18 February 2010

Breaking bad habits

So yesterday was the beginning of Lent - 40 days of fasting or denial of sinful temptation if you ascribe to a Christian view.  A period of major importance to Catholics, and used by some Protestants to illustrate just how much Jesus gave up so that you can go to Heaven.  Or at least that was how I interpreted it as a kid.  Back then, even though my family wasn't Catholic, I recall giving up stuff like biting my nails, bubble gum (that was the toughest), ice cream, and soda pop. 

Even though I don't practice any particular religion anymore, I still see value in using Lent to rid myself of some bad habits.  Given that it takes at least 3 weeks for good exercise habits to develop, 40 days is a significant period of time to focus.

Lately, I've noticed two bad habits creeping into my eating - drinking excessive amounts of coffee and eating candy when I don't have time to make a real meal.  Although this was a problem while I was dissertating, it has gotten worse since my postdoc started.  PB & J or soup or a bean burrito is probably okay as dinner or lunch once in a while but not every night for months on end.  To make up for the missing energy I chug coffee or eat a piece of candy.  The problem is that after the sugar or caffeine rush, I burn out 2 hours later. So these are the 2 that I will be working on.

1. No coffee - full caf, half-decaf/half-caf or full decaf.
2. No candy - no chocolates, no hard candies, etc.

I know I will hate this.  I'm already hating the no coffee today.  But since I don't drink soda and rarely eat ice cream or chew gum, I think I have a chance and weaning myself off the candy and coffee.  I just wish I could stop biting my nails.

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