Breaking the Habit

I have this incessant habit of wanting to eat something sweet after every single meal.

After breakfast, I can usually control it.

Lunch, sometimes.  I can usually eat a piece of fruit or yogurt and be chill.

Dinner, I can’t even handle it.  MUST. EAT. DESSERT.

So, cue the conscious habit breaking!

I’m a firm believer in the power of mind (hence my degree in psychology), so I know I can do this… and I know it won’t be easy, at all.  Tonight, I took a step forward by overcoming my desire for a massive dessert, instead making a delicious iced coffee and having a finger-scoop of Nutella.

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Look how beautiful!  I poured the coconut milk in after the ice and coffee, and it made a wonderful little pattern.  Sadly, my camera was dead, so my (grainy) blackberry picture must suffice.

Anyone have any tips for habit breaking?  Getting over my dessert obsession?

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A beautiful sunset from country-ville, Ohio!

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Part VI: Photography

The winding journey of learning how to photograph the beauty of life.

Canon SX120 IS, the ever handy.  Click for higher resolution!

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A friend of mine, having completed his exams at Oxford University, summer 2011

The ever-lovely Stonehenge, England, spring 2011

Which can also be rather ominous – Stonehenge, England, spring 2011

The Altar of St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Rome, winter 2010

A to Z!

Love this blogging trend… and it makes me think hard!

The A to Z of Brie!  (look, I rhyme.)

A – Airplanes.  I spend a good portion of life on them (or so I feel like), and the funny thing is that I’m really not the biggest fan.  I used to be deathly afraid, and with my hip issues I’m always uncomfortable, but I know that they always take me to a place that is wonderful.

B – Bread.  My favorite thing.. what I always crave.. and the bane of my self control.  So many things in one!  My favorite types are sourdough and spongy oat/wheat combinations, and I really love making homemade bread.

C – Coxing.  I mean, let’s be real, how could this NOT be my “c”?

D – Dessert.  I always crave something sweet after finishing lunch and dinner.  Oftentimes, a great yogurt or fruit hits the spot, but sometimes you just need that spoonful of marshmallow fluff.  Yum.

E – England & Europe.  The place where my heart lies, and where my body will soon follow!  Come September, I’ll be settling in merry ole England to study at Cambridge.

F – Family.  My parents have supported me through everything, and I can’t wait for them to hop the pond to visit!

G – Gates.  As in, Mr. Gates himself.  The Gates Cambridge Trust is paying for my entire PhD at Cambridge (living costs included), and I couldn’t be more honored to be a part of this network.  I’m looking forward to meeting wonderful, world-changing individuals, and having the opportunity to expand my knowledge at, arguably, the greatest university in the world.

H – Hard-boiled eggs.  I might regret using my “h” for this later, but right now, I’m obsessed with hard-boiled eggs.  Sometimes I medium-boil them (so that the yellow is solid but delightfully fluffy), and sometimes I soft-boiled them so that they split open on my salad or toast.  Now I’m craving one.. crap.

I – Ice cream.  The thing that hates my stomach, but that I love most.  My favorite flavors include Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and recently, Ben and Jerry’s Greek Yogurt varieties.  I just did recently did a product review of Blueberry Vanilla Graham.

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J – Joking.  About 95% of what I say is sarcastic or humorous.  Don’t take life too seriously!

K – Kitchen.  The best place in any home.  I have no idea how I lived without a kitchen in my immediate vicinity in college for two years.  Seriously, I feel like I practically live there.

L – Long books.  Whenever I walk into a bookstore, I ignore any book that appears to be shorter than 300 pages.  I don’t know why – I just gravitate to the longer novels, etc.  It’s something that I’ve always done.. as if I judge quality by length?

M – Music. I have a downright huge range of musical loves, ranging from classic rock to bluegrass, and with a raging love of rap.  Some of my workout playlists should be rated R.

N – Neuroscience.  What I will pursue for my PhD – specifically, stroke rehabilitation.  It’s such a cool, growing discipline, and I can’t wait to learn more!

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O – Opportunities. I’ve had so many wonderful ones, thanks to school, Red Cross, etc., and I can’t speak enough to people about making the leap.  Go for things even if you have a hesitation.  The worst that could happen would be for something to not work out – but how would you know if you don’t try?

P – Pumpkin.  My favorite fall flavor.  I love pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin pie, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin mousse, pumpkin muffins… no, really, just feed me pumpkin.

Q – Quirky.  Me.

R – Red Cross.  I’ve volunteered for these guys for almost 7 years, and have loved every minute.  Their mission is incredible, and they treat their volunteers with immense respect.

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Meeting with South American Red Cross societies in Barranquilla, Colombia.

S – Sammy.  My cockapoo (cocker spaniel + poodle) mix, who isn’t the brightest creature on the planet, but is certainly the most kind hearted… and darn cute.

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I also have a few more animals in my household…. (minus my cat)

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T – Thanksgiving. Most say Christmas is their favorite holiday, but I prefer Thanksgiving because of the family and the food!

U – University.  I like to think I’ll be in University, somehow, for the rest of my life.  My brain flourishes in this setting, so hopefully I’ll be a research Professor as a career!

V – Volunteering. Love the rush it gives me, and love meeting new people.

W – Working Out.  Ah, the obligatory “fitness” shout-out.  I’m trying to figure out the best way to get a good workout with my hip limitations.

X – X-ray.  I get so many of them!

Y – Ya’ll.  A hilariously Southern phrase that I think is hilarious, and probably overuse.

Z – Zoo-school.  I went to a special program during my junior year of high school that sent me half-day to the Columbus Zoo to study the drill monkeys.  By far one of the coolest experiences of my life!

Part V: Photography

The journey continues.  Where does it end?

With my baby, the Canon SX120 IS.  Click for higher resolution!

Oxford Botanical Gardens, England, spring 2011

The Great Spire of Salisbury Cathedral, England, spring 2011

Lighthouse off the Coast of Santander, Spain, spring 2011

Santander, Spain, March 2011

I’m sure you’ve all caught on… but I really, really love trees.

Coping with Injury

I’ve gone to physiotherapy more than 6 different times throughout my life.  I’m very pigeon-toed (not the scientific name, obviously), but in effect, this makes both of my legs turn inward a lot and puts immense amounts of strain on the muscles that respond with internal rotation.

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(above: I’m also prone to injurious accidents.. both of the above were caused, in some way, by coxing!  One, I was thrown from a boat by a collision, and the other, a dock broke underneath my feet.)

I played soccer for 14 years or so, and always had problems with my feet (high arches, plantar fasciitis), knees (tendinitis, popping, knee cap moving), shins (lateral splints), but never my hips.  In 2008, I took up rowing, and BOOM, hip death.

I went to 5 different doctors and spent nearly 2 years searching for a diagnosis of my hip problems.  I still don’t have a concrete one.  Generally, I’m told that I have “capsulitis, tendinitis, overly tight tensor fascia latae, piriformis, quadriceps and hamstrings, small amounts of bursitis and impingement.”

Cute, right?  I got surgery on my left hip in June, 2010.

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It was arthroscopic surgery, so it wasn’t too invasive, but a lot was done.  They shaved down my femur head, hip socket, restitched the tissue that lined the socket (since my femur had rubbed against it for so long and torn it), and half-severed my iliopsoas tendon (to lengthen it).  I had to wear this machine for 6 hours a day, for nearly a week.

Needless to say, I watched a lot of movies.

Today, I’m still working through things.  My right side is getting worse, and I attend PT twice a week for deep tissue massage, ultrasound and lateral strengthening.

I’m a bit worried about heading to England and not having PT covered by insurance… unsure if it’s in the national plan.  Fingers crossed.

Recently, I’ve tried deep needling (ouch), and taping.  The taping is quite interesting.  Usually it’s nude-colored, but of course they decided to tiger stripe me today.. the day before our big “end of internship” luncheon where I was planning on wearing a dress.  Haha.

So, the journey continues with hip struggles and life.  Maybe one day I’ll get to the point where I have a pain-free week?  My hopes are high!

Those Deceiving, “Simple” Diet Rules

There are basic “rules” that undoubtedly feed successful mindful eating habits, especially if you’re trying to maintain or lose a bit. 

Without a doubt, I’m terrible at all of them – but it’s a work in progress!

I grew up with certain habits, and breaking them is tough.  I also have to take into account my personal values/mindset (like refusing to “not complete” something).  So, what simple rules do I struggle with?

  • Eat when you’re hungry.  I can’t tell you how much I do not do this.  I eat when it’s “time” to eat, whether or not I’m hungry.  This is sometimes fine, but mostly just makes me less enthused about my choice to eat when I wasn’t hungry.  I’m a very time-concerned person (and let me tell you, I test in the 99th percentile of ‘conscientiousness’ on a personality scale), which means that I struggle not having things on a schedule.
  • Share.  I never think about sharing things.  Maybe it’s because I’m an only child from a family of three?  I don’t think of asking to share things at restaurants, but this is something I’m definitely getting better at! 
  • Stop when you’re full.  I am convinced that I have this mechanism of ‘not full’ and ‘holy crap, sick.’  There’s no pleasant, ‘satisfied’ feeling located in my system.  Of course, this could be a mindset, or the fact that I eat rather quickly, or that (again) I tend to eat by “assuming” how much I need rather than listening to how much I need.  All potential problems.  Working on this one.
  • Saying no.  This is probably what I struggle with the most.  I love spending time with people, and usually that revolves around food.  I rarely say no to anything and conform to whatever the other person eats/is ordering.  This often leads to high caloric coffees from Starbucks, a nice muffin from the local bakery, etc.  You see the spiral.  I am getting better at this one, but it’s a work in progress!
  • Not constantly thinking about food.  Literally, I think about food all the time.  Not when I’m hungry – all. the. time.  It’s not so bad when I’m busy doing things, but often enough, I’m not that busy.  I need to find another outlet.
  • Cravings.  This kind of falls under the ‘eat when you’re hungry’ thing, but if I see something on TV or on a food blog that I’m trolling, I instantly want to make it and eat it.  Right then.  That second.  It couldn’t possibly wait until tomorrow.  I’m definitely getting better at this one, but some days are better than others.

Whew, quite a list.  But, at least I’m working on most of them! 

I have to remind myself: love the process.

They seem so simple, right?  What do you guys struggle with?