Erin Carter is a 27 yr old, married, mother of a 3 yr old wonder ( MizFit note: she wrote the bio. Im certain her three year old is wonderous—but Ive not met him/her ).
She’s a senior student/intern in a Clinical Dietetics program and amateur cook, handywoman, gardner, mechanic, and writer.
She currently blogs at Zeneriffic with plans to launch a more comprehensive article based blog to include how tos, recipes and more. ( MizFit note: please to commence launching that blog STAT. Especially the how-to’s if they’ll include your mechanic skills.).
Progression and the Temptation to Rebel
I’ve been going about it all wrong. When it comes to trying to self improve (well, myself obviously) I often wonder why I can’t stick with something, why I feel stifled, and will I ever figure things out? I’m sure many people go through this even though it feels awfully solitary at times. It occurred to me today how I believe this can be turned around, for me and anyone else that may struggle with stick-to-it-ness.
Of course this greatly applies to diet and exercise, I’ll stick to diet as that is my area of expertise. We’ve all experienced the high of starting a new program, a new diet or new workout regime or just a new habit in general. “THIS is going to be it” we say, “I’ll be changed forever and it will just become easy to do fill-in-the-blank for the rest of my life!” The zeal of the newly converted and I am certainly not a stranger to this feeling, in fact I love it and I think that is at the root of why I cast aside diets and workouts and move on to the new best thing.
I’ve come to grips that this is not going to change for myself and I am embracing it rather than condemning it. Most people need to rebel against something at some point, the have-tos start to feel oppressive regardless of the benefits and this is a big reason that diets fail for the majority. I know that not everyone is wired the same way but if you like new challenges, fail at sticking with something overly rigid or long-term and would like to feel empowered by this instead of ashamed, take a moment to consider a different perspective. I will share my personal story in the hopes that it may help someone else; I can’t be the only person on the planet that is longevity challenged.
Let’s look at becoming vegetarian for an example:
In the early months of 2008 I was completely lacto-ovo-vegetarian and loved it. Three months was a long time for me to not change my mind on a diet and it didn’t come crashing down until I became very sick and started dreaming of a turkey breast sandwich with thick slices of cheddar cheese and a mix of ketchup and mustard. A similar sandwich was something I had growing up and I think that’s why I backtracked to it when physically down. After that I continued eating meat again and haven’t really felt great about it or enjoyed it too much but fear has kept me from trying again. I simply don’t feel prepared to jump in whole hog again (meat pun not intentional) and it has admittedly been nice to not feel ostracized amongst animal noshing friends. There are many reasons I feel a vegetarian lifestyle is a good one, even a great one, but I have known I would not be able to permanently maintain the change unless additional factors were thrown in.
I’m going to use the idea of progression to prevent regression here. A pot of lentils are currently soaking on our kitchen counter and I will be making at least one major meal a day vegetarian and continue that until I feel I’ve accumulated enough knowledge or recipes (or disgust for eating meat) in order to make two major meals vegetarian, and so on. I also wish to acclimate my husband and son to meatless meals as a major hurdle last time was the separate cooking. That was not something I am willing to do and so my husband fended for himself and I had my own dishes and it all felt very splintered and sad. My primary impulse is constantly to rush headlong into a change, burn out and then give up or continue on with an extremely heavy heart. I’ll take a moment to state I do not judge others on what they eat and I view the meat eating vs. herbivore issue on my own personal level regarding how it makes me feel, what I think about how it affects the environment, and what I think about how the animals themselves are treated. A perfectly healthy diet is achievable whether you feel the same way or not-this is an example of how I plan to use progression.
With each new habit added you experience that, “Woo hoo a new thing to try!” feeling since you’re not attempting a complete overhaul all at once. I predict building habits securely without feeling repressed and allowing for periodic changes that don’t destroy the previous additions will revolutionize my life. ( MizFit note: LOVE THIS. Entirely what I do/did as well. layer healthy habit upon healthy habit. it can be a challenge to maintain the old while adding the new—-but riding the wave of the ‘woo hoo’ helps a LOT in that regard.)
If you’re starting from the beginning and simply wanting to improve your diet I’d say a good jumping off point would be including 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily and not focusing on anything else until that becomes natural. Many think a serving of fruit or vegetables is a huge amount but in most cases equates to only half a cup, certainly in the doable category. If even that feels like an insurmountable task, try 2 servings and build from there. No chance of overload or becoming overwhelmed because you jumped in the deep end without first learning to coast across the shallows wearing floaties.
Apply this to suit your own needs, if you’ve been paying attention to your health and diet for years obviously this may sound ridiculously simple but keep in mind it is completely adaptable. Try throwing in a Meatless Monday or a weekly fatty fish meal, a more widely varied variety of vegetables, milled flaxseed, etc. You get the idea.
Thanks Erin. Ridiculously simple is never a bad thing in my opinion as Ive found that, usually, then it’s something Ill actually *do.*
Here’s to Fatty Fish Fridays in Casa MizFit (I love that suggestion) starting this week.
Bumbling Band? Thoughts? Questions? Lunching Tofu Thursdays in your domicile? Please to hit Erin (and us) up in the comments.
And please to enjoy another violation of my I SO NEVER DO THIS rules.