A New Year

LoadedSpinachSalad

New Year’s Eve has come and gone. It’s now 2016. For many people, that means turning over a new leaf. This is a time to reassess where you are in life and what you’re doing, as well as make changes to improve yourself or your situation. Some people are capable of doing this year-round, but many of us need the reminder that time is passing to get our lives back on track.

I’m the type of person who requires some sort of deadline in order to make major changes, so a new year holds a lot of significance for me. This year, I want to start focusing more on my health. Since I found out that I was pregnant, my life has been all about RT and her environment. I did take care of myself during the pregnancy, but that was about her, not me. After she was born, I picked back up some of my less-desirable habits, as well as some new ones that weren’t great for me. I started smoking again, and my diet became horrendous.

I realize that I need to set a good example for RT. If she grows up in a home where mac & cheese is dinner every night, she’ll come to think of that as normal, and carry that on through her life. Therefore, my first major change is making more home cooked meals. So far, I’m doing really well with this. I take one or two days a week and make large amounts of something that lasts well in the refrigerator, and simply warm up the leftovers when I’m feeling peckish. While I’m cooking, I either have my husband watch the little one, or I’ll stick her in her high chair in the kitchen and put on some music to entertain her. I’m also thinking about picking up a crock pot, as a lot of people I know with busy schedules swear by them.

In order to keep myself inspired to make wholesome meals, I’ve started a board on Pinterest. Almost daily, I browse through recipes that I can add to my repertoire. I’ve found so many amazing foods, and I’m slowly getting around to trying them all, one by one. My grocery list is a lot longer every week, because I need to stock up on ingredients. Even though I’m still eating the same amount, my fridge is much fuller than it used to be. When your meals don’t fit in a single small box, that’s what happens, I guess.

This feeds right into my next goal – I need to lose weight. I talked about this last week. I’m not at a healthy point right now. I should be 60-80 pounds less than what I am. I’ve been able to lose weight in the past just by altering my habits, like not eating out of boredom, so I know I can do it again. Simple changes like getting back into my everyday yoga routine, and not eating chocolate every time I walk past the candy bowl are going to make a huge difference in the long run. Crash and fad diets are not sustainable. I’m looking to adapt to a new lifestyle that I can continue with long-term, and thereby keep myself in a healthy place. I want to have more children in the future, but I don’t want to find myself in this position again.

By keeping track of what I’m eating and being rigorous about daily exercise (using MyFitnessPal), I’ve already managed to lose a few pounds of my excess weight. I just need to continue that trend. Losing weight doesn’t mean I can’t have things like chocolate and cookies. It just means that I need to be careful about the amounts that I’m consuming, and balance it out with higher activity levels. Between cooking more of my own food and tracking my intake, I’ve already managed to improve my nutrition. I now know what I’m getting in terms of vitamins and minerals. I know how much fat, protein, and carbs are in every meal. Because of this, I feel like I have more energy throughout the day.

Finally, no more smoking. There are other, better ways to relieve stress. I won’t lie, quitting is really hard, but in the end, it will be worth it. My husband and I calculated that we were spending about $500 a month on cigarettes. We’re now putting that money toward house renovations, like finishing our basement. We’ve been talking about doing that since we moved in, but now we have a budget and a plan to actually get it underway. We’re really excited about it. He’ll have his man cave, and I’ll have a new studio space. That will free up our third bedroom. I’m also going to re-do the laundry area down in the basement, so I’ll have space to fold and sort clean clothes, rather than having laundry baskets all over the living room floor.

The most difficult aspect of lifestyle changes is maintaining motivation. I just have to think of RT and what she sees when she looks at her mother. I want to be someone who inspires her. I also want to be in a place where I am capable of having more children without adding unnecessary health risks. With RT, I dealt with Gestational Diabetes that was bad enough to require insulin. I don’t want to go through that again. As long as I keep my eye on my goals, and change my habits gradually rather than drastically, I know this is something I can keep up.

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