Goals, Habits, Life

1 down!

It’s February! Cue everyone saying, “Oh my goodness, can you believe it’s February already???” 😄

But it is crazy to me to realize that 2023 is 1/12th over already. I’m feeling pretty solid about how 2023 is going in terms of goals/ resolutions/ what have you so far.

Habit Tracker:

Read: 26/31 days

Walk: 19/31

Hit at least 7,000 steps: 23/31

Workouts: 100%!!! 5/5 strength each week, 3/3 cardio. (My goal was to do at least 80% of all planned workouts.)

Stretching or yoga: 2/31 (needs improvement)

Read w/ boys: 4/31 (meaning a dedicated reading session where they read their book and I read mine, but together. Apparently happened just 4 times.)

Skincare: 22/31 (This surprised me!! I feel like I almost always do my skincare routine…. I guess I missed it 9 times!)

Work on my “backup and sort old photos” project: 6/31

Sessions working on reconciling/ catching up/ reorganizing our semi-neglected finances spreadsheets: 5/31

Boys help cook: 2/31

2023 Goals- Highlights/ Accomplishments (January)

  • checked off several months from my photo project
  • wrote another Europe trip recap- down to just 2 days to go!! And then can print my book.
  • Did track social media minutes… which were higher than ideal. But I also feel ambivalent about it. A lot of those minutes were toward beginning of month scrolling in the January Shred Q&A Group on the Macros with Em FB page. I found it inspiring/ helpful, so it didn’t really feel the same as just totally wasted time.
  • As stated above, goal to hit 80% of workouts –> crushed this.
  • Tracked movies!
  • I completed two books! I was feeling really great about this until I read a few other posts where people talked about the 5-10 books they read in January. Womp. But, this is a good success for me, because the end of 2022 was very weak in reading for me. If you see above, it says I read a book on 26 of 31 days in January. This is ~84% of the days. This feels solid! I didn’t always read a ton each day, but I still made reading a regular part of my life, and that’s what I really care about.
  • I attended my first new Transplant Department book club.
  • Oh, and I wrote 19,577 words in total on this blog in January. Which according to this graphic means I wrote the equivalent of 1/3 of a YA novel:
  • I also did a bunch of stuff NOT on my actual goals list, like take down all my Christmas stuff (which is a big job), and I did a bunch of reading and planning for our Costa Rica trip. Also attended a swim meet, a bunch of basketball games, etc… the usual.
  • I also ordered these shoes for our trip from REI. They are the Salomon Crossamphibian, which are like a hybrid water + hiking shoe! I think these will be perfect for our rainforest hikes where getting feet wet may be likely. We won’t be doing any serious, hard core hiking where I think we’ll need hiking boots or heavier waterproof hiking shoes…. but I was feeling leery about the idea of hiking in my tennis shoes, getting them wet and then having them stink horribly the whole trip or something. lol.

Focus going forward:

From my 2023 goals list, I can see some weak points, too.

  • The reading with boys was weak. That can probably bump up.
  • Meal planning was notoriously weak… I officially (kind of ) did it twice. Why is this so hard for me?
  • The boys helped cook only 2x. Well, Asher made one whole meal, and I think they helped a bit with one other. Ethan is up next to make a whole meal.
  • I’ve made zero progress on some of the household related goals (ordering prints for empty frames, glass for kitchen cabinet, table for next to hot tub, etc.). I want to keep these really on my radar, because they are sooo easy to just continue to overlook.
  • Considering bumping my step goal up to 7,500?? Baby steps. I did well hitting 7,000 overall, but I was not 100% even at 7,000. So I’m not sure if I should aim for a “perfect month” first at 7,000, and then slowly go up from there… Anyway, I’m hitting more steps on average I think than I was before.

And a couple photos:

1. Ethan had their school’s annual 8th Grade vs Teachers volleyball game yesterday morning and I went to watch. It was really fun!!! Can’t believe they are starting up the special “8th grade” activities already….

2. This book was VERY interesting!!!

I don’t know that I can succinctly try to recap it. It has my mind still kind of mulling it all over- I finished it last night.

He makes a very strong case for carbohydrates being the guilty party in not only the obesity epidemic but also increased rates of cancer and heart disease. It’s hard to explain- the book gets really into a lot of nitty gritty science and endocrinology details. Lots of talk about insulin and resistance and hormone patterns and research. But at the same time, it’s not an overly difficult read.

He definitely made some very compelling arguments!! It goes against some of the “calories in/ calories out” theory that I’ve generally been more exposed to, and while I’ve long believed in the benefits of higher protein, this really made me look at the role of carbs specifically in weight gain and the benefits of higher fat/ low carb diets.

(I think many fitness people argue that people only lose weight on a low carb diet because they are essentially still just cutting their calories below their maintenance, but he goes deep into why this isn’t true- according to him, the actual effect of the carbs on the body are specifically what cause the body to store more fat. He breaks this down in detail in the book.)

Has anyone read it? I feel like I still have some questions, but it was thought provoking!

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for a generally good first month of 2023.

16 thoughts on “1 down!”

  1. I suspect from your brief review that the Gary Taubes book has a similar message to the Whole30 books (which makes sense, given that the Whole30 is essentially the paleo diet). I too struggle to wrap my mind around the science of it – so much so that I actually took notes the last time I read a book like that and I still felt overwhelmed by the details! But overall I’ve read enough now that I *think* I buy into it. I know, given my own body type, that I would do very well on the type of diet Taubes prescribes. I really can’t imagine that it would be a calorically restrictive diet, at least not the way that I eat! I’m a pretty clean eater as-is and I still look and feel better when I cut the carbs. Despite its likely benefits I doubt I’d adopt the diet permanently though – it just seems almost impossible given the cultural, family, financial and time constraints I face at this point in my life. Plus the idea of giving up pizza, even for the greater good, is too sad to seriously contemplate! 😜


    1. Yes, I agree that completely cutting carbs out, or severely limiting ANY fun carbs, seems like a very sad way to live. The problem with diet books and diet studies is that there seems to be so much conflicting information out there. But I did like in this book how he really broke down the science of the physiological responses that carbs cause in our bodies. I did not actually take notes, though I really would have needed to in order to remember all of the details, but some of it was very eye opening. He also overturns and explores many misconceptions or sort of “old truths” that the government and medical fields have always just accepted as reality (like the specific need for lots of “whole grains” for heart health).

      I found very interesting the section of the book where he talks about what type of diet our bodies are genetically adapted to. He says our current genes were shaped by 2.5 MILLION years during which our ancestors lived as hunters and gatherers- which constitutes 99.5% of human history. Therefore, the “agricultural and industrial period”, during which things like wheat and readily available varieties of vegetables, grains, etc. were produced, makes up just .5 percent of the history of our species. So he says our bodies are literally not genetically adapted at this time to thrive on these more recently introduced foods (corn, potatoes, rice, wheat and beans have really only been available for the past hundreds of years, compared to millions of years of people eating higher fat/animal products). Hunters and gatherers apparently got more than 85% of their diets from meat or fish, and researchers say there’s no evidence that any hunter gatherer group was exclusively vegetarian. They ate some berries and roots, but I guess it was pretty minimal.

      Anyway! Not saying the cavemen were pictures of health, anyway- I mean, what do I know. But I’m certain they weren’t fat! haha. But it does make sense to me that if 99.5% of our genetic history was spent eating a certain way, our bodies wouldn’t respond well to this new, high carb method that is common for so many.


  2. I love a fellow habit counter. I’m doing pretty well, 35 hours of exercise, 109 total miles (walking/cycling), lots of books read with T, and some quality family + couple time. I’ve gotten rid of 21 things, which will be boosted by my planned February tidy of the worst space where all junk migrates to.


    1. That’s awesome! Wow, that’s a lot of miles!! I love that you got rid of 21 things. I have never done one of those “get rid of stuff” challenges, where you like get rid of a certain number of things per day or whatever. But I’m always intrigued by the idea. And it seems like it could be very do-able, without all the pressure of completing cleaning out an entire room. Maybe you just have to get rid of, I don’t know, one pair of socks that has a hole in the toe that day. 🙂


  3. You had a really great month! I think you need to ignore what others are reading/month and focus on what is reasonable for you. You might have the wrong benchmark if you are comparing yourself to me, for instance. Similary, I can’t compare my workouts to you as I’m in a very different stage of life and struggle to workout when the boys are at home unless I do it during quiet time. They would not leave me alone if I did a workout in the basement!

    I had a really great month, too. I was outside for at least 23 minutes 30/31 days. I gave myself Monday off since it was so cold. I will not go today either and probably not Friday. I have decided that if it’s subzero/horribly cold, it’s not worth it. I hit 10k steps 25/31 days, and I did 19 workouts which is substantially more than I’ve done in a very very long time – probably since I was WFH full time (fitting workouts in back then was so much easier!!).

    On the meal planning thing, maybe you don’t need to meal plan? If you are happy with how you are eating, maybe it doesn’t matter how you get your meals on the table? We absolutely have to meal plan because Phil grocery shops and I cook, so there needs to be communication about what we are eating so he buys the right stuff. And I don’t throw things together like you are able to – I almost always follow a recipe!

    That book sounds super interesting. I had gestational diabetes with both boys since I was on prednisone which raises your blood sugar. So I had to follow the GDM diet which means very few carbs and lots of fat/protein. I barely gained any weight from 28 weeks until my c-section at 39 weeks. It was so different from how I usually ate – I had whole milk lattes, cheese, so much peanut butter, etc etc. But very very few carbs. I don’t eat many carbs in general since I have a gluten intolerance but this was even more restrictive. So it seems like it can work? But I found that keto style of eating to be hard to maintain. But less carbs seems to make a difference so I try to focus more on protein/etc. I just struggle with that as I’m not a huge protein person in general… I like eggs and meat is fine overall but I’m not a huge meat eater in general. I do like lean proteins like shrimp and fish but we don’t make them all that often for some reason.


    1. I’m so impressed with your outside time!! You’re doing amazing! I just really don’t enjoy being cold, so I’ve been finding myself less motivated to get outside on many days… but I know it makes me feel more energized, so I really do like to get out. I haven’t set that as a specific goal though.

      Good point on the meal planning. I don’t know. I mean, we always eat… but I guess I just feel like it could all run more smoothly and be easier to plan around if I just made a point to plan better. In fairness, even just jotting down a few meal ideas has seemed to help (not a specific “meal plan”, but just a list of like 5-7 meals we want to eat in the next couple weeks). Then when I’m looking at the specific week or days, I can consult the list for ideas (and hopefully we have most of the stuff for those meals!). As you know, we do not eat a ton of complicated recipes or like, casseroles or things where I need lots of random ingredients. So this does make it easier to just buy our staples and then make meals from there.

      On WW, do you still eat oatmeal every morning? I like oatmeal sort of, but I tend to avoid it because it is just so high in carb, and I always feel like I don’t want to burn through so many carbs right away in the morning!! I want to “save them”, I guess, for something better/ later. hahaha.


      1. I have shifted from having oatmeal every day. WW changed their program. When I was last on it, you could select 2 foods from a list of foods that would be 0 points for you. The list included things like oatmeal, popcorn, avocados, etc. I picked oatmeal and popcorn since those are staples in my diet. But they did away with that part (they are always changing the program). So now my 1 cup of oatmeal is 4 points. I get 23/day so it’s not a huge amount. But the 1/4 cup of milk I would add to it is 1 point, so it all starts to add up. So now I have oatmeal 1 week and the next week I have a piece of GF toast (2 pts), 1/2 T peanut butter (2 pts), and a hard boiled egg. Overall I think that combo is more filling, probably because of the protein from the egg. But either way, I’ve been losing about 2 pounds/week whether I have oatmeal or toast/pb/egg, so it all seems to work out. I’m sure I am mostly losing weight because I am very rarely having dessert. I was eating more ice cream than I should have over the last couple of months! And for some reason, I am better about saying no to things when I know I have to track it!

        My outdoor walks have been really good for me overall. I will say that I got very cold on my walk on Tuesday so I skipped the walk yesterday. I probably should have gone since it was a nicer day. But when the windchill is around -5 or colder, those walks are not great/enjoyable so I think it’s best to give myself a pass. But then I did not close all of my rings yesterday which bugged me!


  4. You are absolutely crushing it, Kae.

    As someone who has literally done a post today about reading 10+ books in January, please can I encourage you not to compare? We’re all going at our own paces and leaning in to different things… I mean, if I was tracking my workouts, I’d basically have an empty box 😉

    I know you know all of this, but just wanted to say none of it is a competition. The Taubes book looks fascinating – I think hubby has it actually but not sure if he has read it.


    1. Haha, good point! It is very true that we can focus on lots of things, but not ALL the things at the same time!! I do have to remind myself of that, because I tend to get excited by goals and want to do soooo many things… you know, I’ll be like, ok! I want to read 30 minutes every day, and walk every day, and workout, oh, and cook fresh meals, and meditate and do a daily stretching routine and make sure to write on my blog, and keep up my journal, and stay up on the news, and talk to my parents, and spend quality time with the kids and husband and….. errr….. wait, when do I work and sleep again?? LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I read this book a year or two ago and found it compelling as well. His point around how it can’t be calories in/calories out bc we aren’t that consistent with our calories and the photos of people’s body shapes made a lot of sense to me. Seeing twins with nearly identical bodies when you know there is no way they eat exactly the same calories was impactful.


    1. Yes, I found that section interesting at well! The details about how genetics factor in was very informative. I liked how he really broke down the SPECIFICS of how that looks- not just “oh, people can be genetically primed to get fat more easily”, but why/ how that actually works.


  6. i’ve read a lot of healthy eating “literature“ and my conclusion is that the optimal diet is plant based, whole food, high in quality protein (including animal source), tons of vegetables, colorful variety, not too much. I don’t feel good when eating high fat low carb diet, and there’s evidence against keto. So… overall I just don’t like extreme diet. The only guru that I trust is Peter Attia because he’s not dogmatic and ready to change his view when presented with new evidence.
    I have strong view about diet from time to time, but the common theme is real food, not too much 🙂

    I think you had a solid start of 2023, kudos for 5 workouts a week and 3 cardio! consistency is the key, and exercise is the best and cheapest lifespan enhancing drug!!!


    1. It is challenging because there are lots of similarities in the healthy eating books, but also lots of contradictions. And even research studies can go both ways on so many things. Or one study will focus on one aspect of an issue, while ignoring another… or there are things that are still unknown…. It’s all very interesting! I don’t like extreme diets either, generally speaking. I want to enjoy my life, too! I enjoyed diving into some of the very specific science though in this book. It is nice to get a deep dive into some of the arguments for one way of eating vs another. Then when I read something else, I’ll feel I have a better understanding of “the other side” and can draw better conclusions, instead of just blindly believing whatever idea is most widely talked about.


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