Looking Back, Looking Forward

imagesAlthough I’m excited about starting a new year, I’m also feeling bittersweet about saying good-bye to 2015. It was a very good year for our family. Highlights include:

  • Meiling landing on her feet in Oregon, finding a job and saving enough to pay her college expenses.
  • fabulous trip to Japan in March with WenYu and YaYu, and getting to spend time with our son and family as well as Brett’s sister.
  • Celebrating our first year on Kaua’i in June!
  • WenYu and YaYu’s successful year at their new school. They made friends, lettered in three sports, and did exceptionally well in all their classes.
  • Brett’s great trip back to the mainland in September, getting Meiling settled at college and then continuing on a fun road trip with his sister before heading back to Kaua’i.
  • Successfully retiring from the state of Oregon in November, and getting my Social Security set up to begin in January.
  • Meeting and making friends with three readers (and their spouses) from the blog!
  • Finding a wonderful new house to rent in a great location.
  • WenYu’s selection as a national Questbridge Finalist in November, followed by her acceptance to Colorado College with a full scholarship during their Early Action round in December.
  • Our whole family being together on the island for a wonderful and memorable Christmas!

We have lots to look forward to in the upcoming new year: three trips (the Mystery Vacation™ in March, Oahu in June, and getting WenYu off to college in August), as well as other milestones, such as WenYu’s graduation from high school in May. Mostly though we’re hoping for continuing good health, a calm year, great weather and as many trips to the beach as possible!

A Clean Start For the New Year

i-wanted-to-lose-10-pounds-this-year-only-20-more-to-go-2214bI’ve never been one to make new year’s resolutions; goals are more my thing. This past year I’ve managed to accomplish a little over half of the goals I set at the beginning of the year, so I’m pretty happy about that.

One thing I did not accomplish however was a small goal of losing just eight pounds. In fact, not only did I not lose eight pounds, I probably gained an additional 10 or 12. I have no excuses. I got lazy, ate too much, did too little exercise and the pounds added up.

I currently feel miserable and sluggish. Many foods I use to like just don’t appeal to me anymore, and sometimes I feel like I’m just going through the motions of preparing meals and eating. But, I do not want to “diet” again. I need to shake things up, and these past couple of weeks I have been giving a lot of thought to what might be the best way to do that.

I’ve decided that rather than setting any long-term goals for the year when it comes to exercise and diet, I need to take things in more manageable chunks. This year I’m going to try and do things just a month at a time and see how it goes. If it’s going well, I’ll go another month and so on. If it’s not working, is too hard or uncomfortable, or there’s some other reason I’m not happy or satisfied, then I’ll switch things up again and start another month’s run.

Beginning on Friday, January 1, and continuing through the first weekend of the year, I am going to do a juice fast. That means only fruit juice, a very limited amount of coffee, green tea, and lots of water for three days. Then, for the rest of the month I plan to continue with a vegan diet (for me only; Brett and the girls will eat as they currently do). I don’t think this will be a permanent change for me, but I’d like to remove all dairy, meat and eggs from my diet for a month and see how I feel. Beginning in February, I will slowly start adding things back into my meals in small amounts . . . if I want them. I’m hoping that by the end of January I’ll have a good sense of how my body feels after going without certain foods and whether I actually miss them or can do without them longer term.

As far as exercise goes, I will be waking myself up at 5:30 a.m. in order to take a walk or ride the exercise bicycle (if it’s raining). As I’ve said several times, I am NOT a morning person, but these days my post-menopausal body seems to start sweating and never stop if I move around in any sort of warmth and humidity . . . and it’s warm and humid here all day. So, I’m going to give early morning exercise a try when it’s a bit cooler and less humid. The girls don’t get up until around 6:45 a.m., but Brett will be up and can walk with me if he wants. Again, this is just for the month of January. If it works out, then I’ll continue on in February. Otherwise, it will be back to the drawing board.

Brett and the girls agree with me that this is doable, and have said they will help in any way they can. We’ll see – I think at the end of January I’m either going to feel more energized or exhausted beyond measure. I’m hoping for energized.

So, a new year and a clean start. One month at a time.