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Stay motivated after the honeymoon phase: keeping with your healthy habits

bike health goals

Me and my new Torch bike helmet on a beautiful fall day

Day 1. Riding my bike to work this morning was a dream. Cool breeze, the rush of speeding down hills, and I made it to work in half the time of my usual commute. This just might be the new favorite part of my day. I found myself telling anyone who would listen – “This is the best thing ever…Couldn’t imagine my life without it.”

Day 60. Okay. A little less fun now. I’m sleepy, I’m wearing gloves, and I am now bargaining with myself: do I work harder so I go faster, or do I slow down so there is less wind resistance? I still love riding my bike to work, but it’s definitely lost that luster and shiny new feeling that caused a surge of adrenaline every time I rode.

Day 1 was totally the honeymoon phase. The new joy of riding sustained me through sore legs, sweltering afternoons, and car-dodging that is a part of any active commute. By Day 60, me and my bike have a comfortable routine. He’s good to me, and I to him. I still fill up my tires with care, give him an appreciative pat when we arrive at our destination safely, but I’m not energized and excited to get on the bike every morning.

This transition from the honeymoon phase of excitement to the normal day-to-day is the case with most things in life because our brains are wired to like new. New things are more stimulating for our brains and produce a bigger response – for good or bad. Over time, our body becomes used to what we are doing, and we lose some of that excitement and motivation to keep on going.

It’s so important to stick with health habits and routines through this lull in the relationship though, because after the lull comes the true signs of a sustainable and lasting relationship. After the lull, these habits become so ingrained that they become our default, and thus, take a lot less energy and motivation to actually do day after day, week after week. So how do you stay motivated to stick with your health routines and habits as you leave the honeymoon phase?

Carrot Quinoa Muffin Recipe

carrot quinoa muffin recipe

Is it a good or a bad sign that these carrot quinoa muffins were the highlight of our weekend trip to New York City? I’m going to say a very good sign. We had an amazing weekend visiting friends, attending an awesome, dance-filled wedding, walking all over lower Manhattan, eating great food, and drinking delicious coffee. Quite a lot to fit in to 72 hours. Luckily, on our first morning in town, we were able to take a relaxing morning with my friend Jess to make breakfast together.

How to Enjoy Cooking

enjoy cooking at home photo

I mentioned in last week’s newsletter that I had an interesting conversation with friends where we realized that half of us really enjoy cooking – we find it to be a meditative, relaxing process – while the other half feel that cooking is tiring, difficult, and simply not worth the time. What I realized after that conversation, though, was that I haven’t always loved cooking like I do now.  Long ago, I was a slow, inefficient cook that was cooking out of need, rather than pleasure.

 

But as with any new skill, learning to enjoy cooking takes time. It takes a little more brain space until your muscle memory can kick in and you can relax into a flow as a you cook. Similar again to any other skill you’re learning, the important thing is to not give up before you reach the other side. Because once you do, cooking can be a refuge and a way to relax. In my opinion, cooking (and enjoying cooking) is one of the best skills to have because Americans who cook spend almost 60 minutes per day preparing food! Imagine how great it would be if you LOVED those 60 minutes instead of dreading them – it would be an extra hour of your day that is full of happiness, an extra 7 hours per week, and 364 hours per year.  In a day and age where every second counts….that’s a lot of time spent doing something you enjoy. 

Quick ways to choose a healthier snack

choose a healthier snack photo

Snack choices at a restaurant I visited in Bogota, Colombia last summer

 

Do you often find yourself staring at a product display, trying to find the healthy choice among 10 or 20 foods that seem exactly the same? It can be tough to figure out which product best aligns with your needs and health routine, especially since every product proudly displays why they are the best choice.

When you find yourself faced with too many product choices, but no leads on which one best aligns with your healthy habits and goals, here are some quick and easy ways to choose a healthier snack.

Welcome to Fall: Your Vata Season Survival Guide

fall vata season photo Photo Credit: Stephy Pariande from unsplash.com

 

Welcome to Fall! I love the fact that the air in North Carolina has turned crisp and cool, and we’re no longer living in 100% humidity. But that influx of wind also signifies the return of Vata season, which is typified by dryness, fast movement, and lightness. A major change from the heavy and hot summer air.

Recipe: Chickpea Salad with Kale and Carmelized Walnuts

Chickpea salad recipe photo

Last week, I found myself struggling yet again to answer a seemingly simple question: should I eat dinner at home or a restaurant? Maybe it’s because we’re faced with this decision every single day that it can be so difficult to answer. Obviously, some days are easier than others, if I’m meeting people out for dinner, or I’ve been planning a meal to cook at home…simple answer, right? but it’s the in-between days, the nights after work when there are some groceries in the fridge, but not necessarily ones that lend themselves obviously to a dish, or if I do want to cut down on costs and up the healthfulness of my meals, that the decision process becomes more complex.  Unfortunately, when faced with that list of factors, it is easiest to say – “I’ll just go out!” Because at least by eating out I would be cutting out the physical labor of making a meal.

Being Happy and Healthy At Work

Healthy at Work Photo

Image Courtesy of startupstockphotos.com

Last week, I spent a few hours working at my local grocery co-op in the middle of the day. During that time, I had a range of people occupying the seats next to me. Now, I wasn’t trying to listen in on everyone’s conversations, but it became apparent very quickly that there was a theme to many of the discussions: just about everyone was focusing on work, and just about everyone was had a pretty negative story to tell.

Personalized Medicine: Understanding your Ayurvedic Dosha

Meal for Vata Dosha

A satisfying meal for a Vata Dosha – lentils and rice with warm yogurt.

Isn’t it funny that even though all humans have 99.99% of the same DNA, we have such different preferences, routines, and needs? Perhaps you love a relaxing, grounding yoga practice, while your friend prefers to run ultra marathons…or you can’t stand the summer, while your sister revels in the heat. Despite our similarities, everyone feels best with a different set of routines and habits.

The proof is in the peanut butter

Healthy LIfestyle Habits Photo

Image courtesy of picjumbo.com

How do you tell if a certain food or lifestyle habit is working for you? I am a scientist by training, so I love to run little experiments with myself when I’m thinking about switching up my diet or physical activity routines. I’ve previously talked about changing a lifestyle habit when I cut out my afternoon cup of coffee a few months ago, but I recently had an “a-ha” moment when I recently started to dig deeper into  my relationship with peanut butter …hopefully from this you can glean insight into how to run these little experiments with yourself and what to do with the results!

Steps for test driving a new lifestyle habit: