No Junk November

I write this as I sit at home on a weekday in my condo. I’m not sure if I’ve ever spent a weekday here, at least definitely not one where I’ve had the chance to sit back and enjoy it. Here in Canada we celebrate Rememberance Day on November 11th, and being in the Public Sector I am lucky that this is a holiday. While a holiday is definitely a bonus, let’s not forget the importance of this day. Rememberance Day is something that sits near my heart as my grandfather was a world war II vet. This is the third rememberance day we have had without him but it certainly doesn’t feel that way. As a child, I remember a large group of war vets who would visit our school and it is sad to know that many of them have passed on, and a lot of the vets who gave us that personal connection to what this day means are no longer with us. When I was visiting Amsterdam a few years ago, I went to see the Anne Frank house. The experience I had there was something that I can’t quite describe, but all I could think was “This is real. This was so recent”.

For many of us, we are very disconnected from the recency of a World War. We go on in our day-to-day lives doing our day-to-day things. Today, I ask that you take a minute to think about why we are able to do these day-to-day things. Step back and realize how lucky we are to have the freedom of being able to do what we please without even thinking about it.

Not to totally change the subject or take away from the importance of a day like to today but November has often been a very “bleh” month for me. The colder weather really starts to set in, the summer slips away as a distant memory and the coziness and warmth of the holiday season hasn’t quite reached us. Ever since our Wedding, I have really been slipping on keeping my habits healthy (see previous post on running a half without training). Recently, I’ve really noticed just how much this has been impacting my mental health. Coupled with the shorter days, I have been one big grouchy, lazy, sad blob of negativity! I was starting to get annoyed by myself and told myself, enough is enough!

I deemed the month of November “No Junk November” and vowed to give-up the comfort foods that have not really been providing me with comfort over the last few months. November is a great time to reset and re-evaluate. My calendar is not yet packed with Holiday events and knowing that the super indulgent month of December is upon us is really all I needed to get my butt in gear. No more fries, no chips, no more pastries when I go to grab a coffee, no more pizzas, no more bottomless beers, no more binging on chocolate as I watched TV.

I am not usually one to stress total deprivation, but I knew that I needed to start fresh and get back to that place where I could allow myself these treats, but in moderation. They were making up a large part of my diet and my body was craving them as it’s primary source of fuel. This left me feeling like I was never satisfied, and always wanting more. When December rolls around, those foods will still be here (and they’ll be here a-plenty!), but hopefully, I won’t be craving them and instead can pick and choose which ones I want to enjoy.

It has been 11 days and I already notice that I feel better. I’ve run a few times, and have done a few workouts as well. I haven’t had any refined and added sugars. I haven’t had anything fried. I’ve cut back on my alcohol. I’ve stopped with the late night snacking. The first week was TOUGH, I really just wanted to grab a sweet treat as soon as the 2:00pm slump hit. But I didn’t! I can now say I have made it over the hump. Of course, I still long for this stuff on occasion, but my body is not telling me to EAT IT ALL NOW. It is crazy (and scary) how quickly we can become addicted to these foods, and how little control we have over it. (If you are interested in an eye-opening read on this, check of the book “Salt, Sugar, Fat” by Michael Moss).

I am going to continue to stick this out until December and then once again allow for a treat here and there, and get to that point where I enjoy eating a healthy diet but the occasional treat doesn’t leave me feeling sick.

If you’re like me and you need to kick-start your healthy habit again, give it a go! Even if it’s just for a week. Don’t stress over rapid solutions. Pick something that hasn’t been having a positive impact on your health and give it up for a bit, enjoy your life as always and you may be surprised at how quickly you realize you don’t need it anymore.

And aren’t you glad we live in a world where we have the power, freedom and independence to make these choices and decisions for ourselves?

Happy November everyone!

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