I hate ending busy seasons sick. I want to rest and recharge by doing fun, relaxing things. Not by creating a mountain of tissues. I always get sick after directing the Thrive Apologetics Conference. So this year I challenged myself to physical health instead of sacrificing my body on the altar of making stuff happen.
To do this I partnered with my sisters for Arbonne’s 30 Days to Healthy Living program. Cheyne joined in for this one. This is a big deal. Cheyne is the least fadish person I know and having a partner in crime/comedic relief was a huge bonus. Like the time we pulled up to our retreat center and I asked if we should check out what’s for lunch. “I’m not eating less than I have been,” he snapped. As though my plan was to bat from his hands any chips and cookies he was offered. Or when he went on an on about a recipe he wanted us to try and I had to tell him it didn’t fit the program. He stared at me in silence. “What’s going through your mind Cheyne?” “That I’m being oppressed.”
But we stuck it out all 30 days and we celebrated the end of Apologetics season by having a spa day instead of a sick day!
Here’s what we loved and didn’t.
4 meals a day.
Eating every 3-4 hours works for me. Eating within an hour of waking up, consuming caffeine post breakfast. These are habits I’ll definitely be keeping. The “meal” part of this is important. I love having protein, veggies, a healthy carb and healthy fat at every meal. It gave me sustained energy throughout the day. I’ll be keeping this.
Nighttime tea tradition.
You’re supposed to eat dinner and have that be your last meal of the day. This is revolutionary for me as every night is filled with popcorn, ice cream, hot chocolate, toast–anything so that I don’t get hungry right when I’m trying to fall asleep. I found when I eat 4 meals and get really full at dinner that I don’t need a late night snack. The cup of tea to close out the day was calming, hydrating, and hit the spot. I’ll be keeping this.
Meal planning strategy.
One of my side goals was to create a meal prep strategy that works during this new season of momhood. I found that it takes a four-hour investment split into two chunks. These four hours include choosing my meals, making a grocery list, doing the grocery shopping, and making breakfast, lunch and a healthy snack for 7 days. I did three hours on the weekend and then 1 hour midweek when I was running out of food. Four hours is a huge chunk of time but I’m pretty intense about wanting variety and deliciousness (thanks Rach for all the great recipes!). All in all I spent less time cooking and I ate so much better. This worked in my busiest of seasons and I’m keeping it.
Better perspective when eating out.
We ate out very little during the 30 days. At first all we could see when we went to a restaurant were the things we couldn’t have. A couple of weeks of eating in and our whole perspective shifted–there’s so many healthy options, you just have to make some modifications. Salsa instead of sauce, more meat instead of rice, double the veggies and you’ve got yourself a winner. If you pick the right restaurant and have the right perspective, you can have an amazing, healthy meal that feels great and tastes great.
Now you are not technically supposed to snack on the 30 Days but there were times where we didn’t space our meals well and it was hangry Cheyne or snacking Cheyne. He fell in love with Mary’s Crackers which he formerly hated. Just add some hummus. He also loved our afternoon smoothies and the infamous spoonfuls of peanut butter he swears are almost as good as Reeses. It doesn’t need to be chips, cookies, or broccoli–there’s a delicious in between and he found what works for him.
There you have it–from both of us. Eat the right amount throughout the day and a great dinner and give this a go. It’s the perfect way to end the day. There’s no feeling guilty over a teabag dunked in water or steamed almond milk. There just isn’t. So late at night, when you’ve used up all your willpower for greatness earlier in the day, we recommend you try the nighttime tea tradition. Make it your habit. This works, we’ll be keeping it.
What would you change?
“So Cheyne, you’re supposed to go off coffee.”
“Ya, I’m not doing that.”
Well there you have it.
I did 30 days coffee free and I came to this conclusion–coffee is as good as I remember. Some people go off coffee and feel so much better, that wasn’t the case for us. Coffee is staying in the Davidson household.
Of all the health jumpstarts we’ve ever done this was the easiest. It was also incredibly transformative. We ended the 30 Days to Healthy Living feeling great and committed to incorporating these habits into our daily lives. The final review, from the mouth of Cheyne himself, “I would totally do that again.”
“But not without coffee.”