Week three I ate very healthily but only went to the gym once and yoga once. Week four I ate relatively poorly and only went to the gym once and now I am sick. Hmph!
My observations, as the thirty days wind to an end: I really do still enjoy the process of eating better and cooking more of my own food for my lunches. It takes a bit of time and planning but on the whole it is cheaper than eating out, and I don’t get that afternoon crash like I do when I eat a sandwich and potato chips. I also have started to enjoy the weekly 20-minute walk up to my local co-op and Trader Joe’s for ingredients—I hardly went there before since it is easier just to dash to the QFC two blocks from my house, but when I’m eating produce every day I want organic! (Yes, believe it or not, I often go a whole day without eating any veggies or fruit except maybe pickles and lettuce on a sandwich. or I did, before month of health.).
I didn’t stick to the “no meat except fish” rule that well, but I have been trying to choose tofu or veggie when it made the most sense—sometimes though, if you have a choice between roasted chicken and fettuccini alfredo, the chicken is the healthier choice. I am also allergic to tomatoes and bell peppers, which seems to be almost always included in veggie dishes. I don’t think long-term vegetarianism is for me because of my allergies (it’s so limiting), but it was an interesting constraint to add for the month.
I am very surprised to find that I am still not drinking coffee, except for maybe a cup or two of good stuff on the weekends. I am growing more fond of tea and I don’t miss my daily 2-3 cups of sludge from the office coffee pot at all! I don’t think I’ll go back to being a regular coffee drinker—it’s so much more satisfying to me as a special treat.
As far as exercise…I just don’t like going to the gym and I can’t get this habit to stick. I find it boring and it takes up a lot of time, what with the requirements for showers and extra laundry and stuff. It also seems like a punishment of sorts-
a modern form of self-flagellation for the sins of today’s diet. I walk everywhere-at least a mile a day (it’s .8 miles to work, 1.2 miles to Trader Joe’s, 1.5 miles to Buster’s house, etc) so it is not like I am a total couch potato—I just find making repeatative motions on a machine for half an hour to be rather unfufilling. I read recently that experts recommend an hour at the gym a day, but that has to be for people who drive everywhere and eat fast food, right? Otherwise it seems crazy and I think I eat MORE when I work out that much. I feel like if I watch what I eat and walk a lot I’ll be alright but perhaps I am just making excuses. I did discover that I really enjoy yoga though, a new experience for me. Maybe I’ll just stick with that.
Anyway, I am very glad I did the month of health because I was able to come away with some healthy habits that I think will stick for awhile. And that was the whole point. 6 years ago
Week two was great. I cheated by eating meat several times: turkey jerky, two appetizers at a party, a (gasp) hotdog. Oops. It was all relatively healthy except the hot dog.
I am surprised to find that I enjoy not drinking coffee! Who knew. Green tea gives me just enough of a jolt to get me going but not so much that I get all crashy later in the day. It is much easier on my tum and I am actually enoying the taste of the tea too. I can see myself enjoying a really good cup of coffee from Vivace every once in a while because it’s yummy, but I don’t think I will go back to the days of drinking two or three cups of bad office coffee every day just because I think I have to.
I did go to the gym three times but I had to force myself. I just don’t enjoy it that much. I like the running program I’m doing just because it’s a way to keep me on track for my goals, but man. It is boring. Buster and I went to yoga today and I really enjoyed that, much more than I expected. It was a new exeperience for me. I feel like I got some good exercise and afterwards I felt so relaxed and blissed out. It was an excellent feeling and I’m looking forward to going back.
Another thing I am enjoying is thinking about food: not in an obsessive diet way, but in an excited, “what do I really want to eat” way. I don’t know if I can explain it really, but I usually just eat a lot of crap without much thought, particularly for lunch. Now I’m trying to eat well, but not restrictively-
just good, whole, simple, organic and local if possible foods. Lots of fruit and veggies and brown things. I am actually enjoying it! I’m not sure I can imagine going back to eating teriyaki three times a week now. I enjoy planning my meals and browsing through the produce sections for ideas. I find myself craving avocado instead of cheddar cheese, and for some reason I really want to find some farm fresh eggs because old store bought ones seem dull and icky. I like thinking about food and not just food from restaraunts but food I can make too. It is sort of the same idea as the coffee-if I’m going to eat I want it to be really good, not just because I’m supposed to or because it’s there. For a girl who subsisted on cigarettes and cola through college this is a big switch. I can’t exactly explain why the switch happened but so far I like it. 6 years ago
I only went to the gym once and I had a coffee on Sunday morning (it was early). Otherwise I think I am doing okay. I am trying to be more thoughtful about what I eat, anyway. 6 years ago
I had an Americano on the morning of our hot air balloon because it seemed like vacation and because I had only gotten a couple hours of sleep the night beforehand. It was delicious. I have been drinking a lot more vegetable juice and pommegranite tea though… those are tasty if a little lacking somehow. 6 years ago
I have been getting a pretty negative reaction when I tell people I am doing a month of health! This surprises me. Usually as soon as I mention that I am eating healthy this month people say, “HEALTHY? WHY” and then try to harass me into eating a cooky. I don’t really get it. It’s not like I am crash dieting or anything; I just want to experiment with some healthy habits to see what sticks and I don’t think that’s a negative thing. I’m sure they are at least half kidding but it kind of bums me out. It is hard enough for me to resist eating junk without the additional pressure. I wonder why this pushes people’s buttons and I also wonder if this would happen if I were a boy. 6 years ago
Starting today, I too am going to try a month of health. Just to see what THAT’S like. Here’s my list of activities:
- Green tea instead of coffee. I drink a lot of coffee, and also a lot of sugar and half-and-half because I splurge on mochas when I feel luxurious.
- Drink a lot more water. I’m keeping a glass of water by me all the time while at work, and at home. I’m drinking at least 3 or 4 more glasses of water than I usually do.
- No hangovers. I don’t really get hangovers, but I’m talking about even feeling spacey and spongey the next day. I think this’ll mean just drinking with a slower pace. I don’t want to set a drink limit because I don’t think that really has anything to do with it. Something like one drink every 45 minutes would be a lot more reasonable for me at this point. Especially since I have so many reasons to celebrate this month.
- Go to the gym twice a week. I’ve gotten off the gym track since vacation a couple weeks ago, time to get back on.
- Optimize for healthy. (instead of tasty or cheap) This one has been fun so far. Most of the time this means choosing the healthy vegetarian option. Rather than just not eating meat, which might lead me to eat unhealthy vegetarian, I’d rather optimize for healthy regardless of whether or not there’s meat in it. This is mostly so I can continue eating sushi, I think.
- Lose 5 pounds. I gained some weight on my San Fran/rafting trip (because the guides supplied us with so much tasty food), and while I don’t necessarily need to lose the weight, I feel like I should lose some of the fat in exchange for muscle if possible.
- Keep track of my breathing and heart rate. Only tangentially related to the health aspect, I’ve been trying to do this in order to know what emotions I’m feeling. Knowing whether or not you’re stressed out is a lot more difficult than just noticing if you’re breathing faster or have an increased heart rate even though you’re sitting at a desk typing.
- Document rule-breaking. I’m going to peer-pressure myself into following rules by documenting when I break them. As long as I’m following them I can be lazy and not report back.
This reminds me of my Mecember project in 2003. It was a crucial turning-point month for me to realize how easy it was to make big changes all of a sudden. In a lot of ways, lessons from that month started the ball rolling for a lot of other things (changing jobs, moving, fixing relationships, etc). It’ll be interesting to see if I can rejuvenate some of that healthy momentum now when it could be said that my lifestyle is a little more crazy than it was back then. 6 years ago
I am going to try to kickstart some healthy habits by committing to a Month of Health. I plan to:
-substitute green tea for coffee
-work out at least 3x a week and do the couch to 5k program
-eat no meat but fish (I think it is possible to eat well and eat meat but many of my bad food choices seem to contain meat (hot dogs!) so I just want to see what happens when I cross out the possibility altogether)
-choose whole wheat/brown carbs (bread, rice)
-take a daily vitamin
-keep track of the rules I break 6 years ago