They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom. ~Confucius
Have you ever taken a month to improve yourself? That’s what I’ve been up to this past month, well maybe 2 months, but I really got my butt into gear in April. It’s been a fun ride of learning a lot of my limits and my desires, but overall I’m quite happy.
In March I took the plunge and invested in a new bicycle. What a fun experience that was for me. And a difficult decision too. I was caught in between a choice of two, a Trek or a Specialized, for a road bike. I ended up with the Trek simply because it felt more like an extension of me. Also, I really love the color. (See pic below) After making my decision I sort of went on a shopping spree of cool matching gear and bonus purchases. Best shopping I’ve done in a long time where I spent a good bit, however, in my defense everything I bought was on sale, even my bike. March apparently is the best time to go bike shopping. Everyone is having sales! So I started riding often. Not as often as I wish, but I’m working on it. I am quite busy after all. And I’m loving every minute in the saddle. So worth the splurge after all.
My biggest change in April was changing up my diet. I’ve been gaining weight after my wedding because, well, I felt like eating whatever. However, I put a stop to that. In order to re-train myself for eating well, I started Prevention Magazine’s Flat Belly Diet. I love this diet for quite a few reasons, but mostly because I don’t have to think about what I want to eat or starve myself. Plus the food options are quite varied. In a nut shell, it focuses on eating a mono unsaturated fat with every meal in order to help reduce belly fat. You’re allowed 1600 calories a day, 3 meals and 1 snack of 400 calories each. Even better, the 4 week diet plan has recipe and shopping lists of everything you’re eating that week — so no thinking or over analyzing as to what you are eating. Stress free diet. Oh did I mention you’re totally allowed chocolate on this diet? Yeah, good things like that are on the menu within reason.
I followed the diet meal for meal the first two weeks, with a bit of bad meal moments. By the third week I sort of figured out the pattern and started planning my own meals. I still love the fact that when I don’t feel like thinking about what I want to eat, I just open the book to the meal plans, but honestly, it really teaches you how to eat healthy. It’s taught me proportion sizes and to be aware of when I’m actually full. I’ve also learned healthy snacking. Best of all, most of my meals take about 15 minutes to make, so I can still have a busy schedule and eat good food too.
With this meal plan, I’ve discovered foods I wouldn’t normally eat, such as Triscuits and sesame seeds. I’ve even fallen in love with avocado, which I used to despise. My new choice for flavoring things is rice wine vinegar. I learned how to toast peanuts and almonds to flavor dishes or eat alone. Almond butter has become a staple for me, as well as frozen veggies and minute brown rice. And other than avocados, my other big surprise is loving veggie burgers and veggie “chicken” nuggets. It’s been an adventure in the food world for me this past month, and I’m not complaining.
I haven’t lost many pounds on this diet yet, since I always seem to have a day or 1 or 2 meals that are terrible for me (oysters and martini happy hour anyone?) per week, but I’ve lost 5 lbs this month, which is definitely an encouraging start. With all I’ve learned about eating healthy so far, I think I might be able to do this thing.
Other things I’ve added to my routine are restorative yoga classes and daily meditation to increase my mental health. I also joined a gym that has a pool, so I’ve coupled swimming with my cycling. And I started a good routine with housework, doing a 30 minute chore daily so I don’t feel overwhelmed when it comes to looking at my house. I also started trading massages for Spanish lessons. Oh, and I got a small promotion at work. Life is busy and exciting. My final thing to add to my routine is blogging, which is now on my list. May this finally come into fruition.