While I am very fortunate to have decent (although exorbitantly expensive) health insurance that is partially subsidized by my employer, there is no such thing as unlimited benefits. So, after three months, I have now finished my 30 physical therapy sessions permitted by my insurance carrier and have been “discharged.” This is a bittersweet milestone. I have found physical therapy to be the second most critical aspect of my ongoing recovery (the first was correcting the PH imbalance in my blood to allow the fracture to heal). However, I do not feel like I am quite back to “normal”. I’m not running or wearing most of my beloved shoe collection. To the insurance carrier, I am walking on my own without substantial pain, therefore, I am good to go! While disappointing, I know that I can take what I have begun in physical therapy and keep progressing forward without going to a designated therapy center. Take that insurance carrier, I will NOT wear my running shoes to the office on a daily basis for the rest of my life if I can help it! So what’s my plan to continue getting stronger, healthier and even more beautiful?
It is simple really, I am determined to eat healthy, workout daily (or near daily) and drink more water. To start, both my orthopedist and my physical therapist suggested bike riding as a low impact cardio exercise. Given my crazy schedule and my family’s many extracurricular activities, it is difficult to set aside the time to get outside and ride. SO – I was very fortunate to receive an exercise bike as a gift for my birthday! I absolutely love it! It is indeed a great low impact cardiac workout and having one in the house allows me to grab a quick “ride” no matter what the weather. It also helps me warm up for other aspects of my daily workouts that I am currently doing, which were designed by Beach Body. I really love these workouts and look forward to them every day. I once read somewhere that it takes 3 weeks to change/develop a habit. The 21 day fix program builds on this premise…promising the body you always dreamed of in 21 days. OK, that’s a little far fetched. I don’t think I’m going to be looking like Taylor Swift in high-waisted bootie shorts anytime soon (Realist remember – I’m over 40 and I have carried two beautiful precious babies), but I knew I could scratch the surface to reviving my best self through this 21 day program. Rather than fall victim to the hype, I set very realistic goals for myself. Sure, I’d like to loose 20 pounds, but I am not a slave to the scale. My goal was, and remains, to increase strength, flexibility and stability. I recognize that muscle weighs more than fat. So I judge my progress based on two things. First, how my body looks in the mirror/how my favorite outfits look on my body (i.e, can I zipper my dress or skirt and still sit down without passing out from lack of oxygen or splitting the seem or can I at least leave the house without my Spanx or super sucker pantyhose) and second, how long can I safely wear a pair of pumps (we’re starting small and I’ve mastered low wedges already). After 21 days I certainly feel stronger. I’ve lost inches off my legs, bootie and belly and lost about 7 pounds. Is it a dramatic difference no, but I feel amazing, which makes all the difference.
While the workouts are key, eating healthy is also necessary to create lean muscle and shed the residuals fat stores that were created as a result of an inactive lifestyle for the past year. That is where I find my biggest challenge. The workouts can be modified to conform with your physical abilities… but if you’re not eating healthy with a goal toward burning fat and feeding lean muscle development, then you’ll never reach your full potential. The 21 day fix program works on a portion control approach similar to that of Weight Watchers. Participants are “allowed” (for lack of a better term) three meals and two snacks per day. Depending on the amount of calories permitted for your personal goals, a certain number of servings of protein, fruits, vegetables, carbs, healthy fats, oils/dressings are allocated each day. When you sign up for the program they give you containers so that you can easily measure, prep and take meals with you on the go. Shakeology is also included in the program as a nutritional supplement/meal replacement option.
I can usually make a shake (chocolate with 1/2 a banana and a TBSP of PB2 powder is my current favorite) for breakfast on the run. Considering I typically don’t eat breakfast otherwise during the week, I find the Shakeology to be key to ward off the tons of pastries and cakes that are always available in the office mid morning. It is packed with vitamins and natural ingredients, but I do have one complaint. Shakeology is three times as expensive as the Plant Fusion protein powder I was using previously. I’m going to keep it up for another few months till I reach my goals and then I may let it go.
I am struggling with the meal planning aspect and often leave the house without snacks or lunch. Making healthy choices is a very important part of my day. Thanks to my coach, who holds me accountable every day and is always there for support, I make it through most days unscathed! I am currently doing a summer salads and squats challenge with many of the women I did the 21 day challenge with so that is keeping me going, but I’d like to redo another 21 days to keep moving toward my goals. Now that I have the exercise routine established in my life (that 3 week thing really works – I love working out now) I can work on adding in the healthy clean eating and meal planning for the next round. That 20 pound weight loss looks more and more like a realistic goal. Who knows! Perhaps next month I’ll be saying the same thing about those Taylor Swift inspired high-waisted shorts! If nothing else, it is a great motivator.
** Photo Credit: The Berry