I have struggled with making healthy choices for a long time. And about 6 years ago, I tried something different. It worked then. And it worked for about a month at a time. I would lose the 10-15 pounds I wanted to lose, feel good, but it would last about a month. I'd spend about 4-3 months slowly putting the weight back on, making one poor choice after another. Then, I'd repeat the cycle.
I thought this was normal.
Until I was tired of "normal."
I craved consistency. I wanted something that would help me build a consistent healthy lifestyle. I envied those people who could turn down the bread bowl at the pasta restaurant or the brownie at the potluck. I just thought I could never do that.
But I can.
And I do.
On a consistent basis.
Seriously. For over 7 months I have stayed consistent with my healthy eating choices at least 80% of the time. I have "reset" myself every month for 10 days. I focus on getting quality nutrition and I don't cheat. Those 10 days are for me, each month, to help remain consistent. As I sit here reflecting on what that has done for me...I am amazed.
So what really have I gained, lost, and reduced in 7 months? Listen (read) up...cause I never thought I would be saying (typing) this.
Let's start with what I have REDUCED in my life...or do/have minimally.
- The SCALE: I was dependent on the bathroom scale. No matter how many times I heard that you shouldn't weigh yourself everyday, I still did. Multiple times a day. Everytime I walked into the bathroom I would weigh myself. Not only was I addicted to the bright blue numbers that showed up, my mood and confidence was affected by the number that showed. Even if I had been "good" and the number was higher than I wanted, I was sad.
- CAFFINE: I had NO IDEA how addicted I was to caffine until I gave it up cold turkey. Holy cow. Now I have one cup of coffee maybe half of the days in a month. That's it. And the crazy thing? I'm not near as tired. I feel so alert and awake, even when my children combine their efforts to get some "mommy time" in the middle of the night.
- DAIRY: Again, something I never thought I'd say. I have very little dairy...and for the most part (other than a splash of milk in my coffee) I don't have it anymore. I save my cheese for the flavorful cheese on pasta or special occasions. I no longer need it on sandwiches, mexican food, or in my eggs.
- PAIN: I have joint pain. I have "old lady knees" and arthritis that you wouldn't believe. There is at least one knee replacement in my future. I hurt when the weather changes and my knee will swell up for what seems like nothing. BUT...when I am fueling my body with natural foods, whole fruits and vegetables, and taking my plant-based Omegas regularly...I hurt LESS. It's amazing to me to know that if I have a more painful day it usually follows a day where I indulged a little more.
- GLUTEN: Talk about a reduction. This was (and is) the most difficult part of changing my ways. I just love things filled with gluten. But I have learned to cut it out completely for 10 days every month and reduce it tremendously from what it was a year ago. I try to make smarter choices and eat it less.
OK...So what have I LOST?
- WEIGHT: Ok...let's get right to it. This is the question that I'm asked most often. "How much weight have you lost?" That's what people want to know. Here's the deal. I've lost 10 pounds. 10 since I switched my focus from monthly challenges to consistent health. The bigger deal on this is that I've KEPT IT OFF for over 7 months. I haven't gained - lost - gained - lost. I've stayed strong. People comment that I look like I've lost more. I have lost some inches, I've lost some puffiness, but 10 lbs. is it for now. (I also haven't integrated regular exercise in my life. That will come, but facing some injury issues right now.) The point is...the weight loss doesn't really matter. I know it sounds crazy, but once I started focusing more on nutrition and less on the number, the number didn't matter. How I feel is a direct representative of what I've been eating.
- CONFIDENCE. I can't stress this one enough. I feel good. I feel like I look good. I'm wearing clothes again that I haven't worn in years, and not because they finally fit, but because I feel confident wearing it.
- A GLOW: My skin is awesome. Seriously. The nutrients from all the fruits and veggies that I've been consuming are paying out. Huge. I noticed it a few months in. Other's started mentioning it about 6 months in.
- COMMUNITY and FRIENDSHIP: Throughout this journey I have met some amazingly positive people who only want to see me succeed. I have made new friends, good friends who fill my cup with joy. Surround yourself with people who make you better, not bitter. Life is too short to be around people who want to see you fail. This group of people make me smile on a daily basis.
- HEALTHIER KIDS. This one is huge. I want to lead by example. Our kids model us and what we do. Within a month of starting this journey my girls started wanting to eat what I was eating (at least some of it). They wanted to know if certain foods were healthy and if it was good for their bodies. This summer I started including them more in the lifestyle. It's a slow process, but we make progress everyday.
- ENERGY and ALERTNESS. I didn't think I was living in a fog. But I was. I thought I was awake and alert. But I wasn't. I am now. Without the aid of energy drinks and coffee on a consistent basis. Sure there are days I'm tired...I've got three kiddos, but it isn't a consistent tired.
Again. I am in no way perfect. And I don't strive to be. Perfection is boring. I'll never fully give up pizza. But I can try to reduce the amount of times we have it. I will have wine and beer when I'm not on my 10-day reset. But I will continue working on consistency for myself and my entire family.