Happy New Year! I hope 2014 is off to a wonderful start so far! I myself spent yesterday resting, regrouping, and also implementing some healthy new habits. After much reflection, here are the changes I've started making:
- A return to Weight Watchers. I know, I can feel you rolling your eyes at me..grin..I've been back & forth so many times on this issue. However, after doing it on my own for most of 2013, and not losing any substantial weight, I must admit that I need the accountability and the structure that an organized, face-to-face program provides. While there are aspects of WW that I won't adhere to (mandatory dairy and fat servings, for example), I find that overall it's a good, solid system and the most vegan-friendly weight loss program available. So, I marched back into a meeting last Friday, weighed in and got the new materials. I won't be using the Simple Start features because they are a bit challenging for a plant-based diet, but jumped right back into Points Plus. I tracked about 80% of the time this past week, and even though I certainly did my share of holiday indulging, I think the tracking helped me from going completely over the edge.
- Daily personal journaling, for mental/emotional health. I dusted off my copy of The Artist's Way and opened a blank composition book, started doing my Morning Pages yesterday. I find that this daily writing helps me process my emotions in a healthy way; instead of stuffing them down with food, I'm purging them onto the paper for reflection or even just disposal. I'm hoping this will help curb my binge eating and subsequent guilt afterward.
- Increased exercise, of course. Now that the holidays are over and my guest rooms are once again vacant, I can move my treadmill back to it's proper location. I have some silly comedy on the way from Netflix, perfect for mindless treadmill viewing.
- More fat, less fluff..food-wise, that is. While I fully embrace Dr. McDougall, Barnard, etc's high-carb, no fat way of eating, I have decided to allow a tiny bit more oil into my diet than they suggest. Last year I tried to eliminate most "fake" meats, all added oils, and most processed foods, and stuck to whole foods as much as possible. This is a great plan and it works well, but, frankly, it's a little bit boring. For someone like me who enjoys cooking and likes to experiment with a variety of cuisines, I got kinda tired of beans/potatoes/rice/greens. I need more. So this year I'll be allowing a little bit more oil, I'm talking a teaspoon or so here & there back into my diet, but what I am limiting is white flour. Lately I've discovered that whenever I eat white bread, pasta, etc. I end up feeling bloated and with a terrible tummy ache. Also, these tend to be trigger foods for me; one hunk of Italian bread is never enough! So, I'll be avoiding the fluffy white stuff, will stick to Ezekiel sprouted grain bread, whole grain pasta, etc. I'll be minimizing my consumption of processed foods in general, but see nothing wrong with adding some faux sausage or chick'n to my meal plan on occasion, especially if it helps keep me on track, enjoying my food.
- Limited alcohol. Before yesterday, I honestly couldn't remember a day that didn't include a glass of wine. I'm not sure if this means I have a "problem," or simply a "habit," but either way, it needs to go. There is no reason I must have a drink each day, and one sometimes leads to two which often results in poor eating choices and inevitable weight gain. I gave a lot of thought to what exactly it is I enjoy about the cocktail hour, and discovered that it's not the buzz; it's the ritual. Just as every morning Chip and I start our day with a beverage (coffee) & conversation, we end it with the same. It's a way to reconnect, to mark the closing of the day, a ritual. However, no one said that happy hour must include alcohol. I can enjoy the experience with a glass of sparkling water, cup of herbal tea, whatever! Now, I'm not saying that I'm jumping on the wagon, can't foresee myself becoming a teetotaler, but it doesn't need to be a daily habit. A couple drinks on the weekend can be part of a healthy lifestyle and should not impede my fitness/health goals.