Wednesday, April 20, 2011

early to bed, early to rise

....make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. That's the old adage, no? I'll give them the "healthy" part for sure.

So it's Day 2 of the HEALTH portion of my happiness project. It sounds mundane, but we're all happier when we feel better, right? I've outlined some objectives and goals for myself, hopefully realistic ones that push me a little bit without setting me up for failure. After all, this project is all about changing my life without changing my life.

People spend more time and money on losing weight than on purchasing new cars. I just made that up. But it sounds about right. But why? We want to lose weight because we think it will make us happier. And while I'm not immune to thinking that those last 5 lbs are the answer to all my problems, there are many other "healthy" things I need to be doing as well.

Step 1: sleep longer.

I know, a no-brainer, right? I, along with everyone in the world, feel like the busiest person on the planet. If I stay up just a little bit longer, I can finish my book, clean something, make hard-boiled eggs, dust, etc, etc. But forcing myself out of bed with my grumpy face on doesn't make those things worth it. I recently read a study about geniuses and violin players, and the one thing they all had in common was 8-9 hours of sleep a night. Your brain just works better. Granted, it's a lot easier when I'm home than when I'm on the road, but I figure I can get myself in the habit this week for when I go back to work next week. 11pm bedtime this week. Even if I lie down and read, not necessarily sleep right away, the goal is to be IN BED by 11pm. I like to wake up between 7:30-8 so this is a nice, vacation-amount of sleep.

Step 2: eat better.

I like food too much to be some sort of crash-dieter. Luckily for me, I like healthy food a LOT, it's just getting in the habit of eating it. This week I'm taking baby steps to better choices. I am the sort of person that eats whatever is in the house, so I filled my pantry and refrigerator with beans and vegetables and fruit and unflavored yogurt, etc. No meat or desserts or cheese for me this week. I am a HUGE fan of comfort food, but I can get that same carb-related warm fuzzy feeling from mujardara (with brown rice, lentils, and sticky, caramelized onions) as I can from a box of macaroni & cheese. I like cauliflower soup just as much as pototo. As with the sleep, it's vastly easier to do at home than it is on the road, but I can use this week to get in some better habits.

Step 3: drink less.

Now, it's almost embarrassing to talk about this, but here we are. If you're reading this you probably know me pretty well, and thus know I am not a drunk. My problem is, for whatever reason, that I have such a ridiculously high tolerance for alcohol that I tuck away WAY too many calories in liquid form. Most scientists say one drink a day is good for you, but more than that is bad for you, so I just want to cut down. First of all, no alcohol in the house. I find it terribly easy, and with absolutely no amount of tipsyness OR hangover, to polish off a bottle of wine in an evening at home. A glass while I'm cooking, a glass with dinner, a glass while I'm cleaning up, a glass while I'm watching TV. The end. What? Crazy. So no more at the house. Secondly, I'm trying to identify drinks that I SIP, rather than GULP. For example, a super-dry red wine as opposed to a fruity white one, or a vodka martini with olives as opposed to a vodka-soda. Thirdly, one glass of water between every drink. All relatively easy steps to a healthier liver (and waistline).

Step 4: excercise more.

Once again, something that is vastly easier at home than on the road. When I'm on showsite I work 12-14 hours a day. It's really hard to push myself into the gym after that, or to wake up an hour earlier to run on the treadmill. But I need to move around more. I need to force myself, at the very least, to do my 8-minute arm workout before my shower in the morning. I need to walk to work instead of taking a cab, and volunteer to "run out on the floor" more often. Sitting on my ass for 3/4 of my waking hours is not good for me. This week, at home, I have been walking, doing my arms, AND going to yoga. (side note, I am so sore I want to cry, but it's a good hurt, right?)

Step 5: floss.

No, really. My dentist is always on me for it, and it's just not that hard. Or time-consuming. Just do it, Jamie. To quote Sam Seaborn, "your teeth are the best friends you've got."

So there you have it. My really boring albeit totally necessary steps to a happier and healthier Jamie. Sleep longer, eat better, drink less, exercise more, floss. Think I can do it? Anyone have any tried-and-true tips to share with the class?

(Special thanks goes out to Candice, who patiently and faithfully listens to "what I ate yesterday" practically every morning. I feel better knowing she holds me accountable, and I don't do much that I find too embarrassing to relate.)

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