These are my confessions.
I’m going to have to ask Usher to share the podium for a few minutes here. I know many of us fitness folks like to act like we have perfect diets – we always eat “clean” (or what have you), we get in our daily gallon of water, and we hardly ever have slip ups. I wouldn’t be surprised if I gave many of you readers the same impression about myself. I want you to all to be aware, however, that despite having a solid dietary foundation, I still have my quirks.
And I’m here to lay them out for you.
I have the world’s most serious sweet tooth. I have it down to a science. How many Splenda packets goes into my morning iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts? 4 for a small, 7 for a medium, 10 for a large. Yes, I know it’s disgustingly excessive, but that’s the way I like it. Granted, I stick to Stevia as my sweetener of choice when I can, but when I’m in a bind, Splenda will do. My affinity for candy is no better. Werther’s caramels, Swedish Fish, Almond Joy – if you leave it out in front of me, there’s a good chance the rest of the day will be shot. I’ve never tasted anything that I thought was “too sweet”; I’m usually making it even sweeter. There was a time during my childhood when I would routinely open the fridge and chug sweetened condensed milk straight out of the can. My knees buckle at the sight of ice cream (real ice cream, mind you) and I can never get too many toppings on my froyo.
I’m all or nothing when it comes to gum. Which is why I’m trying to quit it cold turkey. The worst period for me was my senior year of high school, when I was grinding through 8 full classes, a handful of extracurriculars, and getting in two workouts everyday. I chomped through over a pack of gum a day – not unlike a bad smoking habit – to deal with the stress. My gum of choice has been narrowed down to the 5 green (aka spearmint) and Extra (mint chocolate chip) flavors. I’ve so far been successful for the past three weeks in staying away from all that masticating (sounds dirty, doesn’t it?) and opting for more teeth brushing sessions, but only time will tell whether this will be a permanent lifestyle change. I’ve been known to crave gum so badly to the point of driving to a gas station in the middle of the night just to get my fix. Addictive personality – who, me?
I drink a Diet Mt. Dew everyday. With my new working hours as a strength coach at Tyler English Fitness, I’m awake by 4a.m. every morning. I’m sipping on my first coffee an hour later, and usually within the next 3 hours, I’ll crack open a can. I’ve already been accused by fellow coaches – and clients alike! – of “hiding” the can in my arms as I walk around and coach. What, hey… I can’t help it! Okay, okay, yes I can. I don’t know what it is about this particular soda that I like so much. It takes everything in me to cap it at just one can a day; otherwise I will gladly chug through at least three. This is one little dose of happy-in-a-can (quite literally) that I refuse to give up.
Sometimes I go days without consuming any veggies. I’m a little ashamed to say this, but I’ve resorted to purchasing frozen steam bags of broccoli and green beans just to make sure I get my daily greens. I’ve encountered far too many instances in the past year when I’ve bought produce and left it to rot in the fridge for weeks, only to have to throw it all out at the end. I figured frozen is at least better than nothing, and now I make an effort to eat at least 2 cups a day. It’s weird to think that there was once a time when I was an absolute fiend – and I’m talking heaping piles of butter lettuce, cucumbers, bell peppers, and broccoli. Today, I have to throw spinach in my shakes and trick myself into eating more leafy greens.
I like eating crap food. I mean I really, really like it. If I could get away with living off a diet of sliders (with bacon, please), onion strings, buffalo wings, and french toast, I’d be all over that in a heartbeat. As it is, however, I gain weight at the blink of an eye (not to mention all the not-so-stellar health consequences), which means I always have to keep my diet in check. I like oats and beef just fine – hell, sometimes all I really want is an oversized chicken salad – but there’s nothing quite like a succulent, cheesy burger oozing with grease. And buttery pancakes. As Julia Child herself noted, “You can never have too much butter!”
All of us have glitches in our dietary habits that make us human. And you know what? I’m not embarrassed to admit them. The last thing I want to be is someone who never strays from her diet and misses out on a social life and loving, fulfilling relationships just because I’m worried about one breath mint that I now feel compelled to burn off (I’m sure we can all think of a few people we know like this). It’s not. Worth it. I’ve been there, done that. And that shit sucks.
When all is said and done, I’d estimate that around 90% of my diet is pretty bang on. I’m always willing to leave that last 10% as cushioning for so-called “imperfections” such as the ones listed above. Unless my habits degenerate into serious, debilitating problems, I’m not going to worry about them too much.
These are my confessions. What are yours?