Ultimate Reset: Done!

This was probably the best thing I’ve done for myself in a long, long time.

I had a conversation with someone recently who mentioned that she thought I’d look back at this time in my life as a “paradigm shift.” I’ve been working so hard, on so many facets in my life both personally and professionally, that I don’t think that’s a far off assessment. I’m learning to trust myself a bit more, to have faith and be a bit more open and less aggressive. Life is short, and I’m tired of being someone who, at times, seems a stone’s throw away from her own spot on Housewives.

These past three weeks have been a great practice in taking care of myself and working through what it means to be the sort of person I want to be. Someone who is more present and aware, someone who processes what’s happening before her, and reacts appropriately. Someone who takes responsibility  for her choices and is kinder to herself for whatever those choices may be. Someone who understands what it means to value herself, including taking care of her body.

Nothing is perfect, of course. But that’s the point. I’m not perfect and I don’t need to be. The important work is the work itself.

I still eat in front of the TV or computer too much. I could ease up considerably on the borderline OCD I have when it comes to picking up and straightening up the house. More often than not snark comes barreling out of my mouth rather measured, compassionate responses.

But I am braver. At least I feel braver. And certainly brave enough to feel whatever it is I’m feeling – anger, sadness, happiness, anxiousness – and not have a reaction to it. I worked hard these 21 days at examining my habits amid “forced” structure and it was so clear that, while not always destructive, I have been so quick to just move move move move on through whatever was happening and not just let things sit. Whether that’s mindlessly snacking, or random purchases at Target, or one glass of wine too many, or even just zoning out in front of the TV with no entertainment investment whatsoever, not doing any of these things for three weeks caused me to confront the impulses I had to indulge and it was tremendously eye-opening.

If nothing else, I am grateful that I gave myself the opportunity to do this. The physical benefits seem secondary.

But a wonderful secondary, nonetheless. A few highlights:

1) I never got the energy that some who do the reset have experienced, but I haven’t felt exhausted or wiped out, which is a bit new for me. I’m not absolutely wrecked by the time AG is in bed and I’m finished up with dinner. I attribute that to the diet on several levels, one of which is that I’m not eating sugar and junk. The other is that my body isn’t using all of the energy it does have working to digest all of the junk.

2) Sounder sleep. I’m not sleeping as well as I’d like, but I’ve stopped waking up in the middle of the night, every night. I’ve also stopped going to bed with the iPad, and subsequently read three books during this time, too. Progress!

3) I lost 15 pounds. And now I’m throwing out my scale. Honestly, the saddest part for me about all of this was that I couldn’t bring myself to stop weighing myself and that shit has got to stop. Seriously. I felt fantastic. My clothes were either fitting  like a glove or looser than before. My husband couldn’t stop complimenting me. Colleagues commented on how great I looked. And yet? There I was, weighing myself and, if I’m being honest, using that number as a barometer. Ugh. Enough. If I don’t want my daughter growing up like this, then she can’t grow up around it. Good intentions only go so far.

4) I didn’t count jack shit. I will probably continue to use something like Sparkpeople to track what I’m eating, especially as it relates to my cholesterol, but it was freeing to just eat. See #3 in how tying yourself emotionally to an assigned value is a ridiculous waste of energy and time. If I’m eating well, and taking care of myself, genuinely, the rest should work itself out. This doesn’t mean ignoring portion sizes or not measuring out things, but I can eat without having it mean anything.

5) I am not going to become a vegan or a vegetarian. I’m not inclined to make grand pronouncements where these things are concerned, but I will say this: I am making decisions every day to eat what sounds good and nutritious and fulfilling, and so far those choices have been vegan. I don’t want to rule out that one day I might want a steak, but for now this way of eating speaks to me, and my body responds well to it, so those have been the choices I’ve been making. Tomorrow might be different.

6) I can’t change that I had a baby. I’m a woman who is closer to 40 than 20, and I had a baby 18 months ago. While I weigh less than I did even before I became pregnant, and am healthier to boot, I’m still a woman who experienced pregnancy and labor and my stomach is riddled with stretch marks and I have cellulite and wide hips and I may never comfortably wear a bikini in public and that is perfectly fine. There is grace in having brought a human being into this world, to be trite about it, and I shouldn’t want to change that.

7) I drink too much. Not every day, but at times when I go out I drink too much. And it’s not good for me. And so I’m done doing that. I have valued rest far too much.

There is probably more but I’m tired and ready to go to bed. I’ll have my cholesterol checked soon – I’m really curious if I was able to make headway there – and I’m sure write more about all of this. For now, I’m thrilled with my results and recommend it to anyone who truly knows he or she is at a crossroads and it’s time to test your limits. It’s a commitment, to be sure, but absolutely worth every second, every sacrifice.