I've dubbed Summer 2014 as Operation Get-It-Together, and by it, I mean, my health. I've been wanting to make some changes in my diet and exercise routines for years now, but as we all know, "wanting" and actually "doing" are two very different things. I think it's been a combination of factors this year which really prompted me to finally take action.
First, in February, Mom had a health scare. Thankfully, it turned out that she was fine, but she did meet with a cardiologist who put her on the South Beach Diet. She has since lost over 30 pounds and looks & feels awesome! She's definitely inspired me to change my diet and make healthier nutrition choices (more details on that to come).
The next factor that brought about these changes was my most recent relationship/break-up. I know that many of you reading this may be thinking, "I didn't know she was dating anyone," which is because until I'm really sure about someone, I'm not going to bring him around or tell many people about him. This relationship was fun while it lasted, and I learned a few things about myself as a result of it ending; one being that I really do want to be in a relationship (something I haven't always been sure about in the past), and another is that I need to hold myself to the same standards to which I hold the type of man I want to attract.
The final factor that has prompted my life changes, is the fact that my little sister is going to walk down the aisle in less than 4 months. Bottom line: I want to look & feel fabulous as I deliver my maid-of-honor-speech.
So, as part of Operation Get-It-Together, I decided to set short goals for nutrition and fitness. My first goal was to complete the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. I've had this exercise DVD for years and have never completed more than 2 days in a row. Yet, here I am on day 17 (I started this post on Tuesday night and finished it later on Wednesday evening), more than halfway to my goal of 30 consecutive days. It is an awesome workout, and by "awesome" I mean it kills me. But I can tell that my fitness level has improved vastly, seeing as how the warm-up used to leave me winded, and I couldn't even do a push-up on my knees when I started. On the days when I really just don't want to do it, I think about that bridesmaid dress hanging up in my room, and I suck it up. To make it more enjoyable, I mute Ms. Michaels, and play my own motivational music (Turn Down for What, y'all). Upon completing the 30 Day Shred, I plan to continue working out daily for the next 30, but will add in Zumba & yoga.
The nutritional goals that I made for this month have included no soft drinks, no fast food, no white flour, no potatoes, and no sweets (in other words, none of the crap I've been eating for far too long). My diet has consisted of lean meats, whole wheat breads, low-fat cheeses, fruits (low in sugar), and water, water, water. With a palate as picky as mine (I don't do salads), I'm surprised at how easy this way of eating has really been. Then again, when I really want something, I make it happen.
One of the things I've enjoyed making for breakfast is a berry smoothie:
1 handful of spinach (you won't taste it)
1/2 cup of frozen berries (I've used a mix of blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries-if you choose to use fresh fruit instead, add a handful of ice cubes)
2 large spoonfuls of greek yogurt (I like Yoplait 100, vanilla flavor)
1 pinch of cinnamon
1 cup of skim milk
Blend & enjoy!
For lunch, I've had whole wheat english muffin pizzas (with turkey pepperoni), as well as chicken salad with pita chips:
2-3 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1 handful of grapes, cut in fourths
3/4 cup of mayonnaise (give or take based on your preference)
1 pinch of salt & pepper
Optional: I added a handful of finely chopped spinach as well.
Stir & enjoy!
For dinner, I've made turkey burgers, as well as oven "fried" chicken:
2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken tenders
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped almonds
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 pinch of black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir all ingredients together. Dip each piece of chicken in extra virgin olive oil, then in bread crumb mixture. Bake for approximately 25 minutes. Yum!
When my first 30 days are up, I plan to continue to eat this way, with the exception of special occasions. I will continue to refrain from soft drinks, fast food, and refined sugars. If you have any healthy recipes you'd like to share, please put them in the comments section!
Throughout this process of change, I'm not weighing myself because I'm not really concerned with reaching a certain number. Getting it together is just all about feeling better. By writing this post, I'm holding myself accountable, and hopefully helping out any readers who want to make healthy life changes too. I'll be sure to keep you posted on my progress, and I hope that you do the same.
Let's get it together, y'all!