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.

 

 

 

Week 8- WEIGH-IN

Even though I have done nothing out of the ordinary to obtain a weight loss this week, I’ve still weighed myself and lost a little.

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Thankfully, the consequences of Christmas appear to have started to dissipate. I have one week left before I embark on my Microbiome Gut Cleanse and when that is complete I will transition to a plant-based, vegan diet until the 31st December 2019.

However, I’m still heavier than when I started trying to lose weight.

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Week 7- WEIGH-IN

Last week was Christmas week. It was never going to be easy. I did eat a lot but no more than is expected at this time of year. In fact, I’m finding that I cannot put away as much as I use to be able to.

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As you can see, I have gained enough weight this week to be heavier than when I started 7 weeks ago yet my body fat percentage has still gone down a tiny tad more. I think this probably means I’m just bloated and heavy from the quantity of food. However, I’ve being thinking an awful lot about the changes I have made and the very little impact it has had on my weight-loss. I’m just fooling myself to think I can lose weight from eating meals and cooking from scratch. Whatever I do, I must end up eating the same amount of calories and maintain this weight of 30 pounds over. In a couple of weeks, I will do the Synergy Microbiome Purifying Programme and I have been planning what healthy foods I will eat when I’m on it. I keep coming back to justifying meat or some dairy etc, but simultaneously conclude that a plant-based, vegan diet is the only way to eat to assure optimum health. I’ve been going back and forth for so long, trying to cheat my way to keep tasty things included but doing so means optimum health is compromised or delayed. I think it’s time to bite the bullet and commit to an organic, plant-based, vegan diet when I start my programme, and for the indefinite future, until I’m in a place where I can safely make any new decisions. Right here, right now I’m going to commit from the 14th January for 1 year and blog about it. I’m doing it for weight-loss, I’m doing it for beauty and I’m doing it for health. I need to find out if this diet can heal all my symptoms of dis-ease. So I’m not going to blog about my weight-loss until I start my programme on the 14th January.

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Week 5- WEIGH-IN

So, the last two weeks the only change I made was looking forward to a pre-bought, small bar of chocolate and a cup of tea after work, instead of buying any treat I want, whenever I want. I could feel after a week my trousers were starting to fall down and I had to roll up the waistband. I had a good feeling I may have lost another bit of weight.

I’m really chuffed to have lost another half a pound. And I’m now below the 40% fat mark. I feel I’m on a roll, even though the changes are very slight and slow. I want to make a change again this week to keep losing weight but it’s getting tricky now because there is nothing left I can easily change or give up without feeling challenged. It’s also the week before Christmas which presents all kinds of temptations.

I think what I will do, to try and continue a weight loss this week, is have porridge for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, my chocolate after work and a considerate portion of home-made dinner. I’ve been very relaxed about what I eat between meals to prevent me from feeling deprived but I think it’s time to stop the snacking, as long as I can look forward to that one chocolate treat and eat anything I like at the weekends still.

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Week 3- WEIGH-IN

Last week, I was chuffed to have lost a whole pound in 2 weeks just by making sure I had breakfast, a packed lunch and a home-made dinner. This week, I didn’t change much, except reducing the amount of sugar in my porridge and the amount of mayonnaise and cheese in my sandwiches. I really thought it would not be enough to make a difference but half way through the week, I could feel my waistband shrinking slightly.

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This week I lost about 1/2 a pound and my body fat percentage decreased ever so slightly.  I’m delighted because I had reservations that anything would be lost. I think a tiny 1/2 a pound every week would contribute to long term success.

So I would like to continue like this and see another little bit come off next week. But I think if I did the same as this week, not a lot would change. So in addition to last week’s changes, I’m also going to control my sweet treat cravings by having one small chocolate bar with a cup of tea after work. Currently, I choose and buy all sorts of treats because of cravings after work. I’d like to control it a bit more and have it be something I can look forward to, rather than keep it as a reactive compulsion. I will also try to resist the biscuits at work and see if these two changes create a weight-loss next week.

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Week 2- WEIGH-IN

Two weeks ago, I decided to create the habit of weighing in only once a week, instead of everyday. When I  got on the scales, I weighed 163.6 lbs and had a body fat percentage of 38.7%. This is a figure I’ve been hanging around at for over a year, my heaviest is about 169 lbs. I really want to initially lose about 30 lbs to bring me into a region that I will feel much more comfortable in. I have waited 2 weeks for my first weigh-in because I wanted to see if anything positive would happen if I just ate a breakfast; a packed lunch; a home cooked meal; snacks when I felt like it and anything I like at the weekends. Having porridge for breakfast and taking a packed lunch felt like a healthy move forward. The home cooked meals have been roast chicken and veg, fish and veg, tofu stir-fry and couscous stuffed peppers with haloumi, onion and mushroom. I’ve been having whatever snacks I want but can honestly say the meals have helped me reduce that amount, and I haven’t binged once. So whilst I haven’t actually dieted,  I would have thought that the diet I have had, would have caused some weight-loss.

Today I weigh 162.3 lbs and have a body fat percentage of 40.4 lbs

I’m delighted to have lost just over a pound. I can accept only half a pound a week loss if I’m only making tiny changes. I’m more likely to have success and endure the whole process that way. But I am really shocked that my body fat percentage has gone up so much. I haven’t been 40% for a year. I may have to put it down to the cheese in my sandwiches. Whatever happens, I just want to continue losing weight. So the changes I’m gonna make this week are: only one teaspoon of sugar in my porridge, only cheese in my sandwiches twice a week, and cut thinly, and I’m gonna be just a little bit more mindful of everything I prepare and dish up.

Day 12- NEW HABIT: Sunday Mornings

NEW HABIT: Start Sunday mornings with a tea and a lay-in

Habits aren’t just about bad, horrible things we don’t want to do. To succeed on the path to perfection and arrive at where you want to be, also means scheduling fun stuff too. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, remember. All week I’ve committed to get out of bed, skipping lazy bed-tea and doing chores, so I feel now I can justify the very opposite. I’m still going to have an alarm and a get-up time. No alarm and long lay-ins are for holidays, hotel stays and sick days. They have to be few and far between, to feel really good. On Sundays the alarm will wake me at 9am. That’s two hours later than a work day so definitely a lay-in. And here’s the treat. I get a cup a tea I’ve denied myself during the week AND I get to take it back to bed with me. Once in bed I’m sure I’ll find myself surfing the net or playing a game but at 10:30am I have to get up, to get on with the things that need to get done to stay on the path to perfection.

“Every Sunday I will wake at 9am and bring a tea to bed for a lay-in until 10.30am”