By Molly Patrick
Jul 7, 2015
Have you ever noticed that the time leading up to something challenging sucks way harder than actually doing it?
Let me paint an example for your brain.
Right now it’s 12:41 pm on a Wednesday and my Bikram yoga class starts in 4 hours and 49 minutes. Do you know what’s going through my mind right now?
Ways to get out of going to class.
Here are a few of the thoughts that have popped up in the last hour to justify swapping hot, sweaty, stinky yoga for my couch, a batch of popcorn and back to back episodes of Scandal.
- It’s too hot outside to go to hot yoga. Besides I already sweat today when I walked to the mailbox (<– NOT TRUE. I did not sweat when I walked to the mailbox today).
- Luanne has cramps. I better stay home with her.
- I don’t think my yoga outfit is clean (<– Also not true).
- Maybe class will be called off today (I’m reverting back to being 10 years old and hoping for a snow day).
- I’m running low on deodorant. If I stay home, I can skip it and continue to be smelly in peace.
- I probably won’t be done writing this fuckery before it’s time to leave for class and I don’t want to get out of the zone (<– This might be true, but my fuckeries take several days to perfect. So this is nothing new).
Here’s the thing – I do this dog and pony show every single week.
- I do it on Monday before the form of torture that is Kettle Camp.
- I do it on Wednesday before I enter hell, AKA Bikram yoga.
- And I do it every Friday morning before I get my ass spanked by my Piyo class (an unfortunate combination of yoga and pilates).
And then what happens?
I get to class, I get in the groove and I’m walking on cloud fucking nine by the time class is over. I pat myself on the back for going, and I forget that I spent so much time making up lame excuses to get out of it.
And then it happens all over again the next week.
It comes down to the fact that I’m a lazy fucker when it comes to exercise and I would rather eat popcorn and watch Olivia Pope “handle it” than hang out in a room that could pass as a Slip N’ Slide by the end of class.
So I get it. I understand wanting to put off good, healthy choices for ones that are more instantly gratifying. But I also know how much more satisfying it ultimately is when a good, healthy choice has been made and followed through with.
It feels way better than choosing instant gratification. Because instant gratification is fleeting. It’s momentary. And when it’s over, we have nothing left to ground us in our happiness.
Let’s work on trading in moments of pleasure for a lifetime of happiness.
And remember, the time leading up to doing something challenging is always harder than actually doing it.
If you or any of your people are having a hard time making good, healthy food choices, you aren’t alone.
I’ve worked in the healthy eating business for over 10 years, and I’ve worked with thousands of people to help them up their eating game.
For today’s fuckery, I made a list of 12 common reasons that people don’t eat better. I’m sharing the first 6 with you today and then 6 more next week. I’m also including some loving, no-bullshit advice to help kiss the excuses goodbye.
1: Lack of Energy and/or Time.
I hear this one all the time and it’s a triple-edged sword (those exist).
If you eat better you’ll have more energy, and if you have more energy you’ll eat better. But if you’re too busy to cook and prepare healthy food, than you won’t eat better and you’ll have no energy. And it goes round and round like every season of the Kardashians.
The only way to end the cycle is to hire a personal chef or if you’re like the rest of us, use your weekends wisely and plan out your food for the week ahead. If there’s nothing in your fridge that can be thrown together in 15 minutes or less, it won’t happen the majority of the time.
So use Saturday to plan some yummy meals for the upcoming week and to do your grocery shopping. And then on Sunday get your ass into the kitchen and start batch cooking.
If you make a soup, some hummus, a casserole type dish, a salad dressing and some prepped greens, eating healthy throughout the week will take hardly any time or effort at all. And when you skip the takeout Chinese lunch for a big salad and nourishing bowl of soup, you’ll uncover energy that you had no idea was available to you, and it’ll propel and inspire you to make time for more healthy cooking.
You can skip the planning part by following my weekly Plant Fueled Meal Plans. This will save you time and guarantee you yummy dinners all throughout the week.
2: Afraid of Letting Go of Comfort Food and Being Deprived.
Look – food is an emotional thing and fear can stop us from doing tons of shit.
You can be afraid, just don’t let it stop you from acting on things that you KNOW are good for you.
Work on gently changing your mindset from “Holy fuck – I’m being deprived!” to “I am choosing this for myself”.
When you remind yourself that this is your choice and you’re playing an active role in creating exactly the life that you want, you’ll go from feeling helpless and scared to feeling powerful and strong.
And then it’s just a matter of making a list of your best, most comforting comfort foods and then finding ways to tweak them into healthy versions.
Just because you decide to clean up your eating does NOT mean that you must deprive yourself of comforting Mac and Cheese and soothing brownies. You just have to get creative and make some healthy ingredient swaps.
3: Can’t Afford It.
I was at the grocery store the other day and I saw a package of raw cacao powder for $25.00. I almost gagged. It’s no wonder people think that eating healthy is so expensive. Christ!
The reality is, if you stick to the basics, you’ll get all the nutrients you need – no fancy, organic, artisanal, small batch, blessed by Madonna cacao powder necessary.
Here’s the deal. Eating healthy can be more expensive than getting your Taco Bell on, but it doesn’t have to be.
You just have to re-think how you do it. If you buy ingredients by the pound from bulk bins like beans, grains, legumes, dried herbs and spices and nuts and seeds and then hop over to the produce section and swoop up some fresh veggies and fruit, you’ll be set to make your own creations on the cheap.
The other thing to remember is that buying whole ingredients to make real food will always cost less than doctors, hospitals and medication. So even if you do spend a little more on healthy ingredients now, you’ll more than make up for it in the long run.
4: Afraid of Failing.
Fear pops up a lot when we embark on any sort of change, even if it’s for the better.
The thing is, nothing I can tell you right now will top this beat from Aaliyah, so I’ll let her handle this one.
5: Putting Everyone Else First.
I’m a recovering people pleaser, so I can relate to this one.
When we put other people’s needs before our own, we’re doing a disservice to the people we love and the people who love us.
In order to be the very best for anyone, you have to be the very best for yourself first. Only then will you be strong, stable and have the bandwidth to care for and nurture other people to your fullest potential.
If you’re in charge of making dinner and your partner and / or kids aren’t into eating healthy, make sure you have something healthy and yummy planned out for your dinner before you start on everyone else’s food.
This way you can heat up your food while making their food and you can all eat together.
Eating dinner as a family is super important. Eating the exact same thing that your family is eating isn’t necessary. Let them eat pizza while you nom into your sweet potato piled high with veggies and cashew cheese. Do this long enough and they might get curious enough about your dinner to start asking questions. And curiosity is the first step in branching out.
You can’t force someone to change the way they eat. If you’re ready to clean up your eating and your family isn’t on board, DO NOT let this be a reason to stop you. You go on with your bad self and if and when they decide to jump on board, then that’s awesome. If they don’t, you have to respect that.
Just promise me that you’ll put yourself first. After that, the rest will fall into place.
6: Not Taking Responsibility.
This usually involves lots of excuses as to why someone can’t eat better.
And when excuses turn into actual reasons for not making a healthy change, that’s when mama calls bullshit.
It might not be easy at first, but anyone can change the way they eat. And as soon as excuses turn into concrete reasons why someone isn’t doing something to better their life, it’s a red flag indicating that they’re not yet ready to take total responsibility for themselves and their behavior.
And it’s only when we take total responsibility for ourselves that we can transform our lives.
Okay – chew on those.
In the meantime, I have to pump myself up for 104° yoga and the dude who comes to class every week in his TINY leopard print undies and nothing else. The fact that he looks like Tarzan makes it extra weird and slightly uncomfortable for reasons I have yet to determine.
I’ll think about the Tarzan situation some more and you think about this Pad Thai recipe that I created for you. And then stop thinking about it and make the damn thing. Here’s what my dear friend and dedicated recipe tester had to say about it. (can you see how our friendship just works?)
- 1/4 cup smooth almond butter 60g
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste 35g
- 3 large dried dates, pit removed soaked in hot water for at least 10 minutes
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon peeled and chopped ginger
- 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro 16g
- 1/4 cup water 60ml
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 box Pad Thai rice noodles
- 1 cup red onion, sliced into half moons 100g
- 2 cups broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces 100g
- 1 cup chopped green or Savoy cabbage 100g
- 1 cup chopped bok choy 80g
- Make the sauce by placing all of the sauce ingredients into your blender and blending until totally creamy and smooth. Set aside for now.
- Cook the rice noodles by boiling a big pot of water, turning off the heat when the water reaches a boil and then placing the noodles in the pot. Use a fork or a pasta ladle to gently separate the noodles the best you can. Let the noodles sit in the water for 8 minutes without a lid, and then strain them from the water by pouring them into a colander over the sink. Rinse the noodles with cold water to stop them from cooking. Set aside for now.
- Heat a large skillet or a wok over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently and adding just a splash of water when they start to stick.
- Add the broccoli, cabbage and bok choy and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently and adding a tablespoon or so of water if they stick.
- Add the Sauce that you made earlier to the skillet, turn down the heat to low and stir until the sauce is thoroughly incorporated.
- Add a little more than half of the rice noodles and gently combine them with your pasta ladle until all of the ingredients are combined and the sauce is evenly distributed (save the remaining noodles for a cold salad or to put in soup).
- Add a little tamari, shoyu or coconut aminos if needed.
- Garnish with chopped almonds, cilantro and red pepper flakes.
I hope that you have a wonderful week. May it be filled with zero reasons why you can’t eat better. And I’ll work on not making excuses to move my ass.