July has come and gone and with it my latest Goal and Challenge. This means it's time for an Update, so let me fill all of you in on how July went.
As you may recall, I was pretty restless over this last Winter and was anxious for Spring to arrive. Why? Well, I'm a nature girl at heart and I was more than ready to get outside and start indulging in hiking - one of my favorite activities. Spring decided to arrive late this year, not really appearing until the end of April, so I threw myself into walking/hiking with gusto and determination. By the end of May, I had walked nearly 120 miles and when June ended, I had walked about 98 miles. This triggered me to make a monthly goal of walking/hiking 100 miles. So how did I fare in July? Well, I walked/hiked over 107 miles! Not too shabby, huh?
My exact numbers are as follows:
May - 119.01 miles
June - 97.45 miles
July - 107.32
All this walking and hiking has been fantastic for my physical health. Like I've reported in the past, I'm stronger and faster, and I continue to be more so with each passing month. While I wasn't able to do my hiking goal of Black Elk Peak this year, I'm definitely going to plan it for next year.
I also decided in July to take on a 30-Day No Drinking Challenge. I had found myself using alcohol to self-medicate more times per week than I should - more than likely from all the stress I had been dealing with - and it was starting to have a negative effect in a few areas of my life. I started the challenge on Sunday, July 8th, and wrapped it up on Saturday, August 4th. This wasn't technically 30 days, but it was a solid 4 weeks, which is what I was going for. I had my last drink on a Saturday and my first drink on the 4th Saturday.
So, how did it work out for me? It worked out great, better than expected, really. My body really appreciated the break: my skin cleared up, my brain was focused, I felt well-rested, I lost a few pounds from not taking in all the extra calories, and I was super-productive. On top of everything else, it was a boost to my mental state and gave me a sense of accomplishment.
I have something else to share with you: I am intermittent fasting (IF). A few days before I started the No Drinking Challenge, I decided to give intermittent fasting a try. There are a few ways that I've seen on how to do it, but the method I use is 16:8. How it works is that I only eat during an 8-hour window and I fast the other 16 hours. I'm sleeping for half of those 16 hours though, so it's not that bad. My window to eat starts at 11:30 a.m. and ends at 7:30 p.m. I picked that window because my lunch break at work starts at 11:30 so it made the most sense.
Why did I decide to intermittent fast?
1. I found myself starting to snack, and snack often, again.
2. I am not fond of special diets like keto - which I tried and hated.
3. I wanted to lose weight while eating what I like without feeling deprived.
4. I got tired of feeling like my body was constantly digesting food making me feel bloated all the time.
5. I dislike diets in general as diets are temporary. I want a lifestyle change that helps me lose weight and stay that way for the rest of my life - not a fad diet that helps me lose weight really fast and then stop. It's a guaranteed method for regaining weight (at least for most people).
So, how do I like it? Well, I don't like it...I love it!
1. It keeps my eating in check - a good thing with a food addiction.
2. It really lets my body fully digest all my food.
3. It works similar to keto in that it will burn fat.
4. I'm more mindful of what I'm eating.
5. I get most of my moving around during my fasting period which helps me burn calories better. Besides, exercising on a full stomach kinda sucks.
6. It's easy and doesn't require anything special.
Each of these three things has served me well this year. They're all ways of me dealing with my addictions, head-on, in a manner that is healthy and doable. They're also ways for me to be accountable for my health and keep moving towards my long-term goal of being in shape and healthy. But most importantly, they're all ways in which I take control of my addictions instead of letting them control me. In this life, we can either continue to keep indulging in all the bad habits that destroy our health, or we can decide to do something about it. I've looked at the results of years, and decades, of bad decisions, and the impact that it has on people's lives, and I decided that I don't want that for myself.
Four years ago, I made the decision to quit smoking and it was the first step of many that I've taken since then to take charge of my health and change my life. I've lost 100 pounds now since that fateful January day in 2014, and I'm never looking back. I'm in the best shape of my life right now and I feel amazing, both physically and mentally. It will always be an uphill battle, I know, but I will come out victorious in the end. I have to. My life depends on it.
How are your challenges and goals going? Feel free to comment or shoot me an email. I'm always ready to hear your stories, share in your triumphs, and lift you up during your struggles. We can do this together!