Being healthier and getting in shape has been on my to-do list since January. In November of last year, I returned to my home, in the UK, after a staggering five years overseas. I had the time of my life and I wouldn’t take it back for even a second. That being said, my health was never my number one priority in all those years – I mean it, never!
Much of my time spent abroad was working in a fast-paced environment with somewhat relentless responsibilities. I was a volunteer program manager for two of those years, and as such, if the volunteers, program partners, community members, organizational managers needed me, I needed to be available. My working hours were flexible which means, most of the hours, you’re working.
I completely and utterly loved it, and wouldn’t change it for a minute. But I pretty much never worked out. I ate what was available (usually volunteer leftovers) when I could, or takeout if I needed to. My cooking facilities were basic and supplies were limited – that’s life in a developing country.
So home sweet home to the UK where supermarkets stock foods that are ‘in season’ around the world, not just the nation, and fitness centers, gyms, classes, and ample motivation is readily accessible. I thought it would be easy to get back into my fitness groove. I mean it’s not like I spent five years literally never working out, I just never got into a routine. I also failed miserably to manage my diet. I’m not overweight, but I could stand to use a few pounds, and actually, I want to be fit, not skinny anyway.
So why am I writing about this in July when I made these vows in January? Because, surprise surprise, it isn’t easy in the UK either. Regardless of gym memberships, quinoa on tap and great intentions, there are still things that get in my way. Like the fact that working a full-time office job and living alone, having to do all of your chores and life things (aka adulting) for yourself takes a ton of time. Like the fact that I regularly want to gouge a pizza, or find myself snacking on chunks of cheese (oh how I missed quality cheese in those years overseas).
So this week I took a vow, to be significantly better than I have been. Here are the rules I am living by in this new found fit-seeking lifestyle:
- Until I can get a grip on my ‘addiction’ I’ve decided that my fridge needs to be a cheese-free zone.
- My fridge will also be a healthy snack full zone. So I have stocked it with low-fat hummus, fat-free yogurt, veggies, veggies, more veggies, and some fruit.
- I’m going to work out every day. If I let myself have days off, I let myself have more days off, so until I can get into a solid routine (I hear it takes 21 days), I am literally making myself do some kind of exercise every single day.
- I’m not letting time hinder me. Today I was late home from work, I didn’t much feel like hitting the gym, so I popped on a 20minute HIIT workout on YouTube and found myself sweating like a, well, you know. With so many resources out there, I have no excuse not to achieve this.
- I’m #foodprepping to the max. I make my overnight oats and my veggie and protein-filled salads a few Tupperware containers at a time. I have no reason to pick up a last-minute, unhealthy meal because I have all the food that I need.
- I am switching to, what I call, happy carbs!! This means my white rice is out of the cupboard and brown’s moved right in, I’m stocked with sweet potatoes and whole wheat wraps, even my pasta’s going whole grain. Honestly, they don’t even taste that different!!
- I’m not giving up everything. I still have a cookie today, but just one small cookie where used to eat 4 or 5 and not worked out, maybe now I’ll eat 1 or 2 when I don’t work out. It might take me awhile to get into 100% health kick mode!
So that’s it, I can’t tell you it’s foolproof, because, well it’s only been 3 days. What I can tell you is that even after just three days, I am feeling pretty epic, and NONE of the above is getting me down. I’m hoping to make these changes into habits, and to be able to gradually transition my lifestyle more and more, which means that once in awhile I’ll be able to much some cheese without the guilt!