Let’s Get Healthy Part Three: Make A Plan

It’s been far too long since I set some goals and decided to get back on the healthy living band wagon.  I expected to write this post between the middle and end of January, yet here we are almost in March and aside from setting some goals and cutting down on junk food I haven’t even started.  It’s disappointing to say the least.

Of course I’ve got plenty of excuses.  There’s been sickness, I’ve been busy at work, a flare up in my post partum depression and just sheer exhaustion, but as I mentioned in Let’s Get Healthy: Life Got In The Way, I just need to get on with it.  Things are always going to get in the way and make reaching goals harder.  This is really just a test of how badly you want to reach them.  So with that in mind, it’s time to make my plan and get going with it.

There’s a few things I like to remember when making a plan:

  • Set goals
  • Identify obstacles
  • Identify how to achieve goals despite obstacles
  • Make it achievable and measurable
  • Be specific
  • Make it flexible so that you can make changes if necessary as you progress

The biggest obstacle that I identified was time.  I ‘don’t have time’ to blog weekly, to prepare food in advance, to get a better sleep in order to feel more alive, to go for walks, the list goes on.  But the more I thought about it I realised that a lot of the reason is bad planning on my part and when I do get a chance to breathe, I’m so tired and just want to sit and do nothing.  Watch TV, play on my phone, these are the things I’ve taken to doing when I do get a free moment and I’ve realised that I do these things every day.  The tiredness is only going to go away through a better diet and increased physical activity, so I’m going to have to just bite the bullet and get on with it.  Make a time plan for each day if I have to, just find a way to fit in a bit of preparation so that over time it will get easier and it will seem like I magically have more time.

Here is my plan:

Long term goal

  • To be happy, healthy and back on the wellness bandwagon.

Short term goals (set to achieve the long term goal):

  • Get back into yoga

Put on the backburner until I get into a good routine with food.  Reassess Sunday March 26th.

  • Make flavoured drinks a treat only

Don’t buy any flavoured drinks with groceries.  If they’re not easily accessible I’m less likely to succumb.  Keep cold water in the fridge at all times.  Start date Immediately

  • Stop relying on caffeine

Put on the backburner until I get into a good routine with food.  Reassess Sunday March 26th.

  • Make time to blog about how I’m doing each week

Every Monday evening post an update including measurements.  Don’t force myself to write the entire post in one sitting, write five minutes here and there as the week goes if necessary.  Start date Monday 6 March

  • Plan and prepare lunches/snacks in advance

Write a meal plan each week and make the grocery list from this with no extras.  Once shopping is done, prep food while putting it way (cut fruit and bag into portions for smoothies, portion out snacks etc).  Start date Sunday 5 March

  • Drastically lower my sugar intake

When making the meal plan, choose as many foods as possible that don’t need to be processed/packaged.  Choose meals that can be made quickly but without processed foods.  Stick to what I know to start with, no experimenting until I get into a good routine.  Start date Sunday 5 March

  • Increase fruit and veggie intake

Plan for all meals to have at least one serve of fruit or vegetables.  Snacks can be as simple as an apple or carrot sticks.  Stick to fruit and vegetables I know I like to start with.  Start date Sunday 5 March

  • Make walks and physical activity a regular occurrence

I want to get back into my 10,000 steps a day on my FitBit, I’ve been slacking on there so for now I’ll do what it takes to hit goal each day, even if that means jogging on the spot for 20 minutes at 8.30 when I realise I’m not close.  Start date Immediately.  Put workouts on the back burner until I’m in a good routine with food.  Reassess Sunday March 26th.

I’ve got this post bookmarked on my phone so I can check on my plan at any time and make sure I’m sticking to it.  I’ve got the rest of this week to prepare myself as I’ll be starting Monday so I’m going to start by putting together some meal plans and making lists for each day so that I can keep myself on track.  I’m also going to do what I did with my elimination diet and use Instagram as a tool, posting pictures of my food, step counts, workouts, motivational quotes, whatever helps.  I’ve also found following people on a similar journey on Instagram to be a huge help also as it can be both inspiring and give me new ideas.  I may even start throwing them all up on Facebook as well unless people get sick of it.

I’m getting excited about this now, which is a good sign.  Are you making changes with your diet and exercise?  What are your goals?  How do you find the motivation to stick to them?

Smiles and Sunshine


Like No One’s Watching

I danced on Friday night.

I had friends come over and we played. We played games, talked shit and we laughed. We laughed until our sides ached, our cheeks red with mirth, we were breathless and yet we still laughed. 

Then we sang songs, songs with meaning, songs that touched us and gave us hope. We sang songs with feeling that reach deep and warmed us from the inside out, brightening our faces and relaxing our souls. 

Then I danced. And danced and danced and danced. The music was inside me, lifting me up, taking me far away. Washing the stress from my mind and body, I danced to forget, I danced because I couldn’t not. I danced because I wanted to, more than anything in the world. 

I was alone, my friends gone, my family asleep, my turtle my only witness. Throwing my arms limply, my feet tripping to the rhythm, the beat an extension of my heart, sending shivers through my veins, bringing them to life, making me one with the music, setting me free, if just for a while.

Apparently I Like Gardening… At Dusk

When Zombie and I moved into a new house recently it came with a massive yard and a reasonable sized garden.  The garden basically borders the property, which I’m pretty sure is a quarter acre.  The backyard was part of the appeal for me plus having a nice garden with pretty flowers to look at.  I’d lived in places with gardens before, but someone else had always taken care of them, Mum, flatmates or the owners, so I’d never really had to deal with one before, but for me it was one of those ‘am I an adult now?’ moments, finding a place with a garden and realising that we would have to deal with it ourselves.

Zombie kept the lawns up and did a bit of weeding here and there, but I never touched the garden.  Between work, being a new mother and my mental health playing up, it just wasn’t something I could muster up the energy to do.  So despite Zombies constant nudges that we should get out there and spend an hour or so a week picking away at it, I never got around to it.  It had gotten to a point where it was just another chore I had no desire to do.  Of course the garden got out of control pretty quickly and then came the letter in the mail: House inspection, less than two weeks time.

I spent an entire day in the garden, working my way around it, pulling out weeds, turning dirt to make it tidier and pushing as hard as I could on the weeds to make more room in the tiny green bin to get rid of it all.  It was exhausting, but oddly satisfying.  Seeing an area go from being inundated with weeds and littered with dead leaves to a nice patch of soil with a bush or flowers growing out of it made me feel like I’d actually achieved something that day.  I was surprised to discover that I enjoyed gardening.

Since then I’ve gardened every week.  Some weeks more than others depending on how busy we’ve been, but always after work, especially on stressful days.  I’ve found pulling out weeds makes me feel good.  Some people like running to de-stress, or boxing, art, music, the list goes on.  I thought writing, singing and dancing (I’m a terrible dancer but hey, who cares) were my ways to relieve stress, but I’ve found gardening to be more effective.

Especially when it’s starting to get dark.

What’s that about?  I don’t know.  

Maybe I’m crazy, but  I don’t get a lot of time to myself these days and often by the time work, dinner and errands are done the sun is starting to disappear.  Instead of flopping down on the couch and staring at my phone for the rest of the night I’ve taken to sometimes donning my gardening gloves and heading outside for an hour or so to pull weeds and enjoy the time to myself.  The world is pretty quiet at this time of the night but at the moment still warm and pleasant. Some nights the only reason I stop is because it’s too dark to distinguish the weeds.

It’s my new Me Time.  So many of us have so much on these days that our lives are whirling by, leaving us behind and we run the risk of waking up one day wondering where the time went and wishing we had spent more time enjoying it.  It occurred to me last night that it might be strange to head out into the garden at 8.30 at night and work up a sweat, but it makes me feel good.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who does things at strange times just to get a break.  I’m just not sure what I’m going to do in winter!

Smiles and Sunshine

Open Letter Apology To All My Friends

Dear Friends

It turns out, I haven’t been a very good friend to you all.  I’m not talking about all the times I’ve been too busy, when I’ve only contacted you when I’ve wanted or needed something, the times I’ve bailed at the last minute or even the times years ago where I used to back stab a lot of you, before I grew up.  Before I realised that that kind of behaviour was not normal or okay.

I’ve talked about all those things before and more.  You now know about how sometimes my mental health won’t let me socialise.  I’ve tried contacting people ‘just because’ to be a better friend and the back stabbing is a thing of the past, especially after removing some negative influences from my life. But in some ways, this is much worse.

I need to apolgise to you, because I’ve judged you.

Not the things you do, those are all your choice and while I might not agree with all of them and I may have even told you that, they are still your choices to make, whether good or bad.  No, I’ve judged you for the way you look.  Your size in particular.

I used to do this all the time. Someone I felt to be a great size would complain that they wanted to lose weight. I’d tell them that I’d be happy to be their size and then I’d complain about them to other people. If I met someone new I’d always feel satisfaction if I deemed them to be bigger than me and other times I’d fret the whole encounter that maybe I was the bigger one and how could I have let myself get that big? Then I’d talk about it. 

It’s stupid and unnecessary, but it’s an awful habit that I’m still trying to shake. It’s a deep rooted insecurity of mine that I didn’t know I still had.

I thought I had stopped. But it was just the other day I caught myself comparing my size to someone else. I guess I thought because I didn’t back stab anymore that my thoughts reflected that. No. Sometimes our way of thinking is so ingrained into us from years of negative influence that we don’t even realise we’re doing it. I thought I’d broken the cycle but I was fooling myself. Looking back I even remember being relieved a few months ago when I found out I wasn’t the heaviest in my Facebook weight loss support group.

Why am I telling you this? Because it’s not all bad. I celebrate your achievements now. I’m no longer jealous when you lose weight. I cheer you along because I genuinely do want you to succeed and when you do, I will be excited and happy for you and make sure to tell you so. I want to build you up, not down. I want us to work together, even if it’s behind the scenes, cheering each other on on a fitness app, offering advice in a fitness group on Facebook, or even getting out there and going for a walk together.

I think we all at times think things that we’re not proud of. I’d like to think that the positive outweighs the negative though. I’d like to break this cycle of negativity and continue to support all of journeys. We all have our own journeys and we’re only self sabotaging when we thing negatively of others. So no more! It’s out in the open now. Maybe some of you won’t be able trust me anymore and for that I’m sorry. But for me it’s time to move on with a healthy mind and a clear conscience.

Smiles and Sunshine