A Millennial’s Guide to Healthy Living on the Go — Part 2: Variety

MillennialGuide_HealthyLiving

Welcome back to the Millennial’s Guide to Healthy Living on the Go! Did you start planning menus, workout plans or shopping lists? If so, great! If you missed part 1, click here to go back.

Part 2: Variety

Once you’ve been on a plan for a while, you may start to get bored. This is why fad diets often fail — because they expect you to do the same things over and over and over. If you’re looking to make a lifestyle change, it’s important to add some variety in all aspects of your plans to stay on track.

Sick of the same old chicken? Look up some new recipes! There are tons of healthy recipe bloggers out there that can help to spice up your dinner table. And don’t be afraid to experiment on your own, too!

If this is how you feel about what’s on your menu for this evening, it might be time to try something new.

Have fun with it — spend some time finding a delicious healthy recipe and plan to make it on a day where you have some extra time to play around in the kitchen.

Some of my favorite food blogs are Skinny Mom’s Kitchen, SkinnyTaste and Hungry Girl, but Pinterest is also a great way to find new recipes — just be conscious of the ingredients and be sure to keep tracking. You can check out my recipe board if you need some inspiration, but fair warning — not everything in there is healthy lifestyle friendly. Feel free to follow me while you’re at it ;)

You will probably develop a set of “go to” recipes as you get used to your new schedule, but it’s also important to switch it up and try new things once in a while to keep things interesting.

Each week, I almost always have a pasta meal and some type of grilled chicken, but I also try a new recipe every few weeks. If I like it, I add it to my recipe book so I can make it again.

Your workout may also start to get boring if you’ve been on the same schedule too long. You should vary your exercises and intensity so your workouts don’t get too easy for you. You won’t be bored if you’re pushing yourself hard enough.

Try a new workout class or a new machine. Increase the weight or duration of your workout. Vary which days you do which routines. Or try a new program or interval workout you find on the internet. Mix things up and don’t let yourself get in a rut!

Try using machines in a new way. (Warning: Do not attempt: this pup is a professional)

Try using machines in a new way.
(Warning: Do not attempt: this pup is a professional)

However you decide to vary your workout, make sure you’re getting a good mix of both intense cardio workouts and weight training for all your muscles. I usually try to include at least 2 or 3 intense cardio sessions, 1-2 days of ab exercises as well as weight training days for arms and legs.

Also, when you set a new schedule, make sure you aren’t doing the same exercises or machines every day. This will get old much quicker than a routine that is different every day.

Everyone has a different philosophy on what schedule is most effective. Longer cardio. Short intense cardio. Heavy lifting. But there is no magical formula — the key to success is commitment and hard work.

Just pick what works best for you and stick to it. This may take some trial and error. So if you’re not seeing results, increase your intensity and re-evaluate.

Here is an example of my current weekly workout schedule. For my weight training days I do a circuit of the weight machines, but you could try free weights, bands or whatever works best for you. I typically do 3 sets of 12 and increase my weight over time as it becomes too easy to lift.

  • Monday: (PM) Boot Camp class
  • Tuesday: (AM) 20 mins stair climber or treadmill intervals and arm weight training
  • Wednesday: (PM) 30 mins heart rate interval on the ARC Trainer and leg weight training
  • Thursday: (PM) Spin Class
  • Friday:  (AM) 30 mins heart rate interval  on the elliptical and ab exercises

Doing this helps me get to the gym every day, but also ensures that I don’t go too easy on myself. However, I also realize that this schedule must be flexible. I spend a few minutes every Sunday preparing for the week ahead to decide how I can fit my workout in.

For example, if I have an event after work on an evening workout day, I may work out in the morning that day. If my legs are sore, and I’m supposed to lift that day, I do arms instead and move legs to another day.

But I never let myself skip a workout. By specifying the exercises, duration and time of my daily workout, I prevent myself from making excuses to skip something or take an easy day.

When you start to lose motivation and you dread getting up in the morning or dragging yourself to the gym after work — It’s time to switch things up. 

Since I’m in grad school, I make a new schedule before every semester to best fit my class/work schedule. I plan out which days I’m going in the morning, over lunch, or after work, and I stick to it. I use a mix of group classes and individual workouts to keep me interested and accountable to myself. 

How do you vary your workouts and meals? What are some of your favorite recipes and exercise routines? Share below!

I also stumbled across this article today called “Why you’re not losing weight in your 20s” — check it out for some bonus tips!

Losing Control

Yesterday…

I lost control.

I let my anxiety get the best of me like I have so many times before. I let it wrap itself around me and smother me.

Like a chain reaction, one bad event led to another and another until I felt completely helpless and out of control.

Any trigger of stress or anxiety, big or small, can start me on the downward spiral.

Just one cookie. I deserve it.

I really should have eaten that cookie. It wasn’t even that good.I wonder how many weight watchers points that was?

At this point I might search for chocolate chip cookie in the weight watchers system, but then give up when I decide there are two large a range of points values for cookies, and I have no way of knowing how many points it actually was.

I guess I won’t count points today.

God, I’m going to get fat.

But, what’s one day!? I’m going to have another cookie.

I can’t believe I had two cookies already — it’s not even lunch time yet. Maybe I’ll skip lunch.

As I try not to think about food, I don’t realize that I’m chewing on my nails in place of a third cookie.

In 10 minutes, all of my nail polish is in a pile on my desk and some of my nails are so short they hurt.

Is my pinkie bleeding? Gross. 

All of my hard work to grow out my nails — gone in a matter of a few minutes.

This makes me feel worse.

Now I’ve classified today as a “bad day”

Co-Worker: “Want to get lunch?”

Me: “Sure” My day’s already ruined anyway

After lunch I have another cookie or whatever else I can get my hands on. And by the end of the day I’m feeling so lethargic and sad for myself the thought of going to the gym is about as appealing as getting a cavity filled.

And at the rate of my cookie consumption that might be in my future, too.

I make all kinds of jokes about it. But the truth is, at the end of the day like this I feel… well, awful.

I feel out of control. I feel fat. I feel unattractive. I feel sick. I feel small (and I don’t mean skinny).

And yet I do this to myself over and over again. I allow one stressful situation to take control of my entire day. I let it derail my health, my mood and my self control

My anxiety causes me to lose control sending me into a spiral of bad habits that cause even more anxiety and stress.

Once I’ve had three cookies, what’s another? Once I’ve bitten four nails, why not bite them all — make them even.

It’s a never-ending, vicious cycle.

I don’t think this is normal. I’m even a little hesitant to post something so personal on the internet, but my hope is that someone who feels the same might see this and not feel alone, and that they might share with me some way to deal with this constant battle against myself.

What I want is to be able to treat myself to the foods I love once in a while without allowing my emotions to fuel those choices and cause me to overeat.

But I’ve always been an all or nothing girl, and learning to do anything in moderation is easier said than done with me.

I don’t know how to fix it, but what I do know is that I can’t keep feeling like this.

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