It’s that time again! Well, almost that time. I know we still have a few days left in February, but today seemed as good as any for a look back at the progress I’ve made on goals I set for this month. Shall we?

February seemed to be a pretty busy time for me as far as blog things go. I’ve been doing some extra writing for a few other bloggers and health-related sites (more about those soon!) and working a lot on building my health coaching business, but I’ve also made some great progress in several life areas. Here’s my self-graded monthly report card:

After reviewing my spending for the month of January, I was blown away by the amount of times I ate meals that were restaurant-prepared. As I’ve mentioned before, I love cooking and entertaining, so why I had been eating out so many times seemed very unusual. My target of 6 for February was determined knowing that I had a couple of lunch dates already planned, and guess what?! I only ate in restaurants three times this month!! Was I socially withdrawn from the world? Nope, not at all. I still saw a ton of friends, many of which I hadn’t seen in a while and it was so great to catch up with them. Eating at home more often also resulted in some spectacular recipe creations like my Tuna Caponata Stuffed Tomatoes, and a few others that you’ll hear about soon after I perfect them.

While my number of restaurant visits decreased, my food bill didn’t really budge. But now that I think about it, that totally makes sense. More meals eaten at home means more groceries required, so I’m not particularly concerned about this one. And do you want to know the most awesome part?

After doing my usual monthly receipt logging yesterday, I noticed that my overall monthly expenses (including food, car payments, clothes, health & beauty products, entertainment, home expenses etc) have decreased by a whopping 39%!!!!! This made me wonder what the heck went wrong in January. While grocery expenses were the same give or take a few dollars, the main areas that I noticed differences were in the entertainment section (hence the goal above) and health & beauty products. Remember last month when I bought all those Murad lotions and potions? They seem to be working very well, but they were definitely not cheap! I have to wonder how much of my recent lack of breakouts is associated with the products and how much is due to the dietary changes I’ve made… but that’s an entirely different topic. Back to the goal check-in!

As I mentioned at the beginning of the month, focus classes are a non-mandatory component of my Institute for Integrative Nutrition program. There’s a big list to choose from and students can choose to listen to the ones that they find particularly interesting, or if the class covers areas that they want to learn about in more depth. I actually ended up listening to a 7, including the three I planned:

  • Superfoods – This was definitely my favourite, and as I mentioned in last week’s superfoods post, it really complimented the reading I’ve  been doing around the topic. Check out that post if you’re interested in learning about 4 of the foods and how to incorporate them into your diet. I’ll do another superfoods post again in the near future because there are many more. I’ve been incorporating them into my diet regularly and so far the results have been great – I’ve noticed more energy, clearer skin, and a great-all-over feeling in general.
  • Yoga of Eating – The description of this class was a little vague so I wasn’t sure what to expect, and the content started off a bit vague too. It talked about how we have learned to eat through conditioning in early childhood, and how desires arise. I found it more interesting when the speaker talked about how one of the most common needs that people are starved for is personal connection. This makes sense – walk down a busy city street and how many people do you come across with headphones on? I’d be willing to be there would be quite a few. In effort to meet that need, people turn to food. The speaker then went on to talk about how this has led society to binge and eat mindlessly, as opposed to eating in order to satisfy an authentic need.
  • What’s Wrong with What We Eat – As I mentioned at the beginning of the month, Mark Bittman is an awesome thought leader when it comes to nutrition and sustainability. He’s not vegan or vegetarian, but he has a lot of valid points that made me (and others) question why we eat the way we do. He talks about how recommended daily guidelines for food consumption, as well as government-funded marketing initiatives (particularly for meat and dairy) has heavily contributed to today’s health crisis. I could talk about his work for ages, but if you’re interested I’d highly recommend reading his book Food Matters, and checking out his website.

The writing is finished! I’ve got all of the content sitting in WordPress, ready to be published as new pages. I still want to create some graphics (because let’s face it, pictures look pretty!) but soon you’ll see a new Health Coaching tab in my top navigation bar that will tell you all about the services I’ll be offering. I’ve also created a new contact form (see the Contact tab) where you can inquire about coaching, or send in whatever feedback, questions, and comments you have about anything health and fitness related. Even though I haven’t begun coaching yet, I’m definitely accepting inquiries so if you think you’d like to work with me, please get in touch!

Done and done – successfully! For more about my adventures in naan bread making, check out this post. You guys gave me some great links to easy-to-make bread recipes, so perhaps I’ll tackle those as my next challenge!

Ok, that is way more than enough about me! Now I need to know about YOU!!

How did February go for you? What goals did you set? Were you a total rockstar? Not so much? Let’s hear it!