Remember like two posts ago when I insisted I wouldn’t go on some crazy diet or try some new exercise regime in January, because who needs misery on top of misery?
Well, interestingly, once the weather changed, something snapped inside me and I found myself taking on some changes (well, some minor changes and one drastic change) to my habits. It actually partially started as an extreme emotional slump that lasted for weeks. I just couldn’t pull myself out of it. I had tried medication before, and I knew I didn’t want to go back to that (which is not to say I don’t believe in it; I believe firmly that some people truly do need it).
I needed something to be challenged by, I decided. So, I found a piano teacher with a studio within walking distance of my apartment and scoured eBay for an affordable digital piano. I felt better even just deciding that I would do this. After I spoke to my new piano teacher for the first time, it was like a weight had been lifted.
The next thing to change was my eating habits (probably about 90% grilled cheese sandwiches), which I knew in my bones were making things worse for me. I read this book, which prepared me for a drastic diet overhaul. The basic gist is mostly vegetables and no processed foods. For the past two weeks, I’ve been eating a ton of veggies, a ton of eggs, and basically an avocado per day (with some other protein added in there too). Again, I felt better almost immediately. What’s surprising about this way of eating is that missing ice cream isn’t the hardest part- the hardest part by far is the planning and cooking (and cleaning up after). Still, it’s something to master, and I’m mastering it. I decided too that I would not be quite as restrictive as the book suggests. On most social occasions I’ll allow myself to veer off course, and I can tell that’s a smart and good move for me. I’m not trying to replace my unhealthy eating habits with an unhealthy obsession. I told my friend Gena that as someone who ardently supports and tries to role model a healthy body image, I feel almost sheepish about being on a diet. This is much more about health than weight for me, so I hope I gain some confidence in that.
The last and probably most surprising change has been about alcohol. I am usually a glass of wine (or two or three or four glasses) per night type of gal. It would pleasantly take the edge off my day and well, as you saw back in January, I wasn’t willing to give it up. Before I even started changing my diet, I decided to experiment and give it up in advance. I was slightly floored that I hadn’t even been aware the of the effect it was having on me, particularly the next day (I always thought I was fairly immune to hangovers; as it turns out I had a very narrow definition of the word “hangover”). The next day, I didn’t need a nap at 3pm. I wasn’t sluggish to the point where I would seriously consider begging off of work and going home. Now that I’m more aware of this, I tend to only drink if I believe it’ll be worth it and I really want to. Which definitely has happened since I started.
I thought this would be much, much harder than it ended up being. I assumed I’d be white knuckling it, at least for a the first week as I got used to it. I think maybe what’s giving me a boost is that I’m proud of myself for doing it, and the benefits to my mental and emotional health were so immediately obvious that I can’t help but feel good about it.
So, will all of this last? At this point I can’t imagine going back, although I’m sure at some point I’ll slide back into some old routines, and that’s okay. I want a good balance between being healthy and enjoying my life and doing what I want.