I want to eat healthier. I want to exercise more regularly. I want to make wiser choices. I want to have better willpower. Do you ever have these same thoughts and wonder how in the world is it that everyone I know seems to be able to make life changes but I am stuck in my same ways as that of a country girl?
You know the cowboy way of life where you rose before the sun, ate a nice hearty egg, bacon and biscuit breakfast. Then left the house with a cantina to work til the beating noon day sun. You dropped in the house for a processed meat sandwich and back to work until dark. After some hand washing and a little prep time, we sat down to a full meal of something like chicken fried steak with gravy, garden grown mashed potatoes, fried okra and some green beans. This was the regular day and typical meals.
Then I go to college and try to adjust to the $5.00 / meal way of life which ups my preservatives intake, lowers my vegetable intake, and I began stocking up on as many calories as possible when the parents come to town to feed me. It is this awful routine.
Then I grow up, get a real job and can’t figure out how to break this meat heavy, yet convenience-driven, unhealthy cycle of food consumption. For years I try food boxes, meal plans, 30 day commitments and anything I could find to kickstart new eating habits. And then it happened – my entire environment changed so I started changing too.
You know research suggests that you are the “average” of your three closest friends which means you will have friends who earn a little more and some who earn a little less; you will have friends who weigh a little more, exercise a little more, or a just a bit happier. You will also have those friends who weigh a little less, exercise less, and are less optimistic, and you will be somewhere right in the middle of all of them. You will be the average of your friends. Is this true for your life? Think about your friends, co-workers, and spouse — are you the average of the people you hang out with in any of these ways?
I have always been the average in the sense that around my most conservative of friends, I was the most liberal and around my most liberal of friends I am seen as very conservative (true story and probably a reflection of my time being split b/w New York and Oklahoma). In the weight, workout and food category, I have not always been the average. Most of my friends don’t workout as rigorously as I do and they generally eat like I did as a ranchers daughter, very meat heavy while sporatically trying to lower the carb intake or the processed food consumption. But I have not had any vegetarian or veggie-heavy close friends.
Until recently and I now work with predominatly fruit and veggie eating girls who all have their own workout routines. I still fight so many of the same guilt-ridden questions about my personal will power and commitment to health, but I have noticed I am making some changes. For example over the last month I have traveled with family a few places. On one trip I chose the restaurant when we went out for dinner and the restaurant I chose was completely different than anything my Mom or guests would have chosen. It was clean, whole 30 type food and I was excited and the food was great. I even knew most of the items on the menu. (progress I tell you) I did not chose the restaurant to be different or to make it difficult for my guests to chose an entrée, but I wanted this food for my “nite out” of fancy food. Then again a couple weeks later I was traveling and while the family ordered a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit, I chose a cheese and fruit tray and a berry blast. What? Who am I? Where did the country girl go?
What I noticed – really for the first time – is that I have changed. I have made some healthy choices in my life and they have become my habit. I almost cant believe it. I was on the plane and I was reading vegan recipes. I was smiling about dishes that didn’t have any meat in them. I see this as a win. I have not been on a systematic program. I have not been ordering boxes, but I started spending 6-8 hours a day with people who eat more plants, more vegetables and fruits and I started eating them too. I am becoming the average of my new friends with my old friends. And as my circle of daily influence changes, so do my habits. Now, I am the one in the group who wants to find some place to eat with a vegan burger. I can’t believe it. I have changed. If only two or four meals a week, it is something. I have changed. #SuccessWithoutApology #SucccessInSmallbites