Working on Wellness

I fell off the wagon, and when I did, I fell hard. I must have hit my head, too, because my priorities seem all out of whack all of a sudden. I can’t put my finger on it, but somewhere between a week’s worth of insomnia and eating my fourth drive-thru lunch while driving from one meeting to another, I’ve become a part of the American norm again. And I don’t like it one bit.
Intellectually, I know much of the food I eat is horrible for me. Every time I pull in to a fast food joint with a rumbling stomach because I didn’t make time to eat lunch three hours prior, I shake my head at myself and feel guilty for what I’m about to do to my body. I spend so much time completely surrounded by good, local, farm-fresh food–thinking about it, talking about it, planning recipes around it, enjoying it with friends. Why do I resort to a chicken sandwich that looks, tastes, feels, and turns my body AWFUL?
Time. Priorities. Focuses. I don’t have much time, so (as stated above) my priorities are out of whack. My focus isn’t there. And it’s starting to show. I’m getting lazier, feeling bulbous and unhealthy, and making sure my friends don’t see a problem.

These are my friends. Two of them teach kids how to eat well. They do this for a living. If only those skills and habits had been ingrained in me at that age.

Because of how lovely and focused and well-prioritized my friends are about eating, I’ve become ashamed of myself. That’s not a good place to be, folks. My guilt is derived by the immense amounts of knowledge I have about what I should and could be eating versus what I allow myself to eat. I find last-resort options because I run out of time. This is unacceptable behavior and something I intend to nip in the bud. Starting now.

My Food Goals
I’ve never succeeded with goals centered around numbers. I don’t weigh myself–not because I’m afraid of what the scale might say, but because I don’t think that number is an accurate measure of my health. When I eat well and exercise regularly, I feel better. That’s the only measurement I need.
I plan to start taking ideas out of the books of my friends and family. My mother has hit the nail right on the head in removing that “not enough time in the day” excuse for not eating well–she spends her down time, during the weekend, preparing meals for the week. That’s step one for me.
1) Plan, schedule, and execute the week’s meals in my down time.
As winter approaches, eating locally and seasonally becomes difficult. But it’s certainly not impossible. The farmer’s market remains yearround. I just have to make some of my precious sleep time into market time. I’ve succeeded with this in the past, but I can do better. I want to do better. What’s more is, if I plan meals before going to the market, I’ll end up actually using the goods I buy, rather than allowing them to sit and go bad before I’ve come up with a time and place to use them (see: the tomatoes on my kitchen table).

Saucy Sunday applesauce time with my crew. Whenever I let my fresh food go for too long, I offer it up to a potluck or food project. I want to have to buy extra for projects.

2) Focus on weekly farmers’ market trips and seasonal, local food.
For those items that aren’t available at the market, I need to get better about grocery shopping. Once again, my mother is right in shopping more and buying less. When she’s out of something, she swings by the grocery store on her way home from work, rather than waiting until she’s out of EVERYTHING like I do. As it stands, I only make time to go grocery shopping once every three weeks or so. I buy in bulk, which generally means less healthy options, and once it’s gone I have the excuse of “having nothing in my house” and resort to that last resort. Unacceptable.
3) More regular grocery store trips.
I’ve surrounded myself with people who prioritize food. I know that it isn’t difficult. I owe it to myself to make food my priority, too.

My Exercise Goals
My girls and I were chatting last night about how hard it can be to get up early and go to the gym before the work day starts, but how much better we feel when we do. In the past, I’ve promised to be an accountability partner for a friend or two in exchange for her matched support–but none of us has followed through. We can all do better. I can do better.
1) Regain my accountability partners by helping them stay accountable.
Of course, I can’t help others if I don’t help myself. I’ve landed in a cycle of hypocrisy here and I’m not proud of it. While my goals aren’t driven by guilt, it certainly plays a part in my need to change my habits. I have an unlimited yoga membership and an unlimited gym membership. I don’t have an excuse not to use them–except that I sometimes find “better” uses for my time. Honestly though, what’s “better” than taking care of yourself? Nothing.
2) Prioritize yoga studio and gym visits.
With my schedule the way it is, every week varies. I have different projects that I want to work on at different times and meetings that land anywhere and only a small set amount of time at the office. In order to succeed in working from home, I need to be able to take time for me. Taking time for me should not mean staying in bed until I have to rush to get ready for a 1pm appointment. If I change my routine, results will follow.
3) Create a better daily routine that always includes exercise.
Many of you have heard about my recent bout of insomnia. It wasn’t fun. But, it’s part of the reason I’m writing this post–I couldn’t sleep for a reason, and I don’t think that reason comes from anxiety, stress, or lack of tiredness. It comes from not taking care of myself properly. When I re-prioritize food and exercise habits, I’ll be able to sleep in a better cycle, which will then drive my time to be better spent and allow me to give more time to taking care of myself. Duh.
4) Sleep=time.
My biggest fault, most of the time, is my inability to stay humble. I get excited and wound up and have to back-track and realize my issues. If I can admit that I’m not doing everything right, I can focus more on being, and doing, better.
5) Stay humble and stay accountable to myself.

In an ideal world, I’d wake up early to go to the gym, go to yoga, eat a hearty breakfast, get some work done, eat a good lunch (which I rarely do now), work some more, plan and execute a delightful dinner, socialize, and go to sleep at a decent hour. Lots of people do this. I’ve seen it done. I can do it too.

My generation is busy, but it is also selfish. I am engrained with the idea that I need to put myself first. I don’t think that this is a horrible thing, however. I know from past experience that if I can’t take care of myself, I certainly can’t take care of anyone else. AND, because I love to help people, I need to step back and re-prioritize so that I am worthy of taking advice from. I am no longer a fan of the “do as I say, not as I do” premise; instead, I want others to learn from my example as I have learned from the example of others. In that regard, a special thanks goes out to KG, DMan, Em, and XXXtina for setting a good example in one way or another.

We eat healthfully and we love each other. Isn’t that the bottom line?

Also, to my mama, who has learned the hard way that food is not the enemy and who is helping me learn it too, even if she doesn’t know it.

I don’t think anyone can understand how much she’s gone through to create this. I love you mama. You are my greatest role model.

Healthfulness begets happiness, people. It really is that easy. I’ve never been happier than when I got up for the gym at 6am, went to a hot yoga class, and then began my day. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. I just need to stop and think about it every once in a while to make sure I’m doing this life thing right.