January was a month of establishing dramatically better habits on a path toward my better health. I took on a lot at once. It went pretty well, but not without a lot of physical pain. The plan included:
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid food from 7PM until noon
- Avoid sugars
- Avoid processed foods
- Avoid restaurant meals
- Make my own meals
- Focus on organic vegetables
- Reduce meat
- Increase water
- Green tea daily
- Exercise twice a day
- High quality multi-vitamin
- Organic apple cider vinegar
- Psyllium fiber
- Small amounts of nuts, berries, fish, spices, etc. daily
I was not 100% adherent on any of these. I met most of them on most days. On most of them I remember once a week that I did not. I drank alcohol 4 times, one or two drinks each time. Had pizza twice, had one restaurant business breakfast, one restaurant social dinner, etc. This was not meant to be a draconian lifestyle restriction.
I joined a local community supported agriculture program. I now spend about a half hour most mornings prepping fresh food; especially chopping vegetables. It’s a lot of work. I am now planning to order meat from a local organic farm that offers bulk home freezer purchases. I made some changes in my gym routine that make it more attractive to visit. In general, I notice that my willingness to test new changes is key to my desire to keep going with the plan.
Also interesting is that I now see more of a connection between my own health behaviors and my career work to help clients improve their financial position. Poor health stemming from behavioral choices is an impediment to many people. For example, I see that if one of my clients could lose weight and improve energy, he could likely resume management of his rental properties that have fallen into disrepair.
The end result is that I am 3 pounds lighter (some days as much as 7 pounds lighter than my heaviest holiday weight) and have more energy and less inflammation. I am still 20+ pounds over a healthy weight.
Other common aging guy health issues persist, plus a few new ones. The after-effects of decades of abusing my body as a competitive international style wrestler until age 40 are always present. I have serious muscle soreness from exercise treated with Ibuprofen and hot tub almost daily. I injured knee cartilage while jogging with the dogs and have resulting intermittent pain. Sleep has not improved, so that will require a separate effort. I suspect this is now the main obstacle to further health improvement and weight loss. I still plan to implement a meditation routine this month.
Habits are formed. The issue now is sustainability. My family does not embrace this plan so it means separate meals that causes stress to our history of family dinners. I will focus on the few dishes that they will share with me that meet these dietary standards. My willingness to decline or modify social invitations will likely play a key role.
Let’s see how February goes.