This year, for the first time in a long time, I made some New Year’s Resolutions. Nothing huge or unattainable – just a list of hopes and small changes to achieve in the coming year, many of which were already being set into motion at the year’s end. Now that the luster of the new year has faded, I thought I’d recap how things are going so far. I’m not going to talk about all my goals – just a few for today.
1. More time for me, more development of personal interests.
This is sort of an over-arching theme for this year. As a new parent, it’s very easy to let your identity slip away in the hustle and bustle of newborn-hood, and I learned that the hard way. It took about a year for me to fight my way out of the hole that I had allowed myself to dig.
But for the past few months, things have been really different here. I’m taking a lot more time for myself, whether that means reading a book during nap time, taking a fitness class on the weekend, or even taking a whole weekend to go home and visit family.
One of my resolutions was to read at least one book each month, and so far I’m off to a good start! In January I read two and a half books, and I already have a pile waiting for me in February. I know it’s very predictable, but I ended up reading books one and two in the Hunger Games series. I just wanted something easy and engaging to read, and these were perfect for that.
Right now I’m halfway through the third book, and I’ve also recently started Simplicity Parenting. I don’t know why I’m reading three books at one time (seems inefficient), but I’m also reading Bringing Up Bebe on my Nook. It’s been nice to enjoy some reading time on the couch in the evenings instead of always mindlessly zoning out in front of the TV. Although Survivor starts tonight, which will definitely set my reading back a bit…
2. Make fitness a priority.
Other than some running and a lot of walking, I essentially took last year off from formal exercise. I think it was necessary at the time, but I’m so glad I jumped back in when I did. I feel like I’m in a really good place with my fitness right now, and I feel really strong and incredibly motivated.
I’m doing Barre3 classes once or twice a week (hoping to squeeze one in this evening!), and I’m absolutely loving them. I hope I’m not annoying you guys by talking about it so much. I’m just really excited to have found a new activity that has me energized and excited again, and that works with my current schedule and lifestyle.
I’m also still getting up and working out in the mornings. My alarm is set for 5:30am every day, and two to three of those mornings each week I do an at-home workout with Casey. We have gotten really into the New York City Ballet workout DVD’s – those ballerinas are seriously ripped!
It has been really fun to workout with Casey again. That was one of the things I missed most about our pre-baby life, and it’s a fun, healthy way for us to connect and spend time together. Plus it’s an extra hour we can spend together in the morning, which is a nice way to kick off the day ahead. I feel like I’m in a really good spot with exercise right now, and I’m excited to see where it goes from here.
3. Sugar free January: the challenge to go one month without sugar.
I never intended to cut sugar out of my life completely. That is unrealistic, and also not very fun. But I knew my sugar consumption was WAY out of control, and it was going to take a big change to have a lasting effect. I gorged myself on chocolate cookies at our New Year’s Eve party, and woke up January 1st ready to face the challenge head on.
The verdict? It was hard – much harder than I thought it would be. I tend to be an all-or-nothing type of person. I have never been good at moderation or self-restraint. I don’t think there is anything wrong with moderate sugar consumption – I just wasn’t capable of that. So I quit cold turkey, thinking a 30-day detox (of sorts) would help my problem. And I think it did, but it was definitely a challenge.
The worst part was every night after dinner. I longed for something sweet, and no amount of oranges or peppermint tea was going to trick me into thinking I’d just eaten a bar of chocolate. The biggest takeaway from my sugar free month was just how often I was indulging in sweet stuff. We’d be out and about in Seattle, and I’d think about suggesting a trip to a bakery, just because. It made me realize how many 3 o’clock cookies I was eating before, just out of habit or boredom.
When we went home to Indiana for a week in January, there were sweets and chocolates all over the house. If I hadn’t been doing my monthly challenge, I knew I would have seriously overdone it while we were there. I felt grateful for the opportunity to recognize just how often I was thinking about (and subsequently eating!) sugar.
On February 1st, I felt slightly liberated. I had completed my challenge with only one cheat – a friend’s birthday cake that she had worked hard to bake and decorate herself. I didn’t want my silly food challenge to take away from her celebration, and I gladly indulged in a few (delicious) bites. I didn’t eat any sugar that first day, and it wasn’t a big deal.
On February 2nd, I felt old habits creeping in. I had known there was a chocolate bar buried in our junk drawer that had been taunting me through all of January. I ripped it open, took one glorious bite, and then proceeded to eat the entire (large!) bar. It was delicious, but I felt gross afterward, and a little sad that the effects of the sugar-free month hadn’t lasted a little longer?
Ultimately, I’d just like to have a healthier relationship with sugar, and I do think taking a break from it helped me recognize that. I want Cullen to grow up with a balanced appreciation for treats, and to enjoy them for special days and celebrations – like the ice cream come we shared for a friend’s birthday earlier this week. My biggest motivation to curb my own sugar problem is to be a healthy role model for Cullen as he continues to watch and learn from us.
So that’s how things are shaping up so far this year! Off to a good start, and I feel good about what’s up ahead. Anyone else still thinking about their resolutions? Even if you’ve had a setback, it’s never too late to jump back on the wagon!
PS – For those looking for a laugh today, check out this funny photo series between Cullen and Huey over on Babble! Poor little guy just wanted to share his snack! :)