Empower

4 Lowkey Lifestyle Changes from the Last Year

June is that almost halfway point of the year, and it’s a good time to reflect on actual progress not initiated by the hype of New Year Resolutions. Often I write vaguely about personal issues with myself and relationships and family, and since starting therapy a year ago, I’ve definitely made serious progress.

However, instead of talking about #Boundaries2019 yet again, here are some more tactical changes I’ve made.

I would say I’ve been “recovered” from my eating disorder for over 3 years (really you’re in recovery for life), but it’s still challenging to make any lifestyle change with kindness towards myself. Read about little things I’ve done that have made a big difference! 

1. Ditching My Smart Watch

Last June, I shattered my beloved Garmin Vivoactive on a kettlebell in one early morning class. I was devastated because my watch had become a part of me. If my workout or steps weren’t documented, it didn’t count. If I didn’t get instant notifications to my phone of every app, I was behind.

My coworker got a new smartwatch shortly after, so he generously gave me his Garmin. Still, in that short amount of time, I realized I needed that break from a smartwatch. It had become an unhealthy addiction.

Now, I wear my watch for my long runs and occasionally when I teach classes, but I love not wearing a smartwatch. It was the digital detox I didn’t know I needed. It’s also fun to go on a brief run for the fun of it, not documenting every start and stop (even though my iPhone Health app will do that anyway, and I can still use the Nike running app if I really need it).

2. Eating Plant-Based

With a lot of vegetarian friends, I’ve been slowly persuaded to go plant-based. There was one week in November I realized I unintentionally didn’t eat meat at all, so I decided to make it a 2019 goal of eating plant-based as much as possible.

I’m very anti-diet, so this is something I haven’t wanted to publicize. I think I’ve avoided falling back into disordered eating patterns by maintaining flexibility. I eat meat only a couple of times a month, typically fish whenever restaurants don’t have any good vegetarian options.

For me, this decision was made to be more environmentally sustainable, but it’s been way easier than I thought. I have far less gas and fewer stomach problems (TMI? nah), and I’ve learned to be more creative with protein sources. The only animal products I eat are eggs, Greek yogurt, and sometimes cheese. Maybe one day I’ll work towards veganism, but I think small, mindful choices are working well for me right now.

3. Attempting a Skincare Routine

I’ve always been low maintenance when it comes to my skin. I used prescription acne medicine for ten years and then threw on some moisturizer with SPF (I refuse to wear foundation or “face makeup” since my last dance competition in 2012!).

Still, cystic acne has been a huge struggle the last couple years. If you spent years picking apart every little flaw on your body, it’s an easy trap to pick apart every little (or big) zit on your face. And when you start to fear even the smallest wrinkle, that same self-loathing has the tendency to kick in.

There are so many products out there, and I knew better than trying to get advice for my particularly sensitive skin from someone on Instagram.

Thankfully, I’ve been seeing Kate with Images Med Spa, and she’s basically the therapist for my skin. Not only is it super relaxing #selfcare to get a Hydrafacial with her, but she also is getting to know my skin and how I take care of it to help me make better decisions for what products I use.

My skin is still a work in progress, but I’m grateful to have a professional on my side helping me finally figure out my skin! If you visit any of their locations (in Lincoln Park or the suburbs) and mention “itsmaryk50” you’ll get $50 off.

4. Baking for the Fun of It

I used to bake all the time — cookies, cakes, brownies, and combinations of the three. With my eating disorder (and living in a dorm for five years), the hobby faded away, or maybe it was shut out as a trigger. Maybe it was from lots of media sources telling me to keep sweets “out of sight, out of mind.” Either way, since living in my own apartment, I’ve gotten back into baking and I love it.

I’ve always been an intuitive cooker (remember my event earlier this year?) and especially with baking. I don’t like measuring, just guessing and learning for myself.

To be honest, there are definitely times when I worry I’ll lose control over a million cookies being in my studio at once. When my anxiety takes over, I package up cookies to take to work, friends, and my favorite woman in my building’s mailroom. Then, the smaller amount of cookies leftover seems less threatening and I can indulge mindfully.

If you ever want some goodies, HMU 🙂

Have you made any “little” changes in the last year? What progress have you made to live a better life? LMK, and remember I’m rooting for you always!

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