+1 UP your LIFE!


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.

Confused yet?

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.

Definitely not 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!

Hiking in Shenandoah National Park

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 can think of a few reasons...


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?

Pure. yum.

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.



So gross!

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? 


  1. I wish I had DD nearby!

    I know I am not perfect in my habits, but I think I’ve made an effort to improve them from before. I am MUCH improved in terms of physical fitness and no more eating entire boxes of cereal, eating gas station food, or a huge vat of fries. Not like I don’t eat fries, but they are occassional and I limit the portion.

    After a while, the new habits become easier, and as you say, it’s worth it. I also don’t like the term “Whole Paycheck.” These days, I find most groceries getting expensive everywhere. And for health, it’s worth it!

    • Julie –

      LOL, love the comment about gas station food. I remember reading something of that sort, like “don’t buy food the same place where you feed your car.” haha! And yes, I do love me some fries, but like you said…I can eat a few and be satisfied instead of gorging and feeling gross after!

      I have also found that so many of the people that comment about how expensive ‘healthy’ food is are the same people that spend money on things I find to be not worth it – i.e. upgrading to the biggest TV, fanciest car, etc – those are but items that will be replaced and are disposable – but your body is something you are with forever! I know that sounds kind of hippy-ish, but it is true =)

  2. Thanks for the shout out!

    I agree with ALL of these, and a couple of things really hit home. First, about exercise, I agree — do SOMETHING — do ANYTHING — it’s better than NOTHING.

    I also agree 100% about pay now or pay later. I first heard that concept from Jillian Michaels who said, look, organic is more expensive, wholesome natural foods are more expensive, but the long-term benefit to your health will pay it off and then some.

    The one tip I would add here is that I prefer to focus on getting enough good stuff (rather than focusing on not having too much bad stuff). I look at each meal and think “Am I getting enough protein? Am I getting enough vitamins?” Etc. For me, looking at my food and trying to ADD good stuff is so much easier than thinking about taking something away.

    • Christine —

      I really like your tip! it is so true – i forgot what commercial it was that I saw recently, but the little tagline stuck with me “put good in, get good out!”

  3. for a while i went on a “no-brown” kick: i tried to keep anything brown off my plate (cuz brown is usually fried food). that didn’t always work though because i’m a sucker for bread and potatoes… i love my carbs!

    we started doing the couch-to-5k running program at the end of ’09 or so and LOVED it! unfortunately i haven’t gotten back into that since the pregnancy started to suck the energy out of me. i’m hoping my doctors will give me the thumbs up to start exercising again at my next appointment though!

    other than that, i’ve always been a promoter of the “everything in moderation” mantra, as well as “listen to your body”. i try not to go overboard on anything, including my beloved carbs. and i do my best to listen to my body. it’s usually pretty good at telling me when to eat, when to move around, when to sleep, etc. if i’m not hungry, i put away the snacks. if i’m getting antsy, i go for a walk. if i’m getting sleepy… well with this one i’m not so good at listening to my body. like right now, i should probably be sleeping since the baby is zonked out. instead i’m posting on your blog. lucky you!

    • hahah, I would fail at a ‘no brown’ diet, too. Bread = love.

      I am doing a lot better with NO WHITE though – white flour, sugar, etc.

      Listening to your body is definitely key. I am glad that your body told you to comment because I love hearing your insight! =)

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