July 17, 2016

Getting Healthy

I guess I haven't written in a while.

After indulging in too much curry and too much alcohol six weeks ago on Koh Lanta, I decided that it was time to make a few changes.

Alan and I gave up alcohol for Ramadan, which was surprisingly easy, and we saved a lot of money. A lot of calories, too.

I gave up coffee, which was actually quite hard. I substitute green tea, but it's not the same as a ritual. I loved making a french press of coffee first thing in the morning. And getting a pick-me-up iced Americano mid-morning. However, I think the caffeine was contributing to my general levels of stress, and I often felt a crash in the afternoon. It's harder to wake up without coffee, but the day, in general, goes more smoothly. I think it's worth it.

Alan challenged me to start running. His exact challenge was to start by running for three consecutive minutes and add one minute each day until you reach 20 minutes. Challenge accepted, met, and exceeded. In fact, today I ran for 34 minutes, which IF YOU'VE EVER KNOWN ME AT ALL you know is something I would never have done in the past. I have always hated running, and I literally had panic attacks about running-related gym classes or volleyball training from elementary school until high school (and beyond, kind of).

Now, I actually *look forward* to lacing up my shoes and sweating it out on the hills behind campus. I never thought I'd say that. I'm not fast, but I don't give up. My mantra is "you can go slowly, just don't stop," and it works. The best part about the running is that I get to feel a huge sense of accomplishment when I reach my goal every day. I feel a lot stronger mentally, knowing that I can persevere through times when I would have normally given up. Life metaphor much?

So, a lighter, less-caffeinated, jogger-ish person has emerged from my once-jittery shell. I've lost about 10 pounds and my resting heart rate has gone from 90 beats per minute to 50. Actually 46, which kind of freaked out the doctor. He said I have an "athlete's heart." Nice.

My stress level is more manageable with these lifestyle changes, and I feel like they are sustainable. Drink less alcohol and caffeine, do more cardio. Now, if I could just find time and energy to learn Thai...