Like everyone else in the world, I'm making some resolutions for the new year. I'm usually pretty good with sticking to resolutions and challenges, at least in the short term. It helps to have goals and end points and rewards here and there so that I have a defined structure, rather than this vague idea of "This is how I'm living my life forever starting today!!!!" Which is all well and good, but for me winds up being an unrealistic way to frame things in my head.
These past few months have been a bit of a roller coaster, emotionally and physically. For those who didn't see my last couple of posts, I had a miscarriage at the beginning of December. I had just passed 12 weeks, but we had known since 9 1/2 weeks that the pregnancy wasn't viable. I had grand plans to keep being active and at least go for a walk most days during the first trimester, but the nausea and fatigue quickly made that just a pipe dream. Then I was sad and just didn't feel like doing much while I healed. I still feel sad at times, but it's getting better. Now, a month later, I finally feel relatively normal again.
So I'm ready to set some goals and get going. I'm really frustrated with how I look (double chin) and feel (uncomfortable in my own skin) right now. I've never been a picture avoider, but while we were in Utah with the in-laws for Christmas, I realized that I really don't want any documentation of how I look right now. Sad, right? I've gained back all the weight I lost several years ago, plus about 10 more pounds for good measure. I have truly accepted that because of my build, I'll never be skinny, but I don't want to be obese either. I love when I feel strong, and have defined muscles in my arms and legs and back. I want to get back to feeling sort of like an athlete again.
So here's the plan.
Step 1 - Sugar detox. I am so over-sugared right now, thanks to the holidays. One good side effect of the nausea/pregnancy hormones was that I had zero sweet tooth. It was kind of remarkable. Jason and I went apple picking and he made a few apple pies over the next few weeks and then wound up eating most of them himself because I just didn't want more than a piece here or there. At the same time, I could not get enough salt. Like, I probably would have been happy if Jason had bought me a salt lick. Anyway, last month my sweet tooth came back with a vengeance. Coupled with crazy hormones, a tiny bit of depression and the holiday free for all, I'm pretty sure my pants are tighter now than they were a month ago.
So starting tomorrow (Saturday), I'm cutting out the carbs - no sugar, no grains. If we get invited to someone's house for dinner, I'm not going to turn up my nose at something they make, but my goal is to eat protein, fat and vegetables. I'm going to do the first 2 weeks as a super low carb start, like Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet, which I've done several times before. Saturday is a good day to start in case I have withdrawal headaches or just generally feel yucky.
Step 2 - Maintain Paleo/Primal diet. After the first 2 weeks, I'll work some sweet potatoes and other root vegetables back in. It is winter, after all, and we'll have a winter farm share starting up soon that will be giving us lots of roots (and probably some greenhouse greens). I haven't noticed a dairy sensitivity, so I'll keep dairy in my diet. However, if I find I don't lose weight (which has been a problem for the last few years), I'll experiment with cutting out dairy.
Step 3 - Institute a once a month Cheat Day. Many people have opined on the Cheat Day and whether it's a good practice or not. All I know is that when I know there's a Cheat Day coming, it's much easier for me to forego a treat when it's staring me in the face. I say to myself, "I won't eat it now, but when Cheat Day comes, I can have it." As the months pass, not only does it become easier for me to not eat the crap, but I find I want much less of it on Cheat Day. For instance, in the past, I have devoured a pint of Ben and Jerry's on my first Cheat Day, but by month 5, I couldn't eat more than half a pint without feeling ill. It's totally a crutch, and I embrace that.
(At this point, I've been so inactive for so long that I'm a little scared about how much it's going to hurt when I start exercising again. But it's a good pain, right?)
Step 1 - I am declaring for all the world that exercise begins Monday with a gradual cardio increase. Yeah, it's freaking cold outside (although it's supposed to be warmer on Sunday), but this is the time that I need to start getting in shape for beach/kayak/open water swim times in the Summer. So I'm hitting the elliptical next week. I'm going to shoot for 4 days of ellipticaling next week. Long-term I will aim for 3-4 days of cardio per week.
Step 2 - Strength training. Time to go back to the MWF strength training class at the Y, starting Monday after next (the 13th). Long-term I will aim for at least 2 days of strength training per week.
Step 3 - Swimming. To be implemented in February when it will still be freaking cold but maybe won't be quite so freaking dark in the mornings. I'm still having pain in my right shoulder, which is baffling considering how little it has been doing lately. I have to confess that I'm a bit terrified that it's a chronic issue and is going to seriously inhibit how much I can swim for the rest of my life. My mom has severe rheumatoid arthritis and I would be lying if I said that the idea of this pain being the beginning of something like that hasn't crossed my mind. So I will elliptical and I will strength train and if the shoulder still hurts by the end of January, I will go to the doctor and try to figure out what's going on.
Step 4 - Walking. I joined a 10,000 steps per day challenge several months ago and until I got sidelined by an illness, it was amazing the machinations I went through to ensure I got 10,000 steps per day. One night I got home from a meeting and was still severely short, so I went for a 3 mile walk at 9 PM. I'd like to challenge myself like that again in the next couple of months, but it's difficult when there's snow and ice on the ground to get it done reliably. I'll save the challenge for, say, March, but in the meantime, I'll take advantage of the warmer Winter days and head outside for a walk as much as possible.
All of my goals are perfectly reasonable and doable. I'm trying to not be too crazy and just work on getting myself more healthy and gradually losing weight. Let's do this!