Here we are! After 10 weeks, this is the final update of my learning project. I spent these last weeks learning, exploring, motivating, and challenging myself to build a healthy lifestyle I could maintain. In this final post, I will be explaining where I started, a summary of every week, my successes, and my… flops. I also want to explain how I feel now, after my project, and what I hope to continue doing even after this is course is over.
Where I Started
My first post, “ My Fitness Journey… So Far” explained how I was able to lose almost 50lbs and start my fitness journey at the beginning of the pandemic from May 2020 to July 2021. I had already lost weight in 2016, but gained it back due to first-year teacher stress. I was already starting at a pretty good place in September 2021 ( after running a lot in the summer) but I knew that if I wanted to keep the weight off and be healthier, I needed to learn how to actually live a healthier life. I also wanted to find ways to stay consistent during the school year. I didn’t want to fall off the wagon and gain the weight back, which I have done before. I also wanted to take this opportunity to help others who need motivation and share my favourite fitness tech accessories and gear.
Summary of Every Week
For the first official week, I started off easy by setting a goal of hitting 10,000 steps every day while using my Fitbit to keep track. I also willed myself to read before bed every night. This learning project wasn’t just about keeping the weight off, but learning how to live a healthy life and make better choices, like reading before bed instead of scrolling on my phone. It was definitely a great start to my project and I was motivated to keep going!
Week #2 was all about starting a good workout routine. After a summer of being able to work out whenever I wanted, I knew I had to wake up early to work out before the school day. (I am definitely too tired to work out after school). I started by using RingFit Adventure to work out 3 days a week. I also ran 10km every day on the weekend. I began packing much healthier lunches so I could eat more fruits, vegetables, and make better eating choices during the day. Another great week was had and I really enjoyed waking up early. I found myself having more energy and being happier throughout the day
For weeks #3 and #4, I took up yoga, an exercise that was a bit scary, since it was pretty new to me. I also started measuring my coffee creamer ( which I still do to this day!) I also shared my favourite running app: NikeRunClub. Weeks #3 and #4 made me realize that even the little changes count. Small habits make a difference!
Halfway through my learning project ( Weeks #5 and #6), I started getting a bit bored of using RingFit Adventure. I started using Work Out Videos on Youtube that brought back my motivation to wake up early! This is also when I started facing my biggest struggle of maintaining a healthy life: My relationship with food. These two weeks, I really took the time to research healthy relationships vs. unhealthy relationships with food. I also reflected on why I need to work on this area. These weeks were definitely when I hit a wall during my project. I was feeling tired, bored, and worried about how I would keep going as the days got colder and darker. I also knew I was facing a big challenge in my life by working on a guilt-free, worry-free relationship with food.
For the next 3 weeks (#7,8,9), I was faced with snow, as well as colder and darker days. This took a toll on everything. My eating habits really declined compared to weeks #5 and #6 ( even though I was still really trying to stop snacking as much). I also had trouble motivating myself to run outside and wake up to work out. I still did it, but it was really difficult. I also shared my weighted hula hoop which is something I started using when it’s too cold and dark to walk outside. Nearing the end of my project, I was feeling a bit disappointed that I did not get more done in the 10 weeks I had, especially when it came to my eating habits. This week, I really had to face the fact that sometimes, the motivation isn’t there. But I know that even if I take a week off, I can get back into it and start fresh! It’s always about getting back up!
For my last week, I decided to count my calories using MyFitnessPal to help understand what I’m eating and how I am fueling my body. It went well and helped me stay on track with my snacking. I thought it would not be good for my mental health and the way I saw food, but I saw no negative side effects. It’s definitely not something I want to do for the rest of my life, but I would like to keep using it until I can start intuitive eating on my own.
I am happy to say that I started my journey not doing any other exercise besides running and after getting into a habit of only working out 2 days a week since I was so busy with teaching at the beginning of the year. I was able to learn and do new exercises consistently! I worked out 3-4 times every week, waking up at 5:30am as well as doing yoga once a week. I also kept running every weekend even in the snow and hit some pretty big running milestones. (my fastest 5km and 2500km in total!)
With this project, I started reading more before bed and was able to keep pretty consistent with that. I am happy to find myself making small, but meaningful changes. The lunches I pack daily are still healthy and I am accustomed to less creamer in my coffee. I walk around more during my supervision and I am participation in Physical Education with my students when possible. This project has also helped me lean towards healthier snacks. (I am now craving fruit and vegetables!) I am happy with how I felt counting calories and how it helped me stay on track during the last week. These changes have definitely given me more energy and happiness in my daily life.
What I Wish Would Have Went Better
Even though I am happy with the workout part of my learning project, I am disappointed that I am not further in developing a better relationship with food. From staffroom snacks to snacking at night, I didn’t succeed as much as I would have liked in this area. Even though I maintained my weight throughout this entire project ( a great key to knowing you have a healthy relationship with food!), I still feel guilt, worries, and snacking temptations most days. Calorie counting helped me not feel guilty eating when I was hungry, especially on days I worked out quite a bit, but I wish I would have developed a better relationship with food before the end of this project.
Even though this learning project is over, I know that this is a lifestyle choice I want to keep up for well.. hopefully, my whole life! I need to keep working on this every day! I will keep my routine of working out 3-4 times a week and running on the weekends. I also need to buy warmer running gear! I know I have this down and this will be easy to keep up. I am already thinking of what I can accomplish next year. (A half marathon might be on my plate!)
For the food part of this project, I am going to keep counting calories until I feel like I can fuel my body with what it needs on my own. I will keep looking into intuitive eating as well. I will continue my small changes ( healthy lunches, less creamer, less snacking in the staffroom, etc).
Here is the biggest challenge I want to do next: Bullet Journaling!
I bought a bullet journal last week and this is my goal for the new year. For the next month, I will do research and get ideas of how I want to set up my journal. Then, I will write and draw out January 2022 in my journal during the holidays. On January 1st, I will challenge my creative side and focus on setting healthy lifestyle goals. I will write them and check them off in my journal to feel that sense of accomplishment every day. I am really excited!
I want to thank everyone who followed along, left comments, made suggestions, and motivated me the past 3 months. In all, I am very pleased with how my learning project went, especially the fitness side of it and its consistency. As for my food habits, I know that I need to keep working on this, but I already have plans set in stone for this that I am looking forward to trying! (Hello, bullet journal!) I don’t think I would have been able to keep myself accountable, keep consistent with exercising, and really get into developing a better relationship with food without the push to blog and learn new ideas during this project. It definitely helped me become a better version of myself.
Thank you for all your support!