One hundred days is enough time to make significant health improvements. I proved it once before.
By the time I completed my 100 Day Diet Challenge, I’d lost forty-eight pounds – twenty-two kilograms – and felt great. I used project management methods to create a personalised health plan, which I stuck to. It was achievable – I did it! – and I believe anybody could replicate my success with sufficient motivation. Read my 100 Day Diet Challenge Introduction and Review articles for more information.
So why, a few months after finishing my weight loss challenge, did I decide to do something new but similar: my 100 Day Health Project?
I lost a huge amount of weight previously and demonstrated how effective my unique system for weight management is. This time, though, my aim was to maintain the weight loss I’d already achieved and get into better shape.
To help me do this, I prioritised the following three areas:
- Tweaking my project management system from being about weight loss to weight maintenance;
- Increasing my exercise routines; and
- Trying new recipes.
Tweaking my project management system from being about weight loss to weight maintenance
Since I first set up The Writing Struggle, I wanted to create a formula for weight management: to lose weight and maintain that weight going forward. This meant getting myself in better shape, thus demonstrating the effectiveness of my system for managing personal projects and giving me a lot to write about.
That’s why I came up with my 100 Day Diet Challenge. And, after the success of that challenge, the obvious next step was to use that weight loss as a base to continue improving my fitness, both to get in shape and reduce the risk of ill-health.
I wanted to eat a wide variety of healthy foods during my 100 Day Health Project. On top of that, I planned to be flexible with my approach to eating out. I also knew that, if I planned to increase the amount of exercise I was doing, I’d need to think about how much time I spent in the kitchen to avoid burning out.
Flexibility would be the key to sustainability. As before, I would trust myself to do the right thing and adapt whenever I needed to.
My project management system works for weight loss. But it doesn’t have to just be about losing weight. It can be utilised in so many ways. It’s really about working out what it is we want to achieve and then adapting the system to make that happen.
By making a few adjustments, it becomes not just an approach to weight management but a health project for life.
Projects which are properly managed are more likely to succeed. I would still review each ten day sprint, as I had done before, but I expected to try to go with the flow somewhat when it came to meal planning.
My weight management system can be tailored depending on the ultimate goal. I worked out what it was I wanted to achieve and then set out to make it happen.
Increasing my exercise routines
In a perfect world, diet and exercise work together if optimal health is the goal.
A good diet is crucial because, as the old saying goes, you are what you eat.
Exercise also plays a key role in an overall healthy lifestyle, as long as we remember that you can’t out-train a poor diet. Focusing on exercise, rather than diet, is (in my experience) a poor way to try to lose weight.
But exercise can be crucial for getting in better shape. Despite not being vital for weight loss, after excess weight has been shifted it becomes necessary to increase the amount we exercise for weight maintenance, overall good health and to get a six-pack (if a six-pack is desired).
During my 100 Day Diet Challenge, I didn’t need a hardcore exercise routine for my weight loss plan to be effective. I did, however, start exercising consistently – even if only once per week.
I knew, for maintaining my weight and getting in shape, I needed to develop this habit further.
To this end, I wanted to adopt a flexible approach which incorporated a few elements for my 100 Day Health Project.
I decided which weight-lifting exercises would be the most beneficial for me. I settled on squats, deadlifts and bench press. Each is a dynamic powerlifting exercise working a variety of muscles, thus supporting my goals.
I would aim to do one workout per week involving these three exercises, recording my progress each time.
I’d also do another two or three sessions per week where I could choose from, for example, running, spinning, boxing and bodyweight exercises. I planned to mix it up, not worry if I missed the occasional session but, broadly, stick to two or three sessions per week and see how I got on.
Trying new recipes
My unique project management approach to weight management is predicated around a belief that eating a delicious, common sense diet of primarily unprocessed food makes abundant sense.
I (obviously) wanted to continue in this vein for my 100 Day Health Project, but with some changes.
Eating to lose weight and eating to be healthy aren’t necessarily the same thing. Whereas previously my focus was to slim down, I had a wider variety of options open to me this time and I wanted to try new things.
I’ve become more confident and ambitious with my cooking, more creative with my ideas and more aware of what food works best for me, so I’d developed a heightened sense of what I wanted to include and exclude. I’ve been working on a few ideas over the past few months and have shared some of the recipes on The Writing Struggle and on Instagram.
During my 100 Day Diet Challenge, I didn’t snack, cheat or control my portion sizes.
For my 100 Day Health Project, I needed to be flexible, especially because increased exercise requires more energy. Snacking would therefore be a useful tactic, whether that meant eating fruit, nuts or small meals (or, even, meals at unconventional times, especially if factoring in intermittent fasting).
Furthermore, I believe my system works regardless of whether we prepare every meal for ourselves, provided we choose sensible alternatives.
Throughout my 100 Day Health Project there was scope for deviation, not least because I had weddings, birthdays (including mine) and the start of the Christmas holidays falling within the one hundred day timeframe.
It was therefore even more important for me to be flexible and open-minded with how I tackled staying on track.
Read more about my 100 Day Diet Challenge here:
Do You Want to Lose 48 Pounds in 100 Days? I Did it by Creating my Own 100 Day Diet Challenge. Here’s How.
My 100 Day Diet Challenge: An Introduction
10 Steps to Success
50 Days: A Review of the First Half of My 100 Day Diet Challenge
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