It’s nearly a month into 2018, so I thought I’d check in on some of those goals I set. In particular, I’m talking my goals for living a more balanced, healthy life. I’ll also offer some tips on how I made healthier choices and what you could do as well! Lastly, I’ll discuss what it’s been like so far, the changes I’ve made, and what I hope to do in the future. So, here goes: Healthy Changes, Part 1.
The first reason was obviously because it’s the new year. It seems stupid to think about it now since everyone always says they’ll “do better” with healthy stuff at the beginning of the year. Like suddenly the passing of time makes us more aware of our own mortality. It’s particularly bad for me since New Year’s Day also happens to be my birthday. But I’ve been saying for years that I’d be better, and after years of the same bad habits and gaining weight, I really meant it this time.
The other reason why? It became necessary. I said a year ago when I had my gallbladder removal surgery that it was a wake up call for my health. Well, then moving to Austin was like falling into a deep sleep. Since moving I have done nothing but ignore my health in favor of eating (and drinking!) whatever I wanted whenever and failing to go to the gym. And as you know, I paid the price. I got a literal gut check of pain to remind me that I’m not invincible—that I need to start thinking of myself again. So, some changes came into effect.
1. Start Small
Essentially, don’t do too much at once. It’s great to be excited and enthusiastic. But your body will not thank you for any drastic changes. Trust me! Mine rebelled in the harshest way once I went back to bad habits—more on that later.
I set my beginning goals very basically:
- Go back to the gym
- Get back on your diet (dummy)
That seems obvious and dumb. But after months of neglecting my personal health, these goals felt monumental. And if I tried to throw in numbers and deadlines, chances are I’d crap out before I started. For now, I just wanted to focus on getting back into it. But how? Like this…
2. Find a Diet that Works for you
I hate diets. They always feel super restrictive! And eventually I always give up on it. But again, start small. For me, that meant cutting out things I definitely could live without—namely, soda and snacking. And it meant introducing more of what I don’t really crave—vegetables, fruits, and healthy snacks. But then my body had other plans.
So, when I found out I had gallstones I was put on a low-fat diet, which I followed closely until about a month after surgery. But by the time I moved to Austin, it was like I never had surgery at all. I could eat and drink as I pleased, as much as I pleased! And boy, did I! Looking back now, it really was only a matter of time until my entire system crashed down and I’d feel the pain—literally. And so, back on the heavily restricted diet I went.
I was fully restricted for about a week, until the pain subsided. Now I’m just limiting my intake of fatty foods, spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine. I keep healthy fats like nuts and avocado in moderation. Truthfully, I don’t know if I could have done that if it wasn’t for the pain. In many ways, forcing my hand with immense pain was the best thing for my health.
It’s been 2 weeks on the diet again, and I’m already eating more fruits and veggies and far less crap. So far, I’ve lost 4 lbs—not that the number is important. I feel better, overall. And that does matter. But like I said, if I didn’t have to eat like this, I don’t know that I would have. Find the diet that fits your lifestyle and meets your needs the best. And in the spirit of keeping things small at the start, I don’t recommend going with the Whole 30, Ketogenic, or any other heavily restricted diet.
3. Establish a Gym Routine
At my best, I went to the gym 4-5 times a week. Since moving to Austin, I’ve been way busier than when I lived in Virginia. So finding the time to actually get to the gym has been difficult. I have no excuses. The gym is less than 5 minutes from my house and I make my own schedule. I really only have myself to blame for my laziness.
But I’ve always worked best on a schedule. So, I’m determined to get on a gym routine. Right now, I’m starting slowly and easing myself back into it. I aim for 2-3 times a week. If I can get to the gym twice a week, I’d be super happy. That way I don’t have to change my schedule too much. Really, to get my butt there I just need to wake up earlier, which is also a huge problem I’m working on.
Right now I have a gym membership to Planet Fitness. It’s the most affordable option, and it has everything I could need in a gym. But I’m also one of those people who’s often at a loss for what to do at the gym. Usually, I do cardio for 30 min and then some focused exercises/weights/stretching on targeted parts of my body. But I don’t actually know if it’s effective at all. Which brings me to…
4. Challenge yourself: Kickboxing
So, I decided to give another gym a try. I’ve wanted to try kickboxing since college. It just seemed like such a great full-body workout as well great cardio! And it seems so fun. I’m also always looking for way to meet people here in Austin, because making friends as an adult is hard, y’all!
ILoveKickboxing has locations all over the U.S. They do group classes and personal training. Classes are one hour long and full-body from warm up to cool down! I decided to give it a shot since the web deal was so good—$20 for three classes plus a set of boxing gloves. Not gonna lie, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to walk after my first class!
My first class was yesterday morning. I was very intimidated being that I’ve never tried it before. But it could not have been a more rewarding experience! The instructors are super encouraging and want you to go at your own pace. And for the first class, I got one-on-one time with an instructor to work on jabs and kicks. Warning: the first 15 minutes will kill you. But if you make it through, you’re going to have an awesome experience!
You get a full body workout. And you’ll find strength and empowerment in yourself. But you’ll also find the cheapest and most effective therapy there could be! I signed up for a membership, and I can’t wait to go back. So, I guess this is my long way of saying, if you’re not happy with your gym routine then change it up! Find something that challenges and fulfills you. And then stick with it!
5. Set Goals: Future Changes
So, once you’ve made progress on your healthy changes, keep going! Never stop setting goals for yourself. And never stop finding ways to take care of yourself. In that spirit here’s what I hope to do by Part 2:
- Have a routine for working out established, including going to kickboxing and Planet Fitness regularly.
- Do yoga regularly. Yoga is incredibly calming and centering—and a great workout. But I hope to add this into my routine as well mostly for the centering aspect.
- Resume more healthy habits. Outside of eating well and working out, I want to have better habits overall. This includes sleeping for longer than 5 or 6 hours a night, drinking more water, and finding healthy ways to snack.
I’m already seeing progress from just these small changes. A huge part of that is diet, and sticking to what is good for me rather than just what I want. Finding a gym routine—while still a work in progress—is also huge for my mood, my stress levels, and my energy. I hope you found something to inspire some healthy changes in your life! I’ll keep ya posted on how it’s going for me in the future. Fingers crossed that it’s all up from here.