I've always said that the number on the scale is not as important to me as how I feel, and I still feel that way. I still look at myself in the mirror and am happier with what I see now than what I saw 8 months ago. I feel a lot better about myself still. And hell, my husband still finds me sexy as ever, and that's honestly one of the only things that really matters to me. :)
I've been thinking a lot about two things recently - one, how far I've come, and how much I've achieved this year; and two, my Paleo January coming up. So I'm going to put my thoughts down about both tonight.
1. When I first started on this "year of resolutions" endeavor, I wasn't entirely convinced that I'd actually form new habits from it. But when I compare who I was 12 months ago, to who I am today, I honestly can't believe the progress and changes I've made. I think almost every month had something to do with putting me on the path to going Paleo next month. Let's take a look back at 2013 and my eating habit highlights:
- THEN: In January, I was a wreck. My diet was a wreck. My job had me in a pretty bad spot so I was unhappy and most likely compensating with food. The very first step I took was probably the most baby step I could have taken - I cut out juice and soda. I drank water all month. NOW: It's been months since I bought soda, but even longer since I've been drinking it on a regular basis. A few months after January I think I started going back to it, but I stopped again. And, since Aaron and I started clean eating in September, we haven't had a pack of soda in the fridge since. All we drink now is water, milk, and orange juice in our house. I can count on one hand the amount of times I've had soda to drink since September. I think I can safely say that soda is no longer a part of my diet.
- THEN: In February, I realized that when I cut soda out, I was still craving sugar, so I compensated with candy. And I compensated to the extreme. I was eating A LOT of candy. NOW: Candy is not a regular part of my diet. Once in a while I might grab a candy bar or something as a treat - which if anything, is how it should be - but it is not a daily part of my diet anymore.
- THEN: In September, I started eating clean. It didn't suck nearly as much as I was afraid it would. It was also my most successful month on Weight Watchers. I was not 100% clean, but I did the best I could with what I had. NOW: I'm
thinking oftaking it a step further and going Paleo for an entire month. And not just, "do the best I can"-Paleo; like, "100%"-Paleo. If you had told me in January that by the end of the year I'd be going Paleo, I would have laughed in your face. Me? Live without candy, sugar, soda, grains, and dairy? I'd have cracked up in your face. Now I'm actually excited about it.
2. SO! PALEO! I was inspired by my cousin-in-law (is that a thing?) Dawnita when I visited her in November. She is responsible for planting the seed and my subsequent research and recipe-hunting has gotten me very excited about taking this on. I'm excited about the prospect of resetting my taste buds and living without things I rely on too much right now. I'm excited about incorporating new and different vegetables into my diet and learning to like them. I'm excited about the idea that I might actually lose weight from all of these changes. I'm excited about spending quite possibly the worst month in a Pennsylvania year in my kitchen, cooking and prepping and cooking and prepping. I'm excited about only having to exercise three times a week. I'm just excited about all of it. With all that said though - I didn't get excited until I was completely, fully prepared for Paleo January. What did I do to prepare, you ask?
- I started with the idea of "If I can find 15 dinner recipes that sound good, I will just make them twice each and have dinners covered for the month". I started with my most difficult meal to make "Paleo" and worked back from there. I figured I would be eating a lot of leftovers for lunch, so I had many lunches covered. I found some quick and easy breakfast recipes and I felt well on my way.
- I ordered all the recipes so that I wasn't eating three stews and soups in a row, and was using similar ingredients so that my grocery shopping lists weren't too wild and extravagant.
- I bought a binder, sheet protectors, and a 31-tab set of page dividers. Then I created a Word document with a page for every day in January. Each page details what I am eating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; what exercise routine I'll be doing; and what prep work I need to do for the next day's recipes. Within each page divider in the binder is: a diary entry sheet taken from a Paleo quickstart guide I read (this just details what I eat, how I feel, etc); the daily page that tells me what I'm eating and doing; and every recipe I will be using that day.
- With all the recipes ordered properly, I started making grocery shopping lists for every week in January. I made a separate list for items that were more specialty - like almond flour, tapioca starch, etc. And I made another separate list for items that I could buy ahead of time that wouldn't spoil by January. I've been buying chicken stock like crazy, it's been on sale so I have been stocking up. Little by little I've been stocking my fridge, freezer, and pantry with things I'll need next month, to help spread out the cost of things I don't usually buy on a weekly basis.
I know you're probably thinking that I'm a crazy woman, right? Well, I know. But, I'm doing the best I can to make sure I don't go off the rails. Being Paleo means being (added) sugar-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and legume-free. While at first it sounds pretty limiting, when you do your research, you will find that it's not; but you won't get there unless you really get organized and plan it all out. I REALLY don't want to go off track in January. I REALLY want to succeed. I REALLY want to do pre- and post-January pictures and measurements and all that stuff. And ultimately, I REALLY want to incorporate this way of eating into my daily life as much as possible. You know, maybe I don't end up being Paleo 100% of the time; but being Paleo 90% of the time is a vast improvement over what I've been in the past.
I don't know how much I'm going to continue the "year of resolutions" into 2014. My focus as of late has been eating healthy and being healthy and supporting organic initiatives. I've watched a ton of documentaries on Netflix that have set me on this path (Food Inc, Farmageddon, Food Matters, Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, etc) and I just believe in it. It just makes sense that if you put the most natural version of something into your body, you will get nothing but good out. I don't know that I could find a single person that could argue to me that processed foods are better than whole foods. Nobody can argue that with me. So I really just want to continue down this path in 2014. I may not have monthly resolutions, but maybe I will. Who knows, maybe at some point, I'll do a Whole30. :)
On the whole, this has been a good year for me. I'm a healthier person (mentally and physically) than I was at the beginning of this year. This year has had its share of hurts and disappointments and slaps in the face, but look who I am and where I am now. I am healthy. I am happy. My family is my everything. I wouldn't trade where I am right now with anyone or anything in the world. I'm excited about where I've been, and I'm excited about where I'm going, and I feel nothing but confidence going into next year.
Merry Christmas everyone, and Happy New Year.