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Posts from the ‘Goals’ Category

Day 12: I’m in the double digits

Despite the ups and downs of the past two weeks, I’ve hit double digits on my step streak. Today marks 10 straight days of walking 15,000 steps a day. Woo hoo!

Now that I seem to have this whole step thing somewhat under control, I think it’s time to start working on getting my sleep on track. Sleep has eluded me since childhood, so I kinda sorta feel like this is going to be a much harder goal to hit. There’s just so much info out there on how to get more (and better) sleep. I need a plan, and I need it before Monday.

Monday is the day.

That means, I need to get smart on all things sleep related. So, from now until then, I’m going to listen to podcasts about sleep, read articles and books about sleep, think about sleep, and write about sleep. Exciting stuff, huh?

It gets better: Monday is also the day of my next Bod Pod.

Although I did make it to the gym a few times this month, I don’t expect any significant changes. I didn’t really do all that well with restricting my eating window, and the scale says I’m bloated. My measurements haven’t change much either.

I’m still looking forward to it though – It’s a great starting point to see what getting proper sleep can do (assuming I’m successful at getting proper sleep that is).

Speaking of sleep, it is past my bedtime. Hasta mañana!

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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.

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 33: Tracking things

When I committed to giving this challenge another try, I told myself that I would stick to one goal or habit at a time. Once I was able to successfully keep that goal/habit for at least seven days straight, then (and only then) I could consider adding another one.

But me being me, I went ahead and modified my goal tracking spreadsheet after my most recent Bod Pod, and put a whole bunch of stuff on it. I didn’t set any new goals or anything, and I didn’t commit to religiously tracking everything, but I did tell myself that I would at the very least try to track these things. And I have for the most part.

I don’t know what it is about spreadsheets, but I love them. I find them motivating. I like having data to analyze, and being able to see how the different things I do affect how I feel and look, and what I am able to do. It makes this whole process seem a lot less like work and a lot more like some fun science experiment (which would explain my earlier Experiments 1 and 2). It may sound silly, but approaching this challenge and my goals in that way has made it so much easier to stick with it.

My spreadsheet also serves as a great visual reminder for me to stay on track towards making the positive changes I’ve committed to. I hung it up on the pantry door in my kitchen. There’s nothing else hanging there, so it doesn’t get lost among other papers (like the stuff I hang on the fridge does), and I see it everyday. Granted, I guess it could make me feel bad by putting my “failures” on display for all to see, but so far, I’ve found it to be motivating – for the most part (it doesn’t seem to help much with my steps).

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