As of late (as in, well – the last year or so) I’ve been implementing changes of all sorts in efforts to establish a healthier lifestyle. From establishing a workout routine, making fitness goals and incorporating more plant-based and flexitarian options into the dining rotation, things definitely have come a lonnnnggg way from before.
Salads + races = total 180 from my former ‘couch potato’ life!
Still, with all of the benefits (more energy! better fitting clothes!) from choosing a healthier life, I am definitely still human! And along with that, I also am not in the camp that believes that working out somehow cancels out extra calories! There is definitely a difference between the philosophy of ‘everything in moderation’ and the vicious cycle of indulging and restricting.
Well, it can be confusing, but I think Matt from The Athlete’s Plate explains it SO well in his food philosophy – see, I think many people are scared to make changes in their lives because, well, it can be hard to know HOW! In our media, we hear so many conflicting bits of information, and are constantly inundated with the newest fad diet – low carb, no carb, high-protein, calorie-counting…it never ends!
Now, I am BY NO MEANS any sort of expert on diets – but here are a few tips that I have found helpful in my journey.
1. Eat Real Food.
Sounds pretty simple, right? But if not, take a spin with Michael Pollan’s (of The Omnivore’s Dilemma fame) Food Rules. In this book, Pollan offers a smattering of tips that range from humorous and obvious to thought-provoking. My favorite tips? Eat food, mostly plants and not too much. Easy peasy.
2. Stay Active.
Not everyone is training for a half marathon. Or a tri. Or the Ironman. But you know what? Everyone should be keeping in tip top shape for the most important endurance challenge ever: day-to-day LIFE!
Yes, I am a firm believer that every little bit counts. In fact, the thing that got on my nerves EVERY TIME I heard it when I was doing The 30 Day Shred (which I didn’t do consistently, but do enjoy otherwise) was a portion of the workout when Jillian said, and pardon my improvisation, “people tell you to take the stairs instead of the elevator, that’s not enough – everyone is capable of working out” blah blah blah – okay, I know where she is coming from here…but…no. I do agree, people should work out if they physically can – but each bit COUNTS! Add more physical activity as it’s comfortable and safe! Staying healthy not only is good for you, but for everyone that cares about you.
3. Pay Now, or Pay Later.
A few months ago, I was listening to NPR and heard a segment about the American population, our (US) health insurance system and the relation to the obesity epidemic.
Now, I love saving money as much as the next person, but I learned something simple: when it comes to your health, you’re going to pay now, or pay later. Of course, this sentiment is open to many interpretations, but in my humble opinion, it is proof that quality should ALWAYS be your number one consideration when it comes to your health.
I think of this tip everytime I do my shopping at Whole Foods. Can I just say this…wait, this is my blog, so of course I can say this…I personally CANNOT stand it when people call it “Whole Paycheck.” Serious. pet. peeve.
I mean, I am not made of money, but I never go broke when I do my WF shopping – and really, this can be a separate post all together! In fact, Christine has already done this, and much better than I could so check out her post...But really – get WF’s Whole Deal print out flier…or even easier, print the coupons right from your computer! If you shop smart, you’re going to get good deals.
So, yes – buying organic produce and local meat, cheese, dairy, etc. is pricier than hitting up a drive-thru, but aren’t you worth it? (BTW, this circles back to Food Rules!)
4. Don’t Beat Yourself Up!
When all is said and done – I promise, your life will feel just much less cluttered – in your mind, fridge and more. But like I said, NO ONE is perfect! Everyone slips. Everyone has favorite things that aren’t 100 percent amazing for you. My poison?
I love coffee. Drip, black, cream, sugar, iced, espresso…any form, I kinda love it.
Coffee on its own, of course, is not terrible for you. In fact, it’s been proven quite the opposite (in moderation, of course.) But, te way that many people prefer to consume it (Frapp, anyone?) can be not that great.
Back in Florida, I used to drink about 5 Iced Coffees a week, I’d guess. I would get them with the works – cream, sugar and syrup. But then, when I revamped my eating habits, I checked the DDSmart menu to see how I could give my sugary fix a healthy makeover. Their suggestion? Swap the sugar for Splenda, and the cream for skim. Okay – I checked the stats. Looks good.
The coffee tasted watery, the Splenda too sweet and just..ick. What did I learn from this? Well, for me personally – that it’s a splurge that I had to make changes to – and that change? Just reduce the frequency! I went down to once or twice a week, or only when I REALLY wanted one – and when I did, I had it the whole shebang. And always a small. And you know what? Now there’s only one DD in town that’s easy for us to get to, so now I’d say it’s about 1X/month.
Lesson learned. Don’t beat yourself up for liking what you like – just find a way to let it like you back! 😉
How do manage a healthy lifestyle?