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Posts from the ‘Books’ Category

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.

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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?

Day 45: Walking the walk

In my previous post, I committed to avoiding gluten and dairy in hopes of improving my health, but to be honest, I’ve been putting it off since then. It’s not that I’m unwilling to do it, I know I should, I just don’t think I’ve felt ready to pull the trigger just yet.

That being said, I did take some steps in that direction. On Friday, after my metabolic assessment appointment, I spoke to the wellness counselor about scheduling a few weekly coaching sessions. I’ve heard a lot about wellness coaching and how helpful it can be, but I’ve never given it a try myself. Considering the changes I’m trying to make and my history of struggling when it comes to changing my diet, I figured now would as good a time as any to give it a try.

Afterwards, I swung by the library and came across the cookbook section. I looked through what they had and decided to borrow two: “Nom Nom Paleo” (the yellow one) and “The Science of Cooking.” I skimmed through them as soon as I got home and did a little meal planning. I made dinner tonight using one of the recipes from Nom Nom Paleo, and it was really good – even my family liked it.

On Sunday, I decided to make some bone broth – specifically seolleongtang, a Korean bone broth soup my husband really likes. I’ve read that bone broth is good for gut health, so I figured I might as well jump on the bandwagon and see if theres any truth to it.

Finally, on Tuesday, I took some new progress photos and body measurements. Although I’m making these changes for overall health instead of weight or fat loss, I still want to be able to keep track of any physical changes that might occur. I also had my first coaching appointment. It went well. I felt motivated after meeting with her and decided to pull the trigger on the whole avoiding dairy and gluten thing.

I’d like to say I’ve been killing it since then, but it’s been hard. I’m not craving breads or cheeses, but I’ve struggled with “hidden” gluten and dairy. Gluten seems to be in everything, including the gochujang and soy sauce I use all the time. It’s so frustrating.

I’m ok though. I’m not discouraged just yet. It’s challenging, but in a good way, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how creative I can get with this in the kitchen. Hopefully, I can share some fun finds on this blog in future posts. Wish me luck! I’m going to need it.

Day 1: What’s the 15,000 Step Challenge and why am I doing it?

Earlier this year, I read an article that claimed 15,000 steps a day was the new 10,000 steps a day. If you hadn’t already heard, taking 10,000 steps a day is recommended for general health, but upping that daily step total to 15,000 can get you well on your way to weight loss.

I remembered this tidbit when I turned 37 last month. I was visiting family for a few weeks before my birthday, and like many people, I felt the need to take a look at my life and do a self-assessment of sorts when the big day rolled around (what? You don’t do that?). I’d been gaining weight steadily since my first kid, and finally, late last year after having kid #2, I’d managed to put a stop to it – without really even trying (that hard). I just made a couple of small changes here and there, and over the course of the six or seven months, the weight came off. I lost about 20 lbs. Yeah, it was a painstakingly slow process, but it was a successful one. More importantly, I’d kept the weight off.

Until I went on vacation that is. Without noticing what I was doing, I fell right back into my old, bad habits. Suddenly, my clothes started to feel a bit snug, and I when I stepped onto my mother’s bathroom scale, I saw it: I’d already regained 5 of the almost 20 lbs I’d lost. I knew I had to do something quick to get back on track. Otherwise, I’d end up right back where I started last year. That’s when the decision was made: I would walk 15,000 steps a day every day for one year beginning on my 37th birthday and ending on my 38th birthday next year. Oh, and I would blog about it to stay motivated.

Great idea, right? I sure thought so. 

Unfortunately, my birthday came and went. Life happened. I didn’t get around to starting the blog, and although I tried to walk 15,000 steps on some days, I wasn’t exactly successful. Truthfully, I forgot all about it most of the time, so it’s no surprise that almost a month later, here I am, still carrying around the weight I regained on vacation and then some.

It’s never too late to make a change though, and the best time to start is now. So, starting today, I am challenging myself to walk 15,000 steps every day for a year – and to blog about it. Wish me luck, or better yet, join me! I’ve read* that sometimes, all it takes is changing one habit to change your life. This challenge could change yours; I really hope it changes mine.

Current step total: 4,156

* The book I read this in is called, “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg. It’s a great read, I highly recommend it.

 

 

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