Since August 2018, My Health’s Tanked. Can I Turn It Around by August 2019?

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Hello, dear friends. Just had a come-to-Jesus health-reality check this morning and I finally have the motivation I need to get moving.

The last six months, since August, have been filled with stresses: Serious illnesses and the loss of too many loved ones have taken a toll on nearly everyone around me. And, not to use that as an excuse but, at least, as an observation, I’ve let my health go, too, as I tried to help others — though, in truth, some things had fallen away long ago, like regular cardio exercise.

And as you know from my last post, my weight is skyrocketing. Along with that, several of my once-happy health markers are now looking grim: I just had bloodwork done and my cholesterol has gone up 50 points in recent years, including nearly 30 this last year alone — and it’s all ‘bad’ cholesterol. Up until the last few years or so, the highest my cholesterol ever read was about 165 and that was typically with an HDL (‘good’) reading of about 85 and an LDL (“bad”) of about 80. Now, it’s close to 235 and it’s mostly LDL.

Yikes.

My weight’s up 15 pounds in the last two years and 25 over the last 15 years. Consequently, my waist measurement is much higher, too, my thighs are nearly three inches thicker and my BMI is higher, too. These factors have landed me in the “overweight” classification. (I realize these are relative things and that many people my size and beyond are very comfortable and healthy. This is not a judgment of weight or size, just a realization that I’m not where I know I feel best and now the numbers all prove that these changes aren’t moving my health in a positive direction.)

I have next-to-no muscle tone, save for a bit in my legs, which is just enough to carry me through Ella’s walks and even those are generally a bit shorter these weeks, since winter finally settled in with a vengeance, as noted by single-digit temperatures.

And the last few months, I’ve totally neglected to take my vitamins and supplements which, despite the debate around them, I still believe help me. And while I think my Vitamin D cream is helpful and I’ll definitely continue to use it, I don’t think it’s enough on its own to get my levels up, particularly during the grayest winter I ever remember.

So, with all this in mind, here are my goals for the next six months, some to be updated weekly or so. (And if you’re wondering, “Hey, what about your hair?” I’ll keep updating about that, too, as changes good or bad come along.)

Weight loss: I’d be thrilled with a 15-pound weight loss but I’ll aim for 21 pounds because I know that I feel really good at that particular weight and if I only get to 15, so be it, I’ll still be very happy with that — and back in my favorite pink corduroys.

Exercise: At least as much as the weight gain, the loss of muscle tone and cardio capacity bothers me (and these are, I think, the primary reasons behind the cholesterol issue), so I’m getting back to some sort of near-daily higher-intensity exercise. I’ll continue with my Ella walks, of course, but they clearly aren’t enough, no matter what I want to believe. I hate working out in gyms, though, and with winter here, I’ve got to get creative.

In keeping with my goal of getting out for more hikes this year, I’m thinking about aiming for trail running as a key workout — those were my favorite runs back in the days when I moved my body more regularly than just from the couch to the kitchen.

In fact, here’s my goal: My birthday is in mid-August and as my birthday present to myself, I’ll aim for a 10-mile trail run. Yowza! I’ll also do 10 minutes of yoga (Sun Salutations) daily, as getting and staying flexible is key and it helps center me.

That said, now through February 28, I’ll aim for five or more 20-minute, low-impact cardio workouts weekly.

To start, I’ll use an old Turbojam DVD I’ve got hanging around that has a couple of 10- and 20-minute cardio-kickboxing workouts on it. I used to do these workouts often and they always got my cardio going and helped me build muscle strength quickly. I’ll also get a heart-rate monitor so I can see how I’m doing during the workouts. (I don’t have or want a smartwatch, although I love these rings.)

To keep me from getting workout-bored, Turbojam will get me through the first four weeks or so of this turnaround and in mid-February, I’ll plan the next month’s cardio, too, which may be swimming and brief trail runs, depending on the weather.

Nutrition: Generally speaking, I have cut back substantially on straight-up sugar since working with Doc, but I’ve definitely slipped more recently, so I want to tighten that up.

I don’t eat a lot of meats or high-fat foods like cheese and I’m pretty darn certain that the cholesterol is purely the result of the lack of exercise, but I’ll also aim to get more greens in (another area in which I’ve dropped off quite a bit).

I’ll also aim for about 1,500-1,600 calories a day, which should give me enough sustenance that I don’t mentally or physically feel like I’m starving but, according to My Fitness Pal, should enable me to lose the weight I want to over six months (it is, after all, less than a pound a week).

I also need to cut back on coffee, which has become a thing for me again (see this if you’re new to this blog). I don’t think coffee overall is a problem, but too much coffee is likely a little tricky for me/my body.

Overall goals for the next six months: Weight loss: 15-21 pounds. Cholesterol: Down 40 points. Waist: Down 3-4 inches. Vitamin D: Get it up to 40+ (it’s never been close and I’m not sure how much I can impact this, but I’m going to try). Clothing sizes: Down two, back to my usual, comfortable size, aka, back into my pink cords. Fitness: Run a 10-mile trail run on/around my birthday (no set time goal, just doing it will be stellar).

Thanks for checking in, stayed tuned, be well.

 

{Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com from Pexels, thank you.}

{Note: These are my own experiences with applied kinesiology and holistic healing, which clearly aren’t meant as medical advice for anyone else. But, I know a lot of friends and family members are grappling with a huge variety of autoimmune issues and other ailments, so I’m happy to share my experiences. And if this is your first visit and you’d like to follow chronologically, click here. Otherwise, enjoy!}

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