I hear birds chirping. Our cherry blossoms have a ton of buds ready to bloom. Temperatures topped 60 degrees for 3 days straight. That means March is here and it’s time for a new monthly challenge.
For March, yes I’m doing the alcohol challenge again, but I’m adding two more challenges, both of which should help me go alcohol free this month (yes, even on St. Patty’s Day).
Challenge 1: Strength Training
I’m starting weight training this week. I plan to hit the gym three times a week for 30-45 minutes. I don’t want to just regain the strength I lost. My goal is to be as strong as possible. Oh don’t worry, I won’t turn into this.
So while I’m starting my training with barbells March 1, this will go beyond the 30 day challenge.
I’m pretty much following the Mark Rippetoe method. Today I work on the squat, overhead press and deadlift. On Thursday it’s the squat, bench press and deadlift. Saturday I repeat the cycle. My initial focus is on getting the positions right. The last thing I want to do is injure myself right off the bat.
Besides building strength and muscle, weight training reinforces my good eating habits. When I’m purposely lifting heavy stuff, I’m much more conscious of what I eat and drink.
Which leads me to…
Challenge 2: No Alcohol – No Exceptions
I refuse to fail at the 30-Day No Alcohol Challenge. I’ve done this challenge before, easily. Yet the start of 2016 my head just wasn’t in the game. I don’t know if it was the Winter Blahs or just no motivation, but now I’m just ticked off at myself (yes, sometimes it is okay to fuel motivation with anger).
This challenges is pretty straightforward. No alcohol, period. I know people make exceptions for special occasions (anniversaries, birthdays, happy hours, watching The Walking Dead), and I’ve done that too. But isn’t that really cheating?
So I’m opting for zero exceptions. While I don’t have any proof, I’m starting to think my body isn’t digging wine as much as it use too. After 2 glasses, I’m feeling it the next day, and I’m not talking about just a headache. We’re talking sour stomach and digestive problems.
Eliminating wine is a good way to test if my hunch is correct. If I’m symptom free, I can always test what a glass of wine does to me come April 1. Then see what two glasses do. Or test the differences between red and white wines?
Challenge 3: No Snacking
I eat only healthy low carb high fat snacks – macadamia nuts, deviled eggs, olives, pork rinds, etc. My problem is I’m snacking. Or I should say I’m snacking when I’m not hungry.
I’ve really noticed my snacking habit this month.
I like to get up from my office chair, step away from the computer and take a 10-minute break. I find that it recharges me mentally and it stops me from sitting all day in the home office. But lately I tend to walk into the kitchen, open the fridge, and grab something to snack on.
I caught myself doing this about a week ago. It’s an old bad habit. Something I use to do out of boredom. This time around it isn’t boredom. Maybe I’m thinking it will perk me up (I’ve recently cut back on coffee), or I’m on autopilot. Either way it’s a bad habit and I’m not happy with it.
This last trip to the grocery store I didn’t buy any easy to snack on foods. No nuts, pepperoni, olives or pork rinds. Yes I picked up eggs, but I’m not making any deviled eggs. I did boil some eggs for use in salads. But those I shoved to the back of the fridge – out of sight, out of reach.
Even if I’m hungry, I’m not snacking. A glass of water or a cup of tea with cinnamon can easily zap my hunger until it’s mealtime.
As for my little 10 minute breaks each hour, that’s the perfect time to play with the dogs, talk a walk around the block, do laundry, vacuum, or clean a room. The goal of my break was to inject activity into my sedentary computer days. And walking to the fridge and looking for a morsel doesn’t count.
Question: What healthy challenges are you doing this month?