Though it looks and feels like winter here on Beaver Island, we’re actually not there yet, for a few more days. As the change of season approaches, as well as the coming transition into a new year, it’s time for me to take stock. Not of all the considerations going on in my life. My gosh, that would take more time and energy than I have today, or even this week! But one thing.
I’ve been participating in Rachel Hollis’s “Last 90 Days” challenge, with the plan to start the new year riding on recent accomplishments, rather than the failures and disappointments of the past year. The challenge came with five daily goals:
- Drink half your body weight in ounces of water.
- Move your body for thirty minutes each day.
- Write down 10 things each day that you are grateful for.
- Get up one hour earlier each day, and use the time for something that benefits your spirit.
- Give up one category of food or drink (thirty days at a time) that will help to make you healthier.
With two weeks left in this challenge, I’m looking at mixed results, and not much time to redeem myself. My assessment:
My weight is 130 pounds, so that means 65 ounces of water, which is about 60 ounces more than my previous usual daily water intake. Though I never met my goal, there were several days when I came very close. Even my worst water-drinking days (48 ounces, or thereabouts) were still a huge improvement over my old habits. I’ve noticed that I enjoy water more, and that I crave it. Also, I feel thirsty more often than ever before. So, this has been a positive change, and one that will continue.
I’ve always been a walker, though I’d grown neglectful. Last spring, when I added a dog to my household, I reinstated the habit of walking every single day, morning and evening. That pattern was well-established before I started this ninety-day challenge, so it was the easiest requirement. I had been doing a “walk-to-run” program for at least one of my daily walks, but cold and icy conditions have curbed that. Still, we go at a pretty good clip, and I get a bare minimum of thirty minutes of walking in, often much more.
Writing every morning was already part of my daily practice, so also easy to continue. Gratitude is fairly new, though. It has become easier to find things to be grateful for, the longer I do it. It changes the way I approach the world. As I’m watching for things to be thankful for, I pay more attention to small kindnesses, and appreciate more fully the beauty that I too often took for granted.
I’ve had mixed success with getting up an hour earlier. I managed it successfully for a while, and was using the time for writing, yoga and meditation. First a bout of the flu got me off course. Then, I let some joyous travel opportunities get in the way. A week of flying from one place to another left me with an inner ear issue that has temporarily affected my hearing. On several days, I’ve slept right through the alarm! I see the value in taking this extra time; it’s a habit I will continue to work toward.
For the month of October, I gave up alcohol. Feeling that that was a bit of a cheat, as I’m not much of a drinker (I had only had one alcoholic beverage in the month of September), I also gave up chocolate. My cousins came to the island, and invited me to join them for happy hour at the pub. I did, and ordered simply tonic water while we visited. My sisters came next, with several bottles of wine for the week. I doggedly stuck to my plan, and had water instead. Chocolate was more greatly missed, but I stuck to it.
For November, I gave up pasta. It was a healthful choice, and something I should be looking into anyway. As much as I hate the thought, I will probably be forced, before long, to adapt a low-carb lifestyle, for my health. So, November was a trial run. This was a difficult sacrifice, as pasta forms the basis of many of my meals. It fills the plate, and fits my budget. Giving it up forced me to rethink my menus and my grocery list. Even travelling around the holiday to other homes, even with several meals out in restaurants, I made it through.
For all of my high hopes that these healthy habits and good choices would make a difference on the scale, I saw very little improvement. I’d lose a single pound, then gain it back. Though the fluctuation did seem to be in a downward direction, it was still not noteworthy. Could I do better in December?
This month, rather than give up a food group, I changed a habit. After reading Body Love by Kelly LeVeque, who promotes a low-carb lifestyle without dieting, I committed to having one of her “Fab-Four” smoothies every morning, rather than my usual breakfast of yogurt, granola and fruit. In her book, she sites many success stories. There are people who lost 11 pounds in two weeks without making a single change other than replacing breakfast with the smoothie! What better incentive? If I could lose significant weight in two weeks, you can bet I’d be utilizing her entire program for the new year!
The “fab four,” by the way, are protein, greens, fiber and fat. The recipe I use, which is only one of the many variations she offers, is this:
- 1 scoop of protein powder (protein)
- 2 cups loosely packed spinach, kale, or a combination of the two (greens)
- 2 Tablespoons ground flax seeds, chia seeds, or a combination of the two (fiber)
- 1 Tablespoon almond butter or 1/4 avocado (fat)
- 1/4 cup frozen raspberries or blueberries (flavor, and the saving grace for this smoothie!)
- 2 cups almond milk
Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Especially if you use vegetable-based protein powder (which smells like dried split peas), it helps to drink this with a straw. If it doesn’t keep you satisfied for at least four hours, add a little more fat, or more fiber. I’ve grown to like the flavor, though I can’t tolerate it without the fruit. It’s satisfying and healthy, and I plan to continue this as part of my morning routine.
As for the weight loss, nothing. Ah, well, the New Year is almost here, with new opportunities for fresh starts and diet plans. For my year’s end, I did what I could!