I am not a natural skater. It is a lot of work for me, physically and mentally.
I am not a natural athlete. I don't think of my body very much and prefer to keep my mileage low. Given time on my own, I will crawl into a ball and use only my arms to hold a book. Well, maybe the occasional walk to the kitchen to make more tea.
When I was in high school, I had a friend tell me that he could see me spending my adult years laying on a couch, yelling at my kids to fetch mommy more bon bons.
So, despite this derby thing being terrifically difficult, I think I'm doing pretty good. Difficult is do-able.
But to make difficult do-able, I need to take care of the things I can at home with my body so that do not merely survive a hard, ass kicking practice in the heat but actually learn a few things too. Surviving isn't enough. I want to excel. I have to work extra hard in the rest of my life in order to make the time and effort I put in at practice count.
Which means I have to be thoughful when I care for myself nutritionally. I must workout outside of practice. I must treat myself as the athlete I aspire to be. At least I can have that covered so that my sucking at derby won't be further exaggerated by poor diet and lack of muscles.
Still. I'm not perfect. And when I slip, I fall down much further than I expect.
My birthday, bless it, past recently and suddenly there was cake and a celebratory Chinese dinner and, omg, ice cream and chocolate bars for treats. Going to the movies instead of working out. Old habits never quite disappear and it doesn't take much to have them take over again, eroding a lot of hard work.
Then the carb cravings ramped up and I started having toast for breakfast instead of the preferable hemp protein and almond smoothie. And then toast for snack before bed and a glass of wine instead of mint tea. And then cake for lunch. And more toast.
I love toast. I fucking love toast. And bon bons. Kids, bring mommy her bon bons!
But toast and wine and bon bons do not love me. They make it harder for me to do the things I want to do. Toast makes my middle swell and look like I'm hiding a beach ball in my jersey. And wine gives me cankles to match my swollen belly. And bon bons make me angry and tired. And when I feel down, it seems so. much. easier. to go get another piece of cake than to make a salad. All that chopping and stuff... ugh.
I've read in several places that it is better to never have another cookie again than to reward oneself for good nutritional choices with a once a week cookie treat. It seems our bodies will, after a few days without a narcotic substance (and sugar, wheat and all the delicious white stuff is) kind of forget about it. Your body will crave what you give it. But a little bit of the super sweet stuff is like a super stimulator and even a tiny amount will overload your craving center, until all you can do is think about getting just one more cookie.
Or piece of toast.
They also say it is best to have a balance of foods. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and all nuts and protein powder and no dark chocolate Aero bars makes Malady a sad bore. But I don't really do balance well. Toast is a gateway to large bars of chocolate and entire bottles of wine. There is sweet stuff that I can have a little bit of and not want more. Like fruit. Good stuff, feels great to eat a bit, won't go crazy about it, you know?
I don't believe I can do balance well. Not at this stage of the game anyway.
So how do I drag myself back out of this pit and start behaving like an athlete again?
The above was written last night right before a two and half hour travel team practice, including an off skates warm up with a run and three rounds of 5 pull ups, 10 tuck jumps, 15 bicycle crunches, 20 inverted push ups, 25 box jumps.
3(5+10+15+20+25) = 225 reasons not eat another fucking bon bon ever again.
Working out and practice always improves my nutritional choices for 24 hours afterwards, because I remember how hard it is to move around all this poundage plus a ball of (vegan) ginger beef in my belly. Athlete, do what?
Action item #1: Workout at least once every 24 hours.
Workouts don't need to all be super stair running and plyometric intervals. Some days, just going to the playground with the kids gets my heart racing for half an hour or more. And getting myself to more practices is just helpful all around.
This morning I went to the post office which happens to be located beside a walk in medical clinic. Nothing like a load of sick people to encourage you to pass by the pasta and chop that salad. And then run some stairs for bone health.
Motivation is a funny thing. When there is an immediate consequence, say touching a hot stove, you learn quickly and easily not to do things that harm you. When consequence comes hours, weeks, or years later, we forget that things can be harmful for us.
The trick is to mentally invoke a consequence that may not happen for years in order to motivate your behavior now. Green things are good for me, sugar things are not, and as I age my diet and habits of movements will increasingly show themselves.
Action item #2: Remind myself frequently of the consequence of good health.
For me this means a lot of people watching, something I like to do anyway. Check out people's carts in the grocery store then try to gauge their relative health. Hang out where people work out. Go the the mall for fresh veggie juice while checking out the food court. Get really, really (quietly) judgmental about people.
What this all boils down to is choices. I am not lacking information about nutrition, I know what is good for me. I know what makes me feel like an awesome kung fu ninja and what makes me feel like I've been dropped in the pit of despair and I'm too fat to scale the walls back out again. I'm not dumb. But I do make poor choices sometimes.
Action item #3: Remove the choice.
Bye bye leftover birthday cake. Later bon bons. Ciao loaf of bread. Heelllllllo greens.
There are many, many other small actions I can take to encourage better choices if I'm going to remain an athlete as I cruise into middle age. But, for me, these are the big ones. I know these ones have overriden my poor habits from the past and that a week or two of good choices will dimish my cravings and tendency to sloth greatly. These three actions are my lifestyle equivalent of being a jammer up against a strong front wall, knowing that if she can just stay upright and keep pushing then eventually either the wall will break or she'll push them out of play.
Then she'll be free to run.