I know that the month isn’t quite over, but I’m feeling inspired to report on the progress of our no spend month and elimination/cleanse.
In hindsight, I prefer the term a month of mindfulness. Not to suggest that we failed in our efforts not to spend money or eat things that we shouldn’t. But, rather, to suggest that we were more mindful of our consumption–both monetarily and gastronomically.
First up, no spend month. Yeah, we spent money. I bought some yarn and fabric. I went out of town overnight requiring gas money and a bit of dining out money. We went out to eat as a family once. And Margie and I both bought new running shoes.
We could see this as a failure. And in some ways it was. If we had truly followed our no spend intentions, we would have spent money on nothing but essentials and would have waited to buy the running shoes until February. We were, however, more mindful of our spending. I sat down with our budget a couple of times each week, tracking our spending. Seeing which line items were over and which were under. And unlike most previous months, I fully know how much money we saved. And we actually saved what we wanted to save. So yes, we spent money. But more importantly, we stuck to our monthly budget and more fully understand what we need to do to ensure that we save money in February, as well.
The diet. We stuck to the elimination/cleanse for 2 weeks. And how quickly we reverted to some old habits once it was over. Like our no spend month, Margie and I are feeling a bit more mindful about our eating habits. We’re not eating as much bread. We’re reaching for yogurt, rice, veggies, and fruits more often for snacks. And we’re much more conscious about the amount of whole grains and vegetables we’re eating in our meals. But…we have desserts in the house again. We’re experimenting a bit more with alternative sweeteners (primarily agave nectar), but it’s still sugar and I still need to work on my consumption. Old habits die hard and I still want something sweet mid-day and in the evening.
One thing that the elimination diet made clear was how much better I felt about myself without the sugar and gluten. It’s not huge, but it’s enough. I feel less bloated and trim (in fact, I lost 2 lbs. the first week), and it’s much easier to manage my mood without these edible triggers. I’ve also found that since adding gluten and sugar back into my diet, I’m a bit more sluggish during my morning swims. All compelling reasons to continue limiting my gluten and sugar intake. Now to make it sink in and either stop making sweets or learn to say no at a reasonable portion once a day or a few times a week.
Back to balance. And mindfulness. And moderation. No denying. No absolutes. Just a healthy balance between what is needed and what is wanted.