If you have not read this, (I will tell you…but we have to talk about this first) please do that first. Seriously. Thanks 🙂
Yeah, that will be at the beginning of all these posts. I am kinda serious about it. I realize I can be kinda snarky, this topic is kinda sensitive, and we all beat ourselves up enough. It is important to me that you know that is NOT happening here.
This is a loaded question…but I love Nicole and I will see what I can do with it.
My perfect day consists of Krispy Donuts (the cream filled kind) with coffee. A fried twinkie snack from Mr. Keller’s Flea Market. Lunch would be a sauce drenched pasta with wonders from the sea, french fries, and funnel cake. Mid day, a Jalapeno Cheetos
snack bag. Dinner is a huge, fatty, rare steak with loaded baked potato, cheesy casserole, and pie. Oh, and the exercise…lifting the fork to my face and grabbing a cold one outta the cooler while I lay on the beach.
Unfortunately, like the perfect fraternity house kegger, the next day sucks. Which, by default, makes it not so perfect.
I make jokes to illustrate the biggest challenge of finding “the perfect day.” I had to tweak my idea of perfect. In May 2011, this was my perfect day. A year later, the echos of its wonderfulness still linger. I am still tweaking. This does not happen overnight. I mean, I guess it can. But for me, eating the elephant one bite at a time has allowed for a more sustainable change than choking myself.
In August, my perfect day was to succeed in leashing the dog and getting out of the door. My schedule was my biggest challenge. I knew I had to do it first. If I couldn’t make time, nothing else would matter. If I could do that one thing, it was a perfect day.
In September, I realized my legs and lungs were getting stronger. My pace was picking up. I was dangerously close to becoming a runner. Time carving had become priority and habit. Getting out the door was no longer perfect – it was typical. But, if I was going to maximize my time, I had to either eat better or quit smoking. I chose the easier of the two for me. Now, the perfect day was getting out the door and leaving the smokes behind.
In January, I was a non smoking runner. I felt better…but not great. The time had come. I had to face down food. I did a hard reset with The Daniel Fast. For me, breaking my addiction to food was no less like any other addiction. I had to rehab. I had to detox. January 1st – 21st, my perfect day was not to kill anyone. I ate nothing with or from a face. No artificial, no preservatives, no sweeteners. Nothing but water to drink – no coffee, no tea, no booze – for 21 days. Everybody made it out alive – except the 20 pounds I dropped. Yeah, 20 pounds. In fact, even with the running, this was the first real shape change I experienced.
In February, I felt on top of the world. I needed to start adding some variety to my running. I kicked up the gym work. I also needed to add some variety to my diet. Still heavily plant-based, I added in some seafood occasionally. The perfect day consisted of resisting the urge to “reward” myself with crap food and lacing up my shoes for a run or some gym time.
Now, my perfect day still looks a lot like that. I have established some fairly easy to follow guidelines for myself.
- The gym is on my calendar as an appointment. Whether I run or actually go to the YMCA, it is on there and the reason to skip it has got to be either family, business, or civic seriousness. I try to schedule it first thing so it is less likely to get bumped. Or, I tell my kids we are all going. They love the YMCA and will not let me flake out.
- I run. A lot. It is my favorite thing to do. I lift weights – heavy enough to where 3 sets of 10-12 reps is hard. It is my second favorite thing to do. I do interval cardio classes like Zumba Toning and Fitness Drills because they are excellent, the people are fabulous, it adds variety and accountability, and the people are fabulous (yeah, I know I said that twice).
- No fast food. Period. If it comes out of a window, it is probably not supposed to go in my mouth.
- Eat. I nearly always have food in the car. A box of Lärabars are there in case of extreme emergency. I usually have a cooler with juice from my juicer, hummus and pita, apples, oranges, grapes, steel-cut oats, beans, bananas – you get the picture. This habit has kept me convenience store/fast food free since December 2011.
- Eat. My body needs food. I do not starve it. The hard reset was good because it gave me the opportunity to gauge what foods were fuel and which were hindrances. I am now largely plant-based with seafood, limited fowl, limited dairy, no red meat.
- Drink water. I don’t count ounces, I count bathroom visits. I should be in there a pretty good bit.
- Guilt. I don’t do it. If I slip, it happens. This is life. If I choose to set aside my guidelines for a special occasion, then I do. The trick is to make conscious choices. If it feels guilty, I have made the wrong choice. I am grateful for the hard reset because now, if I grant myself too much leeway, I feel like trash. If I skip too many workouts, my mood suffers. It is just becoming self policing.
My perfect day boils down to being able to answer one basic question ~
Did I make fully conscious choices to treat this life God gave me in a way that makes this day purposeful?
Yes – awesome! No – that’s okay. I learn, I grow, I tweak, eating the elephant, one non-artificial bite at a time 🙂