Given that February has come and gone, I suppose it's time for a little status on how my "Operation 40" is going, yes?
As a refresher, the plan is to spend the year leading up to my 40th birthday in December focusing on a single goal each month in an attempt to become the best possible version of myself in "mind, body, and spirit" before the big milestone. (You can take a peek at each month's goals here, if you're so inclined.)
February's goal was to "Improve my fitness," and in the spirit of August's goal to "Attempt more inner peace," I'm going to say I did OK (as opposed to the more truthful, "I failed miserably" assessment.) I went into the month planning to walk with a friend every Saturday, go to a yoga class once a week, and do a work out tape of some sort twice a week. If you're doing the math, that's four workouts a week, which is exactly four more workouts per week than I had been doing prior to February.
Perhaps I was aiming too high. Maybe my goal should have just been to "work some sort of physical activity into my daily routine," or maybe I should have simply set out to "move more." Had I gone one of those routes, I would have achieved at, say... 70%, which, really, isn't so bad. Each day, I have gotten some sort of physical activity/moved more...I've done some concentrated stretching or perhaps a little light arm weight action. I've still been using the jump rope, and now, after I down my H2O (more on that in second), I do jumping jacks while I'm waiting for the coffee to finish brewing. So I'm working on it. Sloooowly.
Fitness fails aside, I am still going strong on several of my January tasks. I continue to meet with the amazing and lovely Leslie Needleman most weeks, and she helps me stay on track, while giving me new exercises to work into my life betterment initiative (sounds v. formal, I realize).
Here's are the things that I'm still doing as well the new "tasks" I've added to my daily routine:
I carried over drinking 32 ounces of water every morning before my coffee:
Friends, this practice is totally and completely life changing. (I don't exaggerate when I say this). I have more energy, my skin is better, and I just generally feel lighter and more clear-headed throughout the day. There's something to be said for being hydrated I guess.
I carried over eliminating most desserts and candy:
Once I got through the January cold turkey, I started to allow myself an occasional dessert. But...the amazing news is that I didn't really want them anymore. On the couple of occasions that I did indulge, I would have a few bites and be totally satisfied. I am more gobsmacked at this development than anyone. I still fear sugar given my deep and abiding life-long love for it/addiction to it, but I don't feel that it has the stranglehold on me that it once did.
I added a tongue scraper:
This was a Leslie suggestion. She gave me the tongue scraper and suggested I use it after meals to help reduce cravings (the idea being that clearing the lingering flavors off my tongue would help shift my focus away from them). I'm not sure if the practice has helped with cravings, but my mouth feels healthier, so that's a plus. Other purported benefits of tongue scraping (in case you're wondering) are helping taste buds function better (resulting in improved satiety) and possible reduction of upper respiratory illnesses (by helping to prevent bacteria from traveling into the respiratory system).
I added dry body brushing:
This was another Leslie add, and I can safely say that I am totally addicted. I do it every. single. morning. starting from the soles of my feet up to the back of my neck, using a natural bristle brush. In addition to the obvious sloughing away of dry skin, dry brushing is credited with promoting tighter skin; helping rid the body of toxins; promoting cell renewal and blood flow; increasing circulation; and aiding in digestion. (I'm not gonna lie, they had me at "promoting tighter skin.") All I know is that it feels amazing, and my skin is super soft, so I'm all in on this one.
I added a new vitamin routine
Last but not least, I've also started visiting Dr. Kate Naumes to help get my seasonal allergies under control holistically and determine exactly which vitamins I should be taking. (She, like Leslie, is amazing.) She has me on a great multi-vitamin, a combo fish/Sea Buckthorn oil omega blend, vitamin D, and a probiotic.
At this point I can honestly say I feel stronger, healthier, and more energized. I've managed to bypass getting sick despite two bouts of full-household sinus infections, and my stress level is lower in the face of pretty insane work and home schedules of late...so far, so good.
March's goal is "Buff and Polish," which constitutes getting my skin care regime totally nailed down and figuring out what "treatments" I want to give a whirl. I'm also going to double back on fitness, as, clearly, I still need to do some work in that department... I'll be back in March with another update. Wish me luck.