I developed a bad back problem last summer that continues to plague me (three degenerative discs, one bulging disc, inflamed facet joints and something known as "miserable alignment" due to the pain it causes) and got off track with exercise and yoga. It has been an endless cycle of work out-hurt-get better-workout again-hurt some more. Rather than focus on the bad, I want to use this post as a starting point for moving onward and upward.
Here are the healthy habits I am proud to say I have maintained over the past few years:
1. Drinking lots and lots of water. Lots. I fill my 32 ounce water bottle at least four times a day, often up to six or seven. I also have tea many times throughout the day. Sometimes I feel like a camel that needs to store it up.
2. Getting more sleep. When I lived alone, I used to let myself stay up very late reading, watching TV or doing things for grad school. Now that I've finished my master's degree and moved in with my boyfriend, we almost never hit the hay past 10:30 or 11.
3. Taking vitamins. I take a multi-vitamin everyday. I also switch up additional supplements, like B-12, flax oil, vitamin D, powdered greens, probiotics, spirulina, chlorella and Natural Calm magnesium during the week. I try to get everything I need from food but I think this is good insurance.
4. Not eating meat. I know everyone's body is different, but my mind and body feel better knowing that I'm not eating animal flesh. I can get plenty of protein elsewhere, so nothing needs to die in order for me to eat.
5. Learning my way around the kitchen. Before quitting meat, a typical dinner for me (I kid you not) consisted of chicken nuggets, canned corn and maybe a baked potato. Now I experiment with all kinds of (non-animal) proteins, grains and fresh veggies. I love cookbooks and read them like regular books. I am constantly trying to challenge myself to learn new things in the kitchen. I obsessively purchase cookbooks, read a million food blogs and, most recently, joined Spork Online, which posts one vegan cooking class a month.
Here are some of the healthy habits I'd like to adopt or get back to incorporating on a regular basis:
1. More green smoothies or green drinks. I know all of the benefits. I know I want to have a more alkaline diet with much less sugar, processed food and other acidic things. I've just been lazy. I need to get better about making these everyday.
2. Kicking the diet soda habit. I know, I know....I said that I was going to do this once before. However, the diet coke monster took hold again. But then last week I saw this. I've known that diet coke makes me crave other sugary things but that article is scary stuff. I've had one diet soda in the last week and a half. Pretty good but I can do better.
3. More exercise. Because of my back issues, this will have to be a slow and steady thing that will involve lots of listening to my body. I love to lift weights but I think I'll mostly need to stick to walking and yoga for the time being.
4. Smaller portions. My employer buys my lunch every day, which is a nice perk, but restaurant lunches are usually at least twice what any one person should be eating in one sitting. If I wasn't also trying to save my pennies, I would just bring my own lunch. However, I know I can make smarter choices when it comes to lunch.
5. Write in a journal. Journaling what you eat is good and well but I find old-fashioned journaling about thoughts, feelings, hopes, worries, aspirations, etc. has a positive overall affect on my health.
Basically, I want to live by these rules.
What healthy habits are you proud of yourself for sticking to and which ones would you like to bring into your life in the second half of 2011?