I’ll be the first to admit that I am super, super food-motivated.
Where others may dream of spending their hard-earned money (and in my case, imaginary-government money) on pretty clothes or shoes, manicures and makeup…most, if not all of my “fun budget” (as one of the residents I talked with puts it) goes towards food and groceries (mostly the latter, since I rarely go out to eat).
In fact, if not for my love of performing arts and volunteering (e.g. International Festival to fundraise for my medical service trip to the Dominican Republic & Follies to raise money for the women’s shelter/so I could perform at Carnegie Hall), the only photos the school photographer would have of me would be me surrounded by, or eating copious amounts of food.
My motivation for working out is partially fueled by my desire to get to eat more. I’m also a major social eater. (Basically, if food is in front of me, I will eat it.)
So how the hecks do I combat this?
- The “everything in moderation” philosophy. I don’t like the idea of complete restricting what I eat because it usually just tends to make me crave it more. I followed IIFYM for a while back when I was getting myself in shape for a ring girl competition and it yielded pretty awesome results. These days, however, I’m honestly too lazy to weigh my food and log everything. I might get back into it one day, but at present, I think what I follow is a lot closer to “intuitive eating.”
- Drink more water! It’s more hot tea than water right now because I’m a wimp when it comes to cold-weather living. My recent bout of a busted lip due to not-enough-water where my lip would crack again every time I smiled, has served as wonderful motivation to keep myself hydrated. (+ if you don’t want the kids/babies at the peds clinic you’re rotating at to think you’re a monster, you can’t not smile. :[ )
- A cheat meal/day once a week. I implemented this back in the day when I first started lifting weights/gettin’ my fitness on. On the whole, I actually really do enjoy healthy food, so my cheat meal/day generally just consists of eating much larger portions of healthy/healthy-ish food. (Saturday tends to be my cheat day because of church potlucks.)
- Rid my apartment of unhealthy snacks and keep it stocked with healthy awesomeness. I think I’ve sent/given away pretty much all, if not most of the unhealthy things in my apartment. (I refuse to part with my Nutella or my Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter though.)
For healthy snacks, I always try to have some sort of fruit or Greek yogurt hanging around in my apartment. I make my own “trail mixes” with mixed nuts + dried fruit, and pop my own popcorn. I also usually have lots of baby carrots and hummus on hand.
- If it’s later in the evening/early morning…I brush my teeth. Sad as it may be, the sheer laziness from my not wanting to have to brush my teeth again stops me from pounding down the entire bag of Trader Joe’s Cowboy Bark in one sitting.
Aside from all the benefits I learned about back in exercise biology, my reasoning is very simple.
How often do you see the statement, “Please consult your physician or health care provider before starting a health or fitness/wellness program,” written after every diet plan and workout program there is out there?
How much do physicians know about all these programs that keep popping up?
In the first two years of medical school, we learn the anatomy, the physiology, the pathology, the treatment, and all the nitty-gritty details behind a billion different conditions. In third and fourth year, we’re sent out into the real world to gain clinical experience, and how to actually treat patients. We’ve always been told to advocate exercise and healthier eating habits, but I’ve really only received maybe a handful of lectures on exercise and nutrition combined.
As an aspiring physician, I don’t ever want to have to tell a patient to “do as I say, not as I do.” I want to inspire them by leading by example. I want to learn as much as I can about fitness and nutrition so that I’ll actually know what I’m talking about when I suggest exercises and meals to them, or when they ask me about different programs that they’re interested in.
That’s what fuels me. <3 I want to really make a positive difference in their lives.