Twelve weeks ago I began a Get Healthy & Fit Challenge with 18 other bloggers. Although I did not make the progress I initially hoped to make, I still feel that it was a success!
Here’s how it went:
I implemented a Paleo-approach to eating – no dairy, no gluten, no grains, no beans, and no sugar.
I gave up coffee for one week–-just to break my habit of having so many cups per day. I’ve done fairly well since then just having one cup per day. Although that may not sound great, it is a definite improvement for me!
Except for the past three weeks, I’ve exercised 4-5 times per week. I did fall off of most everything (perfect eating, exercising, etc.) the past few weeks, but I didn’t gain anything over the Thanksgiving holiday!
I lost 3.5 pounds–this is a far cry from the ten I originally wanted to lose, but I’m learning to be okay with where I am. If I’m exercising and eating well, I just have to accept that the scale may not move as quickly as I think it should!
Here’s what I plan to continue to learn about and do now that this challenge has come to an end:
1) Continue to eat a Paleo Diet
I’m going to stick with this for good. For the first time in my adult life, I don’t have constant heartburn. I’ve only had to take allergy meds a handful of times (compared with several times a day before I cut out dairy and grains). I just feel better overall. I highly, highly recommend trying this way of eating–especially if you struggle with any kind of inflammatory issues.
My favorite books about how and why to eat Paleo:
- Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle
- The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat
- Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat
- The Inflammation Syndrome: Your Nutrition Plan for Great Health, Weight Loss, and Pain-Free Living (This is not specifically Paleo, but it offers ways to cut down inflammation in your body. Most of the recommendations go hand-in-hand with Paleo eating.)
2) Find ways to lower my cortisol levels
I have elevated cortisol levels, so I’m continuing to work on getting an appropriate amount of sleep and lowering my expectations of myself. Stress is ubiquitous in our society, but I need to do a better job of setting boundaries around my time and the amount of things I take on to accomplish!
One of the biggest problems for me is that my high cortisol levels are causing major disruptions in my sleep patterns. The Paleo Solution has a helpful chapter on cortisol levels (although this book does have some helpful info, please don’t count this as an endorsement of it–I’m not a fan of the style of writing and the crude language is completely unnecessary in my opinion). Anyway, what I’ve learned is that even though I’m eating well, high cortisol levels are causing me to hang onto the weight (particularly in my stomach). I’m “tired and wired”. I lay down to sleep, but I’m just thinking and my heart is racing. I just can’t make it stop. It’s a double-edged sword, because the less sleep I get, the more tired I am, the higher my cortisol levels become, and the less I can deal with the stress in my life; but when I try to sleep, I’m completely awake and unable to calm down.
I’m continuing to find solutions for this and implement them. My next 30-day challenge might just be sleep-related! 😉
3) Focus less on losing weight
I’m going to give up worrying so much about the scale. I’ll continue to weigh myself and make sure I can fit my jeans, but I’m going to focus on continuing to eat healthy — lots of veggies, fruits, protein, and healthy fats.
4) Continue to exercise 4-5 times per week
I’ve stopped P90X2, but I will continue with jogging a few miles, doing some interval training, or doing one of Jillian Michael’s 20-minute work-outs. The full hour of weight-lifting and demanding exercise is just too much for me at this point while I’m trying to heal my adrenals! Eventually, I’ll get back to it…
Overall, it was a helpful experience for me, and while I didn’t meet every goal fully, I feel that I made progress–especially in the allergy/asthma area of my health!
Find all the other bloggers taking part in this challenge over at the Get Healthy & Fit page at Sidetracked Sarah!