My Head Start on 2018

Barb Here

My head start on 2018 was to begin my wellness practices in 2017 and this has proven to be brilliant! (I love being brilliant.) After quite a bit of reading and research, I’d decided that the best way for me to lose weight and get in shape was to change my eating habits for life. The most drastic change would be cutting out sugar.

Sugar in the Mornin’

Oh, Sugar, How I love Thee. Let me count the ways. I wasn’t a sneaky kid, except when it came to sugar but can remember pouring a bowl of Cocoa Puffs for a Saturday morning cartoon snack—if my mother was not in sight. No milk was involved, but I added at least 2 teaspoons of white sugar to the bowl filled to the brim with cloying chocolatey sweetness. My default comfort food is candy or chocolate with a bit of salt added. In Jr. High, I loved pink Canada mints in a bowl of potato chips. The words still appeal to me, but when I tried this treat during a moment of nostalgia in my 30’s it no longer satisfied.

Sugar in the Evenin’

As I aged, my love of all things sugar matured but did not abate as I learned how to make my favorite treats, but not how to enjoy them with restraint. If I had one, I wanted two. If I had two, four were required. Of course, I didn’t eat like this all the time and had months and perhaps years during which I “watched what I ate”, exercised, and kept the weight off. As has been discussed, my sugar binges and weight gain eras coincided with times of major stress.

Since writing my part of the WTF (Weight Time Fortitude) Post I researched healthy living and eating—as opposed to diets. As a result, I’ve begun to banish sugar and white flour from my diet and was successful for a period of some weeks. In addition, I also started walking 3 miles three or four times a week, began doing yoga stretches after every walk, and accepted the “plank challenge”.  I ‘ve learned how to avoid hidden sugars, ordered healthy meals in restaurants, began to lose 2 pounds a week, and found that the whole package was working well. I completed three miles under 45 minutes, I achieved the 1-minute level of planking, stretching my entire body from head to heels as I held the position.

Sugar at Suppertime

And then I went off the rails. First, my old sneakers blew out, I ordered new ones that didn’t fit, and it took about 2 weeks to get into a good pair of sneakers and up and walking. During that time, Thanksgiving happened, Lynnelle visited, and the cruisers had a Christmas Cookie party. I did pretty well with the first two events, but the cookies pushed me over the edge. (As did the brownies and chocolate kisses delivered by a local cruiser.)  My new ways of eating left the building er, boat, well really they left St. Augustine.

That’s great! Truly great! Because now, I’ve already experienced my New Year’s successes and fails and now know what works, what doesn’t and—most important—am more committed to the process.

My Head Start on 2018, Here’s What I learned

  1. I was over-zealous with my exercising. Walking, extreme stretching, and moving right into the yoga poses I’d last done six years ago all combined to damage a tendon in my left heel. I limped for over a week and found it uncomfortable to walk any distance for over two weeks. For most of December, I did no exercise other than the occasional bike ride. This week I walked 2.4 miles on Saturday and 3 miles on Tuesday. I’m taking it slowly, stretching lightly, and will hold off on the planking for a bit. The new shoes are great and I’m good to go but will take my time to build up to my goals.
  2. For the past year, I’d been plagued with leg cramps at night. After I banished sugar for a few weeks I realized that the cramps had gone; when they returned a few days after the cookie party, I knew I was on to something.
  3. While there were a few challenges with banishing white flour, I was 90% successful. I’m OK with that. This is not an allergy or miss-placed fear of gluten; I’m working to eliminate flour because I am working on ridding my diet of those foods that are inflammatory and adding more of those foods which are anti-inflammatory. It hasn’t been that difficult and I will persist.
  4. Oh, and I lost weight. Not a lot, but I didn’t gain it back when I couldn’t exercise (until the cookie party), so I’m definitely on the right track.
  5. During the past couple of weeks, in addition to sugar and white flour, I let beer and more wine back into my life. The original list of new habits called for only 3 glasses of red wine a week. I recently had a private Facebook conversation with a lovely young woman who chose to stop drinking alcohol a couple of years ago. She has given me some strategies (and a new mindset) to employ when we go out with friends and hang with cruisers. I have no plans to stop drinking altogether but will limit the amount and choose more wisely in 2018.
  6. I will not fully eliminate sugar and white flour. I am not a fanatic or perhaps some would say I’m not that strong. My goal in 2018 is to be more mindful in all areas in 2018. From what I’ve seen so far, that should work.

In addition to all of this, I’ve also begun (with a bit less fervor) to work on other areas of my life and habits. There, too, I’m learning what works and what needs to be tweaked. I’d call this trial period a great success. I’m ready for you, New Year! I am excited, optimistic, and determined to succeed on a number of fronts.

2018. I. Am. Ready. For. You.

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