hello monday: vol. 5

Hello Monday. I drank my last soda last week.

I won't say it's 100% for sure my last soda forever and ever, but it is for the foreseeable future.

 
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You see, sometime between graduating from high school and where I'm at now, I got into a habit of drinking way more soda than I ever did as a kid. Growing up, soda was a special occasion thing. We had it with pizza and popcorn and when we would get fast food, which was pretty rare. That was it. At most, we would have it twice a week, but more often than not, it was once a week or less.

Probably due to some combination of the availability of free soda in the dining hall and the increase in eating out in my post-college years, soda had become an almost daily habit for me. Even last year, when my body started freaking out about 98% of the time I drank soda, I still kept on, hoping each time would be the lucky 2% where my body didn't freak out.

The truth is, I had become addicted. Whether it was to the sugar, the caffeine, the taste, or all of the above, I'm not entirely sure, but I craved soda a ton and it was not doing good things for my body.

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Friday night, I went out to dinner with a few girlfriends. I've been in the process of shifting to a more plant-based lifestyle for about eight months now and it's been fairly hit or miss for a variety of reasons.

Even though the restaurant we were at has a ton of incredible options for people who want or need to eat vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free, my brain was telling me I really wanted a bready sandwich of some kind, and all the options that didn't involve soy (yes... the verdict is still out on tofu and tempeh) involved meat.

So I decided to get a burger, because at least the beef was grass-fed.

The truth is, just like with soda, I felt pretty terrible when I got home. Not necessarily because my body is totally averse to eating meat, but because I know, deep down, that when I eat heavy things like that — burgers and fries and all manner of meat and potatoes and fried things — it's rare that I don't feel at least a little bit gross.

Like with soda, my brain tells my body that's what I want and so often I give in, even though I know eating the lighter, healthier meals will make me feel better in the long run and will also taste good.

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This morning, I read a newsletter from Anne Bogel, where she talked about a conversation she had with her doctor. 

Similar to the way busyness has become a badge of honor, culturally we've come to think of things like eating healthy and working out as extra to achieve on top of what we do each rather. We treat it as stress management rather than a necessity for life.

Sure, eating in general is a necessity, but eating in a way that actually fuels our body and gives it the nutrients it needs to keep us healthy and growing? Well, that only happens if you have time for it. And yes, we have to move our bodies to get from one place to another, but exercising on a consistent basis in order to keep our bodies strong and healthy? Well, that's only for "super fit" people.

That's how we've come to think about it, but it's oh so wrong. As Anne said, "They're not extra. They're the thing, the main thing."

I don't know about you, but I know that's how I've thought of healthy eating and exercise for a long time. Longer than I'd like to admit and it's definitely had a negative impact on my body — both my weight and, I'm sure, my overall health.

In 2018, I want to that to change. It's one of those areas where discipline in the day-to-day comes into play, and I think it's particularly easy to let those things fall to the wayside in favor of the big and lofty and extraordinary. After all, it's no big deal if you eat takeout and fast food for two weeks in a row and haven't been to the gym in months because you've accomplished this other big, huge goal, right??

Maybe that's the case for some people, but I don't want it to be the case for me.

My word for 2018 is rest (more on that later) and one of my best friends chose whole as hers. Even though rest is for sure still the word I know I need in this season and for this year, I'm realizing whole is sort of a secondary word and goal for the year, particularly as it pertains to my health.

This is a year where big things are happening. Unless I just up and stopped all the things I'm doing right now, it's just a matter of fact at this point. But the truth is, I won't be able to really enjoy those incredible accomplishments and goals if I'm sleep-deprived and feeling like crap because I haven't been taking good care of myself.

Eating healthy, exercising, and sleeping regularly allow me to do things better than when I'm sleep-deprived and running on the fumes of caffeine and french fries. They're part of the foundation for living a deliberate, intentional life.

It's time for the first things to become the first things again. Who's with me?


Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash