water if I feel hungry after the shake. I have an essential oil that helps keep my appetite in check. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

Now, I said I have this plan in place for November, the month of Thanksgiving—the day when people eat until they can’t stand up. I will be enjoying a Thanksgiving feast with my kids. If I’m working out at the level I’m aiming for, and if my diet overall is good, then making an exception for the holiday doesn’t bother me at all. What I’m working to avoid is eating like it’s Thanksgiving every day.

What is your plan for staying on track? You can reach me at 505-286-1212 or leota@lobo.net, or by joining the conversation in my Facebook group, “I’m Losing It!” I’d love to hear from you.