My Experiment: THIS IS THE EXPERIMENT YOU CAN TRY. IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
This is the backstory of an experiment, the guidelines I've myself, and the reasoning behind each piece of this adventure. Use this to inspire your own great adventure.
Take care of MYSELF 100% of the time - for one month
Before I start this experiment I already KNOW this will be good for me. It's one of those no-duh kind of hypotheses. Over my lifetime I've done the best I could, with what I had, to take care of myself. However, when I crossed the milestone of having spent 20 years in corporate America, 10 years single momming, early alarm clocks, baby to daycare by 7:10 AM to start 8 AM meetings, and long commutes home -fully taking care of myself was reduced to a pipe dream. I had three years when seven family members died, one year of a very sick kiddo, I divorced, I remarried. You know what I'm talking about, you've been there - LIFE. I surfed all of these waves and came back to shore with a file full of excellent performance reviews managing high-end complex projects. I miraculously managed to stay fit - but I wasn't necessarily thriving.
You have failed to do the seemingly simple -
You have never actually taken care of yourself
100% of the time for an entire month - ever.
This is about to change.
What would happen if you took care of yourself 100% of the time for just one month?
Alrighty folks, here's the details of what I'll be doing in March.
Minimum of eight hours a night, however I promise to listen to my body and sleep longer if I needed to or take a nap during the day. This is made possible by the fact that my kids are finally older, I'm taking a sabbatical from work, and I have no large projects on the horizon. I own my time this month. It's truly a unique month for me.
When my son was little, I went in entire winter - 4 full months – without sleeping for four hours straight EVER. Juggling my sick kiddo, caring for my dad in his final losing weeks of cancer, on top of the usuals took it's toll. This was the period of my life when the baristas at the corner coffee shop in Seattle's Pioneer Square knew me by name.
"Double Americano with room please..."
You've had times in your life like this too, I'm sure of it. Probably half of you reading this are in the middle of your own marathon of sleep deprivation.
My heart goes out to you - STAY STRONG.
I created an exercise schedule that is challenging, yet right for me today. It looks like this.
Every other day:
Day 1 - 60 minutes circuit + 30 min walk
Day 2 - 30 minutes cardio + stretching
My plan is to stick to the schedule with no days off. However every few days I will integrate a rest day by doing the workout with much less intensity such as lower weights or walking instead of cardio. This will keep it simple and the routine will help me put exercise into autopilot.
This is the most complicated of my goals and the most at risk of failure because it impacts of every hour of every day. I know, you already know that. You live it every day yourself. This is my list of WHAT I will be doing. I'll go into the reasons of WHY this is right for me.
No added sugar
Coffee is OK
Carbohydrates are OK
Basically, I'll be eating whole foods, not counting calories, and not obsessed with the balance between carbs and fats. I'll make sure to eat a minimum of protein that's right for my body. In my case that's in the ballpark of 60 - 100 g of protein per day. I'm also not going to have healthy eating dependent on any special potion, pills or powders. I'll use some protein powders, but nothing magical or specific worth calling out.
I'm also putting my juicer away, gasp! Yes, I'm one of those weirdos who loves pure vegetable juice with no sugar whatsoever. You know, the bitter gross-tasting makes you want to puke juice? I love it. But for this experiment I'm putting my juicer away because I want to eat in a way that you could look at and say, "hmm, if Lyn can do that, maybe I could too." A juicer would make it too far out of reach for too many people. So bye-bye juicer for the month of March.
Hunger: I will not go hungry - period.
Yes, it's a an elimination diet. At the end of the month, I'll call it my illumination diet and slowly add items back to see what happens.
One big piece that's going to be a contributing factor for success here is the fact that I've pretty much devoured every book and resource on this topic. Additionally, I spent the past year slowly shifting my kitchen to a more healthy stock, pulling out the junk, reading every label, swapping out condiments that have sugar in them for ones that don't. This is been a bigger process than I ever imagined it would be. Sugar is in everything - even in our beloved organic non-gmo health foods. Preservatives and stabilizers are everywhere too.
I'm going to stay hydrated and not drink alcohol. I have a few events this month including a fundraiser gala where alcohol is part of the strategy to increase charitable donations and a dinner party where the host is a wine sommelier.
Eliminating alcohol will be the easy part,
the challenge will be doing this with grace.
It's important to me that I don't come off as self-righteous or above all y'all in anyway shape or form. So I will spend some time thinking through the best responses to questions about why I'm doing this. I cherish my time with friends, that will never change.
If you're looking at doing your own similar challenge, then please use meditation in a way that honors your life and your beliefs. I meditate in many ways, on a walk, on my front porch listening to the birds, traveling across on the ferry to Seattle. Below is my current favorite meditation I adapted from a few resources including the book, The Code of the Extraordinary Mind, by Vishen Lakhiani.
What am I grateful for in my personal life?
What am I grateful for in my professional life?
Who/what do I need to forgive?
How can I give to others?
I AM ENOUGH.
I am the perfect person to ______ because I am/have______.
So there you have it, this is what entails the experiment to take care of myself for an entire month. It doesn't include trips to spas and salons, darn it. It's focused on health and wellness. Wish me the best!
March 31, 2017 update - To see photos of what I ate click here.
(To see more on this topic, click the Take Care of Yourself category.)