Reality hit when I realized our trip to Costa Rica is only a month and a week away. Reality also hit when I had to loosen my belt one more loop to accommodate the excess and gluttony I had consumed even since the end of the holidays. The thought of my beach bod surfing in a wetsuit is slipping out of my hands. A manic depression ensues...
What could I do to regain control and get myself back to the ideal version of me that I want for Costa Rica, errr, my Instagram and Facebook pictures? How can I get back to being healthy in order to fully enjoy Costa Rica?
It is simple. Eat right, exercise and lay off the Miller Lites.
This is simple in theory, at least. But how can I stay true to this regime? I decided I must establish a new covenant with myself.
First rule: Eat less meat.
Before spring break last year, I went on a month-long vegan diet in preparation for my trip to the beach in Cancun, Mexico. I lived by this and consumed cashews, avocados and hummus in monstrous amounts. My Facebook and Instagram photos looked great! Not the chiseled abs I’d hoped for, but I was not ashamed to post a shirtless picture of my friends and me lounging by the pool.
This time around, I feel it might not be necessary to go that extreme. On trips
to the grocery store, I have replaced chicken and ground beef with veggie crumbles and soy chicken strips. The innovative technology of the culinary world has advanced enough that the meatless veggie crumbles look and taste close enough to actual ground beef that even my notoriously picky mother was fooled. This is an easy rule to follow.
Second Rule: Exercise more.
“Burn more calories than you consume,” is advice I’ve heard all my life, and I hope I take to heart.
This is just a matter of putting on the gym shorts, popping in the headphones and actually doing the thing. It’s crazy to think that I actually feel tremendously better when I exercise more often, but I also feel better when taking a nap.
I have a path I run around campus that ends up being about 2.5 miles. I finish with 30 push ups and 30 sit ups. If I can accomplish this three times a week, job well done.
Third Rule: Lay off the Miller Lites.
This is by far the hardest rule. Alcohol is a constant presence in the college environment where I live. A block away from my apartment are three of the biggest and most popular bars in Tuscaloosa. Containing myself from walking over in the evenings for a beer or two is hard, and one or two eventually turn into five or six. Five or six result in exorbitant amounts of carbs and empty calories (and lots of lost money for that matter).
Add to that the fact that my job as a bartender puts me around alcohol all the time.
How do I manage?
I pick certain days to go out and drink – Wednesday and Friday nights for me. Restricting myself to just these two nights allows me to focus on my work throughout the rest of the week, which keeps my waistline trim and my wallet fat.