The lowdown on the next month

Here’s the lowdown on how the next month will be structured and what I’ll be focusing on when I say that I’m going to be more strict with my lifestyle for the next four weeks.  I will work on each of the four categories below: diet, sleep, exercise, and reflection.  Using those areas I’ll look to see how my body reacts.  It’s good to refocus yourself after a year, the little things that have just become routine I will now think more about and in doing so I’ll be more mindful of what is going on with my body for the next month.

Diet:

                For the next four weeks starting on the 27th I’ll be headed back to a strict Paleo template.  That means that I’ll be cutting out a few things that I enjoy for a month and working on cleaning up my diet in general.  Lately my biggest cheats have been 1) commercially available sweet potato chips 2) So Delicious coconut milk ice cream 3) Almond Breeze Unsweetened chocolate almond milk 4) cheese.  Each of these things will be going away for the next month.  To be honest I agonized over cutting out the Almond milk, I really like it a lot, and it’s usually what I have with my vitamins in the morning but it’s got all sorts of other ingredients in it so it has to go.  I have cut out numbers one and two already and I can tell that I’ve lost a little around the waist.  For the project I’ll be treating it kind of like a personal Paleo challenge.  So I’ll be logging every day and working on keeping up not only with my food intake but also controlling the other parts of life that halt progression.  But this isn’t just about what I’m cutting out of my diet, but also what I’m going to be more mindful of putting in.

                Adding to my food intake is another element of the challenge.  I will be trying to work new veggies into the mix as much as possible.  I’ve already tried eggplant and that will get another attempt, but I’ll also be working to include some more leafy greens that don’t get enough appearances and some other things that I just haven’t tried before.  In addition to that I’m upping my fish intake, making sure that at least one meal every other day has a fish protein in it, and hopefully more.   I found a good source of wild shrimp that I have two pounds of, and dinners based around some sort of fish are looking to be a common occurrence.  Finally I’m adding more water intake into my day.  I’m usually pretty good about my drinking water, but I’m going to be more mindful of how much I take in during the day, spreading out my drinking so that I spend the whole day fully hydrated.  I’m also going to work on limiting the amount of coffee I drink.  I have no illusions that I drink way too much coffee.  When you can easily see yourself downing a pot and not thinking twice about it, you drink too much.  So I’m going to allow myself one thing of coffee in the morning and one of my homemade iced coffees in the evenings.  Bringing in new veggies and protein sources with better hydration and lower caffeine will work wonders I think.

Sleep:

                This is an area I struggle with; I’ll stay up way too late every night if I don’t watch myself.  I’ve been working my way back through the TV show West Wing lately.   I love the smart writing of it, and the actors are all really good.  But I’ll watch the thing all night, more than once I’ve been trying to finish a plotline and realize that it’s 2am and I have to work in the morning.  So I’m going to make myself go to bed at Midnight every night.  I get up at 7, so that’s going to be the target for nightly sleep.  I don’t imagine that I will be perfect but the rule is when midnight hits, my head should be on the pillow.  Better sleep translates to all sorts of goodness for your body so making sure that I’m getting a good amount every night is going to be key to setting myself up for success. 

Upping my workload:

                I’m adding an extra day to my workout schedule.  Moving from five to six days a week is just a return to my old schedule.  Before moving to the new job I kept a Sunday-Friday schedule and so I’m just going back to how I used to work.  I’m still going to be doing Outlaw five days a week, just adding a MetCon into the mix with the new Crossfit affiliate here, Sports Evolution.  This has just gone into place this past week and I think that already it feels better.  Working conditioning more and making my body carry a heavier load is going to serve me well as time goes on I believe.  At some point I know that I’m going to go into a period of overtraining for 2 weeks where I’ll push to do 2 WODs a day on that same six day schedule and then give myself a week off before starting back up at the one a day intensity.  The goal of that is to push yourself to a new level of expected workload, and when the body adjusts to that drop it back down and then you’ll be operating at a higher level.  It’s used by many strength athletes and I think it’s applicable here.  This will not happen during my strict month because I think it would be too hard to keep up with my needs without some sort of supplement.  In the meantime I’ll be lifting heavy, doing lots of Olympic lifting, and hitting the MetCons hard in order to be ready for this overtraining period when I return to the Midwest. 

Reflection:

                This may seem like an afterthought but it is essential in my understanding of what I need to get out of the next month.  It has been a year of change, and that time period has flown by as I make my way from student to graduate, overweight to healthy, and yes even in some ways from young to old.  Each night before bed the last 10 minutes before I go to sleep I’ll sit down and log my day.  Every entry will cover what went well and what didn’t, if I made it through the day eating clean, got my workout in and how it felt, as well as any thoughts I have for the day.  The closer that I get to leaving this job and moving back to Illinois the entries will cover a lot of feelings about my future as well.  Understanding the changes that have taken place in my life in the last year is a chance for me to be thankful for what I have gone through, and the support of people along the way.  I truly believe that out of all the experiences of the next month this will have one of the biggest impacts.  

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