When Julia and I set out on our Happy And Mindful Plan a month ago, my primary aim was to avoid my trademark December lardification. I can stack it on so very quickly if left unattended! It worked a treat in that respect – I’m up one kilo up from my 1 December weight. That’s a great improvement from previous years and can be taken care of quickly.
But the number on the scale ended up being the very least of the benefits of this HAMmy month. Here’s what I learned…
1. I like structure and planning
A few simple, personalised “rules” are very freeing to me. The key word there is personalised – that way rather than being rules it’s just The Way I Do Things. So the HAM Plan ended up being a blueprint for basic and sustainable self-care; like a skeleton that holds everything up, so I can get on with the good stuff.
2. Simplicity rocks
The HAM Plan rules helped me move away from over-thinking into action. Also, the simplicity of three meals a day was unexpectedly helpful. When I ate what I really felt like for the meals I was satisfied and genuinely did not feel hunger between them. I realised how often I snack and generally overeat purely out of habit – especially distraction when trying to avoid unpleasant feelings.
3. Keeping food and exercise simple frees up space for other stuff
By taking a couple of hours per week to plan meals, do some prep; get out there and move my butt instead of dithering about it… I didn’t need to think about food and exercise quite so much. My mind was clearer and I found more time for fun things – to read, to learn to knit very badly; to write to my Granny.
Nerd Tangent: I also reorganised my wee office which I’d wanted to do for years. I’d just shoved the desk under the window when we moved in but my sister suggested turning it around. 90 degrees later I feel like a kickass working lady. Look out world…
4. My body knows what to do… I just need to listen
I’ve read so many mindful eating books over the last few years and they all say if you listen to your body it will tell you what it needs. The HAM Plan showed me that it’s true – but you have to give it time and practice for the messages to come through. At first it’s a sugar-foggy jungle up there, then suddenly the whispers begin. I feel like a walk. I don’t want any more of this cake. Let’s make some soup!
Weird. Like Julia said on Monday, I don’t think I gave it long enough before. You can see from the patchiness of my daily food lists that I still have more practicing to do, but December was a good step forward.
5. I need to keep my eyes on my own work
Julia usually finished her HAM posts before me, so each day when I’d log on to write mine I’d cringe at my comparatively enormous list of food. Is it any wonder she’s a slinky athlete and I’m so very overweight? But then I remembered, we’re two different people in different situations, bodies, metabolisms and life stages. There’s absolutely no point comparing myself to anyone but me. That doesn’t mean I can’t be inspired by and learn from her experiences though.
6. I could never be a food blogger!
You know the ones that photograph every meal like a mini Truman Show. For one, my plates are too boring and I don’t own any vintage napkins or stripey drinking straws. Seriously now, I felt very self-conscious rabbiting on every day. Food choices are such personal thing – who hasn’t peered at someone else’s trolley in the supermarket and made an assumption or two? It was a cool experiment to put ourselves out there and be honest despite the fears, but I’m glad talking about what I eat isn’t my full time job. How boring would that be for the world!?
7. I don’t need to make crazy ass resolutions
January 1 is just a new day with a new series of choices like any other. I’m going to carry on HAM-ing. It’s a good Plan!
Thank you kindly for reading and a very Happy New Year to you all! Here’s to a fabulous year of life and running ahead.