Effort = Results

Happy Month 5 of The Sparkle Plan, my made-up diet and wellness plan. What’s the Sparkle Plan? Check out the inaugural post here. (Short version: I set off to lose weight and feel better about myself by setting small monthly goals to help me achieve larger goals.)

As reported last month, I had a very hellacious couple of weeks of traveling and being so busy that I didn’t know what the heck was going on. And yes, I ended up gaining weight from it. However, after my Month 4 post, my brother offered me some advice. I’m going to share it with you now.

  1. Drink lots of water.
  2. Avoid sodium because it makes you feel icky and retain weight.
  3. Don’t snack unless it’s a banana, almonds or something healthy.
  4. Prioritize your own health over everything else. Work out first thing in the morning even if it is just walking for 30 minutes.
  5. Get as much sleep as possible.
  6. Eat fish or chicken and vegetables. Avoid steak and pasta.

“Keep this in mind – walk as much as possible. It adds up over time. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, park far away from the store. All that stuff matters over the long term. Don’t worry about short-term results. Do the right things and good things will happen.”

He ended with, “Always invest in yourself first. You deserve it.”

Here's a picture of me and my wise brother.

Here’s a picture of me and my wise brother.

This advice came at the exact right moment and I really needed to hear it. Item #4 particularly resonated with me because even though I hate admitting this, I’ve gained about 15 pounds since August. Why?

I got my dog, Harry, last August. Yes, we go on long walks, but these walks don’t get my heart rate up (except when we go into unexpected interval training while chasing after a rogue squirrel.) I haven’t been able to get into an exercise routine because I feel guilty leaving Harry all day at work and then coming home and leaving him again to go to the gym. Even though I know I need to exercise.

So with my brother’s advice in mind, I made some changes. I go to bed earlier, even if it means DVRing my favorite TV show instead of watching live. I go to the gym both weekend days when I have more time. During the week, I run twice – but instead of using the treadmill at the gym, I run around my neighborhood. That cuts my time away from Harry in half. Two other days, I do weight and ab workout DVDs at home. Harry even joins in by standing on my stomach during crunches or dive-bombing me from the couch.

Well guess what? This effort has paid off. I’ve lost 9 pounds this month! Woo-hoo! I’m so proud of myself and I’m already feeling better!

Let’s chat in the comment section. Do you make yourself a priority or (like me) do you feel guilty taking time for yourself?

*I am not a doctor or anything close to a doctor. My brother is also not a doctor. While I happen to think we are both brilliant and I know our mother would agree, take our advice with the knowledge that I majored in English and theater and my brother majored in business. Also, we both hate sick people. Always consult your own physician before embarking on any fitness or eating plan.