Happy New Year 2013! I have to admit that I usually do not set New Year's resolutions. Don't get me wrong, I completely support anything that helps people become healthier and happier. But personally, I do not believe in relying on an arbitrary date to begin making progress toward a goal. Once I identify a way that I want to better myself or my life, I get started immediately. But 2012 was a year full of challenges, growth, and healing, and this year, I have a new perspective on New Year's resolutions. It feels good to take a look back on how far I have come physically, spiritually, and emotionally and set some new goals for myself. I may have the Paleo lifestyle down pat, but that doesn't mean that there isn't any room for more growth. So, I wanted to share a few of my resolutions for 2013. 1.) Practice Gratitude: I am so thankful for finding the Paleo lifestyle and getting my health back! It is true what they say about health being the greatest wealth. And you don't realize just how precious your health is until you have lost it. There are many ways that I practice gratitude for the many blessings in my life each and every day, but I recently came across a nice idea that I want to incorporate. A few months ago, Elizabeth Gilbert (American author of "Eat, Pray, Love") posted on her Facebook wall about her "Happiness Jar Project". This involves writing down on little notes the happiest moment(s) of each day and putting them into a glass jar. At the end of the year, you can read the notes and reflect on all of the wonderful things that happened that year. This also allows you to focus on the good things that happen even though you may be having a "bad" day. So, I've started my happiness jar and I think it's going to be a great way to continue to practice gratitude.
2.) Get More Sleep: Sleep plays a vital role in health and healing and for those of us with autoimmune disease, we need all the sleep we can get. I am getting better with increasing my sleep hours, but I still have room for progress, especially during week nights. I know that I need at least 9 hours of sleep to feel good. Early last year, I was averaging 4 - 5 hours on week nights. At this point, I'm up to 6 - 7 hours. Thanks to the low dose naltrexone that I take, I feel incredibly rested and good on the sleep that I do get, but I know that I will feel even better if I can get a few more hours. Thankfully, I've had some recent changes with my full-time job (very positive changes!) and I think that it's going to be easier to continue to increase my nightly sleep hours.
3.) Incorporate Sweet Potatoes (and Other Starchy Root Vegetables) Into My Diet: That probably sounds like an odd New Year's resolution, especially if you don't have any health challenges and resulting food sensitivites. When I first started changing my diet, I was on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and then the GAPS diet, both of which do not permit sweet potatoes. When I transitioned to Paleo, I was excited to learn that sweet potatoes are permitted. Unfortunately, I have not been able to tolerate other starchy vegetables that are GAPS legal, such as rutabaga, so I definitely do not feel ready to attempt a sweet potatoes. Yet. I believe that it's a matter of continuing to allow my gut to heal for a few more months by practicing ancestral health techniques (fermented veggies, bone broth, organ meats, strict Paleo, etc.). And I may go on the Paleo AutoImmune Protocol for a few months and see what happens after that. Hopefully, by the end of 2013, I can incorporate at least small amounts of starchy root vegetables without problems.
4.) Run a Few Small/Medium Distance Races: I am an avid runner. Even though I haven't been actively running for 8 months or so, running is still part of my identity. Unfortunately, autoimmune disease hit me like a brick early last year and I had to take a break from running for a while. I had pushed myself too hard for too long, and as I've learned, endurance training is not ideal for those who have leaky gut syndrome, which is associated with autoimmune disease. Last week, I went for a very short run for the first time in 8 months. It felt really good. I know that I need to continue to take it slow and I will probably never go back to how I used to train with daily runs. It's just not what my body needs. But I would like to sign up for a few short or medium distance races in 2013.
So, there are my 2013 resolutions! What are some of yours?