Day 140- REVIEW: Age & Beauty

For just over 100 days I was truly on my path to perfection. There were blips here and there but they never stopped me from continuing forward and making progress. Since my return from a 4 day holiday and a subsequent week long illness, I have found it very challenging to stay on the path. The habits are slipping away and it’s getting increasingly harder to return to them. A weekend sabotaged my calorie counting, an illness destroyed the gym and a holiday disrupted my routine. Day after day, I plan to return to my habits but half way through, my plans fall to the wayside.

Compounding this, I have become increasingly ashamed of my appearance. I can see I’m losing the little good looks I once had. I’ve gained weight over the last four years but now I can see the bad food choices affecting my skin and face. I have sunken eyes, acne on my chin, back, arms and behind my neck and my already saggy jowls are increasing in size and looking ugly. It’s affected my confidence at work and my relationship and my sex life. I’m missing out on so much joy found in clothes and dressing up. Something I always thought would be a delightful hobby for me if I had the opportunity.

I feel desperate to change all this and think that my low self-esteem is part of why I can’t maintain my habits. I feel that if I felt better about myself, a lot of the other things would fall into place. After this contemplation, I think I must hyperfocus making myself prettier, slimmer, fitter and healthier and blog about it. I have a lot of habits in place for other things if I choose for it but for now I need to create the habits that will help my appearance and health improve.

I have spent the last couple of days thinking about what I need to do to reverse the ageing process and make myself feel attractive again. I’m going to take a look at each thing and decide what I have to do and when I can start. I really want to turn things around and show you how I managed it by publishing my transition on the blog.

Sleep

I don’t need to explain how important sleep is for so many reasons and overall health. Even with all my efforts, I rarely manage to exceed a daily average of 6.5 hours yet I know I need 8-9 hours a night to start benefitting. I think the problem is I struggle to go to bed early enough because of the temptation to watch TV or mess about on my laptop and phone. My ‘go to bed’ instruction is usually ignored so any evening habits get abandoned and I end up idling on devices until sleep prevails. In order to get the 8 hours beauty sleep I so desperately need, I need to enforce my going to bed habit. I need to prepare for sleep with an evening ritual and put away all my devices. If I turn out the light and put my head on my pillow my 10pm, I have a very good chance of getting 8 hours. I think I need to head to bed at 8:45pm to give me enough time to be ready for sleep by 10pm. This habit can start tomorrow. I will use Fitbit to monitor my progress.

Hydration

I had made some progress with my hydration. I had found the opportunity for 3 litres of water a day. A litre at gym, a litre at work and a litre in the evening. It is just a matter of reminding myself to drink it. This habit can start tomorrow. I will use Fitbit to monitor my progress.

Diet

Oh boy! This challenge is the biggest I have. I have never really sustained a healthy diet for the long term. When I have followed a healthy diet, I feel amazing and the transformation is always incredible. It’s just been a really long time since I’ve sustained anything. I’m always conflicted about which diet is best but I have settled on one for my beauty challenge. I’m going to follow a diet free of wheat, gluten, refined sugar, cow’s dairy, caffeine, alcohol and meat. I will include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, rice, potatoes, eggs, sheep & goat’s dairy and fish. This keeps my beauty and appearance as a priority. I’m hoping these rules will naturally help me lose weight. The only way I can succeed, is if I meal plan and shop for it. If I don’t do these two things I will fail because when I don’t know what I’m eating, I will reach for the wrong things. I can’t strictly follow the rules until Monday 1st April but until then I can slowly reduce certain foods and prepare myself for the change. I can already make better choices from tomorrow. I will keep a food diary to track what I eat.

Beauty Regimen

Since I started back on my path to perfection I have introduced many beauty habits, both morning and night. I find it much easier to follow the morning habits than the evening ones. And now it has been weeks since I followed my evening beauty regimen at all. I want to make sure I’m doing everything again to reduce the acne I’m getting and plump up my skin to reduce fine lines, sagging and dehydration. I can start these habits again tomorrow. I have to return to my bath nights on Wednesday and Sunday too so I can incorporate exfoliation, face masks, foot scrubs etc… I must have some regular professional facials also but I must wait until I get my pay increase first. I will start growing my nails and painting them too. My hands look so nice when I do this. I will take daily photographs to see if my face and skin improve.

Exercise

I joined the gym over a month ago and in the first month I attended a lot of classes and did many morning sessions. Since my holiday and illness I’ve struggled to stay committed but I’m very aware how exercise is going to be so important for my health and improving my appearance. I concluded that I need to do 5 different kinds of exercise to reap the most benefits. I need to include yoga for flexibility, cardio for heart health, weights for strength, HIIT for burning calories and swimming for all over toning. I think two sessions of each a week and once for swimming is enough to see health and beauty improvements and I already have a good idea which days to do these. I must start doing what I can from tomorrow and will start with a gym session tomorrow morning. I will use my Fitbit statistics and photographs to track my progress.

Lose Weight

Needless to say, I want to lose about 30 lbs to start feeling healthy and attractive again. Hopefully the improved diet and exercise will allow that to happen but of course if I don’t see it working, I may have to tweak things or get advice. I will use my Fitbit scales and body measurements to track my progress.

Attitude

This is so important. From the moment I wake up tomorrow I can think like a person who is slim, healthy and beautiful. I can make choices throughout the day that serve this purpose. I don’t need to wait for anything. It may start immediately and dictate all my decisions.

Blog My Progress

Finally, I will blog my progress once a week on a Saturday. This will reduce the expectation to blog everyday which I have been finding a challenge recently. Tomorrow, I will start with taking all my measurements and photos as I am now and review my current health. Every week I will publish the results of my habits and track my progress.

 

 

 

Day 120- FITBIT UPDATE

Last Week

This Week

End Goal

Steps

83,088

76,419

140,000-175,000

Steps Daily Average

11,870

10,917

20,000 -25,000

Calories Burned

17,406

16,100

25,000

Active Minutes

317

301

Sleep

6h 28m

7h 7m

8h

Water Consumption

821 ml

143 ml

3000ml a day

So all my stats are down because I spent most of last week in Amsterdam on holiday. They are not too bad considering I was not that active. Funnily, sleep is up because I finally got to wake up when I want to and not when the alarm dictates. This week finds me trying to return to my yoga and pilates classes, gym three times a week in the morning and attempting a 5k weekly. The stats should soar.

In a desperate attempt to lose weight still, and the plant-based diet book failing to captivate me, I have abandoned all dogma and returned to simply counting calories. I watched a great Google Talk which said ‘forget everything until you can master your calorie consumption’. The fact that I haven’t lost any weight regardless of the diets and cleanses I’ve attempted suggests that whatever I’m doing I’m finding a way to consume too many calories. Instead I’m using my Fitbit app to monitor my calories in vs calories out. If I follow a restricted 1000 calories a day, I could lose up to 2 lbs a week and reach my target weight of 130 lbs by June.

My weight is really all that is holding me back from turning to the next chapter on my path to perfection.

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Day 109- NEW HABIT: Find My 5k

NEW HABIT: Walk or run 5k every Saturday morning

Day 109 and I’m struggling to think up new habits. This is a good sign. It means I’m finally doing all the things I want to do to be a happier person. Now it’s just a matter of honing them and levelling up where possible. I still have a lot to come, what with my exercise and food habits but that’s all planned out and I’ll blog about them as and when.

As I’m struggling to come up with new habits I think it’s time I fill the gaps in between the current ones. Perfecting them and not leaving any moment wasted. I’m concluding that I should only need 1 hour a day to chill with Netflix, a cup of tea and a small chocolate bar but every other moment of the day needs to be productive and conscientious. The need to zone out and eat something crappy needs to be focused to that one hour a day. That will leave the other 23 hours maximised to the optimum.

So I previously said I’m looking to include 3 types of exercise; flexibility, cardio & strength-training. After reading an interesting article saying that interval training has a much bigger impact on age-reversal than strength-training, I’m going to add HIIT or interval training to my list. I may even make a weekly swim my 5th and final category.

Yesterday, I cemented my habits for flexibility. I’m committed to doing 5 yoga and pilates classes a week. I did a yoga class yesterday and once again, I was horrified at the fat girl starring back at me from the mirror. It made me think again about my urge for weight-loss and increased steppage and burning calories. It’s inspired me to get running again. The article also says running and walking are good for age reversal too. Now I have a new smartphone, I can track my runs on Fitbit and Strava, providing intense motivation and competition with myself.

I want to do ParkRun again. The last time I did it my time was about 49 mins and I was second to last. This just isn’t good enough for me. I want a sub 45 before I go back to the park. Besides, ParkRun starts at 9am on a Saturday and I have a yoga class at 10am. I envisage myself completing ParkRun with enough time to get to class by 10am.

So my first cardio habit is going to be completing a 5k every Saturday morning. ParkRun is my goal but for now I will just repeatedly run a 5k on the street until I consider my time is good enough. I really want to repeat a route on Strava because it automatically awards trophies and PBs and I’ll enjoy that.

This evening I plan to go out for a walk to find my 5k. I have a route in mind from when I ran 5-6 years ago. I will walk it again to check the distance and log my first time for the route. The plan thereafter, is to just keep doing the route every week to see if I can get faster. I don’t enjoy running on the treadmill at the gym because I get scared or bored. I may add another 5k in the week to provide me with two cardio sessions a week and then I will look at two spinning classes a week and some interval training in the park to cover that category. It’s all a long way off.

I’ve just logged into MapMyFitness and have been looking back at my runs from 2014/2015.

This is the the 5k route I’m going to revisit tonight and my fastest time I managed back in 2014. It will be interesting to see if I can ever achieve it again?

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My gym includes premium membership to MapMyFitness, which is a bonus.

Update: I’ve just been out for an hour’s walk to check the route I have planned and it is indeed 5k. Here’s my initial stats as a base start. I fast walked the 5k.

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“I will walk or run a 5k route every Saturday morning aiming for a sub 45 so I can do ParkRun again”

 

Day 105- REVIEW: Menu Plan

Just over a week ago I decided to join the gym and follow the vegan diet from the book, “The 28-Day Vegan Plan: Kickstart a plant-based lifestyle in just one month” by Kim-Julie Hansen. I was very excited because I hate making shopping lists and menu plans but this book had it all laid out for me. My youngest son and I have just managed the first week but I have to express how very disappointed I am in the book. Firstly, the ingredients in the shopping list don’t match the actual ingredients needed in the recipes, so I had too much of a lot of things. Secondly, some of the portions are over the top and excessively large. On one of the prep days it asked me to cook 200g of brown rice but it made sooooo much rice there was no way we would get through it. Thirdly, the meals are just not that great. Either tasteless or not tasting great. I can’t believe the kale salad recipe doesn’t request you rub anything into the kale to break it down first. Lastly, the prep is a nightmare. If the food tasted good, it may be worth it but a lot of the meals are just boring, dry or a bit rank. This is not a good book to endorse Veganism. I know there are plenty of delicious plant-based meals out there.

I have joined the gym for over a week and have been really embracing almost daily activity. The diet has also proved very awkward to follow now I’m busy with the gym. I’m spending way to much time faffing in the kitchen and making a big mess for quite nasty meals. Today was the first day I felt all my habits were getting on top of me. I never quite got all the housework done at the weekend, I still had 3 more chairs to build for my dining set and then there is all the pressure to prep lunches, meals and breakfasts.

It’s really important I feel back in control of my habits so tomorrow I am prioritising finishing the weekend chores, bringing the house back in order and completing all my habits, especially my evening beauty regimen which keeps being abandoned due to time restraints.

After that, I’ll enforce a new diet plan. I want to create my own personal 12-week plan, based on the things we like and the recipes I know are easy. I should also mention that after a week of gym and a vegan diet I gained 1lb. I just couldn’t believe it. It may be I have to count calories to lose this stubborn weight.

I want to print out a 12-week food diary and fill it with all the meals we know and love. Making meals regular just like my habits. I want to return to my recipe flashcards too. Write out my favourite recipes on them a long with the needed ingredients.

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MY EXPERIENCE: The Mircobiome Purifying Programme by Synergy

This is the account of my experience completing the Microbiome Purifying Programme by Synergy.

I currently weigh around 165 lbs. I’m often tired and suffer regularly from sinus pain. I’m prone to acne breakouts especially at the back of my neck.

Day 1: For the next 5 days I am required to start taking the magnesium tablets, 2 a day,  and cut down on sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy and processed foods. The diet I have planned for these five days is very healthy. I’ve planned a plant-based protein shake, or porridge, made with fruits and hemp milk for breakfast. Salad and protein like fish or chicken for lunch. Protein, vegetables and brown rice or potatoes for dinner. I also have almonds, apple and satsuma for snacks.

I’m having an okay day, eating the foods I’ve planned to. But I’m having trouble with cravings. I’ve eaten 2 biscuits, a few crisps, a cream cake and a cup of tea. I’ve got 5 days to wind it down and prime myself for shake week. I’m hoping the magnesium tablets will conquer the anxiety and cravings it promises to. Tomorrow, I will try and have at least half the amount of crap I ate today. I might even go to bed early tomorrow to help avoid temptations.

Day 2: Today was much better for the most part. I had a chronic headache half way through the day which felt like a combination of sinus pain and caffeine withdrawal. But my food cravings were much more tolerable than yesterday. It didn’t stop me pigging out on some Emmental on toast and a few chocolate cookies but on the whole it was more manageable. Tomorrow I am aiming for no caffeine and no giving in to cravings. I’m aiming for 100% the right food. These 5 days are about cutting down and priming the body so continuing to include these bad foods is not beneficial to the cleanse.

Day 3: Today has been the easiest so far. I got a grip on my cravings and went the whole day without a deviation. I slept terribly the night before possibly due to Synergy’s caffeine alternative, E9. I just couldn’t fall asleep to past 3am. Now I’m over half way through the priming phase I can’t wait to start the shakes and find out what everyone is raving on about.

Day 4: Getting a bit fed up with this part of the plan and my boring dinners. I’m excited to start the shake week because I’m dying to find out what I will experience. I had another bad headache today but hard to tell if it was caffeine withdrawal or sinuses. On the whole, a good day with very little temptation.

Day 5: I’m so happy to have reached the end of this part of the journey. I battled some temptations and withdrawal headaches but now I’m just eager to start the next stage. From tomorrow I will be taking several supplements; probiotics, pre-biotics and a protein shake for breakfast and lunch. All of this should flood my body with good bacteria and vitamins and I should start feeling the promised benefits. I’ll be having a healthy protein dinner and the shakes for 7 days. At the end of that I plan to follow a plant-based vegan diet.

Day 6: Today was the first day of shake week. That means I have taken lots of probiotics and supplements today. They don’t taste as bad as people say. I expected to experience some digestion sensations but really I haven’t. In fact, if anything, I think I may be constipated even though I’m drinking lots of water. I’m not adhering completely to the diet and allowing some naughty things but I’m comfortable with my choices and still think I’ll see results.

Day 7: Day 2 of the shakes and I’m not noticing much happening. I have constipation, probably from the protein shakes. I’ve done many strict diets and I usually can feel the health entering and manipulating my body but with this regimen I feel nothing. I’m still getting cravings and finding it really hard to adhere to the rules.

Day 8: The cleanse is going really well although I’m not being a saint and still craving chocolate and crisps and indulging a little. My meals are healthy though. I had my first interesting ‘elimination’. I could really tell I’d consumed a lot of greenery!

Day 9: So far, apart from decent eliminations, I can’t feel anything interesting happening for me. I know it’s early days and I have consumed the odd inappropriate food, but I did expect an experience. I’ve done so many diets and cleanses and this one has had the least impact or interest. The shakes just replace my meals and the supplements appear to improve elimination but nothing else of interest is happening. I will probably keep using the shakes for more than 7 days because of all the cheating I’ve done and the fact I have a visit to Amsterdam coming up.

Day 21: This marks the end of my 21 day microbiome cleanse. If it has done me any good, I’m oblivious to it because I’ve experienced nothing remarkable whatsoever. No improved sleep, no renewed energy, no clearer skin. I did eat the odd microbiome unfriendly food but not enough to outweigh the amount of supplements I was consuming. In fact, I’ve been eating vegan for 4 days and already I can see the benefits from that. I’m really not sure if I would do it again unless I had £200 floating around and I’d been eating clean for a while.

I currently weigh 165.5 lbs so not even any weight loss. Thumbs down.

 

 

 

Day 98- NEW HABIT: The Gym

NEW HABIT: Try to go to the gym twice a day on weekdays for 3 months

The good news that my job role is to develop into something more professional from the 1st April means I am more inspired than I have been for a very long time. I want to dress more professionally for the role and feel good about myself. It has inspired me to join the gym because we have a new one recently opened right between my home and work. My sons go to it and my eldest son has been saying for a while that he could easily train me to lose weight and gain muscle if we went together. Impulsively, I went to the gym after work on Friday and signed up for 3 months. Thats two months before my role starts and one month after. I should think with commitment I can lose the 30+ surplus pounds I’m carrying around. 10 pounds a month is totally doable. I have joined an Anytime Fitness gym. It’s about £40 a month and you can only join for 3 months if you pay it all up front.

The gym is really nice with lots of stuff available. I’m chuffed that the showers are like individual bathrooms so I can lock the door and get on with my beauty regimen. Fingers crossed they are not too popular and busy. There are also a variety of classes I can attend, included in the price. I’m excited because there are lots I’m interested in, like variations of yoga. I can book the day before. There are even classes at 6am and I’m sure if I get addicted I would attend them, use the gym and then go to work.

I want to make the gym part of my daily routine once or twice a day so I have had to review all my habits and their timings for the entire day. Here is my revised plan for my daily weekday habits.

0645 hrs- Get up & put on gym wear

0650 hrs- Make bed

0655 hrs- Dental routine

0700 hrs- Finish packing for work

0705 hrs- Do any washing up

0715 hrs- Go to gym

0730 hrs- Gym session

0830 hrs- Shower & beauty regimen

0900 hrs- Breakfast at work

1600 hrs- Return home

1615 hrs- Change into gym wear

1620 hrs- Put laundry on

1625 hrs- Prep dinner and tomorrow’s breakfast & lunch, and have snack

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1800-2100 hrs- Gym classes

After gym:

Dinner

Head to bed routine

Beauty regimen

Pack for tomorrow

Netflix for one hour

Go to sleep

“I will aim to visit the gym at least once in the morning and once in the evening on weekdays for 3 months and then review”

 

 

 

 

Day 96- NEW HABIT: Plant-Based Diet

NEW HABIT: Start eating a plant-based diet

Monday will mark the end of my microbiome cleanse and then I will publish my results. I had always intended to move on to a plant-based diet after it so today marks the start of a two-week trial. I bought a great book in Waitrose after Christmas which has the shopping lists and menu plans all laid out and that makes success for me far more likely.

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Yesterday I had all the food delivered and oh boy, it’s a lot of fruit and veg! The daily plans are about 2,000 calories a day. Today I organised my food around the kitchen to make preparation that bit easier for me.

Today I weigh 165.5 lbs and I am 39.1% body fat.

“I will follow the plant-based diet in this book for two weeks”

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