The catalyst to my healthy lifestyle change
December 2019, I was convinced to sign up for a new gym membership weeks before the Christmas holiday. I figured if I resolved to commit to a healthy lifestyle before the new year it would stick! Kind of silly knowing that all my traveling, parties, and other festivities would keep me from the gym. Somehow, I still made that commitment. By March 18, I had clocked quite a few hours with the gym–somehow staying consistent. Until the coronavirus hit…
In a way, it was a good thing that the coronavirus shut down my gym. I was overstretching myself by rushing to the gym 3-4 times per week. I was doing this healthy lifestyle ALL WRONG. My diet was still terrible and my sleeping habits were getting worse and worse. It wasn’t until 6 weeks into quarantine, with no regard to exercise or diet, that it all clicked for me. I read the books and followed the fitness gurus. But for a situation like this, it had to click for myself.
I finally understood the holistic approach to a healthy diet. I had to make a 180-degree lifestyle change to see results. It wouldn’t be quick, and it would take a whole lot more mental fortitude, but I finally started on the right path.
I’ve been down this road before. Spend $200 here, take a few classes there, view a few success stories, subscribe to an online coach for two weeks. I wanted this time to be effective though, and sustainable! So here’s how I did it.
By the way, I’m still on this journey. I’m only a few weeks in and progress is slow, but steady. So I’ll take those wins for now.
Step #1: Cleaning Up My Diet
I cleaned up my diet. Honestly, I already knew about healthy living and eating as a key component. I had to change my perspective to guarantee success. Since being at home more, I started making better decisions on a long-term basis. For the most part, Nick and I narrowed down restaurant eating to about twice a week. I even found more productive ways to add more veggies to my meal. In the first week I saw a big difference!
To be more specific, this is what I did. I started making fruit & veggie smoothies (then transitioned to juices) for breakfast and some days I fasted. This was loose intermittent fasting, but that was simply out of laziness or lack of hunger. Carbs have always been my weakness. Limiting those portions or building tasty meals without carbs made a difference. I even started to enjoy this healthy lifestyle. I kept up with it all by using MyFitnessPal to track my new food habits.
Step #2: Restarting Workouts
One of the first things I dropped at the beginning of the quarantine were my workouts. I started to get into a good ritual of going to the gym 3-4 times per week. With them closed, I went into a little depression about not being able to complete sauna workouts. After a month though, I felt the difference and knew that I had to start moving my body again. With yoga as one of my favorite practices, I started there. I then worked up to PIIT, like HIIT but based on pilates, to incorporate cardio.
This has been one of the best things for my new healthy lifestyle. I notice a huge difference in my energy levels and muscle building. I still have moments where I don’t workout for 2-3 days, but it’s not as often and I get back on track a lot sooner.
Working out at home and tracking my meals increased my awareness. It opened my eyes to the good habits I’ve formed. Since I’m primarily focused on weight loss, though, I wanted a more accurate snapshot of what I was doing. So, I purchased a Fitbit.
I first became serious about purchasing a Fitbit when I joined HotWorx. Their member program bases rewards on the calories burned in a fitness sessions. These are only captured with a Fitbit or Apple Watch. Since I had neither, I went months without logging my caloric burn or earning rewards! I knew that I’d want a Fitbit at some point, but I couldn’t justify the purchase for that small aspect. When I realized that a lot more could be tracked, including home workouts, I grabbed my own Versa Lite. It has been awesome to see how many calories I burn in my workouts, sleep patterns, and comparison to food intake.
Step #3: Tracking Makes a Difference
Having MyFitnessPal and my Fitbit allows me to nerd out about my statistics! I get excited about positive gains with my health when I see it in the apps. I know I’m late to the club, but getting here on my own terms is what’s going to guarantee my healthy living.
Another thing that helps me is regular weigh-ins. I know that’s talked against in most programs, but it helps me benchmark where I am each morning. I weigh myself each morning before drinking or eating anything. It’s easier to determine if I’ve lost weight, gained weight, or am simply bloated. Weighing myself almost daily helps me better graph my overall progress. Weight will always fluctuate, so collecting more data will help in the end.
I use an app called “Monitor Your Weight” to log my numbers. It provides a ton of metrics that my cheap scale cannot. I then transfer some of the info to my Fitbit app. Eventually I want to get the Fitbit Aria, digital scale, that syncs with their app and gives extended analytics.
I also measure my body once per week. This helps me track my loss in other ways. Some weeks may have more progress with the measurements than the pounds, or vice versa. Tracking my measurements also indicates when I will/should be able to fit into lower sizes. I know the general measurements for different clothing sizes. So I gauge my ability to try an old piece of clothing by my measurements. I have a few motivation pieces that are made for a certain size waist. So that is helping me when benchmarking my measurements each week
Other Goals for my Healthy Lifestyle
- More daily activity throughout the work day such as getting up to walk between projects.
- Drink water consistently. I have some good days, but most days are bad. My timer water bottle helps.
- Consistent 8 hours of sleep every night. I will cheat myself a lot without realizing it.
- Dedicate time for self care such as prayer, devotion, meditation to clear my mind and cravings!
This Time It’s Personal
Every attempt I made to get healthy before has been personal but I have more motivation than before. This is the first time the severity of what the scale says also registers in my head. I’m “technically” obese for my height. It has gotten bad since my move to Texas, and now I’m reigning it in.
This is also medical. The doctors haven’t said this yet, but I may have high blood pressure from sodium heavy meals, lack of proper sleep, and dehydration. I’m also at risk of diabetes with it being in my family. I’m not pre-diabetic but I’m sure it’s around the corner without the proper changes. So I hope to make these healthy living changes for my current and future self!
Updated June 26, 2020