2019 was a breakout year for me.
When I refer to ‘breakout’, I’m talking about myself, and my health. For years I exercised and ate quite well, but I’m just as guilty as the next person for overeating (because I somehow kid myself that I can get away with it) and sometimes I don’t put in the ‘hard work’, and just go through the exercise motions.
What changed for me in 2019 was a few habits. I formed or developed habits that were the foundation of change I wanted, but wasn’t getting. For instance – for years, I promised myself that I would reach a certain marathon weight as less weight is free speed. I ran long and hard but didn’t really do that much about my diet except maybe eat a few less second helpings. Year after year, my weight stayed the same and my race times were similar, no matter how hard I trained. In 2019, I removed processed flour from our house. I just stopped buying it, and buying or making white ‘artisan’ bread, and all purpose flour pasta – no more.
I’m not vilifying carbohydrates here – far from it. I suffer intensely when I am carb depleted during and after hard workouts or races. I eat carbs all the time, but complex carbs – not simple carbs. Besides the fact that excess simple carbs quickly turns into sugar (which can store as fat) when digested, I would constantly overeat them – like all the time. I know in my logical mind that 2 pieces of pizza is enough to sustain me, but I would constantly eat, 4 or 6 (or more!).
By taking away the food source, I didn’t have it to cook with. I make most of our food so this broke the habit of a) eating the wrong food and b) eating too much of it.
I replaced the meals and snacks with nutrient dense, low glycemic foods, like navy beans, black beans, chickpea flour, and more quick eating veggies, like carrots and peppers.
Only having these foods around, and not the ones that I liked to gorge on, helped me reach my ideal race weight, while eating as much as I liked throughout hard training periods. I wasn’t starving myself, or going without.
Do I miss pizza? No, because I still eat it. But it’s a once in a while food, like once a month, maybe. Do I miss artisanal sourdough? Yeah, but is feeling awesome all the time and being a trim race weight better? Hell yeah!
Strangely, changing a habit is way easier than trying to get your willpower to do the work. At least for me, this approach does not last. I try to eat a reasonable/manageable amount while making less than healthy and super tasty food is plain stupid, I manage myself for 1, maybe 2 meals and then like I have amnesia, I’m right back to BIG servings, because I’m starving.
I’ve added other habits too. Like eating a carrot or 2, 10 minutes before a meal. It’s stunning how this helps me not eat like I’m never going to get another meal.
This simple and logical approach of Habits did not just come to me. I can not state that I know how to manage myself better than anyone else but I know myself well enough to know that if I surround myself with the right things and processes than I am much more capable of meeting my own expectations. What this means is that I needed to identify what I was willingly allowing myself to do that was stopping me from meeting my goals and decide on what I must do over and over again to reach them. Sustainable tweaks to my diet has made a lasting healthy impact, which with the change of Habits, is easy.
2 Books that I listened to this year that were massive for my mental focus and goal setting were:
What I got from this book: A practical, logical way to understand what Habits are and how they stop us from being successful in every part of our life. I learned that motivation and discipline are important but not if I am doing the wrong thing, the wrong way, all the time.
What I got from this book: This book is fu*king hilarious, and Oonagh Duncan really has her shit together (Sorry for the language, but it’s appropriate in this case). Her book is an in your face, no holds barred, this is how you do it, step by step guide to a better you – that will stick! She gets right to it and doesn’t stop because she’s seen the results by working with over 1000 people. She clearly understands the latest in nutrition (even Dr.Gregor is a fan!) and lays out simple and practical steps to building better habits. This year alone I have consumed over 100 hours of audio books all based on nutrition and this is my choice of 2019 for the book that could easily improve someone’s life.
To help you reach your health goals for 2020, we have a series of new Healthy and Plant Based Cooking Classes. I am very proud of these classes and believe that you can be ultimately successful in your health goals using the meals we teach coupled with improved Habits.
I wish you all the health and happiness for 2020.