Diet and Exercise: A Healthy Lifestyle for Wellness #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to my letter D post in the #AtoZChallenge. Usually when looking for inspiration this year, I have looked to The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care by Anna Borges. Today though, no “D” topic inspired me. Besides, I had basically already made up my mind that I was going to write about diet. Then I decided to add exercise to today’s discussion, as I already have an “E” topic in mind.

Having a healthy lifestyle can be hard for most people and it’s especially hard for those of us struggling with mental health issues. When I suffer with major depression, for example, all I feel like is sleeping and eating and I certainly don’t feel like moving. I’m not telling you that you should force yourself to have a healthy lifestyle all the time. That’s not possible for most people and, when you suffer with serious mental health issues, it’s often not a priority. If it takes all your effort to get out of bed, I’m not telling you to exercise.

But generally, it can really be helpful for your wellbeing to mind your diet and physical activity level. I, for one, need to lose weight to get to a healthy BMI. However, that number on a BMI chart or even on the scale isn’t the main reason I try to eat a relatively healthy diet. It makes me feel better mentally if I get enough healthy food in me and don’t overeat. Getting enough veggies is a struggle with the poor quality of food we get here at the care facility, but I do try to eat enough fruit.

Besides nutrition, hydration is important too. I try to make sure I drink at least two liters of fluids a day. This has been harder now that my days are less structured due to the day center being closed, but I really need to get my hydration habit back up. I use an app called Water Reminder, which is free (with a one-time in-app purchase to remove ads and add some additional features).

It also certainly helps me to get moving. Now I must say that I’ve not been majorly depressed in a long time, so moving comes relatively easily to me. I particularly love walking, as regular readers of this blog will know. I also try to go on the elliptical a few times a week.

Do you try to develop or maintain a healthy lifestyle? Does it help with your mental health?

January Health and Wellness Update

So it’s already been over six weeks since I posted that this time finally I was serious about my weight loss and healthier living journey. I still didn’t post an update. Now is the time for one. I’ll also include a general health and wellbeing update.

I didn’t get weighed in over the holidays. Even though I took some care not to overeat, I didn’t stick to a healthy routine either. In fact, on Christmas Eve, my staff ordered Chinese and I had three servings. That clearly was a bit too much, as I had a tommy ache afterwards. Over the rest of the holiday season, I did okay’ish.

I still use my water reminder app and make sure I drink plenty of water nearly everyday. Sometimes I forget to log it, but I can be assured that I drank enough at least. When at my husband’s, it’s still a bit hard.

In January, I’ve been eating healthily most days. I eat plenty of vegetables and particularly fruit, taking care not to go for the sugary ones like bananas too much. My day activities orders grapes regularly, which the other clients can’t eat due to choking risk. I can, so I usually have them all over the course of a week.

Then of course I got sick. I didn’t eat very well for a few days two weeks ago, so that could have led to weight loss too. Then again, I did eat dinner each day. As soon as I felt a bit healthier, I started eating a good breakfast and lunch again. Lunch is still a struggle, as I’m not a fan of bread, so I often skip that. This means I only eat fruit. I don’t eat bread for breakfast usually either, but I do make sure to add muesli to my yoghurt.

I musst say I still indulge into snacks at times, but I try to limit them, so that I’m not eating all day. After all, having high blood sugar all the time contributes to type 2 diabetes.

Exercise-wise, I do pretty well. I go for a long’ish walk four to five times a week. Over the past while, I’ve managed at least 150 active minutes most weeks. I didn’t when I had the flu, of course. Still, it’s extremely hard to get to my step goal or even close. When I go for one half-hour walk a day, I usually get about 4000 steps.

So did this pay off or do I need to work harder? Regardless, I need to work harder, as healthy eating is more important than weight loss itself. Given that I only managed to do okay in the healthy living department, I was surprised to see the result on the scale last Friday. I had gone down 2.8kg or 6lbs since early December. Of course, my sickness may’ve contributed. I hope I’m not down too much when I get weighed in again at the beginning of February. I mean, that would fuel my hypochondria. I hope for a maintain or small loss. Only two more pounds and I’ll no longer be obese.

In other respects of health, I did okay too. Like I said last week, my sleep is a little messed up, in that I get a lot of vivid dreams and nightmares. For this reason, I try to do a mindfulness practice or at least listen to soothing music before going to bed now. This seems to have helped some so far.

Starting My Weight Loss Journey Again (And This Time for Real)

In the first week of my being in the care facility, I got weighed in. I hadn’t been weighed since sometime in like February. Not surprisingly, I had gained about 2-3kg in these nine months. I didn’t immediately take action though, as I felt I’d had to get used to being in the facility first and see how my weight would progress. Two weeks ago, I got weighed in and had gained about 500 grams again. This isn’t huge and could be due to the time of day I was being weighed in, but I decided it was time for action anyway. I’ve been in the facility for two months now and need to make sure I don’t gain any weight and ultimately lose some.

As regular readers of this blog know, I’m short-statured at only 1.53m. The upper border of healthy weight, as such, is 58.5kg. The border between overweight and obesity is 70.2kg. I weighed 74.9kg two weeks ago. This means I’ll have to lose at least 5kg. I have no intention of getting to a healthy weight, but I really want to cross the border back from obese to overweight. I also know I can do this, as I did this about 18 months ago too. Now though, once I reach overweight status, I have no intention of crossing the border back to obese.

I discussed my eating habits with my husband. He said that, if I skip just the cookie at morning coffee break and don’t change anything else, I’ll have lost those 5kg in a year or two. I want to go faster though. For this reason, I’ve also changed from chocolate spread to peanut butter on my breakfast bread. I know, peanut butter still isn’t low-calorie, but it’s a lot healthier than chocolate spread. At lunchtime, I still got two slices of bread which were heavily topped with butter and sweet toppings, one with peanut butter and the other usually with chocolate spread or chocolate flakes. There’s a mealtime assistant who prepares our lunch and I didn’t want to have a huge list of demands of her, given that I already have quite a few likes and dislikes on my list. Like, I can’t stand ham or cheese (unless toasted). I basically only eat what are called sweet toppings and don’t even like all of those. As such, I initially didn’t want to say that I don’t want butter and don’t want my bread too heavily topped. After discussing it with the staff, we agreed to put this on my list of lunchtime menu requests anyway.

My husband advised me for the millionth time to drink more water. At first, I was like, how do I remember to drink enough water? He told me to put reminders in my iPhone. At first, I thought that would be weird or annoying and indeed it’s a hassle to put reminders in my phone via the default reminders app. I however remembered a friend recommending an app that reminds you to drink water and where you can log your water intake. I searched for it. The first one I found cost like €8,99/week and hardly had any free features. I mean seriously?! Who would pay almost €40 a month for an app to remind you to drink water? I doubted my friend meant this app. Turned out there’s another app by a similar name that’s free and €9,99 once for paid features. I got that one and love it! I had some trouble setting it up at first, but now it reminds me each hour between 9AM and 9PM to drink water. Its sound is really catchy. I reached my recommended water intake goal for the past three or four days and almost reached it for the entire week that I’ve been using the app.

I finally made my Fitbit activity tracker work again this past week too. It had been lying around ever since I came here because its battery was empty and I couldn’t find the charger. Then when I finally found it, the app had somehow locked me out. I got in again after an app update. I notice that, though overall I manage fewer daily steps than before I moved here, my active hours are better. This means I get over 250 steps most hours during the day. Today, I didn’t do that well in this department, but I did manage nearly 8000 steps throughout the day.

I was pretty conscious of my eating habits all through the week, making sure I eat my veggies if there’s even the slightest chance I may be able to like them. Before this, I’d not even try a lot of them. I made sure to eat enough fruit. Not that I had much trouble with that before, but fruit usually meant bananas. These are relatively high in calories and very sugary. Thankfully, we had grapes, kiwifruit and clementines too, as well as of course apples and sometimes pears.

Over the week-end, I stayed at the facility. When discussing my weight loss plans with my husband, I mentioned that we get chips on week-ends. However, this week-end, we also got pancakes for lunch and a lot of other treats. I didn’t really like the result this would have on my weight, but also found it hard to resist them.

My staff wasn’t particularly motivating either. Some literally told me to wait for January to start my healthier lifestyle routine, as I’d not make it in December anyway. I mean, yes, we celebrate St. Nicholas with a fries and snacks stand on Thursday and get a lot of extra treats this holiday season. Does that mean I don’t need to eat in moderation? Someone asked an overeaters’ support group a few weeks back and was encouraged to follow through now in spite of the holidays. Now I don’t really like the abstinence-focused mindset of Overeaters Anonymous and the like, but I have always felt that you can always start on a healthier lifestyle journey right now.

Yesterday, I decided to get weighed in. I wanted to know how bad the result really was and how much I’d have to lose once I’d start my journey for real. Well, guess what? I weighed 73.8kg. This truly motivates me.

On Thursday, I fully intend to not stuff myself full of fries and snacks even though I can. Tomorrow, my support coordinator has an evening shift and I’ll be asking her to ask her colleagues for help on my weight loss journey. I realized this past week-end that some make me really uncomfortable with how often they offer me food. I mean, my husband was annoyed at my former support worker for allowing me (not encouraging me!) to buy binge food when she took me to the store on Thursdays. I didn’t realize and probably didn’t want to admit that, in some respects, my current staff are worse. I mean, I haven’t had a binge since buying liquorice with my mother-in-law three weeks ago and the staff definitely discouraged that, but weight gain isn’t about an occasional binge. It’s about what you eat everyday.

Today’s Accomplishments (October 29, 2019)

Last December, I wrote a post in which I shared my small (but important!) accomplishments for the day. I wanted to make this a regular feature, but didn’t. I am not promising it will be this time around, as pressure to do something every day or week with regards to my blog, usually overwhelms me to the point where I quit prematurely. Such was the case with the 31-day writing challenge this October and it’s been the case before. I’m however definitely hoping I can do these more often. Anyway, here are my accomplishments for today.

1. Took good care of my personal hygiene. It’s Tuesday, which means I start my morning routine all by myself and don’t get any help with my personal care. I usually take a quick shower then and often forget to put on deodorant, brush my teeth and hair. I not only took a more thorough shower than usual, but did use deodorant and brushed my teeth. I don’t think I brushed my hair.

2. Took my morning and evening meds, including multivitamin. I got the multivitamin added to my meds recently as I am deficient in folic acid (one of the possible reasons for my fatigue). I often have to remember to ask the staff for this one myself, as it isn’t in the med management system yet.

3. Had three relatively healthy meals. I had two slices of bread with chocolate spread on it for breakfast. That isn’t the healthiest possible choice, but it’s okay. I had two slices of bread again for lunch, plus a banana and a pear. For dinner, we had boiled potatoes, a hamburger and kohlrabi.

4. Walked twice today. Well, three times really, as I also took a short walk in the morning with the day activities staff and two other clients. I took a longer (about 20 minutes) walk in the afternoon with just the staff and took another walk with the living facility staff and one other client in the evening. I don’t have my Fitbit anymore, as its battery is dead and I can’t find its charger, but I’m confident I met my goal for active minutes for the day.

5. Did a short mindfulness meditation. Okay, it took only three or four minutes, but the act of starting a guided meditation in itself is already an accomplishment.

What have you accomplished today?

#FOWC: Diet

Today’s Prompt for #FOWC is diet. I have no experience following any diet. Not even a “No-Diet” diet such as Slimming World. I know, I do need to lose weight. I do need to moderate my food intake. I do know that Slimming World, Weight Watchers and the like can help some stick to a habit of moderation where it comes to food. However, I’m not sure I’m ready to stick to the diet.

I really want to stick to a plan where it comes to food, but I don’t want it to become an obsession. And, honestly, food can quite easily become an obsession, because in my thoughts, it already is.

I think I need to allow others some control over my food intake. It may be best if I take full responsibility, but given how badly my overeating can get, I don’t believe that’s realistic right now.

I hope that, once I move into supported housing, I will have a more structured day where it comes to my meals and snacks. I really hope I’ll subsequently be able to eat less. After all, whichever diet you follow, that’s the real deal.

My husband and I were talking about a care facility that wants me, and he asked whether they have side-by-side bikes. I think they do. They certainly do have a stationary bike. We were discussing getting rid of my elliptical, because there’s not enough room in our new house to put it if I only use it on week-ends. I was thinking of taking it to the care facility. Maybe they can use it at the day center that’s near the living facility. That way, I’ll still be able to go on the elliptical.

I, after all, didn’t say I would never lose weight again. I do want to, but now is not the right time. Then when is, you ask? Well, like I said, I’m genuinely hoping that, once I go to the care facility, I will be able to stick to a diet and exercise plan with the help of my staff.

Weight Loss (Or Rather, Weight Gain) Update

It’s been months since I last posted an update on my weight loss and healthier living journey. My last update was very positive. This one, not so, but it has a silver lining.

I had not at all been following my diet. Not that I generally follow a specific diet, but when trying to lose weight, I try to moderate my food intake and limit myself on snacks and sweets. I don’t want to completely deny myself any sweets or snacks, but I really had been snacking far too much.

I wasn’t motivated to expose myself on the scale, so I didn’t weigh myself. Today though I did and the result was as expected: I’m now 71.3kg. This means I gained 2.4kg or roughly 5lbs in these three months. My BMI is over 30 once again.

Back three months ago, I was at my lowest weight in five years and had been thinking I could reach a weight in the lower sixties by the end of the year. Obviously, now I can’t. I’m not even sure my ultimate goal is to be at a healthy weight anymore, which for my height is 58kg. I had originally intended to reach that by January of 2020. Now I think I’d need to be content if I can get and keep my weight under 70kg and hence my BMI under 30.

Exercise-wise, I’ve not been doing as well as I wanted to either. I had set myself a goal for October of getting active everyday. Though it looks like I met that goal, I have to be more creative with what I consider “activity” than I’d originally intended on being. Today though was a great day, in that I got 95 active minutes according to my Fitbit and reached my daily step goal of 10,000 steps. Now that has me end this post on a positive note!

Weight Loss, Yay!

I have some awesome news! I’ve been trying to lose weight for the past fourteen months. It’s been going with a lots of ups and downs. I was at 79.8kg (176lbs) last year in June when I started trying to lose weight. Then, I set a goal to be under 70kg (154lbs) in a year’s time. That would mean a BMI below 30, which would mean I’d be just overweight and no longer obese.

Well, long story short but I didn’t reach that goal. That is, I did, last January, but then I stood still for a while and started gaining weight again last May. As a result, by June, I was at 71.6kg (158lbs). My husband said to motivate me that I may not have gotten an A for weight loss but I did get a B.

By the end of June, I’d still not lost weight, so I talked to my husband about what to do. He said he’d be more careful with my portion sizes (he cooks and serves my food). I also started a food log for accountability.

Well, guess what? I lost weight again and now am under 70kg! I’m in fact at 68.9kg (roughly 152lbs). This means I surpassed my low weihgt of last January. I am so proud!

Today, I did have a few treats, but I’m pretty sure i’ll make up for that tomorrow. After all, I hardly buy junk food anymore and my treats are usually fruit. Which I love!

Practising Self-Care

Yesterday, carol anne of Therapy Bits asked a question about self-care. This really got me thinking. Is self-care a challenge for us? How do we practise self-care?

Self-care can really be interpreted in several ways. Sometimes, what is self-care one day may be the opposite the next. For example, many people see self-care as pampering yourself. While this is good in moderation, it can become destructive if done too much. For example, we like to buy ourselves comfort food as self-care. However, this used to quickly turn into overeating. Now we recently realized that a small bag of sugar-free candy is just as enjoyable as a large bag of sugary candy and it is a lot less unhealthy.

Remember, any self-care activity can turn destructive if done in excess. We happen to be the classic overindulgent type, but exercise or healthy eating can also become an obsession.

We definitely find self-care a challenge particularly when we feel depressed. Like I said, we’re the overindulgent type, so then we sleep and eat all day. When we aren’t depressed, self-care comes relatively easy.


There are a variety of self-care activities we like. For example, we like to practise yoga and mindfulness. We also love the sensory room at day actvities.

Writing is also a good self-care activity for us. I am happy that we relaunched this blog, so that we can write without the pressure of having to create “good” content, as this was realy holding us back on our other blog.

We also try to take good care of our physical health. We are overweight and have been trying to lose weight over the past fourteen months. Though it’s been somewhat successful, it’s not been as successful as we hoped it’d be. We recently started a food log again, but we can’t keep up with it everyday. We try to exercise regularly too, though over the past few weeks that’s been hard due to the hot weather.

What do you do to practise self-care?