Thanks for your kind responses to my post earlier this week when I opened up about my current health struggles. As promised, today we are kicking off Food & Fitness Fridays, the series where I’ll be sharing my weekly updates with you…including the good, the bad, and the ugly!
Today is all about goals and outlining my plan for the next two weeks. Starting out on long journeys can be so overwhelming, especially for someone like me who likes to see the beginning, middle, and end before taking the first step. But I think I can manage taking this in two week chunks.
I’ve never purposefully attempted to “lose weight” before. I’ve lost weight as a side effect of changing my routine here and there in the past, but to be honest, most of my weight experience has been with trying to gain it. I worked for years at trying to add some padding, because I was underweight due to my food allergies and gut damage. Once my hormones finally started kicking in, the weight came on much easier and I just sort of magically filled out.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m so grateful for the weight gain! It was much needed and I know I’ll be healthier in the long run for it. The problem is, I spent so much time panicking at the mere thought of losing weight during those underweight years that my whole psychology around weight loss is a little screwed up. It’s taken me months of preparing my mind for this, that it’s okay if I lose weight. That I have enough on me and it won’t ruin my health if I drop a few pounds.
Some people freak out about gaining weight, some people freak out about losing it. We’ve all got our stories!
I’m going to break the typical health goal mentality here by not setting goals with strict timelines and lots of specifics. Most fitness professionals recommend setting goals that are time-sensitive and very specific (for example, “I will lose 5 pounds by my birthday,” not, “I want to lose weight”). But given that I’m a big advocate for listening to my body and letting things work at their own pace, I’m going with a more generalized approach for starters. I also know that when I fall short of a goal, I tend to beat myself up about it…so I’m just going to avoid that possibility altogether. :)
In general, I would like to…
- Do something active every day, preferably in the morning before breakfast.
- Practice yoga at least twice a week.
- Keep my meals in the “lean and clean” zone. (Lots of vegetables, lean proteins, and clean healthy fats.)
- Avoid sweets…even the healthy ones, which are pretty much the only ones I eat anyways.
- Drink 10 cups of water per day.
- Memorize one passage of Scripture every week. (Because spiritual fitness is just as important as physical!)
These small goals will stack up like a ladder leading me to reach my BIGGER goals, which are…
- Feeling confident and comfortable in my body. While there’s definitely an emotional element to this, let’s face it: Girls get a lot of confidence from liking the way they look! There’s nothing wrong with caring about your looks and desiring a healthy relationship with your body image.
- Feeling strong and lean. (And just so you know, I’m not talking about female body builder lean here. I mean toned, not ripped or toothpick thin.)
- Increased flexibility. (Hello, yoga.)
- Flatter belly. (Hello, water and green vegetables.)
So that’s the big picture, but what about the next two weeks? How am I going to bring this all together?
Wellness Jumpstart Plan
It starts with I’m calling a 14-Day Wellness Jumpstart Plan, and I’m sharing the details below so that you can join me if you’d like!
This is a basic, no-frills plan that is designed to be a little intense to jumpstart our metabolisms and give us the kick that we need to get going. Let’s break it down into food, exercise, and mind/body.
- Morning smoothie with low-glycemic fruit (avocados, cucumbers, berries, etc.), greens, any nuts or seeds desired, almond or hemp milk, any spices or herbs desired
- 4 oz protein twice per day (lunch and dinner)
- Unlimited non-starchy vegetables at every meal and/or snack
- Afternoon snack of unlimited non-starchy veggies with source of healthy fat (avocado, almonds, tahini, etc.)
- Include healthy fats at every meal/snack. (Options: avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, nut milk, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, etc.)
- Eliminate starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, potatoes, etc.), grains, dairy (even ghee), sweeteners (including stevia), fruits other than berries (cucumbers, tomatoes, avocados, and lemons/limes are OK), and beans and legumes
- Eliminate eggs. I have an on/off sensitivity to these, so they are out for me. If you aren’t sensitive, they’re a good protein source so feel free to keep them in.
- Eliminate “trigger” foods. These are foods that—even though they might be healthy—are ones we can’t stop eating once we start. For me, it’s almond butter and cacao nibs. So long, sweet pals! See you in two weeks.
- AM before breakfast: Get in at least 45 minutes of exercise. Anything goes. Just MOVE. (I’ll be journaling my activity and sharing it with you in next week’s post.)
- Afternoon or evening: Get in a walk, yoga session, or some other form of gentle movement.
- If feeling tired, achy, sore, or worn out after multiple days of intense exercise in a row, go easy and just walk or stretch, but still do something.
- Take a relaxing bath 2-3 times per week, totaling 4-6 baths over the course of the 14 days. (If baths don’t relax you, choose something else that does! The goal is to calm down and turn off our stress responses regularly.)
- Choose a spiritual activity to engage in daily. For me, this will be Bible reading and Scripture memorization (and a whole lot of prayer!). It could also be keeping a prayer or gratitude journal, or doing a daily devotional. This will help us stay motivated and rooted on a deeper level.
Will I be weighing myself?
Yes. I’m not obsessive when it comes to the scale, but I will be using it as a tool for measuring my progress. This is controversial. Some people love it, some people hate it. I’m in the “use it with discretion” camp, so I’ll pull it out now and then to check out what’s going on.
Do I have a goal weight?
Yes, but I’m not sharing it publicly. :) The reason is simply because I’m going more on how I feel than on the number itself. If I weigh more than the “magic number” but feel confident and healthy, I’ll be perfectly okay with staying there. Also, like I said, I’ve never intentionally dropped weight before so I’m not sure how fast or slow it will happen.
Will I count calories?
Not one. It’s a waste of time and energy. We’re way better off eating a variety of colorful, nutrient-dense food in moderated portions and at regular intervals. Focus on nutrients, not numbers!
What about my back?
Since I had a back injury last year, I’m extra careful about how I exercise now. That means no prolonged cardio or super intense workouts on a daily basis. Also, no kettlebell workouts. When I do a blend of walking, yoga, and some short moderately intense workouts here and there, my back is happy.
Do I run?
I used to, and once in a while I’ll still drop in some hill runs. But the real answer is no. I tried to get back into it earlier this summer and my back gave me an angry reply, so running is off the table for now. Which doesn’t really crush me since I never loved it that much anyways.
Won’t the limited diet be boring?
Probably on some days it will. But it’s two weeks! And then I can figure out where I want to go next and start changing things up a little if I feel like it. Sometimes you have to narrow your “food field” in order to expand it later.
Will I be taking progress photos?
Yes. I’ll be keeping them to myself for now, but eventually I may share them…depending on how much my courage grows. :)
So there you have it! The very first Food & Fitness Friday is underway. I actually started my wellness jumpstart yesterday, so I’m already on Day 2. You can expect a full update next week with how things go for me.
If you’re joining in on the wellness jumpstart fun, let me know. Either leave a comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. With a supportive community here to uplift and encourage, we can all succeed, no matter our goals.