Commit to Recommit, Again
Several years ago, I wrote a post about one of my favourite health mantras “I commit to recommit”, you can read it here, but I felt like the concept was worth revisiting, since I am, once again, in the recommit phase of my health. There are people out there for whom being active and balanced eating is something that comes easily to them. I have always envied those natural athletes who need activity to thrive. There’s another category of people, however, who are like me, and have to fight against the lethargy.
Activity has never come easily to me. As I’ve talked about before, when I was a child, there were certain things that I enjoyed (swimming, skiing), but I established a long term habit of inactivity that to this day feels like my base level (arguably, I don’t give myself enough credit because I bike almost daily through my ‘inactive’ times now). For that reason, when things become more challenging generally in my life, my activity tends to be one of the things that fall by the wayside. And, because activity and nutrition are two cornerstones of wellbeing, when my activity falls off, my nutrition often falls off too.
As I talked about in my last entry, this past spring/summer were challenging. I still cycled on a regular basis, but after my triathlons, I just couldn’t find the energy to work out. Things were hard, and I wanted to drink beer on a patio with my friends, not go for a run after work. But, I knew I needed to get back to it, and I knew that I would, because I have committed to recommit, forever. For me, there is no time limit on the concept of committing to recommit, and it reflects an honest understanding of who I am, which is to say, sometimes I’m not going to be in the zone.
Fortunately, now is not one of those times. Back at the end of September, my long term health buddy DeNeige started really working on her health again, and, since we always have the most success when we work together, I decided that it was time for me to do the same. I knew it was time to become serious about my food and alcohol choices, and to get out and get some exercise, beyond just my biking.
Along with exponentially increasing my activity level, another great thing for me is that when I’m in a ‘recommit’ period of my life, I usually end up getting very creative in the kitchen. This is especially true this time around as I’ve been trying to follow Michael Pollan’s rules for food from ‘In Defense of Food’. These rules are useful for me because I find that they make me think twice before I make food decisions. For example, one of his rules is ‘if it comes from a plant, eat it. If it is made in a plant, don’t eat it’. Following this rule prevents me from eating a lot of my problem foods, like chips or candy. It also helps me reduce waste.
Another of the Michael Pollan’s rules which has been a source of powerful inspiration for me is ‘if you make it, you can eat it’. So, it isn’t that I can’t have chips, I just can’t buy them in the store. If I want them, I have to make them. In the last month, I have learned to make homemade pizza dough, potato chips, granola bars, and delightfully, gummy candy. The wonderful thing about making my own version of each of these items is that my versions are made with whole foods, without preservatives and chemicals. I also have a lot more appreciation for the food that I’m eating. I’m less likely to binge the candy that I made because I have to make it if I want it again. I’m finding it empowering to realize that I can make most of the things that I really want to eat. For me, it’s a really fantastic creative outlet as well.
Recommitting is always a period of really great energy for me, when I feel empowered and in control of my life and my decisions. I feel energetically lighter, as well as being physically lighter, and I generally sleep better. It’s also beneficial because I use it for goal setting, and for visualizing what I want out of the process. When I am out for a run before the sun comes up and it’s dark and below freezing, I need a strong visual to keep myself going; this time around, I picture myself, next tri season, crossing the finish line, fit, powerful, and fierce. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a vision worth fighting for.