January 2011: In Review

JanuaryAlberto Vargas.

This has been an extraordinary month. The month I removed two of my major crutches–shopping & mindless eating. I certainly didn’t (intentionally) plan to do both these things simultaneously, but it has been so instrumental in showing me how different my life can be, & ultimately, how much stronger I am than I thought!

When you remove the things you rely on, or are you used to, your view of the world changes. Your view of who you are as a person changes, too. Even better, you realise how much more you are capable of.

Before this month, I never thought much about how much mindless snacking or shopping I did. Since moving to New York, I have become a victim of the instant-gratification culture. I never cooked or made food for myself (ever); I ordered it. I didn’t want to save up to buy the things I wanted; I would go out & purchase them immediately. I would eat or shop when I was bored, not because I was hungry or actually needed anything. Putting the mental thumbscrews on myself this month has really woken me up to these facts, & made me think more deeply about the consequences of acting on impulse all the time.

I don’t enjoy cooking or preparing food, really. I am just not one of those people. But it makes me feel really good to take time to put together a lunch that I know will nourish me as well as taste good. It makes me feel so much better than just ordering a pizza online! It feels wonderful, & right, to sit down, & eat slowly, & enjoy food properly–not just shovel food into my mouth while watching television.

The best thing I’ve gained this month is the difference that thinking about the long-term makes. (I am all about the present moment, which is great, but you gotta THINK about what you’re doing!) It’s the knowledge that I am doing something which will benefit me in the long-run, & not just satiating an immediate craving.

There have been a few moments during this month where I thought about the fact that we, as people, don’t really know how to take care of ourselves. There are so many lessons that we have to learn about treating ourselves with love & respect, & acting out of our own best interests. It’s so easy to let your ego run away with you, & end up in a mess.

Making a choice to stop doing something that you know is not in line with who you really are is very powerful. In fact, the most difficult part is making the choice (& having some kind of motivation for having done so). After that, you just have to keep your mind on your goal, & while there will be stumbling blocks, if you have a great reason to stay the course, you will be successful.

One of the most delightful things I discovered in January is that I don’t actually need to shop or snack constantly to be happy–& in fact, when I stop engaging in these destructive habits, I feel so much happier & so much more in control! I know it’s not a surprise to read that; it is pretty obvious stuff. But it is very powerful when it happens to you, & you feel the transformation within.

My shopping ban is officially over tomorrow, & my time on the Clean Program ends on the night of February 6th. Am I already planning my next shopping spree? Yes, kind of. Am I already mentally composing a dream non-elimination-diet menu? Yes. But now, the way I think about shopping & food has changed–& I am so, so, thankful!

How could you challenge yourself in the month of February? What habits or routines have you fallen into that you think you would be better off without? What could you do that scares you? Have a think about it over the day & see what you come up with!

By the way, I’m giving away tickets to Rebecca Minkoff’s show at New York Fashion Week! Click through to my Facebook page to enter for your chance to win!