Day 45: Walking the walk

I committed to avoiding gluten and dairy in my last post with the hopes of improving my overall health, but truthfully, I didn’t start avoiding it right away. Although I said I would do it, and I truly believe I should, I just don’t think I was ready to pull the trigger yet. So, I didn’t; but, I did take some small baby steps to prepare for it.

For example, on Friday after my metabolic assessment appointment, I spoke to the wellness counselor about scheduling a few weekly coaching sessions. Although I understand the value of coaching, I’ve never given it a try. I guess I just didn’t think it could help me or maybe I didn’t know how to make the most of it? Regardless, I decided that with the changes I want to make, now would be an ideal time to give it a try. Food tends to be the area in which I struggle the most, so I’ll take any help I can get. What’s the worst that could happen anyway?

After that was all done and scheduled, I swung by the library and happened to notice they had cookbooks. No duh, right? A library with cookbooks, who would have thought? Anywho, after browsing their selection, I decided to borrow two: Nom Nom Paleo (the yellow one) and The Science of Cooking. I skimmed both books, did a little meal planning, and made my first meal from the Nom Nom Paleo book tonight. I have to say, it was really good. Even my family liked it. I’ll be buying a copy of it for myself.

On Sunday, I decided to make some bone broth – specifically seolleongtang, a Korean bone broth soup my husband really likes. I’ve read on a bunch of blogs and in magazines that bone broth is good for gut health, so I figured I might as well jump on the bandwagon and see if drinking a cup of broth daily has any benefits for me. This is another one of those, “what’s the worst thing that could happen?” things.

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 can’t help but feel curious about what changes might occur if I stick with it. I had my first coaching appointment that day as well, so I decided to consider it my “day 1” of avoiding dairy and gluten.

I’d like to say I’ve been doing great at avoiding it since then, but truthfully, it’s been a bit harder than I expected it to be. I’m not craving breads or cheeses, but I’ve struggled with the “hidden” gluten and dairy in stuff. Especially in a bunch of the common ingredients I use when cooking, like gochujang and soy sauce. So disappointing.

I don’t feel discouraged though. It’s challenging, but in a good way; and I’m really looking forward to seeing how creative I can get with this. Hopefully I can share some fun finds on this blog in future posts. Wish me luck!

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 I could consider adding another one.

But me being me, I created a new tracking sheet after my most recent Bod Pod and put a whole bunch of stuff on it. I didn’t set any new goals 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.

Maybe it’s my inner nerd, but I love spreadsheets. I like having the data to analyze afterward and see how the different things I do affect how I feel, how I look, and what I am able to do. It makes this process seem less like hard work and more like some science experiment – kind of how I approached my other goals the first time around. That change in viewpoint has really made a difference for me when I’ve struggling to overcome a challenge and stick with a goal in the past. I’m hoping it’ll day the same this time around too.

My spreadsheet also serves as a great visual reminder to stay on track towards making these positive changes. 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. I see it everyday. And although I guess it could make me feel bad by showcasing my “failures,” so far I’ve found it to be motivating instead – to a certain extent. It doesn’t seem to motivate me to hit my step goal every day. But, it doesn’t take away my motivation either, so no harm no foul?

How to motivate myself to stick with my step goal seems to be like something I need to think about more. I mean, that is the whole point of this challenge, right?

Day 23: Bod Pod Results

My Bod Pod results from yesterday were just as bad as I expected them to be. From October to now, my body fat percentage has increased from 26.1% to 29.8%, and I’ve gained a little over 6 lbs of fat. The worst part is, more than half that increase happened in the last 6 weeks.

Yesterday’s results:

Results from January 25th:

Despite my not-so-great results, I felt pretty motivated to get back on track yesterday. I made some healthy food, went to the gym, and tried my best to get all of my steps in early. I was on a roll until right after dinner time. Then it all went to shit. I felt tired, little man was cranky, and I just felt overwhelmed.

Although I didn’t binge on junk food or anything like that, I did have a drink or two and then went to bed – without checking my step total for the day. Just like that, I ruined my latest streak. I missed my goal by around 3,000 steps.

It’s ok though. I’ll get right back to it today. My next Bod Pod is scheduled for April 15th. I feel confident I can get a new streak going while working towards getting my body fat percentage moving in the right direction.

Day 18: Jinx

So, I’m pretty sure I jinxed myself with Wednesday’s post. Despite getting off to a good start and walking most of the day’s steps earlier in the morning, I still managed to lose track of time and miss my goal by about 2,500 steps.

On the bright side, I’ve been a lot more open about what I’m doing with friends this time around. Before, I would anxiously glance at my watch during our weekly group dinner, trying to find ways to discreetly get my steps in before just giving up altogether or running out of time. On Wednesday though, I told them I had a daily step goal I was trying to reach, so I was getting up to walk around. No one batted an eye or looked at me like I was crazy.

That being said, I don’t want to spend our weekly dinners walking laps while we chat after eating, so I really need to work on hitting my goal before dinner even starts.

The same goes for my workouts. Instead of getting up early and exercising first thing in the morning, I procrastinated and then ran out of time. Fortunately, I had two rest days left this week, so I just shifted my workouts over by one day and did Wednesday’s workout yesterday.

Now, I’m back on track and determined to keep my new streak going. Happy Friday!

Day 9: Not today

8:49 pm: 5,362 steps

Dejavú.

Here I am, two days later, in the same predicament. It’s almost bedtime and I’m short almost 10,000 steps from my step goal. The difference today is that I’m writing this post while walking laps around my living room. I’m determined to break this cycle of “two steps forward, one step back.”

Not only am I walking laps though, I’m doing it while my normally lazy dog tries to walk them with me. That may not seem like a big deal, but he’s wearing a donut around his neck to prevent him from chewing at his paws and zig zagging between my feet as I walk. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve tripped over him.

9:38 pm: 10,202 steps

It’s taken me almost an hour to take 5,000 steps. The dog’s gone to sleep and I’m on my second Kdrama episode. Make that my third.

I’m tired, I guess, but proud of myself for sticking with it.

And yet, I can’t help but wonder if this is normal behavior.

10:28 pm: 15,062 steps

Another 50 minutes to take another 5,000 steps. If I wasn’t tired before, I’m definitely tired now. I should have paced faster. Regardless, I’ve done it. I’ve hit my step goal for the day. Win!

Day 7: The choices we make

I chose to blow off my step goal last night. It wasn’t an easy choice, I thought about it a lot, but in the end it’s the choice I made.

I spent most of the day working at my computer. I used to stand while I worked, but lately I’ve been sitting at the kitchen table instead. By the time I decided to clock out for the day it was already late in the afternoon and I hadn’t even reached 5,000 steps.

I had plans to meet a friend later on so I assumed we’d do a lot of walking, but we didn’t. Despite my sedentary day, I was exhausted and ready for bed the minute I got home last night.

As I lay there I remembered my step goal and checked my watch. I was barely at 5,000 steps. Hitting my goal at that time would have required 10,000 steps worth of living room laps. It was a bit past 9 pm, so I knew I had enough time to do it… but I didn’t want to. I was tired – so, so tired.

I thought about the precedent I would set for myself by not walking those laps. It motivated me enough to get up and walk a few, but I just didn’t have it in me to keep going. I just wanted to go to sleep.

It occurred to me that if I were further along in my streak, I may very well have pushed myself to walk those 10,000 steps – but I was only two days in. In the grand scheme of things, that didn’t seem like all that much.

I don’t regret the decision I made, but I don’t want to have to make that decision again in the future. I want to successfully complete this challenge without dragging it out another two or three years.

Thankfully I’m a lot closer to my goal this evening. I had to volunteer to walk the dog to get there, but I did it. I’ll still need to walk a bunch of laps before bed, but it feels doable. I intend to start this week on the right foot.

Happy Monday!

Day 1: Third time’s a charm

We’re back in Japan after two weeks in the U.S. visiting family. It was a nice trip, but not devoid of stress. Families can be messy and traveling 18+ hours each way with two small children can make even the most simplest of tasks just a bit more complicated. Now that it’s over though, it’s time to get back to our daily routine.

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve been trying to get into the habit of using my bullet journal every day to keep track of my daily tasks, goals, and projects. If you’ve never heard of a bullet journal, it’s basically just a notebook you use to keep track of everything. You can read more about it and the method behind it here. As I pulled opened my bullet journal this morning to make a quick list of my day’s to dos, I found myself thinking about this blog and the challenge that inspired it.

It isn’t the first time I’ve thought about them since last December – they’ve been haunting me since I wrote my last post. My abandoned challenge has been a source of low-key guilt and fleeting motivation over the past two months. There have been moments where I’ve thought of giving it another go, but just haven’t been able to get past that hurdle between wanting to do it and actually doing it.

There have been since obstacles. Emotionally, I’ve felt burdened by the idea of forcing myself to write daily posts again. Physically, I’ve faced an emergency surgery at the beginning of the year that kept me from doing much of anything for several weeks. Toss in a long trip back to the U.S., and well, the excuses have been plentiful.

Today though, I feel like it’s time to give them up – the excuses I mean. I want to complete this challenge. Actually, I NEED to complete this challenge. There were so many positive changes that came from it the first time around. I could really use some of those right now.

I’ve read that the best time to create new habits or to change old ones is when there’s a change in your routine. After being away for a couple of weeks, coming back home is that best time for me.

As I did previously, I’m going to start with one goal: walk 15,000 steps a day. That’s it.

I have other goals I’m working on (I always have new goals I’m trying to accomplish, it’s just who I am as a person), but my steps will by primary focus; and I’m starting today, right now, NOT tomorrow. I am not committing to writing a daily post this time around, but I will post at least once a week to share my progress, stats, and spreadsheet. I do love keeping track of stats on spreadsheets.

For those of you who’ve followed me so far, and for anyone who stumbles across this post in the future, I’d like to say thank you for reading y posts. I’d also like to ask you for a favor: can you help hold my feet to the fire? It was the occasional notification of a new follower or of a comment on an old post that reminded me of this blog and challenge whenever it was starting to fade from my thoughts and memory. Without them, I’m not sure I would be sitting here writing this post today. The thought that there might be someone out there reading this became a significant source of accountability for me in the past and I think it can continue to be that way going forward this time around.

With that said, wish me luck! I’ve got another 365 days to go!