New Year’s Day is a silly time to make huge life changes.
It’s cold outside, sugary things are made and given in the name of love, and people socialize inside over drinks because it’s too damn cold to socialize outside.
Work gets in the way of workouts, of healthy meal planning. Stress makes me reach for sugar, booze, flour or some combination of the above.
But I’m done with excuses.
2016 is going to be my healthiest year yet.
I’m saying goodbye to my habits of looking to food and drink for stress relief, quick energy, or a hit of pleasure that turns into a stomachache and guilt. No more “shop ‘n’ sip” at the grocery store as I aimlessly wander the aisles and debate dessert. There are better ways to relax and more efficient ways to get dinner on the table.
My activity monitor has been sort of a joke in the year that I've owned it. One or two great activity sessions per week doesn’t make me active. Right now I’m trying to play catch-up as a weekend warrior, making up for slothfulness during the week.
I can do better.
Just as much as my dog needs me to take him out for a hike, my soul needs that outdoors time: fresh air, aerobic activity, a nature fix.
Goal: Get outside with the dog for an off-leash hike at least 2 days/week.
As much as my muscles need flexibility training, my overactive brain needs an hour of yoga at least once a week to calm down.
Goal: By the end of January, find at least one weekly yoga class that will fit into my life, and commit to it.
To be able to shoulder the burdens of regular life — and to shoulder a 62-pound seven-year-old kid when necessary — strength training is essential.
Goal: Make twice-weekly strength-training classes a priority. If I have to skip a class, I can strength train at home with body weight exercises.
I perch on my stool at my desk a lot, although I’ve modified my desk to accommodate standing. Besides standing, I should make more trips up and down the stairs and through the building, and not drive when I can walk or bike somewhere.
Goal: Meet my activity monitor’s goals 6 out of 7 days per week.
I’ve used alcohol for many things over the past 25 years, but mainly to medicate anxiety. I also love pairing wine and beer with specific foods. But a beer or two a night or most of a bottle of wine is contributing to unhealthy patterns and weight gain.
Goal: I will stay off the booze at least through January, and re-evaluate after that if I can try moderation in that department. Drinking at most one drink per day or one day per week would be an acceptable level for me if all other factors of my life are in balance. I got it out of my cabinets today, out of sight.
With a history of diabetes and heart disease in my family, sugar and processed foods are not my friends, they’re enemies.
Goal: Whole30 eating plan for at least January. Stay off of sugar, wheat, dairy and all processed foods for at least the month, and carefully evaluate after that how I reintroduce those things.
I’ll grocery shop and cook in batches each weekend, helping me to have healthy foods at hand and not make bad decisions based on poor planning.
More goals: Of course I’m going to floss daily and moisturize and avoid chapped lips. I’ll take my vitamins and probiotics, wash my hands and get plenty of rest. Cuticle care will be important, as will washing off mascara and wearing ample sunscreen.
So I join the masses this New Year in resolving to treat my body like a temple and give it a full remodel. It’s got great bones and structure, it’s just had some crappy renters who are getting kicked to the curb.
Today was my second day in a row of enjoying a long cross-country ski, despite it being below zero. The dog is worn out, my freezer is full of new meals, my gums feel great and I’m excited for my lifestyle changes to start paying dividends.
Maybe I'll feel so good that I'll finally dive back into working on my novel. Maybe I'll sort my socks. Maybe I'll have just one set of clothes that fits me instead of a small, medium and large set. Maybe my energy will be contagious and my daughter will want to keep me company on a lot of my outings.
But all this self-improvement is exhausting.
First I need a nap.