Fall is my favorite season. The horrendous summer heat wanes off. Sweaters and boots come out of storage. Leaves change color and fall from trees.
As you observe Mother Nature’s transition, consider the changed that you want to make. Fall is a perfect time for fresh starts.
With the new season approaching, what fresh starts would you like to make?
Ever since I began making lifestyle changes, I’ve become more aware of how cluttered my life is. Materially speaking, I have a lot of stuff that I’m not even using. There’s absolutely no point in holding onto these items when someone else would actually make use of them.
Spiritually, I’ve gotten rid of a lot of baggage. I made peace and let go of emotions that were blocking my blessings.
Once I realized that happiness began with me, I began to distance myself from those who no longer brought happiness to my life.
I feel lighter.
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.
Fall is almost here! Of course, Summer will always be my favorite, but Fall is when I do the majority of my personal upgrades. The weather change seems to motivate me. Besides, the summer heat this year was like a daily field trip to Hell. All I wanted to do was exist…in the soothing coolness of air conditioning.
Here are a few things I’m trying to upgrade during the cooler months:
Changing my clothing style
I’ve lost a bit of weight and a LOT of inches (go me, go me!). While I’m in love with my slimmer self, I’m in utter despair over my clothing. Like I hate just about 80% of what’s in my dresser and closet. If it isn’t too big, it fits me like a tent, or I feel like I “aged out” of it. Not cute at all. I need to do some experimentation. Introduce some sexy to my wardrobe. Invest in slimmer pants/jeans, feminine blouses, bright colors, and heels. Yes, heels. Writing that took my break away.
Majority of my weight loss is attributed to diet. Soda is a distant memory. Fast food and I are no longer in a hot love affair and I want it to stay that way. Currently, working out consists of 15-30 minute yoga sessions. My back thanks me, but I need to move more. Slowly, I’m integrating cardio into the mix. Cold weather is a great time to start walking.
I have a lot of recipes on Pinterest that I want to try out. My crock pot is going to be doing a lot of work *insert evil laugh here*.
My apartment is so plain. I want so much more. I want my personality to be reflected. How can I translate random, inappropriate, and sexy into decor. Lots of work to do.
Have you been inspired to do some personal upgrades lately? I wanna know!
Every day isn’t going to be roses and sunshine. It just isn’t. On those days when I need help to work past the dark cloud(s), I play Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”. As I listen to it, I try to remind myself that things can be much worse than they are. Throw in some deep breaths and I’m at peace again.
What do you listen to when you’re in a bad mood?