Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Thoughts for the New Year-Building Healthy Habits

We are a week into the new year and most everyone I know is starting to flag on their new year's resolutions. Their plans to lose weight this year are starting to crumble to the siren song of (insert favorite unhealthy treat here). I'm hearing a lot of grumbling, whining, and sighing going on. Not that I'm a special snowflake but this year I did something different.

I made goals instead of resolutions.

Every year I would sit down on December 29th and write out what I was going to do. At the top of the list was losing weight, or something similar (look good in a bikini, fit into that little black dress, you get the idea.) And every year around this time I started getting tired. Tired of working out, of eating rabbit food, of not seeing anything happen. Patience isn't exactly my strong suit and when a week went by without anything but deprivation I'd start to...bend the rules a little. ONE square of chocolate. I can skip working out today because the kiddo kept me up all night and I really need the sleep. You get the idea. This year I decided to set specific goals rather than usual vague resolutions.

Three (almost four!) years ago when I discovered the primal/paleo lifestyle I found a way that we could eat healthy without starving or going without treats. Unfortunately over the years I never completely addressed my sugar addictions or emotional eating which has led to my talking the talk but not walking the walk-at least not 100% of the time. I touched briefly on it here but that was about it. I love eating clean, normal, unprocessed foods. I love taking a fresh item, in its natural state, and turning it into something delicious the family loves. My family prefers it, even the picky preschooler.

So what is stopping me from keeping the eats clean 24/7? Exhaustion, boredom, flat out laziness, busy with something else and time gets away-ness, unhealthy habits? All the above has caused me to grab take out swearing that it will just be for this one meal. Except there are often leftovers and hey, today's wrecked so throw in this other thing or that thing or I-feel-sad-and-a-cookie-will-fix-it-ness kicks in. And suddenly several days/weeks has gone by and its evolved from just one meal to every meal and my cupboards have crap in them. Again. And we're back to square one (I blame the brain). So, my first goal for the year:

Goal #1-Eat clean for 90 days.

Two years ago I completed a Whole30 and loved it. The clearly laid out end date gave me something to shoot for, anyone can survive without chocolate for 30 days. Thirty days was long enough to get me started but after that month was over I slowly slipped back into my old ways. *sigh* Research shows it takes a little over 2 months to form a new habit which is why I set the time period for 90 days.

To help with this goal Hubby and I have started planning our meals out a week. This way the afternoon question of "what's for dinner?" is already answered and in the fridge, defrosted and ready to go. So far it has already helped. I've also started prepping greens and salads as soon as I came home from the grocery store. So much easier to throw together a huge salad when everything is ready and just has to be tossed together. Hey, this may even save on the grocery bill!

I fully believe getting healthy is 80% diet, but what about the other 20%? 

I hate cardio. Its mindless and boring. Even when I had the fancy gym membership that had treadmills with fancy TVs I hated it. No show, no matter how interesting, could keep me jogging along the hamster wheel. Swimming worked for about two visits-mindless laps were no different than the treadmill but without the TV. Hubby has constantly pointed out my extreme competitiveness so I've decided to use it to my advantage. He loves to run (ugh) but there is a very fun 5k race coming up in April called Color Me Rad. Welcoming in spring by throwing color bombs at people? Hey, works for me.

But I'm not exactly in racing condition. What can I say, pregnancy does a number on the bod and I didn't exactly leap back into working out once Tadpole was born (which was only 3 months ago, give me a break.) I've heard great things about the Couch to 5K program so I'm giving that a try.

Now, the last time I attempted a 5k I hardly trained (stupid), what little training I did do was barefoot or in barefoot style shoes (smart), which I forgot to bring on race day so I had to wear the Nike sneakers I already had on my feet (stupid x 100). My feet cramped about 50 yards in but I hobbled along to the finish line, cursing my feet, my brilliant ideas, Hubby (who was walking beside me laughing to himself), the road, everything. I "completed" the race dead last. My time? An hour. And yes I say "completed" because that wasn't a race, that was an exercise in self-hate and stubbornness. So, my second goal for the year:

Goal #2-Complete a 5K in >30 minutes by the end of the year

Cardio isn't everything and I love lifting weights. In high school I out-benched pressed the rest of the girls in my class by nearly 20 pounds (at least till I got really sick and missed almost a month of school). Most of the girls were terrified of getting bulky but I loved seeing those biceps start to form. Honestly, women do NOT need to worry about getting bulky and should be lifting. And HEAVY weights, not those puny things. Yes, I own a 3 pound weight set (Munchkin loves it) but my dumbell sets also go up to 95 pounds (I kinda collect weights) and I'm now hooked on kettlebells. I picked up a new kettlebell last week, plus a kettlebell DVD (no excuses for missing the gym) so my third goal of the year is:

Goal #3-Lift 3 x a week for 90 days

Notice something with these goals? They are all S.M.A.R.T goals (hey, I used to work in Corporate America). They are

Specific: No vagueness, I clearly state what I want out of the goal and how I'm going to accomplish it.
Measurable: At the end I can clearly tell if I accomplished the goal or not.
Attainable: They are things I can do in the time-frame I'm setting, with the resources I have.
Reasonable/Relevant: They are goals that will benefit me and are do-able.
Timed: There is a clear end date when the goal will be accomplished or evaluated.

Notice there are no gardening goals? I figured if it would be too tempting to the weather gods if I put down something specific for the garden. After the -9 temps we had a few weeks ago (yes NEGATIVE NINE!) I'd rather not draw Their attention back to my little patch of dirt, at least for a while. I do have plans to branch out and plant a variety of new veggies this year, including romanesco, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and new-to-me salad greens (such as mache, watercress, and miner's lettuce).

The seed catalogs are starting to arrive. I should probably set a goal NOT to get carried away.

Nah. I'll never reach it, look at all the tomatoes!

Pineapple Tomato from Territorial Seed Company

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