How I Planned My Health Despite the Pandemic

At the beginning of 2020, New Year’s resolutions were made, and many were stoked to get started on their journey to better health, better habits, and making better choices overall. Then COVID-19 hit and gyms closed and businesses and stores limited their hours and access. All of the sudden, those goals set at the beginning of the year felt so out of reach.

At the top of the year, I had sworn that I was finally going to get my diet under control, go to the gym, and most of all, cut the excuses and stop neglecting my health. With the gyms closing and the heat starting to roll in, I was struggling to reach those goals. After a month-long skin break out and an unexplained infected finger that rendered me ill to my bed without being able to eat and drink, I had found my “Why” to exercise and get my diet under control. On April 19th, I made a plan of how I was going to lose weight and diet, ultimately having never looked back.

Food Yessica Lee A big part of my health journey is making sure that I plan my meals. One of the essential things I make sure I get into my weekly plan is meal prep. I wrote down when I originally planned to eat more whole foods, fruits and veggies. When I first started making my grocery lists, I noticed that not only will meal prepping be important, but setting aside time to cook would be equally as important. So, each week I set aside one day to go to the grocery store and buy enough food to  even have some leftovers. One benefit to having leftovers is it gives me something to freeze and have at the end of the month when money is a little tight. While meal prepping is good and all, it is also a smart idea to track the food that you are eating. I use an app that I discovered in my biology class called Chronometer. Not only does the app tracks my calories, but it gives me the nutrition facts down to the vitamins and minerals of not only the items I log, but my end of the day totals. At that time, I can see if I hit my protein, carbs, and fat marks for the day. Food should be fueling your body and helping it function the way it’s supposed to, so it’s important to hit those marks every day.

Another plan that I make each week is when and where I will get my exercise. Let’s face it, it is summer time in Arizona right now. The last thing anyone wants to do is walk in this 110-degree heat. So, I find times where I will do a walk around my apartment complex or instead of making my coffee in the morning, I’ll walk up to get my coffee instead. A ten minute walk every once in a while is a great way to get some vitamin D. It also gets your blood flowing, muscles moving, and energy levels back up. One of the many blessings in my life is having access to public transit. Having to walk several blocks between locations allows me to count my steps in the process. Exercise can also be tracked on Chronometer, and the benefit of burning calories is that I can have that extra scoop of green beans at the end of the day.

The final plan I make every week is making sure I incorporate self-care into my routine. I do yoga to stretch my back and muscles to prevent them from being so tense. I make sure I have a consistent bedtime routine, like filling my water pitchers and having a clean sink and also a consistent morning routine involving   meditation, drinking warm lemon water, and making my cup of coffee while I feed my cat. Planning and preparing for the next day is important. I have a whiteboard on my fridge that I write my schedule on every day.

Having a place where I can check off tasks as they are complete helps with mental clarity. Tackling anything with an overwhelmed brain is a setup to failure. Throughout the week, I periodically take a bath and massage the knots out of my neck and shoulders. It’s a great way to destress at the end of an exhausting day.

yoga zen yoga bear Planning out self-care, exercise, and meal planning are all part of my health journey and how I have lost 25 pounds to date. Planning exercise during a pandemic is difficult but not impossible with some creativity. Meal prepping and cooking can be a great way to create a healthier diet and change eating habits and practicing self-care keeps the eye on the prize. Discovering my “Why” was what motivates me to continue to plan and keep up my routine five months later. What’s your “Why?” and what is stopping you from reaching your goals?