For me, 2020 was the Year of the Mind. 2021 will be the Year of the Body.
Last year, I quit drinking and seriously addressed some personal issues that had clouded my brain for years. While this work is likely a lifelong endeavor, I am happy with and proud of the gains I made in this arena.
Some people, upon quitting alcohol, lose weight. The empty calories are removed from the diet and like magic, their body sheds the weight. I was not one of those people.
Part of my drinking was due in part to the pain I was experiencing in my mouth. Between abnormal bone growths, a cross bite, multiple surgeries and (at 50 years old) braces, alcohol numbed the pain and provided calories that I wasn't necessarily getting anywhere else. When I made the first steps towards fixing these issues, I found it easier to eat real food again. Of course, COVID brought working from home and generalized anxiety to the party, so the real food was joined by a parade of junk food. Mostly sugar and chocolate to feed those dopamine cravings.
I saw the effects early on, but decided to be easy on myself. Compassion is hard for me. Self-compassion even more so. In this case, I decided to lean into the new mind set that I was growing and accept that, for now, I was ok with how I chose to deal with the uncertainties.
But like the good Gregorian that I am, the New Year provides a welcome opportunity to make chages. So, with my mind in a better place, it is time to focus on my body.
There will be no fad diets. There will be no insane exercise regimens. There will be no setting myself up for failure.
So, what does that leave? Isn't that the bulk of weight loss resolutions?
Quitting alcohol (and Diet Coke, let's not forget) has shown me the power of changing habits - as well as the uncertainty that arises before the new habits take hold. I remember, sitting in rehab, wondering how I would go to a restaurant and not order a glass of wine with dinner. Water? That sounds so lame. Now, I crave water. It is the only thing I drink.
What will I commit to? Right now, I will commit to measuring, mindfulness, and meal planning. The three M's. I like things in threes and I like alliteration, so we're already off to a good start.
Measuring. Every day, measure weight and body fat percentage. Without numbers and trends, it would be hard to make adjustments.
Mindfulness. Learn to understand what I eat and why. Learn to eat when I am hungry. Learn to do something else when I am not. When the measurements go up, reflect on why and change those behaviors. When the measurements go down, reflect on why, celebrate, and repeat those behaviors.
Meal Planning. I suspect this will evolve over time due to the measuring and mindfulness, but for now, the onset of this journey, I want to know what the next two meals I will eat are and stick to them.
That's it. This is the beginning of what I hope to be a life long change. No sense in sprinting out of the gates only to run out of gas in two weeks. Small changes, better habits. I will post occasional updates if only to keep myself accountable. Happy New Years!