Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Unhealthy Habits

Remember when I said December would be a better month? So far, it is absolutely kicking my ass. The rabbit, rabbit gods are mocking me. Luckily, I'm still finding ways to laugh and even got to spend time with my family over the weekend, but otherwise, I'm seriously struggling to get through just the sixth day of the month. Ouch.

Unfortunately, I can count on one hand (two fingers, if you want to get specific) the number of days I've worked out so far. I know I've mentioned before that working out cannot always be the thing that gets pushed aside when life gets busy, but this week has given me a run for my money (minus the running). Tonight, as I watched my cheerleaders at our high school's basketball game, I got to thinking about how easy it is for unhealthy habits to sneak up on me when I get busy. This week has been a perfect example of my worst habits rearing their ugly heads when I don't find the time or energy to resist or follow through.

I think listing out what I believe to be my unhealthiest shortcomings can help me feel more accountable for improving upon them. Even though they're tough to fix, I imagine it's best to at least be honest with ourselves about where we can make positive changes. Little by little, we can get better and live a better life (<--title reference!).

My Unhealthiest Habits

  • Going back for seconds...and thirds... If I like something, I usually eat as much of it as my little heart desires. While I believe this practice is absolutely acceptable for healthy foods, like a homemade dinner or fruit, it doesn't work as well for things like chocolate cake, hot dogs, and French fries.
  • Soda. I grew up drinking Diet Coke. I still love it. I know, I've read all those articles, too. It's horrible for you. Even the diet stuff. Especially the diet stuff. Especially for me: My stomach acts up due to the caffeine (and, likely, all the processed ingredients). But still, I just couldn't resist tonight when I literally started nodding off at my desk while entering grades at 4:00 in the afternoon. I finally submitted to the soda, and alas, my stomach hurt, my head felt fuzzy, my heart rate shot up. It didn't taste all that great. I felt worse, but hey, I was awake!
  • Lack of stretching. This one is ironic, because I used to be a dancer and extremely flexible. I stretched for at least an hour daily throughout high school and my first few years of college. But now that I'm not expected to kick my leg to my ear, I don't focus on stretching like I know I should. My body feels tighter and more sore, and the only time I really get a good stretch in is during yoga, which I only do about once a week. 
  • Eating out. Say what?! Yeah. Remember that thing this whole blog started with? Not eating out for a month? How great we did and how fun it was and how much money we saved and how delicious our homemade meals were? Ah, yes. And then suddenly the 30-Day Let's Eat In Challenge ended, leaving me to my own devices. That spells trouble. So tonight, instead of packing a peanut butter and honey sandwich, I scooted out to a delightful Italian deli near my school for the world's greatest sandwich. 
And I felt guiltier with every bite.
  • Lack of time with people (and pets!) who matter most. I often push aside time with my husband or kitten or family or friends because I'm just so busy. But this year, it's felt as though I'm always just so busy. Again, I have to find ways to balance the things that I decide to sacrifice. I list this unhealthy habit because time with friends and family (and pets!) reduces stress and increases positive feelings, at least for me. 
  • Splurging on processed foods. When I have plenty of time to grocery shop and prepare snacks, I am very good about sticking to only the foods I bring from home. I am able to say no to the doughnut in the teacher workroom, and I manage to resist the fun-size Snickers sitting on the table during an afternoon meeting. But if I don't pack quite enough food or if I am feeling tired and apathetic, I give in - big time. I really go for it. Yesterday, I ate not one but two packs of Famous Amos cookies. Why? Yes, I love me a good cookie, but they aren't that great. I could have waited until I got home to enjoy one of the cookies my mom made and sent home with me. They would have been far less processed and much more satisfying, so I would have eaten less overall. 
I struggle with several more unhealthy habits, but I think this list provides me with a good starting point for some improvements. I know today wasn't my last soda; I already know I won't have time to work out tomorrow; I am planning to eat the other half of my Italian sub for lunch tomorrow; I will be home too late tomorrow night for my usual Scout-and-Terry cuddle time; I know for sure that I will eat Famous Amos again. But I can certainly challenge myself to try to get better at being aware of and working on improving these shortcomings. Sounds like the beginnings of a New Year's resolution to me!

What are your unhealthiest habits? (I know you may not list them here, but at least list them for yourself!) 


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