What came first? The chicken or the egg ?
I think it’s like asking in the health and fitness world, what came first?
The knowledge your body needed movement and exercise for better health? Or that you needed to eat better and make intelligent food choices for better health ?
We all arrive in different ways. If you are gonna get out there and kick your butt in some hard physical activities , do you really wanna come back in and feed it garbage ?
Oh, in the beginning it might be like that. “I worked out today! I deserve this!” as the cheeseburger and fries go down… or the fancy sugary coffee drink or whatever your poison is. There’s a sense of entitlement.
It might take awhile, or not so long, for the shift to occur. To realize if you’re doing this hard work you don’t want to undermine your efforts. You start looking at things in a different light.
If your physical activities are really hard and demanding it doesn’t take long to understand that what you put in you IS fuel and you need a) enough fuel and b) the right kind of fuel to sustain your activity level.
Last year I picked up a sports nutrition book for endurance athletes to read and teach myself more of what I needed to do. Training for that 50K I knew I needed to really eat…. intentionally.
Let’s just say, there were a lot of days I wasn’t eating enough for what I was physically doing. It takes planning and forethought to consume foods to not only support your daily living and activities but also your purposeful exercise.
I’m learning. I’ve learned a lot and don’t think I’ve arrived at getting it right. It’s a constant work in progress.
Anyway on my journey of the foods I eat, salad has always been a standard for me. Not as a “diet” food. Not because I “had to”… I’m a weirdo… I just enjoy them.
Before I became somewhat knowledgeable of foods and nutritional content one of the food groups I enjoyed in my salad was…… Ranch… yes, Ranch dressing.
It is a food group, isn’t it ? 😉
Then I started getting smarter and realized I was killing and totally negating any positive effects of salad by the dressing on it. Now I was horrible about it, not like some salads I’ve seen where the lettuce is buried under a sea of white dressing, almost no longer visible….
Over time, I slowly weaned myself away from it. Oh, I have it occasionally ( I like it with my salad and pizza 😉 but this is rare for me.
Let me say this. I often eat salads. Most days of the week they are my lunch staple, because I really, honesty, enjoy them. And, you can seriously get all your daily servings of veggies in with it….. double win.
My salads are not just the standard lettuce, tomato, cucumber kind of salads. I throw all kinds of colorful veggies in, sometimes a fruit of some type, some nuts, seeds or other crunch along with some protein. I’ve learned to use spinach as my “lettuce”. It’s a creative venture for me each time 😛
Seriously, spinach is like a powerhouse of amazing, good for your nutrient rich stuff for almost zero calories. You wanna eat that stuff. Our store has been carrying locally grown and it’s spoiling me!
So I learned, if you add enough texture and variety of tastes and flavors to your salads, dressings are only needed in very minimal amounts.
But, as mentioned, when you are on a health and fitness journey, you do begin to look critically at how and what you eat to support and sustain those goals.
One of the main “suggestions” I offer to people who are wanting to lose weight, is to keep a record of what you eat for about a week, and really consider all the little “extras” you might consume but don’t consider empty calories piling into your days.
Things like an over abundance of salad dressing, mayo, and other creamy sauces and the like really do add up. When you can see from your food journal what your consumption of certain items are, you can then begin to examine what you don’t need or could eliminate to help you on your journey to shed weight and get healthier.
Small steps can lead to big, long term changes!