A new year begins

I’ve decided to try something a bit different this year. I’m not usually one for new year resolutions, but this year I have made a few. I’m being easy on myself, and am hoping that by not making them to strict I won’t be setting myself up for failure. In the past if I did make any resolutions I was very specific about them. Within days I had broken them and once broken I seemed to just forget all about them. I hope I succeed with these ones.

The first has been inspired by the Planetary Diet guidelines. It’s just one little positive step that I can make for the environment, with a side benefit of better health for me. I’m endeavouring to eat less animal protein, and more vegetables, including more vegetable protein. I will still be eating red meat, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy, just in considerably less quantities. Hence, this would be a hard one to make specific anyway. I’ll have to be careful to not slip back into a meat and three veg routine. I also want to make a conscious effort to waste less food.

Also as per the planetary dietary guidelines, water should be our preferred drink of choice. I used to drink a lot of water, but somehow my water consumption has reduced considerably in recent years. I used to drink water at room temperature poured straight from the tap. Then I started to prefer it chilled or with ice. I think that made it to much effort, and I suspect that subconsciously I must have thought if I had to put effort into making a drink I may as well make it a hot drink. Consequently i’ve been drinking more tea and coffee than I used to drink. This year my plan is to switch back to drinking several glasses of tap water throughout each day.

My third resolution is something I have to do – my exercises. The slow downward spiral into decrepitness that began many years ago has been speeding up over the years. It’s now travelling at the speed of a toboggan on an icy slope, and I know I have to go hard and fast at something to get myself back onto a solid footing. I have a set of very basic Pilates exercises I try to do often. I do them daily for a few weeks, then something happens which upsets my routine, and I miss out on exercising. Before I know it several weeks or months have gone past without me doing any exercises, and I only realise it when my sciatic nerve starts giving me jip, and when I wake up feeling more decrepit than an 80 year old. On top of that, late last year an investigation of a pain in my heel revealed multiple bone Spurs growing into my Achilles tendon, and calcification. Damn – walking is difficult. The physio has given me exercises which need doing three times a day, and the podiatrist has made me some orthotics. The podiatrist made them for me for half price as he said they are a trial for both him, and me. He’s unsure if they will help. So my third resolution is to endeavour to exercise daily when possible, and when not possible to only let a day or two go by before getting back into routine.

And last but least of my resolutions is to record daily what I’ve eaten, the glasses of water consumed, and the exercises completed.

Today is the 4th of January and I’m pleased to report I’ve done a set of my basic Pilates exercises once each day for four days, and I’ve done my prescribed ankle exercises three times daily as recommended. I’ve consumed 3 – 4 glasses of water each day, and a few less of my usual cups of tea and coffee. My breakfast each day is much the same as usual, cereal, yogurt and berries. My lunches and dinners have been a little different than what I’m used to. I cooked up a cup of French lentils and some chick peas on the first day of the year, and have had some of one or the other in all of my lunches and dinners so far. I used an egg to turn some of the lentils into patties. I added some lentils to tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum, and avocado for bruschetta, with a reduced amount of Parmesan than usual.

I’ve made a chickpea, vegetable, and peanut stir fry, and I’ve made another stir fry with lentils and 1 small can of tuna. Any left overs have formed the base for a meal of some sort the following day. This is a huge reduction on my usual animal protein intake, but as you can see, it is by no means a completely vegetarian diet. I’ll make sure I add some red meat later in the week, but I’ll try to reduce the amount by about half and will try to make up the shortfall with some black beans or some other sort of pulse or legume.

Four days gone, no wastage yet, and I’ve recorded everything daily. I’m happy with what I’m eating, and I’m happy with the amount of exercise I’m doing. The meals we’re eating are different, but are definitely palatable. I’m happy!

14 thoughts on “A new year begins

  1. Great start! After I broke my foot in 2019 I was given exercises to do and I found it much easier to keep doing them if I recorded them. I created a table with all the exercises and columns for each date. I tick off each exercise as it’s done. I find it much easier to keep going if I’m accountable to my piece of paper and I’m still doing all my exercises every day 20 months later. Good luck.

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    1. Wow, 20 months is really good going. Do you still record them? I know there will be some days when I don’t do them, but it only takes a day or two to completely drop the habit. My aim is not to let the bad habits form from just a short lapse.

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  2. So far so good, sounds like you’re doing really well so far. It’s keeping up these new habits once you’ve started thats the problem isn’t it? Writing everything down is a great way of keeping on it though.

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    1. Yes Jonno, one small lapse can result in complete disintegration of forming the continuing good habit. I’m hoping to allow myself the occasional lapse without it heralding the complete abandonment of my exercises.

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    1. A lot of your blogging is related to your travels Peggy, so I gather with Covid restrictions it must be quite difficult finding blogging inspiration. Is your daughter still overseas (Vietnam if I remember correctly)? We normally eat the five and two, but also a lot of stuff we shouldn’t eat. We also don’t do a lot towards the reduction of global warming. We’re mainly trying eat less animal sourced protein as it’s the one thing we can easily do towards trying to reverse the damage. I know our little bit isn’t going to make a difference, but one day I think it’s likely that we’re all going to have to make some changes to the way we live, and the way we eat. I’m hoping to be ahead of the game when that happens.

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  3. This sounds like an excellent regime for the New Year, Chris. Well done. You are so positive and pro-active, it is inspirational.
    Similarly to you, I feel that darn toboggan picking up speed since my forced/semi-voluntary retirement in that good habits are hard to kept in the stuck position.
    I have another issue though. I started doing much more exercise. Morning stretches every day – which I have always done- sun salutation etc, yoga twice a week, Qi Gong 2-3 times a week and long walks once a week, and daily shorter walks twice a day. The scales were not stabilizing so I cut down on my intake. Finally, the scales stabilized but I began to have problems. Tendinitis, meninscal flare ups, foot and back pain. The podiatrist who prescribed my new orthotics provided the key to the problem – you have lax ligaments he said. This explains why I injure myself if I do more exercise. It is hard to find the right balance. Your eating regime is a great way to ensure that. I wish the Moth would tolerate eating more pulses but that is fanciful thinking. Does you hubby like the new diet?

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    1. I have pro-active and positive intentions Amanda, but sticking to them is problematic for me. I like that phrase you used, ‘good habits are hard to keep in the stuck position’. I shall have to research Qi Gong – I’ve never heard if that one. I used do a few walks each week, and I loved bushwalking, but in recent years I’ve had a few ankle problems and have been forced to reduce what I should have been expanding on. Now with the Achilles problems I can barely walk at all, and I don’t want to have it operated on.The physio assures me that stretching and strengthening exercises will help, but so far what he’s given me to do hasn’t made a bit of difference. In fact I think it’s worse, not from the exercises, but they don’t seem to preventing further deterioration. Unfortunately Amanda my scales do seemed to be quite stable, but they indicate a figure around 15kgs higher than I’d like it to be. I’m not sure an increase in pulses and legumes is going to re-set my normal weight in a favourable way, but time will tell. Paul is like me, he loves his food – good food, bad food, any food. It’s easy for us to add new foods into our diet without suffering distaste, it’s just hard to resist over indulging on high calorie treats. I’m finding that adding in a small amount of animal protein our meals seem almost mainstream. For example the reduced Parmesan on the bruschetta with a few cooked lentils added. A favourite meal we often have is GadoGado. It’s basically a bowl of mixed steamed vegetables and salad veges topped with a boiled egg, then smothered in satay sauce and sprinkled with peanuts. I add a few chick peas to that to boost the protein. Would your hubby eat that?

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      1. The suggested meal idea is a great idea, Chris and you have reminded me that he will eat anything if it is covered in a creamy sauce. I could occasionally serve a plate of steamed veges and hid in a few smashed chickpeas with a skim milk white sauce over the top. That may help. What puts on the weight for him is his penchant for morning tea. He has made it an art form and neglects lunch because of it. Speaking to his 90 year old Aunt, who lives nearby, she is of the same ilk so I am fighting genetics here and it clearly didn’t harm her too much.
        I attend a free Qi Gong class on the beach. It was started as a rehab for a lady with breast cancer and turned into a community activity. It is big in Sth Korea and possibly China. A bit like Tai Chi but mostly upper body exercises. It is gentle and for me that is the kind of exercise I think I should do. I don’t want to give up yoga but I have to be careful now.
        Sounds like your achillles tendon is torn or aggravated from the bony spurs? Even though the exercises may not feel as though they are helping, you should keep at them as they will strengthen up the muscles around the tendon. I have orthotics as I have spurs that trigger plantar fasciaitis. Oh the joys of aging. In Clint Eastwood’s words – we just have to keep moving.

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