Okay let me say right off the bat, this is a scary thing to publish. I am staring at the finish line of my second decade of life, and am not feeling that great about where I’m at physically. I’ve been able to maintain approximately my same weight/shape since college, for basically 10 years. But time and a love of food catches up to you.
For the holidays, we have a wicked awesome Christmas cruise planned. This is something I’ve dreamed of for years, and I couldn’t be more excited. I love cruises SO much, they are the best bang for your vacation buck in my opinion, but that’s for another post.
The point of this is that in less than 7 weeks I will be in the warm Caribbean, on my 30th birthday, and I want to look damn good. See photo above for my plans that day.
Therefore, as a Type A person, the first thing I did was make some lists, and research. Research like I’ve never researched before. I am already a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, and have had training on literally dozens of different diets. I have been interested in food and nutrition for nearly a decade, and have read exhaustively on diets, macros, calories, and more.
What follows is my Plan, of what to eat and how much to move, for the next 7 weeks, to get into tip top shape. This is a plan that I think will work for me as a relatively young, healthy woman who lives a very sedentary life and normally consumes ~1800 calories per day. This is also a fairly temporary plan of extreme restriction, which will revert back to maintenance post-vacation, and forever after I hope.
Starting weight: 156
Of course, health is about far more than a number on a scale. And don’t get me wrong, I love myself the way that I am. But I know I can do better, and I also want to see if I can follow this through to the end. I know weight is not a great measure of health at all; the main way I will really track progress is how my clothes fit and how I feel. But that is a hard thing to measure and report on.
Goal weight: 135
This will be a drastic lifestyle change, especially in the exercise arena. When I think back over my recent evenings, what usually happens is I get home from work between 5:30-6, start dinner, we eat 15-30 minutes later, and then watch TV for 30-90 minutes. Or hubs is playing games with friends while I read on my kindle. At least if it is nice outside, we usually fit in a walk before or after dinner.
By having quick, easy, already cooked meals for myself around, I won’t have to spend much time at all on food. And by sacrificing a half hour to an hour of time spent reading or watching TV, I am making an investment in myself and my health. Breakfasts will also be much quicker, so I can use morning time to complete the yoga or walk portion of the day, or do a workout video.
I am lucky to have an extremely supportive hubs who is behind me all the way no matter what I choose to do. It also helps that he is able and willing to feed himself for the next 2 months. Sure that means burritos basically every day but there are worse things he could eat.
He also will (hopefully) help keep me motivated when it gets hard, because I know it will. I’m not someone who likes eating the same thing every day or week (clearly), so this will be a struggle. I’m also a lazy bones who could literally read for 10 hours straight and not move. Introvert inertia, amiright?
I do not have any exercise equipment in my house other than 3 pound weights and a yoga mat. I do not plan on buying any, nor do I plan to spend money on a gym membership. I’ve learned things about myself over the years, and most importantly is that those things are a waste of money. I will go once or twice, and then never again. Therefore I am focusing on body weight exercises I can do in the comfort of my home whenever I please.
Week 1-2 (Nov 3 – 16):
- Daily – 20-30 minutes of yoga, 15-30 minute walk
- MWF (or 3x/week) – body weight workout video or run
Week 3-4 (Nov 17 – 30):
- Daily – 20-30 minutes of yoga, 20-30 minute walk
- MWFSat (or 4x/week) – body weight workout video or run
Week 5-7 (Dec 1 – 22):
- Daily – 30-45 minutes of yoga, 30-45 minute walk
- 6 days/week – body weight workout video or run
Over time as your body acclimates to a new workout routine, it is easy to hit a plateau. Those moves that used to be a challenge are quite boring now, or that number of reps you couldn’t get past is far in the rear view mirror. This is partially exciting because, hell, when you can’t even manage 10 full push-ups, the idea that you can now do 25 without even breathing heavy is pretty magical.
However, this also usually means a weight loss plateau.
That’s the opposite of what I’m aiming for, I want at least steady if not accelerating weight loss. Therefore, to avoid a plateau, I’m going to gradually increase the duration and intensity of my workouts every other week. This means I will keep challenging my body as it gets stronger and stronger.
- 3-5 meals per day, for a total of ~1000-1200 calories
- Very limited carbohydrates
- Daily green drink + vitamins
- One cheat meal or snack/weekday, one per weekend
- Only snacks allowed are green tea, raw whole fruits, raw veggies (RV) or steamed veggies (SV)
- Unlimited salad greens or raw non-starchy veggies
- 2 hard boiled eggs + fruit
- 1 egg scrambled + 1/2 cup SV
- Protein smoothie
- Tofu scramble + SV
- 1/2 cup oats + 1/4 cup milk + fruit
- 1/2 cup quinoa + 1/4 cup milk + fruit
- Yogurt + fruit
- 2-3 oz chicken breast over 2 cups of greens +RV
- 2-3 oz chicken breast + 1/2 sweet potato + SV
- 2-3 oz shrimp over 2 cups greens + RV
- 2-3 oz shrimp over 1/4 cup rice/quinoa + SV
- 2-3 oz tofu over 1/4 cup rice/quinoa + SV
- 2-3 oz tofu in miso soup with cabbage/onion
- 1/2 cup beans + 1/4 cup rice/quinoa + SV
- 1/2 cup beans + 1/2 sweet potato + SV
- 2-3 oz salmon over 1/4 cup rice/quinoa + SV
- 2-3 oz salmon breast over 2 cups of greens +RV
- 2-3 oz salmon in lettuce cups + RV
- 1 cup vegan chili or curry + 1/4 c rice/quinoa
- 1 1/2 cup vegetable soup
This plan is mostly just an even leaner & cleaner version of how I eat day to day. The biggest changes are a big decrease in the amount of carbs I plan to eat, and I will be using actual measuring cups and a food scale to reign in portion sizes.
We are terrible at estimating portion sizes and calorie counts are (usually inaccurate) averages, so I’m taking out the guesswork. This plan will hopefully re-set my mind so that when this is over and it is back to maintenance, I’m better at estimating amounts again.
There will be significant challenges, i.e. holiday temptations. I’m sure especially at work, I will be exposed to cookies, treats, and other items not in the plan on a regular basis. Plus I have guests visiting soon, a house party in a week, and America’s biggest reason to gorge all year (Thanksgiving) is just around the corner.
My plan for dealing with temptations/falling off the wagon?
- Remind myself of why I’m doing this
- Ask which I’d regret more tomorrow: eating it, or not
- Having healthy snacks/meals available at all times
- Asking hubs & close friends for help when needed
- Keeping lots of water around at all times to stay hydrated
- Self-love & forgiveness; I want progress, not perfection
- If I don’t follow the plan for a day, forgive and try again
They say the best way to follow through on goals is to have accountability, and a system. My wonderful hubs is part of the accountability plan, this article is another. Putting all this out there in the interwebs is terrifying, but I want to make this real.
So, readers, feel free to cheer me on or give helpful advice, and connect with me on Twitter. Here’s to health & sticking with it!
For information and inspiration, check out the articles below. A big shout out to Mrs. Frugal Asian Finance, whose articles gave me the inspiration and kick in the pants to put together a real actual plan instead of just complaining about how my pants felt tighter.
Obligatory disclaimer: I am not a paid health professional; none of this constitutes medical advice. This plan was created by myself, for myself only. Please do not try any drastic dietary or exercise changes prior to consulting a physician, and do not assume any other person’s plan will give you the same or any results at all.
Also, some links are Amazon Associate links, which if you click on them and then purchase the item, it generates a small commission for the blog’s upkeep at no cost to you.