Last week my company hosted a wellness fair and brought in Wellness Corporate Solutions to do biometrics testing on all of us. The testing involved getting a finger prick to read the cholesterol, LDL and HDL levels, glucose and triglycerides in my blood, getting my blood pressure taken, my waist measured, my weight, and my BMI and body fat percentage taken. The last of which I had never done before.
Then we were given a link to an online wellness quiz where we could fill out other stuff, like questions about our stress levels, how much time we spend driving, if I eat breakfast everyday, etc. Using the data from the biometrics testing at the end, the quiz generated a report about our total wellness and areas for improvement.
Let's just say I was unpleasantly almost-surprised.
By the time I ran the marathon last year I was down 8lbs, eating better, sleeping more and drinking less. Last fall, I signed up for two more marathons in the hopes of recreating that disciplined lifestyle, but failed spectacularly on both counts. And not only did I gain that 8lbs back over the holidays but I threw in a few extra for good measure.
So I grabbed a Diet Coke and some peanut butter snack crackers and did some soul searching. Why has this been happening? Why is it so hard for me to maintain a consistently healthy lifestyle? What do I need to motivate myself? I really tried to pinpoint the factors that contributed to where I am now, which is certainly not where I intended to be a week before our vacation to Mexico.
I have my suspicions, but I'm not ready to share those quite yet. Instead, I spent the past week making some small changes and putting together a list of goals that I want to achieve and the steps I'll need to get there:
Lower My Cholesterol: News to me, but apparently my total cholesterol is slightly elevated. So I did some research on the Mayo Clinic website and found some ways to lower cholesterol. Looks like the first step I'm going to start taking will kill two birds with one stone: breakfast. I don't eat a healthy breakfast. I don't think I ever have in my life. But one of my absolute favorite new companies, MixMyOwn.com, makes breakfast so easy that it's stupid for me not to take advantage of it.
So I went to MixMyOwn last week and created a breakfast mix that includes all of the ingredients high in soluble fiber that supposedly lower your cholesterol: oats, quinoa puffs, almonds, and rich-in-fiber fruits like apples and pineapples. My goal is to leave my mix at the office and have it for breakfast, hot or cold, each morning when I get in. This will give me the 8-10g of Dietary Fiber I need to help lower my cholesterol.
Stay Active at Work: At my job, I sit for 8+ hours a day, slouched in my desk chair, feet kicked up on a ottoman (upside-down recycling bin). After seeing my tragic results, I decided that I am going to take 2 15-minute breaks each day to walk a brisk mile. That's 2 miles a day before I even get home! I'm also going to start only taking the stairs to our 4th floor office and I decided to alternate each half hour between sitting on my chair and sitting on a new stability ball to help improve my posture and remind me to sit actively.
Now I'm one of "those" people.
Get in a Minimum of 5 Hours of Exercise Each Week: My all or nothing approach to marathon training is part of what makes it so daunting. If I tell myself that I just have to get in 5 hours of exercise each week, I think that is a much more achievable goal, at least for right now. Plus, if I go for my daily walks, that's 2.5 hours right there.
Bikram at Least 2x a Week: This was a part of my New Year's Goals and I did not even come close to achieving or really attempting this in January. It's a fresh month and it's time to make the most out of the monthly subscription to my yoga studio.
Track My Progress Weekly: In my case, ignorance isn't bliss, it's weight gain. So staying accountable to myself via a journal, an app, this blog, or all three will help me keep up my work and track my progress. More importantly, I ordered the tool that CWS used in our biometrics screenings, the Omron Body Fat Loss Monitor, to keep track of my weekly BFP. I think that this will change the way I look at my progress, since I usually get discouraged by how slow I am to lose weight, when really I'm just gaining muscle. Seeing both numbers will help me to have a more complete picture of my heath.
Drink 8 Glasses / 64oz of Water a Day: Like breakfast, this is another no-brainer that I was doing well at for a while when I remembered to bring my Hyrdoflask to work. Lately though, I've been skimping on the water front.
Start Taking My Multivitamin and Biotin Supplement Each Day: Long hair, don't care. I was avoiding the frequent plagues at the office and growing my hair out when I remembered to take my supplements every day. Since then I've been sick about a bajillion times and my hair and nails have been slower to grow than ever.
There you have it. Written in stone (or at least 1s and 0s) for all of the internet to see. Biometrics testing was the kick in the ass that I needed and seems to have jump-started me into making healthier decisions. Now let's see if I can stick to them!