Things I’m Learning Via Lifestyle Changes

18 Jan

Disclaimer: This is going to be a long post. It’s also primarily about me and my approach to living a better life. Just a little peek into my personal experiences with body image and health. If you’re also looking to make changes in your life, you may find it interesting. If not…feel free to skip this entry 😉

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For a little background…I’m making big changes in my life. Aside from deciding to eat more healthfully and sustainably, I’ve made a lot of adjustments to the way I approach daily life. These mainly came in the form of the infamous New Years Resolution. Fortunately, I didn’t make these changes because it was a new year. I made them because something clicked into place in my brain and I realized that things need to be different. This just happened to take place at the beginning of January.

I love making lists and I have always been extremely goal-oriented. My goals for this “project” include big changes and small changes. Some of them are things that I’ve been doing already, but would like to do more consistently and intentionally. There are easily achievable short-term goals (like whitening my teeth) and much more difficult long-term goals (like making all of my meals). I even made a daily checklist to monitor and measure my progress while I’m implementing these changes. Here are my goals.

Eat seasonally and sustainably whenever possible.
Make all my meals, except when out with friends or on a date.
Avoid carbohydrates.
Walk my dogs twice daily, without fail.
Sign up for a weekly fitness class.
Go to the gym Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Work out at home twice a week.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Take a daily multivitamin and my metformin.
Wash my face and moisturize in the mornings and the evenings.
Whiten my teeth.
Go to bed by midnight each weeknight and wake up between 8-9am.
Stretch and make my bed every morning.

A thing that I really want out of this change is to lose 60 or more pounds, which will, in due time and in all likelihood, do away with my insulin resistance before it leads to diabetes. You’ll notice that weight loss and reversing metabolic syndrome are not on the list. That’s because, by making this list of goals, I’ve created a way to treat my health problems. Weight loss is not the primary motivator. It’s just a happy fringe benefit.

Anyway. On to the whole point of this post!

Things I’m Learning from my Lifestyle Changes

1. Going to bed on time is fucking hard. Aside from the fact that I just I love staying up late, my insulin resistance makes me terribly fatigued, because of how hard my body is working on dealing with fat and food. I start to feel tired around 7pm. I can’t go to bed that early! So, I power through and then I find myself up until 2am, unable to sleep. I hope that this will get easier. But…in the meantime, I’m finding that when I wake up early, I am much more productive. I used to stay up all night and sleep all day and I’d sit around and do nothing and feel like shit about myself. Now, I’m getting outside every day, socializing, exercising, exploring, keeping my house clean, studying and reading more, and cooking up a storm.

2. Keeping track of what I eat and how much I exercise is essential. Fortunately, my new smart phone has helped me enormously with this, as I’m not the kind of person who would ever be able to count calories of her own volition. I use MyFitnessPal, which is an app that allows me to enter in the things I’ve eaten or exercises I’ve done in order to see how many calories I’ve consumed and burned. It’s an excellent motivator to keep below my recommended daily calorie intake and it helps me not to overeat. My favorite feature is a thing that tells me, after each completed day, how much I will weigh in a month if I keep up this same pattern. It keeps my end goals in sight.

3. Healthy diet and exercise are lifelong necessities. Once my insulin resistance goes away, I will be allowed to eat more of the things I love, in moderation. But I vow here and now to never stop making the effort to get out into the world and move around and take care of myself and use this body that I live in to its full potential. This is not a thing I’m doing until I lose weight. It’s a thing I’m doing forever.

4. You don’t have to be perfect. You’re going to fuck up. You’re allowed cookies and chocolate and ice cream (or pasta and rice and potatoes, in my case) on occasion, if it makes you happy. You’re allowed to skip a day of working out because your muscles are so sore you can barely move. You don’t have to beat yourself up and you don’t have to give in.

5. These changes are not as difficult as you might think. Healthy food, despite its reputation, can be totally delicious. I thought it would be boring, gross, and repetitive. It’s not! It’s fun! I’m trying so many new foods and I’m always looking forward to testing recipes and exploring the things I can eat. I can’t even remember what I ate before. And you know what? I don’t miss it one bit.

Let me close with…I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d be saying things like “lifestyle changes” and “recommended daily calorie intake”. But such is life. I also thought I’d never be the kind of person who bought clothes for her dogs, but now I have two little monsters that need to wear winter coats each time we go outside so they don’t freeze to death. (Ugh…LOL.)

Benjamin Franklin said, “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” In other words, we’re changing or we’re dead. So, here I am. Taking the reins, instead of just going along for the ride.

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