January #HEALTH

#HEALTH

For the month of January I completed my first full month of the Happiness Project and the theme of the month was Health!  The three goals I chose were to complete an elimination diet, to not drink alcohol during the duration of the diet, and to exercise 6 days a week. I tried to keep checking in on instagram and if you were following along you heard a lot about what I was and wasn’t eating. Overall I think it went pretty well! I held myself accountable and managed to make it almost to the end of the month without gorging myself on pizza. Here’s how it went!
 

Diet

Let me first preface this with saying that I have attempted this diet before. It is 21 days of nutritious real foods with no dairy, eggs, gluten, corn, peanuts, soy, added sugar and any meat that is not grass fed and non-gmo. The thought behind this diet is that you eliminate all the foods you could have an intolerance to and then slowly reintroduce them to your diet to find out which ones really mess up your system. The reason I decided to do this again was because I failed at the reintroduction phase last go round and also because I couldn’t recall a day in December in which I did not eat a cookie.

Week 1
The first week of the diet I was pretty hungry, but since I’ve been through this before I knew exactly when the hanger would strike and I had prepared better snacks this time. Almond butter and apples FTW. I was surprised at how much I didn’t crave sugar after my cookie filled December. I found it pretty easy to create meals that I could eat but it did mean that I was cooking a lot. I love to cook and I actually enjoyed being limited to certain foods because it forced me to be more creative with alternatives. I found out that almost every store bought sauce, condiment or mix has either added sugar, corn meal or soy in it. Even certain chicken broths weren’t safe. So I got pretty good at making my own sauces. Now I can whip up a dairy-free pesto or a red sauce in minutes. I also developed a deep love for coconut curries and tahini dressings.
Week 2

By the second week of the diet I craved almost nothing. I remember at one point thinking, man, not even pizza or tacos sound appealing. I love food, and I love good food. I don’t really crave junk food but the fact that I didn’t want to eat at all took a large amount of joy out of my day. I was making all these great meals and wasn’t hungry for them at all.  Some would think this would be a heaven-sent but an apathetic appetite just made me feel blah.

Week 3

The final week my appetite returned as I scaled down my portion sizes and became predominantly vegetarian. I really got good at cooking dinner and I think Barton even started liking some of the things I was making. Towards the end of the last week I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and just in time my appetite returned in full form to the point that I was even having dreams about french fries.

I sped up the reintroduction period which might mean I have yet again failed to do this thing properly. I partly failed at it because I was just tired of being the weird food girl. I couldn’t go out to eat with people at lunch and although I reveled in my boxed lunches on the ski slope it just became a pain to carry food everywhere. It also requires a lot of planning ahead. A lot of brainpower goes into planning meals. THEN I was invited to a foodie event at a new pizza place in town. Lets just say I ate all the gluten, dairy, eggs and sugar and it was amazing. I woke up the next morning with an unparalleled pizza hangover- I felt sooo crappy. My body was a temple and Miley Cyrus rode a wrecking ball through my stomach. Needless to say I haven’t cheated that extremely since but I am prepared to introduce smaller amounts of gluten, dairy etc.

Exercise

Working out six days a week was really not that hard for me. If you know me you know I’m a little bit obsessed with fitness. The thing that did help with this goal was treating the idea of workouts differently. Saying I had to get “moving” six days a week gave me the opportunity to treat skiing and long walks as my exercise. It made me less neurotic about going to the gym and more open to looking for new experiences that could get my heart rate up. Also having a gym at my place of work was a double win. I could use my lunch time workouts to avoid the temptation of  joining my coworkers for ramen or tacos. I will say listening to your body is key. On days when you aren’t feeling like exercising start with just stretching. I found some of my stretch sessions helped my body recover faster and still made me feel those happy exercise endorphins.

Alcohol

Not drinking was by far the hardest part. I was so surprised that I didn’t miss sugar or cheese in my diet but I did miss a glass of wine while watching the Bachelor. I still went out with friends and managed to coyly ask bartenders for a hot toddy with no whiskey. The good thing is that my diet and health habits gave me way more energy so that while I was out at night I didn’t get tired and want to go home. I later tried to pinpoint why I wanted that glass of wine at the end of the day. And I really think it was my last form of a treat, and a treat that I enjoy the most. Winter also keeps me in my warm house more often,  leaves me inside, and occasionally a little bored. Alcohol fills that gap of boredom while I do something monotonous like clean the kitchen.
I’m not gonna lie though what they say about having a clear mind when you’re not drinking is totally true. I don’t know if it was in my diet, my sleep patterns this month or my exercise, but I definitely felt more in touch with my thoughts and found I could focus for longer periods of time. Plus no hangovers 🙂

Overall January was a great month! I felt strong, empowered, clear and prepared to take on the rest of the year. I learned a lot of new things about myself and about health and wellness. This first month made me really excited for the rest of the year. I like a game plan; and creating one for myself made my day to day actions feel more purposeful. Next month is ADULTING which couldn’t come soon enough. Now to begin sorting through the pile of mail I have at my front door.

January Bonuses:
Clear Skin
Laser focus
Learned how to make a lot of new meals
Learned how to make almond butter (seriously this experiment might be worth this one gain)
Stronger
Leaner
Feeling more organized
Very few digestive problems
Craving good nutritious foods
Sleeping like a rock
January Bombs:
Trendy health food is kinda expensive (I can no longer walk in and out of whole food for less than $40.00)
Did A LOT of dishes
Didn’t love feeling like the girl who could only eat kale

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