Habits, Changes & Free Time

Europe, LA, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Vegas, LA, Greece… I am once again back in LA! Perhaps I will get to writing about my trips one day…

But in the meantime, last week when we were coming home from Greece and having breakfast in the Philadelphia airport after being forced to stay overnight due to flight delays, I was asked when did my love for food begin because my mindset is so completely different from girls in LA… and our conversation eventually steered towards eating habits.

“I believe everybody is creative, and everybody is talented. I just don't think that everybody is disciplined. I think that's a rare commodity.” Al Hirschfield
Just a preview of Mykonos!

The first thing I noticed when I came down to Southern California was that many people here (mainly WeHo/Beverly Hills area) don’t love food and eat as much as I do …and I suspect it is part culture and environment. In LA, everyone is obsessed with being “skinny” due to the influx of the model and actress types that fill the city, combined with the pressure to fit in. This doesn’t allow much room for calorie intake. Low intensity exercise such as yoga and pilates and much more popular here amongst women than high intensity fat-burning routines such as HIIT workouts and weight-lifting… which also does not leave much room for calorie intake. Of course, there are classes that offer intense workouts but I noticed 90% of the class don’t show their maximum potential and slack off (ahem, spin classes!!). I am not demoting low intensity exercise as I believe that is one of the best forms of exercise (eg. walking), but high intensity targets fat-loss, not just weight-loss. Went off topic for a bit but this will one day get its own entry!!

Butcher's Kitchen
Brunching and lunching is serious business! With all the great food around, who has time to restrict calories? I guess you don’t when a lot of your time goes towards riding bikes and lifting weights! (@ Butcher’s Kitchen)

I am so thankful to have grown up in Vancouver, where we still had to face social pressure but it was much less vain compared to LA. My last career also gave me the opportunity to develop a routine and life-long healthy habits. I packed my own lunches and ate the same thing almost every day. I made sure to fill up on protein and veggies. I exercised every day. I would wake up before the sunrise so I can get a long bike ride in before riding into the office (or hikes before I really got into cycling). I never got bored with my routine nor was it hard… it was effortlessly integrated into my everyday life because time was precious and I understood my priorities.

To tell you the truth, I miss my old routine so much. I am grateful for being able to take this sabbatical that I am on but I still remind myself of what life was like because my routine was a huge part of my personal well-being. I miss living by the water. I miss living in a walkable area. I miss having a grocery store down the street. I miss not having to depend on a car.

I miss riding my bike somewhere every morning from Monday to Friday. I know I can do it here in LA, but my location is inconvenient for riding and I have less motivation to wake up early to ride [before traffic], when I have so much free time during the day that I never had in the past. Plus I don’t have a destination and I still don’t know the less traffic routes around the city.

Excuses, excuses, excuses… I know!

But the fact of the matter is that when we are all “forced” into a routine, such as with a normal 9-5 job that everyone hates, it helps us develop habits (whether good or bad).

When we are thrown into a free and unstructured world for too long, we are in danger of wandering.

022616 || My very last morning commute to work ... forever. *tear* I made sure to do my favorite
022616 // My very last morning commute to work … forever. *tear* I made sure to do my favorite “extended scenic commute” (Coal Harbour to EA + 40km) as a tribute to this wonderful routine and of course, stops along the way for photos, as per usual.

When I was working, my free time was precious. Now I have so much free time, I have to constantly remind myself not to take it for granted.

When my ex and I separated, I was “forced” to ride my bike to work everyday because I didn’t have the option of someone driving me to work “when I felt lazy.” I’m not a public transit type of gal and I refuse to waste money on a car since I live downtown. I’d ride to work a couple of times a week but it was never a habit back then. The thought of getting a ride home at 10pm (work use to require a lot of overtime) in the winter evenings was a very tempting reason I often succumbed to.

BUT my fortunate situation of not having the option of a car ride was the best thing that has ever happened to me because after a couple of months of doing so, the thought of commuting to work in a metal box was just unthinkable and a waste of time!!

Even in the rain. Even in the sub-zero morning frost. Even when I was dead tired after a long day at work, when the sun had already set. CYCLING WAS THE ONLY WAY and it was so strongly ingrained into my mindset. I actually teared up when I wrote the last couple sentence!! That experience has profoundly changed and touched my life in so many ways.

When I start working again, being able to ride my bike to work and having the option of a shower facility will be a huge factor (well, I guess I can resort to baby wipes if I really need to). Yes, beggars can’t be choosers but you need to make choices that will suit your lifestyle and well-being to ensure long-term happiness and success. 70% of Americans hate their job… probably because it is interfering with pillars of their lives.


I learned a long time ago that one of the keys to success is being adaptable.

I have a new gym that I am in love with. I always look forward to being there, I take spin classes 3-4x/week, and I spend an hour or so lifting heavy weights or the occasional HIIT workout. I may Uber to the gym and when workout complete, walk around Sunset Blvd, and then back up Beverly Hills afterwards. As a cyclist who is constantly hill-hunting, there you will stumble upon some crazy and enticing grades! I venture out on my road bike a few times a week for long rides to explore to this new city I am in. I realize there is so much to look forward to and no time to lament about old routines!

It’s been 5 months since I left my life as I knew it and although it has been erratic and involved a lot of movement, I have at least successfully established a new routine in my current home base. It’s not as epic as it once was in Vancouver and I am not as focused (due to the constant traveling), but everything feels balanced and I am very satisfied. Things can only get better!

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