my personal wellness journey
Health,  Personal

My Personal Wellness Journey, Embracing Intensity Without Apology | Day 1 of 90

My best thinking happens on my runs. This is where I solve life.

And what I realized on this morning’s run is that there are a lot of areas where I desire improvement. Things that I want more of in my life but don’t do or things that I already do well but want to take to the next level.

I’m an intense person. When I want something, I’m all in and make it happen.

The Beginning

Cassey Ho from Blogilates announced last week that she’s embarking on a 90-day journey to reach some personal health and fitness related goals.

This journey is spawned as a result of feeling like she had to censor herself on her blog and social media. She felt like her ambition and intensity would step on toes and offend people. That people wouldn’t be on board with her unfiltered thoughts.

Today I woke up and decided that I needed to take back the life that I want to live. This is a personal journey I want to embark on to get in the best shape of my life — mentally and physically.

Cassey Ho

And personally (although I’m not sure if she’ll ever read this!), I’m super proud of her for taking back her power, discarding the judgement of others, and standing up for her own health. Girl, never water down your message if your message is the truth. Science and truth come first.

She has inspired me to start my own 90-day journey! Like Cassey, I tend to tone down the intensity because of other’s expectations. I worry that you won’t want to listen to me because I demand excellence, don’t cut corners, and I don’t settle. And I don’t want you settle either.

So today? Today is my day 1 of 90.

Intensity Without Apology

That’s not the way I want to run my life or business — thinking about what others think, real or imagined. To me, health is a non-negotiable, and if there’s something that I should be doing differently to max my wellness and quality of life, I’m going to do it. And I’m not going to sugarcoat my message because you or anyone else might not like it.

I expect what I put into my body to be high quality and of service to me and my wellness. I expect my workouts and sleep to build me up and make me a better human. And I expect my environment to be clean and free of toxins or harm. My mission is to learn my body and which inputs will make it work the best and which I need to stay away from. I want to share what I learn with you so that you can live a healthier life, too.

The realities of nutrition, health, and taking care of your body the right way are not always popular. People don’t like to hear that cheat meals are major sabotage and do not belong in a healthy diet. People don’t like to hear that fixing healthy food requires cooking every day. And people don’t like to hear that there’s no quick fix to problems they have spent decades causing in their bodies. It requires putting in the work.

I must not tell lies.

People think that expecting more from yourself isn’t “body positive“, whatever the heck that means. In my book, the best way you can love yourself is by taking care of yourself. That means eating healthy, exercising, getting good sleep, eliminating stress, and anything else you can do to live better.

Being fat is not healthy. Being stressed is not healthy. And being complacent when you’re not healthy is not okay.

What I’ve realized after a year and a half of blogging is that my message is for the woman who wants to put in the dang work. If you don’t, you’re not going to find what you’re looking for here.

If you’re looking for someone to tell you that being overweight is healthy as long as you love your body, you’re in the wrong place. If you’re looking for someone to tell you that you can eat whatever you want as long as you exercise more, you’re in the wrong place. If you’re looking for someone to tell you that settling for less is okay, you’re in the wrong dang place, girl!

You will never hear those things from me because they are lies.

So what’s with the 90-day journey?

I’m laying out exactly where I am in my mental and physical health journey and where I want to be. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this list, and I know some of these things will take longer than 90 days to achieve. But in 90 days, I can build the habits for the life I want to be living.

My hope is that by being extremely transparent with you over the next 90 days, I can inspire and encourage you to take your health journey into your own hands. To stop making excuses. And to start eating, feeling, and living your best.

Every day, a new blog post will go up as a check in. Some days may be longer than others but at least a little paragraph with notes about the day and my progress.

I’ll be TMI transparent because I believe that health should be an open conversation. Making topics taboo or private isn’t helping anybody. Just look at the obesity epidemic we’re dealing with here in the US.

And I’ll be sharing my metrics because you can only improve what you can measure. Having concrete, measurable goals is the only way to know whether you have reached your goals. I’ve given a good bit of thought over the last couple of days to how I want to structure this, which goals I want to focus on, and which metrics I want to track.

My Toolbox Includes:
  • Renpho scale: I just bought it for $25 on Amazon because I’ve never owned a scale before and didn’t want to spend a lot of money on it. Hopefully it’s a good one. It also measures biometrics besides weight with an electrical signal.
  • Oura Ring: I’ve been using mine since Jan 2019 to track my sleep and activity levels. Love, love, love it!
  • Daysy/Kindara: Since Nov 2018, I’ve been tracking my cycle every day with this thermometer and app. I’ve got a pretty solid baseline in some metrics and am hoping to see some trends emerge!
  • RunKeeper: My fav app to log my runs.
  • Spreadsheets: To keep up with other fitness metrics that I don’t already have a specific app or tool for.

My Goals

Health

I don’t actually have a particular weight or body fat % goal, but I will be tracking these metrics because they are important to giving me a full picture of my health. I’m curious to see what correlation there is between my monthly cycle and any weight fluctuations. Watching my muscle mass change as my exercise game steps up will also be enlightening. I’ll weigh in every morning and evening to see how time of day affects me also!

Nutrition

My nutrition is actually pretty on-point. This is probably my strongest area right now. Food is not an area that I like to compromise because the long-term impact of what I build my body out of is super important to me.

I eat lots of high-quality fat, all organic, and loads of veggies. My protein sources are usually high-quality meat. I limit my carbs, especially grains. No gluten, dairy, or soy. Limited caffeine, particularly after noon. No calorie counting.

No major goals here. Just keep on keeping on!

Fitness

This category took the most consideration. Compared to where I’ve been in the past, I’m actually pretty detrained for my own standards. There are goals I’ve wanted to reach that even at my peak haven’t happened yet. Since 90 days is definitely not long enough to meet some of these goals, I’ve distilled out what I think is reasonable over the next 90 days and goals that really represent important milestones to me in my fitness journey.

  • Splits: To me, being able to do this splits is not only something cool I’ve always wished I could do but also represents having amazing flexibility.
  • Pull-Ups: I want to be able to do one single, un-aided pull up. I’ve never been able to do this.
  • Consistency: 3x runs per week and 5x workouts per week.
  • Handstand: Another cool thing I’ve always wanted to be able to do. But it also represents leveling up in my strength and balance.

These 4 points encompass what I really want in my fitness right now: consistency, flexibility, strength, and balance.

Sleep

My sleep goals are ambitious. I recognize that sleep is critical to attaining my other goals. Sleep is when my body detoxes and rebuilds. In the past, I’ve needed 9-10+ hours to feel rested at best. For my age and health, I really should only need 6.5-7.5 hours of sleep every night to get good rest. I want to really spend some time digging into why I’m not getting restful sleep. This will put hours back in my day and make me feel better overall.

My goal is to get 2 hours of deep sleep and 2 hours of REM sleep each night. That much deep sleep is not abnormal for me, but my REM sleep ranges a LOT. Some nights I only get a few minutes of REM while other nights I get maybe an hour and a half. Weekend mornings and times that I get to sleep in more than usual and really rest, I can get up to 3 hours of REM sleep which indicates that I’m in bad shape. I want to get this under control so that I’m getting consistently good sleep every night, not just Friday night.

I have a few specific starting places in mind to improve my sleep:

>> I have a pair of True Dark blue-blocker glasses that are red. They block out 100% of blue light that can disrupt sleep hormones. I will wear them at least 1 hour before bedtime.

>> I will be more strict with limiting my caffeine after noon. Typically, this comes in the form of chocolate in the evenings. I have no problem drinking decaf coffee or herbal tea later in the day. But, girl, do I looooove chocolate.

>> Bedtime regulation is something I want to play with. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every morning. I’ve found that I get the most REM sleep between 5-9 AM when I get to bed after 10. Since I have to get up at 5 AM in order to have enough time to run before work in the mornings, that means going to bed earlier. It’s not ideal for my natural sleep rhythm, but I’ve got to work with it for now.

>> I want to work out in the mornings because getting sunlight and exercise first thing can actually improve sleep also. And it takes about 5 hours for adrenaline levels to lower after exercise to where your body will go back into rest and digest mode. If I exercise in the evenings, I’ll be within 5 hours of bedtime. Therefore, I’ll be going to bed extra early, waking up early, and exercising in the morning. The data will be my guide!

Personal

My personal goals include mental health and just other things that are important to me that I’ve let slide.

>> Ziva meditation twice a day, not just in the morning. I used to be very good about this, but I’ve let it slide recently.

>> Do foot reflexology every morning with a golf ball. I use the book “Heal Your Body” by Louise Hay along with my reflexology practice.

>> Read at least 1 book per month. Audiobooks count.

>> My man and I have been studying Mandarin on and off using Fluenz. We enjoying studying languages together, but have also let this slide recently. I’m dedicated 10 minutes every evening with him to do a Fluenz lesson. If we get through Mandarin in the next 90 days (doubtful), then we’ll start the Spanish course.

>> Write down my 10 big goals every day. Writing down your goals as if they’re happening now (“I have a beach house” vs “I want a beach house”) triggers something called reticular activation that makes your dreams way more likely to come true. This is a practice that I’ve started recently and want to double down on for sure. If you want a guide for this, I have a free set of journal prompts dedicated to living a more intentional life.

>> And, of course, I’ll be blogging every single day!

So here’s where I’m starting…

Health

All of the metrics that I get from my Renpho scale are recorded in the table. Some of these mean more to me than others, but since I’ve got the data, I’ll use it. For the record, I’m 5’3″.

I’m not planning on taking physical measurements of my body because I’m already very lean and don’t expect to slim down or bulk up much. I can fit into the jeans I wore as a freshman in high school 9 years ago, so I don’t see my waistline changing in the next 90 days. (Please don’t murder me!)

Also, I am on the 18th day of my cycle, probably within a day or 2 pre-ovulation.

Weight (lb)119.4
BMI21.2
Body Fat %15.9%
Fat-Free Body Weight (lb)100.4
Subcutaneous Fat %14.8%
Visceral Fat3
Body Water %57.7%
Skeletal Muscle %49.0%
Muscle Mass (lb)94.4
Bone Mass (lb)6.0
Protein %20.5%
Basal Metabolic Rate (kcal)1353

In case you’re curious about the norms for this kind of stuff (because I had no idea what a “normal” % body fat was before getting my scale)…

% Body FatWomenMen
Essential Fat>13%>5%
Athlete14-20%6-13%
Fitness21-24%14-17%
Average25-31%18-24%
Obese32%+25%+

This puts me in the lower athlete range, which makes sense since my diet choices keep me very lean, and I’ve been an endurance runner for over half my life.

Like I said, I have no goals here. I’m looking to understand my body better in this area. I don’t really have any weight or fat to lose. My challenges are in other areas.

Fitness

This morning, my workout was a 2 mile run (yes, building up VERY slowly after too many injuries and burn outs). This included a good bit of stretching. My running history has been rough, but my big goal is to run the Boston marathon every year, so I’ve got to start the right way this time.

Sleep
Total Sleep Time7 hr 28 min
Time In Bed8 hr 0 min
REM Sleep0 hr 59 min
Deep Sleep1 hr 26 min
Bed Time9:19 PM
Wake Time5:19 AM
Latency14 min
Personal

Morning meditation? Check. Blog post up? Check.

Tomorrow I’ll add in a second meditation, my regular reflexology practice, and 10 minutes of Mandarin.

In review?

Dailies:
  • Weigh in 2x
  • Daysy/Kindara
  • Meditation 2x
  • Red glasses before bedtime
  • Regular bedtime
  • Reflexology
  • Language practice
  • Write my goals down
  • Blog
Weeklies:
  • Run 3x
  • Workout 5x
Monthlies:
  • Read 1 book

Okay, that’s it for tonight! Since it’s Friday I’m already cheating my new 9 PM bedtime a little bit, but I’ve only just gotten the guidelines laid out. I’ll do better tomorrow with sticking to the plan now that I have a plan. I get the feeling an early bedtime isn’t going to be too hard since I’m dead tired right now. Early alarm plus some hard workouts this week!

Off to dreamland. Check in tomorrow as the journey continues! <3

Kate