The first of these came in nutritional form. I’ve mentioned a few times over the last month about how calorie-counting was just not going to work for my body. From October 1st to December 7th, I kept meticulous track of my calories. I had a deficit equal to a small chunk of pounds (somewhere between 5 and 10, for a margin of error). I lost nothing. After the 7th, I gave up calorie-counting, and continued to eat a reasonable diet. I continued to maintain the same weight. Starting on December 16th, I made a small change. I cut my sugar grams down to 28 or fewer per day. That’s equal to 1 oz or 2.27 tablespoons. I did not consume giant amounts of sugar before this – I ate about twice that much, less than half the American average – and the cut was really a small one for me. I didn’t count calories or anything, just ate reasonably and kept track of sugar, and continued to avoid flour-based foods when I could (something I’ve done for years now).
In the first week, I lost 4 lbs. Yay! I then promptly undid all my hard work by first drinking too much wine at Christmas (though I did keep my sugar grams low, haha) and then eating like crap for the last week of the year. Wine tends to make me crazy hungry for days afterwards, and to crave carbs. Lesson learned. Again. Anyway. Before the wine, though, I actually felt really good, not deprived at all. I just had to choose carefully what I wanted to indulge in. The weight loss was a pleasant surprise, but the real benefit was stability. I could go hours between meals without getting hungry or shaky. I had fewer urges to binge. I felt more physically stable, an experience that’s difficult to describe to someone who has never experienced fluctuations in their blood sugar levels. And because I didn’t have to worry about counting calories, I spent more time paying attention to hunger cues. Despite cutting down on a particular food, I felt like I had a lot more freedom in this system. Now I can’t say how well it will work in the long run – especially since I only managed for a short time before screwing things up – but for now, I’m pleased with the results. I plan to keep going (as best I can) at least until I next see my doctor for blood tests and such in April.
I love yoga and have practiced regularly on-and-off over the last three years. But of course, there have been a lot of changes over those years, and each time I hit a major change (like, say, moving across the country), it’s difficult to start back up again. When we moved this last time in August, I set my bedroom up with an area designed for my yoga practice. For three months, I sporadically got on my mat, but not nearly as much as would have been good for me. I kept finding excuses not to do it. I couldn’t find the peace that I used to find during my practice. Then the snow came, and the next morning, I decided to try – again – to get on my mat. Only I changed the direction my mat faced. When I originally set up the room, the mat was angled in a way to allow me to look outside. However, I was also looking toward my office area, and when I turned toward the head of my mat, I would face out toward the bathroom. I didn’t want to face any of those directions, though. I wanted to see the trees outside my window as the snow melted and dripped from them.
Now I know just about nothing about all the arts of setting your living space up, nor do I really believe in any of that stuff, but I can’t deny that the day after the snow completely changed my yoga practice. I moved the mat to a different angle, so that when I faced forward, I looked both outside and toward my reading nook. When I turned one direction on my mat, I looked outside. When I turned the other direction, I looked at the hanging flower lights over my bed. I can’t say why this particular change was so monumental, but since that day, I’ve gotten on my yoga mat nearly every day. I even got in my yoga practice on Christmas and New Years! My practice became peaceful again, rather than just something to get through. It’s lovely.