Skip to content

Day 3: Let’s try this again

I turned 38 yesterday by catching up on work, playing around with my new dermaroller, and going to Korean BBQ for dinner with my husband and our friends. It may not have been the most exciting of days, but it was the sort of day I needed: quiet and relaxing.

My plan was to get all of my steps in before dinner because I knew it’d be hard to get them all in afterwards, but the day flew by. Dinner came and went. At 9 pm, I was still about 6,000 steps short.

I wasn’t worried (although I probably should have been). I’ve walked thousands of steps before by doing laps around my living room, so I figured I’d just suck it up and get pacing. Unfortunately, I messed up. My little guy wanted to lay in bed with me to fall asleep. I wasn’t in the mood for bedtime drama, so I took the easy route and I gave in.

It worked. He fell asleep easily… but, so did I.

One minute, I’m laying in bed, thinking about how many laps I’ll need to walk to get 15,000 steps before midnight. The next minute, I’m waking up, it’s 6 am, and I’m still wearing my contact lenses. Obviously, I didn’t hit my step goal. Talk about a great start to this challenge!

Its ok though. I’m not discouraged. I’m not throwing in the towel. I’m just going to start over again today. No biggie. That’s the great thing about getting up in the morning (even for us non-morning people): a new day brings new beginnings and new opportunities for change.

Speaking of change, I listened to Dr. Rangan Chatterjee’s latest podcast episode on sleep today. Dr. Chatterjee is the author of the book, “How to Make Disease Disappear,” which I’m obsessed with inspired my goals for this latest attempt at my 15,000 steps challenge. I’ve known for a while that sleep is important, but it wasn’t until I read Dr. Chatterjee’s book that I really understood just how much sleep affects my overall health.

Sleep impacts everything. For example, there was a study done in 2011 to measure how sleep deprivation affects muscle mass growth and recovery. They took a group of people, put them on a diet, and then split them into two smaller groups: one that was supposed to sleep 5.5 hours a night and another that slept 8.5 hours a night. At the end of the study, the people who slept less had 60% less muscle mass than when they started. The other group had actually gained 40% more muscle mass. Back when I did my Experiments 1 and 2, I didn’t even consider how sleep might impact my efforts in the gym. I focused solely on my workouts and the number of calories I ate. I was certain my experiments failed because I didn’t eat enough protein or work out hard enough, but it’s entirely possible my poor sleep habits were to blame.

This is the main takeaway I got from Dr. Chatterjee’s book: the body is interconnected. There isn’t just one thing that will cause you to gain weight, get ill, or feel bad. It’s everything. It’s all the different choices you make and how they interact with each other in your body. It’s genetics, environment, what you eat, what you think, how you feel, what you do, and what you don’t do.

That’s why there’s no magic pill and there likely won’t ever be.

After listening to this podcast episode, I’m convinced that my sleep goal is the first one I need to tackle after getting my step goal back on track. Not because I think it’ll help me lose weight or gain muscle, but because I know it will impact my ability to meet all the other goals I’ve set. I need to set myself up for success and getting enough sleep is the first step.

Day 1: I’m back at it

The little kid and I were on our own this weekend. It’s been raining non-stop for days, so we didn’t do much of anything yesterday – it was a much-needed lazy day after a very busy work week.

That being said, as great as cuddling up on the couch to watch movies on a rainy day can be, doing it for a full weekend can be a bit much. Especially when your cuddle partner is a very energetic toddler. He barely made it through yesterday. Little kid needed to get out of the house today.

I am not a fan of going out in the rain. Gloomy, rainy days put me in a mood, so trying to find a place to go to that little kid would enjoy (and I wouldn’t hate), was a challenge. I really didn’t want to drive into Tokyo, but when push came to shove, I bit the bullet and off we went.

Our first stop: Where is a Dog, a gluten-free restaurant in Shinjuku. I’d read they have gluten-free bagels that are actually good, so it was at the top of my list of places to try. I didn’t have a bagel for lunch, but I did enjoy this delicious green curry with rice.

The little kid had the pizza toast, but mostly he just ate both of our desserts.

We had a great lunch. The food was delicious, and the staff was awesome. They were so nice! The menu is in both Japanese and English, and dairy-free and vegan dishes are clearly labeled, so that was super convenient. They also have a pretty big selection (compared to other places in Japan) of gluten-free adult beverages and gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan desserts. I’m definitely going back to try their gluten-free and dairy-free waffles.

As far as the bagels I’d read so much about, I bought a couple of frozen ones to take home and reheat for breakfast tomorrow. I’m pretty excited about it.

After lunch, we stopped at the Korean grocery store to pick up some bones for broth, then made our way to the aquarium to see fish. There are quite a few aquariums to choose from in Tokyo, but we decided to check out the Maxell Aqua Park.

If you’ve lived in Japan or spent enough time in Tokyo, you may already know that heading to a nice aquarium in a large shopping mall (that houses other entertainment options like an IMAX theater and bowling alley) on a rainy holiday weekend, is a terrible decision. It was so unbelievably crowded. But, it really is a cool place and little kid had a great time. We will definitely be going back in the future with the rest of the family (on a non-holiday weekday).

I’d hoped to get most of the day’s steps knocked out at the aquarium, but that didn’t happen. It felt like I walked a lot, but it seems my Garmin disagrees. So yeah, just in case you were wondering, I had to resort to pacing around my house to get all of my steps in. And me being me, I waited until the last possible hour to do it. It’s like subconsciously I’m purposely setting myself up for an adrenaline-fueled race against the clock to get my steps in. Then I wonder why I can fall asleep afterwards.

Oh, I almost forgot: I decided on those other goals. Most of them are already on my goal tracking spreadsheet that I printed after my last Bod Pod in June, so I’m thinking it would be ok to try and hit all of them. But, I’m only going to prioritize one at a time. This week, it’ll be all about getting these steps in every day – preferably before dinner.

Now what?

Having made the decision to give this challenge another go, I decided to go through my old posts for motivation. When I started this challenge, my intent was to post every day, and for a while, I did. I made myself do it – even when I didn’t want to. It was great for accountability’s sake, but the posts themselves left a lot to be desired. On a whim, I decided to delete some of the more mundane ones, but, I got a tad bit carried away. It seems I may have inadvertently deleted a few posts that I would have preferred to keep (like my Bod Pod results). C’est la vie.

I can’t go back and recreate those posts, but I figure it might be a good idea to do an update post of sorts, kind of like a Day 1 versus now thing. A lot has changed since I wrote my very first post on this blog last summer:

  • I had an ectopic pregnancy that required emergency surgery.
  • I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, celiac disease, and lactose intolerance.
  • I gained some weight, then lost it again – rinse and repeat a couple of times.
  • I attempted and failed to complete this challenge more than once.
  • I didn’t complete any of the DietBets I joined.
  • I think my Experiments 1 and 2 may have failed.
  • I created an Instagram account and a new blog to write specifically about cooking and eating gluten and dairy-free food.
  • I quickly got bored with the new blog and abandoned it, but I kept the Instagram account.
  • My views on all things health and fitness related shifted – there will definitely be posts about those changes in the future.
  • And most importantly, my priorities changed – I care less about losing weight and a lot more about being healthy.

I’m sure those changes will affect the tone and content of this blog a bit (maybe more than a bit), but for today, I’m going to keep it old school and just focus on goals.

In yesterday’s post (which I wrote very late at night, while knocking back some cocktails), I mentioned that I’d had two thoughts while watching the movie Julie & Julia: I can still enjoy food, and I need to refocus on my health.

That right there my friends, those two thoughts, are why I came back to this blog. I want to wholeheartedly commit to doing those two things, but I need help. I need accountability. I’m weak. I stumble. I fail. I make poor decisions. I stay up until 2 am, knowing full well that I need to be up by 6 am for work and I’m going to feel like shit in the morning because I didn’t get enough sleep.

But, I’m also determined, hopeful, stubborn, and unwilling to fold. No matter how many times I stumble and fall down, I eventually get back up (even if it takes a while). Despite falling off the wagon over and over and over again, I’ve continued to climb right back on it. So, now that I’m back on my feet and back on the wagon, I’m ready to try again.

And you know what trying again means, new goals! For this latest attempt at walking 15,000 steps a day, every day, for a year, I want to work on goals inspired by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee’s book, “How to Make Disease Disappear.” If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. I’m pretty much obsessed with it – and the good Dr’s got a great podcast too.

Anywho, the book focuses on what Dr. Chatterjee calls the “four pillars of health” – sleep, food, movement, and relaxation/stress. I could easily spend hours writing about his pillars and all of the great information I read in this book, but that’s a whole other post unto itself. For now, I’m just going to dive straight into the goals:

  • First and foremost, I need to walk 15,000 steps each day – it’s the whole point of this blog.
  • Secondly, I desperately have to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day – I am severely sleep deprived. 
  • Third, I need to drink 64 ounces of water daily – I’ve been feeling pretty dehydrated lately.
  • Fourth, I want to practice time-restricted eating instead of CICO for all the reasons (to be explained in a future post).
  • Fifth, I have to get back in the gym. My little muscles are just ghosts of their former selves at this point.
  • Sixth, I seriously need to get back to meditating every day. I never thought I’d be a person who meditates, but I have to tell you, that shit is life-changing.
  • And finally, seventh, I need to cut back on the use of electronic devices. Just trust me on this one. for now.

I know it’s a lot. There’s a good change that I may be in way over my head by trying to make so many changes all at once. In fact, I’m still trying to decide if I really want to go there and set myself up for failure, or if I should just focus on one or two of these at a time. Maybe it’d be best if I add a new one each week? I don’t know what I’m going to commit to just yet, but I’m going to make a decision about it tomorrow for sure. I can’t keep putting this off, I need to start now.  Anyone want to join me?

One year later…

It’s been months since I wrote my last post. It also happens to be past my bedtime – and yet here I am, sitting on the couch, watching Julie & Julia – the movie about Julia Child and some blogger named Julie.

Now, I watched this movie several years ago, when it first came out. I’m pretty sure I liked it, but I don’t recall feeling strongly about it in any way. Today though, it’s like I’m watching a whole different movie.

In one of the first few scenes, Julia asks her husband what she should do; she doesn’t want to go back to government work. Her husband, ever so supportive, asks her, “What is it that you really like to do?” Her response? “Eat.”

“Eat.” That’s all it took. With just that one word, I was instantly flooded with memories of a very similar conversation I’d had with my own husband – not just once, but numerous times since we’d moved to Japan. And it was in that moment that I felt it: Julia (the movie’s version of her at the very least) was my soulmate. She and I were basically the same person.

But, a second later, it hit me… yes, I love to eat (God, do I love to eat!), but thanks to celiac disease and lactose intolerance, I’ve been sentenced to a life of deprivation of all that brings joy to my life.

Ok, so I’m being a tad dramatic, but hear me out. This post isn’t meant to devolve into a woe is me, full-blown pity party. Surprisingly, it’s meant to be a work of self inspiration (if that’s a real term?) because, as I sat there watching the movie, two thoughts jumped out at me:

  1. I can still enjoy food.
  2. I need to refocus on my health.

I really can still enjoy food and I really do need to refocus on my health, but In order to do those things, I need accountability. If you hadn’t already noticed by reading through my previous posts, I have two settings: “all in” and “fuck this.” I need this blog for the times when I’m not exactly “all in,” and I’m dangerously close to “fuck this,” sort of like where I’ve been for the last, oh I don’t know, two or three weeks (maybe months?). I need something to keep me on track, and although I’ve failed at this 15,000 steps challenge over and over again, writing these posts has helped me tough it out way longer than I would have in the past. That’s something.

So, yeah, what I’m trying to say here is that I’m back. I’m going to give it another try – I’m going to walk 15,000 steps a day, every day, for a full year, and I’m going to make some changes. But first, a drink.

Cheers!

%d bloggers like this: