This weekend I watched the documentary, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead on Netflix. I liked it. It challenged me in several ways and I felt pumped to drink a lot more fresh juice.
But, like most food documentaries, it left me feeling guilty for not being a health food & fitness superstar. In the downward spiral of guilt, I forced myself to the Y and went grocery shopping (since I hadn’t worked out in a few weeks and just had ½ old garlic head and ranch dressing left in my fridge).
As I forced my way through every grueling moment on the stupid elliptical machine and wheeled my mini cart through the isles of Trader Joe’s, I realized something. I’m trying my best. We’re all trying and we’re not perfect, and I don’t feel all that guilty about it. I don’t think you should either.
That led me to want to confess a few things to you to prove my point. Disclaimer: This is not to encourage you to follow in my footsteps, but to encourage you to do what you can and don’t feel too guilty in the meantime. Life’s too short to be down on yourself all the time.
I don’t eat organic food.
::GASP!:: Nope, I don’t. I know I should, but I don’t. It’s not that I don’t want to–and it’s not that I don’t believe in the benefits of it. I wish that all of the food we ate could be organic—and the fact that we have to make a decision to pay double for “real food” is a little tragic. I know all of the health benefits, I know it has much more nutrients in it than “normal” fruits and veggies in the store and it even tastes better. But for the most part, I think organic fruits and vegetables are entirely too expensive.
If you can’t justify organic produce, try local produce! Local produce is better because it’s cheap and it’s fresh. Just down the road from me is a local produce stand with food that is much cheaper than the grocery stores, AND you’re supporting local farmers, so booyah.
I’m not necessarily discouraging you from buying organic produce, but don’t let that be a reason that you don’t eat fresh produce at all! I know several people who think that “all produce is expensive” because they see the organic prices, and they end up forgoing fresh foods all together!
But, I do what I can. Buy a “normal” apple if you don’t want to spend the money on an organic apple. Hey, at least you’re eating an apple, for Pete’s sake, and not a Twinkie. Put it all in perspective, and do what you can. It’s all about baby steps.
I hate working out.
I really do. The last thing I ever feel like doing is driving 15 minutes in traffic in the dead of summer to get on an elliptical machine under low ceilings and fluorescent lights watching celebrity gossip TV shows in a room full of sweaty women, when I have much more important things I’d rather be doing.
Not to mention the locker room with all the nakedness and the extraordinarily awkward moments in the sauna when extraordinarily awkward women rub oil all over themselves…okay, if you’re a guy, this all probably sounds great to you, but I need you to trust me when I say that it’s not okay. If you knew what kind of women were naked and oiled, you may understand this very uncomfortable face I have on as I’m writing this.
I find that I need to have something I’m working out for. I need a purpose or I need to have fun. Otherwise, working out sucks even more. Lately I’ve been maybe once a week if I’m lucky and I found myself feeling really guilty for that.
But, I do what I can. If all you can do is drop on the floor in front of the TV and do 50 crunches while you watch a re-run of Grey’s Anatomy (guilty as charged), then fine. Feel good that you did something instead of just sitting there and stop feeling guilty for not running a marathon. It’s all about baby steps.
I like beer and Taco Bell.
Let’s talk about this for a minute. General food splurging, especially consuming a beverage like beer, always gets a bad rap. I’m not talking about slamming back a 24-pack of Natty Light on a Friday night. I’m talking about enjoying a beautiful, flavorful craft beer every once in a while. I’m the kind of nerd who fully embraces beer tastings and asking questions about hops versus barley and how an IPA was invented. I truly love and appreciate the flavor.
I’m not encouraging you to start drinking beer. In fact, some doctors say that you shouldn’t drink alcohol at all if you want to live a truly healthy lifestyle, and if that’s your thing, then cool. (By the way, many doctors say that a little bit of beer in your diet is actually very healthy).
I’m also not encouraging you to eat Taco Hell… at all. That was a confession I really DO feel guilty about. It’s just so darn good…
But, I do what I can. I don’t drink beer or eat Taco Hell often, and when I do, I really enjoy it. And because I consume that stuff so infrequently, I actually can enjoy it because I know it’s a treat. You see, there’s always a balance between constant deprivation and seizing the day. If we have the means and the desire, to an extent, I think it’s okay to splurge once in a while. For me, it’s the little things in life that make me a happier, mentally healthier person. I may need to work out an extra 10 minutes to cover up that burrito, but doggonnit, I enjoyed the experience.
I have a mini fridge & a crappy kitchen.
The stars on Food Network are out of touch with the majority of the home cooks in the entire world. Most of us, like me, have nasty, crappy kitchens with leaking or broken appliances. I live with 5 girls who don’t like to clean their dishes in an old 1970’s house that has a bug & mouse problem. My food is in a mini fridge and my pantry is a small supply closet.
For a few years, I lived in a dumpy double-wide with a roommate because it was the cheapest possible housing we could find. I mean dumpy. Living there, for some reason, I used to think that my environment somehow dictated the kind of food I felt like eating. I never cooked, and often times Taco Hell was my pit stop on the way home. Somehow the idea of a healthy plate of broccoli didn’t mesh well with a dumpy double-wide. I just didn’t care and my environment was a real bummer on other aspects of my life—which is why I post stuff about cheap DIY decorating! Your environment is important!
But, ya’ know what! I do what I can! I don’t have to have a phenomenal kitchen to make phenomenal food, and you don’t either. Don’t let your surroundings hold you back and be an excuse to eat crap any more. (By the way, I fully recommend cooking gourmet meals while backpacking/camping, or think about folks in 3rd world countries who don’t even have a kitchen to cook in. That’ll put it all in perspective real fast.)
I have a sticky note taped to my computer in my cubicle at work that a dear friend wrote for me that says, “She did what she could. And it was enough.”
So, do what you can, try your best, and just live life, will ya?