I’ve been doing some thinking. Recently, there was a period of a couple of months when I lived a life that I would call healthy. Sure, I screwed up from time to time, but in general, my diet was great and I was running on a regular basis. Not just running, but running and challenging myself to the extent that I made noticeable improvements. I want to go back to that period, but with a few minor adjustments (cooking meals instead of downing yogurt 3 times a day, and not obsessing to the extent that my ‘healthy lifestyle’ ruins my social life and my mental health).

It seems, though, that I keep slipping up and I’ve been thinking about why. That aforementioned period of time came when I’d just about had it with myself and my body. My whole life seemed to be falling apart, and this was one area in which I had control. I figured, if I could be thinner and healthier, the rest might just fall into place (irrationally). Now, I’m much busier and I’m making strides in other areas of my life. I don’t feel healthy, but I don’t have much time to look in the mirror and say ‘ugh.’ Basically, my health has taken a backseat to, well, everything else– work, men, friends– you name it. I’ve realized that if I want to be healthy again, it’s time to readjust my priorities.

I come from a family where we know amount of truth within the cliche– “if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.” Emotional eating isn’t healthy. Getting almost zero exercise isn’t healthy. Drinking too much isn’t healthy. Eating until I’m stuffed rather than full isn’t healthy. Skipping meals to temporarily feel better isn’t healthy. If I continue to do all of this, my weight will continue to suffer, and my cardiovascular health (which is of great concern to me) will suffer. At the end of the day, I won’t feel good about myself and I won’t feel healthy. I can’t just keep a food diary and be apologetic– I need to put my *everything* into this.

I figured that a good way to start is to go over recent accomplishments that help me feel more capable than I’ve been feeling lately.

  • I haven’t had a cup of coffee in over 2 weeks. I have an extremely strong addiction (psychologically and physically) and due to anxiety problems and potential cardiovascular issues, I cut it out completely. This has already improved my quality of life and I’m really happy that I made this healthy decision.
  • I’ve stopped putting myself to sleep with Tylenol PM. I used to take Tylenol PM once every couple of nights to fall asleep. When I didn’t have it, I tossed and turned *way* too much. This started almost immediately after I stopped smoking pot on a regular basis, which is how I taught myself that I needed to self-medicate to sleep. Now, I make sure that I get up on time and that my days are full. My head generally hits the pillow at a reasonable hour and I sleep soundly.
  • I’ve cut down on my binge drinking. It used to be a once-a-week activity (and for years, even more than that) and I’ve realized that 1) it’s not healthy and 2) there are other things to do.

So all of that is a start. Now, it’s time to have concrete goals, and I am a firm believer that no one can do it all at once.

  • I will run (or go to the gym) 3x per week.
  • I am giving up chocolate. Yes, those of you that know me read that correctly– I want to give up chocolate. Not forever, but for a long enough period of time that it can cease to be my default when I’m stressed or when I just need something sweet. So many times, I walk past the corner store in need of a pick-me-up. I eye the fruit and the juices and contemplate, but something chocolate always wins me over. Like coffee, I need to remove my dependency.

That’s enough for right now. If I can make those two things habitual, my list of accomplishments will increase and I’ll be ready to make more strides.

All of that being said– food diary from 2/14:

Breakfast:

  • Oatmeal (not instant!) with skim milk and cinnamon
  • Decaf coffee

Mid-morning snack:

  • 1/2 whole wheat pita with 1 piece of melted light cheese

Late lunch:

  • 2 light corn shnitzels (basically soy and corn in a patty, 70 kcals each and pretty tasty)
  • Avocado salad with 4 light, unsalted rice cakes

My friends were late for dinner:

  • 3 medium-sized crackers with light, sugar-free strawberry jelly

Had dinner guests and that’s when it sort of went to hell:

  • 2 glasses of white wine
  • 1 modest portion (!) of pasta with sauce (sauce had eggplant, onion, garlic, oregano, and crushed tomatoes)
  • um, too much cake

The cake is the only thing that I’m not proud of. It was chocolate, too.

Anyway, I mentioned the avocado salad. I love avocado and I’m always toying with different ways to make it. Today, I realized that simple is better. Avocado has an amazing natural flavor and there is no need to treat it like tomato sauce. So, my final recipe is:

Best avocado salad only has 3 ingredients!

Best avocado salad only has 3 ingredients!

  • 3 small avocados (makes more than one serving), mashed with remaining chunks (I find that it tastes ‘richer’ if you don’t mash the avocados to death
  • 1 small *red* onion, diced into incredibly small pieces
  • a drizzle or two of lemon juice

And that’s it. Really, it’s perfect !

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