December Resolutions are the new New Year’s Resolutions.
Not really, but you get my drift.
As per usual, this year I got a bit ahead of myself and began my healthy initiatives one month early. After being in Mexico for a week (see #happyplace) this was obviously entirely necessary, so my sister and I vowed to “cleanse” for 5 whole days together.
But I know what you’re all thinking… or at least those of you who know me well. Because if there’s one rather strong opinion that I do have, it’s that cleanses are stupid. And I don’t even feel the need to say it more eloquently – cleanses are for the #skinnybitch in the kittycorner cube who never learned that binging on juice isn’t an effective or sustainable way to maintain a healthy lifestyle or sexy physique. But they’re also for those faint of conviction, who desire to prove to themselves that they’re capable of putting their body through something different, difficult, and (debateably) healthy, and learning something about themselves in the process.
And so I agreed to do such a silly thing with my sister. Although I must admit, for the 5 days that we cleansed, no juice was had. Instead, we started by eliminating most food items (admittedly). The concept was to eliminate all complex items (read: shit) we’d been ingesting, and slowly reintroduce the healthy stuff. This began with lots of tea, steamed veggies, and smoothies. And it then transitioned to include soup of the particularly bland sort, and eventually lean chicken. We avoided dairy, salt, and booze, home-cooked everything we ate, and even tossed in one of those boujee cleanse vitamin packs from Whole Foods.
And then my coworker and good friend mentioned the #weightlosschallenge that he and his sister had just started. Naturally, on Day 2 of my post-Mexico intake limitation, I felt much better than I had in days, and perhaps even invincible.
For those of you who haven’t already learned the hard way, let me enlighten you. Cleanses, as they’re traditionally thought of, are not for everyone. Although I must say, your cleanse is what you make of it. But without a doubt, weight loss challenges certainly aren’t for everyone.
From the 5 days of clean eating (I think that’s a bit more representative of what we did in practice), I learned that I’m capable of limiting myself. I learned that it’s not difficult to eat clean, to cook simple but healthy meals from scratch, and most importantly, I learned to think twice about what I’m putting in my body.
But from the weight loss challenge, I learned that while experimentation can be fun, this particular “diet” tactic was not something that I’d try again or recommend to a friend. For many reasons.
My overly aggressive December Resolutions, taught me that my body’s needs are vastly different from my own mental perception of my body, and also from the needs of other athletes around me. Lifestyle changes can be excruciatingly difficult, a testament to why so many of us must keep repeating the same New Year’s Resolution year after year. No matter where you’re coming from, it’s important to understand what it takes and what it means to get yourself where you want to go, and for someone to make a change and embrace it as positive, it must come from within.
I’m a runner, but you’ll notice that I haven’t yet mentioned exercise of any sort in this post. And that’s because as this was all going on in the month of December, I didn’t work out that much. Through this month of experimentation, I learned that though I’m capable of training my body to turn down the cupcake, those particular eating habits limited my activity levels as well.
This is all just my personal opinion, but I think that this sort of experimentation is important. Try new things, and learn who you are and what your body needs. Just be careful as you do so, and remember that maintaining a lifestyle that’s sustainable should be the ultimate goal.
And as we trudge through this last week of 2014, most of us impatiently awaiting the camaraderie, libations, and celebrations on Wednesday night, look forward to 2015 and what it brings, but don’t forget to look positively on 2014 as well. Whether it was a year of health or happiness, stress or struggle, the past year and its happenings defines us. Savor the days remaining, doing the things you enjoy with the people you love. Ground yourself and treasure 2014’s good times before jumping into a fresh new year.