Welcome to my first Data Driven Health Journey update. I chose to post this on October 30th for a reason – it’s my birthday! I want to continue into my thirty-second year on a positive, inspirational vibe. Thirty-one was a wonderful year, I can only imagine what #32 has in store! Especially now that I’m on a healthy lifestyle – or “healthstyle” quest.
Last month, I shared how my health journey began and what apps and tools I’m using to measure my overall wellness, activity, and weight-related progress using data. This month, at my six-week check-in, I’ll cover what apps have stuck and which ones haven’t, the few roadblocks I’ve discovered, and how I’m progressing physically and emotionally along the way. Most of all, I want to highlight the priceless reaction from those of you who read my story and reached out to me with care and support. I am touched and inspired beyond measure!
“The most precious gift you can give someone is the gift of your time and attention.” Nicky Gumbel
Sharing on Social Media Lifted Me Up in Ways I Couldn’t Have Imagined
Something really positive happened when I shared my story and my weight – overwhelming love and support from my social media connections, co-workers, friends, and family. I had no idea what an impact putting it all out there would have. It has been INCREDIBLE! In fact, my post happily brought people back into my life who I haven’t been in touch with for a very long time. Many women were moved to not only comment, but private message me and share their stories and their weight! Some said they’ve never told anyone their weight before – not even their husbands. I am honored and excited that my experience has inspired togetherness and hope that at least one of you finds the confidence, willpower, and motivation to make a positive change in your life – whether that’s with health, career, family, or any passion – and feel supported in doing so.
Apps & Goals That Have Changed
Out of the list of health and fitness apps I started using, a couple fallen off. Unfortunately, I lost my Fitbit when I moved a few weeks ago. That has put a damper on the ease of my data collection, since wearing the Fitbit tracked the most detailed information and ensured all my apps had the same real-time 24/7 information. Now, I am mostly using the iPhone Health App in its place. This is my single source that’s synced with other apps, but, unless I have my phone on me, it’s not tracking steps and movement like the Fitbit, nor can it monitor my sleep, heart rate, etc. So, now my data tracking capability is slightly altered, but still meaningful.
I have shelved Zero, the intermittent fasting app. Right now, I want to focus on mastering healthy eating and an active lifestyle. Once I increase my activity level, drink more water, and choose better food options, and those things become more natural, I may try Zero to give a jolt to my weight loss goals and see how I do with it. But for now, I’m sticking to the basics.
Great Food-Prep and Meal Ideas from My Coach
When pressed for time (which is ALWAYS as a Mompreneur), make more food than you need for dinner and use the leftovers for healthier lunches and a few nights’ dinners. For example, make tacos one night, use the leftover meat for crockpot chili the next two nights. Or, bake chicken for dinner one night, chop leftovers into chicken salad for lunch on-the-go, and make crockpot chicken soup for a couple more dinners. Better ready-made or heat-and-eat choices keep me from stopping at the fast-food places when I’m tired and don’t feel like cooking (one of my hurdles). It’s better for my kiddos too.
It’s okay to use frozen meals in a pinch. Most days I’m on the road for work and at after-school activities with the kids, which means we often don’t get home until late evening. This is when I want whatever is fast and easy. Health-focused frozen meals are a better option for me than fast food as there is less temptation to get a warm burger or those yummy smelling French fries with my salad. Since frozen meals are small and often leave me hungry, my coach suggested adding apple slices or a veggie on the side. The kids can eat them too or I can prepare some their freezer favorites in minutes.
Everything you read about weight loss and healthy eating suggests prepping all your food for the week on Sunday and portioning it out. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that much time, even on a Sunday! My coach suggested making certain food in batches throughout the week as time allows. Like making extra meat one or two nights a week. She also recommended washing and portioning produce as soon as I unpack it from the grocery store. Take grapes, for example. I rarely eat them all before they go bad because of the big clump in the fridge. If I put them in the sink right away and take a few minutes to wash and separate them into grab-n-go clusters, DONE! A quick healthy choice for me and my kids.
If you don’t have access to a coach, Facebook groups are a great resource. There are many private groups for various lifestyles and eating plans. If you’re not in one already, search by your plan or lifestyle and ask to join. These groups definitely keep me motivated and in touch with others who face the same challenges.
The Biggest Hurdle So Far
Movement. Getting up from my desk or out of my car often enough to burn calories and use my muscles is a huge challenge. There are days when I’m in meetings hour after hour without a break in between and before I know it, I’ve sat still for hours. Moving more, sitting less is my biggest priority. I know, “sitting is the new smoking.” I must find a way to engage my body to do what it’s meant to do – move! I do go to the gym, but that doesn’t make up for the 5000-7500 steps per day I need to achieve. And now that I don’t have my Fitbit and I try NOT to have my phone on me constantly, tracking this is a challenge. No matter what, I will find a way to move more and get those steps in every day!
The Data Doesn't Lie
In business, key performance indicators (KPIs) put you in the driver’s seat when it comes to understanding your current position and provide a roadmap to reach your objectives. The results come from actual data and numbers that do not lie. The same goes for personal goals. There needs to be a form of measurement (data) and a strategy to reach goals (a documented plan) otherwise how do get where you’re going? As a former athlete and musician, I know that unless I measure progress with my own KPIs, see the data, and have documented goals with which to measure them against, I will pretend that everything is going perfectly, when it is not. So, here is key points in the data, compiled from my apps, for my first six weeks.
Inches Lost: 1.5
I measure 8 different points on my body that total up to 227.2 inches. When I measured all of those points again I’m at 225.7.
Current Weight: 255.8 lbs
Beginning: 257.2 lbs
Change: Lost 1.4 lbs
This is tough. I can’t lie. Seeing only 1.4 lbs really come off after 6 weeks is hard to see. I’m hoping for that slow and steady winning the race piece especially as I’m changing 32 years of habits.
Rally Age: 47
This one I’m not surprised by. I’m one year older today and I haven’t done enough to lower my age yet so they added one more on. Gotta work harder!
Biggest Success: My Mentality
I’m eating healthier meals, having the conversations with my coworkers, friends, family, and feeling better about the changes I’m making. I may not see the big, dramatic changes that I’ve seen in the past with Keto, Weight Watchers, HCG, and all of the other “diets” I’ve been on in the past, but I know I’m on the right track. This is about real change.
Keeping it Realistic
The biggest take-aways over the last six weeks are how important tracking data is to accountability and goal checking, how this is a dynamic day-to-day endeavor that must fit realistically into my current lifestyle in order for it to become a new lifestyle, and how much support from others and positive self-talk matter. I still have a long way to go to make this a “forever” lifestyle; years in fact. But that’s okay. This is the first time I’m foregoing every fad diet out there and giving myself permission to make small daily changes until a naturally health-focused life becomes the norm. And yes – I still enjoy a trip to the ice cream shop with my kids – I just make smaller, less disastrous choices.
To read my first Data Driven Health Journey blog, go to my website, and be sure to say “hello” on social media. If you’d like to learn more about my speaking engagements, check out my list of topics and contact me today. Until next time, go forward and remember these wise words from Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter), “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”