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Don’t Tell Me What I Can’t Do!

July 19, 2012

This is more for my own personal motivation then anything else, but I’ve told a bunch of people that I’ll be running a 5K in September, and a lot of people have said “good luck,” in a way that implies they don’t think I’ll actually be able to do it. Actually both of my parents have flat out told me I won’t be able to finish. Guess it’s a good thing I didn’t mention the half and full marathons I’m training for in the next couple of years, (next couple of years until the marathons, training started the day I decided I wanted to run them.) The 5K almost seems too easy for me, I’ve always been a pretty avid walker, and I can easily spend an entire afternoon walking around town without getting tired.

So my plan for training the Princess half-marathon right now is to just not mention it to people who will put me down, and just plan my 30th birthday trip in 2014, like I’ve been planning on going for anyway, and just magically have a medal from that when I come home. I did tell a few of my real life friends I’m going to run the Princess Half in 2014, and they’re all confident in my success for that.

This is nothing new to me though. Anytime I make a change in my life, or decide I want to do something, I’m told I either can’t do it, or that I won’t stick with it.

Going back to when I was 20 years old, I ordered one of those Disney vacation planning DVDs, though then it was actually still a VHS. I was living with my parents at the time, and my mom told me it was a waste to order it, since we wouldn’t be going on any more family vacations there. So I decided to go by myself, then it was “you’ll never save up the money for it.” Needless to say, she was wrong. I’ve gone at least once every year since I turned 21, less then a year after that initial conversation. She was also wrong about not taking anymore family trips, since both her and my father said they had zero interest in ever going back to Disney again in their lives after three previous trips there. My mom went with me in 2007, and my father in 2010.

In 2010 when I decided to go pescetarian, I had a lot of meat in my freezer that I knew I would never eat. I didn’t want to just throw it away, but it was just wasting space, so I gave it all to my parents. My mom refused to take most of it since I would “want it back,” in a few weeks when I started eating meat again. She was pretty sure that me being a pescetarian would only last a short while, even though this was after I had already been pescetarian for at least a month by then. Well, I guess she was technically right, since I am no longer a pescetarian. Over two years later and I am fully vegetarian,  almost-vegan.

To be fair, that wasn’t just my mom, since when I started eating tofu dishes for lunch at work, everyone noticed. I was told by coworkers who barely knew me that I wouldn’t stick with it. Or I’d be told they used to be a vegetarian, but it doesn’t last. And on another note, it’s amazing how many people were suddenly concerned about my health when I decided to stop eating meat, and give up most dairy. I was overweight, technically obese, though I’ve always carried my weight well, and I don’t think I ever looked that bad, but looking back at pictures now, it’s more noticeable, or lifting those 20 pound boxes of cat liter, and thinking I used to have two of those on me as extra weight, it’s truly amazing. But I used to work in a grocery store, so when I shopped after work, all my coworkers would know what I was buying. I used to buy a lot of meat, processed foods, crackers, chips, candy, cookies, the S.A.D. – standard American diet. I did buy some fruits and veggies, but looking back now, it wasn’t nearly enough. I would eat a healthy lunch, but breakfast was always diet Coke, and dinner wasn’t an actual meal, it was snacking all day on whatever I could find. But as soon as the meat was replaced with tofu, and everything else for healthier variations, every one of my coworkers seemed to suddenly become a nutritionist and tell me I should be careful, because I probably wouldn’t get enough protein, calcium, or whatever else came out of their mouths. It actually becomes very hard for me to keep my mouth shut sometimes, since people are so grossly misinformed.

Yes, as humans, we need protein and calcium, but most Americans eat too much protein, and there’s more calcium in a cup of greens then a cup of milk. Also, ever check the nutrition labels between cow’s milk and non-dairy milk alternatives? Comparing a one cup serving of whole cow’s milk to a one cup serving of almond milk, (using Blue Diamond unsweetened original,) there are only 40 calories in a cup of almond milk, 150 in cow’s milk, fat is much higher in cow’s milk too, 8 grams, with 5 of those grams being saturated fat, while only 3.5 grams of fat in almond milk, none of which is saturated fat. There is no cholesterol in almond milk, but 35 mg in cow’s milk. Sodium is slightly higher in almond milk, but a couple of extra milagrams are not a huge deal considering how low it is in everything else. Cow’s milk has more carbs too, 12 grams, compared to almond milk’s one, all 12 of which are from sugar. There is only 1 gram of carb in almond milk, and it’s from fiber, not sugar. And as far as “not getting enough calcium” goes, there’s actually more calcium in the almond milk then the cow’s milk, 45% of the daily recommend value instead of the 30% in cow’s milk.

And I really didn’t mean to turn this into a huge vegetarian thing, but when I’m on it, cow’s don’t need to be milked. I get told all the time by people that we are basically doing cows some huge favor by drinking their milk, since they need to be milked. (Or what, they’d die?) Let me set the record straight, because before I went vegetarian I never really thought about it, since I was basically raised on Got Milk? ads since it’s “nature’s perfect food,” and I should drink three glasses a day. Cows are like any other mammal and only produce milk when they have babies. Cow’s milk is a “perfect food,” but only for baby cows, not for humans. Humans are the only species on the planet that drink the milk of a different species and drink milk as adults.

So basically, when I get passionate about something I get into it all the way. Two years ago I ate as much meat as the next person, and probably more dairy then most. Now I refuse to eat any meat at all, and my dairy consumption is way down. I’ll still eat dairy and eggs on occasion, but only when I eat out or travel, and even then I still don’t feel great about it.

I think it goes without saying that unless I have some great financial problem or physical injury – knock on wood – that keeps me from getting to Florida in 2014, I will be running, and finishing the Disney Princess half marathon!

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