The point of making one each year is to push me out of my comfort zone, boot myself out of a rut and help me break the cycle of saying I'll do something in the future but never getting to it. It doesn't matter to me if I complete every challenge and some are left quite vague to create freedom in how to embrace them.
One item on my 2021 list that I purposely left vague was to get my body to a healthier place. I am not a fad dieter. I do not ever want to look at food or drink as the enemy, or set unrealistic goals. However, I have weight around my middle that might have repercussions down the road. My doctor is concerned. For this challenge I chose to look at small changes that might slowly make a sustainable difference over time.
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There are some things I know need to happen. I need to develop more muscle mass as that raises metabolism. A woman's metabolism falls drastically as we age and it takes hard work to change that trend. If we don't work to keep our metabolism from falling, then the pounds slowly start to layer on. Having more muscle mass is just one thing that can help. It needs to be a part of a wider program. There are many ways to increase muscle mass other than hitting the gym. Find one that works best for you.
I need to move more – notice I didn't say exercise. When I had kids at home I was in constant motion. With them gone, I spend a lot of time writing, reading and enjoying other sedentary interests. I tried jogging last year, but my body didn't respond. This year I turned my focus back to 5K walks with my husband, but in the course of a day that is not enough either.
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I've been trying a lot of different things to keep me moving like a 3D Boxing game that is a great workout and yoga at home. But nothing gets done daily. Consistency is still a problem and regularly mixing it up my routine is important so boredom doesn't set in. A daily step counter app on my phone is helping me with accountability.
Food is important as well. Overall I have pretty good eating habits with splurge moments here and there. I rarely have candy or desserts in the house. But bread is another story. It's my comfort food, especially if eaten with a bowl of hot soup. Cutting favorite foods doesn't usually work long term, so for me, the goal is healthier choices (such as whole grain bread) and limiting my portion sizes. Alcohol is another that has to be watched. A warm hot summer like we're having inspires late afternoon cocktails out on the patio or at restaurant cafes. The calories hit hard and fast just like with fruit juices.
One day it happened – I instinctively knew it was the right time. I realized I wasn't hungry and hadn't been for a few days. I was eating from habit instead of need. It felt like my digestive system wanted a few days off, so I took a leap of faith. I planned on three days, but in the end went with just two days - 48 hours. I had a glass of water in my hand every waking minute and drank as much as I could stomach. It helped me feel full and also off set the body's tendency to shed water first. I was floating by the end.
After two days I found myself a little light headed on our daily walks. My mind kept reminding me I should be eating amd my body was still saying it wasn't all that hungry, but my heart stepped in to let me know it was time. The biggest reason for trying a water fast was to get an answer to a food question and I had the answer. I wanted to know if I was reacting to a food, but nothing changed when I didn't eat. And nothing changed when I started eating again. Time to rethink this issue.
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There were also a few benefits that DID happen. One habit I was having trouble changing seemed no longer a problem. Just not participating for two days broke the mental cycle, at least for now. While my eating habits were pretty good before, as the fasting shrunk my stomach a bit, it offered a good time to revisit the issue. My husband is well over six feet tall and a big eater, so it's easy to let my plate get fuller than it should be. It also appears that the pounds l lost while doing this are staying off. Not sure why as it should have been water loss, but I did drink tons. So maybe it wills stay off.
WATER FASTS ARE NOT SAFE FOR EVERYONE, so proceed with caution. Do proper research on recognized medical sites and be diligent in listening to your body. Talk to your doctor, especially if you have any concerns or medical problems that might be negatively affected by fasting. Most of all - listen to your body. I never would have tried this if my body hadn't been clearly saying, “Don't eat.” I always eat - I love to eat. So this was a big signal. And be ready to stop immediately/ I did and it was the right choice. I don't consider that failing. I consider it being smart.