This blog is meant to be read while listening to O-Town's "All or Nothing at All." (You remember O-Town. The O stood for Orlando. ORLANDO. While I'm sure Orlando has its rough and tumble sections...it's not exactly a town with tons of street cred. Although I did hear that they were considering it as the setting for the 6th season of The Wire, but thought the images of life-sized cartoon characters harassing bedraggled, sweat-drenched parents and sugar-amped, sticky kids at Disney World might be a little too graphic for HBO audiences.)
I've always been an all or nothing kind of person. If I'm in, I buy the books, wear the t-shirts, drink the Kool-Aid and bust out of walls to convince other people to take a sip. Do it. It will make your eyes sparkle and your lips shine and your butt tight and help you get along better with your mom. I commit so fully, so fast and so intensely that it's completely unsustainable and I burn out. And when I fall off a wagon, I can fall so far off that it feels almost impossible to get back on.
Another all or nothing habit I have is the need to have a million ducks in a row before I feel ready to start something. In college, for example, I would need to study for a class, but before I could even consider studying, I would feel compelled to clean my room first. Because...how could I study in a dirty room? Week-old Jack in the Box bags (come on Philly, we need the Monster Taco and the Sourdough Jack here!) and piles of Wet Seal clothing and trucker hats everywhere is not exactly conducive to a clear mind. So I would begin to tidy up. Then tidying up would lead to deep cleaning and deep cleaning would lead to organizing that junk drawer I've been meaning to get to, and opening that mail I've been needing to open (you know all the bills for the credit cards I signed up for to get a free frisbee that ultimately ruined my life)...and before I knew it, it would be midnight, and I would be screwed for class the next day. And while yes, studying in a clean space is helpful, I could've gone to the library and left the room cleaning for another day, or just cleaned up a little and not gone so bat sh*t. But those seemingly so reasonable options would not enter my mind.
Fast forward to life now, and I have seemed to carry those habits with me. Particularly in terms of health and fitness. I am all in or all out. I'm either Lithing 4-6 times a week and eating lean and clean and feeling really good about myself or I miss one or two classes in a row and it sets off a domino effect of missing class for 2 weeks or more. Which leads to making terrible food choices. Which makes me feel like a lazy loser and affects my motivation to accomplish other things I need to accomplish. Which just well...effing sucks all around.
When I'm in the midst of one of these breaks, I tell myself this weekend you will go to the grocery store. You will make like Lauren Boggi Goldenberg and all the other beautiful Lithe unicorns that do things like brush their hair in the morning and make their own chia pudding, and you will stock up on all the good-for-you-foods that you actually do know how to incorporate into your diet. MONDAY, you will start with a healthy breakfast, and you will pack your lunch, and you will prepare a light and delicious dinner that will nourish your body and impress your husband so much he'll want to buy you jewelry. You will be back in business!
But if for some reason, my weekend of baby showers and dinners with family and laundry and other plans don't allow me to get to the store...my beautiful plan for hot body and happy jewel-bearing husband totally falls apart. I feel completely at loose ends. And cue the aforementioned domino affect.
Why can't I go to class anyway? What does grocery shopping have to do with it? Why can't I say, well my ducks aren't in a row like I'd hoped they'd be in time for the work week, and this is going to make things a bit tougher for me, but I can still order the healthful option at this restaurant instead of the not-so-great-for-me thing. Why must EVERYTHING fly out of the window with one misstep?
Why is it so difficult for me to be balanced about health and fitness? I feel almost incapable of thinking about things in terms of their net benefit or just evening things out. If I miss a class, a balanced approach would be to then to be mindful of my food choices. If I've missed two classes, I should make it a priority to not miss a third and keep the train moving forward. Why must one missed class inevitably mean 5?
And the answer is: I don't know. I don't know why I'm so easily jump-started and even more easily de-railed. Part of me thinks that going on kicks is part of what keeps me motivated. That I enjoy the methodical preparing and ramping up of something, but once the new thrill wears off, so does my desire to keep going. But another part of me thinks it might be deeper than that. That my desire to be fit and hot and healthy is directly at odds with my other desire to be lazy and indulgent and totally spontaneous.
That maybe having my ducks in a row or being all in or out is more about these two sides of me warring with one other. That needing to have all the right groceries before working out or waiting until Monday is a way for me to justify living in the right now space of wanting to eat the unhealthy thing or watch the 3 episodes of Breaking Bad when I get home from work, while the sun's still out and good-looking, fit people jog past my window taunting me. Maybe. And perhaps that's just who I am and perhaps that's ok. But I do aspire to have balance, not just in this aspect, but in most. And for those of you with the secret, I'm all ears!
See you in class!