Drum roll please. I made it through January, and it wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. In fact, I came out on the other side of it feeling pretty dang good!
In addition to abstaining from alcohol, I decided to go on a diet. And in order to help with that effort, I managed to engage in some form of exercise for 30 out of 31 days. I did a lot of walking and a lot of yoga. At first I thought the yoga was going to be something I'd have to push myself to do, but it turns out that I'm loving it. I'm loving it so much that now I can't imagine letting a week go by without practicing it at least several days out of the week. Same with the walking, which I've always enjoyed. And since I'm once again walking in the Arizona Breast Cancer 3-Day this year, there's no time like the present to get started with the training, and it feels good!
Of course, it hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows. Some days I couldn't stop dreaming of chocolate cake, even though I've never been a huge fan of such things previously. And even with all of this walking and breathing and stretching, I still have a ton of aches and pains in my back and neck and legs, although it's a lot less than than my usual amount, so for that, I'm happy.
As the month passed, I found that most of the time, I wasn't missing alcohol very much. There were moments when I REALLY wanted a glass of red wine, but those moments passed. Of course, I didn't go out a whole lot last month. I did a lot of staying home and hunkering down, and it felt good.
I learned SO much about calories! Probably more than I'd ever care to know, because now that I know what I know, I can't help but change the way I eat. I'm kind of mourning the former me that had a good run, for something like 38 years or so, of being able to eat and drink any old thing that she wanted in any kind of quantity, and never gain a pound. Yeah, those were some good days! It kind of blew my mind to discover last night, for instance, after making a huge batch of my homemade granola and then analyzing the calories, that one mere cup contains somewhere near 570 calories!!! I guess I won't be inhaling it like I used to.
I also spent a lot of time thinking about my eating habits in general, and came to the conclusion that if I had to choose between eating certain foods and drinking alcohol, as much as I LOVE wine, I'd have to choose the food over the drink. But rather than being restrictive, what I'm hoping I'll take away from all this is the ability to just be moderate and make healthy choices, because in the end, it's all about feeling good. Ok I can't deny that sometimes, stuffing myself like a pig and knocking back half a bottle of wine feels GREAT - in the moment, that is. But this is a different kind of feeling good that I'm experiencing now - sleeping better, more strength in my body, clearer skin, and oh - being able to fit into my pants! I do rather like that benefit.
Of course, moderation has NEVER been my strong point. I've usually tended towards being an all or nothing kinda gal. But I'm going to give this my best shot. And in order to help myself along, my plan for February is that I won't drink alcohol at home (unless I'm having a dinner party). I'll happily have a drink if I'm out to dinner or at a bar (and I hardly ever go to bars unless I'm playing in them so there shouldn't be overwhelming temptation there!). But for today, it turns out I AM going to a bar! And it's a bar that serves pizza so not only do I get to enjoy my first glass of wine of the year, but my first slice of pizza too! It will all happen in about another thirty minutes or so, but who's counting??