Over the past month, I have put myself on path of making changes, positive changes, in my daily living activities.  Changing the way I eat and keeping a record of how new changes I try to make me feel, the way I exercise whether it be more or less, the way I consume alcohol, the amount of rest I get (or in some cases attempt to get) all the way down to the way I interact and communicate with others.

I started the process a few months ago with creating this blog.  A starting place for people to get ideas for changing things in their journey, better choices for tasty and healthy recipes and a place to promote dine local spots in our town.  Each week I never know where the blog will take me or what I will be provoked to sound off about that you, my readers, would be interested to read or try.

So what changes have I made in my journey over the past month that I am starting to see positive changes from?  First, I’ve changed the entire way I eat.  I found by the process of elimination, a lot of the foods that I previously consumed did not agree with my body.  As I have said before, everyBODY is not created equal.  You have to figure out what works for you.  I went to a nutritionist and started receiving guidance on what I needed to put more focus on.  This process was a real eye opener for me.  I have always attempted to eat “healthier” options and keep the occasional indulgences to a minimum, but truly, if you are not tracking it you are probably over indulging or beating yourself up and resolving that you will just start tomorrow.  Make I will start tomorrow a thing of the past.  I found that pasta dishes and carb rich foods do not agree with my body.  So I have reduced them to no more than once a week and a single portion as a side instead of as an entire meal.  I am a self-proclaimed lover of bread and most of society’s opinion of good food has bread as a major part of a dish.  If it is there, I am going to eat it.  That is one of the hardest things that I have to really choose wisely.  Starting to venture out of my comfort zone I have incorporated more fresh vegetables and eliminated the frozen vegetable section all together at the grocery store.  If it is not fresh or available in the produce section, it does not go in my cart.  Same with fruits, like frozen vegetables, though sometimes more convenient, have also been processed for packaging.  I love summer because it gives me so many options.  Even picking fresh fruits and vegetables and freezing them is better than buying prepackaged from the grocery store, in my opinion.  I have given tofu a try, though I would have to agree with my husband, the smell makes it much less appealing once you have heated it, but that’s just me.  I also reduced the amount of red meat I was consuming and replaced it with chicken and turkey.  Your local grocery store offers many ground chicken and turkey options and tweaking recipes with this are still just as good and even better for you.

Probably my hardest thing, even harder than changing my diet, was finding the right exercise program for my body.  I found that over the past month being kinder to my body and my joints has helped me improve my flexibility.  Living with an autoimmune disease that attacks your joints makes physical activity much more difficult, BUT it doesn’t mean that you should cut it out all together.  Walking, hiking, cycling, swimming and stretching have made so much of a difference.  So much so that for the first time in a very long time today, I was actually able to stand upright, grab my foot and do a normal quad stretch.  I cannot tell you how long it has been since I have been able to do that.  Lubricating my joints is a major requirement of my body and I have started listening.  When I exercised so much, not too long ago, I found that my overuse of my joints was taking me down for days at a time.  I would have flare ups and I would also have so much stiffness that it hindered my ability to continue to exercise in a more normal routine and to stick to a normal activity schedule.

The second hardest thing to get under control, consumption of alcohol.  There are so many contradicting stories about alcohol consumption, but moderation, always the best option.  I do not always adhere to this, but I am making an effort.  Changing my consumption of alcohol to the weekend instead of weeknights, and then only indulging Friday and Saturday instead of all three days.  Besides the overload of calories I was consuming, it just made me feel bad and not just a hangover headache.

Do you take vitamins regularly?  I called myself taking vitamins on a regular basis, but I would forget here and there or I would take them on an empty stomach and feel sick.  You name the excuse, I was guilty.  Now I put my vitamins where I see them first thing in the morning while I am getting dressed.  I take them as the last thing I do before leaving the house.  Getting the right vitamins is essential for overall health, even if you take only a multivitamin, consider doing it.

Rest, rest, rest!  My husband and I find it funny that when friends or family invite us places and the time to meet is past 9 pm, that we always get a sideways look when we say that is past our bedtime.  Getting up early for work or exercise makes your body need enough rest to compensate and keep going.  Getting up at 4:40 am every morning means the Means family goes to bed between 8:30 and 9 pm most nights, unless it is a full moon then I get a case of insomnia.  Never fails, I cannot sleep and then I get up the next morning and boom, there is that big full moon and I say, thanks A LOT!

My last change was the way I interacted and communicated with others.  Whether it be friends or family, reducing the amount of stress you get caught up in makes a huge difference.  Allow yourself some downtime that is stress free.  Take time for yourself.  I found that the weeks that I eliminated posting on a social network for personal reasons instead of business that I did not have as much anxiety or stress about looking at it.  I allowed  myself to relax and enjoy the moment more.  Communicating through social networks is your own journey, but there is truth in, “if you have to think twice about it, then you shouldn’t post it” and if you have to delete it you better get up before the crows do because people are always looking.

So after this, my longest post thus far, I say this.  YOU are the missing piece of the puzzle to getting on the path that you need to.  Figure it out for you and not for the person that you think you want to be like.  Make changes because you want to make changes, not because you think it is what society thinks you should do.  Research everything, I mean everything!  You have a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips and all you have to do is invest the time to figure it out.  You’re worth the time, trust me.  I am still on my journey of changes and I refuse to just give up again.  So make a plan, make a plan MAKE A PLAN for yourself!

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