Wednesday, July 4, 2012

16 Ways to Master Your Derby-Life Balance
 figure your fuel

Yes, please! Circumspice!

8. Figure Your Fuel

“Too often, the work-life balance discussion revolves around sleeping and exercising schedules; but for nonstop entrepreneurs, the conversation needs to begin with what we’re using for fuel. It’s important to stock up on healthy snacks that will reduce your cravings (for less healthy foods) and keep you going 24/7. Stash them in your desk, computer bag, and car for emergency use.” -Benjamin Leis, Sweat EquiTees

Circumspice, incidentally, is from Si monumentum requiris, circumspice on Christopher Wren's tomb in St. Paul's Cathedral and it means if you're looking for a monument, look around you. Because Wren designed St. Paul's, do you see. I just compared my blog to St. Paul's Cathedral. I love to say circumspice. It's pronounced sir-come-SPEAK-eh, not like it's the sixth spice girl. I love the idea that we're building our own monuments all around ourselves all the time, the way we live is our monument.

It's so true that what we talk about in derby revolves around ...exercising. And exercising. With eating a distant second, and sleeping a distant third or possibly fourth or fifth. This makes me crazy, it makes me want to stand outside the practice space holding up a sign like Norma Rae:

"This might be news to you, but muscle is NOT built in the gym. Muscle is built in the kitchen and in bed (while sleeping, perv!). You go to the gym to break down your muscles, then you eat enough and sleep to rebuild those muscles bigger and stronger than they were before." -Steve, Nerd Fitness

Though that's probably too many words for a sign. Maybe just MUSCLE IS BUILT IN THE KITCHEN AND THE BEDROOM or, here's a winner, DERBY GIRLS BELONG IN THE KITCHEN AND THE BEDROOM.

But yeah, look around, this blog is all about figuring my fuel, and here's where I'm at with that:

Eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods

But you know, no need to churn your own butter. If you ask me, there's no shame in:

  • frozen fruit for smoothies
  • bagged greens for salads
  • steamfresh vegetables, though I wish Jewel would get more than just broccoli and green beans
  • canned beans
  • rotisserie chicken

That's the point of this series, right? Entrepreneurs and derby girls are busy and have high energy demands, so ideally you want the easiest, highest quality nutrition you can get. Easy, low quality nutrition isn't going to cut it on the one hand, and you only have so many hours in a day and have to prioritize on the other hand.

Figure out simple preparations that you can repeat with variations

The rub with whole, unprocessed foods is that you have to cook them, but define cook. In any given season, I have five simple preparations in my head and make them over and over for the whole season. Which means I can figure out my grocery list and fix my food pretty much without thinking and also totally efficiently. Like I'm a total champion at dirtying only a minimum of dishes when I cook. You do something enough, eventually you learn how it's done.

Decide not to bake

You can save a lot of time by just deciding not to bake, seriously. Your mileage may vary, but you know that baked goods are mostly sugar or simple carbs. And I have the absolute shortest fuse for turning on the stove and washing dishes, especially pots and pans. I don't want to go through all that, and then go through it again to make myself actual nutritious food. If you just don't bake, you save baking and washing baking dishes and also looking at recipes for baked goods and also deciding every single time if you're going to bake or eat that cookie or cupcake or whatever. I bet that amount of energy is enough to power a little red schoolhouse somewhere where kids need a schoolhouse.

Ha ha, look at you, all unconvinced.

Same for fancy drinks

I mean, right? I could puree myself a strawberry lemonade with rims dipped in pop rocks, or I could just pour myself a glass of water. The dark side of this for me was that I could just open a bottle of Coke.

Set rules for treats and cheats

I think of this in levels, sort of like horizons of focus. Anything that I'm eating more than weekly has to be pretty clean: fruit and hardboiled eggs for breakfast six days a week, green salad with chicken six days a week, quinoa salad four days a week.

Anything that I eat once a week has to be, you know, actual food. Maybe not as clean as a salad, something decent but a treat. So like Tuesday is sacred taco night for me and the sweetie man, I figure tacos with rice and beans are decent. Friday, though, used to be $5 pizza night, and I never ate less than half of that pizza. Half of a pepperoni pizza every week is going to leave a footprint that I don't want. So we switched to sushi, nothing fancy, just the maki rolls that you can get at Jewel, and yes, that means white rice, not the best but decent, and also a treat, I love white rice. Or Sunday, we have brunch at Hollywood Grill, which is nobody's idea of a health food restaurant. Pancakes every week, footprint, don't want. Now I have either a Denver or a Mediterranean three egg omelet and instead of hash browns and pancakes on the side, they let me have two sides of fruit.

Anything that has pretty much no food value is a cheat and is only allowed less than once a week. So like, ice cream. In summer I love to get a scoop of ice cream on a sugar cone from Baskin Robbins, but only every other week or so. Or if I'm depressed and cake would make me feel better, did I make myself feel better with cake last week? Because I can't be making myself feel better with cake every week, better think of something else. But if I haven't had cake in a month, I send the sweetie man out for cake. He's so smart, too, he brought back a single slice of cake; so when I inevitably sugar crashed and went trolling for more, I had already eaten all the cake in the house and had to feel my feelings unmedicated.

All of these little rules maybe sound demented, but this is what this tip is about to me: you're trying to accomplish something big that burns a lot of time and energy, and that also burns fuel, you need not to burn a lot of time and energy on getting your fuel, you need good fuel... so figure it out, problem solved. I know this sounds obvious, but solving problems gets rid of problems. Y U NO SOLVE PROBLEM? Ask yourself if you're not solving the problem because you don't think you'll like the solution. Solve the problem anyway! Solving problems feels great, don't deprive yourself of that just because of some stupid solution. Problem first, then solution...