Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Comes to an End

I made 2011 a year of challenging resolutions for myself. I'm happy to say that unless I have a breakdown in the next couple hours I've been successful. Reflecting back on this year I would say that these resolutions were difficult, but not always for the reasons I expected. The overall theme is that I learned how socially important food and drink are. I'll be embracing some of this successes as 2012 habits, but have some new resolutions I will post tomorrow.

Weekday Vegetarian: I'll stick to it in 2012, but have exceptions to avoid social awkwardness.
During a typical week this was easier than it sounds. I have such great meatless options during the weekdays. For the most part our dining out occurs on the weekends. We do not prepare family-style meals, so it is somewhat easy for me to do my own thing. I feel healthier and I certainly do not want to go back to binge style meals. Allowing myself only fresh fruits and veggies during the weekday evenings is easy and probably good for me.

The social impact during travel, vacation, holidays, and when people have been visiting were HUGE though. Eating only uncooked vegetables and fruits at night, nothing salted, pickled, dried was incompatible with eating out. Restaurants prepare food; I don't eat prepared food at night on a weekday. There were a handful of nights during the year where I had the choice of breaking my resolution or being a dick in one of two ways - skipping the social gathering entirely, or sitting there at a restaurant not eating anything. I feel awkward and out of sorts, but worse is that I make everyone else feel this way. I won't be doing that again, but I'm glad I was able to stick to it. Making a difficult goal and sticking to it matters to me even though people may have a tough time understanding my motivation.

Dry 2011: Drinking again in 2012, but no more than one drink a day.
Outside of the occasional social awkwardness (wine tasting trip at work, avoiding people during toasts) this resolution was not that difficult, even for a beer lover. We've certainly had some rough times this year, with health problems, baby stress, and home repairs. Being able to have a beer to take the hard edge off that stress would have been a positive thing.

There were two motivations behind this resolution - Stacey being pregnant, and wanting to reduce empty calorie intake. To keep myself restrained a bit my new rule will be no more than one alcoholic drink a day. No gaming the system either (drinking a pint of vodka before midnight followed by one directly after). The spirit of this rule is to allow me to taste something I enjoy and not go overboard.

No Desserts: Glad that is over, now a new twist.
Although I could have made myself a dessert according to my resolution, I never did. I enjoy sweets, probably more than the average guy so this was difficult. Given that candy, cake, and ice cream are everyday items at the office I think this was a good rule. You need to get your calories from somewhere, so I satisfied my cravings by picking away at different high calorie items like dried fruit, nuts, and granola. Those items aren't quite as bad as jelly beans and chocolate bars though. The new twist is that I will allow myself no more than one dessert per week and one empty-calorie fried thing per week (french fries, potato chips, crab rangoons, jalepeno poppers). This one will be tough at those summer BBQs where all foods are in this category.

Lose as much weight as Stacey Gains: Done, and keeping it off.
I was told that unless I cut off my legs I would not win this one. My legs are still around and I did accomplish this goal. I should not say "win" as Stacey was not an active participant, merely a pace car. I had no idea if I had any chance of succeeding, especially since Stacey was a moving target. I lost around 40lbs by April (and had a bout with gall stones/sludge as a result) and have had an amazingly stable weight since then. I love the balance of diet and exercise I have and will largely be sticking to my new habits. I walk for miles each day; I don't have to workout hard but stay very active.

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