Boy ,this month got busy! I started out letting you know about my Month-long Focus Project on my Health and had every intention of posting a couple of times each week about various things. Somehow, it is September 28th and I have posted not one lousy update. So, here we are, 4 weeks into the month, and 2 days away from a glass of wine! Here’s how it all went.
“Sober September”. Paul and I managed to go an entire month without drinking alcohol. To be fair, we each had 2 cheat days. For him, it was after the last fitted dinghy race of the season. Tradition holds that the trophy gets filled with rum and everyone passes it around and drinks from it (I know, gross, but they LIVE for this shit) and I sort of felt like it was an important moment for him since it was also (possibly?) marking his early retirement from fitted dinghy racing. My cheat day was when I was out having dinner with some dear friends. Our 2nd one was after I returned home from a couple of intense weeks in Boston, and we went out for a romantic dinner. We each had a glass. All told, we both had the equivalent of 1 day’s worth of wine over an entire month. Not too shabby. Lessons learned? Well, it was a very boring month, to be sure. We didn’t go out as often and spent most of our evenings at home working. A couple of times it felt silly not to be enjoying a nice glass of wine (when we were out for tapas, after a long tough day at work, etc). But I think we both realized that most of the time we are sipping away, it’s mostly out of habit. I was just as happy drinking a glass of Pellegrino while cooking dinner. It didn’t have to be wine. And Paul was just as happy with a cold glass of ginger beer as he would have been with a dark and stormy. What we needed was the ritual of stopping our work days, pouring a glass of SOMETHING and hitting pause. I don’t think that drinking wine is going to be a part of our daily routine anymore, and I also think I will appreciate having a nice glass of wine with a nice meal, or to celebrate a happy occasion–once in a while. Also? I lost 7 lbs, so there’s that.
Eating healthy: This one I wasn’t so strict about, though I did do a massive food shop and meal-prep when I got to Boston for two weeks of teaching and rehearsals. I cooked up tons of vegetables, some salmon, chicken breasts, wild rice, and salad fixings and was happy as a clam for those two weeks. I had options (chicken or fish? Broccoli or asparagus) but my choices were limited enough that I never had decision fatigue about my meals. I would make a jar of chia pudding or overnight oats for breakfast and mix them up with some fresh berries and a little coconut yogurt. Lunch would be a salad from my pre-cut veggies, and dinner would be equally easy. I felt great, slept great, was hungry at mealtime, but not starving for snacks. I brought mini packs of almonds and dried cranberries to rehearsals and that was basically it. Unfortunately, when I got back to Bermuda, that plan went down the tubes. Paul and I just like very different kinds of food. He likes to throw things together into a kind of stew/chili/casserole type of situation (served over starch) and I prefer my food to be cooked separately (but unlike a three year-old, it’s okay if they are touching on my plate). I can’t deny how much worse I feel for how I’ve eaten the past two weeks vs. how great I felt the first two weeks, so I might need to put my foot down and make it happen (sorry, babe!) We watched the documentary “What the Health” which everyone and their brother seems to be talking about. Honestly, It made me question both the validity of their accusations (it all seemed a bit too much) and how much animal product I’m willing to have in my diet. Since I have trouble being any kind of an extremist (I couldn’t even go 30 days without a glass of wine!) I hesitate to say I’m never going to eat meat or cheese again. I have been using Almond milk and I switched to coconut yogurt, and I’m trying to be more mindful of meat and dairy choices. Voilá.
Exercise: I did manage to get back into a running routine. I maybe didn’t run as often as I wanted, but I managed a consistent 3-4 times a week. I learned two things. 1) it’s a lot easier to run when your body is lighter. Seriously, I always wondered how women who had never run before could throw on a pair of sneakers, and go out and run a 10K that first weekend, when, after months of running, I wouldn’t have even made it through a 10K without huffing and puffing. Now I get it. They are tiny to begin with, and aren’t lugging as much weight around. Even just dropping 7 lbs, I can run faster and farther and it feels easier. So, here’s to the next 7 lbs, and the next. 2) having great music really helps. I downloaded Kayla Itsines’s SWEAT playlist from itunes and it is amazing. Love it. I want more. Need more. Please send playlist suggestions ASAP!
Small habits and check-ups: I took care of the two big one (or two)-offs: My annual “wellness exam” and mammogram with my Dr. and seeing my dentist for a cleaning and updated x-rays, and I tried to tweak little daily habits: flossing more regularly, drinking a tall glass of hot water with lemon before I have my coffee (and drinking more water in general) and doing more sit ups and squats and things like that around the house at random times.
So overall, I think my first Focus month was a pretty big success. Aside from the weight loss, I definitely have more energy, my skin looks better, and I just feel like I am living a healthier life. I feel good about setting up good habits that I can continue through the rest of the year, am in a good groove with my running routine and am excited to continue to tweak my (our) eating habits.
New post next week to announce my October Focus Project! I’m excited.