From April-July of 2011 I dealt with high blood pressure as a result of bad eating habits. My option for resolving this issue was a lifestyle change because medication wasn’t an option. I ate my way into this predicament and I will eat/exercise my way out of it. In mid-July, I started the first of several lifestyle changes. Better habits, better me. In order for those habits to stick, I need to gradually work towards the goal versus stopping cold turkey. I wanted to share what I’ve accomplished on this journey and perhaps someone will get inspired to begin a lifestyle change of their own.
With that out of the way, here are the five changes I’ve made to my lifestyle thus far:
One: Eliminate Soda
I used to drink at least one soda each day. I craved soda. As a baby step towards elimination, I would have a soda every other day or every couple of days. Over time, my infrequent consumption of soda led to not craving it period. Success!
Two: Track Progress
I downloaded MyFitnessPal, a food journal app, to my phone. MyFitnessPal allows me to log my meals, water intake, and exercise. It also allows me to record weight and measurements. A genius way to keep myself accountable.
Three: Hello Water, Goodbye Juice
Perhaps years of sugary beverages stunted my taste buds, but I hated the taste of water. For someone who rarely drank water, I started drinking about three glasses of water a day. As that became routine, I increased my water intake to at least eight glasses a day.
When I started drinking water regularly, I slowly decreased the amount of juice I consumed. If I wanted juice, I cut it in half with water. Now, when I want a glass of juice, I aim to get a single size serving versus a full container. I’m too afraid I’ll backslide down the sugary mountain.
Fourth: Red Meat
I loved steak. Ate it all the time. At some point, I noticed how sluggish and heavy I felt after eating it. Not a good feeling by the way. I began incorporating chicken and turkey into my diet while lowering my consumption of red meat. Now, I rarely eat red meat.
Exercise is the last on this list because I’m still working on making it a habit. If I had started exercising earlier, my eating habits would have changed. I downloaded Workout Trainer, a fitness app, to my phone to keep me accountable. Workout Trainer has workouts and fitness programs that I can choose from. The app calculates calories burned so I can plug them into MyFitnessPal. Right now I’m a fan of short, intense workouts at least 3 days a week.
A year later, I look back and I’m proud. So far, I’ve lost about 17 pounds. Yes, the weight loss is awesome, but I’m more concerned with how I lost that weight. While I’ve gained a couple of pounds back, I’ve managed to create and stick with habits that have improved my overall health. My blood pressure is normal now. I don’t feel sluggish and I don’t get out of breath when walking long distances. There are some other things I want to work on, but I need to get the major goals accomplished before I do that. Doing too much could result in a setback that I don’t need.
Getting back to center feels damn good.