January: The Month in Which I Feel like a Superhero

So, I know it’s only 7 days into January, but I’ve got to say that I feel like I am kicking its ass.

Admittedly, the metaphor of beating up a unit of time is pretty stupid, and now I’m just trying to imagine what January’s ass looks like (whatever…don’t act like you weren’t doing the same thing), but it’s the most concise way of hyperbolically stating that I’m doing really well with my goals.

My experience so far with the Whole30 challenge is way better this time. Again, I know that I am only 7 days into it, but last time 7 days felt like an eternity. I was dealing with a lot of stress from other sources at the time and I just didn’t have it in me to not run back to the standard foods and drink I classically crave when I’m stressed out.

Frenchman

That picture is basically a stressed out me, sans the mustache and goatee.

This time though, I have enacted a few pretty important emotional changes that are keeping my stress quite in check. Sure, I have spikes here and there, being human and all, but they are short lived and generally require me to stop and think for a minute how to fix whatever the problem is. The biggest and most important thing that I’ve really started to do is consider my wants and needs first when considering an entire situation. I still consider everyone else, but I am getting better about making decisions that are good for me, even if they might be inconvenient or whatever for others. This likely sounds trivial, but I have pretty much never done this except in particular situations decisive action was required for maintenance of my own sanity. Now I’m trying to do this for everything and I’m finding that this way of taking care of myself and paying attention to myself has led to me actually being able to relax often because I’m starting to do what I actually want or need to do.

So yay for that! And eating whole foods and paying attention to vitamins and such is both good for me and fascinating. For instance, do you know how incredibly easy it is to get a full day’s worth of vitamin A and vitamin K? Eat a cup of spinach and you will have well over 100% of each. Eating part of a sweet potato will give you like 300% of your daily vitamin A. It’s SO easy to get enough that it’s also easy to get too much of, well, any vitamin or mineral. This is why you shouldn’t just eat sweet potatoes and kale all day every day. It will make various systems in your body start to malfunction. Amber and I were talking about the early expeditions to the arctic and how people were dying or getting ridiculously ill from eating polar bear meat/liver. It’s pretty much all vitamin A. Like anything, moderation is key. Vitamins are healthy until they’re not!

polar bear

If you run with the skeptic crowd, a popular thing to illuminate is that multi-vitamins are crap, and that often supplements of any kind are grouped in with that. I think it’s definitely better to get your vitamins and minerals from the food you eat (your body employs that better), but if you’re simply not getting enough of certain things, or if you have absorption issues, supplements are great. For instance, me and my vitamin D supplement are BFFs. I’m a pale white girl who doesn’t go out much in the winter and wears sunscreen in the summer and I don’t really drink much milk. Taking the supplement vastly improved my life. I no longer fear falling asleep at the wheel EVERYTIME I drive and I stay awake through movies and plays out on the town. Sure, I still fall asleep watching stuff sometimes, but that’s usually because I’m tired from my day.

Speaking of which, I started a daily yoga practice at a local studio. I’ve been flirting with the idea for a long time and this particular studio has a Vinyasa class every weekday morning at 6am. I thought it was a joke to think I’d actually want to do that but I went ahead and gave it a shot this week and this morning I did my third day of class in a row! In short, I love it. I do best with guided exercise and having a welcoming place to go and get an hour workout first thing in the morning is wonderful. I used to take pilates classes, and while they were great for my abs, there was an aspect of the class that felt like it was OK to push yourself too far. I could only afford one class a week and I found that I left feeling more stressed than when I arrived because I couldn’t do what everyone else in the class could do (and everyone else came 3 times a week I think). I was skeptical about liking a yoga class because I feared that there would be too much spiritual mumbo jumbo for my liking but this studio is really great for that too! It has meditative aspects to it, but I have been wanting to get into that and they aren’t about karma or chakras. Yes, chakras are mentioned now and again, but always followed up by talking about actual parts of the body. What I really like about it is that it’s definitely not easy…at all…but the instructors teach with the idea that getting “good” at yoga is a years long process and on some days you can do more and on some days you do less. Today, for instance, I was in child’s pose a lot because my legs were like “go to hell”. I did what I could do, tried things that seemed hard and when they were too hard I took a break. Just that alone is very relaxing.

It’s such a great way to start a work day. I come out of there feeling great and ready to take on the day. I have been more productive at work and generally more positive. It’s a happiness boost for me to have accomplished a workout first thing.

Of course, I have to get up at 5:30am to get to the class so I’m tired after dinner and have been getting to bed at 10pm (and sometimes I fall asleep on the couch before that), but there’s something really satisfying about that too. I’m now getting tired in time to get a full night’s sleep. There’s still time to do fun things or whatever, but I’m structuring my life more around things that make me feel good and healthy. And that’s pretty fab. Doing unhealthy stuff that I enjoy should be a time to time thing, not the norm. So I’m happy to be making a positive shift.

Tomorrow I go to my first digital photography class. I’m looking forward to learning a bunch of stuff and being able to take fabulous photos. I’m hoping that I can get into the Spring screen printing class again, and this time I hope to have super cool pictures I took myself to Andy Warhol-ize (or something).

So there’s a lot of good stuff going on that I hope to sustain and I’m really happy about it. I’m feeling creative and I’m feeling like my life has become simpler, calmer, and more satisfying.

Also…24 days until Disney. Yessssssssss!

One response to “January: The Month in Which I Feel like a Superhero

  1. I keep hearing about the Whole30 challenge, and today after reading your post, I found myself daydreaming about doing it.

    I think I’ve lost my mind.

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