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013 | What I’ve learned about my Health

013 | What I’ve learned about my Health

Welcome back to my new(ish) blog, a space where I aim to share the unfiltered journey of pursuing health, financial independence, personal growth, and the delicate balance of being a stay-at-home mom. Today, as I embark further along the health leg of this journey, I still want to emphasize that my goals are not seasonal resolutions; they are tangible, quantifiable goals that I am committed to achieving, no matter how ugly it gets and how long it takes.

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier, author

I have talked to a few trainers, nutritionists, and doctors since the fall of 2023, and it is now the spring of 2024. I wanted to take their main points, fun calculations, and some tips I want to research each and then boil them down to the things I’ve felt are the most output for the easiest to maintain change. In this, my goal is to be open and honest as I make these 1% changes, and I am happy to point out the friction-filled places where I tend to see the least movement.

Micros and Macros

As far as calorie intake, protein, etc... I have gotten so much varying advice. And, I am not a doctor, but I liked this simplified equation I took from my last Nutrition appointment.

First, It’s Calories

I found that my baseline of calories for my body to work as planned is 1400+ calories. That means, according to the Mayo Clinic as well as my nutritionist, that this is my minimum healthy intake number to “sustain functions like breathing, circulation, nutrient processing, and cell production.” Which, hey that is pretty important.

My goal is not to lose weight, although I reread my goal this morning and had TOTALLY forgotten that important fact. So, I will stick to the 1600-1700 calorie goal the most recent Nutritionist set for me.

To find your goal, the Mayo Clinic (not just the base) has a calculator and this one by Omni (said 14823 for me) is easy too.

Second, It’s Protein

Research says that “protein builds and repairs muscle tissue and cells. In addition, protein contains enzymes that we use to digest food, it helps to maintain our immune system and it gives us energy.” And, this article was specifically researching and discussing women in my age range. If Muscle Atrophy with Age is something I am actively fighting against, this is an important area for me to focus on. The RDA says the minimum is 0.36g per lb of body weight, while most health guidelines say .45g - 1g per lb of weight. That means that my focus of 140-150g daily is falling in the upper portion of that range. Which is great, since I am focused on building muscle mass in my mid-thirties while I have the energy and time.

Third, It’s Fat

Fat helps with hormones, brain function, and much more. I was recently told women my age should have a daily intake where 32-36% of their calories come from fat. The daily guidelines for Americans say 25-35%, The British say up to 35%, and “Both SparkPeople and the American Heart Association take a middle-of-the-road approach, advocating a 30% fat intake.” Let’s shoot for 30%-35% then to be fair, and then I can adjust according to where I feel best.

Now, Let’s do some Math

If my main calorie goal is 1600-1700, 140-150g of protein (cal = protein x 4), and 30%-35% fat(cal = fat x 9) then we can do the math to find my carb range.

Protein: 140-150g Protein = Calories / 4 = 560-600 calories from protein

Fat : 480 cal-595 cal / 9 cal = 53g to 66g of fat

Carbs: [1600-1700 calory goal] - [480-595 cal from fat] - [560-600 calories from protein]

        Note: The trainer said low calories should be reserved for non-workout days and lower carbs. And he noted I shouldn’t excede 150g of carbs regularly.

[1600 cal] - [595 cal from fat] - [600 cal from protein] = 405 cal from carbs / 4 = 101g carb

[1700 cal] - [480 cal from fat] - [560 cal from protein] = 660 cal from carbs / 4 = 165g carb

So with that on here is an example for a woman in her 30s at my weight:

Workout days: 1700 cal / 150g Protein / 60g Fat / 140g Carb

        So the % breakdown is 35% P / 32% Fat / 33% Carbs

Rest Days: 1600 cal / 140g Protein / 55g fat / 100g Carbs (with 145 floating calories)

        So the % breakdown is 35% P / 31% Fat / 25% Carbs (with 9% to choose from as the day allows.)

Strength Training for Women

I felt when I began this journey, life in the gym would be focused on cardio. I have come to find out, that for my goals of longevity and fitness, strength training is a better place to be. And research like this helps:

Resistance training does more than help us build strong muscles. A new study finds women who do strength training exercises two to three days a week are more likely to live longer and have a lower risk of death from heart disease, compared to women who do none.”
 Houston Public Media

Plus, if you read a little below, you will see that as much as weight is a metric it was not my goal. I have to remind myself of this more.

Remembering My Original Goal

In the realm of health, I have struggled with fatigue, headaches, inflammation, and weight issues for some time now. My current focus extends beyond generic fitness resolutions. I am committed to crafting a sustainable lifestyle for my family and me. This includes exploring nutritious and delicious recipes, incorporating regular exercise into our routine, and nurturing our mental well-being. By defining clear health objectives, I can measure our progress and celebrate the small victories that contribute to our overall well-being.

Above, I set a first goal for this topic. I would like to set a smart goal for every topic I have without overwhelming myself. We all know how difficult it is to keep many plates spinning so some goals may be less ambitious than others and I will try to check in on a different goal during each post here on my blog. There will be an exception though. If I am making great progress on a topic or goal, I will visit it more frequently during that season.

My smart goal for health is I want to eat healthy as a family, and stay on a budget by loosely meal planning and adding in vegetables while reducing processed foods. I will share my success by the number of meals cooked at home. I want this to be a process of one percent gains. So let's set goals based on the achievable weeks. We will travel and have a birthday in week one, so that can be a semi-base line. Then I will gather the daft for the next three weeks. Previously we were eating out 4 times per week or ordering in, so less than that is a 1% WIN!

Where has the Cardio Gone?

I chase a three-year-old and try to be active. As an Apple Watch user, I use these three goal metrics to make sure that I am moving daily.

  1. Red Move ring:  shows how many “active” calories you've burned just moving around (I shoot for 450-600 daily)
  2. Green Exercise ring: is the minutes of brisk activity you've done (so slow walking does not count here (20-50 min daily)
  3. Blue Stand ring: the times per day you've stood and moved for at least one minute per hour (12-14 minutes daily)

This much keeps me from just lounging and I tend to get 6-12k steps daily. Not that I shouldn’t step this up, but I can only juggle so many small changes at a time.

Feast and Famon, the survival response

Calorie cycling

The main theory of a Calorie Shifting Diet is to change intake from high to low calories to decrease weight, and then change it from low to high calories to keep the resting metabolic rate at higher levels. While good for longevity in most studies, I just learned that too much of this may cause certain people to maintain extra fat stores for the famon that may or may not happen. But as I continue to do research, I do not know if this is true.

The cold plunge

This was a fun experiment I did from Nov - February but now as it warms I am just walking in short sleeves on cold days and taking 30 sec of cold shower segments. I loved it.

My 2-week detox

Today, I am starting my first day of detox my gym is doing (I am choosing to give myself today and tomorrow as prep days as needed since we have post-foundation repair chaos in our home this week). Based on their plan here is what I will, and will not, do.

I will focus on:

I will avoid:

A pea protein shake daily with psyllium husk

Corn, soy, gluten, alcohol, dairy

Keeping my 140-160g protein goal - fish at least 1x per week

Grapefruit - They say it affects detox enzymes

Daily move goals and 8 hours of sleep + Sun every morning, sauna use, and 10k steps

Tuna, swordfish, lunchmeat/sausage, and canned meats with added ingredients and preservatives

6-8 veggie servings a day: 1 cup of raw or cooked veg | ½ cup of legumes (3-4 servings each week) or 3 cups of leafy greens (1 serving or more each day)

Excessive caffeine (1 cup max daily)

2 fruit servings a day (blueberry or raspberry 2 x per week)

Added sugar and sweeteners as possible

1 oz nuts/seeds daily

No peanuts for me!

Green tea and fermented food

No eggs

Finally, the wrap-up

In upcoming posts, I will share insights into the methodologies and tools I've discovered, drawing from expert advice to help you set measurable goals for your unique journey.

If you just scrolled to the bottom, or want a quick summary, here is what I covered today:

Health Focus and Goals: In this post, I emphasized the importance for me to maintain tangible, quantifiable health goals rather than seasonal resolutions. I discussed key aspects such as calorie intake, protein requirements, and fat consumption, aiming for a balanced approach to nutrition and fitness.

Strength Training and Cardio: Contrary to my initial belief, I highlight the benefits of prioritizing strength training over cardio for longevity and overall fitness. I share insights into tracking daily activity using metrics like Apple Watch rings, ensuring consistent movement throughout the day, even on rest and family days.

Experimentation and Detox: I delve into my experiments with calorie cycling, cold plunges, and the upcoming two-week detox program. Exploring various strategies for optimizing health, I outline what I will focus on and what I will avoid during the detox, aiming to reset my body and enhance my overall well-being.

Future Insights and Goals: Looking ahead, I express my commitment to sharing further insights and methodologies discovered along my health journey. I aim to provide practical advice and tools to help readers set measurable goals and navigate their unique paths to wellness effectively.

Here's to a journey of purpose, progress, and a life well-lived.