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A Healthier Me

on August 11, 2013

For a long time, I have had the great desire to be healthier in my life.  My baby is five and I still am carrying around some of the extra weight I gained when I was pregnant–which is not good for my health and makes it hard to have the energy and get up and go I need with a five-year-old.  It’s hard to admit out loud to people that you don’t know that’ you’re not happy with the way you look and feel.  But, part of the blogging process for me is to hold myself accountable for the goals I set in my life.  One of those big goals right now is fitness and health for me–and it seems to be for many other people by the amount of pinterest boards and blog posts dedicated to fitness and healthy living out there.

My big goal is not only to lose some extra weight, but to also gain energy, to just to feel better on a daily basis, and to be a good model for my daughter.  To accomplish this, I have set out some goals.

Personal Truth:  I have come to know about myself that I am an all or nothing kind of gal.  I never would have thought this about myself, but it really is true.  For some things I want to make sure I do, I have to do them every day.  For somethings I don’t want to do, I have to give them up entirely.  You will see that idea reflected in my goals below.

1)  Exercise daily.  Finding the time and ways I can exercise took a little trial and error.  In my daily schedule, going to the gym is not really something I have time for.  I have had gym memberships in the past, and I did try one when my daughter as younger.  They had a childcare facility at the gym, which is great, but I hated taking my daughter from being in daycare for about 8 hours and putting her into another daycare for another hour.  I thought about going in the mornings to the gym, but the added time with the commute to and from the gym–even at less than 10 minutes one way–added too much time to my routine.  So, paying for a membership didn’t really make sense if it only worked for me on the weekends.

I realized I needed a plan I could easily complete at home.  But, there were some other truths about myself I had to take into account before a true plan could be made.  First, I am not a runner.  Some people absolutely LOVE it.  I am not one of those people.  Second, I get bored easily.  A repetitive routine is not the thing for me.  I wanted to be able to pick and choose what I did each morning.  My available work out time is before 5:45 AM–which means if I want to exercise for 30-40 minutes, I need to get up at 5:00 AM.  How to make all of this happen?

1A)  Go to bed on time!  Lights out by 10:30.  It’s hard to get up at 5:00 AM if you don’t get enough sleep–and even harder to add exercise to the mix.

1B)  Sleep in clothes I can exercise in the next morning.  Simply not having to change my clothes is one less barrier to getting my butt up and going. I simply have to add a support garment before I begin my routine.

1C)  Find exercise programs that challenge and interest me, but are not time heavy.  I have two workout DVDs that I do first thing–Bob Greene’s 8 Week Total Body Makeover and Jackie Warner’s Circuit Training–which I rotate.  Each of these DVDs provide 10-15 minute routines that focus on strength building, among other things.  I try to pair these with a 20 minute cardio workout from GAIAM’s Wake-Up Workout that I access through Hulu Plus.  I can run all of this through our media area in our family room–which is such a time saver.  Also, I don’t need a bunch of equipment.  All I need is hand weights.  I like the two part routine because I can vary it as much as I’d like, and if I have a time constraint that day for some reason, I can at least get half of it in during my morning session.

2) Eat healthier.  There is a lot involved in this part of my healthier me plan, but mainly it involves cutting out the bad and boosting the good.  First thing, I cut out all soda (or pop or soda pop) from my diet.  I found that if I even had a little bit here and there, I would start drinking more and more.  So, no more pop.  The other thing I would like to give up is some sweets.  It is amazing the amount of cookies, cake, etc. that is provided to you through work and friends.  And, I have little to no willpower when it comes to these types of goodies.  My goal is to “just say no” when it comes to cake, cookies, brownies, etc. when they are given away at work or gatherings–unless it is a family birthday.  I will allow myself the pleasure of ice cream or frozen yogurt–which is really my favorite treat and what I’d rather have anyway.  So, mainly give up pop and really limit my sweet treats.

On the other end, I want to add healthier items to my diet.  To do so, I have started pre-packing healthy snacks for my work days and have healthy snacks available for when at home.  Boost the amount of fruit and vegetables in my diet.  Simply having these items on hand is not enough though–I found if I wash, chop, and package these healthy nuggets as soon as they enter the house, we are more likely to pick them.  And, limit or eliminate entirely the less than healthy.  If it’s not in my house, I won’t eat it.

2A)  Pack healthier workday food.  I pack my lunch each night and add my healthy snacks right to my bag.  This saves me money and time.  Snacks include things like wheat things, raw almonds, frozen grapes, cut celery, carrot sticks, etc. that can easily be eaten at my desk.  I also pack my large fill-able water bottle everyday.

2B)  Meal plan and budget for healthy eating.  It can be a bit more expensive to eat healthier, but the benefits make it worth it.  By simply having a meal plan, we are less likely to grab food on the way home, and I know what we are eating is healthy.  I also make sure we have fruit or vegetables or both with every dinner.

2C)  Eat breakfast.  During the week, this means fruit smoothies with protein powder for the grown-ups.  I take a large bag of frozen fruit and scoop out about 2 cups and add a banana to a freezer bag–and repeat until the large bag is empty.  In the morning, I take about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of juice, 1 scoop of protein powder, a handful of ice cubes, and my bag of frozen fruit and blend it all together to make two small smoothies.  On the weekends it is high fiber cereal or a fancier breakfast of heart healthy pancakes and scrambled eggs.

3)  Be active.  I sit quite a bit at work.  A ton, really.  And, being sedentary is not a good thing.  I decided that if I am deep into a project at work, I need to make myself get up every 1-2 hours and walk around–even if it is just to the bathroom.  This keeps me moving.  I am also trying really hard not to just sit on my butt when I get home.  This first week back at work has been tough for this, because I am EXHAUSTED when I get home.  But, if I stick to my plan, it should get better as time goes on.  I don’t want to just sit around at night, and I don’t want my daughter to do that either.  I must model good behavior.  Plus, it would be nice to get outdoors more before winter hits.

3A)  Move around at work.

3B)  Don’t be a couch potato–this includes reading or just watching my daughter play.

3C)  Get outside!  (But don’t just sit round out there either).

To recap, I really have 3 main goals–Exercise Daily,  Eat Healthier, Get Moving–, but I have tried to personalize these goals to what works best in my life.  I think that’s the only thing we can do to be successful.  There is no cookie cutter program or magic pill that will make us look and feel better.  It takes hard work and dedication.  Also, the results will take time to show.  This is the hardest for me.  I want to see my hard work pay off–like…now–but it is a process and the long-term benefits are what counts.  I can’t expect to drop 3 dress sizes in 3 months or lose 40 lbs by Christmas.  So, instead my goal is to be healthier by the start of the new year.  I think that’s a good, reasonable goal.  Here’s to a healthier me by 2014!


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