Eating better, a coffee addiction, stress, lack of exercise and “living to work, rather than working to live” have all been on my mind lately. With probably one of the most stressful stretches of work in the last few months contributing to my sleepless nights, poor eating habits and coffee addiction, I am trying to make changes in my life to break the cycle. But man it is hard! Habits you are in are hard to break and habits you want to get into are hard to form.
On the eating better front, I try to buy healthy food and snacks; but when I get home exhausted and stressed out I don’t feel like cooking and cleaning up and end up eating something unhealthy or ordering in food that is also less than healthy and expensive. And then the healthy food I did buy on the weekend with good intentions ends up going to waste adding to my guilt over wasting money and food. It’s a vicious, vicious circle.
My coffee addiction, at least one or two “skinny vanilla lattes” every morning is needed or my day doesn’t really get started. My husband bought me a really nice Pasquiani espresso maker a few years ago for my birthday and I love it. I love it for many reasons, first I don’t have to get my clothes on and run to the local coffee place for my latte in the morning, second it’s much cheaper to make the latte at home with my own ingredients. But I still sometimes end up going to Starbucks or wherever to get another one because I just can wake up. And according to a recent New York Times article by Anna North the coffee addiction is just another fast food problem in America, here’s an excerpt;
“But the notion that lattes are a sign of privilege may be off-base. Kyla Wazana Tompkins, a professor of English and gender and women’s studies who’s a former food journalist and the author of “Racial Indigestion: Eating Bodies in the 19th Century,” told Op-Talk that “the latte, while it may be attached on a certain level to too much upper-class food knowledge and pretension, it really is no longer an upper-class drink.” She explained: “No matter how many kale salads Starbucks puts in their case, Starbucks is a fast-food purveyor.” The latte, she argued, “is a high-calorie food that’s being pushed in an industrialized way largely to working-class people.” And, she added, “it’s important to think about the explosion of all of these industrialized lattes, all these frozen lattes, all the Frappuccinos, as links to a larger problem of creating cheap, high-calorie, low-nutrition food for working-class people.”“
I am not sure I totally agree with the “high-calorie” bit, while it is true you can get an 800 calorie frappuchino at any coffee outlet, just like you can get a 1,500 calorie meal at McDonalds, it is still about choices. My choice rings in at a reasonable 120 calories. But that gets back to what are the choices we are making in our lives. Do we consume 1,500 at lunch and then go back to our homes and sit on our butts watching TV or playing video games and then consuming our 1,5000 calorie dinner and going to bed. Or are we ordering a reasonable meal, getting some exercise and only occasionally indulging in a high calorie treat? We all have choices and make them everyday, either mindfully with intention or mindlessly to compensate for things that are missing in our lives or just plain out of a bad habit.
I also wrote recently about my attempt to “Learn Something New” and my new SUP boarding fun. But this also comes down to making time for exercise and doing something that is good for your mind and body. With 50+ hour work weeks, stress and the demands of family, pets, kids etc it can be very hard to fit in those things that are fun and good for you, but I am trying to make time for them because when I think about their importance to a healthy life I know that they are as critical as going to the dentist regularly and healthy eating.
Stress, work/life balance and taking better care of myself all seem problems I can’t seem to get control of and it’s my fault because I make my choices; consciously or unconsciously. Sometimes it feels like I take one step forward and two steps backwards in my conscience living attempts. But, I know it’s for my own good to keep trying, keep learning and keep improving and I will get there some day.
Do you have any tips for mindful living and making better life choices?