Yesterday, we looked at 10 things I did differently in 2012 that helped me reach some of my goals. Today, we are going to take a look at those goals. What were they, was I able to make progress and if I did, how did I do it? So buckle your seat belts, cadets. We are going to blast through the goals of 2012.
1. Goal: Kick the sugar habit -- replace sugar with real foods that nourish.
Did I do it? Yes! It has been 1 full year since I was a sugar eater. I no longer crave sugar.
Have I had any sugar since January 2012? Yes, but I can count the times I have consumed sugar on my 2 hands. I didn't used to be able to count how many times I ate sugar in one day on my 2 hands. That's a great victory for me.
How did I do it? This was a big one for me. It would take far too long to cover here. But wait! I did a series on that. If you are interested, here is the link to How I Kicked My Sugar Habit.
2. Goal: Eat Whole/Real Foods -- No Junk. Did I do it? Yes and No.
I definitely eat much more whole, healthy, nourishing food. It was a natural product of meeting goal #1. You can't just take something out of the diet -- you need to replace it with something better. My diet is generally better than most people I know. However, I also believe that we should eat what is set before us with thanksgiving. I don't make a big deal about the way I eat. I really don't like the idea of people having to fix something special for me, so when I am at someone's house or at a special event, I just try to do the best I can and enjoy the moment. I skip the dessert (except Thanksgiving. I ate a little then. And my birthday. I ate some dessert then, too.) For the most part, people don't even realize that I don't eat the Standard American Diet. I just play it cool. If you don't make a big deal about it and just focus on other people, no one really notices.
Also, on Sundays, our family often eats out after church. I relax my standards on Sundays. I try to order wisely, but I refuse to make everyone else choose a restaurant just to suit my food ideals. I just go with the flow and order as wisely as I can. Someone once said, "It isn't what you do some of the time that makes the difference, but what you do most of the time." I concur.
In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that sometimes I have weak moments. In those moments, I have been known to get into the kids' pretzels and salty snacks. If I properly nourish my body, I have much less trouble with this. Cravings are often a symptom. If you are dealing with cravings, try to find out why. Is it habit? Or emotional stress? Or did you let yourself get too hungry? Were the other foods you've eaten that day not as nourishing as they needed to be? Are you actually thirsty, not hungry? If you can find the root, you can deal with the symptoms much more easily.
How did I do it? Well, it is still a work in progress. But mostly, it was part of the process of accomplishing goal #1.
3. Goal: Eat at least 7 fruits and vegetable servings each day. Did I do it? Yes! I usually get at least 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Many days I have more.
How did I do it? I didn't accomplish this at the beginning of the year. I was lucky to get 3-5 servings back then. But I kept trying to figure out how to up my vegies. When I first stopped eating sugar, I ate a lot of fruit instead. Eventually, I decided to find ways to eat more vegies than fruit. Enter the Green Smoothie. I drink one nearly every day. Now I never have to worry about my vegetable intake. Yeah!
My lunches tend to be very vegetable dense, too. A typical lunch might be a plate full of fresh vegies with a 1/2 cup hummus, or a plate full of stir fried vegies with 1/4 cup almonds. Most of my dinners include a large green salad. Add the green smoothies and the fruit snacks. Now I am bumping 12 servings of fruits and vegies. I keep waiting for my skin to start turning green... 4. Goal: Become a runner. Did I do it? Yeppity-yep-yep!! I have always wanted to be able to run. Somehow in my mind I felt that if I could learn to run, I could learn to do anything. I don't know where I got that idea, but there it was.
I decided that I would consider myself a runner when I could run 1 mile without stopping. Now I run 2 miles 3 times a week (a weekly total of 6 miles). If I keep up my current pace, I will be running 5K (3.1 miles) in a couple weeks. I feel so accomplished. :)
How did I do it? I thought and planned a lot before I even started. I found an app for my iphone that walked me through a couch to 5K program, only I wasn't even fit enough to do it in their time frame (8 weeks). I had started it once before and fell by the wayside. This time I decided I would not allow that to happen. I knew I couldn't do it in 8 weeks, so I decided I would just keep repeating a run sequence until I could do it, then I would move on to the next one. It has taken me 16 weeks to get where I am right now, and I should finish the program in 2 more weeks (18 weeks, total -- 10 weeks longer than the program was supposed to take). But I decided that it was better to get out there and do a little than stay inside and do nothing. So how did I learn to run? Baby steps. Itty-bitty baby steps done consistently. I have not missed a single run in 16 weeks. Some of those runs were grueling, some of them were embarrassing, a lot of them were cold or wet. All of them were early. I did them anyway.
5. Goal: Develop a habit of daily exercise. Did I do it? Yes. I went from a daily exercise routine of... well... nothing. Nada. Now I work out 6 days a week. I practice yoga nearly every day, I run 3 days a week and I do strength training 3 days.
How did I do it? I did it by making a quality decision that I was going to do something every day. Then I searched around for what that something would be.
I tend to get bored easily, so I knew my program would have to change often. I also knew I wouldn't stick to something that made me feel like I was on a hamster wheel. (Just an aside: Apparently, it doesn't take much for me to feel like I'm on a hamster wheel. Some weeks ago, I had increased my run distance, but hadn't accurately planned my new running route. So I got to the end of my route before I got to the end of my run. I had to run up and down a country lane 3 times to finish up. I totally felt like a hamster. I could almost hear the wheel squeaking. If that drives me nuts, I don't think I would do very well with laps on an indoor track....)
I wanted my work outs to actually work, so my program would have to gradually increase in intensity. I wanted to improve significantly in stamina, endurance, strength, tone, flexibility and balance. That's a lot to expect from one kind of workout. After much research, prayer and personal reflection, I chose a short, but high intensity strength workout program from Holly Rigsby, and of course, my running program for endurance and stamina. After those workouts were well established, and my strength had increased, I began to add in Yoga (Lest you are picturing me in strange human pretzel poses and chanting "Om", let me put your mind at ease. I only started the Yoga a couple of weeks ago, so I'm not exactly at the human pretzel stage yet. I don't chant. Sorry, but no. And the Bible tells me to meditate on the Word of God, so you won't see me spacing out or anything. But my flexibility and range of motion has already improved. Yoga is really great for that.)
6. Goal: Sleep more. Specifically, I wanted to be regularly getting about 7 hours of sleep.
Did I do it? FAIL.
Why not? Hmmm.... mostly because I never did come up with a plan that would really work. I still have hope that I will get this, but I will need to learn better efficiency during the day. My kids are early birds and my husband is a night owl. That doesn't exactly help, since I try to be the first one up and the last one down. Some of the problem lies between my own ears, methinks....
On an up note, I do sleep more than I used to. I usually get 5-6 hours sleep with an occasional longer night. I used to average between 2-4 hours a night with numerous nights without any sleep. Sometimes, if I had a deadline, I would skip 2 nights in a row. That behavior is a huge reason why my health was declining. We just weren't created to push like that. At some point it begins to catch up with you. I did it for 15 years before it all came tumbling down. I don't recommend it.
7. Goal: Eradicate all my body flaws and look like the model in the pictures. Did I do it? Sadly, no. I still don't have 6 pack abs and there haven't been any model agencies calling the house. Sigh...
Why not? First of all, it never was a real goal, just a wish carried over from high school, probably. Secondly, I don't have a hair stylist, make-up artist, lighting specialist, and photo shop following me around everywhere I go. Remind yourself of that next time you are tempted to compare yourself to the glossy ads.
My biggest goal and the one that all the others lead to:
8. Goal: Reverse the damage I had done from years of not taking care of myself. Did I do it? Yes, I believe I did. I feel better than I have in decades. The hormonal symptoms I had developed have vanished, the adrenal fatigue symptoms are gone, I am no longer on a blood sugar roller coaster, I have lost weight, my skin looks better and I have energy again. My husband recently told me that he thinks I am healthier than I was when we married. (And if I lose a few more pounds, I will be as skinny as I was then, too.)
How did I do it? All these benefits were the result of gradually meeting or making progress in the first 5 goals over the course of the year. I started small and slowly worked my way up. And most of all, I got a great deal of help from the Lord. I know I could not have done it without His help.
I hope my baring my soul and sharing all this with you is an encouragement to you. You really can make positive changes. If I can make this make this much progress in a year, anyone can. Remember, I'm the girl that couldn't even run for a whole minute.
Have a great day!!
Disclaimer: Just to make sure everyone is clear, I have no nutritional, fitness, doctorate or other degrees that would make me an expert in any of these areas. I am not licensed. Nobody pays me to say this stuff. I am simply a wife, mother and woman who wanted something different. This is what worked for me. I encourage you to do your own research and use wisdom. I cannot be responsible if something doesn't work out the way you planned. Again, please use wisdom.