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Health lessons learned the past two weeks

I have my second session with Monica, my health coach/friend-from-childhood today. I wanted to write up how the past couple of weeks have gone, to help me think through things.

We set two goals: increase my water intake (simultaneously decreasing my intake of soda & coffee drinks) and prepare breakfasts at home.

My water intake has slightly increased – before I was ranging from ½ liter to 1 liter a day, and with the addition of mineral water (so good and better than the sparkling water from my Soda Stream) that’s up now to consistently at about a liter. I was sick with either a cold or allergies for most of the past couple weeks, and that did mean that I found myself inclined to consume Sprite or Ginger Ale when I should have been consuming water. However, I’m back off of those now and sticking with sparkling mineral water or berry-infused sparkling water from the Soda Stream. I did have one Coke last night after my improv class, but I think it’s the only Coke I’ve had in a week and a half. One thing I’ll say for being violently ill with cough and postnasal drip: it provides strong incentive to get off caffeine. I’ve had black tea a couple of times, but in small quantities and with no added sugar (which would tend to be in the form of honey).

I haven’t had breakfast from a restaurant or convenience store in about a week and a half either. The abovementioned-illness kept me from wanting much food at all for a few days, but since I started to feel even the littlest bit better, it’s been all gluten-free toast with nut butter & chia seeds, fruit, or yogurt. I’m finding that the fruit+yogurt combination isn’t very filling (probably because I’m eating less than a cup of yogurt, and the yogurt tends to be fat-free). It is convenient though, and that’s great. I also experimented this weekend with two new ways of cooking eggs – fried and poached. Previously the only way I’ve prepared eggs is scrambled or hard boiled. I don’t prefer fried or poached to scrambled, but it’s nice to have a bigger repertoire. A traditional weekend breakfast for the past several months has been a biscuit with egg, cheese, and sausage + a donut, both from Rise. Weekend before last I was sick, but this past weekend I made the eggs and then added sausage that I found at Target. It was maple chicken sausage, and it didn’t quite hit the spot, so I’m going to experiment with sausage from a couple of local providers over the next few weeks and see how that goes.

So there’s been some success with both of these, but I’ve also discovered new obstacles. I like Leo Babauta’s model of habit sprints, where instead of just plunging forward with goals you reassess them weekly (or in my case, bi-weekly), so it’s good to identify these obstacles and figure out how to solve them. The first obstacle is that I’m having a hard time getting my water intake up above 1L. I think there are two solutions here – only increase my intake by .5L a week, so it feels manageable – and go back to using the Water Your Body app for reminders. I learned how to set the notification volume for the app low without setting all my notifications low, which I think will help, as the biggest obstacle there was that the notification was loud and annoying.

The other obstacle I ran into was that, while I had every intention of making smoothies for breakfast occasionally, I got overwhelmed by the possibility of combinations of ingredients and didn’t make any smoothies this week. Which is too bad because, as a rule, I love smoothies. To help with that, I ordered the book Green Smoothies for Every Season, which will provide me with suggested seasonal flavor combinations but doesn’t prescribe quantities/ratios, so I can experiment to see what I like best.

I’m looking forward to tonight’s session, when I expect we’ll tackle plans for lunch and dinner!