Sunday, November 13, 2011

Knowledge is key, but it doesn't help unless you use it

I almost never get sick. I know all of the preventative tools: proper nutrition and supplementation, limiting sugar consumption, good solid sleep, hand washing, having joy in my life, minimizing stress and exercise. Knowing these things is one thing; using them is another.

I believe in the theory of 80:20. If you eat for health 80% of the time, then you can get away with less-than-clean eating 20% of the time and you will bounce back without a problem. For example, we have "treat night" in my house once a week. Most of the time we don't have dessert after dinner, we finish dinner and we're done. But once a week we allow ourselves to have carte blanche on what we have for dessert. It could be B & J's full-fat, full deliciousness ice cream (Phish Food is a personal favorite), it could be Halloween candy, cookies, the sky is the limit. Because we limit it to once a week, there is not that much damage done health-wise and it keeps us motivated to eat well the rest of the time. Occasionally there are extra treat nights or days (birthdays, holidays, special occasions) but for the most part we stick to once a week and we use reasonable portion sizes.

Recently, however, things have been a bit challenging.

First there was Halloween. Most people are challenged to eat well during this time with all of the temptation around. I usually do fine because we don't have any extra in the house and I don't believe in eating my kids' candy. They collected it, it is theirs. This year though, Halloween was essentially knocked out by a storm; many towns cancelled trick-or-treating due to power outages and downed wires. We did go trick-or-treating in another town, but since my son was a bit under the weather we didn't stay out very long. My husband promised him that if we couldn't go out on another night he would buy candy to put in both kids' bags to fill them up a little more. So now there was candy hanging out on our table (because of course it didn't go into their bags as quickly as it should have) so I was definitely exceeding my 20%.

During the above mentioned storm a large tree fell on not one, but BOTH of our cars. We got a rental (not covered by insurance) so my husband and I were juggling schedules a bit. Then my daughter got sick. Then my son. So we were also tag teaming who got to go to work and who stayed home. Stress was rising and exercise was nil.

Lastly I was staying up too late. Consistently. I was catching up on things that I couldn't get done during then day, then other things just for my pure enjoyement (I must have joy in my life!); this was probably the straw that broke my camel's back.

I got sick.

Earlier I mentioned that this almost never happens. Any one of the previously mentioned events could have easily been compensated for by any of my normally good habits, but all the bad piled up with the worse was a disaster waiting to happen. I let good habits fall away (I knew them, just wasn't using them) and ended up with a week of bronchitis.

Knowing how to fight the battle isn't enough, you've got to fight it every day, diligently, 80% of the time. Sometimes it is good to be reminded of why we work so hard to protect our health.

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