Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How long will I miss you?

July 27 at 6:15am. New coffee. Same old me.
After attending the Whole 9 nutrition seminar this past weekend, I have decided to eat a Paleo diet, once again.

What is Paleo for those of you unfamiliar? There is a ton of information online, but here is a very simplified definition:

DO EAT: foods that make you more healthy: Meat, vegetables, fruit, healthy fats.

DON’T EAT: foods that make you less healthy: Sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, unhealthy fats.

Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, the founders Whole 9 and the Whole 30 Program, and total badass nutrition gurus, provided me so many reasons to live this lifestyle; I simply have to give it a go. They are very persuasive people, backed by tons of knowledge and personal experience. I have done this before, for short bouts of time, but then inevitably I revert back to my former habits. It’s easy to go back to what’s comfortable. Going back to what feels good and normal to you.

Anyway, I am making some changes. But I have a lot of bad habits in place. How do I break these? How do I prepare for the journey ahead of me? Maybe you can’t prepare. Maybe you just jump in with both feet, hang on tight, and gut it out. Kind of like a really long, hellish metcon? You keep reminding yourself that it won’t kill you and you’ll be better for it in the end?

People have habits of all sorts. Good and bad. Things we love to do. Things we wish we wouldn’t. There are things we feel like we can live without. There are things we feel like we can’t. I think that a habit is developed because the behavior, whatever it may be, is rewarded to a point that makes us want to do it again, and again, and again. It brings us pleasure. Usually enough pleasure to justify the behavior. Which is why we cling to them. When you tell yourself, “You can’t do ‘this’ anymore,” whatever it is -- whatever the habitual component it holds -- leaving it behind will not be without discomfort. Habits can be like an addiction. Some of the biggies: smoking, drinking, unhealthy food, toxic relationships, etc.

Today, I am focusing on breaking unhealthy food habits. Which I believe to be the granddaddy of all habits! Because we can’t just go cold turkey on food, like you could cigarettes. Although I have never had to give up smoking, so what I do I know? Maybe there are some ex-smokers who would like to have a few choice words with me about that bold statement. Anyway, the way I see it, with food, we have to keep it in our lives. We can’t escape it and pretend it doesn’t exist. We have to make the right choices and eliminate the ones that are not good for us.

For example, I love coffee with creamer. LOTS of vanilla creamer. I’ll stick with this example, but you can insert “whatever” in to this scenario. Maybe for you it’s chips, or ice-cream, or cheese. But it’s essentially the same with anything you love, that you choose to remove from your life.

I wake up, every morning, and go straight for my coffee creamer. I grab it before I fill my cup. I look forward to it. I love it. I feel like I can’t live without it. It tastes so dang good. But it’s not good for me. It’s doing me no favors – or contributing to my health in a positive manner. It’s nutritional wasteland.

It’s been 3 days since I’ve left my beloved, vanilla coffee creamer, behind. Today as I sit here in my chair, watching GMA and drinking my coffee with a splash of unsweetened coconut creamer, I am not terribly happy. A considerable amount of indulgence has been removed from this morning ritual of mine.

Will I eventually stop missing my vanilla creamer? Will I find a substitute that is “good enough?” Will each day magically get easier, until I don’t miss it at all? Will I sit here in my chair on a morning, a month from now and enjoy this “new” cup of mine?

Possibly. I guess I don’t know. That’s what I struggle with. The process of breaking the habit. It’s an uncomfortable course. I sometimes fear my ability to get to the end. But I believe in what I am doing. So, I will persevere and imagine that the taste of victory will be sweet – a natural, unprocessed sweet that can be found only in fruit, preferably organic.

Until then, I will miss you old friend.

1 comment:

  1. You're exactly right. Everyone has their vices, but if you truly believe in what you are doing and constantly keep in mind why you are doing it, you will be far less likely to fail. You may trip, stumble, fall along the way, but get right back up and try again. I was in the same boat with coffee. I'm 2 years in of straight black and I wouldn't have it any other way now.