Saturday, August 10, 2013

Don't let an "all or nothing" mindset let your attempts just turn into nothing

In my last post about trying to be healthy in residency, I said that my mantra would be, "You can do anything, you just can't do everything". After my first rotation, I'm realizing that "anything" might be more limited than I originally anticipated. So, unfortunately, my tried and true habit of cooking a week's worth of healthy meals a week at a time has been put on hold, at least for now. Time for a new strategy.

So I'm 3 weeks into a month and a half of being a zombie doctor (no I don't eat patients' brains... I'm referencing being on night shift). During this run of being only up at nights, I discovered two things: 1) I want to go to bed immediately when I get home and sleep for the little time I do have, and 2) On my days off, a combination of having other errands and having a completely zonked out circadian rhythm usually means I'm ready to go grocery shopping at around 1am... which hasn't proved very effective.

Steamed veggies at California Hospital's hot food bar
Salad bar at California Hospital
I also got to thinking... wait a sec... why am I spending so much money on groceries when the hospital pays for my meals at the hospital cafeteria? It is like how Google and other tech companies provides incentives and benefits for their employees working long hours... except the difference is, they actually have good food, or more specifically, more healthy food options. I find hospital cafeterias, just to be lacking in variety, particularly in the department of healthy proteins. So, I learned to compromise. Instead of spending 3-4 hours a week planning a weekly meal, grocery shopping, and cooking, now I spend 1 hour running to the grocery store and buying protein that I then throw random spices onto and bake for 30 minutes while doing other things. I then take 1-2 servings to the hospital every night and combine it with whatever healthy options are available in the cafeteria. Although it's slim pickings, at least so far in every hospital cafeteria I've found at least a bare bones salad bar, and then usually at the hot food station, one of their meals will come with a side of vegetables. So I'll combine my protein with their salad/side of veggies and make my own healthy meal.

Usually I'm a go big or go home type of person... but in this case, I've learned to be in a "I'll use the resources around me to make something work" frame of mind. It saves me time, saves me money, and helps me keep my habits sustainable, because unfortunately, sometimes all or nothing... just turns into nothing.

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