As we all enter into a new life territory that may be forever changed, I’d like to share why my data-driven health journey had a January 1 “reset” (ugh – so cliché, I know!), how it is evolving amid the COVID crisis, and what I am learning along the way.
I hope my story, setbacks, and successes resonate with many of you as you try to take care of yourselves and hold down a job that probably looks very different than it did a month ago, while keeping everyone you love on-track and healthy, often at the expense of your own well-being.
As you try to meet your goals – whatever they may be – today can be the “first” day of your journey if yesterday did not go as planned. If I can do it, you can too.
That Was Then, This Is Now
When I look back at my 2019 conviction to lose 70 pounds and get healthier, there is one thing (among many!) that I have learned – to forgive myself and move forward. Never give up. Shift what isn’t working, then carry on.
For me, nothing is a failure if I learn from it, which I can say – not only have I learned about my own health needs along my data-driven health journey, I’ve also learned how resilient I am in the face of one major life change after another. I do not dwell on what didn’t work, I make a new plan and readjust because that was then, this is now my “now.”
“Every day can be the ‘first day.’ Let the bad go and carry over the good until your life is overflowing with what works and you’re marching toward your goals.
A Milestone Event
Toward the fall of 2019, when I publicly committed to practicing good health habits, I experienced a “milestone” event – I bought my first house on my own. As a co-parent of two small children, who not long ago was living in a friend’s basement, having a house to call our own was such a huge achievement. I was buoyed by the feeling I could achieve anything! Until …
A Broken Pipe, No Wi-fi, & a Broken Heart
A pipe broke in our lower level one night shortly after we moved in, soaking an area where I hadn’t unpacked my computer and important files, along with other priceless belongings. I’ve never owned a house. I had no idea who to even call at that late hour or where to begin navigating the process (thanks, Dad!). Luckily, after days of dealing with the fallout, most of the important stuff was fine minus a few artworks done by my children, my printer, a couple hundred paper documents like appliance instructions. Thank God everything is online now!
Meanwhile, I found out I could not get wi-fi at my new house for nearly a month. I live in a rural area and depend on technology to run my businesses and, well – LIFE itself. I felt very cut-off when I was at home and had to hold virtual meetings in a busy, noisy coffee shop when I couldn’t make it to the office (50 miles away). All while managing kids schedules and the mom-life, spending time with my boyfriend, and staying true to a pretty intense health plan. As you might guess, my health commitments started to slide.
Then, to make matters worse, my relationship ended right before the holidays. That was it for my weight loss and health initiative. I nursed my wounded heart while indulging in holiday treats and running crazy with the holiday shuffle, and then – surprise – a seasonal illness! These are the times it feels life laughs at our best-laid plans.
A Disappointing Year-End Result
Those of you who know me, know I am not a big fan of excuses – I am a military kid after all. But the perfect storm of months of major stress (good and bad), sadness, and illness made it tough to do what was “right” for my health. So, what was my year-end result? I gained back the weight I had lost and went up even more to 262 pounds! I was disappointed but I knew I could start fresh. There’s ALWAYS time to start again.
A Revised Data-Driven Health Plan for 2020
So, January 1, 2020, came with a new and improved data-driven health plan. Over the course of 2019, I used many mobile apps to stay on track. Naturally, those that weren’t working for me fell by the wayside, as did some of the activities I was trying, like meal prep. I pretty much hated it. It was taking too much time away from other things that were more important to me.
And the apps that weren’t working, well those went away too. Which is good. Part of embarking on any transformation or new program – in life and in business – is learning what doesn’t work, as well as what does, backing it up with measurable data, and tweaking your plan to optimize results.
As I “live” my revised 2020 data-driven health plan and goal of 50 pounds lost, I’m also trying to remember health is not all about the number on the scales. It includes inches lost, muscle gained, emotional well-being, and overall fitness – something I try to be happy about even when the scale doesn’t move as much as I want it to.
What My Refocused Data-Driven Life Looks Like Now
Meal prep, gone. Welcome Freshly. Instead of meal prep, I decided to try Freshly. This is a meal delivery company that delivers healthy, balanced meals that are already complete. I just heat them up. No mixing, measuring, sautéing, blending … just open and cook. I get 4-6 meals per week for about the same price it would cost to buy everything at the store and cook it. I LOVE it. It is working for me. Especially for lunch. This is a meal I often skip due to lack of time, then I snack on all the wrong stuff throughout the day until dinner time. Not anymore! If you check out this link you can try Freshly too with a $20 discount (disclosure, I also get a $20 credit to my account).
My digital scale. I still love my scale (or, well, it’s a love-hate thing) that tells me everything I could ever want to know about what’s happening in my body, including how much of me is water, muscle, and fat. It supplies tons of data and communicates with my health apps, so there is no manual entry (or fudging numbers) on my part. Very convenient and motivating.
Life with a wonderful partner. I am in a new relationship with a wonderful guy who is into health and fitness. This helps with motivation, accountability, and pure joy. It is really fun to know the person I’m with is happy to be with me no matter what but also wants to help me become the healthiest person I can be, with no judgment.
Up-leveling with books. I began a book “reading” marathon using Blinkist, a subscription service that provides audio summaries of about 3000+ bestselling non-fiction books in “blinks.” This has allowed me to absorb the key takeaways of every book in 15 minutes or less. Thanks to this incredible format, in less than four months, I listened to nearly 40 books, many of them about self-motivation and making your own success. Super addition to the emotional component of my health voyage.
Simplifying daily life. Most recently, in the face of the terrible COVID-19 pandemic, I have found a silver lining. Social distancing has helped me simplify. I work from home all the time now, instead of traveling long distances for meetings, and I’ve put a hold on any BIG house projects and traveling for the year. I am solely focused on mine and my kiddos’ health and nurturing a relationship that I feel has the very real potential to be something I have been waiting for a long time. It has created a much more relaxed pace of life that, ironically, allows me to get more done.
Recognize gratitude. COVID-19 has also brought our family together even more and my immense gratitude for the simplest things has grown exponentially. The kids’ stepmom has created an amazing homeschool environment and curriculum at her house, which I could not have done. The kids “go to school” every day (per Missouri law) as we socially isolate within our two homes. They continue to learn and stay challenged while I continue to help clients stay profitable in this uncertain time. Out of everything bad, something good is bound to come, and I hope many of us are managing to find that something good.
Feelfit is the app for my digital scale. It gives me my weight, BMI, body fat percentage, fat-free body weight, subcutaneous fat percentage, visceral fat, body water percentage, skeletal muscle percentage, muscle mass, bone mass, protein percentage, BMR (basal metabolic rate), and my metabolic age (says I’m 39; I’m actually 32). Great data-driven tool that keeps me honest.
Happy 2020 Q1 Results
Just like in business, my regimen includes measuring and reporting, and I am happy to report, as of April 5th, I have lost 15 lbs. and feel better than I have in a long time. My other victories also include:
- Inches lost: 8.75 inches.
- Muscle gained: 3lbs of muscle
- Body Fat decreased: 3.9%
- Body water % increased: 2%
- Laughs per day: +10
- Eating better than ever
“Nobody can go back and start again, my friend, but anyone can start from now and make a new end.” – Anonymous
Flexibility + Focus + Gratitude = Results
To say I have gained perspective over the last six months is an understatement. I know that health is more than just a number on the scale and that I need to be flexible and forgiving with myself as life unfolds.
I also need to work on de-stressing when I can, eliminate the unnecessary, and do what needs to be done to adjust to life’s demands. Most importantly, I have realized that it is not selfish or self-centered to focus on one thing.
I am a business owner, thought leader, and decision-maker for so many people – clients, peers, coworkers, self, kids, loved ones – which is why it is beneficial to focus on my health and let all the big external plans take a back seat for now.
Narrowing my focus is helping me maintain consistency and be my best self for everyone – including me. As we now see in the most extreme terms, without good health, what else is there?
When Life Happens, Modify, Then Start Again
Overall, what I have discovered since embarking on this highly public data-driven health journey is that life is about new starts and continually reaching for our goals. It is about being grateful for where you are right now, who has helped you get there, and for the drive to carry on. No matter where you are on your journey, never give up on yourself. When life challenges us, it’s okay to readjust, modify, and then start again. Just never give up.