January's progress: Total lost 6.5 pounds, net loss 4.5 pounds.
Why the discrepancy? Because I gained 2 pounds the first week, possibly leftovers from the holidays or perhaps muscle/bone mass. Either way, just trying to keep it real.
I also have one of those scales that tracks your water and fat percentage. I made the fat percentage go down 2% and water up 1.5%.
I have achieved this using the following:
- 30 minute laps inside my office building during lunch breaks (2-3x a week)
- 35 minute cardio DVD workouts (1-2x a week)
- Mindful eating, such as snacks, more fruits/veggies, and less second helpings
- Journaling progress reports once a week
What's great about all of this is that it's free. It doesn't cost me anything to walk around the office (and several other ladies do as well). All of my workout DVDs were purchased years ago (sadly). Journaling takes but a little time and the energy spent for the light to be on (or have the computer on for blogging).
The greatest cost struggle is food. Eating healthy is expensive. Yes, there are ways to make it more affordable and it's all about the long-term investment. But there's no getting around that even the addition of fresh fruits and veggies will be noticeable when you're in the checkout line.
|Google makes eating healthy look so pretty|
So it's all about the meal planning. Right before payday, I sit down for about an hour and sift through cookbooks and recipes to plan out our meals for the next two weeks. Now, this isn't some crazy menu that has to be adhered to strictly. But it does help one think about cooking healthy by deliberately planning to do so.
It's also enormously helpful to know you only need X pounds of chicken or X containers of cottage cheese to last a pay period but that's another blog post entirely.
For me in particular, because Mike will eat anything, meal planning helps me choose fruits and veggies to pair with meals. I know we are having pasta on Monday therefore a salad is a good choice. Or this meal of meatloaf would go great with roasted potatoes. Or this egg dish would go nicely with mandarin oranges.
We tend to gravitate toward these modestly priced items: frozen fruit chunks, frozen veggies (particularly the steamer ones, and yes, I have environmental concerns about the packaging), canned mandarin oranges, roma tomatoes, canned tomatoes and Rotel, kiwis, sweet potatoes, canned pumpkin, and bagged salads (when on sale).
|Not at all what our grocery list looks like but wouldn't it be nice. Flowers are good.|
Journaling is also about lists. I record for each day what I've done for exercise, just a simple activity + time. I then list any struggles I've encountered. Lastly, I make goals for the week, just one or two. Eat more veggies. Do one more day of exercise. Go a little longer at Tae Bo without wanting to strangle Billy Blanks. That may sound like a lot, but it takes up about one page, honestly.
Lists are my forte, they keep me on track. I'm also visual, so it's a nice record of how I'm doing and where I want to be.
I was talking to a friend about wanting to have a better marker for health progress than just a scale. Ultimately, I want to feel better, not look better (though I won't turn that down). She suggested a pain snapshot, like a before-and-after without the embarrassment.
After a month of exercising, improvements are small but hopeful. I find I'm a wee bit more flexible when stretching. I started out at 10 laps per 30 minutes, now I can do the same 10 in 27 minutes. I can get through 15 more minutes of Tae Bo than when I first started (and lots less swearing). I let Mike join me for Tae Bo this week, which was an immense confidence booster because even he was huffing and puffing (love you dear).
I still find that my back and shoulders hold the same amount of tension. My plantar fasciitis (a arch/heel problem) is definitely aggravated from the additional activity. Tae Bo is tough on the knees too. My clothes still fit the same.
This all means that I simply have more to go. Progress is good, but keeping tabs on what can still be improved is also helpful.
February will simply be more of doing the same. I have two Biggest Loser DVDs that I haven't touched yet so I'm hoping to incorporate those. I plan on doing more "double days," where I walk during lunch and then come home and do an additional workout. Eating more fruits/veggies or sneaking them into dishes will continue to be a (winnable) battle. I should also add weight lifting / resistance training here and there.
Overall, I feel confident about what I've accomplished, but also more motivated to keep this going. When you frame your health in dollar signs, it's a big kick in the butt.
Question of the Day: What have you done recently to improve your health?