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Lifestyle Challenge Week 3: What I learned

We have not quite completed this week’s Lifestyle Challenge, but I thought I would share a few key things I learned. Building off of last week’s discovery that the point system was irrelevant to me, I stopped keeping points. I also discovered I could not focus on 5 different categories, so I decided to chunk things together in a way that made sense to me. Remember, I am a questioner, and will only follow rules that make sense to me-after I have asked a million questions to justify that following the rules is even worth it!

Nutrition- I realized last week I was not eating enough, and I was subconsciously trying to make up calories by eating empty calories, which did nothing for my body except make me feel hungry, all the time. This week I decided to use Myfitnesspal beginning on Saturday, to simply log what I was eating. After 2 days I decided to go to the grocery store and stock my cupboards and refrigerator with protein and vegetables to get me through the next 5 days. My nutrition goal helped with my Lifestyle Challenge goal of eating homemade food and preparing meals ahead of time.

By the end of Thursday, my macro tracking showed I was eating equal amounts of fat, carbs and protein (a huge improvement form the weekend), I was not hungry during the day, and I do not like chicken and rice as much as I thought I did. (But pre cooking sweet potatoes was brilliant!). I also remembered why I began to add a protein drink to my daily fueling. After 6 days of tracking I was still only eating around 1600 calories-not enough when you add running and conditioning work into the week.

Sleep was not an issue, whether I used my device before bed or not, leading me to conclude nutrition might be the key. I also managed to contract a nasty respiratory virus that came and went inside of 5 days. I attribute the quick turnaround to paying attention to my diet, and rest.

So by focusing on one area-Nutrition- I was able to accomplish my nutrition, sleep, training, and lifestyle goals for the week.

Mobility- I gave up on the daily mobility videos after checking them out each day mostly because I prefer to focus on the body parts that need mobility work, when I need to. For example, my left shoulder continues to need range of motion work, my hamstrings are a little tight the day after squat day, and my left wrist has been a little tweaky. Rather than spend time rolling my hip flexors or standing against a wall, I  am doing the work I need to do. I have been playing around a little bit with voodoo wrap, but that is still something that is difficult for me to do on my own. Practice makes better.

Hydration- While I was sick I was super focused on hydration, but once I went back to work it was more difficult. I also hydrate plenty on days I work out hard. But during the day if I don’t go the gym or run, I find myself choosing coffee over water. So I guess hydration will be my focus for next week…

Training- The big lesson I learned this week is that I really do need a focus to stay motivated and disciplined. Continuously training for half marathons may or may not have been good, but it gave me a focus each week. With a 3 or 4 day a week running plan, I had to schedule my runs, my workouts, my food, and my rest. It was a great way to stay focused in the other areas of my life as well. Without a running focus, I have really had no focus. I am not saying having no focus has made me forgetful and absentminded (I have lost no less than a half dozen things since Christmas)but I am ready to have a focus again-and I miss running. I essentially need to start over and run every day to get beyond the mental block that comes with moving for more than 30 minutes at a time. Today is day 3. I am not focusing on speed or mileage, but on time, so that by the end of next week I will be running 45-50 minutes again. The thought of that seems daunting, but that used to be part of my weekly routine for 2 1/2 years and it served me well. I can only imagine my improved mobility and strength will make me a better, more efficient runner.

So those are my big aha moments this week! I am super psyched about my nutrition, and getting back to running. Here’s to the end of January and one more Lifestyle Challenge Week.

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