Health(ier) Habits, Vol. II

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About two weeks ago, I started a post series (inspired by this blog) to help me get into healthier habits, as I’ve let certain things slide pretty badly over the past few months.

Each of these posts will be divided into sections (nutrition, exercise, progress, etc.), and I’ll be giving an update in each post on how I’m doing with my specific goals.

For Volume I of the series, click here.

Nutrition //

In my last post, I’d mentioned how I’d been off refined sugar for about a week and had the goal to continue staying off of it until I got some symptoms under control (which were signs of a possible flare-up from my autoimmune disease). So, in the first week since I posted last, I did pretty well at staying off the sugar–I even tried making a treat (these homemade granola bars below) using only natural sweeteners and honey, but they were just…okay. The texture was a bit too dense for my taste, and we ended up eating only half the pan (over several days, of course).

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At the end of my second week without sugar, I let myself have some treats for the Labor Day celebration we did with Matt’s family, and I was able to stay (mostly) in control with my consumption that day. However, though my sugar consumption over this last week was much less than it used to be (major progress!), I still went back to having little treats throughout the day every day (usually just a spoonful of chocolate chips here and there). And over this last weekend, I literally made myself sick by eating waaaay too much ice cream and junk food on Saturday and Sunday, so now I’m feeling a bit like I’m right back at square one.

The thing I noticed most while I was actually off sugar completely, though, was that my regular eating habits weren’t quite as great as I thought they were. Before, I mistakenly thought that the consumption of too much sugar (esp. in the form of the baked goods I made regularly) was my main problem, but now I realize there may be more to it than that–

I noticed the second week of no-sugar especially that I still was eating quite a lot of calorie-dense foods, like pizza and Chinese food. Granted, I at least was making these things myself (which usually tends to make them a *little* better for you), but we were regularly having foods that loaded up on cheese and sour cream and oil (the cheese, especially, has always been a major weakness of mine).

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Pizza night!

Now, I REALLY love food, and I love making delicious dinners and enjoying our favorite foods, so I don’t have any intention of cutting these things out permanently. My original plan was to have one “cheat meal” every week, whether it be pizza or sweet and sour chicken or whatever, but the problem became apparent almost immediately when I realized that because there are just 3 of us, we almost always have leftovers (sometimes for days), which means that one cheat meal really turns into two or three or sometimes even four meals of that dish over the next few days as we use it up.

Another thing I realized is that I also am kind of terrible at eating lunch half the time–many days, I’ll just eat some cheese and crackers and maybe a piece of fruit and call it good. I guess this isn’t a huge problem when I’m not eating sugar because I don’t really snack other than on sugary stuff, but it does mean that when dinner rolls around, I’m reeeeally hungry and tend to eat a bit more than I should.

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Here’s a rough breakdown of what we’ve been having for the past two weeks:

Breakfast//

Breakfasts are pretty stable; we have some favorites that we rotate between, and we never skip eating this meal, so I feel like our mornings always get off to a solid start. Typical breakfasts are usually one of the following: scrambled eggs and toast, avocado toast with a fried egg on top, waffles, creamed eggs over toast, Greek yogurt + granola (while staying in Bountiful this weekend), or cold cereal. We usually eat a piece of fruit with whatever meal we choose.

Lunch//

If I actually eat a real lunch, it almost always consists of leftovers from the night before. Occasionally, I’ll make myself a sandwich or a hard-boiled egg or even some popcorn or something, but like I said, this is a meal I’m kind of terrible at eating.

Dinner//

Dinners lately have been hamburger casserole, sweet and sour chicken, pizza, Mexican haystacks (my new favorite!), and what we ate while at our parents’ houses in Bountiful over the weekend (Dutch oven chicken and potatoes/carrots, hot dogs, baked potatoes, fried chicken). I feel like we usually eat at least a little better than we have been lately (or we at least eat more vegetables!), but maybe we really don’t.

Basically, I’ve gotten the sense that maybe I need to start tracking what I eat again. Because I’ve tracked calories before for loooooooong periods of time, I always feel like I don’t really need to track my food anymore since I know more or less what calories are in what foods. However, I’ve never tracked any other nutrient, really, so tracking what I eat for the sake of tracking nutrients might be the kick in the pants I need to clean up my diet a bit more.

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Exercise//

My big goal last post was to start attending my boxing class again since I’d been slacking a bit in that department. I’m happy to report that for both weeks, I went to my boxing class on Wednesday night, even though I was really, REALLY tempted to skip it on the second week. That class is quite hard, which is often why it’s easy to talk myself out of going, but at this point, I need to push myself in order to have any hope of seeing results, so I’ve got to keep it up.

Here’s a breakdown of the last two weeks:

Week One:

Sunday – family walk
Tuesday – hip hop aerobics (60 minutes)
Wednesday – boxing (60 minutes–and it was the dreaded “Hundreds Class,” where we have to do 100 of each of the four kicks on both legs, for a total of 800 kicks, as fast as we can against the bag)
Saturday – Zumba (60 minutes)

Week Two:

Sunday – family walk
Tuesday – hip hop aerobics (60 minutes, and I requested 3 of the hardest songs right in a row)
Wednesday – boxing (60 minutes)
Saturday – over 11,000 steps (since we spent the day at an amusement park)

I’ve been in this 3-fitness-classes-a-week schedule for months, but since my body’s basically gotten used to it, I’m no longer seeing much in the results department. For now, my goal is going to be to continue fitting in more family walks during the week so that we all go out together at least 2-3 times, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. I haven’t averaged 10,000 steps a day since I trained for and ran my last half marathon, so building back up to that number WITHOUT being in the middle of training for a race is my new goal–I want to see if it’s feasible.

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Let’s all pretend I look tough instead of ridiculous in this picture

Progress I’ve Seen//

The first week I went off sugar, I dropped two pounds fairly quickly, which was really encouraging. The second week I was off sugar, the scale DID NOT BUDGE, which was disheartening. I’ve realized that I’m the kind of person that if I don’t see consistent results, it gets hard for me to want to stick with something (esp. because I USED to see consistent results whenever I did plans like I’m currently doing in the past). So weight-wise, I’ve kept the two pounds off, but I haven’t dropped any more.

My other big goal from last time was to start getting to bed earlier, and that just hasn’t happened, mostly due to me working a ton on the blog relaunch at night (and then on all the little things that need to be fixed/tweaked/updated after the new blog went live). Basically, I’ve continued going to bed at 11:15 or so every night, and I’ve continued to feel exhausted most of the time. So I’m definitely setting this as a goal again for the next couple weeks.

Weight loss this period: – 0 lbs.

Goals For the Next Couple Weeks:

*** Track what I eat again, for the purpose of checking nutrients, protein, and sugar, especially.

*** Go on more family walks; see if I can average 10,000 steps a day again.

*** Go to bed before 11 at least half of the nights this week (I’ve got to start small and work my way up—otherwise I’ll just lay in bed, wide awake, if I go in too early).

I’ve been a bit discouraged the past two weeks that I haven’t noticed any differences, but that’s one reason I started this series—to force myself to continue to set goals anyway, since my natural inclination when I get super frustrated is just to let it go and not worry about trying too hard anymore. Here’s hoping that incorporating some of these goals will help me to feel a sense of progress again!

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