#wellness27: A Retrospective

On October 1, I started #wellness27.  (27 days on, 4 days off for vacation)

It was a personal challenge to myself to revamp my life. The areas that received the biggest attention were health and finances. I’ve been pretty candid online about my health struggles but not so much with my finances.

For those not in the know, in 2017, I went to the doctor for a physical. It had been years since I had one. The results from my blood work revealed that I had an elevated blood sugar. Not enough to be considered prediabetic.

My body was essentially saying:

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And boy did it get real. This is important because for years, unbeknownst to me, I was struggling with depression. I talk about it extensively on this site. Part of my “dealing with it” was to self-medicate via food. I ate all the terrible things: soda, chips, tacos. I mean, I was living in Austin, Texas (2015-2017) and tacos are so good, cheap, and readily available.

I knew that my weight had creeped up. Clothes weren’t fitting. I started working out even changing up my work schedule to accommodate early morning workouts. (I like to work out in the early hours.) Yes, I did lose weight. Dropped about 8 lbs in 2-3 months. However, I didn’t do the work of seriously considering the food I was putting into my body.

Honestly, I prayed to God to help me find the strength to follow through. I still struggled.

Well, the proverbial chicken came home to roost in 2017. This was a HUGE wake up call. My grandmother struggled with diabetes. I knew people who were diabetic. Many of them suffered with it to varying degrees.

Once the news settled in, I immediately got to work. I started working out more. Planning out my meals better. However, I still struggled with leaning on my food crutch. October 2018 was the wake up to do something more drastic.

The rules were simple

Budget - I created an Excel spreadsheet and noted all of my expenses. I pulled up past banking statements and reviewed them. I made notes of not only what I paid but when bills were paid. I learned pretty quickly that from the 15th to the end of the month was a BIG payout. About 70% of my bills hit during that time. Conversely, from the beginning of the month to the 15th, things were lighter. I was flush with cash.

And that’s when I got loose with my money.

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No added sugars or sweets, No alcohol, No eating out, Walk more - All of these were an effort to control what I ate and to get me more active. In addition to the walking more, I continued with my 3x/week HIIT workout.

All social media + tech-related activities stop after 7 PM (mon-thur) and all day on Sunday - This was the surprising outcome. When I stopped checking Twitter or Facebook and put down the phone and turned off the tv, I found I had so much time in the evening. I got things done around the house so weekends became more chill and full of activities. I slept deeply. I took up writing and reading.

Verdict:

It was a mixed bag especially toward the end.

  • I confirmed that much of my overeating is tied to my emotions. I learned so was my spending. Having a bad day? Spend some money or eat that food. Doesn’t matter if you’re not hungry.

  • I discovered that when you cut out sugars + are somewhat on a low carb diet you crave peanut butter like nobody’s business. Like, A LOT.

  • I have cultivated an “eat all the bad things” attitude prior to, during, and after a trip. As mentioned earlier, I had a scheduled vacation to New Orleans so I would hit pause on #wellness27. My bad travel habits, despite almost 3 weeks of clean(ish) new habits, came back to bite me big time. It was a bit of a stumble that unfortunately I wasn’t able to completely shake to finish #wellness27 strong.

  • Giving up alcohol wasn’t that big of a deal.

  • Not eating out did hamper some social activities with friends. (When did eating and drinking become such a big social activity among friends??)

  • I learned about other non-eating out and non-drinking activities in this town. I checked out a variety of things in Detroit and began to slowly fall in love with the city.

Overall, I’m glad I did #wellness27. I’ll continue on in some form or another but may lighten up on *some* of the restrictions.