Hey friends! I've just returned from a month in Europe, where I wandered the streets of Paris (eating croissants), hiked 100 miles around Mont Blanc (eating fondue), and discovered Budapest (one delicious restaurant at a time). My belly and heart are overflowing.
I indulged often, enjoyed everything, and have no regrets. I definitely gained some weight and that's OK – I know it's temporary. You see, my progress has never been linear and what I learned far outweighs any setback that might show up on a scale.
The benefit of establishing healthy habits over the past few years is that I should be able to return to these automatic ways of eating and exercising with minimal effort. The initial period of recalibration requires additional willpower so I am participating in a few month-long challenges and sharing my intentions publicly for extra support.
My focus this month will center around the high impact habits that make me feel good and allow me to effortlessly manage my weight. That involves eliminating certain foods that don't work for me, cooking most of my meals at home, and ensuring that I get 10k steps per day.
A week or so into what I am now referring to as my “bread tour of Europe”, I knew I wanted to do another Whole 30 when I returned. If you aren't familiar with Whole 30, it's a 30 day commitment to eating real food and eliminating “hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups” such as grains, sugar, dairy, alcohol, and legumes. It's a “short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.”
Whole 30 is not too different from how I normally eat other than the exclusion of dairy, peanuts, and certain oils – foods that have a tendency to be problematic for me if I'm not careful. Considering I just ate my body weight in french cheese while frolicking through the Alps, I should be okay for a month.
What I really love about Whole 30 is the emphasis on cooking and preparing meals at home with fresh, whole ingredients. I've found that eating out or ordering in too often has a tendency to undermine my progress and veering from any habit makes it more difficult to maintain. Recognizing this, I created a simple guideline for myself that has served me well for the past several years.
As an abstainer, it's important for me to have absolutes, but as a recovering binge eater, it's important for me not to be too restrictive. Sharing meals with friends is very important to me, but if I'm not careful, I end up eating out every night of the week. By setting a limit of 2-3 meals per week, I end up cooking 85-90% of my meals at home, and I am more selective and thoughtful about the meals I choose to eat out. I haven't cooked a meal for myself in months so I'm pretty excited to get back in the kitchen.
Now the gym is another story. I fractured my tailbone earlier this summer and promptly stopped working out. Even my regular 10k steps per day habit dwindled as I recovered. I recognize that I was injured and it's important to take time off. I'm not beating myself up, but I definitely lost the momentum that I had going with BBG earlier this year.
When it comes to being active, my focus is reestablishing a daily 10k step habit, hiking at least once per week, and trying different fun classes on ClassPass.
What about you! Do you have any goals, intentions, or challenges for the month of October? There are 90 days left in the year, let's finish off 2016 strong.