Tomorrow starts the first ‘real’ vacation since I started the barre n9ne challenge in May. And while the challenge spanned a traditionally difficult time to ‘stay healthy’ (summer!! cookouts! drinking!! FUN!), for the most part, I didn’t travel, I didn’t go on a week-long vacation and most of the cookouts I went to were family or close friends where I felt I had more control over what I had as food options. Tomorrow, I use what I’ve learned since that fateful day in May when that life-epiphany I was desperately searching for began.
While I won’t lie and say I am not at least a little anxious about making sure I make good choices, and not compare myself to my workout-y friends getting in lots of good workouts on the homefront (comparing! my nemesis! Must push her down!). However, I’m confident that I can and I will make good choices and have a blast and a half on this trip!
So what have I learned?
At the core of it, it’s about consistency, making healthy choices. Each and every day. This was probably the biggest thing I learned and something that every day, hits me upside the head with how right-on it is. I know I feel better when I choose healthy. I know I feel better when I think before I eat. And know whether its mindless eating, random ‘want’ or actual hunger.
Almost as important, it’s about balance. Yes, healthy food options with a good amount of protein, fats and carbs is ideal. But balancing that with small indulgences is not a bad thing. It doesn’t mean eat 10 cookies, but if you want that cookie? Commit to it. Don’t eat half and not ‘count’ it, don’t take 3 bites of your boyfriend’s pizza and still want a full piece. Choose to eat it. Commit.
So closely tied to balance and choosing, is planning ahead. Plan, plan, plan. It’s what I do. I am getting really good at mentally preparing for when I am faced with a party or having wine on the weekend or a random ‘ice cream for dinner’ kind of night. But if you plan for it? Guess what? It will almost always fit into your ‘number.’ And that’s why this way of life works so well for me. I don’t feel deprived. I don’t feel like I have to cut out whole food groups (I heard coworkers talking about their ‘diets’ and how they cut carbs and don’t eat after 9 and only eat lunch and dinner and I shake my head…really, people, really?!). I don’t feel like I am endless counting calories either, because I am so accustomed to it now, that I just sorta know what I am eating and how many calories I’ve got left for the day.
Almost the most important thing I learned is joy does not equal food, your experiences do. Food equals fuel. It does not equal happiness. I used to be so accustomed to looking forward to parties, vacations etc as a chance to eat whatever I wanted and as much as I wanted. And would always feel pretty gross and overly full afterwards. For what? What purpose does that serve? Not happiness, that’s for sure. My focus now in social situations? The people I am with. Conversations. Not food. Food is secondary. Sure, it’s yummy, but it can be yummy in smaller amounts too!
And finally, the most important part of what I have learned is that I am making an investment in myself and making me a priority. Yes, planning ahead and counting calories (not that I will count forever, but here and there, eventually, to keep in check and accountable) does take time. But as Tanya told us, ‘if you ‘don’t have time’ then you don’t have time for YOU. Is that what you are saying?’ <–so true. INVEST IN YOU.
So, while I am most certainly going to enjoy the shit out of wine country three-peat, I am going to be mindful, I am going to fit in a few runs, and I am not going to eat my face off. I will eat, I will enjoy the local fare (including In-N-Out Burger! First time ever!) and lots and lots of wine. I promise you that. I just feel as though I am going into this smart, confident and ready to have a great trip…enjoying M, my friends, and our experiences and perhaps not putting food as my first priority as it seems to have been in the past.
Balance. Choices. Priorities.
Using what I’ve learned.