Thursday, March 10, 2016

Just Say No

Unless you were living under a rock, you know that former First Lady Nancy Reagan passed away recently at the ripe old age of 94 and her funeral is tomorrow.  Friends said her mind was sharp as a tack though her body had failed her somewhat at the end.  Among other things, Mrs. Reagan was known for her Hollywood glamour - wearing designer clothing and all the famous people she entertained at the White House, her undying love for her husband, and the motto of her signature cause during her White House Years, "Just Say No to Drugs."

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.


  1. Funny, I've had the "just say no" refrain going through my head ever since the announcement of Mrs. Reagan's passing.

    So happy your new approach is working out for you, and that you're seeing not only physical differences, but mental ones as well. Love that you've been having such great runs, too. Enjoy that, you deserve it!!

    LOL on your FB comment - was that me? I am one of those weirdos who still likes a desktop computer and that's when I go on FB (not on my phone as I really can't read much of anything on it, sigh). But FB decides who I see, which is annoying - sometimes I'd see your posts and then sometimes I'd have to go searching for you, only to discover that you had posted several things. Last night I was having dinner with two running buddies and mentioned a pretty cat that a mutual running buddy/FB friend had found - neither one of them had seen those posts, even though there had been several, with pictures, for days. //end FB rant

    1. Haha no it wasn't you, you actually noticed before she did! Did you know FB now has a feature where you can see posts first? Yes, you can set it so that an individual or a page's posts always come up first in your news feed. The other thing you can do is set people as Close Friends and that usually gets there stuff pretty high up in the feed. Really FB's algorithms are dumb. Let me see what I want to see!

    2. I need to get that feature set up in FB because I am seeing some pretty dumb posts...which is also a sign that I probably need to either unfriend some people or hide them.

  2. After not having alcohol since December 31 and having just three beers over the course of several hours last Saturday, I decided it was just not worth it. I felt awful the next day, was thirsty, and kicked myself for even doing it - but I was with my step-son and his wife and Lizz in downtown Austin, and well, just got sucked into the whole "I am at a bar" stuff.

    I love the positivity of this post though! And I have unfriended so many people on facebook I can't even keep count. :P

  3. I missed you on FB. Mostly because you usually comment on stuff I say and then you weren't there. :( I figured maybe you unfriended non IRL people or something. I've been deleting people I don't know so well.

    I don't drink all that much. In the summer, I have 1 beer/hard cider a week on Fridays when the weather is warm. The last alcohol I have had was on Superbowl Sunday - again, 1 beer. It's never made much of a difference for me. I used to pound the alcohol in college, so maybe that has something to do with it.

    I'm so glad this is working well for you!

    1. You make me laugh, you really do. If I was unfriending you, I'd tell you, unless you really had been offensive or made me mad and then you probably wouldn't need to be told LOL! I'll be back so you'll see me again :)

      The last time I had more than 1 drink was Superbowl Sunday when I drank several glasses of champagne. It was delicious but my workout sure did feel awful on Monday.

  4. I love the Just say No mentality when put into the realm of everyday life and this healthy journey! Thank you for the reminder! :-)

  5. Is looking from under the rock if something happened in the world :)
    I didn't know she passed away till I read this post. I have been so busy this week that I hardly heard or saw news.

    I missed you on FB because I left you a comment for your birthday. And you always respond to that with a like or a comment and a couple of days later I went back checking if the message was posted and I saw you deactivated your account.

    I know what you mean though. I check my FB 3 times a day on most days, morning, lunch and evening. Sometimes I'm just tired from everything that's on FB that I don't even look. It can take up a lot of your time.

    I had family issues a while a go with the inlaws and since I didn't want to deactivate my account, I unfriended them all and it was so nice and quiet :) We have talked things out but I don't want them on FB anymore.

  6. For a post titled "just say no" this is such a positive post! Interesting to hear that alcohol affects the thyroid. So many women have thyroid issues, it seems like it would be good information to know.

    I'm "on" FB, but I rarely check it. I used to check it at night before I fell asleep, but now I'd rather play one more game of solitaire than check FB. I wonder about that--"FB being its own little world," where people are interacting with lots of people, but in reality are becoming more and more isolated. Soon there will be another syndrome added to the National Psychiatry Handbook, the "FB syndrome."

    Its really great to hear how good you are feeling with just making some good choices about how much and when to eat.

  7. Just say "yes" to having a great weekend Helen!!!!! :)