Last month, I posted an article addressing how I visually look quite different in my photos compared to the beginning of 2019. Truth be told, it had been embarrassing to look at the jarring fluctuation in my body mainly because it reminded me of the evolution of my state of mind. Starting this game plan, I was tired, mentally frazzled, and uncertain of the unknown. I’ve seen colleagues around me who seemingly have their sh*t together and it’s tempting to assume I’m the odd one out. Hence, I wanted to act upon this and—at least try my best—to get my own sh*t together and feel good about myself.
- Journaling: well, this has completely been neglected as I write more concept summaries and lab reports than blog posts or journal entries…EVER for the past month. I managed to post twice last Thursday (what a trooper!), but that still doesn’t compensate for how neglectful I’ve been of journaling. For my schedule, it’s more realistic to journal on my phone while walking to class or sneak it in to clear my head every few hours or so. They may last for at least an hour each day, which is good news!
- Podcasts: For some reason, I started getting tired of podcasts. I pushed myself to listen to one of my favorites and couldn’t even finish the episode. Why? Great question. Maybe the thought of having to take notes or be lectured while listening to someone talk just gave me a bad taste in the mouth. I managed to finish a couple that were more casual and lax, but nothing with an interview. Instead, I’ve been hooked on…drumroll…classical music. I kid you not. Something about Tchaikovsky’s ballets Swan Lake and Provokiev’s Romeo and Juliet are absolutely soothing. They allow my creative juices to flow and rest at ease. It’s SO refreshing. The ballets are not as distracting as pop songs or podcasts because the music flows smoothly, thus you can listen to them while studying or trying to sleep.
- Sleep at 10:30-10:45 PM every night: L. O. L. Talk about a complete miss of the basket. My regular shut-eye times have been passing 10:50 PM, 11:00 PM, even sometimes at 11:30 PM! Yes, shameful, I know. This plays into my mind not being able to rest (though my body maintains its circadian rhythms) and assuming I always have deadlines. My solution entails checking every class portal at least an hour before sleeping and setting calendar reminders to complete designated tasks every week.
- Warm clothes, exfoliating 2-3 times per week, and stretching for five minutes per day have all been consistently followed. I always cover myself in multiple sweaters before and after my classes and have been exfoliating generally three times weekly. I end up stretching for two minutes before class and then several minutes before bed.
As of lately, I’ve been consistently working out at least three times a week. My Mondays were eliminated from my fitness routine and Saturdays are on-and-off due to work shifts and club-related events. Working as a teaching assistant, chocolate shop food service associate, and an officer for the food science club shovels in time like PAC-Man eats the dots in front of him. Fortunately, I never fail to stay active with walking every single day. Just look at all the steps I take—every one exceeds 10,000, minus January 4th, where I spent the day with my boyfriend and didn’t get to walk at ALL. In general, my aim is 15,000, though sometimes I shoot for 13,000 or over 16,000.
When I workout, they are longer and much more intensive durations of cardio and weight training. Below is a typical layout of my workout:
3 sets of 13-15 minute durations on the elliptical (I’ve been INSANELY obsessed with this!): 45 seconds sprint, 15-20 seconds rest, ranges from 125-145 strides per minute
- 3 X 10-15 reps of a heavy weight exercise
- 3 X 10-15 reps of a light weight exercise
- 3 X 20 reps of an abdominal exercise
- 3 X 20 reps of a core exercise
- 10-15 minutes of light stationary bike
Of course, food is one of the most critical components of adapting to healthier habits. I’m already very lucky to not drink alcohol at all, let alone be attached to it, but—no surprise—dark chocolate, peanut butter, pistachios, and anything that’s free and vegan! However, I chose to implement extra choices that would help me feel productive, clear-headed, and even a little less stressed.
- Drinking at least four hydroflasks’ worth of water every day: honestly, they range drastically. Sometimes I do not hit four, other days I can drink five or six hydroflasks worth of water. It varies based on how active I am throughout the day or the weather (colder temperatures = less dehydration). I’ve found that I always feel the best when I drink right after brushing my teeth and taking my medication in addition to drinking at least one hydroflask right before sleeping–which, yes, may be counterproductive to falling asleep right away, but hey, it works for me!
- Eat at least three servings of greens a day: No fail, this was too easy! I don’t always consume my greens through a salad—for a week, I shoved as much spinach into my garlic tofu soup as I possibly could and managed to exceed two pounds of spinach in the entire batch. I still adore salads and I plan on meal prepping a vegan bean burrito filling with cooked spinach as well as preserving cabbage, carrots, and iceberg lettuce for a side salad.
- Eat at least three servings of vegetables per day: Again, this is really effortless for me! Right now, I’m addicted to cauliflower! It’s super versatile, easy to chop up, and delicious to air-fry. The best way to consume enough is to eat half a head of cauliflower for lunch every day. Half a head of cauliflower will weigh between 4-5 cups raw (2-3.5 cups cooked) and a serving of vegetables is 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw. I could afford to vary it up a little—onions, spinach, and bell peppers have been my staples—but they get the job done.
- Consume more than enough fiber per day: I manage to consume at least double the daily recommended intake of fiber per day thanks to Lakanto products and lots of veggies! Bran cereal also helps—surprisingly, it’s quite yummy—as well as fresh berries, kabocha squash, nuts and seeds, and non-starchy vegetables.
- Supplement for B12 and Vitamin D: Yep, I always do this.
- Do not restrict any macronutrient: I eat a good amount of food! There are no restrictions on macronutrients, but it’s important for me to set intentions and choose practically. I DEFINITELY stuffed my face with sugar and fat during the Fancy Food Show (no regrets whatsoever), but that was one of the exceptions of the month. I don’t plan on having any cheat days, but they could happen on a whim if there’s a special event. It’s best to prepare ahead of time and bring enough water and a healthy snack or two to tide you over so that you don’t eat your bodyweight in junk food. But even if I do, it’s not the end of the world.
HOW MUCH WEIGHT HAVE I LOST?
Right now, the difference is small. I am down 2.7 lbs and have no specific differences in measurements and what not, but the pictures above speak for themselves on the changes. Do I plan on losing any more weight? Yes, only to even out the 2.7 to 3.0 because I’m such a freak like that, but there’s also no rush. My weight may stay the same or it may drop even beyond 3 pounds, who knows?
Despite the ups and downs with my schedule and working around everything, I’m happy that my progress has only moved in the direction I aimed for. I did not expect the results to be drastic this month because of how hectic everything would get and where my priorities are. Having said that, this is truly indicative of how small changes can truly shift your mind and body over time. I plan on increasing the variability of vegetables in my diet, FINALLY getting some high-quality motherf*cking sleep, and journaling more often. This is just a plan that I want to execute for myself and I don’t necessarily use it to prescribe it to anyone else, but I highly recommend looking at your lifestyle and seeing what you can do to treat yourself a little better, inside and out!
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