Monday, September 01, 2014

Labor Day Means New Beginnings

New Year's resolutions are OK, I guess. But as a product of the American educational system, it is Labor Day that always makes my mind turn to new beginnings. Hey, I figure between my own education and that of my son, this makes the 36th fall I've gone through the “back to school” drill. So not surprisingly, I find myself gearing up to make some tweaks in my life.

It started off with the realization that once again, I have let my weight drift upward. I probably need to take off between 10 and 15 pounds, and this feels like a good time to do it. But then someone challenged my thinking about what I was going to do, pointing out that even though I really know how to take that weight off, I have yet to find a path that keeps it off. I really couldn't argue with that.

So I am finally following in the footsteps of many of my friends and trying to focus on a diet based more on whole foods. I'm not ready to go vegan, as some of my friends have, but I am going to try to focus on vegetables, fruits and whole grains, cut out processed foods as much as possible and minimize my reliance on red meat and even poultry. And actually increase my fish intake. The funny thing is, if you had asked me I would have said that I had been moving my diet that direction already. But the truth is, I had been for my main meal of the day. I cook lots of great dinners that are full of vegetables and whole grains. But breakfast, lunch, and snacks? Without realizing it, I had slipped into patterns of way too many processed foods.

So today I did my weekly grocery shopping and also stocked up on beans and nuts and whole grain products. I figure it will help me if, when I find myself faced with an unplanned meal or snack, I have healthy ingredients on hand to choose from. I spent close to two weeks' grocery budget, but I don't think that supports the old saw that eating healthy is more expensive. It just means I stocked up on a lot of things that will be “amortized,” so to speak, over coming weeks' budgets.

But as so often happens, once I started thinking more positively about changes in one area, I began to get inspired in others. I have observed over the years that when I feel like I'm taking good care of myself, I find myself more competent in every area. How do I keep letting that lesson slip away, having to be discovered over and over again? Anyway, I was able to identify some other areas, little things that maybe only matter a lot to me, that I can also improve. So I'm feeling pretty upbeat.

Thank God, Bob is wonderfully flexible and supportive and willing to go along with these whims. (Truth be told, he's probably been doing better than me lately at trying to make healthy choices for himself.) Sam is off at school where my food and daily lifestyle choices don't affect him, and while Warren does live here, he joins us for meals less and less often as he discovers his independence. So I don't foresee any systemic impediments to staying the course.

Thus it is that even though we are coming into a very chaotic, busy work season for me, I am setting out to maintain some sanity and control through wise lifestyle choices. And shed some weight in the process. I guess after posting this, I'll have no choice but to check back in near the end of the year and confess to you all how it worked out!