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Have your New Year’s Resolutions worn off yet? I know we get super motivated at the beginning of the year to start making changes in our lives, and then the shininess of that for me wears off about 2-3 months in. The routine of those resolutions starts to get dull and I begin to look for something new to replace it.
Well, I know how to fix that. Don’t make any resolutions, haha! I actually have not made any New Year’s resolutions in years. I do like the idea of making small incremental changes and those changes add up to big lifestyle shifts. I do want to live a happier and healthier life, and want to continue to shift my life more in that direction.
As part of my Vision Board sayings, this saying of, “5 Ways to have a Happier Healthier 2022” struck me (it was definitely a line cut out of People Magazine or something like that). It has made me think about what things I can incorporate in my life that support that saying. It could be 5 things or 10 things, it does not matter.
The question is, how am I going to be intentional in the things I do that will lead me in the direction of being healthier and I think resulting in a happier life. So, this is what I’ve got so far as a focus for 2022.
My husband and I got our bloodwork done at the end of 2021 and let’s just say, our cholesterol numbers were not as good as we would have liked them to be or our Doctor would have liked. Mine were slightly high, but our Doctor recommended that Scott go on statins to bring his numbers back in line. I don’t have any issues with modern medicine, thank God for it, but my first reaction is not to just jump on meds to fix a problem. There is obviously something going on with how I eat and lifestyle that needs some improvement.
I had a similar issue with my cholesterol about 7 years ago and I went pretty hard core on a Paleo Diet and experienced some great results. I really do love meat and love carbs too. But, that was before I was more conscious about our food budget. We used to spend close to $1,000 a month on our groceries! Alright, it might not have been that high, but we were buying high quality, grass-fed meats, cheeses, fats, etc. All good stuff, but at a price.
Now that we are a little more careful with our grocery spending, when I heard from a friend about the Forks over Knives (FOK) way of eating, I was interested. Going vegan was really never on my radar, but here after watching a few convincing documentaries, we thought we would do a mini-experiment and go on a plant-based diet for 2 months to see.
Here are the two I would recommend to learn more about FOK and the health benefits of this style of eating.
Forks over Knives Documentary for free
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease with Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D. YouTube
In a nutshell, we basically are incorporating lots and lots of vegetables into our diet. We read something that says you would shoot for over 30 different kinds of fruits and vegetables in your diet each week. Lots of leafy greens and salads for lunch.
We have been incorporating a wide variety of whole grains. Don’t try unhusked buckwheat, it is a bit rough on the digestion, if you know what I mean! We have upped our intake of fiber of all sorts in our diet. I never really understood how important fiber was to heart health.
We just got our lab results back this last week and…Scott’s cholesterol improved by 30% and mine improved by 27%! My numbers come down into the normal range and Scott’s total cholesterol dropped over 70 points in the 2 month experiment and he is now just above the normal range.
We feel it was pretty successful for our 2 month experiment. We are not sure if we will stay vegan long term, but what we do know is that we will continue to incorporate way more vegetables and fiber in our diet going forward.
Our plan is to stay on the FOK program for another few months and increase our exercise levels to see how that plays out with our blood work. We will test again this summer and see.
Take away: Focusing on a veggie forward diet is probably good for all of us, few people would disagree on that. I know I will be happier if my blood work continues to improve and I hope to become more and more healthy as I age.
Scott and I shoot for getting in 7,000 steps a day. In 2021 we had our goal at 5,000 steps a day to get out and walk our neighborhood. We wanted to increase that some so 7,000 steps is what we ended up on. When I got my dog, Byon, I was walking that poor little dude 10,000 steps a day, which could be why he lived for almost 15 years.
You really get to know your neighborhood when you are out walking. It is fun to see the seasons change (alright, we only have 2 seasons in Los Angeles, sunny and sunnier) but you get to see what fruit trees are in season for my little urban foraging that I like to do.
I wrote in my last post about how we are planning on hiking the Portuguese route or part of the route of the Camino. This is about a 120 mile hike from Porto, Portugal to Santiago de Campostela, Spain. This is typically done in about 2 weeks, so that’s about 9 miles a day! My 7,000 steps a day looks like chump change now! The good thing, by training to walk the Camino, I will automatically hit my 7,000 Steps a day goal. Easy, peasy.
We are looking into gear right now. I will need some shoes and a backpack as I continue to work up to getting used to 9 miles a day. Hiking in our local mountains is going to be our easiest way to train and get outdoors more. We don’t have a plan set yet for this, but getting in 1-2 good long hikes a week is our goal over the coming months.
I have never been a gym rat, but am exploring options right now so I can incorporate more weight bearing exercises into my routine. I am trying any 7-day free trials at gyms right now. I trained at a CrossFit gym a few years back, which definitely pushed me more than I normally would at a guy. HIIT workouts seem to be all the rage right now, so have been checking out a few different options in Pasadena. I am trying not to puke or pass out while doing them, so we will see!
The other option I am looking at since we are planning to travel so much this year is ClassPass. This allows access to multiple gyms with credits. I have not signed up for this yet, but am going to try their 14-day free trial and see if this fits my lifestyle this year.
My one back up plan is going to be to join the Pasadena Senior Center and they have a gym for about $120 per year, so that may be my best bet for getting some weight training in soon. 50 & over Baby!
The other goal I set for myself last year was to be able to do 1 pull up by September 2022! I have a long way to go on that! But, I am progressing on strength. I have been following the Nerd Fitness’ progression plan for getting my first pull up. I am at Stage 3, where Scott is holding my feet and basically pushing me up and I am using my little muscles to slowly work my way down. It has only been a few weeks, so hopefully I start seeing some strength gains.
Take away: I hope that increasing my activity level this year will significantly lead to a happier and healthier 2022 and life in general.
I grew up with having some kind of pet in the house. When I was little, we had Siberian Huskies. Then we got a cat, which both my Mom and I are allergic to, but not really that bad. As an adult, I got my dog, Byron, who was the cutest dog in the entire world by the way. He was a game changer and one of the best things I did, other than marrying Scott, of course. It is amazing the presence that a pet can bring into your life and home. They are amazing and become part of the family.
After Byron passed away in 2019, I began doing local pet sits to get a little pet time in and see if this would be a way to travel, staying at people’s homes in exchange for taking care of their pets. I love it! We started with local sits and have been expanding to out-of-state sits this year. Hopefully we will get an international pet sit within the next year while we are traveling.
I signed up on Trusted House Sitters, which has been an amazing platform for us. This affiliate link gives you a 25% discount if you sign up on the site. I just love looking at all the cool pets and places to pet sit across the world. I get a little obsessed on looking at the sites, so fun!
Take away: I am not ready to get a dog again, but I love caring for other people’s pets and hanging out in cool places. It’s a bit like being a Grandparent, you get to enjoy the kids and then give them back to their parents when you are done. Way less responsibility!
Isn’t Byron cute?
I have taken a bit of a break from reading finance books and listening to podcasts over the past year. I think I just got burned out with an overflow of new content and needed a little bit of a break. I think I am at a point where I would like to begin learning and growing again on a variety of topics.
Interest led learning is top on my list, so I am beginning to explore what types of things I want to do to help expand my knowledge base. I love the library and have been looking for some books to add to my list.
Here are a few that I am looking at:
Take away: I think for my mental health, exploring new authors and ideas is a good thing. I want to have interesting exchange of ideas and conversations with people as I expand things I am reading and listening to.
Community has been a pretty important word for me lately. While I was working, most of my community were people I was working with or somehow work related relationships. Now that I have stepped away from traditional work, I am looking for different ways I can integrate community in my life.
The financial independence community has been a very open and amazing group of people over the past few years. Since we have a similar vocabulary and financial outlook, it has been a great way to meet local people that are walking down a similar path. We have found that one of the best ways to connect into a community is through ChooseFI. ChooseFI network started as a podcast about personal finance with the goal of helping you earn more, spend less, and enjoy the journey towards FI.
I am looking to set up some additional meet ups this year both locally and when I travel to meet people that are on the path to financial independence.
We are heading to Portugal in September to meet up with a digital nomad group that is gathering for the month. The intent was to pick a location and have people meet up in that town. Porto, Portugal has been selected as the town and we are all booking our own accommodations and then will plan and do activities together. The group is evolving, but ideally various people will organize different activities and/or maybe we have a common co-working space to meet up. It is a fun way to meet people that are traveling the world living an interesting lifestyle.
One tip I wanted to give for hotel/apartment reservations. I like to use Booking.com to look for apartments and get a good sense of pricing. They have a feature where you can select Free Cancellations, which is great option to get something booked while you might be looking at other options. AirBnb is always a great place to look for places to stay. I am also a host and we rent out our place while we are traveling. It is a great excuse to clean our house!!
Take away: I am finding it more and more important that I integrate into a community and find like minded people to share experiences. I am interested in cultivating and deepening friendships with people as we travel the world. Having a sense of connection and support will lead to happiness for me.
To sum up, my 5 Ways to have a Happier Healthier 2022 are as follows:
I think that is all pretty manageable for this year and will be fun in the process.
What are your 5 Ways to have a Happier Healthier 2022?
I love my toiletry bag! Scott makes fun of my toiletry bag all the time and how it takes up half the suitcase when we used to travel.
I would agree.
I am not a big makeup person, but for some reason I really have loads of toiletries. I love them & need them! I love traveling light.
Did you know there is a beard “club” for dudes that have longer, mountain man style beards? Yep, it’s true.
Dudes with longer beards will give a little nod and slight wink to other dudes with longer beards. It is like motorcycle riders that will give little waves to other motorcycle riders, UPS drivers acknowledging other UPS drivers, or truck drivers nodding to another truck driver. The Year of the Beard begins.
Explore! I feel like I am on board the starship Enterprise. For you Star Trek geeks like me, Star Trek represents exploration, learning about new cultures, trying new things that I have not done before and experimenting along the way. Star Trek could be a metaphor for a FI lifestyle.