This has been the biggest year of my life so far. It’s been so big that I have dark circles under my eyes that, for the first time in my life, warrant the use of concealer in daily life. First world problems aside, I’ve done a lot! No, I didn’t achieve all my goals but I’m still giving myself a big fat tap on the back because I did a pretty amazing job doing what I did.
In this post I re-cap what some of my goals were and what I’ll be focusing on in 2020.
My joint goals for 2019
My husband and I had the goal to renovate our house and successfully plan our wedding. It was stressful and I got a lot of ‘Oh geez you’re doing a lot in a small space of time.’ I didn’t think of it at the time but my best friend Cassie did say to me one day (and I paraphrase): ‘Getting married and buying a house are two of the biggest things you can do in life and you’re doing them both at once.’
These comments helped me realise how much I was doing and they helped me get through.
We did achieve our goals (except we ran out of time to renovate our bathroom!). I won’t touch too much into this, but I do think it was necessary to mention them as it ties into my 2020 goals.
My personal 2019 goals
My overarching goal for 2019 was to work on my gut health and improve my relationship with food.
- Reduce my reliance on Movicol, a gentle laxative I had to take for 7 and a half months to re-train my bowels. (I started taking it in June 2018 and finished around Jan/February 2019.)
- Eat more meals made from scratch
- Eat what I need
Overall I was successful – go me! In saying that – there is still a lot of room for improvement.
The goal I didn’t achieve
One goal I did not achieve was to exercise for 30 min 5 x a week. I have terrible feet (I have a Morton’s Neuroma in my right foot and bursitis in my left foot) and I’m constantly experiencing pain from it. The level of pain varies depending on the type of shoes I’ve been wearing (e.g. did I wear a mid-heel to a wedding?), how much movement I’ve been doing (e.g. have I walked a few thousand more steps than usual) and what food I’ve been eating.
To extend on the last point: I’ve noticed my foot pain is significantly stronger when I’m not eating well. On the flip side, it’s so much better when I eat foods that I have recently learnt are anti-inflammatory. You will soon see that I’ve taken this learning into my 2020 goals.
Food-related wellness goals
I want to use the foundations I built in 2019 to go further with my wellness goals! It was a great feeling when I reached the point where I didn’t have to take Movicol every day. In saying that, this year I did have a few blocks of 1-2 weeks where I did have to take it again, but that’s so much better than before.
I feel it’s only natural that meal prep and food play a big role in my 2020 goals.
Be more consistent with meal and snack planning
2019 showed me that I am capable of preparing my meals and snacks in advance. But I did slack off some weeks. A lot of the time I’d say to myself ‘I’ll be alright’ but I found it was stressful not coming to work with meals planned and I’d end up eating processed foods to stay full.
Eat more vegetables
I’ve definitely increased my vegetable intake but I feel I can eat more, especially at dinner time! I’ve been reading a lot about gut health and how to create a healthy microbiome. The key is to eat a wide variety of vegetables! This year I’ll try and eat even more.
Eat more dinners made from scratch
This ties into the above goal. My husband and I love to eat pasta and butter chicken. Normally the pasta is from the refrigerated aisle and the butter chicken doesn’t contain any vegetables. I have noticed I feel a lot more ‘heavy’ – like the food is stuck inside of me and holding me down, when I eat this stuff. I want to start making more dinners from scratch and hopefully ensure my plate resembles the one on the right.
Eat less processed food during the week
This relates to my first goal. When I don’t bring enough snacks to work I often opt for processed and high sodium snacks like Sakatas or flavoured popcorn. These make me feel dehydrated and sluggish. I’d like to start making more natural and high fibre snacks!
My husband and I do entertain a lot, or we’re at other people’s places a lot, especially on weekends. I’ve found that if I’m eating healthy and real food during the week, it helps me indulge without experiencing problems a few hours later, or the following day. See how this is all interrelated?!
Continue working on portion control
I’m so much better at portion control these days, but sometimes I slack off and this is usually when I have to go back to Movicol. As I can’t really exercise, portion control is another really important factor in keeping my gut-health in check. So in 2020 I want to continue building on the portion-control lessons I learnt in 2019.
As I’ve mentioned, I have really bad feet, especially for my age. I feel the most comfortable in day to day life when I wear sneakers. These sneakers aren’t usually your trendy type, they’re the sports ones for one main reason; they have a removable insole which allows me to insert my custom-made orthotics. This means your trendy Adidas Stan Smiths or cute New Balance sneakers are a no-go.
As I’m not one to wander around in athleisure all day, my sneakers look quite random with my outfits. I’d be lying if I said this hasn’t had a profound impact on my confidence levels, but it’s my reality so I’ve learnt to ‘just do it’.
I’ve got a few wellness goals for my feet that I’ve written below.
Get a pair of fashionable sneakers
I’ve moved areas and started seeing a new podiatrist as it’s more convenient. She’s told me to buy a pair of ‘podiatrist approved’ Bared Shoes for when I want something nicer to wear. To be honest, if I could just find a pair of trendy white casual sneakers, like the Bared ones on the right, then I’ll be cheering!
That’s one of my goals for this year. If I do try Bared and they’re comfortable for day-to-day wear, then that may open some more fashion doors for me…*crosses all fingers and toes that they’ll be comfortable.*
My podiatrist told me I have really tight calves and this may be contributing to my feet problems. As such, one of my goals is to stretch every day!
Eat more anti-inflammatory foods
I alluded to this in my food-related wellness goals: my foot pain feels better when I eat foods that are considered to be anti-inflammatory. If I follow my food goals then I’ll be achieving this anyway!
Have 2-3 pairs of shoes that I alternate between
It’s good for your feet if you alternate the shoes you wear. I sort of already do this but I really need new shoes because the ones I currently have are almost worn down. I procrastinate shoe shopping a lot because of the aforementioned orthotics ‘issue’, I have size 11 feet so it can be hard to find shoes that actually fit and finally, it’s hard to find shoes that are comfortable. My goal for 2020 is to stop procrastinating these things!
What I learnt in 2019
This sort of relates to my food goals, but I’m not quite sure what to classify it as. My weight has fluctuated a few kg’s over the past 3 years. When my gut and constipation problems began, I lost a lot of weight because I couldn’t eat that much. My gut problems only really began to subside this year because I made an active effort with my wellness goals. For the first time in a long time, I began to eat more normally.
The first half of this year was a lot more crazy than the second half. I spent my weekends, and even some weeknights, driving to and from places to look at wedding or house related stuff. Quite often, as soon as I got home from work I’d have to pop in the car and drive somewhere. I found I was doing something I rarely do: I was skipping meals. Naturally, I unintentionally lost weight.
June to August were pretty bad months for me. I reverted to old habits and boy did my gut suffer. I also ended up gaining weight in a short period of time. I can’t tell you how much as I don’t weigh myself, but some skirts (the only things I have with a zip) don’t fit anymore.
Now the point of the above isn’t to discuss my weight. I obviously have gut problems and on top of that I have foot problems that mean I can’t exercise that much. Exercise and gut health are closely related, but exercise is the missing piece of the puzzle for me, making food ever so important.
I’ve learnt that I do need to have some form of self control and discipline to ensure that I don’t end up lying in bed in the foetal position from stomach cramps. Next year I want to take this big learning and amplify how I apply it to my life. I want to get to a point where I truly understand what works for me, that it’s ‘second nature’ and I don’t have to think too hard about my micro-decisions day to day. If I end up gaining or losing weight, then so be it!