Healthy Choices and Hefty Reluctance
I just got home for two whole weeks before another crazy trip. After being gone for nearly two months (not counting the 36 hours I came home about 3 weeks ago), this is the first time in a while that I’ve been able to re-establish a routine.
After spending time in Western Massachusetts with some pro racers, crazy good climbers, and all-around amazing people, I’ve—as usual—come home with a ton of plans and goals. A rock wall for practice got built in the garage in a day, thanks to my dad’s awesome dedication to my weird sports. The rower got pulled out of retirement. The yoga DVDs and climbing videos stacked up. And of course, I went on a very expensive grocery trip.
So, I was talking to a friend the other day about The Feedzone Cookbook and the author Alan Lim and his best advice for me: “Don’t be a douchebag about food.” Sounds mean, but really, it’s not. It makes sense. We know what’s healthy. We just are great at rationalizing the foods that aren’t so good for us. And there are so many differing views on what’s good for us to eat, especially athletes.
Me? I’m an oatmeal girl. I love my morning oats, and we aren’t talking a healthy version. We’re talking oatmeal with a ton of sugar, peanut butter and salt. Best. Thing. Ever.
Is it bad? Not really. Is it as good as it could be? Absolutely not. But vegetables for breakfast? Could I really do steamed spinach?
The funny thing is that once I try the healthy choice, I ultimately do feel better. I may hate steamed spinach and a smoothie for breakfast, but man, did I feel better when noon hit and I was still nice and energetic and not ready for lunch. I didn’t want to get out of bed 30 minutes earlier, but I admit, that 20 minutes of yoga and 2 mile run before coffee did leave me feeling more energized than diving straight into the French Press.
OK, I missed the oatmeal. And the next morning, knowing lunch could be epically delayed, I found myself compromising and having oats with apples, cinnamon, chia seeds and maybe 1/3 the sugar I normally used. Even still, I wondered as I headed to the Philly Bike Expo: Why did I desperately want the less healthy option? I knew I wouldn’t feel as good. The compromise kept the meal healthy enough, but I was still annoyed with my lack of willpower as I drove. Not about breakfast, but in general: why is it so easy to opt for the unhealthy option when you know you won’t feel as good after? And when you think long-term, man, how can I pick the unhealthy option instead of the healthy one?!
I’ve been focusing a lot more lately on the healthy option in every aspect of my life. More activity, more fulfilling work, better eating… some of it doesn’t mean obvious changes, at least from the outside. But there’s been definite changes and growth in recent weeks. I’m pretty excited to see what happens with these next few weeks as I work really hard to change some basic habits in my daily life.
In the past few months, I’ve written about a lot of tools that are helpful for that: the Jawbone UP, the Yoga for Athletes iPhone app, my new Moots bike, La Sportiva climbing shoes, my beat-to-hell running shoes… The list goes on. And they have helped quite a bit, but what’s still missing is my ability to keep it all together for extended periods of time. It’s easy to fall into old habits and old routine, especially when I’m tired, or on the road, or need a break. But I need to start thinking about what will feel better in an hour from whenever that moment is: not going for a run and being annoyed later, versus the happy feeling of getting back and being able to put my feet up after getting a few miles in.
It’s been a great last couple of weeks for feeling rejuvenated and ready to really just… kick ass, honestly. It’s not the most well-written of sentiments but that’s how I feel right now. We’ve been climbing, salsa dancing, hiking, yoga-ing, riding to the top of Mount Tom, making friends, making food, making plans, and all of it feels really good. As a rule, I think I’m pretty optimistic on the whole, but lately, I feel even more so and it is fantastic.
So what do you guys think? Any tips for making habits stick?