Today is the first of December. We got back yesterday afternoon from South Carolina where we spent the Thanksgiving holiday with my family. It was a good trip even though it was also exhausting and now we are home, happy to be home. After a couple of hours decompressing, we went out to look for our Christmas tree. It was a surprisingly efficient endeavor and we bought the first tree we examined, a ten-foot Frasier Fir. Two guys delivered the tree after the girls went to bed last night and the sight of it in our yellow room made me smile so big. This is my very favorite time of the year. It is also a busy, fraught, zapping time of year and I want so much to soak up these December days, to really see them and feel them and enjoy them if that's possible. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way?
But first things first. This past month of the HERE Year, I focused on Wellness. My goals were sky-high and at the outset of November, I had visions of tapping into the perfect nutrition/exercise/mental well-being plan. I announced plans to weigh myself every day and scribble down every morsel of food and exercise every day and meditate every day and truth be told, I fell short of these expectations in about a thousand ways. But here's what's interesting, and good: It was still a very successful month. Maybe not for the reasons I'd hoped, but for other reasons entirely. I learned a lot about myself and what I want this month and that's meaningful.
The month really ended up being about Nutrition and that's great because though I've never had horrific eating habits or a weight problem, I've struggled in my waxing and waning efforts to eat well. I've always loved healthy foods, but I've also always had a little thing for gummy candy and bready delights and processed nonsense. And so taking an entire month to look at my own eating habits, what I can change, what I want to change, has been invaluable.
As many of you know, I didn't do this alone. My friend Lauren Slayton, a fantastic nutritionist here in New York City (owner of Foodtrainers, author of The Little Book of Thin), gave me a phenomenal gift: She Foodstalked me every single day of November. This meant that I sent her my daily food diary and she looked at it, sent notes and also a tip for the following day. I can't express how helpful it was to have an expert eye and a hand to hold while I was doing this. She managed to be gentle and firm, to encourage me and challenge me at the very same time. In one month, I've learned a great deal about nutrition and ways to be healthier and I feel very very grateful to Lauren. If you need a nutritional tweak (for a week or a month), I cannot recommend Foodstalking enough. You will learn (for a fee!) so much about your idiosyncratic food habits and how to improve them and Lauren is so thoughtful and wise in her approach.
Anyway, here I am a month later. And I feel really good. Lean, happy, in far better control, but also more forgiving of myself. Maybe that last bit seems odd, but it's true... Spending this month being honest with myself and another person about my eating has forced me to forgive myself again and again. The truth is that I'm not a robot and don't want to be. Though my eating improved vastly this month (and I hope to hang on to many of my new patterns), it was far from perfect. There were several moments where I felt I was failing, spinning, getting nowhere. But the great thing, perhaps the most amazing thing, was that I pushed through these moments and past them and was able to look at them as part of a process. It's all a process, guys. Not just our eating or our writing or our parenting, but living. What we should hope for and work towards is progress, not perfection.
I am in danger of rambling, so I will reign it in soon, but what I will say is that it feels pretty fantastic to take care of myself, to tune out the noise of a busy life and say: How I feel matters and matters a lot. Our bodies and minds deserve our attention and kindness. We must tend to them and think about them and do the work we need to do to be as healthy and as happy as we can. And so, as I march into this next month, I will continue to drink lots of water and take my vitamins (D, E3 Live, Probiotics), be sparing with grains and sugar, load up on veggies when possible, limit processed foods and artificial sweeteners... I will also continue to cook and keep track of what I'm putting in my body. I might not write it all down and send it off to a wellness guru, but I will hold myself accountable.
I will also eat peppermint bark and Christmas cookies and (shocker!) sip cocktails on occasion (I've realized that my absolute rule about drinking is tied up, and complexly, in my abiding perfectionism, but oh is this its own post!) and forgive myself for the inevitable human moments of overdoing it and I will see these moments for what they are and what they will always be - part of it. It.
It is 9:42am on Monday morning and I'm sitting in a coffee shop. Christmas music is playing as I sip my Cherry Blossom green tea and think and smile about the month to come. I'm feeling exhausted, but good, and so very grateful. For having this moment to pause and reflect on what was a wonderful month, and on what will be another good one. For having an incredibly thoughtful friend who helped my get my nutritional act together. For having a big, dynamic family and a newly-bearded husband and three little girls who were so wildly excited to find their favorite Elf chilling in our brand new tree this morning.
It's a powerful theme in my life right now and it will be the next theme of my HERE Year. What better time of year to stop and savor and notice all the things little and big we have to be thankful for, right?
Okay, cutting myself off but I do hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving and that you'll follow along as I think about and write about Gratitude this month.