I am so excited to share with you guys the fitness and nutrition changes I’m making to maintain a healthy lifestyle!
This post has been a long time coming and it feels good to not only have a plan for myself, but to be able to share concrete and practical tips with you guys. I feel like ever since COVID hit, my fitness and nutrition has fluctuated a lot – much like my weight!
If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably noticed that apart from sharing my morning walks, I’ve been pretty quiet about my diet and workout routine. The reason wasn’t because I don’t like sharing that part of my life with you all, but rather, I couldn’t find something that fit with my new lifestyle. And now that we’ve gone from quarantine back to our “normal” activities, I’ve had to shift things yet again.
The Backstory of My Change:
As I mentioned on Instagram yesterday, one of my continual struggles in life has been and is body image. I don’t actually care what other people think about my body, but rather I beat myself up if I can’t maintain a “perfect body.” The perfectionist and controlling side of me likes for each piece of my life to be perfect and in check and when one piece isn’t, I feel like I’ve failed myself.
Over the years I have worked through some of this, but it’s still a struggle from time to time. I will say that I’ve learned I’m the healthiest mentally when I’m in a very structured fitness and nutritional regimen. That’s why the lasts couple of years, doing the FittCycle benefitted me so well. I thrived on the structure and the program helped me to develop a healthy relationship with eating carbs and enjoying splurges every now and again. The program was great and I saw amazing results from it.
However, right before COVID hit I tore my ACL and had to stop most of my workouts and cardio. Then a couple of weeks later we all went on quarantine, and everything shifted. Although I wasn’t able to do any weight workouts, I was able to go on walks. So, I started doing daily social distancing walks with my girlfriend and it was one of the healthiest things I could have done from a mental and emotional perspective.
With quarantine life though, I also started eating whatever I wanted and drinking a lot more nights that I normally did. I was happy and content with my life and the changes that had to be made, but I can admit that I didn’t feel the healthiest.
Then at the end of this past summer I was cleared to do weight workouts again and to our surprise, our lives seemed to pick back up. The girls went back to school, my husband and I went back to work, and the girls’ activities resumed. As our lives resumed, I knew I would have to make some changes in my diet and fitness regimen that were not only practical, but were sustainable, too.
top | cardigan | leggings
Why a Healthier Mindset Can Lead to a Healthy Lifestyle:
As I tried to figure out the best way for me to achieve a healthy lifestyle, I wanted to make sure that I maintained a healthy mindset through it all.
Learn To Love Your Body:
One of the best things I’ve learned to do over the past few years is to love my body. Having kids helped me to love my body even when it changes – the stretch marks, the wider hips, etc. I’ve also learned to accept that just like our emotional self, our bodies go through seasons as well. COVID has definitely been a season for me. But, despite the COVID weight that I’ve gained or muscle I’ve lost, I still recognize that my body is beautiful in God’s eyes and I was made in His image.
Loving Your Body v. Leading a Healthy Lifestyle
While I love my body right where it is in this moment, I also recognize that I don’t feel healthy. I have been making diet and fitness choices that have left me feeling worse and not better. Choices such as drinking on week nights, eating fast food, snacking on processed food, or sneaking candy. All of those things are great in moderation, but when they become a daily routine that results in less energy and less nutrition for my body, they become a detrimental habit.
As I sit here and type this I can honestly say that I’ve reached the point where I no longer feel healthy. Weight-wise, I haven’t gained too many pounds, but I just don’t feel like my healthiest self. I want to live conduct a healthy lifestyle both for myself and as a model to my girls.
Be Practical In Your Decision:
Anyone else have a tendency to overcommit to things like me? The unfortunate thing about overcommitting is that you cannot get everything done and then you often feel guilty about it. This has happened to me time and time again.
As I was trying to find the right workouts for me to do an the right eating regimen I wanted to be super mindful of my reality. The truth of my life right now is that we are busy. I am working again with speech, running this blog full-time, and my girls have resumed after school activities. With all that in mind I wanted to choose a both an diet and workout routine that was practical and probable.
My Healthy Lifestyle Changes & Components:
As I stated before, life is busy and it’s quite a bit darker in the early mornings now – my usual time to run or do cardio outside. So, I knew I needed something that I could easily do from the comfort of my home.
Planning to get 6-7 weight or HIIT workouts in a week was unrealistic and would only set me up for failure. I am still training for a half marathon and therefore already running about 3 times per week. I couldn’t commit to 6 days of additional workouts, but 3-4 is doable.
Over the summer I subscribed to the Beach Body program (about $100 a year) and it gives you access to so many different workout programs! The one I started yesterday is a 6-week weight lifting program called LIFT 4. This program has 4 days of weight lifting per week. Each workout is 30-40 min long and very easy to do during the week.
So, the big change for me is that I am no longer doing a program that requires 6-7 days of workouts. 4 days is what works for me and my current lifestyle and that’s totally okay! Like we talked about earlier, different workout regimens will work for different seasons of our lives. Right now I need a bit less commitment.
You will be seeing me share some supplemental workouts too if you follow me on Instagram. These are workouts like morning walks with my girlfriends or the occasional ClassPass group class. These are workouts I do mainly for my mental health. 🙂
Pre-COVID, I tracked my macros every day and loved it! I tracked my high carb/low carb days which matched perfectly with the FITT Cycle workouts. It was great for that time in my life.
However, for this season of my life, I am making the shift to an healthy diet lifestyle that is a bit less structured. Here is what my eating regimen will look like:
- Vegetarian – I was a vegetarian for 5 years prior to kids. Since kids I just haven’t gone back to being a vegetarian for no real reason. During COVID I was trying to recall the last time I felt bloat-free and enjoyed food. I kept coming back to when I was a vegetarian. So, I made the switch back and feel infinitely better! I will say I wasn’t a big meat eater anyway, so the switch wasn’t too hard.
- More Home Cooked Meals – cooking meals brings me so much joy. Cooking is also something fun my husband and I do together. So, I’m committing to myself to try new recipes and make dinners at least twice a week.
- Decrease Alcohol Intake – As I mentioned earlier, I drank more frequently than normal during quarantine. So, I am decreasing my alcohol intake and saving my drinks for the weekend or social events.
- Reduce Processed Food – in an effort to reduce the amount of processed foods I eat, I am going to try and eat as raw and clean as I can.
- Loosely Track Caloric Intake – this may be a slippery slope, but I am going to track calories for the sole purpose of keeping myself from overindulging by too much. My biggest weakness when it comes to dieting is that I snack a lot. It gets especially bad when my girls are snacking. So in an effort to keep myself from excessively snacking, I’m going to use the MyFitnessPal app to track calories.
How I’m Holding Myself Accountable:
- Weight In And Measurements – I won’t be weighing in frequently as I think it’s a poor measure of “healthy.” I will however be weighing in once this week and then again in 4-6 week. This is simply for a loose measurement to see if I’m on track. I will however be taking my measurements in addition to weighing. Muscle weighs more than fat and as I lose fat and gain muscle the scale may not change much. But, losing inches would be ideal!
- Accountability Partners – I know I will be much more successful if I have people holding me accountable. I have a couple girl friends who will hold me accountable to my workouts. My husband, Travis, will keep me on track nutrition-wise.