I’ve listed out how I wanted to approach my health and well-being and in what areas:
- Self Care
- Hair, skin, teeth
- Doctor’s appointments
- Macronutrient tracking
I’ll begin with Fitness first. For those of you who follow me on Instagram (I seem to say that line in a lot of my posts, but it’s really the only other social media outlet I’m active on), I’ve been on an almost year-long fitness and fat loss journey (which you can read about the start of here and here). On 6/1/16, at 161.5 lbs I was tired of making the same decision to lose the same 20 lbs for the last 5-7 years. Here is a ‘before’ photo which was taken around 3 years ago when I was around 165 lbs, which was close enough:
Although I carried it well, photos don’t lie. And I began to loathe having my photo taken because it showed a completely different person than I saw in the mirror. I was tired of feeling pinched in whatever clothes I had left in my closet that fit and knew that the longer I waited, the older I would get and the harder it would become. And the last thing I wanted to do was wind up gaining more over time. I don’t know what it was about this time being ‘it’. I think what hit me the most was that it was the day before my 54th birthday and realized that I was of the age where hereditary diabetes made it’s way into the lives of my parents and sister. I didn’t want to be the 4th family member. With hub suffering from osteo-degenerative arthritis (for which there is no cure and will only get worse) and other medical issues, it was more important than ever to get and keep my body strong, symptom-free and in the best shape I could mold it into.
Flash forward to my most recent progress photos taken just this morning:
Current weight in these photos is around 133-134 (as of my last weigh in on first of the month) – down 28 lbs total. I could very well be down more fat and have gained muscle along the way so that loss is most likely a net effect – which is perfectly fine. I still have some stubborn abdominal fat to get rid of as well as shaping my arms, legs and rear end so I’m working towards losing another 5-7 lbs of fat and gain about 3-5 lbs of muscle. It has been a very slow process. Some people drop in a month what’s taken me 10 months to lose. But I’m fine with that. The slower it takes the better chances I have of it staying off.
I’ve been doing this two ways. First, by tracking my daily caloric intake and the macronutrients which make it up (which you can read more about in the link above) with the Fat Secret app (having recently switched from tracking manually) I had originally shunned tracking on my phone as I thought I’d be a slave to it, but it has not only proven me wrong, but I get a much better picture of what I’ve taken in, what I’ve got left and my macro ratios:
Second is a consistent workout schedule of 20 minute HIIT cardio workouts 2-3 a.m.s a week and weight training 4x/week. No magic formula or commercial diet. Just real food in measured portions and determination. I’ve recently been ‘reverse dieting’ – s-l-o-w-l-y adding calories on a weekly basis so that my metabolism can adjust to either maintain or lose at a higher intake. I’m currently taking in 1,900 per day and have since lowered to 1,800 – 1,850 to ‘cut’ a bit.
Okay, enough on the weight-loss front and onto Self Care. I’ll be ((GASP)) 55 next month ((and eligible to live in a 55-and-over community!!! – DOUBLE GASP!!)) I’m not a young chicken anymore (though I don’t think I look half bad 🙂 ) and any neglect from my younger years is catching up. Yes, all those summers spent lying on the beach for hours covered in oil – that is, until I wisened up in my early 30’s and stopped tanning altogether. My northern Italian skin never tanned well in the first place (and ALWAYS burned first). The results of that have popped up here and there – sun spots, freckles, etc. Since turning 50, I have made an appointment every summer with my dermatologist for a complete skin cancer check. Other than a basal cell carcinoma I had on the edge of my nose in 2015 (which I had to have treated) I’ve been clear. My facial and body skin is in pretty good shape with little surface damage. I’m glad I stopped excessive sun exposure when I did else I think it may have been worse. I keep several tubes of Jergen’s Glow that I use throughout the summer for color, do self-checks, wear SPF 30+ when I work outside and do both a morning and evening skin care regime for my face, eyes, neck and chest as well as using a cocoa butter balm on my body. Once a month I get a professional pedi (summer only ) and mani to keep my hands and tootsies cared for (after taking the winter off and giving my nails a break from the acrylic powder) and can stretch out every 3 months with my hair color and highlight appointments. Still being as frugal as possible!
In addition to the skin-cancer check, every year I have a complete physical, blood work (especially to check for sugar), eye/dental exams and (ouchie) mammogram. And ladies, I cannot stress the importance of the latter once you’ve turned 40 – even if there isn’t a risk of (breast) cancer in your family.
I know we can sometimes go overboard with our care – trying this and that. This is where mindfulness comes into play. I want to take the best care possible of myself without having to spend time and money on procedures (though one of my bookkeeping client’s is a spa who gives me a facial gift certificate for Christmas!), products or the latest fad to get rid of this or to melt away that. Good ol’ fashioned eating habits, exercise and even products (Vaseline on my lips, baby oil to remove eye makeup) work just as good as any high-end department store brand (though I do swear by Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter on my cuticles).
I also keep my makeup very simple and haven’t bought any new products in a while. If there are two items I cannot live without its blush and a lip pencil. But to round out a look that won’t frighten others in public 🙂 I start with a mineral powder foundation (used very sparingly as it can get caked in those pesky fine lines!), plum shadow, eye liner and a clear rose lip gloss. I rarely wear mascara (especially if I emphasize my eyeliner by smudging shadow over it – which also ‘sets’ it) because I’m sometimes lax with taking it off properly and usually wind up pulling it off!
I’ve learned that by taking care of myself on the inside will yield results on the outside. Lots of water, vitamins & supplements, smart food choices and working up a good hard sweat has really shown in my skin, hair and nails. I’ve even noticed that my eyelashes have thickened a bit! Go figure! Maybe because I’m not pulling mascara off them anymore – lol!
All I know is that it’s never too late to start, but that every day that goes by where you don’t is a day lost that could’ve been gained. How I wished I had started all this 5 years ago, but I’m absolutely thankful not to have found myself in a doctor’s office being told, “Elena, you need to _______, or else” I know I cannot escape the natural effects of age, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be pro-active to look and feel my best for as long as God gives me on this earth.
Till next time,