I like to move it move it!

I’ve been talking a lot about diet, which is very important, but physical exercise is also a necessity. No matter what it is, you must find a way to get moving. Whether it’s taking afternoon walks, going for a swim, yoga or marathon training, you must find a passion that keeps you moving. Just like with diet you need to fall in love with your exercise routine. If you do not love it, you will not stick with it! So, find something you enjoy, even if you don’t always enjoy it (we’ve all been there) but something that makes you feel alive and you are always glad you did it. 

I started running when I was in college on a treadmill, and occasionally outside. What is funny is that I always felt like the treadmill was a chore I had to get done, while my outdoor runs always felt like a fun activity and not a “workout”. It’s odd that it took me so long to realize I can run outdoors to workout and always enjoy my time running! Once I broke away from my treadmill routine I realized I could run much farther and longer than I ever thought possible. Once I joined a running/training group and started on my journey to my first half marathon I was completely hooked. The training is often tough, and I admit I’m not always 100% excited about every run, but the good times and the good runs always make it all worthwhile. I completed my first marathon exactly one year after running my first race (Austin Half Marathon in 2014 and Austin Full in 2015). I am now a dedicated runner and looking forward to training for my second full marathon! But what really motivates me is passion and love of what my body can do. It’s hard to believe that in Middle School I couldn’t run a mile! I’ve come a LONG way, and I believe if I can do it anyone can!

 

Maybe running isn’t your thing. I get it, it’s not for everyone. But there are so many awesome ways to get moving! I started practicing Yoga (to help with my running), and it has been so much fun learning something new! There are many different types of Yoga, and I enjoy Vinyasa the most. I have also attempted swimming and kickboxing. Once you find something that resonates with you it feels so amazing to get up and start moving. I remember  when it first hit me in college that I should start exercising more. I’d sit and watch TV for one or two hours a night. I thought to myself, why not use thirty of these minutes watching TV while I walk/run on a treadmill? And that’s what I did. Now I am far beyond those days, but it was something to get me motivated to move. There are so many options out there, just do your internet research and start seeing what moves you! =)

Fool Proof

An important lesson to learn when starting to eat healthier is to fool proof your kitchen. I know most people will tell you this is a good idea, and I am living proof of it! I am a normal person with not always a lot of self control when it comes to sweets and junk food. I am to the point now that I know I can’t buy ice cream, chips or any other snack type food that I may be tempted to binge on. I know self control is an important trait to have when it comes to eating, but why make it something you have to worry about at home? What I do is always have various veggies, fruits, cottage cheese, maybe some hummus, almond milk…. just healthy whole foods around in my kitchen. So, if I get in a mood and might emotional eat (which i know is a HUGE trigger for people struggling with their weight!) I ONLY have healthy things to eat! Even that bag of plantain chips (healthier option than potato chips right?) will get me in trouble when I just want to snack, so I don’t keep that around. When I start snacking at home I end up eating carrots and hummus or a piece of fruit because… that’s what I have! And I never beat myself up about eating too many carrots or celery! If you live with other people who may not support your healthy habits, don’t have their food anywhere near yours if you can help it. Heck, I’d even go as far as to have them lock it up someplace so you can’t get to it! Because having that food accessible is too stressful for some of us! I want to have a sweet craving and reach for some blueberries and almond milk, and if there is ice cream sitting next to it that just adds stress to a situation that doesn’t have to be stressful. Hopefully your loved ones or roommates can understand what you are doing and help support you in your path to a healthier lifestyle. Also, having snack that are pre-packed in portion control servings helps A LOT. I know if I have a bag of almonds around, even if I measure them out, I may eat more than a serving. But if I have the 100 calorie packs I will likely just eat one or two and be fine. So, even though it is pricier sometimes having the portion control work already done for you helps! So, fool proof your kitchen and stock it with healthy things! Also, having plenty of staples on hand is great when it comes to cooking healthy meals. I always keep herbs and diced tomatoes ready to go if I ever need a quick recipe. There are plenty of books out there that talk about how to properly stock your kitchen, so do a little research and you will find eating healthier is much easier than you realized!

Damage Control

This is a big one for many people trying to eat right and live a healthy lifestyle. I know I do it all the time, but I’ve always had a good head on my shoulders about it. Damage control. So, you went to a Birthday party and ate cake and pizza and booze and now you feel like your healthy habits are RUINED! Oh No!! But wait! They aren’t ruined and thinking this way is just a defeatist attitude that you are wayyyyy too good for, right? Take a step back and realize that one day, or more in the case of my trips to Vegas, shouldn’t derail you.

First start off by thinking about preventative measures if you know you will be in a situation where you will be splurging. I went to Vegas last weekend and ran each morning. Hey, I knew I’d be eating A LOT more than normal, why not boost my calorie burn in the morning and help me not feel as bad about my vacation splurges. Also, do not starve yourself all day thinking about what you will eat later. Eat some veggies and protein before your splurge and then you will not be so tempted to eat large portions later.

Ok, so you splurged like crazy (I do this too, we all do!). Drink a LOT of water durning and after your splurge fest. Water will help flush out toxins and keep you hydrated since you are likely having more sodium and sugar than normal. After the splurge (later that night of whatnot) drink a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and water. This also help even out your insulin spikes from that sugar splurge and aids in flushing out toxins (possibly preventing you from feeling icky the next day).

Lastly, think of all that extra calories as FUEL! Look at you, you now have tons of extra glycol stores in your body to burn! I bet if you can get yourself to the gym, or out for a run, or whatever gets you moving you will be surprised how much extra energy you have. It may be rough at first, especially if you drank a bit of alcohol, but you will feel amazing after! And your body will thank you! Drink tons of water and help flush all that junk out after your workout. See, a splurge here and there is ok. Never feel guilty, just be good to your body and do what you think will help flush some of it out. And get back on track the next day, or whenever you are back from vacation. Our bodies are amazing, they can handle whatever you put them through, I promise 😉

Starting Somewhere

It has recently occurred to me that I have a passion. A true, honest to goodness passion that I have been looking for all my life. I love eating healthy, cooking healthy and helping others discover what it means to have a healthy relationship with food. It has taken me a long time to get where I am with my diet and exercise, but I am in a good place. I have not always been in such a good place. In fact, I spent years convinced that I couldn’t cook, that what I was eating WAS healthy…. but I was wrong. What is frustrating is that I didn’t even know I was wrong! The information about what is healthy and what makes us live happier, healthier lives just isn’t accessible to everyone. It took me many tries and stumbles along the way to figure out a few key things. One:

Diets DON’T work.

They don’t. I have tried a few myself, and watched my mother when I was growing up trying every fad diet there is. And you know what? They weren’t sustainable. Even diets that I love and still follow to a certain extent (Paleo!), telling yourself I am “on a diet” or “following this diet” restricts you. It makes it feel short-term. You must discover a way of eating that you love and that makes you feel good. I follow many of the Paleo principles, and when I cook it is 99% of the time Paleo, but I do my own thing sometimes. And that’s OK. It is OK to eat something that you feel your body likes. I find eating rice the night before a run helps my runs out, I have more energy. That’s ok! Once in a while I might have a sweet. That’s OK! That brings me to the next point:

Never feel guilty about what you eat.

This sometimes comes far down the line in getting in a healthy relationship with food. I feel like the most common downfall of someone trying the eat healthy is making a stumble, and then feeling so guilty about it they forget about healthy eating and slip back into bad habits. I feel that if you are going to splurge on something you love, that can be ok!  It is true that initially when trying to incorporate more healthy choices splurging is not the best choice since it might lead to far more splurging than you initially intended…. but you have to learn to forgive yourself too. For me when I am craving a burger and fries, I think about where the best, highest quality place is to get that burger. And I save up that craving for this perfect meal. And when the time comes and I eat it at my favorite burger joint in town. I love it, I cherish it, and I DO NOT feel guilty about it. If I do this once a month it’s ok. I’m not ruining anything, and it makes me so happy! I’m not saying to run to fast food to fill your craving, I’m saying to think about the best place and the highest quality ingredients so when you do have your big meal it tastes SO good and you know that it’s coming from a good place too. Everyone is happy! =) Lastly, these two points are similar, never feel guilty about what you eat but do:

Listen to your body.

Something that has helped me a lot as I’ve gotten older is listening to my body. When I eat junk for a few days I feel gross. When I start straying from my good habits I don’t feel like myself and I know I need to get on track. Eating healthy feels SO good, it helps me sleep better, I have more energy and I just feel happier. So what I will sometimes do is a short “cleanse”. It gets me back on track and I just cut all the little cheats I had been having for a few weeks. This way my body gets cleansed and I feel like I am back in control of my eating. When first starting out on a healthy path a good cleanse, be it Whole 30 or just a no added sugar cleanse, can really help jump start your good habits and break the less than good ones. Once you start on a healthy path you will find yourself craving things like spinach and blueberries instead of junk that doesn’t do anything positive for your body. It may sound strange now, but trust me, when you fall in love with the healthy foods you are eating…. That’s when you have a lifelong habit started and you will stick with it! It is no longer a diet, a short-term fix to drop a few pounds, but a love of food and the way it can change your life for the better. So get out there and fall in love with healthy eating and feel amazing!