You don’t know until you try

I never thought I’d quit drinking. Even now, I continually question my motives in making such a decision. That alone, if nothing else, serves as a solid reminder of why such a decision needed to be made – I need to learn to live my life apart from alcohol in order to understand and reframe my relationship to it.

A similar statement could be made about my relationship to eating meat. Meat, like alcohol, is best consumed in moderation for the maintenance of good health. Meat is expensive, particularly the good stuff. Safely storing and preparing meat is a pain, often requiring specialized tools or skills. And eating meat is ultimately unnecessary to living a joyful, fulfilling life.

Thing is, if you’d asked me even one year ago if I’d ever go mostly meatless, I would have laughed in your face. And even if I was willing to go forks over knives (so to speak), I had no doubt the Fella would never consent to a flesh-free household. Yet here we are, both committed to the cause – in this case, the cause being mostly maintaining a healthy body weight – swiftly approaching our vegetarian anniversary.

What’s my point? Well, like my favourite Ben Folds song says, “You’ve gotta do it anyway.” When it comes to those tasks we’d rather put off, like filing a tax return or making a major lifestyle change, it may suck – for an hour, for a month, for a year – but the time comes when we must bite the proverbial bullet. This is less about the motivational speaking version of ‘do the thing to achieve self-actualization’, and more about the everyday kind of ‘shut up and do it because the longer you put it off the worse it will be, so tear it off like a bandage and get it over with already, you’ll appreciate it in the long run’.

Consider that right before the potato famine, we were (kind of) doing Whole30, which is absolutely laden with animal protein and fats. Before that, we did Paleo. We were never eating much more than 4oz of meat at a sitting, but we were eating about that much animal protein per meal, and we were eating at least three times per day. Feel free to math that out, but the cost to our collective pocketbook alone was enough to make the household budget groan from the burden.

Consider also that, by weight, vegetables contain a fraction of the calories of any animal product. That might seem a bit meaningless on the face of things, but it does mean that even if we were to go back to three meals in a day, we would likely still run a major caloric deficit compared to our old habits. Not only that, but the volume of food we can consume for the same caloric value is far greater. The result is that we eat fewer calories all the time, yet we’re always stuffed to the gills. Not many diets can make that claim, and still fewer are intended for long-term implementation.

Look, I’m still relatively young. I can’t claim to know much about life, the universe and everything, let alone lay claim to a significant abundance of wisdom. What I do know is this: when confronted by a task which it is necessary to do, procrastination results in harm. The harm may not be immediately obvious, nor the necessity to take action apparent. Yet when it comes to light that the doing must be done, it is best done swiftly and without hesitation.

Personally, my next big project is getting a handle on my flossing regimen. Since the dentist scared me straight last visit by telling me all my teeth would fall out if I didn’t start flossing regularly, I’ve been doing my best, but my habit of not flossing is about 30 years old. Still, nearly three months on, I’ve skipped fewer than a week’s worth of nights.

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