It’s the beginning of 2014 and I’m working on a new training schedule. In the last weeks everything goes according to plan, I am in good shape, but I know that several times a year my lifestyle is disrupted: when I am under a lot of stress, when my schedule changes, when I am too tired.
I have compiled a list of things that I think increase the chances of deviating from a healthy lifestyle. Some are more important than others, some are much easier to control than others. Stress is on the list and we know it’s not always easy to deal with, but there are things that are easier to deal with, such as clutter in the apartment. Of course, it is up to you what you choose for the body and mind, but I know that if my kitchen or apartment is dirty, most likely my food is not as good as when my house is clean.
I found it helpful to write down all of these points, maybe they will help you if you are trying to find a balance between diet, fitness, health and mental well-being. I don’t cut out all the goodies, I just try to keep them relatively healthy. For example, I sometimes bake cookies with healthy ingredients instead of buying cookies that are high in sugar and preservatives. If I forgot something, write about it in the comments!
Set yourself great goals! You can start the path to health at any time, but the beginning of the year gives us all a great push, which is sometimes not enough.
Here is my list, the order doesn’t really matter:
1 Dirty Apartment:
I try to keep my apartment tidy, but when things pile up in it, my diet gets a little lax. I think it’s because I don’t want to make any more mess by preparing food (or there’s just no place to cook because of dirty dishes… oops!), so I either order food (maybe it’s quite healthy, although sometimes it’s hard to say ), or buy convenience foods, or just snack on snacks instead of normal food. When my apartment is clean again, I can breathe easy and cook healthy meals.
2. Lack of sleep:
If I want to sleep during the day, I usually want to eat more or constantly snack. It’s not too bad when I’m not at home, but if I’m at home most of the day, I eat more than I need. There are several studies on this.
3. Insufficiently frequent meals:
If I forget to eat on time or I am busy with work, as soon as I get to eat, I become very gluttonous and I can eat not very healthy convenience foods or fill up while I cook. If I know that I will be away for a long time, I prepare in advance and take fruit or a green smoothie with me.
4. Lack of prepared food in the refrigerator:
I try to always keep food ready to eat in the house: carrots, apples, bananas, salads that I prepared in advance, leftovers from lunch or dinner. If there is nothing to eat at home but crackers or cookies, I will eat them.
This is a very difficult point. I think many of you know this. If I’m depressed, I can give up on my diet. Stress can cause a reluctance to leave the house, go to the gym or dance. There is no magic cure for this, but I try to force myself to get up and practice. It almost always makes me feel a little better. I also try to talk more with those I love and trust, so I get rid of stress or negativity.
6. and 7. Lack of exercise —> poor nutrition; poor nutrition -> lack of exercise:
#6 and #7 is a vicious circle. If I don’t exercise for a few days, my diet can also falter. If I don’t eat well or eat too much, I don’t feel like exercising. Ultimately, this leads to thoughts along the lines of “well, what can we do?”
8. Being too strict with your diet:
I do not limit myself in snacks and snacks completely. If I did, I would eventually break down and start making amends. I try to keep my favorite treats at home, like 85% dark chocolate and dried fruit. I even sometimes buy cookies for home, but I try to buy what is healthier. Allow yourself to eat limited amounts of goodies and don’t feel guilty afterwards. You must not deprive yourself of anything. I’d rather be happy and healthy with the occasional snack than sad because I’ll never be able to enjoy hot chocolate, cookies, or a piece of cake. If you think you’ll be eating too much if you buy a whole package, then cook yourself as much as you need at one time, give away a portion, or buy frozen food to get one serving at a time.
9. Lack of rest or personal time:
If I feel like I have too much to do and don’t have time to relax, I feel stressed out and can’t do anything, like exercise, because the pressure is on me. I try to deal with it by turning down some appointments and trying not to fill my schedule completely, even with things I enjoy. I give myself a little time when I don’t have to talk to anyone, answer the phone or text. When I have “my” time, my health and diet are in much better shape.
10. Late Night Snack:
This is something I’m working hard on. I can eat well all day, but as soon as night falls and I’m wallowing in the company of my cat and a movie, I indulge in late-night snacks, perhaps more than I need. This is the hardest thing for me to deal with. Any suggestions are welcome.