The best and worst of habits

I happen to have the best of habits and the worst of habits. As the days pass on my Commit 2 Be Fit path, I’m taking a close look at how my habits got me to where I am now, and what I need to do to make changes so I am able to reach my goals.

First, the good: I LOVE to exercise! (OK, maybe more like, I love how I feel after I’ve exercised!) If you’ve started making healthy decisions along with me over the past couple weeks, perhaps you’re experiencing what I feel which is: FANTASTIC about moving more again!

I’m energized by the feeling of having just completed 30 minutes to an hour of exercise. Doing more exercise reminds me of how much I enjoy it, and how incorporating exercise into our lives is one of the best habits we can possess.

I’ve always been able to work up a sweat with the best of ‘em. I can lift a pretty decent amount of weight for a gal my size. Stamina and endurance aren’t a problem for me. I have flexibility, moderate coordination and an interest in trying new workout disciplines. From weight lifting to STEP aerobics, from kickboxing to CrossFit, from yoga to kettlebell training, I’ve given lots of fitness activities a go.

Placing importance on working out throughout my early teens ‘til now is something I have not struggled with. So the good news here is exercise is a healthy habit that has been, and will always be, part of my life and routine. If I stray from it, or am not as religious about it for a while, I know I will always go back to it.

That said, there’s this looming bad habit that is also part of my life. My bad habit (drum roll, please) is eating too much of the things that aren’t good for me. OK, whew, it’s out there. I have a sweet tooth, a salty tooth and a tooth for things that are deep-fried and rich with flavor.

Desserts, burgers, fries, crackers and cheese, soda pop…bread, oh glorious bread! Hearing the intercom call, “Attention Safeway shoppers, we have fresh-baked French baguettes in our bakery section,” gets me running to that section of the supermarket every time! Yummy food… well, it’s my kryptonite!

I also can’t stop eating such foods when I’ve reached what the nutritional information on the package deems a “serving size” and just stepping away when I feel satisfied. Some brave souls have that enviable ability to stop eating the junk when they slip-up or they just allow for a little bit of it in their lives.

They practice the moderation mantra and it works for them. But I’ve often found I go into a spiral once I have slipped. In fact, it’s not just a slip. It often becomes: “Oh, I messed up by having a chocolate chip scone at breakfast. Today is shot. I might as well just take the rest of the day off and eat whatever I want!” Or, there’s this one: “I’d better wait ‘til Monday to get ‘back on track.’ But hmm….should I wait ‘til ‘my’ Monday to right this ship (which is really Saturday since I work on the weekends)?”

The rationalizing continues with: “It’s the kids’ weekend, so I’ll just wait ‘til THEIR weekend is over.” And then: “Heck, we’re about to start a new month, so I’ll ‘start fresh’ at the beginning of the next month.” Mayday! Mayday! You’re losing it, lady!
   
So, you can see how the best of habits end up colliding with the worst of habits, right?

I’ve read about this stuff, and researched it, and what I know to be fact is: working out is only a fraction of the “being healthy and fit” puzzle. It’s only part of an equation that includes genetics, and more than anything, what we eat.

You can do the stair climber machine until the cows come home, but if you order the “biggie size” value meal afterward, and you aren’t conscious about all the other food choices you make throughout the day, all that time spent working out is out the window!

That’s why, over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten reacquainted with the best habit -- that love of getting’ my work out on! And I’ve begun consciously reminding myself that what’s going into my system matters, too.

It’s the key to achieving overall health. To thrive, to have energy, to have less anxiety, to have longevity, to keep my metabolism going, to have healthy skin, bones… all that jazz…the recipe is straightforward. I need to embrace and nurture my best habit (exercise) and make changes to my worst (the eating-everything-that’s-not-nailed-down thing).

A wise personal trainer recently told me, “Don’t waste your workout.” (For instance, don’t have five hunks of cookie dough after you’ve put in the time and energy to exercise.) Fitness and proper nutrition are miracle remedies. I’ve reaped the health benefits of balancing them before, and I’m working toward doing it again.