image via tobyotter
Yellow crocuses peeping up through damp soil, rain boots splashing through puddles and squishing into muddy lawns, bare shoulders tickled by a breeze and warmed a moment later by the sunshine…
Spring is here!
Despite its cold and muddy beginnings here in Chicago, spring is a reminder that summer is just around the corner. After the rain has washed away the last traces of slushy winter snow, the buds will start sprouting and the world begins again. Spring is a time for renewal, growth, and change. Today I’m revisiting my new year’s resolutions and setting intentions for moving forward.
I started writing this as a check-in on my new year’s resolutions, but it quickly became clear that I should address my focus categories (health, personal, and food/cooking) one by one. As I wrote during Week 4 of my Whole30, I want this year to be the best yet. Today I’m revisiting my health goals with the understanding that a thriving mind and body are the foundation of the life I want.
My first health resolution: complete the Whole30 in January.
I completed my Whole30 on February 1 and felt great…then off came the training wheels and all hell broke loose. After a month of squeaky clean eating, I felt shaky and nervous making my own completely unlimited decisions about food. All of the sudden, processed junk foods I had previously ignored (even pre-Whole30) seemed tantalizing and satisfyingly naughty. Of course, my body immediately felt it and reacted in a predictably unpleasant way. All the wonderful Whole30 results–clear skin, uninterrupted sleep, flat stomach–disappeared and were replaced by a very unhappy system.
Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, the creators of the Whole30, warn about this phenomenon in their post, Ride Your Own Bike. When you let go of the program’s rules, you once again have to make your own choices about food. Even though I did my best to focus on abundance and all the amazing, nutrient-dense foods I could eat during the Whole30, as soon as the month ended, it felt like I had been freed from a smothering set of restrictions. Like an 18-year-old in her first weekend at college, I went a little crazy.
So while my resolution was to complete the Whole30, I clearly haven’t yet achieved the balanced nutritional outlook underlying that goal. The funny thing about this is that, during the Whole30, I was completely in control. Yes, I could use the program as an excuse for refusing a piece of cake or a night on the town, but I have always been in control of my decisions about food. No one stood next to me for 30 days policing my fork or removing all the tempting chocolate from my sight. I exercised willpower, made awesome choices, and experienced the results.
As a coach once told me, “champions make changes, not excuses.” So today, my pantry is clean, my Whole30-friendly lunches are packed for the week, and I’m starting a five-day cleanse in celebration of spring break. The kids are gone, life is a little slower, and I want to take these five days to focus on optimal nutrition, sleep, and self-care. My next resolution fits in perfectly.
My second health resolution: work out regularly (at least 2x/week).
Chicago might be slow to roll out the warm welcome mat, what with temperatures mostly below freezing, snow this morning, and rough winds rolling in from the lake. That said, I’ve been breaking out the fleece-lined spandex and plush headbands and running regularly. Interspersed with running are strength training, yoga, and some peaceful pre-bedtime stretching.
There is no way I would have called myself a runner at any other point in life. A year ago, I went on a first date where I described my running gait as “a brisk waddle” (so cringe-worthy that I still remember saying it!) What changed? Honestly, I think it’s the paleo diet. Even when I go off the tracks as I described above, using nutrient-dense foods as the foundation of my sustenance has made me feel better than ever. Without trying, I slowly lost weight, eliminated sinus trouble that has plagued me since childhood, and found that all physical activity comes easier than ever.
Last Thursday, I went on a 4-mile run. For a lot of my friends, this distance wouldn’t be a big deal (or it would even be their “recovering from an injury” distance). Four miles is the longest I have ever run by myself. My endorphin high lasted for hours after that accomplishment. I always find that the better care I take of my body, the more inspired I feel to deepen that care. Eat better, move more, spread kindness.
My third and least successful resolution: floss every day.
Clocking in at a grand total of two minutes a day, this resolution should be the easiest. Somehow it has been the most difficult to stick to, but I’m 99% sure that owning this Daily Dishonesty print would help me remember.
Did you set any resolutions or intentions for 2013? What changes would you like to make in this season of renewal? Please consider sharing in the comments.