Ah, friends, summer vacation has officially started. The first full week of break is now over, and I can tell you that this summer will speed by. Sorry, but I think it's true.
You may remember that last summer, I set a goal for myself to essentially radically change the way I ate. As I enter the final slide into 40 (it's now officially just four months away -- that's SIXTEEN WEEKS!), I wanted to make a concerted effort to improve my health. Last summer, I worked to introduce myself to foods I'd never tried before but which would be good for me. I became a devotee to vegetables like zucchini and other forms of squash. I discovered a love for quinoa. I worked to make my diet more and more healthy as I steered clear of fast food as often as I could (I can literally count on one hand the number of times I've had fast food french fries in the past year). Now, one year after making an agreement with myself to combat my picky (and unhealthy) eating habits, I feel like I've made drastic steps towards carving out a healthier life for me as I get ready to enter decade number four. (Okay, actually, I just realized that it's technically decade number five, but I'm not ready for that, so there!)
The big question, of course, is how has this change played out in the past 365 days. In the past year, I've lost right around 20 pounds (give or take, depending on the day). I've added exercise to the routine ( a challenge during the school year -- it was a long, inactive winter thanks to speech and musical rehearsals), and that's helped build up some muscle that had long been dormant. And I've continued the process of trying new foods -- kale, edamame, and several other types of fruits and vegetables. Tomorrow night, I'm being really brave and grilling fish. I've never been a fish eater, but I keep reading how healthy fish can be, so I bought some tilapia filets (I've been told it's a good, mild, transitional fish for the fish-concerned) that I'm going to try out on the grill.
This week, I've been using Calorie Count to keep track of what I'm eating and how much activity I'm getting in. The cool thing about Calorie Count is that it also goes through and analyzes what you eat to show you what nutrients you're low in, what you're getting to much of, et cetera. For example, today I was "too low" on carbohydrates but "too high" on cholesterol (thanks to the two eggs I had for breakfast). Overall, though, my menu for the day earned an A. Grade grubber that I always have been, that means a lot to me.
Obviously, I'm not perfect, and I hope that this doesn't sound preachy or sanctimonious or anything like that. I still have moments of weakness. I mourned the end of speech season last February with a pint of Ben and Jerry's that I downed in one sitting. Every couple of weeks or so, I have to break down and buy a frothy, fattening iced coffee concoction. I know I need to be careful around certain foods -- potato chips, chocolate -- and sometimes knowing that isn't enough to stop me from consuming. The difference now compared to other times I've tried "program" diets like Weight Watchers is that when I do give in and eat potato chips or Ben and Jerry's, I don't feel the guilt and shame that would usually send me spiraling completely off the wagon and back into unhealthy habits. Now, I just shrug and think, "Tomorrow will be better." Food is meant to be enjoyed, and sometimes you just need a Snickers bar. My goal right now is to just try to make sure that the days I need a Snickers are significantly fewer than the days I need an apple.
PS -- I also have to say that I probably could not have survived this year without my friend Debbi. She's joined me in this pact to pursue healthier habits, and I'm not sure I could have made it without her emails of encouragement, her recipe sharing, and knowing that there was someone else out there taking this journey. :)