In college, I would have ridiculed this idea, and the person presenting it to me would have likely been met with a Cheesy Gordita Crunch to the face.
A friend of mine created this personal challenge for himself a few years ago, and it has since evolved into a group month-long effort to promote health and wellness after the fatty fall-out of holiday debauchery. Since graduation, I have struggled to find a healthy balance of all my vices (vodka sodas, keeping really odd hours, anything full of melted cheese, walking home from bars barefoot) and will often eliminate one at at time from my life, but decided the time had come for a full overhaul.
Thus, Healthy February has begun.
The ground rules are simple: No fast food, no junk food, no caffeine addictions; Try to work out 4-5 times per week; Drink the recommended 64 oz of water a day; Get more sleep; and, the hardest one for most of us- no boozin'.
I started to wean myself off coffee and most edible crap in the last week of January, and then went full steam ahead last week. I suffered minor caffeine headaches (I really really miss my morning cup of coffee with my crossword), and then this weekend, suffered minor alcohol withdrawals (symptoms included shyness, boredom, and coordinated dancing).
It's only been a week, but I have been really good about buying more fruits and vegetables and incorporating them into my diet.
Tips and Tricks I've used so far:
- Drinking green tea instead of coffee. At work, I like to have something hot to drink, and this is a nice alternative to the office Folgers IV I ususally ram into my jugular.
- Making lunch the night before. When everything is all packaged and easy to grab in the morning to throw into my reusable lunch tote, I am guaranteed to eat healthy and save money.
- Substituting fiber rich, low carb pitas for bread. Great lunch = one pita, smear it with low or non-fat cream cheese, and pile on the cucumbers, green peppers, baby spinach, celery, and turkey lunch meat. Finish with a twist of fresh ground pepper and roll it up!
- Smoothies for snacks and breakfast! Dump 3/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt (I use Nancy's), 5-6 frozen whole strawberries, 1 banana, a dollop of orange juice, and 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein powder into a blender in the morning and stay full until lunch time.
- Zumba class at the gym is probably the best thing that ever happened to my workouts. Dance Fighter came with me the other day and concurred. There are always guys in the class, so don't be shy, boys.
Other than that, I am totally failing at getting more sleep, but all in all, I feel less sluggish and more energetic once the day gets started.
Who knows how much of Healthy February will spill over into March Mayhem (the Iditarod fast approaches...) and Alcoholic April, but for now, I feel great and want to get you on the bandwagon.