January 31, 2012

31 Days of Nothing Unhealthy–Final Thoughts

31 Days of Nothing {Unhealthy}

Well, we made it.  Some of us made it with several pounds less to show for it and some of us…not so much.  I for one am glad it’s over, but feeling really reflective. 

This much is true: I don’t think that after this challenge, I can say with any measure of conviction that I’m otherwise “healthy” but that I just have some extra weight, or that I do “watch what I eat” or that I “don’t eat that much” or that I “just need to exercise”. The blame is my own. I am that unhealthy. I am that undisciplined – just look at the battle I’ve had parting with a caffeinated soft drink full of sugar and cocaine soda water. Why should it be so hard to say “I’m not drinking that anymore”? But it has been so very hard. I’ve had excuses for years about my weight. It’s genetics. It’s metabolism. I don’t eat that much, really! (whatevs!) It’s that my knees bother me! (well, they do…) I have no time. It’s too expensive to buy all that healthy food. It’s too much work. It’s depressing. I don’t want to be the odd man out at parties, get-togethers, etc. I can’t live without {insert hard to part-with food item or drink here}. I can’t afford a gym membership. On and on and on and on and on.

Attention: I’m a hypocrite. There very well might be a time, a couple months from now or more or less where you would be able to HURL this entire post and especially this next part back at me with full force. I will deserve it. But for the now, can I just encourage you as I make my way out of this very difficult challenge?

My excuses are just that. Excuses.

If I have sad and sorry genetics and poor metabolism, I need to work even harder to fight the current dragging me down. I don’t have to live with those reasons. Neither do you. I can fight it, and make a difference for myself.

If I don’t think I “eat that much”, perhaps I should try and recall how small the portions have seemed this month compared to my norm. Uhhh, that’s called portion control. And apparently I needed it badly.

My knees do bother me. And my hips. And sometimes my foot. But I have got to move. I cannot sit in my office chair all day and not give my body some time to breath. Even if it’s a walk with the kids, or a Couch 2 5K program, or a bike ride, or roller skating, or ice-skating, or chasing my littles at the park or Wii Fit or a Zumba class or whatever. Move. I have got to give my body a chance to burn off what it doesn’t need.

Saying I don’t have time for healthier living and exercise is like saying “I don’t have time to live longer”. I’m sorry, but it’s true. (points finger to self) Remember that first post where I said “I’m gonna die fat and happy”. Not sure about the happy part – most people who are obese are not all that happy if they’re really honest. Definitely gonna die fat though. That much is for sure. Without change – I have over 15 years of the scale tipping upwards and not down as my proof. Slow and steady, indeed.

Saying that it’s too expensive to buy the healthy food is kind of a cop-out. We have not spent all that much this month on “health” food. We’ve just replaced our standby items (butter, whole milk, cheeses, creams, red meats, sugary cereals, store packaged waffles and pancakes, muffins, white breads and salty packaged foods including chips, not to mention excessive fast-food intake) for healthier choices. Organic chicken and beef broths low in sodium to cook with in place of butter, lots of fresh fruits and veggies, yogurts, skim milk, chicken and fish, healthier cereals, and almost no desserts. You will be amazed what you can find, with a small amount of planning, without wrecking your choices. Also – I’ve been “schooled” this month on what it means to moderate. When the healthy people say “everything in moderation” – they really mean it! After dinner a couple nights we got out some dark chocolate and each had a piece – delicious – but we cut ourselves off at one or two. I have eaten at Taco Bell and have had McDonalds Egg McMuffin – but both times I felt I was doing so in moderation. From several times a week to once a week in a month’s time – that’s a decent shift. I’ll take it! It’s hard work – but it can be done.

Speaking of work – it is a lot of work to shift your lifestyle. I can’t even lie about that. It’s WORK. I realized that I’ve been unhealthy and choosing to do it my way for roughly 30 years. I’ve eaten “my way” for almost my entire life. I’ve literally eaten whatever I wanted – in whatever portion size I wanted – whenever I wanted to. For THIRTY YEARS. Moderation has never been in my vocab. Now, my hubby would argue that I don’t eat that much. But I’ll revert to point #2. Clearly it’s too much, if this is my weight and it hurt shifting it as of Jan 1. Hello? It’s lots of work to avoid everything you’ve known for all those years. It is a comfort and it’s so difficult to let that go and find something healthier to fill the gap. It was hard eating that stupid turkey burger. Yuck! But it’s hard because I wanted to revert to my comfort. I wanted an all beef patty, special sauce, lettuce, cheese….ya feel me? I wanted it my way. The turkey burger didn’t taste terrible. It tasted good. But my mind told me “this is gross…this isn’t how it should taste!” Sigh….

Bottom line is this:  I like the changes I was able to make.  I lost NINE pounds.  NINE! I dropped a serious soft drink addiction.  I cut back on my portion sizes and was able to get a better handle on what goes down the gullet.  I ate healthier and gave myself the chance to remember what real food tastes like.  I exercised (people, that right there….I mean…I need a medal.)  I stayed true to cutting back on sugars and never had one single beef burger or fast-food hamburger.  For that matter, the only fast food I consumed in a month was Taco Bell on three occasions (maybe four).  I’m not counting Chipotle, because it’s just way too fresh and good.  Right?  Am I right?  Don’t tell me I’m wrong.  It’s enough I parted with my precious Coke. 

The point is – I did good.  We did good!  Anton lost over 15 pounds (musahfussa$)(%*#$)($*#(&%#) and learned a new way of cooking his favorites.  These were invaluable lessons and I have hope that we can move forward with them.  Perfect them and keep up the good work that we’ve already begun. 

The foundation has definitely been laid for a healthier lifestyle – and that’s what the challenge was all about.

Now it’s up to us what we do with that foundation…

Do you need my last two days of menu?  Nah...pass...nothing to tell and no cheating.  You'll have to take my word for it!


Debbie said...

10 pounds is a great result....well done YOU!!!

Polar Bear said...

Congrats! Ten pounds is amazing!

I wish I would have found your challenge 30 days ago. I really need a kick start!

Jen said...

Enjoyed following along! Way to go this month... I am proud of your family for sticking with it!

Anna said...

Yay, YOU! You did it! So proud of you and AB!

deany said...

So very proud of you Christie! (and the chef, Anton!) You know that I truly live by portion control and eat everything I want in moderation and the correct portion size. In my life and my love of food I have never had to give anything up.
It's not about dieting it's about eating correct portions and eating healthy food.
So, so happy that at least at this point, you have stepped back and taken a look.
Tell Anton in his busy schedule, if he ever gets time to post his revised recipes, one or two for the masses on my foodie page, I would love it!
love you, deany

Nancy said...

Great job!

Jodee said...

Way to go! I am so proud of you! I have eight weeks to go!