Incorporating meals into my daily routine

Overcoming procrastination

My morning routine starts at 8 a.m., the moment my alarm goes off. I am one of those poor fools who (still) thinks she can pull off 9 a.m. classes Monday through Thursday. Each day, I go through my ritual of purchasing coffee from Crossroads and a measly breakfast of a granola bar.

I, like many other students, usually go through the day with two meals to fuel myself. It isn’t the most uncommon thing, but to my parents, it is downright strange. They are incredulous as to how I don’t seem to be able to eat three full meals a day.

What they miss is the fact that eating takes a great deal of strategizing in order to fit with class schedules. In my case, I am usually stuck with classes that take me from one end of Grounds to the other, therefore requiring I leave from wherever I am at least 20 minutes before in order to arrive on time. In addition, it is not as if I have hours of breaks between classes. Sometimes it is a mere 30 minutes. If I were to subtract that 20 minute segment required for travel, I am left with only 10 minutes to eat. Ten minutes is not a lot. It is simply not enough time to reach a destination with food, find a free table (where I can sit alone peacefully) and take at least a good five minutes to walk through and decide what I want to eat. There is simply not enough time.

The worst is when there are awkward one-hour gaps between classes. It is ample time, but once again with all the added time-consuming activities of finding a place to eat, sitting and then finding items to actually eat, I have to rush. Eating becomes a hurried activity where food is shoved into my mouth. Sandwiches or bagels are wrapped in napkins and eaten on the way and coffee cups are filled with cereal so I can munch on a portable version of breakfast. In my mind, it always seems like simply making all that effort to eat only to rush and seize food only enough to tide yourself over, is not worth it. I would rather comfortably take the bus or stroll leisurely than speed walk and grumble under my breath at the people in front of me floating along slowly, lost in conversation with their companions. All said and done, the thought of eating just does not seem to be as appealing as it did before.

Furthermore, as a second-year, I do not have access to an unlimited meal plan where I can waste swipes on only a cup of coffee. When I walk into dining halls, I have to make my visit count. Therefore when I leave, I am balancing a take-out box stuffed to the brim with all and any food. Pizza is piled on top of salad which is spilling onto my hummus and veggies. The sandwich on top is slowly getting soggy as the moisture from the vegetables starts to seep through the bread. A single meal swipe should provide me with a food haul that will last me for two meals.

This is another reason why eating is a planned activity. Valuable time is spent in carefully and efficiently packing a take-out box. Lines need to be stood in if I want a sandwich. There is simply not enough time nor meal swipes to treat a run to a dining hall as a joke; every opportunity gotten must not be an opportunity wasted.

Finally, there is the age-old problem of funding for meals. Charlottesville does not make it easy on the pocket, what with uncountable restaurants within a two-mile radius that are all distinct and delicious. I find myself losing money on the Corner as frequently as I lose socks in a dryer. The temptation to walk into Arch’s and spend an average of six dollars on frozen yogurt is too high. It helps that getting to these restaurants themselves is a whole other ordeal. Again, the cycle includes transport, deciding what to eat, waiting in line and then waiting for food. All of it saps away time.

I personally am someone who succumbs to stress easily and in the process, ignores everything else until I am finished with the task weighing me down. This may sound as if I am a focused person who does not suffer from distractions. However, this is more of a curse than a boon because I do not listen to my brain or body. I tell myself that if I stop now for a break, it will just be harder to jump back into the work groove I had struggled so hard to create. In other words, I procrastinate eating. One thing leads to another and before I know it, it is close to midnight and all I want to do is get into bed, seriously contemplating never leaving it again.

This cycle has become a vicious one and is a hard one to break. I have developed a habit of not eating properly or on time. What is more, I have become more fixated on eating healthy which greatly limits my options. While of course this is hardly a bad thing, it is a drawback in that I do not allow myself to eat what is available. As a college student who is constantly on her feet, food is fuel and everything in moderation is important. I am only now starting to realize the wonders of a full, balanced meal enough times in a day. Eventually, I hope this realization will materialize into something more concrete in terms of my lifestyle choices. 

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