Have I mentioned how much I love new beginnings?
The first of the year. The first of the month. My birthday. Any random Monday. I love the idea of starting afresh, new and shiny, staring a blank slate right in the face (mixing metaphors much?). Everything can change, improve. The past can be wiped clean from my memory, and I only look forward.
For years, I would try to begin new diets and healthy lifestyles on these kinds of days. Sure that I could restart my brain and my habits and become an entirely new person. It never really worked, of course. Until this year.
On January 1st, I swore that 2012 would be different. I would be different. I would not longer wallow in self-loathing and abject misery. I would not longer abuse my body like I had another one waiting in the wings. I would not spend the second half of my 20s the way I spent the first, huddled by a window, hiding from the world and myself, watching life pass me by.
On Monday, January 2nd, exactly six months ago today, I joined Weight Watchers.
In that six months, I've lost almost 50 pounds (official number to come on Wednesday at weigh-in). I've overall lost about 5-6 inches everywhere, less in my boobs, 'cause they are apparently going to stay the same size. I've discovered that I actually can learn how to eat like a normal person. I've found that exercise is not punishment for being fat, and even more than that, I can actually like it. And I might actually like cooking. I've cut the tie between my weight and my self-worth, and I've found the desire to be healthy. I've learned to be patient, to be mindful, to find balance. I'm kinder to myself.
But I'm not done. There six months left in the year, and there are still changes I want to make to be the best version of me I can be.
(Do you hear the swelling inspirational music? I do.)
Follow me behind the cut for a look at my plan for Phase Two of 2012.
My main focus for the second half of 2012 is physical activity. I'm finally at the point where I'm genuinely enjoying exercise (hot yoga FOR THE WIN), and I'm ready to start pushing myself and my body until I find my limits. And then I want to go past them.
1. I am going to really commit to my yoga and go 3-4 times per week at minimum, hopefully more. I'm paying a shitload of money for it, so I better get my ass to class! I would love to master some balance poses by the end of the year, and if I can flip myself up into a headstand I would be thrilled.
2. I am going to run a 5k by the end of the year. I have my eye on a charity run in Santa Barbara in October. I am going to complete the Couch to 5k plan, run the entire damn thing, and if after this accomplishment I still hate running...I will never, ever, EVER DO IT AGAIN. I'm excited to see how I feel running now though, since I have not even tried since I was half-my-mother heavier.
3. I am going to incorporate strength training and weights, starting off with some Jillian Michaels programs. I've avoided this kind of thing because I'm petrified of the dreaded plateau---it seems pretty common for weight loss to slow or stall when you start working your muscles more, and I really wanted to lose as much weight as possible in my first six months. Now that I'm under 150 though, I know that I have to start working hard if I don't want to be "skinny fat". I want to be toned and in shape, and if that means my number doesn't go down for a bit, I can handle that. I will keep track of my inches and gauge my progress that way. And I will look hot.
For the most part, I'm incredibly proud of how I've completely overhauled my eating habits. Sure, I still have my moments of weakness, there's been McDonald's a time or four (WHY IS IT STILL SO DELICIOUS?), sometimes I find myself eating things on autopilot that I regret instantaneously. But doesn't everyone do that? I am not perfect and I know perfection is unattainable anyway, but I'm pretty damn happy with how I've been doing. Eating well is habit now, which is really amazing. Still, there is definitely room for improvement.
Basically, I need to cook more. Leftovers are awesome to have, and I really have discovered a little joy in the kitchen where there used to be only stress. I need to not rely on the easy meals (Lean Cuisines, quesadillas, takeout salads), they should be supplemental to my diet and not make up the bulk of it. I need to challenge myself a bit more too---I tend to shy away from recipes with too many steps or ingredients, but you know what? I went to college. I'm pretty sure I can handle a complicated recipe.
I was doing pretty well the first few months of the year with limiting my screen time, leaving my computer at work and spending evenings reading or yoga-ing or whatever-ing. But then I got a Roku box, and well...I fucking love that thing. And from there, I just devolved back into my screen-addict habits, marathoning TV shows all night while hunched over my Dell like some kind of deformed modern monkey.
1. I am going to go back to leaving my laptop at work 3 out of 4 weeknights (this might end up changing when/if I get a new job), and I am going to restrict my TV time to 2 nights per week. There's other shit to do. I mean really.
2. Every year for the past several, I set a goal for myself of reading 50 books a year. I have yet to achieve it. I love reading, I do, and when I get in the mood I can power through four or five books a week, but it's just hard to focus when I have so many simpler, less mind-consuming options at hand. Basically, I'm really really lazy. This year I've read, like, 10 books, and most were rereads. Pitiful. So I will definitely be making my way through the piles of unread novels on my shelves, and hope to surpass my 50 book goal. I'm a speed-reader, so it's not too daunting.
3. I've always called myself a writer. But this blog is probably the most writing I've done in years, despite all the story ideas I have floating about in my head. I don't know why my creative mind can't settle down enough to actually compose my thoughts, but I am really going to commit to writing fiction. Even if it's shit, even if it's gibberish, I should be doing at least a little of it every day. If this is what I want to do with my life (which it secretly always has been), then I need to actually do it.
I am really filled with optimism as I look forward to the second half of 2012. I'm going to keep striving for change in the areas of my life that I complain about (hello, my job, I'm looking at you), and I am going to focus on doing whatever it takes to make myself happy.