BEST SELF PROJECT // the plan

This is the post where I lay out my initial plan. I’m not naive enough to expect that I’ll stick to a specific meal plan, or schedule because life gets in the way, and sometimes you have to adjust. But setting out some guidelines and being prepared is a great idea which you can do too!
First, here are a few of the driving factors behind this Best Self Project.

For the past few months I’ve been in my comfort zone.

That is I ate pretty much what I felt like for 70% of the time, which meant sub-optimal protein levels most days, a few fruits and veggies, lots of high calorie snacks like protein bars, and processed foods.
I have noticed a very strong correlation between nutrition and mindset, wellbeing and productivity. On days where I ate well, drank plenty of water and moved a lot my productivity levels were higher, I felt energized and I got more shit done basically. On days where I was dehydrated from alcohol the previous evening, or I had spent the day eating foods you’d expect to find at a kid’s birthday party I was low, sluggish and lacked focus. I’d still get workouts done, but my performance was not so great and I didn’t push myself.

My overall feeling was ‘I can’t be bothered’. And that sucked.

Since adding more cardio into my fitness regime through Crossfit, I realised that I wasn’t as fit as I thought I was. 400m runs feel slow and heavy, and it has crossed my mind several times that it could be my nutrition letting me down. I am also bloated several times a week. It’s a similar story with my skin. A couple of years ago I cut out processed food and sugar, and my skin cleared up. Since then it has crept back in, and as a result I get some skin issues – mainly redness, blotchiness, and a few spots. Nothing major but still enough to prevent me from feeling confident enough to leave the house without make-up on. What this has taught me is that the body reveals externally what is going on internally.

So what am I going to do?

GOAL #1: to dial in my nutrition

I’m not calling it a diet, because they don’t work. ‘Diets’ to a lot of people mean cutting out food groups. Some foods have more health properties than others (lean meats, fruits and veggies for instance) and some are calorie-packed with little nutritional value. But there’s seldom a good reason to completely ban any food from a plan. Most foods can all have a place. It’s about balance!

Instead I’m going to focus on:

  • eating mostly wholefoods, and making them enjoyable
  • having the right portion sizes for me
  • meal prepping
  • trialling intermittent fasting (specifically the 16:8)
  • eating more mindfully
  • drinking plenty of water
  • adding in some gut friendly bacteria
I’m going to track my intake on MyFitnessPal using the macros estimated on this calculator. For tips and tricks on using the app, check out this post. I will be sharing posts on Instagram of my meals and resources I have found helpful along the way, such as social media accounts and cookbooks.

GOAL #2: to monitor my hormones, and create strategies to work with them

Being ‘on’ can have a huge impact on your training and your food, more than you’ve probably ever been told. The connection between hormones and fat loss in women is fascinating, and while I could waffle on about it, the easiest thing to do is to point you in the direction of this brilliant video by James Smith who explains it perfectly.
Basically the first two weeks of your cycle you are at your best, and the latter two weeks not so much. During these last two weeks you can feel bloated, lethargic and crave not-so-great food choices (bet you know this already right?). Being aware of how you feel throughout the month and learning from it can really help you to manage the negative effects better in the months that follow. So my second goal is to keep note of how I am feeling, where I am in my cycle and the cravings I have. This will be kept in a written journal I have by my bed to complete every day.

GOAL #3: to track my physical progress

By this I mean progress photos, and a weigh in. To be fair I will use my scales at home, at the same time every morning whilst getting dressed, and before I’ve even drank any water. At the end of each week I will take the average of these 7 weigh ins and see how I’m doing.
What I am expecting to find is that this number will not necessarily change very much, as weight doesn’t really indicate fat loss. I’ll explain more on this in a future post. So my main aim is to use photos, how I feel in my clothes and most importantly how I feel day to day and through my training. This is what I tell my clients to focus on too!

GOAL #4: to be positive and kind to myself

To be honest this is the one I feel most unsure about in terms of actions to take. I’d like to take some time for myself, whether it’s sitting down with a good book, having a manicure (if you know me you’ll know I really need this), or listening to educational podcasts. What do you like to do to get yourself into a happy place?
I’m measuring this by starting a gratitude diary, that is using my journal to write down 3 things I am grateful for each day. Many people have credited this for them feeling more positive in their day to day lives, so I’ll give this a go.

ANYTHING ELSE?

What do I really want out of this? A few thoughts…
  • To motivate and support others on a similar journey
  • To be my own personal trainer
  • To feel less bloated
  • To feel more in control of my health
  • To lose some body fat
  • To document a fat loss phase from start to finish
Having goals to work towards can be motivational and fun, and having a plan to stick to can help a lot, so I am quite hyped for January. You may have noticed that training is not mentioned in my list of goals. As explained in the previous post, I am happy with how Crossfit is going so I will be attending classes 5 days a week, and adding in a session of my own too. I walk a fair bit, usually around 15000 steps per day so this helps too. A long as this remains consistent it’s all good.
In the next post I’ll share my starting statistics, current physique (okay body shape then) and some more information about the food! Because I know that’s what you’re really interested in 😉
It’s not too late to join in! Let me know what your goals are, I’d love to here about the changes you want to make this year.
Elly x


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