People much wiser than myself recommend picking a word for each year. After the dumpster fire of 2020, I decided the word I needed for 2021 was HEALTH. I even wrote it across the top of our wall sized, yearly planner in big, block letters.
At the start of COVID, I stress-lost weight, then immediately gained back more than double. Going into 2021, I was determined to fit back into my clothes again (it’s frightening how living in one pair of yoga pants (or scrubs) lends itself to not realizing you can’t fit into the rest of your wardrobe!).
Here’s the list of things that helped me finally lose weight by the end of 2021. I hope you can find some helpful tips in case, like me, you’d prefer to start using the rest of your wardrobe again:
(Before we proceed, please be aware there can be Amazon affiliate links in this blog, which although will not cost you any extra, could bring in a small commission to help support this blog. Also, you’re advised to see your personal physician for a check up if you have any health issues or are trying to lose weight.)
Our health results from our daily habits, not what we do on vacation or occasionally on the weekend. I read a bunch of books on habits. Atomic Habits also ranks up there as one of the best habit books I’ve ever read, along with How to Change and Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before.
And lastly, one of the pharmacy students I taught at work introduced me to the Clever Fox line of products. I love how this planner has a spot in their weekly layout to track the habits of your choice. If you want to go hardcore, you could start using a habit tracker.
Overall, I took a deep dive into learning about habits because I wanted to change what kinds of food I ate and how much I exercised. I go into more detail below about tracking my nutrition and Bullet Journaling (#BuJo).
I also used BuJo to track my exercise: yoga, weight lifting, biking, and running. I rarely tracked my daily steps—unless it was a forty-mile week, which occasionally happens while working in the hospital.
Having my exercise already written down and scheduled into my planners really upped my exercise game. I started using planners in the summer of 2019 to schedule time to write a book for you all. Although I loved Brandon Burchard’s High Performance planners, they worked me so hard that they drove me into the ground.
Next, I tried a planner for writers, but it was too customized for the author who’d developed it. I moved on to Bullet Journaling, which I loved. But it grew to be too much work. I took a chance on the pricey Hero’s Journal, which I ended up adoring. I used a page from an A5 Journal, which I organized like a bullet journal weekly spread. I slipped it inside the Hero’s Journal as a guide when I managed my daily list.
If you’re thinking about adopting a planner system, learn how to Bullet Journal first, as the tips and tricks from that system translate well to other planners. You can start learning by watching some of Rachel Stephen’s videos on YouTube.
Really focusing on my nutrition helped me stopped inhaling the chocolate butter cookies, dark chocolate almonds, and Cheezit’s I was comfort eating through the stress of Covid. 😉
I not only used my Hero’s Journal as a planner, but I started logging my food in it as well. I also listed my eating start and stop times to help me stay on track for at least a twelve, but preferably a fifteen, hour fast overnight. Eventually, my accountability partner turned me on to Clever Fox’s Food Log, which is totally amazing.
I am blessed to have a world-class triathlete as a friend. She’s got nutrition down. I picked her brain around the time she started working with Juli Keene, a nutritional isn’t specializing in working with athletes. I started following Juli Keene’s advice on Instagram. And based on my friend’s learning from her, I also switched my post-run electrolyte replacement.
I kept coming across this one book that was cited as changing people’s lives, so I had to read it. This seismic book was The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. After getting through the rather thick book, I took Jack’s advice about getting an accountability partner. This works well for me since I’m an OBLIGER-UPHOLDER. We do weekly check-in’s on our monthly personal and writing goals, as well as weekly and monthly exercise. We’ve also done daily check-ins on nutrition as needed.
ALLEN CARR and Cutting Down on CARBS:
Allen Carr is best known for helping smokers quit smoking without using willpower. I first heard about this deceased British author through Atomic Habits. Carr’s books have sold over fifteen million books, so there must be something helpful about his unorthodox methods.
Allen Carr’s Easyway’s method reportedly doesn’t need willpower to cut down or cut bad stuff out. I badly needed to cut down on simple carbs, so I read his book for that.
It’s true. You don’t need willpower to cut down or quit putting unhealthy substances into your body.
If you read any of his books, though, don’t blame me if you walk away with radically changed thinking. 😉
I Increased my Treadmill Desk Use:
An author once ridiculed me in front of a workshop class for using a treadmill desk. Years later, she mass emailed the class and publicly apologized, saying she too had started using a treadmill desk. The results were amazing for her writing productivity.
There’s just something about strolling that helps you focus better when it comes to writing. If you decide to adopt this habit, be careful to avoid the all-in-one walking treadmill desk as it’s ergonomically incorrect. I use two pieces along with a stand and a wrist pad to avoid injury. With my treadmill desk, I can usually add in at least a mile and a half extra of movement daily, sometimes two.
Also, sorry for the frugal readers out there, but you should not use a regular treadmill. Its motor isn’t built for the long uses of the low-speed setting required for desk use. If you use it as such, the engine will burn out.
I Read a Ton of Books
Nonfiction books contain life wisdom from some of the most extraordinary people who’ve ever lived, so I knew I could turn to reading to help solve my weight gain issue. For a list of the ones that I found helpful, check out this blog post.
I started training myself using this book. However, I must state a caution. I was only able to coach myself easily because years ago, I invested in a running coach to help prepare me for the physical stamina required to complete El Camino de Santiago. Someone who doesn’t have prior experience with a coach could probably do the program if they did some additional study and asked questions of other, more seasoned runners.
Last but certainly not least—Mental Health:
During the pandemic, we did a lot of work in our family to promote good mental hygiene and healthy coping mechanisms. Our boys basically became triathletes—so, so proud of them! And DH and I slowly started doing daily meditation practices, which helped tremendously decrease our stress levels. I’m noticeably calmer on the days I meditate for at least ten minutes—and my stress eating basically goes away. 😉
What about you? Did you have any health struggles during the pandemic? Are there any useful tips and tricks you would feel comfortable sharing with the other readers in the comments?