A few weeks ago, I had a two-day period where four speaking opportunities came to me all at once.
Since I am building Your BEST ThirdThird, I was excited….and a bit overwhelmed. I went home and told my husband I needed to get away for a few days to focus and be creative. I used Priceline’s Express Deal to get a room at a Westin in the Chicago Suburbs for $74/night and headed north.
I stopped on the way at Trader Joe’s to for provisions for my 3-day writing retreat. Fresh (organic) blackberries, kefir, hummus, organic baby carrots, some ridiculously delicious ginger/mango stilton cheese, and a few other basic foods.
I tend to be an “eat to live” person, so I happily hunkered down to think and write and organize with my adequate food that was fairly nutritious.
I was productive. I ended up with a good start on a talk I am scheduled to give. I began an outline for another workshop presentation. I put together an introductory piece to explain who I am and what I offer for another opportunity.
A notable omission that weekend was alcohol. I was alone. I was working. I was focused. I did not have a glass (or 2) of wine in the evenings.
When I got home, I was a little surprised to see that I had lost a few pounds over the weekend.
It certainly wasn’t a goal. It was a by-product. I decided I would continue what I did there and see what happened.
What has happened is that I have lost a few more pounds. But more importantly, my gut has calmed down (that is extremely significant in my case), my sleep is better, and I generally feel and look better (according to unsolicited comments from others).
Here is what I did and have continued to do after my working weekend away:
- Limited grains. I have been gluten free for several years and I am not a sweets eater. TJ’s didn’t have any gf crackers that appealed to me and I decided to forego chips, so the only grains I had were organic rice cakes. Limiting the crackers and chips (even if they are gluten free) has made a difference. Now, I have rice or gf pasta or quinoa once a week or so, but not daily.
- Eat more fruit. I am not a fan of sweet food and I have always thought that the sugar from fruit made my gut problems worse, but now I am eating more fresh (organic) fruit along with the veggies that I love and I feel good.
- Make salad out of everything. Salads are not boring if you have interesting ingredients to put in them. We try to be creative with topping off our bowls of spinach and greens with all sorts of foods. Left-over rice, sautéed onion-celery-mushroom mixture, a variety of cheeses, olives, veggies, nuts. And hard-boiled eggs. I like a simple balsamic vinegar if it needs liquid, but sometimes, nothing is needed. Especially not a caloric rich creamy dressing! It’s about having things handy, so we try to keep salad ingredients on hand and ready for consumption.
- Drink more water. Most days, I drink 2 liters a day. I have a bottle I fill to have in my car and then another at my desk.
- Drink less alcohol. I have been consciously indulging less. I do love a glass (or two?) of good wine. I have developed an appreciation of decent Scotch. I think a gin and tonic with fresh lime is a fine summer evening libation. But, it is much more enjoyable when it is an occasional treat and not a nightly event.
When I noticed I had lost a pound or two, I did a bit of simple math. 2 glasses of wine every night with a handful of chips or crackers could easily add up to 500 calories (a glass of wine at home just might be more generous than the 6 ounces that supposedly has 144 calories). Eliminating 500 calories a day would definitely have an effect. No wonder those few pounds slipped away.
I don’t feel deprived of anything. In fact, I feel more likely to have a treat of ice cream or good pasta now than 2 months ago.
The truth is that as we age, we need fewer calories and we burn fewer calories. So… taking in fewer calories makes sense. It’s really not hard…especially if it sneaks up on you as a result of a weekend of focused writing!