In taking an honest assessment of my health over the past couple of years I can say with soberness that I haven’t treated myself very well. I don’t only mean my being overweight. My weight does have some bearing on different aspects of my total wellbeing, but overall it’s only a small portion of what I am referring to. I’m speaking of my seldom attempts to care for me in the most basic and practical ways- like maintaining my eyebrows or keeping up with a skin care routine, or reading a book even. I’m just not intentional at investing in myself. For that reason, I’ve decided that 2017 will be the year that I finally craft a plan to care for Ty; mind, body, and soul.
I’ve selected four areas of focus— spiritual, health and vitality, intellect, and appearance. I chose these areas because I believe that they work together in making me into a healthy flourishing person. I don’t often consider the importance of nurturing these areas. My intellect, for example, is a God-given gift that I don’t exercise far beyond my daily interactions with others. I haven’t allowed myself to grow mentally because I haven’t created space for it. The same is true of my health and self-image, which all works together to make a “whole” me.
HEALTH & VITALITY
To care for my body, I’m going to be more mindful of what I put in it and on it with the hope of making a significant difference in my weight. I’ve literally struggled with obesity since childhood. Attempts at weight loss in adulthood have been semi-successful. Nothing lasting or truly remarkable. I haven’t been under 200 pounds since the beginning of high school. My lowest weight was 218 and my highest weight was 272. If you count my pregnancy weight my highest was 296. Lately, I’ve been holding steady at 265, which is why I believe my maternity jeans fit almost perfectly.
Many of my weight loss attempts failed because I never had realistic plan for success. I either dive hard into some ridiculous diet trend or I throw myself into some torturous overly excessive meal planning and exercise schedule that is too difficult to maintain. I’m striving for a vibrant healthy lifestyle rather than an ideal weight. While I do have a number in mind, my focus is less on the scale and more on how I feel physically.
My healthy and vitality plan for 2017 (and beyond) is simple:
1. Eat whole foods without weird preservatives, coloring, etc.
2. Eat fish 2-3 days per week, meatless 1-2 days, and lean meats and poultry 2-3 days.
3. Moderate sugar by limiting desserts and sweet treats to two days per week.
4. Reduce saturated fat intake by choosing healthy fats in cooking and baking.
5. Incorporate at least one smoothie per day that contains 2 fruits, 1 veggie, and one healthy fat.
6. Take a multivitamin with tons of B vitamins.
7. Take a probiotic for gut health.
8. Do cardio HIIT 4 days per week, strength train 3 days, and flex and agility 2 days.
9. Take time to breathe and sit with my thoughts with a calm mind. (See spiritual care).
I believe these to be specific, measurable, and realistic goals. The key to my planning success will be the use of SMART goal planning. If you aren’t familiar with SMART goals you may want to check out this blog post. But in short SMART goals are ones that are Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Realistic, and Time-based. I feel that my entire 2017 plan fits that criteria.
The next area of focus is my appearance. Let me just say straight off the top—I like myself. I love myself. I am happy to be me. The way that I dress and present myself sometimes may not reflect that and that is what I want to change. I’ve decided that I’m going to clean out the ragged stained clothes to make room for more fashionable and presentable attire. The fact that we recently decided to become a one income family presents a challenge for creating a new wardrobe. However, I am prepared to hit thrift and consignment shops. As much as I hate thrifting (and shopping to be honest), I know that this will be an immediate solution to my resolve. An added benefit of thrifting will be a financial blessing to my family.
The other changes to my appearance are relatively minor in context but a big deal for me. I don’t wear jewelry other than my wedding band. I want to learn to accessorize outfits. I’m pretty much clueless in that area. I also want to wear different shades of lipstick. So far I own one lipstick. It was a gift from my husband who thought the color suited me well as he saw it on the fabulous Tracee Ellis Ross (he thinks I look like her…I don’t). Anyway, I plan to wear shades that complement my skin and go well with my outfits.
So my agenda for an improved outer appearance is as follows:
1. Sort through all of my clothes and get rid of any article that is stained, torn, and/or ill-fitting.
2. Repair/restore any salvageable items.
3. Shop thrift stores and secondhand shops for new to me items that flatter my shape in accordance with my style.
4. Buy new undergarments and bras.
5. Buy REAL pajamas: no more big shirts and old dresses!
6. Buys one or two accessories per month or so for variety and experiment.
7. Invest in a few new purses and shoes.
8. Go to the cosmetic counter in the mall and learn what lip colors work well for me.
9. Create a consistent skin care routine.
10. Create a natural hair growth and retention plan.
11. Get my eyebrows and mani-pedi done regularly.
This goal is probably the most need but least desired goal I’ve made. In choosing to set time aside for an activity that I haven’t enjoyed since early adulthood I hoping that a love for reading will reignite. I have a reputation for not reading. Anything. I do not read. People know this about me to the point that they will send me a synopsis of a detailed text message. I’ll admit that it’s not a good reputation to have. I want to change the fact that people will preface how long an email may be before sending it. It have only served to legitimize my laziness and ultimately lack of respect for the written work of others. My plan is to change that this year.
In all honesty, I used to read a lot. While I wouldn’t have considered myself an avid reader, I did enjoy works that were highly entertaining. But once I turned to Christ the only thing I felt I could or should read was the Bible. In my mind anything, worth reading was things that I shouldn’t. So I just didn’t read. Or should I say, didn’t read much? A Christian counseling book here and there. Over time it’s gotten easier to not consider reading as important. I’m changing all of that this year. I am going to intentionally care for my intellect by choosing one book to read each month.
This week I got reacquainted with Goodreads and chose 11 books to read over the next year.
1. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
2. Praying God’s Word for Your Husband by Kathi Lipp
3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
4. Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change by Paul David Tripp
5. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
6. Though I Stumble by Kim Cash Tate
7. The Secrets We Keep by Stephanie Butland
8. But God, Wouldn’t I Be More Useful to You If I Were Healthy? (Chronic Pain and the Christian Life) by Esther Smith
9. God Don’t Like Ugly (God Don’t Like Ugly, #1) by Mary Monroe
10. Feminine Appeal (Redesign): Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney
11. Always Watching (Elite Guardians #1) by Lynette Eason
My reading list is made up of recommendations from husband, friends, and a best-sellers lists from the web. Along with a few books that I’d remembered from college. I am alternating between Christian and non-Christian works for variety. I’ve also included both fiction and nonfiction for the same reason. I realize that in order for recreational reading to become a part of my everyday life I will need to crate space it. I am currently working on a daily task schedule that includes leisure time.
The final area of focus for my 2017 self care plan is spiritual growth. Specifically bible reading and prayer. I’m sad to say that I have not read every book of the Bible. I am close to it, though. So I have selected a reading plan that divides books of the Bible into manageable sections for daily reading. Over the course of six months, I will be reading the sections of the Old Testament and Psalms that I haven’t completed. After I have completed the six-month Bible plan I am hoping to start over again from the beginning. I’ll be starting another yearly bible reading plan in September and seeing it through to the end.
My spiritual growth plan consists of:
1. Read the Bible chapters according to the reading plan.
2. Read Extreme Devotion daily devotional for the rest of the year and pray for the persecuted church.
3. Read and pray through the Psalms according to the Bible poetry reading the plan.
4. Start reading Genesis September 1.
I feel like 2017 is going to allow for this needed self-care. I’m hopeful for good results and a lot of internal satisfaction. What are you hopeful this year?
In His grace,