Prior to the New Year, I’d been thinking quite a bit about trying to get into shape. I eat like crap, stay up late, and don’t exercise. I’m fairly certain chasing a toddler doesn’t count.
Most of the time in the past when I’ve set out to “get in shape” I’ve had a problem with consistency. You could say it’s kind of a recurring theme in most aspects of my life. I’ve made a number of different attempts: journaling what I eat, what I weigh, what I do to increase my fitness. I’ve tried increasing my fruits and veggies, increasing lean protein, decreasing sugars. I’ve used a Pilates DVD, gone to a gym, even played Dance Dance Revolution to make my workout routine more fun so that I would hopefully stick with it this time.
Well, this may just be the latest in a long line of failed attempts, but I’m ready to try something new. I’m ready to put forth my best effort to become a healthier person — and I think it’s important to decide exactly what that means for me, and what I want out of this new goal.
I’ll be honest: I’m not overweight and never have been — actually, I’m far from it. I’ve even been underweight a few times in my life. Part of my goal, uncommon as it is, is to gain a little weight. After all, muscle weighs more than fat, and I figure if I eat in a healthy manner that’s not a whole lot more or less than how I currently eat, and exercise regularly, I should gain a few pounds as I become more fit. This morning I weighed in at 108.4 pounds. I’m between 5 foot 3 and 5 foot 4, so a healthy weight for me (according to WebMD) would be between 104 and 145 lbs. I’m fairly small in stature, so I’ll still want to weigh in on the low end of that range. I think between 110 and 120 sounds reasonable, assuming I’m taking in enough fruits, vegetables, and water, and including a bit of weight training in my exercise regimen.
One of my bigger issues right now is the lack of rest I get. I’ve noticed myself really starting to get addicted to my “me time” after my son goes to bed. It’s like I start watching television or surfing the Internet and I just can’t stop. Check out the timestamp on this post. Go ahead, I dare you. Yep, I live in the Eastern Time Zone of the U. S., and yes, I’ve changed my preferences so that the time and date are accurate to my location. That is early for me. Part of the problem is, I’m not really sure how much sleep I actually need. I’ve trained myself to ignore what I need and run on very little sleep, but I’ve also trained myself to go back to sleep and take full advantage whenever my husband offers to get up with our son. I’d like to listen to my body, find out how much sleep I really need, and then give myself a stern talking-to train myself to establish a reasonable bedtime and stick to it.
Now for a little more controversy: what to eat? Because I don’t intend to lose weight, I will be trying for roughly 2000 calories. That is actually less important to me, however, than what I am taking in. I will be following the philosophies of an author by the name of Michael Pollan. Recently my husband and I read his most recently published book, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. I have not yet read The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which Pollan wrote before In Defense of Food, but both books are critically acclaimed and, I have heard, very good. The basic premise of what I call the “Michael Pollan diet” is to eat real food, rather than processed; more often than not eat fruits and vegetables; eat whole foods as much as possible (buying the whole chicken rather than boneless, skinless breasts); and try to eat the greatest possible variety of foods. By eating in this way, you get the nutrients you need without having to worry about it so much. If you are interested in these theories, I highly recommend Michael Pollan’s work and have linked his website above.
As for the exercise? Definitely playing that part by ear. The friend I mentioned before is starting a Couch to 5K program this week. Just the word “running” makes me cringe. And why would I ever want to run a 5K? But the truth is, there is strength in numbers, especially where working out is concerned. Krista is looking for a workout buddy just like I am. And if I truly want to make a positive change in my life, I might as well keep an open mind as to how I get there.
So here’s the plan:
Goal: Become a more healthy person overall by eating right.
1. Listen to my body, determine how much sleep I need, and get that much sleep most nights.
2. Eat real food, not processed junk; place an emphasis on fruits and vegetables; and attempt to cool it a bit on the carbohydrates.
3. Make an honest effort to complete the Couch to 5K program. Eventually address each of the following aspects: overall fitness, endurance, tone, balance, strength, and flexibility (more on those later — babysteps, babysteps).
1. Gain 5 to 10 pounds.
2. Feel rested and refreshed the majority of the time (hey, I have a toddler, and I’m not perfect); reduce adverse symptoms of irregular sleep patterns.
3. Reduce headaches, stomach cramps, irregularity, and other negative side effects of poor diet.
4. Increase energy level, fitness, and endurance. Reduce lower back pain.
P. S.: Hey folks! I can use all the help I can get. The buddy system really does work for working out, and even moral support within the blogging community is beneficial to sticking with it. Tell me what you’re doing to get and/or stay in shape. What are you eating? What do your workouts consist of? Leave me a comment, and your email address if it’s not linked, so I can respond.
Edited to add: I will not be making any restrictions on when I eat, other than eating when I’m hungry and stopping when I’m full — at least until I start to see patterns in my journal. I would like to establish three approximate mealtimes and two approximate snacktimes in between. Tune in tomorrow for Day 1 of my journal!