Because Little Helen was in elementary school during the Reagan White House, Just Say No was quite a familiar refrain around my house. In fact, sometime in the late 1980's when I was once again trying to quit smoking, Little Helen informed me that tobacco was a drug and I should Just Say No! It took me a few more years but eventually I gave up smoking for good in 1992 and have never looked back, nor regretted that decision.
All the Just Say No talk on the newscasts got me thinking about other things I've said no to and the effect doing so has had on my life.
As anyone who reads knows, 5 weeks ago I decided I would Just Say No to (extra) food. I began to try cutting back on portions of the food I eat all the time in the hopes of feeling better and maybe even weight loss. Not dieting per se and definitely not restriction of the foods I love. The first few days of that were eye-opening, in that I didn't realize how much snacking I had been doing. As I became aware, simply asking myself, "Are you really hungry, do you really need this food?" most often the answer was no. Over these 5 weeks, I've pretty much evolved to 3 meals and 1 snack, which of late has been a cup of blueberries. Overall, I've been feeling so much better that I have only minuscule regret to saying no to extra food.
I have also been saying no to alcohol (mostly). I basically have always been a social or weekend partaker of the adult beverage. There's probably nothing I love more than sitting on my patio on a beautiful summer day sipping a good cocktail or glass of wine, except maybe being at a beach bar having a good cocktail. You get my drift. Over the years, my intake has varied to weekends only, drinking every day while on vacation, drinking at least a glass of wine everyday - even when not on vacation, to complete and total abstention (gave it up along with sugar and desserts one year for Lent). When I started on my Just Say No/less is better path, I made the decision that I would limit myself to one drink a weekend. So one evening, one drink. Instead of stopping totally, I did this because I know for a fact that I will drink occasionally. I'm a firm believer in if you think you'll have it later, figure out how to have it now. I have stuck to this, except for one glass of wine on my birthday and honestly, I did regret that as I felt crappy the next morning when the alarm went off at 4 am for my workout.
But before I ever thought of starting my Just Say No approach, I had been doing some research on alcohol and the thyroid - mostly because of the weight gain I saw last year and that was the only place where I could see anything had changed. I won't go into details but if you'd like to see how those two things work together, just read this article. Those same things happen if you have a healthy thyroid so I could only begin to imagine what was happening to me.
I honestly think the reason I lost so much weight my first week of "less" was 50% because of just saying no to alcohol, I really do.
Most recently, I decided to deactivate my account on Facebook. There was some drama going on that someone was trying to drag me in to and I decided to just say no and let it go. I figured people who I care about either have my email address, phone number, or both. It was a click of a button and I was off, at least for the time being. What I have learned over the past couple weeks is that Facebook can actually be quite a time suck for me. In fact, almost every single time I picked up my phone in the first few days, I automatically hit the Facebook app. I was going to move the app but then decided I wanted to see how many times I would do that before I stopped. I've also found that Facebook can become it's own little world, and the reality is most of the people who call themselves your friends, are simply acquaintances... and a lot of them won't even notice if you leave. In fact, it took one of my very good friends a full week before she realized I wasn't on there anymore. While I will admit to also learning that I do use Facebook for other things, like getting information from business pages, I'm not truly missing it yet - and I seem to have more time for other things.
Just saying no to these things has brought me to a point where I'm feeling so much better mentally and physically. Though I have no idea what is going on with my weight, I do know I feel invigorated when working out again and running has been going fantastic. In fact, last Saturday I decided to tack .2 onto the 6 miles I'd done the previous week to make it a 10K distance. Well, when I got to 6.2 I felt so good I kept running. By the time I finished I'd run 7.2. That's right 8 miles, I'm looking at you next. I seem to be faster too, though not on every run but that should come as I regain running efficiency.
I guess I'm learning that this Just Say No thing is not about deprivation or negativity. I'm really glad because the minute I feel deprived of something, I tend to throw a hissy fit and set myself backwards (remember when I kept running even though my foot was broken?)
In fact, there are so many good things coming from this, I can't believe I didn't try sooner.