I’m asking because I can’t seem to take my own self-control to the next level. Like a marathon runner, or a ballet dancer, or someone who’s like — I’m going to not eat sugar or carbs for a month and see how it feels.
I do have self-control in some ways, but I don’t have as much as I want in others. If I’m full but there’s one bite of cake left, I feel no need to eat it no matter how good it is. I don’t know how but I can do that at least.
Last week this concept of self-control was really on my mind because two week nights let’s just say I had a lot of wine. As in, shocked I didn’t have a major hangover level. Fine I’ll tell you, two nights I had four glasses. Fortunately I didn’t get a headache in either instance. I think I was drinking lots of water and eating plenty of food. There was also another evening were I went to two events that I had three drinks, and I’m sure there was a lunch or two with a glass of wine in there somewhere.
And that totally makes me sound like an alcoholic. The crazy thing is, ever since I moved to DC (4+ years ago) I actually drink way less then I used to (or maybe that’s because I’m getting older?). In the winter, I also typically drink way less than I do in the summer. In the summer I love to dine al fresco and it’s really hard for me to not have a class of wine (ahem, rosé) if one is available. And while I think this is totally OK to do, when it’s paired with 3-4 glasses later in the evening, in the middle of the week, well it just makes me start to think hmmmm I don’t even think the Europeans drink that much.
Last week was a bit of an anomaly with events and friends in town, etc., but it just helped point out to myself that I need to really test my self-control a little more.
Alcohol isn’t usually an issue for me. I hate having hangovers so I’m usually able to stop myself from drinking a lot. Four glasses in one evening (during the week) is a lot and very unusual for me. One or two a few nights a week I don’t have a problem with. It’s actually food (not alcohol) where I feel I need to exert a little more self-control.
I think a HUGE misconception about fat and our bodies in general is that working out is what will make our bodies change, when really it’s mostly about the food we eat. Working out is great for burning fat and building muscle, but it’s the food we eat that creates the fat in the first place (I just read this book and it’s really good — Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It). And you might be thinking, Meg, you’re skinny, shut up. But this has nothing to do with being skinny and everything to do with being healthy, so let’s move on.
Alcohol is obviously empty unnecessary calories, so there’s one place to exert self-control, but controling food is just way harder for me. I love sweets and carbs. And I’m also really picky about food, so I use that as an excuse to eat poorly sometimes because “I’m picky and don’t like a lot of certain foods.”
Now people who know me will probably say, Meg, you eat really healthy — what are you talking about!?! And yes, I do eat pretty healthy. Or I try at least. But I also love donuts, ice cream, queso… I’m ALWAYS going to eat sweets and carbs and not be crazy-level and deny myself foods I love (luckily I have no gut or health issues that force me to stop eating those things). BUT what I’m leading up to here are two things that I’ve never been able to do:
1. Eat a strict healthy diet.
As in, no alcohol, no carbs, no sugar (for a short period of time), or something like doing Whole30 or the like.
It’s like I want to try it just to see if it will change my body, but the thought of NOT eating carbs or sugar at all for 30 days (even a week, okay even just a few days!) seems absolutely impossible to me. I’ve always been curious if I could do it for even just a week or a few days, but don’t actually want to try… I mean maybe if all of my meals were just made for me and handed to me I’d be able to do it, but honestly it sounds awful. And exhausting.
Wine, chocolate, bread, cheese… I mean those are like major food groups for me. I just try to eat a salad for lunch, green juices and smoothies, and vegetables at dinner to balance out the bad. Which I think is fine, once I’m where I want to be. But until I get there something has to change.
2. Workout consistently (not just for a few months).
I’ve mentioned before that I workout in cycles. I’ll workout 4-5 times a week for a few months, then things get busy, I go out of town, I have big photo shoots to produce, and I can’t get back in the grove until a month or two later. People who can fit their workout in among the crazy, I bow down.
My husband has worked out consistently his entire life. Even while getting his masters when he also had a full-time job and commuted two hours a day, he worked out regularly. So I have a built-in role model right at home!
I’ve always envied people who can get up early and workout on a regular basis — or just people who consistently workout. When my friend Krystal stayed with me this past weekend, we got up two mornings in a row and went for a 3-mile run. More like she asked me if I wanted to go for a run each morning and I — knowing I could use some cardio — reluctantly said yes. And on the second day I got a blood blister on my toe from running since I rarely run. Or maybe I need new shoes? Regardless I was just thinking, really!?! I run 6 miles and I get a blood blister! Pathetic.
Do I want to be on some super strict diet and workout out all the time. No. But I do want to get different results than I’m getting now, and tone up my body (my muscles are WEAK!). To do that I know I’ve got to change some things up with the amount I workout (needs to be more often and more consistent) and I need to be more mindful about what I eat (less sugar and carbs, more veggies and protein) because right now I know I’m indulging a little too much (because it’s summer, and well, rosé!). And I probably shouldn’t drink four glasses of wine on a Monday night. And a Thursday night. In the same week.
In the grand scheme of things, I’m healthy, I eat pretty healthy, and now that I don’t work at home, I move a lot more. And I workout — sometimes consistently, sometimes not. (I love using ClassPass.) But I can’t seem to take it to that next level of self-control. I’m going to try, but when I see rosé, I drink rosé. Bread is an option… I’ll take it!
So what am I going to do? Nothing too major (yet), but my first plan is to be better about not constantly indulging in donuts, rosé, sweets, mucho carbs, etc., and schedule my workouts even when I’m busy!
So I’m curious — have you ever done a super strict diet not just to change the look of your body, but maybe just to see how it feels? How’d it go?
Anything that worked for you as far as changing your diet or workout habits?
What are some of your favorite healthy recipes and healthy habits?
Photo by Meg Biram