Today is my one year anniversary of writing this blog. One year into this public journey and I’ve continued to share weekly. Thanks to all who are following along with me on my journey. It helps to know someone’s out there reading and learning with me. I’d love to hear from you about your journey, so please leave comments or feedback for me.
We’ve talked about some of the common misconceptions these past few weeks, as well as the lies we tell ourselves along the way. Self preservation at its best, or maybe at its worst. We always have to address the elephant in the room in order to grow, but now I’d like to get back to the positive side of this journey. I’d like to share the foundational changes I’ve learned are necessary in order to be successful on our road to health. These 5 pillars of success set the foundation upon which we will grow and maintain healthy living.
Clean Eating – Food
I think you know by now I am not about fad diets, elimination of food groups, or anything else that I don’t believe will be sustainable. Counting calories or points is not something I want to do. I try hard to eat clean and surely go through periods where I am more successful than others. I am human after all and don’t strive to be perfect. I face each day as a new day and let go of the mistakes made in the prior one. I tell myself, it’s about balance – the right proteins, healthy fats and healthy carbohydrates. I shoot to eat clean at least 80% of the time.
In order to hit this pillar I do spend some time menu planning each weekend. The focus of this time is on my dinner meal as this can be the most challenging for me as it comes at the end of my often stressful day. Breakfast and lunch for me are super simple for me to prepare. Personally, I don’t prep my food, but know many people who do this and swear by it. For me, I prefer fresh food daily. I strive to cook simple, quick and healthy meals each week. Thankfully, we live in the era of the internet and have access to thousands of quick recipes. I’m a huge fan of soups, organic chicken and meatless meals. I highly recommend this cookbook and website for ideas. The Wellness Mama Cookbook: 200 Easy-to-Prepare Recipes and Time-Saving Advice for the Busy Cook
Daily Movement – Exercise
This is the pillar most of us overthink. This doesn’t have to be hours at the gym each day, or painful workouts. Then it becomes unsustainable and we give up. To make this attainable think simplicity. What can you realistically do to make a change in your life? I like to start each day with some type of movement. It can be as simple as a 15 minute yoga flow, or as complicated as an hour run. This all depends on my available time and where I am in my training cycle. Right now I am recovering from three broken toes, but that doesn’t mean I get to lay around each day and give up all movement. I’ve found ways to continue to exercise each day. Again, there are thousands of workout options on the internet. Youtube has so many free classes to choose from. Just google what you are looking for and it is there.
My average week includes 6 days of workouts and 1 day of rest. The 6 days include 5 days of running when I am in training for upcoming races. The other day is an active recovery day, which means yoga or pilates class. I do all workouts in my home and out on the road in my neighborhood. I’ve done the gym, yoga studio and personal trainer route and while I loved them all, it just wasn’t sustainable for me. I was basically rushing out the door every morning at 5 am to squeeze my workouts in before work. Choosing to do these workouts at home has given me an extra hour in the morning to sip coffee, check email and write. It also removed a layer of stress and rushing I just didn’t need.
If you want to keep it even simpler than that, all you really need to get started is 15 – 20 minutes of movement per day. Think in terms of high intensity movements (not high impact) that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously. In the following video clip, Danette May is doing 3 moves for 20 reps each. She does 20 – 20- 20 for three rounds. Try this simple routine and see how your heart rate goes up. Couple this with walking at least three days a week and you are on the road to making huge gains. Throw a pair of sneakers in your car and you will easily be able to carve out some time for a quick walk, even on your way home from work.
Sleep – Body Repair
This is the thing I struggle with the most. I do not sleep well and never realized just how much this impacts my overall health. Getting a good night sleep is a critical part of this journey and something I work on every day. There are so many research studies that show just how detrimental it can be to not get a good night sleep, yet so many of us struggle to do so. I’ve been doing better lately in this are and can feel the difference.
Each night I now stop using my computer at around 7 PM. Unplugging and allowing myself to relax a bit before attempting to go to bed. I have found that a sleep schedule has helped improve my sleeping patterns. Whenever possible, I go up to bed at around the same time. I read a bit in bed and as I become tired I go to sleep. I’ve started using a diffuser on those hard to sleep nights. I fill mine with water and organic lavender essential oil. Finally, when I wake up, as long as I’ve had at least 6 hours of sleep, I get up. I no longer lay there and stress myself out that I can’t fall back asleep. This stress is totally not necessary. Most days I am up by 4 AM and that’s just ok for me. That is my body’s natural rhythm and time clock and it is all just fine.
Mindset – Positive Self Talk
I talked a lot about this during the summer as I trained for my half marathon. You can’t underestimate the power of positivity. This can be a struggle for many of us, myself included. I’m working hard to be kind to myself and have found that it does help keep me motivated. When I find myself heading down that negative road, I remind myself how far I’ve come. This body I’ve been given has allowed me to do incredible things. I need to care for it and part of that care includes developing my mindset around focusing on what I CAN do.
Declaring my why has been a big part of developing my mindset. Using positive self talk and getting a vision of what I am trying to accomplish has helped me tremendously. Also, thinking about the impact my negative self talk has not only on me, but on my daughter, has helped reign it in.
Please revisit my powerful blogs on this topic:
Supplements – Only as Needed
I have written a lot about this topic. I have personally tried many different supplements on this journey. I’ve realized that you can’t REPLACE unhealthy eating with pills or powders, no matter how many you take. I only take what I need and what I feel I can’t, or am not getting through my food choices. For me right now what I need to supplement is Vitamin D3 (taken with K2 for absorption), Turmeric (inflammation), Protein (Only on days I feel it’s lacking.) and Greens (only on days I feel I need a little help getting in my vegetables.).
See my blogs on this topic:
I hope you see simplicity running through all of my pillars. Without simplicity, we truly are setting ourselves up for failure. Always think longterm. While a complicated change might seem easy in the short term, ask yourself – “Is this something I want to, or can do, for the rest of my life?” If the answer is no, then it is likely not a sustainable change.
Help me celebrate my anniversary. Share at least one thing you’ve enjoyed about reading my journey. If it’s had an impact on your journey, I’d love to hear how.