September fitness and self-care goals

Well, here we are into September already. I can’t believe how fast this year has gone by. As promised in my latest blog update, I told you that I would keep my fitness posts to about once per month. I’ve decided to post my fitness goals for the month at the beginning of every month. In the same post, I’ll include any changes or updates that I had in the previous month. This way I can focus on other topics that I love writing about.

I’ll break these goals and ideas into categories for you, so you can get an idea of how to plan your fitness goals too.

Continue to eat healthy and “mostly clean”

What this means is that I am preparing the majority of my meals. Like 95% of the food that goes into my mouth. That includes things like pita wraps, salads, casseroles, stews, etc. I’m eating a lot of vegetables and about one piece of fruit daily. I’m drinking more water, or flavored water (crystal light) and switched to almond milk which I drink every morning with my breakfast.

I’m using products like oatmeal, honey and nuts in my baking to add more fibre and oils to my daily diet plan. I’m also making sure to have a good sized dinner which will contain my protein for the day.

I’m trying to stick to a regular food schedule. My first meal of the day is from 8:00 am to 10:00 am depending on when I get up. My last meal of the day is 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. If I get hungry later on, I’ll snack on a something high in fibre, a piece of fruit, or popcorn. Or a “party mix” that I’ve started making on my own. I’d like to get into making protein shakes but I’m shopping around for a good blender.

If you can recommend a budget friendly blender, let me know in the comments. Reviews on Amazon and Walmart are hit and miss.

I have been sharing recipes as I go along. I’m also looking for a new slow cooker so I can get back into doing roasts and stews.

Exercise daily

My plans to go to the gym are put on hold indefinitely. My knees are not cooperating and we’re back to having a mask mandate in our city. Working out with a mask on is not viable for me. I’m getting super tired of this crap too. I’m not interested in debates. I just the wish this all would be over and we can get back to a somewhat normal life. My skin would appreciate the break too.

The community rec centre is STILL under renos. So, I’m using my mini cycle on a daily basis and just trying to keep moving around the condo. My suite is large enough to walk around quite a bit. Sometimes I’ll go up and down the halls just to stretch my legs. And sometimes I’ll wander to the garbage bins just to get some exercise. I’m hoping to get in a few walks before winter hits but my knees are just giving me grief. I have to book an xray next week to get that checked out. And then an MRI to check on the ligaments. I also have some labwork I need to do.

I’m also waiting on a referral to Rheumatology. I suspect I have EDS (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome) but I have to go through the tests and evaluation first. I’ve already seen a specialist who misdiagnosed me with Fibromyalgia. I find these guys just don’t know what to do for hypermobility. A friend from church has a contact in occupational therapy who works with musicians. He said he’d get in touch with her and I’m grateful for that. I have a lot of good people in my life.

The reason I exercise is not only for weight loss, but for building strength, repairing my knees, and increasing stamina. Weight loss mostly comes from what you eat and how much you eat. But for me, personally, exercise does help make me feel better and can reduce inflammation of joints as well.

A lot of people ask me about my mini-cycle. My sister had a lot of questions and wondered how it worked when she saw it. The reason I purchased this one is that it’s compact and stores easily under my desk. You won’t get the same level of workout as a stationary bike. But – for me, it’s great. It does get the heart pumping. You can also place the cycle on a table and use your arms with it.

What I like about this model is that it only requires one battery to operate. It’s small. Portable. And it has a counter that keeps track of your time and how much you’ve cycled for. This is a great option for seniors or people with limited mobility.

I also have a set of dumbbells, resistance bands and will be adding some kind of stepper or compact machine to my home gym. If you want to learn more about my fitness routines, please visit my fitness page.

Regular sleep schedule

Now that the weather is cooler, I’m able to sleep a lot better. I got new jersey sheets from Walmart and they feel nice to crawl into. But after one wash, the sheets are starting to pill already. I’ll have to invest in a good set later on. For now they’ll do. I also put on my old winter comforter after a good wash and I forgot how “comforting” the blanket is. I’ll need to run it through the dryer again to get it more fluffy though. It’s a bit stiff as it’s been in storage for a couple of years.

I’m aiming to be in bed by 1 am most nights. That means going outside around 10 pm or 11 pm – which is almost better now that it’s colder. It’s quieter out in the evenings now as school is back in session. I found an old blanket that I can use outside and am looking forward to curling up with some reading. The plan is to start getting up earlier. I’ve been aiming for 9-10 am these days but I’d like to change that to 7-8 am in the next few months.

If you are having troubles sleeping at night, might I recommend the following items:

  • Blackout curtains
  • A fan or white noise machine
  • Jersey knit sheets (cool and warm at the same time)
  • A comforting comforter
  • Body pillows

A clean and organized bedroom with colors that relax you and not stress you out can help. This is my dream bedroom here.

So, a typical day will look like this now.

  • Wake up: 6:00 – 8:00 am
  • Breakfast: 7:00 – 9:00 am
  • Wellness Break: around 10:00 am
  • Lunch: 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
  • Dinner: 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
  • Balcony reading: 10:00 pm – 12:00 am
  • Bed: by 12:00 – 1:00 am

I mean, this will depend on what’s going on that day. But I need a strict schedule to actually get things done. I’m looking at getting some kind planner or online calendar that I can start putting in daily reminders too. That’s going to be a HUGE change!

I sit outside every night. From 10 minutes to 2 hours depending on the weather and how I feel. I plan on using a blanket and maybe getting a heater for winter months. As for the snow, we’ll figure that out when it happens.

Calorie goals

So, I deleted my post on calorie zig zagging. I decided it was too much work for me. I’m still using My Fitness Pal to track calories, because again, this is what I need. It helps keep me on track and helps to meal plan for the day. I can see how much I’ve eaten and plan accordingly.

What wasn’t working: going as low as 1200 calories daily. Some days I was as low as 1000 calories because of the foods I was eating – and nothing. If anything, I was gaining weight. After about two weeks of eating mostly clean and sticking to between 1400 and 1700 calories daily – I’m finding that I’m feeling less bloated, and have less cravings at night time. Part of this is hormones. A really low calorie diet doesn’t always work with PCOS. Neither does a really low or restrictive carb diet.

For carbs, I aim for 100-150ish daily. That’s hard to do sometimes as some of the vegetables and fruits I love are high carb. So for me, that’s why counting calories works so much better. Meal portioning also helps tremendously.

I’m seeing progress in just a few weeks. My pants are all fitting again and I nearly fit into a size 18 this morning. My skin is clearing up and I feel good overall (minus the joint pain, etc). The migraines have lessened a bit this week too.

I highly recommend My Fitness Pal to people just starting out. You can follow me there at @mostlysingle.

This is why I find counting calories to be really helpful. It helps me get a sense of how much I’m eating. A lot of fitness is math for some people. Once you get a sense of how much you’re eating, eventually you get to a point to where you don’t need to count anymore. But since I’m trying so many new recipes, it’s important to me.

Meal planning

I’m experimenting with different types of food and my fridge is full to the brim with healthy foods. Here’s a list of what I have on hand for this week.

  • Vegetables fresh: spinach, celery, carrots, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, fresh garden tomatoes, canned corn
  • Vegetables frozen: butternut squash, peas, corn
  • Fresh fruit: grapefruit, strawberries, bananas and some leftover Gaia apples
  • Frozen fruit: berry mixture for pies and crumbles, blueberries
  • Canned and dried goods: my pantry is stocked up with lots of beans, legumes, rice, nuts, popcorn, and a whole bunch of baking ingredients.
  • Protein: chicken thighs, chicken breasts, basa fillets, cooked ham, imitation crab, lean ground beef and some odds and ends leftover from the summer. I always keep things like pork chops, ground beef and chicken on hand.
  • Other sources of protein include almond or natural peanut butter, almond milk, and lots of cans of tuna. These have a long shelf life too. I have a carton of eggs that I need to cook up this week.
  • Other: I’m tying to reduce how much dairy I consume, I have almond milk instead of dairy milk and goat cheese. There is a tub of rice pudding I need to use up from the summer too.

Breakfast ideas

  • Special K cereal, low fat yogurt, handful of berries
  • 1 piece of toast, peanut butter, side of banana
  • 1 cup of cooked ham, 2 eggs, 1 piece of toast
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, 1 piece of fruit
  • 1 cup of oatmeal, 1 banana, add some honey
  • 1 piece of my protein or energy oatmeal recipes
  • 1 home baked muffin (zucchini, carrot, etc)
  • 1 large glass of protein smoothie

You get the idea. I always have a cup of almond milk, and coffee with my breakfast now. I’m also drinking a glass of water when I get up in the morning with my vitamins and medicine.

Lunch ideas

  • Pita wrap with protein filling, spinach, goat cheese and side of raw veggies
  • Bowl of hot soup with a piece of toast and low fat cheese
  • Scrambled eggs with a side of ham and bell peppers
  • Chicken spinach salad with cranberries, walnuts and poppy seed dressing
  • Hardboiled eggs, piece of fruit, crackers and low fat cheese
  • Veggie samplers and hummus

Dinner ideas

  • Chicken thighs, sticky rice and vegetables (carrots, peas or broccoli)
  • Creamy ham or chicken tarts
  • Spinach and cheese crustless quiche
  • Pan seared basa fillet with a side of mashed potatoes
  • Roasted honey ham, asparagus and sweet potato toast
  • Flatbread pizza (cheat meal)

I’m still allowing myself a cheat meal during the week. Twice a month, I’ll order in from Skip the Dishes. I had a bad week in August where I ordered in THREE times in one week. It was after that week that I said nope. I need to do better. My freezer is now fully stocked with meals for future nights when I’m not feeling up to cooking. I’m going to do a bunch of batch cooking and baking this week as well.

Social media detoxing and other goals

I uninstalled Reddit from my phone. I’m getting tired of spending time on some social media sites where I can’t control who is reading my content and leaving comments. At least on TikTok and Twitter, I can mute certain subjects and block people at any time. I’ve also set my Twitter account to private. I have almost 2000 followers and have lots of local friends that I chat with on a daily basis.

Facebook and instagram is locked down for friends and family only. This helps with drama. I follow the content I want to see and unfollow or mute topics I’m not interested in. The way I see it, when it comes to social media – any drama that follows you is on you. You can simply choose to not participate in discussions you know are going to get ugly. It’s why you’ll never see topics like religion or politics on this blog. You can also unfriend anyone at any time.

I’m focusing on keeping this blog a positive place and will be sharing artwork, home projects and other things that inspire me. I’m filling my days with tasks like reorganizing my kitchen. Today I’m working on my office and going through all my “clutter” and paperwork. I cleaned out my bedroom closet today and have to work on the pantry this week too.

Spending less time on the internet arguing with stupid people is one of my big time goals.

Self-care goals

This is a big one for me. I’m removing negative people and relationships from my life slowly. Surprisingly, family members that I never talked to much before are reaching out. My nephew turned 17 yesterday and I asked him what he wanted for his birthday. We agreed on theory lessons. He’ll be coming here every couple of weeks once he’s settled in school. Hence, the reason I need to organize my music room. The girls are easier to get presents for. I make them all bracelets.

I want to be the aunt that the kids can come see at any time. I’ve neglected them over the years due to living downtown – nearly 45 minutes away for the past 20 years. Not driving sucked for visits. But now, I’m 5-10 minutes by car away from most of the kids. They aren’t kids anymore. They are young adults and are terrific and amazing young in every way. I’m putting in more of an effort to get to know them better. We have a family gathering next weekend and I’m going to make a serious effort to talk to them each individually. There’s 9 of them, so that’s a challenge.

I’m seeing my dad weekly – usually on Saturdays. I’ve cut back to playing music at the church to twice a month. I have a schedule for it which makes it easier to plan things. And now that my home is nearly ready, I’m looking forward to being able to have my siblings over for coffee visits or drinks.

Moving to the south side of the city was a life changer for me. True, I haven’t explored the area as I said I would. But being closer to everyone is a huge bonus. It means that I can see them more often.

As for self-care, I’m still doing therapy sessions bi-weekly. I’m exercising daily, getting regular sleep. My anxiety has lessened but it’s still there. That’s a symptom of hypermobility. I know that now. It’s an auto-immune disorder and one I’ll have to learn to live with.

Once I can get in the gym without a mask, I will. And once the pool is open, that’s an option too.

I’m working on daily art and music projects or as energy allows for it. This is my therapy too. Like writing is. And I’ll never apologize for writing TOO much. It’s my therapy too. I’ll be sharing those posts with you from time to time as well. I really want to learn watercolor and have the supplies to do it now!

I have sad news. I had to cancel my Ipad order. I called Rogers yesterday to switch my order to the Ipad 7 since the 8th generation tablet is on backorder. They have ZERO in stock right now and have no idea when they will be in stock.. So, I’m going to wait until Christmas time or the next Black Friday sale to order one. I’m disappointed. I was really looking forward to it. But on the upside, I managed to pay off my phone and am basically just paying for my monthly data plan. Save myself about $50 per month.

And on that note, I wish you a very happy – September 1st. Let me know what your goals for the month are in the comments!

Updated: Oh man, the typos. I shouldn’t write before coffee.

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