Updated: Jun 5, 2022
We are all looking for the answer. The ultimate answer to weight loss, to strong bodies, to mental clarity. To happiness.
I have researched, I have experimented, I have paid lots of money, I have done free trials. And what I've learned, is that there is no single answer that will work for every body. And even when I find what works for me, I (without my permission) insist on evolving and changing with every season I go through, so what worked for me last year, needs to be refined.
So, while I don't have the answer to life the universe and everything (well, it is actually 42, but that's for another conversation) I do have lots of thoughts, information and opinions for you. YAY.
First - fitness; good health, is dimensional. So while you may have a physical goal (weight loss, build muscle, run a marathon (why?) you also need to take care of your mind and your soul. People panic a little (get it, Don't Panic) when I say things like spirituality, but what I've learned is that my spirit is the essence of who I am, it is my soul, my heart, my person. You can feed your spirit through religion, if that is your thing, but that is not the requirement here. You need to feed your spirit in whatever way suits YOU best. Having said this - we'll come back to how to feed your spirit and mind in a later article. Right now, let's focus on your physical.
Number One way to be healthy - you know it - food. Learning to eat to fuel your body. Now, I like to fuel my body, but I also like to enjoy eating, so I've had to work really hard at finding the balance between healthy habits, and amazing hamburgers and whiskey. I believe you can have both - you just need balance.
I'm not here to tell you it's easy, I will tell you there are easier ways to go about eating - and it involves eating healthier . It doesn't include cutting things out, starving yourself, or not enjoying some fun evenings. I don't advocate turning your diet upside down! You'll stick with it for a week, but if you're anything like me, you'll get super cranky and then go crazy making up for what you missed.
The best way I've found to start eating healthier, is to journal. Write down everything you eat in a week - don't feel guilty, just write it all down. It's not to make you feel bad, just to give you a solid picture of your actual eating patterns. At the end of the week, read through your journal.
Once I've journaled my food I go back and review.
I need to rate my food in the matter of importance. You want to categorize in three ways:
What do I refuse to live with out (at least right now)
What can I give up? (if anything)
What can I modify? (you can always modify)
When I look at my eating, several things stand out. I use vanilla creamer in my coffee, I enjoy whiskey, I love quesadillas, chips and guac, and, of course, an incredible hamburger with super cripsy and salty french fries.
There are definitely things I don't mind cutting back on, but there are also things that at this time, I am NOT willing to live without! If you guessed whiskey, you're close - but it's my coffee creamer. I refuse to not enjoy my coffee. I have, however, switched to sugar free creamer, and while it took a hot second, I now enjoy it thoroughly. (I even pack the powder version with me on any trips I take, including camping, and my trip to Iraq. That should tell you the gravity it has in my life, I will bring less clothing so I can pack it!)
The hamburgers and fries are super delish, but I don't need them daily! (so it's something I can cut back on) Mike and I have set up food dates to indulge in that. We make sure to plan every week (or 2 weeks if we're feeling super healthy) to grab the burgers - because if we don't, we'll get scandalous in hunger and order our burgers, our own fries, and a meal for Oliver that we know he won't finish so we'll have to eat that too! But when we're making the conscious choice, we have found that we can share one order of fries between the three of us. (Volcano Burger has giant orders of fries) So we've even found a way to indulge a little bit healthier! And honestly, it's not like we're not full after that; but when we've allowed our hunger to get the best of us, we can each kill an entire order of fries and feel bleck later. I want my indulgence to leave me happy and sated, not uncomfortable and miserable.
So let's talk drinks. I rarely drink soda, so that's easy. I do enjoy whiskey and that has obvious caloric and health implications. I try to drink enough water. So my focus is on drinking more water. And, if I drink water before I drink whiskey, I drink less whiskey. At some point, I may just cut it out entirely, but I really don't want to right now. So I will find ways to cut back; drinking on select nights, drinking water before alcohol etc.
The great thing about making these small changes, is that as you become healthier, you will want to continue to make changes. When I am training, and eating well, alcohol doesn't appeal to me as much. How awesome is that? So while I'm gently cutting back, I can step up my training, because I know that will positively impact the way I eat and drink.
I am guessing most of you know all this about your eating. But if you're like me, a reminder is always helpful for a renewed focus. With all of the "diets" out there convincing us that it's easy, fast, just takes one pill, or one program, it can be really frustrating and disheartening to not see "instant results" Who wouldn't want to become fit overnight?
But it doesn't happen like that. Fitness takes work. And that is so positive and healthy! When I cook a healthy dinner for my family, I feel SO GOOD about myself. I love it when I feel like I am a good mom and wife. So that's improving my spirit and my mind. When I have a good workout, I feel SO STRONG! And that makes me want to take Oliver to the park, or on a hike, and that means I am becoming a better mom! When I put in the hard work, it trickles into every aspect of who I am, and THAT is what fitness is about. Becoming healthy in every part of your life; it doesn't happen all at once, but as you work in different areas, they will all positively impact the others.
I LOVE IT.