What does healthy living look like?

What does healthy living look like?

So what does healthy living look like, and how will I keep track of what I’m doing?

To start with, in a similar vein to John Green I’m not going to place the main focus on my weight. Yes, I would like to lose some, but it’s not overly important – I’m currently considered a healthy weight, albeit close to the top of the range. It’s also just one factor amidst myriad others, and you can definitely be unhealthy and lose weight!

Instead, I’d like to see if I can gain strength and increase my flexibility. I plan on taking my measurements as I’d like to lower my body fat percentage and I think that’s probably the best way to start noticing if my body is changing shape/composition. But I’d also like to see if my skin improves, how my energy levels are affected, and even if my moods change. This will be a holistic healthy 100 days.

I plan to track this in a number of ways. Primarily I will write about my experience here, sharing both metrics and how I’m feeling and what I’m doing. I plan to keep track of metrics in a spreadsheet on google where I will track my weight and measurements and whether I’ve done the things I’m supposed to that day. I also want to share photos of how I’m eating on my Instagram to help me with accountability and I will probably moan a lot on my Tumblr in the meantime. For measuring flexibility, as well as noting down what I notice, I may also film myself periodically doing the same yoga routine so I can literally see how I improve.

So again, what does healthy living look like?

There are a number of elements:

Food

What I eat is going to be the biggest change for me at the moment. I’ve been eating junk or overeating for weeks now, and that really needs to change. The first thing I need to do is ensure that if I’m at home I cook as much as possible. I like cooking, and when I do it I end up eating really quite healthily. But since I work away from home Monday-Thursday, if it looks like my weekend will also be busy I often fall into the habit of buying takeaways or eating out. Eating out all the time is killing me. Restaurants don’t seem to know that vegetables exist.

To ensure I cook more at the weekends, I need to get back into planning my meals out more – if not what I’m going to have each day, then at least ensuring that there are healthy options stocked in the freezer for emergencies.

Instead of focusing on my calorie intake etc, I’m going to take a step back to this time last year when I had a health and wellbeing coach at work. The food challenge she made me focus on was to try and get five portions of vegetables every day. This was really hard! I rarely managed the full five, but I got a lot better at eating healthily during the work week by making my choices based on vegetables first, everything else second.

I think I’m going to try and take this approach again this time, especially when I’m away from home. Instead of thinking “what do I feel like” as my mood can change on a whim when it comes to food, if I know I’m going for the option with the vegetables first and foremost I at least know I’m getting some vitamins and fibre in! It also places less focus on each individual meal – less pressure on making sure this meal is healthy (especially if I’ve got low motivation) – and more focus on the whole day. Last time around it meant I was making choices to, for example, get a side of veg rather than dessert etc. if I had a limited budget.

Body

My biggest problem when it comes to fitness at the moment is inconsistency. I pick a workout plan and stick to it for a week or two, then worry that I’m not doing the right things and change what I’m doing. It means that my fitness levels have increased a little, but I’ve not really seen any consistent progress. For these 100 days, I want to plan a workout schedule that I can stick bar any major changes (for example, working away from home in a hotel that has no weights if my plan uses them during the week), and won’t cause me to burn out. Once I’ve made a plan, I should stick to it. Yes, there might need to be some tweaks here and there, but those tweaks should be increasing the intensity if it’s becoming too easy, not completely changing what I’m doing.

I would like to do a mix of cardio and strength based training, so I think I’m going to do some resistance training on Mondays and Wednesdays (hopefully hotel gym will have dumbbells) and I have my Extreme HIIT class on Fridays. Then I’ll throw in some dance on Tuesdays (a Cize workout) and those will be the main four things I will do during the week. If I feel like it and have time, I might go to Zumba or Pilates on Sundays as I really like the classes at my gym, but I’m not going to put these in the ‘have to’ pile. Four sessions of exercise per week should be something I can do without burning out, and a fifth is a good optional extra. The other two days are being kept as rest days.

I also want to get back into doing some consistent yoga, so I’m going to Yoga with Adriene’s 30 Days of Yoga initially and then continue onto Lesley Fightmaster’s 90 Days of Yoga. I’ve done both of them in the past, though not through to the end, and I know I enjoy them. I started the 30 days of yoga again recently so I won’t be starting with day 1 on the first day of the 100 days.

Mind

I used to meditate with Headspace before bed each night. It was a good way to wind down, but I’ve never been able to keep it up for longer than a few days. It’s going into the ‘what does healthy living look like’ list.

Sleep

Sleep has such a massive impact on my moods and behaviours. If I’m overtired I move less, eat more, and are a lot less motivated to do anything, which in turns sours my mood. Given that I have to get up early on a Monday to get to work out of town, I want to make this as easy and not-disruptive as possible. So as much as possible, I would like to be in bed by 11pm and up at 7am. If I can get this down, I’d like to start getting up at 6:30, but I’m not going to push too hard too soon. It’s going to be hard enough as it is – the 11pm bed time especially!

—–

It sounds like a lot but all of these are things that I’ve sort of done before, just not overly consistently. I think in this particular instance I have to take an all or nothing approach rather than easing myself into it (i.e. doing yoga for a few weeks, then bringing in the meditation). I know that advice for a lot of people is not to take too much on at once, but all or nothing has worked for me in the past. When I first started T25 a year ago, I went from exercising once or twice per week to doing 25 pretty intense minutes a day 6 days per week, and I did it for a good month until things went wrong.

It wasn’t that I burnt out, it was more I got distracted when I visited my parents and once I stopped I struggled to start again. If I try to ease myself into this I will give myself too many excuses for unhealthy behaviour – which I’ll be able to justify as it’ll be part of the ‘easing’ process.

I’m not going to let that happen. This is 100 days of healthy full on.

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