Recapping the Healthy Living plan


Hey y’all, I made it through the four week challenge. And when I say “I made it”, I mean that the Earth rotated on its axis 28 full times, while I continued to be aware that I was on some sort of plan. If any of that had failed to happen, I would have considered this month a failure. So, success!! Yeah, I know. Low bar.

The simple way to look at this is that I experienced two separate phases. The first two weeks were great. I felt strong and my digestive system was thanking me for the break from the ordinary American diet. The last two weeks have been a bit of a struggle. I feel a little like a marathon runner who trained super hard for a half marathon. Cruising along for the first half and dragging myself across the finish line.

I do have to report a success, though. Overall, even with my coasting to the finish, I lost almost 8 lbs! So, what have I learned from this?

  1. Two weeks is the longest I should change my eating habits this drastically. I can do it for that period of time. Any longer is just asking for trouble, and a potential yo-yo effect.
  2. Weekdays are much easier to stay committed than the weekends. I guess this is obvious, but we’re more likely to hang out with friends and attend social events on the weekends. This makes it harder to resist the opportunity for indulgences.
  3. Temptation is everywhere. Lauren found it difficult just to go to work, where they often have food brought in or put out for the staff to eat.
  4. Traveling is tough because of the convenience of fast food and being out of one’s routine. It’s easy for the mind to convince the body that travel=vacation, which means vacation from healthy living.
  5. My body appreciates it when I avoid dairy. Look, I live in Wisconsin. It’s extremely hard to avoid this particular temptation – especially cheese and ice cream (or frozen custard). Now, the only time I ever use milk is on my cereal, but that is still a big deal for me. I’ve tried to use nut milks but they’re not the same. But, then my body reminds me how poorly I digest real milk, and I swear it off until the next time that the cereal box beckons me.
  6. The easiest part of this whole plan was making shakes in the morning. They were delicious and a simple way to start the day. Sneaking spinach or kale into the shake gives me a boost of greens without me even noticing. I’ll continue to have these most mornings.
  7. I need to get more consistent with my exercise routine. I’ve said this for years, but my goals are going to remain just out of reach unless I stick to consistent exercise. I did this for a couple of weeks but then it tailed off in the last week and a half.

As I move into the summer months (June starts on Thursday!), I’m not going to be doing any kind of plan like this. I’m glad I did it, and it has taught me a lot about my abilities and tendencies. I will try to save dairy for special occasions. And I’ll continue to drink the shakes as many mornings as I can. I expect that an active summer with some mindfulness about my food intake will yield the result I’m looking for.

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