My Plan for Intentional Health Improvements

I’ve been processing through my food issues a lot the past few days, and today I met with my counselor and realized that I have a very weird relationship with food.

It has been drilled into me for so long that dieting is BAD and being anti-diet is the only way. Like, it has been made to be a major moral issue. In the process, my health has been all over the place. My weight is yo-yoing, my energy is low, my digestion is bad, and I just know that I HAVE to create a plan with intention and live it out.

I decided last night that I am just meant to be dairy free. Ever since starting back on dairy, I have had a lot of digestive issues including regular nausea/stomach pain, bloating, and I’ve been mostly constipated (or the opposite… never normal) ever since (sorry if that’s TMI). I have also had little ability to control my eating. It’s a major issue.

Just yesterday I had: a McDonald’s breakfast biscuit sandwich (and hashbrown patty), donuts, chocolate milk, a Venti iced vanilla latte with vanilla cream (all dairy), lasagna, and green beans with butter. I felt so terrible last night. My stomach is all torn up.

Now, that’s not a normal day. I tend to have 2 healthy meals. Then I binge on dessert or other things that should be “sometimes foods.” One day I had like 850 calories in peach dump cake (it was a lot). I have also been eating a LOT of ice cream. These would be fine if I didn’t eat so much and if they didn’t make me feel bad because of the dairy, but they are not beneficial to me!

I also received the results of my blood work today. There are 3 things that stand out: My total cholesterol and LDL are still high, even though I have been taking meds for it for like 9 years. My HDL is too low. My B12 and Vitamin D are lower than they should be. They are “with-in range,” but on the lower side of the range. The Vitamin D and B12 will be easy fixes and maybe I will stop feeling so exhausted all the time.

My cholesterol has been high for a long time. And I’ve been on meds for the majority of that time with little change. I’ve been researching and learning about my food and movement needs as someone with high cholesterol, and I think I need to make changes there as well.

My Food Plan

  1. Most importantly, no dairy. This will help with my cholesterol as well.
  2. Reduce saturated fat (this is in a lot of things that I eat, specifically coconut products… going dairy free will help a lot because I won’t have butter, cheese, full fat dairy, etc).
  3. Increase fiber. More whole grains, legumes, veggies, and fruits.
  4. Increase lean protein. This helps in so many ways; specifically it will help me to feel fuller longer and not reach for “junk food” all the time. This is more of a challenge for me. I have been tracking my food for several weeks and I’m always way low on protein.
  5. Increase healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds.
  6. Reduce sugar. I think this will naturally happen since I’m no longer having dairy. Ice cream and desserts will be reduced significantly. The main thing that will stick around is my coffee (I have been using dairy free creamer all along). This is a non-negotiable.

This will all be a process. I have some really great healthy habits happening, but I have been crowding out those healthy habits with very unhealthy ones. I need to switch it so that my healthy habits crowd out the unhealthy habits.

I talked with my counselor about my plan and she is so supportive and thinks I’m on the right track. She agrees that getting my cholesterol under control is very important, especially since my Pawpaw died of a massive heart attack in his 60s. She reminds me that doing things with intention is the most important. And making a plan and just doing it and not let it sit in my head is SUPER important as well. I have a history of planning something then never doing it because I get stuck in my head.

With my movement habit lately, I think about it and just get up and do it instead of leaving it in my head. The longer I sit on it, the less likely I will actually do it.

This is the Mediterranean diet pyramid and this is kind of what I’m going for. This diet is commonly used to decrease LDL and increase HDL (along with regular movement).

My Movement Plan

  1. Pick a movement plan with-in My Fitness Pal (right now I’m doing a bodyweight exercise plan)
  2. Walk/jog or hike

I will be doing something every day, even if it’s little. It helps me to truly develop a routine when I do that. In a little while I’m going to do some yoga to stretch it out (I’m sore from my workout the other day), then I’m going to do a bodyweight workout. I’m intentionally telling myself to do this as soon as I finish this post!

My Goals

  1. Reduce cholesterol (lower LDL and total and increase HDL)
  2. Lose weight (20 pounds or so by the end of the year)
  3. Feel better/have more energy
  4. Have better digestion
  5. Create healthy habits and routines that I can continue into the school year
  6. Run 5ks again (I have one scheduled on September 4th- it’s virtual!)

Things I have been doing well

I started tracking my food several weeks ago and started a movement habit as well. I have tracked my food every single day but one. I have been focusing on water intake (I drink mostly water). I haven’t had a soda in over a month. I have moved my body more consistently than I have in YEARS. I’m not where I want to be with that yet, but I’ll get there. I eat some really healthy meals.

The other stuff is a work in progress and will improve in time. It helps to have goals and a plan. Now I can move forward.

I truly feel more at peace with food than I have in a long time. And I feel hopeful. I haven’t felt hopeful about food in over a year. I know that I can do this! I mean, I’ve already started. I just need to add a few more things.

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