My 2016 So Far – Living Healthier

So I figured now is a good time to give an update on my life to those who care! There may be some personal things here, but since this IS a public blog I’ll try to keep it low on personal details. I’m going to split this in to 3 posts going over my 3 main goals for the year:

  • Living Healthier
  • Better Budget
  • Reviving Creativity

So, I’ll get right in to it!

 

Part 1 – On Living Healthier

Goal: From the end of December to now, I’ve been trying to live a healthier lifestyle. Mainly, eating better and being less sedentary, but some other changes as well, as I mention below.

The main reason for the change is for mental health, rather than physical. I’m not in terrible physical condition, but mentally it’s been a rough few years that’s taken a toll. I’d rather take down the depression monster with a lifestyle change than rely on anti-depressants.

My goal from the start was to lose 20-30lbs. This is after being in the same ~10lb range for several years. I figured since I wasn’t really gaining any more weight with the life I was living, it shouldn’t take too much effort to shed some pounds, and theoretically shouldn’t be hard to keep off.

 

Steps to Success: First, the big one—the eating situation. I LOVE food, especially yummy cheesy pasta. But sacrifices must be made. Dinners now mostly consist of chicken or fish, and vegetables. We try to mix up the chicken a bit with various sauces: BBQ, Salsa, Sweet & Sour, and some delicious white and mustard sauces our awesome coworker got us.

I’ve been tracking food and calorie intake with MyFitnessPal. I’m not totally cutting out ANY foods I enjoy from my diet, but I’m definitely eating in moderation. Even donuts and cake are fair game when I have the calorie allowance (which is currently recommended as ~1200 net calories per day). We have Chipotle every Saturday, and instead of getting a carnitas burrito (~1155 calories) and eating the whole thing in one sitting and later having dinner, I get a sofritas burrito bowl (~810 calories) and split it between lunch and dinner.

I’ve been doing mostly light exercise (even bought some new workout clothes…leggings are comfy!). I started with some Wii Fit, which can be fun, but there’s some little things about it that I’m not a fan of (like if you press a wrong button it stops your entire workout with NO confirmation). I also have an elliptical machine my parents gave us, but it’s so BORING with the lack of actual forward movement, even if I watch anime (also, the arm movement or the handles just feels unnatural and uncomfortable). So, more recently I’ve turned to walking/running up and down the stairs in our apartment, which has been pretty effective other than cats occasionally trying to kill me by deciding to sit on the steps as I run. 🙂

We’ve also just been walking more in general, including a weekly 2+ mile round trip walk up to Starbucks/Chipotle. We’ve been getting better at wearing our pedometers (WiiFit meter and Withings Pulse), and Mike’s been doing a (nearly) weekly mini update about our progress on some of the distance and altitude challenges on Wii Fit U.

Otherwise, there’s been other minor changes. For example, we got electric toothbrushes and a Waterpik, and making an effort to make better use of our dental insurance. I’ve also gotten in to a habit of shaving once a week (let’s not ask how often it was before >_> lol).

 

Progress: Mentally, I’m feeling a lot better overall. I still need some work, though. I’m still finding it difficult to motivate myself, or enjoying things that should be enjoyable. But it IS getting better. Baby steps.

Physically, I’m down a bit more than 10lbs. It’s the lowest I’ve been in a couple years, and the graph has a stronger downward trend than I’ve seen since we started using a smart scale in 2012. My only regret here is I didn’t take a “before” picture. I see myself in the mirror every day, so I don’t necessarily see the small differences over time. I’m also not extremely overweight, so there’s not going to be some huge dramatic change. But, at least I am starting to feel better overall, and that’s what matters.

 

Additional Plans: Make better use of medical insurance…I’m a few months overdue for a physical! If only I didn’t have to use sick leave for  the yearly physical and 2x dental cleanings. Taking time off for those things runs the risk not having enough hours if you get sick or have some other issue. Feels like they should be a separate type of time off for those 3 times a year. Anyway…

This month, we’ll likely be switching from our Withings Pulse fitness bands to the new Fitbit Blaze. Love the idea of having a more constant heart rate monitor compared to having to pull the Pulse out of the wristband or belt clip and stick our finger on it to get a reading (or use our phone for the same). Also like that it has some light smart watch capabilities. I don’t need a full on smart watch, but can appreciate some features.

I’d love to start jogging outside, eventually, but there’s a few factors involved. First, how comfortable I am going at it alone. My husband’s not currently in a condition where running on hard ground will work out for him (old man knees :p), and social anxiety means a lack of local friends. Second, the weather in Southern California is just stupid. As it gets closer to summer it’s going to kill me a bit, and probably require either early morning or nighttime running. The latter being a safety issue, and the former…I’m definitely NOT a morning person (maybe that’s going to have to change). Lastly, we’re likely to move further toward the city later this year, which means more cars around and less safe.

Sleep is another thing I need to get better at, though admittedly it’s partially not my fault. Artemis LOVES to wake us up about 2 hours too early. That said, if I can bring myself to go to sleep earlier, and wake up earlier, it could be beneficial in more ways than one. I’d love to work out in the mornings, too…but I just LOVE night time for gaming, reading, watching shows, etc. Regardless of what I do here, it’s probably time we get our Sleep Number bed’s SleepIQ system back up and running. Once I get the Fitbit Blaze I’ll also wear it to sleep for tracking sleep quality, and compare the two systems.

Part of living healthy is having a better self image. I’d like to look in the mirror and think “hey, not bad!”. The good news is, I think it’s possible. I don’t look at myself and see someone ugly…just someone who needs some work. We’re hoping to both go see a dermatologist sometime soon in hopes of getting our skin in check…we’re not teenagers anymore! I hate makeup, so my acne and related scars is always out there for the world to see. Hopefully I can get some help there.

I also want to do something with my hair, but I’m not sure what yet. It’s currently a dull brown, and hasn’t been cut in almost a year. I’m not sure I can bring myself to do something drastic, but at least put some layers and highlights back in. I still need to keep it fairly low maintenance, though. Similar to makeup, I don’t care to use a lot of hair product, or spend a bunch of time getting ready in the morning.

Once I reach my body shape goal, I also want to changing up my wardrobe a bit (not before…that’d be a waste of money). Currently I wear all jeans, t-shirts, and sweatshirts. Unless you pay attention you might not even realize I change clothes every day! I’ll still keep it comfortable, but maybe wear something a little nicer sometimes. Luckily I’m in an industry where this doesn’t matter so much, but I do like cute clothes 🙁

Lastly, I need to get better about “pampering” myself. I started with the shaving, but I need to do more. I’m not going to go as far as going to a spa, but I have all these lotions, face masks, etc. I should make use of. My skin’s so dry in this climate. Especially my feet…they’ve NEVER felt like this until moving down here. Time to make use of all my foot scrubs and lotions to make them worthy of wearing sandals.

 

Anyway, that’s all for this post. A lot of work left, and it will likely only get harder from here as I get closer to my weight goal, but overall things are going well. Much better than any other time I’ve tried living healthier. 🙂

Next up I’ll talk about money matters! Hopefully tomorrow.