Monday, January 12, 2015

Developing New Habits

I debated where I wanted to record my journey toward becoming healthier and developing better habits in regard to food and my health.  I thought about just doing a personal written journal.  But I also wanted some accountability.  I thought about creating a Facebook page since a lot of what I do is on Facebook & I know my friends would be able to join in with their thoughts & their own journeys.  But, it seemed self-preoccupied.  I thought about creating a new blog just dedicated to my health journey.  But, that felt a bit scattered.  Why not keep everything I write about in one place?

And, so I decided to write about it here.  It offers accountability.  I can still share my posts with my friends on Facebook.  And, instead of having my writing scattered, it's all in one place.  Maybe I can even become motivated to write on here more often in general.

My plan is to blog on Mondays about what I'm doing toward becoming healthier.  I think that will work well since I'm breaking everything down into weekly goals.  Last year I jumped into a 40 day Daniel Fast.  I did it as part of a congregation wide call to fasting during Lent at our church.  It was a good experience.  And, it taught me a lot about reading labels & being conscious of what's in my food.  It was also pretty restrictive and isn't realistic for me for a normal pattern of eating.

So I've decided to take it in stages....mainly because I know how I am.  I tend to be an 'all or nothing' girl.  I've always thrown myself into diets full on.  And frankly, it's a bit of a shock to the system.  It's hard to keep up that momentum.  And, then if I make one little mistake I feel like I've fallen off the wagon completely.  I want to change that about myself.  So, I taking it slow & trying to build new habits.

Last week was Phase One.  I eliminated caffeine (specifically coffee...Ugh!  I know!) and adult beverages. Goal:  Rehydrate & Re-energize

 Trust me I LOVE coffee.  And, it's been part of my morning ritual for so long.  But, I know from when I did the Daniel Fast (which eliminated all beverages other than water) that I actually feel much clearer headed when I'm not dosing up on caffeine every day.  The first week was torture & I was in a total fog.  But, if you can get beyond that, it's actually quite freeing.  I'm certainly not saying I'll never drink coffee again.  Far from it.  But for now, it's better not to be so dependent on it.

And, as far as adult beverages go - I really like wine...specifically red, dry wines.  I know Christians have varying views on consuming alcohol at all.  So, I hope I don't offend or shock anyone with that revelation.  I don't have a problem with enjoying an adult beverage now & then.  But, since my husband makes our own wine & brews our own beer, I had easy access to it.  And, I had gotten into the bad habit of having wine or beer almost every night.  Not only was I starting to count on it to relax;  it making me feel yucky and it's a lot of empty calories.  So I'm also giving that up for a while.

So now instead of coffee in the morning to wake up, I'm drinking a large glass of water first...sometimes followed by a glass of juice.  And, instead of a glass of wine in the evening to relax I either have nothing ,or if I really need to unwind, I have a mug of sleepytime tea.  The first week was so HARD.  But now I truly feel so much clearer-headed and more energetic.  And, I feel better hydrated too.

This week is Phase Two.  I'm eliminating most sugars.  Goal:  Sugar detox

No sweets or desserts, sugary drinks or cereals during this Phase.   I will allow myself one treat per week during this process so I don't feel totally deprived and give in.  I'm thinking a small piece of dark chocolate once a week should do the trick.  Unlike the Daniel Fast which eliminated ALL sweeteners (including honey & molasses), I will still incorporate those into my diet.  For instance I plan to make some home-made granola this week which uses honey.  But, the main culprit I want to eliminate is white sugar.

When I did the Daniel Fast I also eliminated any foods that had ANY sweeteners in.  So, even most store bought salad dressings were off the table.  I may get to that point.  But, for now the focus is the type of stuff I listed above.  A friend recommended the book, Sweet Poison, to read.  It talks about how we essentially are poisoning ourselves with sugar and that it's the main culprit for obesity.  I haven't read it yet.  But, I aim to!

I started this Phase yesterday and we had not just one but two birthday events.  We celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday by going out for lunch to a restaurant.   Almost everyone had dessert.  And, to make it even tougher, all our desserts were on the house because of how they had to seat our large party.  We were seated directly in the path of all the servers coming in and out and all the people making the trek back to where the bathrooms were. What?  Free Dessert???  But I prevailed!

From there we went directly to my nephew's 2nd birthday party.  I can usually take or leave store-bought cakes.  But, did you ever notice how when you CAN'T have something suddenly it looks amazing?  Yeah.  The cake looked good.  But, fortunately for me we had to leave early before the cake was cut so I could get to a class at church on time.

Anyway, I'm continuing Phase One through Phase Two & will continue to build on each new healthier habit over the next several weeks.   I' debating whether or not I want to do weekly weigh-ins just to see if I'm on track or not.  I really want my focus to be on getting healthy with some weight loss as a side benefit.  And, I don't want to become obsessed with the number on the scale.  I did weigh myself Saturday...the first time in months!  I just wanted to have an idea of where I was starting.

Where there's my weekly check in.  I'll be back next Monday to give an update and talk about the next Phase.

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