I thought it a perfect time to share how I am trying to get fit from home since Ms.Rona has given us no other choice. I’m all about wellness inside and out. This is why I’ve embarked on a fitness journey alongside taking care of my hair and skin. I’ve actually talked about accomplishing my fitness goals before but I was sharing some general tips that I had picked up. I went back and forth about whether to share this post because it is very personal to me but I know that it could be beneficial to someone so here we are.
Table of Contents
When did this journey begin ?
Truthfully, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve tried to get fit in my life. I’m one of those people who makes this resolution every year. I wanted this year to be different and I am still confident that it is/ will be.
It started on February 29th 2020. I found a wellness package at a nearby clinic which included some blood work, urinalysis, BMI, waist circumference plus a consultation with a doctor .
My overall body fat percentage is high but more importantly, my visceral fat is well above the ideal range. Visceral fat is the fat around your abdominal internal organs. High visceral fat is linked to chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers.
This is closely related to overall body fat percentage. The nurse took my waist measurements and divided it by my height to get my waist to height ratio. The normal ratio should be 50% or less. Mine was on the higher side of this as well .
My total cholesterol was slightly above the normal range which the doctor highlighted. High cholesterol is linked to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Fasting blood glucose level
My fasting blood glucose level was just at the upper limit of the normal range. The doctor did not point it out but I was concerned by this result. If my value was 0.3 units higher , I would be considered pre-diabetic.
Basal Metabolic Rate
This was what I found most interesting. The doctor told me that my metabolism is really slow . He said that regardless of what I eat,I will gain weight because of how low it is. This took me by surprise but it also put things into perspective .
The Doctor’s Advice
Based on my results, the doctor made some recommendations. He gave me textbook advice: Reduce my intake of fried food and follow the quadrant portions of my meals: 1/4 for carbohydrates, 1/4 for proteins and 1/2 for vegetables.
He also emphasised that I should work out to speed up my metabolism. He just encouraged me to take up something I’d enjoy and do it regularly. He then advised me to return after 3 months for a follow up to check on my progress.
My thoughts after the appointment
Those results were the wake up call I needed because it is easier for me to work with the facts. Now that I know where I am starting from, I can make changes accordingly .
I embraced the beginner’s mindset: Learning everything about fitness and nutrition afresh. I am open to the possibility that what I am currently doing may be wrong so I will learn and adjust as I go.
Additionally, I am being very specific about how I create new habits in general because I want to make lifelong changes. So I now have 3 major criteria before I introduce or eliminate anything from my routine:
1. It must be easy to incorporate into my lifestyle. There should be very few ( or no) excuses for me to get it done.
2. It must be sustainable . I am consciously adopting changes that I can see myself maintaining for years to come.
3. The habit is the goal. This one is probably the most important one for me.
A quick Exercise
I want you to perform this visualization exercise with me. I know it may seem silly but it is working for me so far. Visualize your “healthiest” self. Write down what he/she does and eats on a regular basis. Be as detailed as you’d like to.
Here’s my answer :
- She eats only when she is hungry and stops when she is full.
It sounds simple but it is something I’m working on. Growing up, I was always hardwired to finish what was on my plate. This did not allow me to pay attention to my hunger and satiety cues so I would almost always overeat.
Fit Sharon doesn’t eat just because there is food available or it’s the designated time to eat. She eats because she needs to and she can tell when she is satiated.
- She drinks enough water everyday.
For the past couple of years, I’d drink fruit juice when I am thirsty, instead of water.
Fit Sharon drinks at least 2 litres of water a day.
- She eats nutrient dense food.
I’ve gone weeks eating KFC and/or McDonalds 3-4 times.
Fit Sharon eats and enjoys real whole nutrient-dense food.
- Food is her fuel, not an emotional cushion.
I eat when I’m bored, sad and even happy.
Fit Sharon recognises that food can be an emotional crutch and focuses on working through her feelings before she turns to food for comfort.
- She exercises at least 3 times a week.
I like exercising but I haven’t been consistent with it over an extended period of time.
On the other hand , Fit Sharon, exercises regularly as a part of her routine. She enjoys physical activity and keeps her body moving throughout the week.
- She is flexible.
I have never been flexible. I was never able to do splits or handstands even when I was a kid.
However, Fit Sharon can do that and then some! She has a wide range of motion, great balance and mobility in all her joints.
- She is strong.
I think I’m fairly strong because I can carry my twin,lol.
Fit Sharon is truly strong though, especially in her core. She carries her own weight with ease and maintains adequate muscle mass.
- She has great stamina and endurance.
I cannot walk up a flight of stairs without panting. Furthermore, I genuinely don’t think I could run to save my life ( like from a lion. I’d just play dead and hope for the best)
I’m not sure if Fit Sharon likes running either but she is able to if she must. Her muscles and heart can handle increased durations and intensity of physical activity.
- She challenges herself.
I like my comfort zone.
Fit Sharon knows that there is always room for improvement. She pushes herself to do a little bit more than she thinks she can and is always surprised by how much she can do.
I want current Sharon and Fit Sharon to be the same person.
I already know what Fit Sharon does. Therefore, my goal is already laid out for me: To show up as Fit Sharon as often as I can until it becomes second nature.
Why do I think this approach is better ?
- It’s you vs you.
It’s not about being like someone else. It’s about creating and living as the ideal version of yourself. You must be honest and realistic about what you want and how you see yourself living for the rest of your life. You are your own goal!
- It is habit-driven not results-driven.
Yes, I would like to bring down my overall body fat percentage and increase my muscle mass but these things are a “side-effect” of developing healthy habits, they are not the main aim.
I read somewhere that “you don’t lose weight to get healthy; you get healthy to lose weight” . This is a similar concept .
A habit centred approach will also mean that my goal will remain a moving target . I will always be working towards maintaining my streak of healthy habits. On the other hand, a results driven approach will most likely end in me reverting to my old habits once I achieve my short term targets.
Did you do the visualization exercise? I think it is a method you can use with any area in your life, not just fitness. I challenge you to try it out and feel free to share it in the comments below (or keep it to yourself if you’d prefer to) I hope that it encourages you to develop and maintain great fitness and nutrition habits!
Now back to what I did in March.
Changes I made in March 2020
I started tracking everything on a simple spreadsheet. I write down what I eat everyday and all my workouts .
I started drinking at least 2 litres of water a day and increased my intake of vegetables . I also try to eat my last meal 3 hours before bedtime. My processed food intake has decreased significantly since I am primarily eating home cooked meals.
Jump rope was the exercise I chose because it fits my criteria. Additionally, it’s virtually free, I can do it anywhere plus I consider it a fun way to remain active. I already have a basic jump rope with me so I was good to go!
The goal was to work up towards 25 minute HIIT ( High Intensity Interval Training ) style sessions 3-4 times a week . Since I was a beginner, I started off with 10 minute sessions and gradually increased their duration.
By the end of the month, I had done a total of 15 workouts with the longest one being 23 minutes. Yay! I’ve found that during this time, working out helped a lot with my sanity.
As I’ve been making the changes, I’ve been gathering more information. Mitchelle Adagala is one of my go-to resources. In case you haven’t heard of her, she is a certified personal trainer and she shares a lot of fitness tips.
She has mentioned mistakes many beginners make and I had been doing one of them; doing cardio exclusively . I reached out to her for advice on how to adjust my routine. I mentioned that I also want to improve my mobility and flexibility. She suggested that I switch to 2 HIIT sessions , 2 strength training sessions and 1 mobility session a week . I will be creating a schedule this weekend so that I can incorporate these changes from Monday next week .
With fat loss in mind, a caloric deficit is necessary . However, I honestly do not want to count my calories because it does not fit my habit criteria. I’ve been writing down what I eat so I will focus on portion control . Moreover, I will swap out fruit juice with real fruit . Processed fruit juice provides sneaky empty calories and so this switch might help with cutting them down more effortlessly.
I have also been experimenting with intermittent fasting(IF) on my training days. I read somewhere that fasted cardio is especially beneficial for fat loss plus it quite naturally puts you in a caloric deficit. Now that I’ll be training 4 times a week , I will do IF on those days.
NOW IT’S your turn
Is there anything you’ve been doing when it comes to eating and working out? I’d love to hear from you. It’s also perfectly okay if you aren’t working on any fitness goals. I’d be interested to know what has helped you maintain inner peace during the reign of Ms.Rona.
Thank you so much for reading this post. Make sure to share it with someone you think will benefit from it .
Always remember that your hair is your crown and your body is a temple; embrace it , love it and take care of it .
God bless you all.
Disclaimer : I am not a fitness or nutrition expert. The information given in this post is based on personal experience and research. Please consult a certified professional before making any fitness and dietary changes.