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disciplineI have been having an issue with numbers lately.

My numbers are creeping up.  My doctor tells me that my blood pressure and my cholesterol are higher than he would like to see them.  My scale tells me that my weight is more than my skinny jeans would like to see.  Truth be told, my doctor wasn’t 100% thrilled with my weight either.

While I am not generally a person that lives and dies by numbers, I suppose they are a useful tool for helping us stay on track.  What these particular numbers mean to me is that I need to evaluate the way I am taking care of my body and perhaps, make some adjustments.  So, in spite of my stand on New Year’s resolutions, I have instituted some fairly significant changes this week.

As I was considering what to do about this number issue, a very smart friend of mine told me about an online group called Read, Pray, Move: A 40 Day Strengthening Journey for Mind, Soul and Body.  At first, I was a little intimidated by the fairly strict dietary restrictions/ suggestions, but then I decided it might be fun to do something completely different for 40 days.  (I am using the word “fun” somewhat loosely…insert eye roll here.)  The study is structured for following 8 suggested healthy habits 6 days a week and then taking a rest day each week.

Here are the 8 healthy habits:

  • Read our bibles
  • Pray what’s on our hearts
  • Move our bodies
  • Eat whole food
  • Drink clean water and herbal teas
  • Track our progress
  • Relax our minds
  • Detox our bodies

We started on Monday.  That makes today Day 3.  I’m not going into all the details about the food restrictions as I don’t want to begin a debate about which foods are or are not good for you.  However, please know that I have temporarily given up caffeine, sugar, bread and alcohol, among other things.  At least for 6 days a week.  I tell you this as there is a distinct possibility that I am going to get grumpy and combative.  You have been warned.

Here is what I like about this process so far:

  • Because of the foods I am not eating, I am forced encouraged to eat and prepare more vegetables. I don’t usually eat many because I have to buy them more often and figure out ways to prepare them, which boils down to simple laziness.  Vegetables are good for me and my family.
  • Because I am doing this journey with a group of women friends, we are sharing recipes and tips and encouraging one another along the way.  The graphic above was something one of my smart friends posted to remind us why we are doing this.  Living and growing in community is good for me.
  • I am drinking a lot of water and green tea.  Being well hydrated is good for me.
  • Because I am being intentional about the other habits, I am structuring my days to get in prayer and study time, exercise time and relaxation time.  Structure and discipline is good for me.
  • So far, I am not being legalistic or punitive with myself when I stray from the plan.  I know it takes time to break bad habits and build better habits.  I’m worth taking that time. Learning to extend grace to myself is also good for me.

Here is what I do NOT like about this process so far:

  • Giving up coffee and chocolate.  Not only do I love these 2 things, I have established rituals around them.  I love my coffee time first thing in the morning.  The smell, the taste, the warmth during this cold season.  While I have switched to green tea, it is not the same.  Similarly, I like a piece of chocolate after meals.  It is a habit as much as anything, but it is interesting how much I think about it after a meal.
  • Planning and preparation take discipline.  Eating fresh, healthy, non-processed foods is more work.  I don’t like more work.
  • It is only Day 3.  I prefer things that bring instant results and this process will take time.  I find that I am often inpatient with waiting and doing the work every day.  I am ready to see how I am feeling and functioning at Day 30 to make sure this is all worth it.
  • Daily exercise means I have to wash my hair every day.  We have talked about this before and you know how much I hate to tell you that my hair is currently dirty.  My life is so hard. 🙂

So I tell you all this, dear reader, because it is my intention to start writing again more often and this is the space and place from which I am coming these days.  I guess I am on a bit of a health kick.  I want to be as healthy as I can be because I owe it to my family to hang around a few more years.  And, from a spiritual point of view, because my body is a temple and all that stuff.  This journey will also give us some great material to discuss regarding what it takes to break bad habits and establish healthy habits.

What healthy habits are you trying to establish right now?  What most often gets in your way?  What brings you success?