Rainbow's Heroic Year

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    Rainbow's Heroic Year

    On January 13, 2020, I will complete my 49th orbit of Sol. It's been a good run so far--partially because I've put in the work necessary to make it so, and partially because I have been blessed with good resources (I was born into a healthy body, I have enjoyed lifelong access to healthy food, I was raised in a culture which values physical activity, etc.). Currently, I do not have as much support locally for healthy pursuits as I would like, but I do have support online through the wonderful DAREBEE community.

    In May 2017 I started my own check-in thread here in the Hive. The accountability fostered through maintaining that thread, coupled with the support of the DAREBEE community, and my participation in some of DAREBEE's programs and challenges, has helped me to stay on-track with my training for the past 2.5 years* in spite of living in a household in which I am the only person who works out, having zero friends local-to-me who work out, and living in a community with zero group opportunities which fit within my financial constraints and fitness goals. (*The one lapse in my training regime during this period occurred during a time when I had fallen away from maintaining my check-in thread.) One thing I have continued to struggle with during this time, however, has been my diet.

    Simply put: my diet is not what I would like it to be. If I am perfectly honest, it never truly has been. But it has definitely gotten worse in recent years. And this is a problem. In my youth, I got away with not always making the most healthful of food choices. I was physically active, and I was young, and those two traits combined to forgive a lot in my less-than-stellar diet. But the times, they are a changin'. I don't have that youth factor to rely on anymore. And illnesses caused/exacerbated by poor dietary choices run rampant in my genealogy. It's time for me to make a change. This thread will be the chronicle of that change.

    The Challenge:

    For one year, from January 13, 2020 to January 13, 2021, I will commit to following DAREBEE's Modern Hero meal plan. I will also, as much as I can manage, follow the Only Homemade challenge. I will post my "Before" photo and measurements on January 13. I also aim to get blood work done the week of January 13, the results of which I will post when I get them. As my hope here is not to achieve a quick fix but rather long-term, sustainable change in my habits and the continuation of good health into my 2nd half century, you'll have to wait a full year for my "After" results, but I will try to post monthly progress reports, along with a summary of how strictly I followed my diet plan that month.

    Workout-wise, I aim to maintain my current levels over the coming year, i.e.: a minimum of 60 minutes moderate-to-intense physical activity/day, a minimum of 6 days/week. (The seventh day is either more of the same, or a long hike, or a combination of 2 hours hiking & restorative yoga.) My main workout activities are currently running, yoga, and DAREBEE programs and challenges. The summer months usually provide me with opportunities to mix things up with the addition of SUP, roller skating, slacklining and other activities as available. Currently I do not expect to see much change in this regard over the next year--but if I do encounter opportunities to increase my level of physical activity, I won't be turning them down for the sake of isolating the effects of my dietary changes. I will report any significant changes to my workout regime in my monthly updates, so if there do end up being any additional change factors in this little experiment, we will at least be able to see what they were and when they were introduced.

    Also to note: I'm not going to deliberately eat a terrible diet over the next 5 weeks or make any attempt to maintain things "as they were". I've already eliminated potato chips and store-bought desserts from my diet and am currently in the process of eliminating after-dinner snacks. I need some time to adapt to all the changes Modern Hero and Only Homemade will ask of me. So my "Heroic Year" won't be a 0 to 360 transformation by any means. Sustainable, incremental change is the name of the game. After 12 months (and 12, 20, 30 etc. years) the change will be significant.

    January 13, 2020 Update:

    Laura Rainbow Dragon on her 49th birthday
    This is me at 49 years strong and 165 lbs. (74.8 kg).
    My goal weight is 130-135 lbs. (What I weighed when I was my most fit as an adult.)

    I have already been eating reasonably healthfully for the past month, and ate progressively more healthfully for the month before that, and have lost 10 lbs. of body weight over the past 2 months as a result. The "easy shed" pounds are already gone. The real work begins today.

    I will not be following any fad diets in order to achieve my desired weight loss. I will simply be eating a healthy, balanced, and varied diet, as per DAREBEE's Modern Hero Mealplan and Canada's Food Guide. That is: 3 meals per day, each consisting of 50% fruits and vegetables, 25% whole grains, and 25% protein-rich foods (mostly, but not exclusively, from plant sources), with no snacks between meals. I will not be counting calories or measuring portions. I will be drinking mostly (but not exclusively) water. I will be eating homemade food as often as I can and limiting my consumption of highly processed foodstuffs. I will be allowing myself the occasional indulgence of a sweet dessert, but no more than once/week and the dessert has to be homemade. I will also be allowing myself one square of dark chocolate or one slice of chocolate cheese per week.

    I will update this thread with monthly progress reports throughout the year. If you'd like to follow my exercise and food logs you can find them here:

    Exercise: Rainbow Dragon's Dares
    Food: Cook90 2020

    Note: I am sucking my stomach in in this photograph. (I decided to do this from Day 1, so there can be no "cheating" by pooching my stomach out today but then sucking it in at the end of the year.) All of my progress photos will be taken like this, with no make-up (I never wear that stuff), in the same bra and shorts, in my bathroom with 3 light bulbs burned out.












    February 13, 2020 Update:

    Weight: 158 lbs. (71.7 kg)

    Program Compliance Stats for January 13 - February 12:

    Exercise Minimums Met: 31/31 days
    3 Balanced Meals/Day with No Snacks: 31/31 days
    Only Homemade Food: 31/31 days
    A Salad a Day: 31/31 days
    (I took on DAREBEE's Salad a Day Challenge last month and have decided to continue this practice going forward.)
    # of Sweets: 3 homemade desserts / 0 squares chocolate / 2 slices chocolate cheese


    March 15, 2020 Update:

    Weight: 153 lbs. (69.4 kg)

    Program Compliance Stats for February 13 - March 14:

    Exercise Minimums Met: 31/31 days
    3 Balanced Meals/Day with No Snacks: 30/31 (I slept in so late on March 14 I ended up eating only 2 meals that day)
    Only Homemade Food: 31/31 Days
    A Salad a Day: 31/31 Days
    # of Sweets: 3 homemade desserts / 1 square of chocolate / 1 slice of chocolate cheese


    May 13, 2020 Update:

    Weight: 143.5 lbs. (65.1 kg)

    Program Compliance Stats for March 15 - May 12:

    Exercise Minimums: I fell off the wagon here for a bit. I've worked out every day, but I had three weeks in which my 60 minutes/day minimum was met only 1 day/week instead of my goal 6 days/week. (No reason for this other than my being slow to adapt to pandemic-induced scheduling changes.) For this reason, I reset my daily exercise streak count on April 23. I have been meeting my exercise goals consistently since this time.

    3 Balanced Meals/Day with No Snacks: I'm behind on logging my food intake so do not have exact stats for the past couple of months. I think there may have been a couple of days in there in which I missed a meal. But I have maintained my no snacking rule throughout.

    Only Homemade Food: 59/59 Days

    A Salad a Day: 59/59 Days

    # of Sweets: I don't have exact numbers here, but I've been in compliance with my weekly maximums rules. I have been making more unsweetened desserts in recent weeks, including Black Bean Brownies, Blueberry Oatmeal Crumble, and Apple & Orange Egg Custard Tart (made with a whole wheat vegan pastry and without the indicated added sugar). Since my diet plan does not contain any limits on whole grains or whole fruits, none of these items count as restricted "Sweets". In general, my desire to eat sweeter foods is fading. I don't think I've eaten any squares of chocolate in weeks, and my portions of chocolate cheese have been getting smaller.

    In Other News:

    1. None of the pants I purchased in the last decade fit me anymore. Most of my pants are spandex. Still, they are ridiculously loose, to the point of being in danger of falling off in some cases. Fortunately, I still have a few pairs of pants left from the previous decade which I was smart enough to stop wearing before I split the seams.

    2. I am once again able to sleep without any pants on. This probably reads as very strange to anyone who has never not been able to sleep without pants on. But for the past decade, the sensation of flabby thighs sticking together has been uncomfortable enough that it's prevented me from sleeping unless I had fabric between my thighs. Unfortunately, I also have a problem with keeping my room cool enough to be able to sleep comfortably with pants on. So I've spent a lot of nights being too hot. For whatever reason, the sensation of firm, toned thighs touching one another does not bother me. So now I can sleep wearing whatever I want, and my sleep is significantly improved as a result.


    January 16, 2021 Update:

    Weight: 137 lbs.
    I achieved my goal weight of 135 lbs. by mid-July 2020. Since then my weight has stabilized between 134-138 lbs.

    Program Compliance Stats:

    Exercise Minimums: I adjusted my goal here slightly to allow for a bit more fluctuation in my day-to-day activities. I am now striving to average a minimum of 6 hours of moderate-to-intense physical activity each week. (The same total amount of work as at the beginning of my challenge, but I don't worry if one day is a bit short, so long as other nearby days make up for it.) I have been meeting my exercise goals consistently since April 23, 2020.

    3 Balanced Meals/Day with No Snacks: I stuck to this rule until the summer. Then I started allowing myself a few exceptions on the no snacking rule. I had good reason for this at the time. (When one is out on a paddleboard all day, there are logistical reasons why it is preferable to chew one's hydration as opposed to drinking straight water.) But snacking is a slippery slope for me. So I reined it back in. Going forward I will allow that circumstances may occasionally require a food intake structure other than that afforded by Modern Hero. But for the most part, I will be sticking to 3 meals per day with no snacks.

    Only Homemade Food: 382/382 days thus far. This is another lifestyle change I am sticking with, although I will be allowing for occasional exceptions going forward for social reasons (once we are allowed to have social reasons again).

    A Salad a Day: I think there were a few days over the past year on which I did not eat salad. I decided to stop tracking this at some point. But I am still eating salad most days.

    # of Sweets: I am sticking with my only homemade rule for desserts, and my homemade desserts just aren't that sweet these days. I never made a decision to stop allowing myself a piece of dark chocolate or a slice of chocolate cheese weekly. But I have not felt a desire for either in months.

    Bloodwork: I had originally planned to do a before and after comparison of bloodwork. But I cannot get any bloodwork done at this time due to Covid-19. So this will have to wait. I can say, however, that I feel great! I'll post an update later, once I'm able to get bloodwork done again, if there is anything significant to report.

    Laura Rainbow Dragon posing on January 13, 2020 and January 16, 2021



    Summary:

    My "Heroic Year" was a great success. I feel great, I'm able to move so much more freely now in yoga poses, I'm running significantly faster than I was a year ago, and I've seen significant gains in my ability to perform bodyweight strength exercises. (I achieved lifetime PRs this morning both for longest flexed arm hang and slowest negative pull-up!) Most importantly: the diet changes I made which enabled me to reach this point have proven to be easily sustainable.

    Thank you to everyone who has followed my journey over the past year and cheered me on!
    Attached Files

    #2
    Best wishes Rainbow Dragon.

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      #3
      Good Luck Rainbow Dragon I'll be cheering you on.

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        #4
        Rainbow Dragon Great goals. I know you will achieve them. I look forward to reading your progress throughout this year

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          #5
          GoGoGo

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            #6
            Thank you LtGymaholic Kakarot PETERMORRIS966 HellYeah .

            It's go time!

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              #7
              "Before" pic is now posted (added to my initial post in this thread).
              Let the challenge begin!

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                #8
                Originally posted by Rainbow Dragon View Post

                Let the challenge begin!
                Let's do this

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                  #9
                  I don't think you'll be in the same shorts and bra if you maintain the rage. You'll need a smaller size. Glad you are still allowing yourself indulgences. Food can be pleasurable, and a treat is onlya treat if it is occasional. With all the support I've already seen around here, I am sure you'll achieve your goal. Look forward to reading your progress!

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                    #10
                    Thank you Fremen , TopNotch .

                    I agree re: food, TopNotch . Great food is a great pleasure to me. I love to create it, to eat it, and to share it with friends. But the factory-produced junk I was buying from the store was never all that great, and I was eating far too much of it. I am glad to be rid of that stuff now.

                    The shorts I'm wearing in my "before" pic are the smallest/tightest I can currently fit into. The bra is a good fit now, but I'm not carrying much excess weight around my chest or rib cage area, so I don't expect to see a huge change in that part of my body. In any case, both articles of clothing are spandex. So I should still be able to wear them for a photograph a year from now, even if they're not providing as much compression by then.

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                      #11
                      February 13, 2020 Update:

                      Laura Rainbow Dragon posing on February 13, 2020

                      Weight: 158 lbs. (71.7 kg)

                      Program Compliance Stats for January 13 - February 12:

                      Exercise Minimums Met: 31/31 days
                      3 Balanced Meals/Day with No Snacks: 31/31 days
                      Only Homemade Food: 31/31 days
                      A Salad a Day: 31/31 days
                      (I took on DAREBEE's Salad a Day Challenge last month and have decided to continue this practice going forward.)
                      # of Sweets: 3 homemade desserts / 0 squares chocolate / 2 slices chocolate cheese

                      Comment


                        #12
                        March 15, 2020 Update:

                        Laura Rainbow Dragon posing on March 15, 2020

                        Weight: 153 lbs. (69.4 kg)

                        Program Compliance Stats for February 13 - March 14:

                        Exercise Minimums Met: 31/31 days
                        3 Balanced Meals/Day with No Snacks: 30/31 (I slept in so late on March 14 I ended up eating only 2 meals that day)
                        Only Homemade Food: 31/31 Days
                        A Salad a Day: 31/31 Days
                        # of Sweets: 3 homemade desserts / 1 square of chocolate / 1 slice of chocolate cheese

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Comparison shot of Laura Rainbow Dragon posing on January 13 and March 15, 2020.

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                            #14
                            The difference can be seen congrats

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                              #15
                              Thank you Fremen .

                              I've never done this photo comparison thing before, and I have to admit: it does make me happy. Obviously, I knew I was losing weight. I can see the numbers dropping on my scale, and I can fit into clothes now that I could not wear 2 months ago. But the change is really clear in those photos. I work hard in my training to build and maintain a strong body. I know I reap the benefits from that training in what I am able to do with my body. I know this is what's important. But I still allow myself to be at least a little bit happy when I can visibly see the results of my training too.

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