Friday 11 March 2016

Word of the Year 2016: Health - February Update

During February I updated on my word of the year: Health, one month into the year. I gave a rundown on how I was doing, what I was changing and what I thought I still needed to do. A few sisters expressed an interest in following along with my journey to get healthier and I thought it would be a good way to hold myself to account if I updated on how I was doing each month. Well my update for February summed up in another one word is: unimpressive. To say the least. I think I spent the month not walking enough, not going out enough (it so cold here), enjoying my food too much, eating out with family and friends and making all sorts of excuses.

So my task at the moment is twofold – to monitor what I am doing and to inspire myself to do the right things. For the first I have added the MyFitnessPal app to my phone. This tracks my steps, calorie intake and water consumption. I haven’t gone for this kind of thing before because calorie counting never seemed to me to be the right route to go down. But at the very least I am hoping that it will put some facts and numbers behind what I think is happening – how much am I really moving and eating. How many steps is enough and after roughly how much food do I have to eat. In actual facts I am finding that even with a desk job I am getting 2-3,000 steps in easily during working hours. In addition, having to log what I am eating and stay below a certain limit (the app has recommended 1,200 calories a day to lose weight), has made me more careful about what I am eating and has brought the competitive side out in me. 

I am usually well into the day and still well below my limit, but because I have been sensible about my food choices, I don’t feel too hungry. I’m also finding it is kind of fun to find the food you are eating in the app and seeing what its calorie and nutrition content is. I was also surprised because I drink more water than I thought I did.  The other benefit about inputting calories is that comparing the difference in between a healthy meal (low calorie) and one chocolate biscuit or bar (ridiculously high) is putting me off sweet foods, it just doesn't seem worth it when one chocolate seems to take up most of my days allowance of calories.  

An example of breakfast and lunch and how many calories - 21 calories for a tub full of salad, compared to 90 for one chocolate digestive (I'll pretend you can't see the minus figures in red):

Most days I am going slightly over my calorie allowance, but it doesn't get me down.  What seems more important is that I am learning about where I fall down, my weaknesses and trying to get into better habits. I will stick with this for a while and see how it goes.

I am still trying new foods, experimenting with baking, grilling, roasting and eating raw.  I am trying to include veg absolutely everywhere I can and trying to cut down carbohydrates to a more sensible portion which is new for me because we tend to accompany every meal with chapatti, rice, chips, bread or mash potato.

Roast fish and vegetables

The other thing I am doing is thinking about how I can try and inspire myself by asking questions such as: how can food still be pleasurable without being unhealthy? How can I enjoy movement and feel positive and grateful about my body?  I don't feel bad, I don't feel guilty, I am not doing the usual negative self-talk and I don't feel like I just want to give up.  Alhamdulillah I feel positive and upbeat and I feel good about myself.

"But one thing is certain: the Puritans got it all wrong. Pleasure in how we eat, move and live is hard-wired into our body’s multi-dimensional circuitry. It’s necessary to keep the body alive" ~ Ali Shapiro

"What could we do - who would we be in the world, if we didn’t waste all that energy worrying about what is wrong with our bodies? It is my humble and considered view, that we would become un-freakin-stoppable." ~ Sas Petherick in the Body Stories

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