As we go into our first holiday weekend that promises to be the most festive anything has felt in quite a while, it might seem like an odd time to embark on a reset, but July 1st does mark six months into the year, so why not? This one involves both the physical and the mental, and focuses on giving up some of the “crutches” I’ve been using since the pandemic (and long before), and being more deliberate about how I chose to spend my time, whom I chose to spend it with, and how I take care of myself. Plus, the excuses I made for certain behaviors deep in the middle of the pandemic don’t really hold anymore; it’s time to recharge and refresh.
Part of my tough love regimen: A top priority for me is to start eating better. My quarantini days are over. Honestly, they also took a bit of a toll on my body. So less alcohol, maybe only on the weekends. Then, more time spent making new recipes that are plant based. Red meat on the rarest of occasions. The same with chicken. I get super lazy about lunch (especially when I’m the only one around), but I need more salads, more kale, more healthy fats like avocados in my life. On a daily basis. Quinoa instead of pasta. Less dairy (though I’m never giving up Parmesan cheese or other types unless I absolutely have to). Less sugar. Definitely less snacking, I do snack a lot (often in place of eating a proper lunch).
I don’t diet and I don’t believe in them unless it is for a significant health reason (losing 10 pounds doesn’t count); I believe in permanent, healthy lifestyle habits. I have a healthy exercise habit, eating is where I put in less effort. This is most in part because I’ve always told myself that I’d rather have that cheeseburger and just run another mile or two. No more. This is where the tough love is coming in. It’s not about losing weight (though I did gain some and would be happy to lose it), but acknowledging that how I chose to fuel my body has long-term effects. An idea that grows more acute with age.
Part of my kindness regimen: Accepting that when it comes to physical activity, my body can’t do everything it used to. I have always exercised; it’s a habit that comes from years I spent training as a classical dancer. I exercise when I travel or am on vacation. In fact, unless I’m really sick or have had surgery, I work out every week of the year. I still get up and run (rather slow as molasses) a few days a week, but recently I’ve been allowing myself unplanned days off without trying to make them up. Sometimes my body needs a rest, and instead of trying to fight through the fatigue of a few sleepless nights, or ignore the aches, I realize that maybe I need to slow it down. At least a bit. Also, it might be time to get back into yoga. Listening to my body and taking care of it is my idea of self care.
Another area I am taking more seriously? Ignoring the negative and anything attention-seeking. I turn the TV on in the morning to watch the news; mostly, I will tell myself, it is because I’m checking the weather for my morning run. But then it stays on long past the weather update. No more. I have been doing this for decades and it is going to be a hard habit to switch up. I also read the New York Times while the news is on. It’s overload. And a lot of negative and attention-seeking material my mind could do without. (Though the Sunday paper ritual is a thing that I’m keeping, but it’s typically about skipping through the NY Times and WSJ to read the fun stuff.) I heard the writer Pico Iyer once say in a podcast that he gives himself two minutes a day to read the news; you need to be informed, but you also need to live your life. Because I don’t have kids to get off to school, keeping the TV off and limiting my news reading suddenly leaves me a good chunk of free time most mornings before I exercise. It’s almost unnerving to think about how to fill it. Maybe I should finally try meditation? Or some journal writing? I don’t want to waste it (like I think I’ve been doing for years now), but I guess I will just need to start and see what happens.
Do I have the willpower to make these changes? I should. Will I have a hamburger over holiday weekend? Possibly. Definitely a couple of festive cocktails. But for the most part, no more excuses, since I’m the one suffering from them. Maybe I will check back in the 1st of August. Nothing like having all of you, who read my site, to hold me accountable. I don’t know if I’m ready, but I’m diving in.
photo courtesy Vogue
dana falcione says
It seems you wrote this just for me….it is comforting to know I am not alone in this battle. Thank you!
You are definitely not alone! And thank you!
Thank you for this first of the month inspiration.
When are you coming to yoga with me??
Haha! I know. I should.
thank you for sharing! your wake up call captured what the collective is experiencing perfectly…
as always, you continue to inspire…and the occasional hamburger is everything! happy 4th, xo.
thank you and happy 4th!
One thing to note: there is nothing wrong with red meat! Especially regeneratively raised, grass fed meat. It’s very nutrient dense, and your body actually still feels hungry until it senses it has eaten enough of the correct fatty acids and amino acids. I find that I am so much more satisfied and even less anxious when I get enough fat and protein. Get rid of excess sugar and horrible seed oils for sure, but red meat is not the villain so many make it out to be.
Elizabeth Velasquez says
Agree. I feel so much better eating any animal protein + vegetable + a good quality fat. I said goodbye to refined sugar about 5 years ago after doing the Whole 30.
I highly recommend swimming as an alternative movement activity for all ages – yoga can be hard on the joints, and swimming can be done both to burn tons of calories and just to feel better.
Congratulations on resuming eating to feel well – so much more important at a certain age than being slim!
Very inspiring! I was a vegan, then vegetarian, then pescatarian, now I’ve added chicken and turkey. For me this has worked well. I eat a lot of veggies, moderate protein, small about of starch and very little amounts of processed sugars. Since doing this I feel better than I have in years. I’m with you about the alcohol consumption. Except for some occasions, I working on limiting wine drinking to the weekends. As for TV the last four years took care of news watching. It became so stressful I still can’t even listen to NPR. I dislike gyms, and weights with a passion. A little too yang energy for me. Yoga, gardening, cycling, hiking and walking seems to bring a nice balance.
E v e r y t h i n g in moderation! Coffee and friends and walking and swimming for super-aging…
Lots of stretching and quietness.
Not fond of this “holiday” but July is an excellent time for checking in and re-setting.
Cheers to gentle self-care through this beautiful process of aging!!!
Leslie Silverzweig says
cheers to the reset with my golden almond milk latte! onward to 2 min news hot lemon water journaling mediation yoga no is a full sentence and only spending time with kind people if possible ???????#im55itstimetojustvibe