“Go back and take care of yourself. Your body needs you, your feelings need you, your perceptions need you. Your suffering needs you to acknowledge it. Go home and be there for all these things.” Thich Nhat Hanh
This summer was a bit hard for our family. My Grandmother and my Mother died within four days of each other. My Grandmother, from a problem, which she hadn’t faced and resolved her whole life, and my Mother from cancer. They were both the product of those generations when people go to a doctor only if they are very sick or have very strong pain. Not before. Checking for the other simple problems was, to them, being spoilt. Headache, stomach ache, back pain – “Take a pill and soon the pain it will be gone!”. “Women are more able to deal with the pain than men”. “If you wake up one morning and do not feel pain, you are not alive”… I grew up with all these words of wisdom from my Grandmother and my Mother too.
But this summer, now having passed the age of 40, I really, really realized how stupid and inappropriate is this way of thinking. I realized that if you have people you love, you must not cause them this pain and this powerless sadness, which has been forced on my sister, my son and me these days.
And I realised, I am following the same path as my Grandmother and my Mother.
So, I decided I had to change my life
Travelling a lot it is very difficult to maintain a healthy life routine. Difficult, but not impossible.
Luckily, I had already started a bullet journal for my work needs which included a small habit tracker for domestic chores like washing, changing the sheets, cooking, caring for my flowers and with a small finance tracker. You know these small cute notebooks with tiny squared boxes, in which you have to tick everything done for the day or the week, or the month. You can use coloured pencils, you can use only a black marker, you can use only your pen – it is your choice. The important thing is ticking the boxes after completing the task for the day, of course.
But I wanted to change my entire life, not only to have a clean and organized kitchen. So my Habit tracker had to be new too. My idea was to create something like magic – both a physical and spiritual new page of my life.
My husband, who knows I am a notebook lover, gave me as a present a beautiful sparkling notebook. “Soon you will sparkle too, he said, a real sparkling new person!”, he smiled. His support was very important to me and made me more serious about following through.
I made my Healthy Life Habit Tracker to change my life
I spent weeks reading serious online articles about healthy food, exercises, reflexology, body massage, lymph drainage, face massage… It was a hard work. First it is difficult to separate the real scientific research from the real bullshit. And I had to read and read, more and more, to find the truth.
A very great help came to me in the form the book DARM MIT CHARME by Giulia Enders (Ullstein Buchverlage GmbH, Berlin, Published in 2014 by Ullstein Verlag) and also from Doctor Erick Berg’s YouTube channel. Giulia Enders, this great young scientist, changed 100% the way I was thinking about the relationship between my body and food. Doctor Erick Berg gave me some wonderful ideas about how to hack my body to burn stomach fat faster.
I made the date 1st August my start date and said from this day: “I will not eat white sugar or any sweet or even salty snacks I can buy from the shop. No more Nutella. Good bye ice cream. No more sodas. No alcohol!”. I am not a big drinker, but unfortunately the wonderful cocktail afternoon time with my best friends was working against my body since alcohol is full of sugar.
In the Habit tracker I put healthy exercises for my lower back; 5000 steps for the morning (in the first one month) and another 5000 steps for the evening walk for the next months.
My idea was first to reduce the stomach fat, which was the main reason for my back pain. But I didn’t want to starve. In the last year I had tried a lot of diets and not one, not even one of them was working! I was desperate.
It is a contract between you and me!
And I said to my body: Ok, this is not a diet, this is a contract between you and me! I will not make you starve, will give you a nice food, will massage you, will love you! But you will help me by showing me that I’m doing this the right way!
It was completely an experiment.
A physical and spiritual experiment!
And it worked!
In my Health habit tracker I put good habits– no processed food, no conserved food, no chips! Everything had to be homemade – the cookies, the cakes, the chips. Started eating more salads and fruits (even though some dieticians said it is not good to eat even fruit if you want to lose weight). I didn’t stop the carbohydrates, the bread or the butter. I bought 10 big jars of real honey for my tea and sometimes for my coffee.
“Ok, – I told to myself – I want to lose only one kg for a month, no more. I know – the change will come. I don’t want to push it and to hurt my body again, just want to create a new, healthy life by creating new healthy habits!”.
How my Habit tracker changed my life
As a result of using a Habit tracker, I really changed my life. I lost 4 kilograms for one month without starving, without feeling unwell, without “killing” myself at the gym, even without feeling tired. Actually, I started feeling better and better every day. Every morning I woke up with a different feeling – less pain, more energy. Finally – my body is working with me!
Now – almost 2 months after I started this experiment, I can say: No more all day back pain, I feel lighter, fresher, my skin looks great and I really, really look younger. I can wear some of my favourite dresses again and I’ve lost 6 kg!
(I am writing an e-book about that experience which I plan to finish soon, to relate how it is really easy to change your life and to start walking on the brighter side of the street.)
In the pictures below you can see some of my tricks for saving space and not using too many pages while at the same time making the game of the Habit tracker more colourful.
So, to create a real habit, human beings need not less than 90 days. That is why I decided to write up a full year in my sparkling new Healthy Life Habit tracker and to make easy to see my ups and downs as I built my new habits.
Why a Habit tracker?
Yes, why? I know people who are very organized and they keep their daily routines without compromise. Actually, I even know one neighbourhood dog, which every day maintains his morning routine of having a bath in the fountain at the end of the street.
But let’s be serious – starting something new is not so easy. I’ve tried to create a get-fit morning routine many times. No success. Tried to drink water with lemon every morning – no success. I knew these things are important for me, but human brain is lazy – if the brain can skip something, it will. So I was skipping and skipping, and skipping, leaving the start for the next day or the next Monday.
The Habit tracker, with its wonderful small coloured boxes, made me see my progress, even made me ambitious to complete a whole page. And it made it very easy to upgrade my next week’s plank exercises by 5 seconds longer, my push ups with 5 more, etc. Small steps every day – and it is easy to see and enjoy your progress.
My tricks to put more habits in my Habit tracker
If you put a separate square for every habit, you are loosing a lot of space. When some of the habits were connected I put two in one. For example, the four cups of water a day look is like this. I can even split it into 8 parts, though that is still too ambitious for me. (1.)
The favourite breakfast I created for myself looks like this, because I want to see in one place the Greek yoghurt, the nuts and the soup spoon of pure virgin olive oil. Purple for the yoghurt, yellow for the olive oil and orange for the nuts. (2.)
This is how my vitamins A, C and E look: yellow for vit.C, orange for vit.E and red for vit.A. (3.)
And how my water with lemon and a few drops of apple cider vinegar looks: blue for the apple cider vinegar and blue for the lemon. (4.)
You can choose any colour you like. You even can do it with no colours – only white and black. But the important thing is do not stop! Track your new healthy habits every day and day by day change your life.