I am doing another Primal Challenge with a few friends. Summer, counter-intuitively, always means weight gain for me. Why? Because even though we are outside more and get more exercise in, we are also biking to the brewery or to lunches consisting of famous Iowa tenderloins and hand-cut fries. Even a 2-hour bike ride stands no chance against a couple of drinks and nachos.
We started the Challenge on Monday. My main goals for the challenge are: 1) No alcohol for 21 days, 2) Meditate for at least 10 mins daily, and 3) Walk outside for at least 30 mins daily. You may think that these are not exactly “stretch” goals for someone who is pretty healthy. But, trust me, they are! Between working full-time, teaching yoga part-time, prepping for the classes, sleeping, eating, continuing my movement education, etc., my days get really full. I have not been doing a good job of prioritizing the behaviors that I preach in my yoga classes. Also, I’ve fallen into the habit of having 1-2 drinks each night. So that is what I’m mainly tackling this go-around.
I have been doing really well so far! No drinks for 7 days means my stomach is flatter (less bloated), and my sleep quality has VASTLY improved. While I do not drink copious of alcohol and rarely ever get drunk, I know that alcohol really affects hormone levels (it’s pro-estrogenic), thus negatively affecting your risk of breast cancer. It also saps my evening productivity something fierce! I listened to a podcast with James Swanwick, and his experience going alcohol-free really made me question the innocuousness of my habit. For some additional information on the effects of alcohol, check out this post written by James.
Prioritizing walking and meditation has also made me re-vamp my morning routine. While I would love to read articles online for an hour each morning while drinking my coffee, instead, I drink one coffee, hop in the shower, go for a walk, and then meditate, and then eat breakfast and then go to work. If I don’t take care of these two goals in the morning, the day escapes me.
Walking in the morning as the sun comes up is a beautiful way to start the day. I love hearing the wind in the trees and watching the light slowly illuminate the neighborhood. It’s also a good test of my proprioceptive skills, and I have to be cautious of ancient sidewalks dipping and rising unexpectedly.
And meditation. Wow. Lately I have been feeling more calm, less reactive, and more joyful. Is it the meditation? Is it because work is not really stressful right now? Is it because I am teaching more (which I love)? Is it because I am sleeping better? That’s the problem with changing multiple behaviors at the same time. I don’t have a control group. 🙂 I think it’s the meditation though – it trains me to take that second breath before reacting which gives me time to observe my instinctual response and reflect on whether it’s really necessary. What story am I telling myself that is causing me to get fired up? Is there another reasonable story that will help me maintain my equanimity? Oh, I still get fired up, but at least now I am more aware of it, and it’s a *slightly* more conscious reaction.
There you have it, Primal Reboot Week 1. If you are interested in learning more about the Primal Challenge, check out this link, or hit me up in the comments with questions.
Hope you have a fabulous Sunday and can get out and enjoy the crisp sunshine and crackling leaves.