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 133- FITBIT UPDATE

Last Week

This Week

End Goal

Steps

60,425

55,014

140,000-175,000

Steps Daily Average

8,632

7,859

20,000 -25,000

Calories Burned

16,054

15,547

25,000

Active Minutes

128

156

Sleep

5h 36m

5h 2m

8h

Water Consumption

1,029 ml

857 ml

3000ml a day

I keep thinking I’ve hit rock bottom and then another week goes by with my stats falling further. Since a holiday and a bout of illness I have struggled to get back on my once successful path. It is a common trend that these kinds of disruptions are often the cause of my abandonment of habits followed by a challenging effort to return to them. Once the feelings of failure and frustration set it, it becomes almost futile to try anymore but I’m to not give up on the path, or writing the blog, like two previous occasions. I have to keep trying, and keep blogging, to figure out how to overcome this.

I have a long to-do list to attempt which I will start tomorrow and continue with until it’s finished. I have punctuated it with meals and treats to keep me going. I’m hoping it will put me in position for a good week returning to my habits. This was meant to happen last weekend but I ended up idling the whole time. I went to gym twice but I skipped all my gym classes for one reason or another.

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Day 127- FITBIT UPDATE

Last Week

This Week

End Goal

Steps

76,419

60,425

140,000-175,000

Steps Daily Average

10,917

8,632

20,000 -25,000

Calories Burned

16,100

16,054

25,000

Active Minutes

301

128

Sleep

7h 7m

5h 36m

8h

Water Consumption

143 ml

1,029 ml

3000ml a day

Without a doubt, this appears to be the worst week ever. I think it is due to the fact I returned from holiday on the Monday and started to get ill towards the rest of the week. This week was going to be my ‘perfect week’ but my head cold has caused me to cancel a lot of gym classes and exhaustion in the evenings has meant early nights and skipping evening habits. Everything is now in place to have a great active week with plenty of hydration and routine. I’m even successfully counting calories and seeing some weight loss. I just need to get this cold out the way so I have energy again for my exercise and motivation to complete my habits before bedtime.

 

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 113- FITBIT UPDATE

Last Week

This Week

End Goal

Steps

81,875

83,088

140,000-175,000

Steps Daily Average

11,696

11,870

20,000 -25,000

Calories Burned

18,612

17,406

25,000

Active Minutes

275

317

Sleep

6h 7m

6h 28m

8h

Water Consumption

571 ml

821 ml

3000ml a day

I’m really chuffed with my results last week. Looks like all the habits are improvements are starting to manifest. Really glad to see my sleep has improved without even trying.

I’m off to Amsterdam for a few days but when I get back I’m very serious about honing my daily habits, starting running and finally sorting out my diet.

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 108- NEW HABIT: Flexibility

NEW HABIT: Go to 5 yoga & pilates classes every week at the gym

I joined the gym two weeks ago and have done something there nearly everyday. They have classes there too so I have been trying out different ones to see what I like and can fit in. I’ve tried yoga, pilates, stretch & tone, Buti yoga and spinning. I particularly like the yoga and pilates so I want to make them my first gym habits I’ll commit to. There is 2 yoga and 2 pilates classes and a Buti yoga session. If I attend them all, it means I’m doing yoga & pilates 5 days a week. I swear this week I have done 50 or more downward facing dogs.

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When I have fantasised about having exercise in my life, I’ve always imagined a balance or cardio, strength building and flexibility. The 5 classes I now attend tick the flexibility box very nicely. My yoga efforts now have been the worse I’ve ever seen them because I’m older and haven’t done it for a long time but I can already feel my balance and flexibility is improving in two weeks. With 5 classes a week, I could get really good which I’ve never achieved before.

Buti yoga is a more energetic yoga, almost like dance moves. Pilates is very much focused on engaging weak muscles. Yoga is about holding and perfecting different positions.

I like these classes so much and believe I can become accomplished. I’m already fantasising about buying nice outfits for these classes but I have to lose weight before I spend money on new clothes.

I plan to blog about my cardio and strength training habits soon. They will compliment the flexibility habits when I’ve decided what they will be.

“I will attend all 5 yoga & pilates classes every week at the gym whenever possible”