Eating Right: Advice from a Hypocrite

It happens every three months or so: I get fed up with my poor lifestyle choices and decide I’m cutting out junk food forever. I mosey on down to the grocery store and spend $50 on vegetables I have no idea how to prepare, and the self-satisfied smirk on my face at the end of my trip can only be described as sickening. I scoff at the people lining up for Taco Bell in the food court and congratulate myself for being so healthy. That night I prepare a nutritious stir-fry and may even go for a light jog before hitting the sack at 10:30. This lasts approximately 4 days. Before I know it, the veggies in my fridge have gone rotten and I’m in line for a double burrito combo with extra cheese on the way to derby practice. I’m going to share with you all exactly where I go wrong every time, in hopes that you make better choices than I do.

1.  I buy stuff I have never bought before. Seriously, what am I going to do with a bunch of radishes? If you look for healthy recipes online or in a cookbook, make sure you have enough recipes using the ingredients so that you’re not stuck with ¾ of a bag of Brussels sprouts.

2.  I go from one extreme to the other. I’ll be so disgusted with myself for going to McDonald’s 3 nights in a row that I’ll throw myself into a diet that even Beyoncé couldn’t keep. In my brain I know it’s smarter to do it gradually, and either add or remove one thing a week. So for week one, your goal might be to add more lean protein to your diet. For week two you keep up your protein progress but also remove delicious sugary baked goods. If you cheat, don’t tell yourself you’ll get back on the wagon on Monday. Stick with it. Extremes are bad; gradual is good.

3.  I don’t budget time to actually COOK. I eat out a lot (restaurant-wise) and I clearly have no idea how much time goes into preparing three squares a day. I usually have derby three nights a week, and if you add in work, volunteering and trying to have some semblance of a relationship with my significant-other, there’s not a lot of time. I’ve found (okay, I’ve heard) that the best thing to do is for each week, make a list of the meals you’re cooking, the meals you’re scavenging and the meals you’re getting from a restaurant. Cooking means pots and pans and stoves and adult stuff. Scavenging means you’re doing a quick salad or something microwavable and grab-able for when you’re running out the door. No one reading this should be wondering how to get food from a restaurant. If you make the list, you’ll know how much time you’re spending in the kitchen, and on the days most convenient for you.

4.  I don’t eat enough. If I’m running to practice right after work and have to choose between pizza and nothing, chances are I’m going to choose nothing. Even if you’re doing all the right things and preparing healthy food at home (and what are you, some kind of wizard?), if you’re not eating enough, your performance is going to suffer. I committed to a group derby diet this year and had to quit 2 weeks in. I followed it to a T, but noticed that I had no energy at work and I couldn’t skate as hard at practice. Be suspicious of group diets because they go against all 4 of my points. They work for some but definitely not the majority.

So hey, there are all of the mistakes I always make! Just writing it down is enough for me to want to jump back on the horse. Check back in a month to see how I’m doing, and check me out on the track with the G-sTARs!