My ‘Run to Healthy’ Challenge

Happy New Year! I said in my last post that I would create a new plan for myself to continue on my journey towards a healthier me. So I’ve decided to create and start a new challenge for myself. One thing I know about myself is that I need to keep things interesting because I get bored very easily. So I’ve decided to modify my “health challenge” to a ” run to healthy challenge”. I’m going to follow a running plan to get back into running. While doing so, I will work on a sustainable eating plan.

I did some online research and settled on this running plan from Active.com:

Weeks 1 & 2 – 3 days per week (30 minutes total)

  • 5 minute warm-up walk
  • 20 minutes alternating jogging/walking
  • Jogging for a minimum of 30 seconds
  • 5 minute cool down

Weeks 3 & 4 – 4 days per week (36 minutes total)

  • 5 minute warm-up walk
  • 26 minutes alternating jogging/walking
  • Jogging for a minimum of 45 seconds
  • 5 minute cool down

Weeks 5 & 6 – 4 to 5 days per week (40 minutes total)

  • 5 minute warm-up walk
  • 30 minutes alternating jogging/walking
  • Jogging for a minimum of 60 seconds
  • 5 minute cool down

Weeks 7 & 8 – 4 to 5 days per week (46 minutes total)

  • 5 minute warm-up walk
  • 36 minutes alternating jogging/walking
  • Jogging for a minimum of 90 seconds
  • 5 minute cool down

Weeks 9 & 10 – 5 days per week (50 minutes total)

  • 5 minutes warm-up walk
  • 40 minutes alternating jogging/walking
  • Jogging for a minimum of 2 minutes
  • 5 minute cool down

I think this plan will be the easiest for me to follow and help me build back up my endurance. It’s nothing crazy or drastic, and progresses at a steady rate.

I’m starting a new job next week and my plan of attack is to go to the gym immediately after work.

In terms of a nutrition plan, I will focus on eating mostly vegetables and protein and healthy fats, with carbs in moderation. Just trying to be a normal person here…

I’ve also signed up for kickboxing classes because I used to love kickboxing and I do miss it. There was a crazy cheap deal on Groupon for 10 classes and I just couldn’t pass it up. One of my resolutions for this year is to not be such a scaredy cat and to just go out and do things!

I’m determined to not live like a hermit anymore in my comfort bubble.

Wish me luck!

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Week 8: Sometimes Being Healthy Just Sucks

This week, I was having one of those days where I just hated life. It was hard to get out of bed and I just wanted to hide away from the world. My limbs felt heavy and I just wanted to stuff my face with fries, pizza, and ice cream.

These days, I realize, are the true test of my character and whether I care enough about myself to make the right decision. This is when it is the most important to stay positive and stay rational. I knew being healthy was never going to be easy. It may get easier at times, but getting through it when you are feeling down in the dumps is true triumph.

It's easier to stick to your goals with a positive attitude and when you're feeling happy but when you're having a bad day, Life just says, HA! Good luck! But if you get through it anyways entirely intact, then you have won and you are that much stronger. Or at least that's what I'd like to think.

I had to buy lunch the other day at work and the special they were serving in the cafeteria was turkey leg with waffle fries. These were fair/carnival size turkey legs with a big heaping serving of waffle fries. I saw this, and I immediately thought "Being healthy sucks!".

I let myself curse healthy food and died a little inside as I asked for the chicken, asparagus and green beans instead. Can I get a standing ovation, please?

I believe strongly that a healthy lifestyle is the seed that allows your life to flourish, but the act of being and staying healthy is a whole other thing. I'm NOT a health fanatic that loves everything healthy. I will make myself work out but some days I will still hate every minute of it… until it's over and then I'm happy that I pushed myself to do it.

I'm not saying all this to discourage those that want to take a healthier path, but I want you to know that I feel your pain! This is hard! But it's not always going to be hard. Anything worth having is never easy, is it? And sometimes, it just plain sucks. Everybody is enjoying a burger, while you're eating your salad. Your salad can be delicious, but it doesn't taste like a burger. I get it.

I made it through this week with no major casualties. I stuck to my healthy eating and worked out 4 out of the 5 days. And as a result, I am 2 lbs lighter and 1 inch smaller.

So yes this felt like a crappy week, but let's look at the bigger picture. The total weight I have lost is 12.6 lbs, and I am also down 2 inches from my hips, and 5 inches from my waist.

Here are my 5 things for this week:

1. Documenting my progress has really helped me see the bigger picture. It's satisfying to see a downward trend and that all my hard work really is paying off. Especially when I'm feeling like crap.File Jul 29, 1 05 37 PM

2. I always thought my emotional intelligence was always very low, and I know emotion plays a huge role in my difficulties in accomplishing things. If I can get my emotions under control, achieving my goals becomes something that is much more attainable. I'll try to think of it as a muscle that just needs practice and training.
3. I bought a cute little black dress from Banana Republic for a mad deal a while ago and got it in a smaller size since I've been losing weight. I tried it on this week and it fit! It was a major confidence booster!
4. It is actually just easier to bring lunch now so I bring leftovers I can eat and that usually tastes pretty good. I also won't be tempted by the junk food in the cafeteria at work. Also, now that I do have a bit more energy, I can make healthier compliant dinners with leftovers to spare.
5. It is ridiculous how expensive salads are compared to sandwiches if you're eating out. Anywhere where I can get a decent salad, it's like $10 or more! Where as sandwiches average around $6, 7$. Like I said, being healthy just sucks sometimes, and expensive.

It's been a bumpy ride so far, but I am managing. Thanks for reading my vent session, but I hope you can get something out of it like I did.

On another note, happy 3 year anniversary to my amazing husband! I love you!

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Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

My Health Challenge: Friday Check-In

I weighed myself this morning and I am down another 2 lbs! I can’t believe it. I honestly didn’t think I’d lose anything this week; I had eaten a lot last weekend due to birthday celebrations. I still tried to stay away from high carbohydrate foods, but I did allow myself to cheat with some birthday cake and some chips and dip. Oh sweet taste of heaven.

But I guess it goes to show that you can still indulge without going overboard. I just need to learn some control or make modifications. I had some cravings, but I just kept thinking about my goal and was able to keep the monster at bay, for the most part. Then I made some keto cheesecake to satiate my sweet tooth.

Here are the 5 things I’ve noticed this week:

  1. Keto cheesecake is a great sugar fix when you need it. And it didn’t set me back! Aside from the indulgent birthday celebrations last weekend, I had a hankering for some cheesecake. My mom had also given me these delicious ripe mangos, so I decided to puree them up and add it to the cheese cream mix. I had read somewhere online that you can get your sugar fix by using sugar-free jello mix to make a no-bake cheesecake and it’s still keto-compliant. I knew the mangos would add some sugar and carbs, but oh well. I used almond flour and butter for the crust, and then mixed room temperature cream cheese with whipping cream, jello mix, and mangos. Then I put it in the fridge to set. It really hit the spot.
  2. FitBit challenges are awesome. How did I just discover this?! I’ve been in competition with one of my best friends, and it’s almost as if we’re hanging out. I also get very competitive so we’ve been fighting for first place for the most number of steps. It’s a lot of fun! I was even jogging in place in my office at work so I could catch up on the step count. Ha. Nobody saw me though. I think.
  3. I’m snoring less. Okay, this is super embarrassing, but if it gets a snort or laugh out of you, then I’m okay with it. I snore a lot. I’ve even snored myself awake a few times. My husband has caught me doing this. He laughs and I just go back to sleep. But sometimes my snoring gets so bad that he will sleep on the couch. I started this challenge a couple of weeks ago, and he hasn’t been to the couch once. Who knew a 5-10 lb weight loss would make such a difference? I thought snoring just ran in my family…
  4. I am definitely less tired. It’s little things I’ve noticed, like staying up a little later than usual and being more alert at work. I still wanted to take a nap today after work, though, but I think part of it was also mental fatigue.
  5. I will never love exercise. This pains me to say, but it’s true. I love the benefits of exercise and I want to be fit. But I admit, I will never love crazy high intensity exercise. I will do it. And I will be proud of myself if I do do it. But slow and steady is what is sustainable for me. I have to be honest with myself here. Otherwise, I’ll never be able to reach the healthy lifestyle I want. I just need to find the right one for me.

Kit Kat likes to run away with lettuce in her mouth and eat it.

Thanks for stopping by!

I’m still working on my nominations for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Stay tuned!

 

 

Living Low Carb: Week 2 Update

It’s been two weeks since I started a low carb diet regimen as part of my health challenge. I’m still alive and I haven’t gone crazy.

I can say that I think that my mood has been okay, but you may want to ask my husband. He would know better…

So how am I still doing it?

Aside from blogging weekly updates, I’m keeping a food journal on my google drive. I’m also doing this health challenge in solidarity with my best friends, and we are tracking our progress on a shared google sheets file. We keep each other motivated and provide each other support. We’ve also designated Fridays as our weekly weigh-in. We’re all doing our own thing, but our end goal is the same: to lose weight and be healthier.

Today is Friday, so I weighed myself this morning; I didn’t change much lb-wise since last week. It went down like .2 lbs. But I did lose an inch around my hips and waist. Yay!

I wore jeans to work today and had to keep pulling them up. So I do feel slimmer and it’s not just a hallucination. Awesome.

I haven’t been working out as hard as I’d like, but I’m trying to focus more on staying consistent instead of high intensity. I don’t want to overdo it and get discouraged. One of the reasons I give up easily when starting a diet and exercise regimen is that I get too extreme in the beginning; it’s just not sustainable. So I’ve been either going for walks with the hubs, or going to the gym to do light strength training and cardio. I document my activity, too. Go me.

Tonight, I kind of had a cheat meal… Went out for Ethiopian food.

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OMG. It was so worth it.

Overall, Ethiopian food is actually pretty healthy, but I didn’t know much about the nutritional value of the injera, which is basically the bread that acts as a utensil and platter for all the food. I looked it up, and teff flour, which is used in injera, is actually very high in protein and chock full of vitamins and minerals. Teff is gluten-free; it’s actually made from a type of grass instead of wheat. Unfortunately, the injera made here instead of Ethiopia tends to have some wheat in it, but I’m not going to freak out about it. I figure the healthiness of teff kind of balances it out.

But anyways, I’ll go back to low carbing it, now that I’ve had my fix.

I’ve done this low carb eating before, but never with this much focus and accountability. One of my goals this time is to identify and correct the mistakes I’ve made in the past that contributed to me gaining the weight back.

To succeed once and for all, I am going to think about things I’ve learned each week, including better tips to stay with it.

The 5 things I’ve learned this week:

  1. Salt is important when going low carb. It’s normal to feel tired when starting a low carb diet, but I was still tired this week, so I did some research. What I didn’t realize was that I probably wasn’t getting enough salt in my diet. Apparently all that peeing I was doing was flushing out all the salt in my system. Too much sodium is bad, but not enough isn’t good either.
  2. Small successes are just as important as big ones. I have to remember to celebrate the small successes, too. A coworker today told me that I looked like I was losing weight and that I looked good. That’s a win! All this work so far is paying off!
  3. Eating low carb is also a money saver. To stay compliant, I’ve been bringing my lunch a lot. So I’m actually saving money. Another win. This diet is actually costing me less. Not just because of bringing lunch to work, but also that I’m not as hungry as often. My cravings are in check.
  4. I don’t need ketchup, which is full of sugar, by the way. Normally, I like to add ketchup to burgers or chicken. But apparently I love mustard, which I discovered this week. I always liked it okay, but maybe the low sugar on this diet has adjusted my taste buds. I made some bunless cheeseburgers and used mustard as the condiment. De-lish.
  5. Always have frozen vegetables and protein available. That way I can’t make any excuses to not eat healthy. I’ve learned to appreciate the simplicity of food. Simply roasting and stir frying some protein and veggies with a little seasoning makes this diet easier to stick to.

So there you have it. Week 2 down and owned.

That’s the update for this week.

Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to like, comment and provide feedback! Would love the support! 😊

 

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Health Challenge Weekend Update…

Forgive me… This is my first confession…

I learned something over the weekend.

So before I confess, I want to refer back to my rules that I came up with for my health challenge from a previous post of mine, “My last dessert… Weight Loss Challenge to ensue.”

Health Challenge Rules (or shall we say guidelines?) 

Start date: Monday, July 5, 2017

 

  • Focus on a low glycemic index meal plan. Low sugar, low carbohydrates, and no alcohol. (Will disclose, though, that I am going on vacation to Bangkok and Hong Kong in 3 months, and I do plan to allow myself to drink then, but then cutting it out again when I get home.)

  • Strength training 3x/week

  • Cardio at least 2x/week

  • If I cannot fit in a work out, I have to at least go for a 30 minute walk.

  • If I fall short, I will confess and document it here!

  • Progress or hiccups, I will post weekly. I aim to do 1 post a week.

  • I will allow myself room to make necessary changes to achieve sustainable weight loss. In other words, this isn’t set in stone, and I won’t beat myself up over mistakes.

  • Having said that, I CAN do this and I WILL do it. My goal is to achieve a healthy lifestyle with this challenge, but also to prove to myself I can do anything I want if I just commit to it.

I had started on last Monday. I did very well for the first 5 days. I ate well, avoided alcohol (though I normally don’t drink on weekdays), and was active. On my weekly check-in, I found that I was down 4 lbs. I was feeling great. It was a strong start.

And then there was yesterday. My husband and I went to a couple of festivals with a bunch of friends up in Baltimore. We went to a Greek festival, and I had grilled octopus, Greek green beans, and Greek salad. I had even packed a contigo with unsweetened iced tea and had a bag of nuts just in case I was hungry and there were no acceptable food options.

I said no to the fried smelt, gyros, and many phyllo wrapped dishes and desserts. I also said no to the french fries. I mean, wow, that’s willpower right there.

Then we decided to switch things up and head over to the Hon Fest in Hampden. Funnel cakes, crab cake sandwiches, beer, and frozen cocktails galore! I stood my ground, though. Everything looked delicious and tempting, but it was more like ‘I’ve had that before and I know it’s delicious’, not like ‘I need it right now like crack’.

At this point, however, I was getting tired from being out under the sun, and was ready to relax. We were meeting another friend for dinner, and what did we decide on? A wine bar of course. I could say no to everything else, but watching everybody drink and indulge just made me see what I was missing out on. Ah, the pressures of social society.

Now that we were ready to hang out in an air conditioned bar (and a wine bar, nonetheless!), I had to make a decision.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not an alcoholic, but I do enjoy wine, especially in the right setting. And enjoying some with friends is just the best type of life cocktail. I mulled it over and talked it out with my best friends. I mean, how often do I get to see them altogether like this? And how could I say no to a nice, ice cold glass of crisp rosé wine on a hot, sunny day? I know my weaknesses and I own it.

I made a compromise with myself. Considering that summer is just around the corner, I’ve decided to allow myself 1 cheat day a week (if needed) to have wine. I am only allowing myself wine, but I will still be on a low carb dietary regimen when it comes to food. I also know that I won’t always need this cheat day; it’s really just a safety buffer…

So looking back on my health challenge rules, I realized that I had covered myself with this clause:

  • I will allow myself room to make necessary changes to achieve sustainable weight loss. In other words, this isn’t set in stone, and I won’t beat myself up over mistakes.

So I’ve admitted my violation and have confessed. And I am making the necessary changes. Ha. Despite this ‘violation’, I ate pretty healthy throughout the day.

And after the drinks Saturday night, I realize that I overdid it a little, and though I still love wine, my body just can’t handle it like it used to. So even though I am allowing myself a buffer zone, I realize that I won’t need this cheat day every week.

Tomorrow starts a new week. I will keep you posted!

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My Health Challenge Progress and 10 Things that I’ve Noticed So Far

I officially started my health challenge on Monday to eat clean and be more active in an effort to improve myself physically (and hopefully mentally). It’s only Friday but I’ve already noticed a few things after starting this challenge.

  1. I’m tired and cranky. I’m not getting the fast energy source from the bad carbohydrates. My body is in a kind of shock, but I’m handling it okay. Even though I feel tired, I don’t have any crazy mid-afternoon crashes. I’m hoping once my body adapts, I’ll have more energy.
  2. My trips to the bathroom have increased. I have to go number 1 a lot. With no carbohydrates to retain the water, it just goes right through me.
  3. No more cravings! I say this with a grain of salt. Nobody has locked me in a room with mountains of ice cream and pizza, but for the most part, I am keeping it together. But I do realize it IS only the 5th day…
  4. My mood has actually been okay. It’s no secret that I struggle daily with depression. I find very little pleasure in doing things and I usually just want to lay in bed and be alone. But I’ve noticed that I haven’t been so up and down in my mood and I don’t dwell as much on things. And considering I haven’t had any ice cream or chocolate AND haven’t murdered anybody yet… Go me! Though the scientist in me also realizes this could just be a placebo effect. I’ll keep this in mind, and report any changes later. But it’s nice to feel almost at peace, even if it is just all in my head.
  5. I’ve been sleeping like a baby. Sleep has been great. Except for all the times I have to get up in the middle of the night to go number 1 (refer to number 2 above). Not that I’ve ever really had any trouble with sleeping, but I can definitely tell that the quality of the sleep is much better.
  6. There has been a slight increase in my confidence. It’s probably the fact that I am proud of myself for taking this on, and am successfully following it (so far). Of course, the accountability of having to document everything on this blog is a huge motivator in itself.
  7. I do actually have a passion, and that passion is for living a healthy lifestyle. I know it’s still early, but I haven’t felt this fulfilled in a long time. But I have to make the time for it. Otherwise, it goes on the back burner and gets neglected. Keeping this blog is reminding me to always be aware and to constantly keep my health on my mind.
  8. I can make junk food versions out of healthy food. If I want a cheeseburger, I can wrap it in lettuce or have it without a bun. I can have baked chicken wings. Roasted vegetables can taste almost as good as french fries (seriously!). And cauliflower pizza crust is a godsend.
  9. I wake up in the morning with purpose. I have a job, and that job is to take care of myself. It feels good to be doing that, and making it a priority for once. But I do also have a real full time job, but I work to live, not live to work.
  10. If I put my mind to something, I can really make it come to fruition. I told myself I was going to do this, and I am. Again, I know it’s only Friday but I was nervous I wasn’t even going to make it through the first day. And I can feel that my will is pretty strong right now. Let’s keep it going!

The next obstacle is surviving the weekend! Will I succeed? I’ll let you know next week!

So there you have it. Likes and comments are also super encouraging, so please feel free! I will keep providing regular updates on my progress.
P.S. I found this really cute tracking ticker!

LilySlim Weight loss tickers

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My Last Dessert… Weight Loss Challenge to Ensue

That ice cream was so fricken delicious. I savored it as Kit Kat attempted to nudge her way in under my spoon arm to get a lick of my delectable dessert. But her annoying persistence did not take away from my enjoyment.

So I finished about half the pint. I’m not going to let myself feel guilty because after this weekend… Yes, starting Monday, July 5th, 2017, I will be embarking on a personal journey towards a healthier me.

And I will be documenting for all to see. On my blog.

How frightening!

Because what better way is there to keep myself accountable than public scrutiny and humiliation… But really, no shame. Unless you’re a hater. But without hate there is no love, is there?

I’ve struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. I’ve won battles, but still have not won the war.

But at my ‘healthiest’ weight I looked like this:

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And I say ‘healthiest’ because I was at the lowest I had ever been and was actually within a healthy BMI range, BUT I had also just been diagnosed with depression not too long ago when I took this photo and was trying out anti-depressants to see which would work best for me. Meaning, the weight loss could have just been partly attributed to a medication side effect. And look how happy I am in the photo. Ha.

But I was never able to find a happy, comfortable medium. I gained some back, and lost it again in time for my wedding, but ballooned back up again. This is me today:

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Haha, and yes, I am standing next to giant Smurfs.

BTW, I am absolutely terrified about creating this post and posting these pictures, but hence the name of my blog… I have to get out of my comfort zone to learn and grow, even if it’s horribly mortifying. But gotta go all in, right?

I am giving myself a timeline of a little over a year to do this. My best friend’s wedding is the finish line. And then I plan to maintain my weight… That will be another challenge in itself, but we will cross that bridge when it comes.

So, how will this go, you ask?

 

Health Challenge Rules (or shall we say guidelines?) 

Start date: Monday, July 5, 2017

Hiatus: September 1 to September 20th (vacation)

Approximate End Date: TBD but approximately September of 2018.

  • Focus on a low glycemic index meal plan. Low sugar, low carbohydrates, and no alcohol. (Will disclose, though, that I am going on vacation to Bangkok and Hong Kong in 3 months, and I do plan to allow myself to drink then, but then cutting it out again when I get home.)
  • Strength training 3x/week
  • Cardio at least 2x/week
  • If I cannot fit in a work out, I have to at least go for a 30 minute walk.
  • If I fall short, I will confess and document it here!
  • Progress or hiccups, I will post weekly. I aim to do 1 post a week.
  • I will allow myself room to make necessary changes to achieve sustainable weight loss. In other words, this isn’t set in stone, and I won’t beat myself up over mistakes.
  • Having said that, I CAN do this and I WILL do it. My goal is to achieve a healthy lifestyle with this challenge, but also to prove to myself I can do anything I want if I just commit to it.

So here it is.

Will it be done? We shall see…

Wish me luck! Cheers!

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