The ABC’s Of Building A Healthy Diet

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So it’s early afternoon and I’ve finally managed to escape to my fav coffee cave and write. WHY is it so hard to get it done sometimes? Not for lack of ideas or clever creativeness but some days are just hard to make it happen.

I’m making it happen today… doing it before you decide I’ve given up on this idea of writing.

I’m glaringly aware that my computer informs me today is November 2 and there are a few thoughts that accompany that awareness.

First, wow, October sailed by. Of course I ended the month like many playing dress up for Halloween and hanging with my kids getting free candy from people who had nothing better to do than sit in their driveways all evening 😉

Then of course, with the arrival of November there are thoughts of Thanksgiving now dancing in my head. There will be plotting and planning for all of the goodies that go with that day.

BUT before Thanksgiving or anything else…. gulp.. this is the month of my duathlon. Actually 17 days out from this point. It’s hard to not see it staring me down but ready or not… it’s coming.

Ok.. more on that later….

November definitely makes me think about food. It makes me think of the seasonal tasty treats we get to enjoy and the traditions that go with them.

But today I’m thinking about food more along the lines of a healthy diet. What does that mean, exactly? And how do you build one if you don’t know much about it? Maybe you’ve been wanting to eat better but just aren’t sure what goes into a “healthier” daily diet.

Realistically, there’s no one way to eat that’s right for everyone. What works for you, might not work for me.

We’re individual and our likes and needs are varied and different.  Our likes can be based on not just our needs but cultural preferences too.  A person with health issues, like diabetes, may have to eat differently from someone who doesn’t.  So it’s rather broad to say there’s a standard healthy diet that fits everyone.

However, there are some definite building blocks that apply to all of us. With these building blocks you can shape and build your own nutritional plan that works for you.

What is a healthful diet?

it provides the proper combination of energy and nutrients to you each day. It has four characteristics.

It’s adequate, moderate, balanced, and varied.

No matter your age, health, fitness level or weight, if you keep these thoughts in mind you will be able to select foods that give you energy and provide good nutrition to you each day.

A healthy diet is adequate

An adequate diet provides enough of the energy, nutrients, fiber and crucial vitamins and minerals to maintain a persons health. A diet can be inadequate in one area or many areas of a persons daily needs.  For example, many people don’t eat enough vegetables and not consuming enough of the fiber and nutrients vegetables provide. Their intake of protein, carbs and fats may be more than adequate, often to many of these calories are consumed and the person is overweight because they eat more than exceeds their energy needs.

Under nutrition can also occur if there are several nutrients ignored for long periods of time.

Also a diet that is adequate for one person may not be adequate for another. As an athletic woman, my caloric needs on many days during the week are vastly different from a woman my age who is sedentary or lightly active. As individuals we would differ greatly in our activity level and our body fat and lean muscle mass making our requirements for fat, carbs, proteins and other nutrients very different.

A healthy diet is one of moderation

Moderation is one of the keys to a healthful diet and I believe one of the most important. Moderation refers to eating any food in moderate amounts, not to much or to little.  Eating to much or to little of any foods we cannot reach our health goals.

One example would be people who consume soft drinks. Loaded with empty, non-nutritious calories, it’s an easy way to pack on the pounds if many are consumed each day. Often I’ve seen individuals stop drinking soda and easily drop pounds.

Enjoy a variety of foods and treats, in moderation.

A healthy diet is balanced.

A balanced diet contains foods that provide the proper proportions of nutrients.  The body needs many types in varying amounts to maintain health.

A healthy diet is varied

Variety of course refers to eating many foods from all food groups on a regular basis. Often I have people say… “well, I don’t really like to eat….. ( some food)” and I remind them there are lots, and lots of other foods they can choose from that are healthy and provide good nutrients to their body.  When you eat a variety of foods it will increase the chance that you are consuming all the vitamins and minerals your body needs.   Also, when you eat a varied diet it keeps boredom from setting in which often cause many people to give up because they are tired of the same foods.  Enjoy so variety in your daily diet!

In summary…

A healthy daily diet provides adequate nutrients and it includes sweets, fats, salts, and alcohol in moderate amounts only. A healthy diet includes an appropriate balance of nutrients and a wide variety of foods.

Foods to include in your day would be:

Whole grains, a variety of veggies, fruits, dairy products and protein foods. It’s important to remember protein goes a long way in keeping you satisfied and preventing hunger as well as keeping your blood sugar stable through the day. Make sure you get adequate portions at each meal to feel full and avoid those feelings of “crashing”.

When it comes to vegetables, many people do not come close to getting enough in their daily diet. Learn to experiment with a few new ones each week. Learn different ways to cook them and be willing to explore new options for your health.

Filling your meals with whole foods (  foods as close to being real and not processed as possible) you will be able to meet the majority of your nutritional needs.

The extra stuff.

You need to limit the amount of empty calories you consume. empty calories refer to foods that provide few or no nutrients.  You should limit the number of empty calories you consume to a small amount that fits in with your daily requirements. all of which depend on your age, gender and level of activity.

Foods that contain the most empty calories are :

Cakes, cookies, pastries, doughnuts, soft drinks, fruit drinks, pizza, ice cream, hot dogs, fast foods etc. High sugar foods such as candies, desserts, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are all referred to as empty calorie. ( I know, you’re thinking, that’s all the fun stuff!)

These foods don’t have to be banned, they just shouldn’t be what your daily diet mainly consists of.

Building a healthy and nutritious food plan might take a little work and discipline but with time you will find you can not only eat well, but have some cake too 😉

Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate or in your cup or bowl.
This is a great visual on how to structure your meals.
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Weight Loss And The Non Supportive Partner

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As I sit here rolling around ideas and topics to bring to you in this post (’cause there really are so many things to talk about, right? )  my mind is taking a little different bend on an area that might not be discussed often but it’s something that  I know some people deal with.

I talk a lot about weight loss, healthy ( sustainable) ideas to achieve it, exercises to support it and keep you fit, but what about the person who is trying to lose weight and get on a healthy lifestyle but has….

A non-supportive partner ?

What does one do when their support system is non existent or sabotages their efforts? I have to admit, this is a complete foreign concept to me as I’ve been blessed with a husband who has always been supportive of my efforts of anything I do, and not just losing weight.

Of course his position has always been… ” I love you no matter what size and shape you are” and good thing ’cause I’ve been many sizes and shapes in our 35 years together haha 😛

Seriously though, I’m glad he’s always felt that way, but never opposed to me improving either.

He’s more likely to chide me now days about not eating enough on my heavier training days than anything or give me a hard time if my day has been busy and I haven’t eaten in awhile.

In our time together I experimented with some different things along the way and he let me do my thing.  I got on the current path I’m on ( you know the sane, sensible, non crazy, sustainable lifestyle path) and that has just been a path that totally blends in with my family and has allowed me to stay successful.

I know not all people are as blessed to have such a support system. Cleaning out things in my moms home recently I came across a “Dieting Journal” she had started one January.

**Sigh** isn’t that when everyone thinks they should start? Anyway, I will share more about her insights in a later post but she had written something that I always knew because it frustrated her and always contributed to her not being successful.

Some of her struggles were wishing that my dad would be more supportive and helpful to her on her attempt to lose weight. I think he had a thing for heavier women, but I also wonder if he fell in the camp that if she did lose a lot of weight she’d be more attractive to men. ( this is a common problem at the top of the charts problem for people with non supportive partners)

He had a thing for junk food and he had ways of offering that at a point you’d finally give up and say ok ( like when he would offer me Peanut M&M’s 😛 )

She continued writing that he didn’t help her struggles and almost seemed to double up efforts to offer her foods that didn’t contribute to her being successful and how discouraged she was. At the time, they were on the go a lot and she writes about the fast food on the go and feeling like her day would be “lost” because of the foods they would eat.

So what do you when you have a non supportive partner and are trying to adopt a healthier way of living ?

What do you do when those around you say “you’re fine just the way you are”?

Well, yeah you are fine, but let’s be real. They aren’t the ones dragging your flab around, are they ?

Of course the implication is they love you “however”, but again, refer to my previous thought. They aren’t dealing with your clothes not fitting, or you feeling out of breath with simple tasks, or the fact you can’t bend over and get to your shoe to tie it, or how it all makes you emotionally feel. Nor are they considering your overall health.

I’ll sketch out a few ideas/suggestions that might be helpful.

First, ask why your partner or those around you don’t want you to do it? It’s ok to listen, but don’t let that sway your decision to be about what you want to do.

If it’s your partner there could be a lot of insecurity or worry. Maybe talking and reassuring them could go a long way to gaining their support.

Jealousy could be a bigger issue and one that’s harder to get around. They might simply not want you to get the attention it may bring.

Express your concerns. Tell those you love you want to do it to be healthier for yourself and for them ( it should always be about you first) this can be hard if you’re in an overweight family and everyone sees it as “normal”. It may be harder to convince them that you are doing it to have a healthier life.

You may have to just shoulder it on your own. However, in the process you’ll be gaining will power of yourself, after all, you and you alone controls what goes into your mouth. That is something no one can make you do.  It also falls on you to develop an exercise regime. Again, you are responsible for getting your body moving each day, no one else.

On that thought, you may need to stand firm from those in your life who might try and sway you from not doing it.  Make a list for yourself of how it makes you feel, and what your future goals are. Arrange things around your exercise time and don’t let other things try to knock it out.

Making healthy lifestyle changes in the mix of non-supporters can be hard but sticking to it will only develop your mental strength as well.

Go into it with a real mentality. People will offer you food you don’t need that won’t support your goals. They won’t be cheering for your exercise efforts. They won’t acknowledge the physical signs when your hard work begins to pay off.

It would be great if we got that encouragement for our efforts but it’s real life and we don’t. You can cheer for yourself as the pounds drop off and you slip on smaller clothes.

Assume that sometimes there could be someone who will attempt to make you feel guilty over the changes you’re making.

Honestly, that’s their issue. You… need to have none of it. Their issue is theirs. You just keep doing what you’re doing.

Learn to be direct. It’s ok to say no thank you to foods or drinks you don’t want. It’s ok to pass if you don’t believe it supports your efforts or if you just flat out don’t want it.

You don’t need to point out “you’re dieting” or “trying to lose weight”.  A simple no thank you is enough.

Try to keep this in mind….

many non-supporters have their own health/weight issues. Seeing you out there nailing it and becoming slimmer and more fit might just rub them the wrong way.

Again, it’s their issues, not yours. They may have their own insecurities or body image issues. That is for them to deal with, not you.

Be clear with your partner on what you need and what that support looks like. As in “please don’t leave my favorite cookies laying around” , “understand my workout will be the first thing I do in morning” or whatever it is.

Ask them to get on board with you. Maybe set up a friendly challenge to compete with each other.  Maybe he doesn’t need to lose weight, but might need to start moving more. Find something that might get you both going.

Keep your goals in sight, whatever that looks like for you. Motivational quotes, pictures, clothes anything that reminds you of what you’re doing.

Teach your partner about healthier food options, while letting them know they can still have some Oreos along the way too 😉

Finally, as much as you might want support, if you have to accept you won’t get it, remember you are totally worth the efforts and investment into yourself with healthier eating and taking time to exercise. Don’t get discouraged but maintain your focus on your personal goals. Hopefully, with some time and consistency, you will get a support team on your side to celebrate with you.

Have you had struggles with this? Have you lacked support in your quest to get healthier or starting an exercise program? How did you deal with it? Were you able to stay the course or did you quit ?

 

Just Google It!

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So it’s been a couple days since I’ve posted something.  Life, you know ? Trying to multi task on several big things, and keep up with my training and other projects that need my attention can leave me feeling like it’s supreme effort just to think on some days.

Nod your head if you agree with me… you’ve been there…

As in yesterday. I’ve tried to make my run/cycle/run days midweek as it fits in well to my training. Anyway, to put it mildly, those days place a heavier physical demand on me than others. Add to it, after I finished I did some errands and then came home and cut grass for an hour.

I didn’t think I’d be able to drag my carcass to bed that night, much less write something smart, witty or sarcastically clever for you.

And I have all these ideas rattling around in my head clamoring to get out…for instance…

A book review I’m itching to get to.  I finished such an awesome book that I think everyone should read. Seriously.  Anyway, keep your eyes open for that coming soon.

Or more thoughts on healthy lifestyles.  Or a couple ones on food, ’cause I love to eat and so do you 😉

BUT THEN there’s this other thing… those diet/health/wellness companies. It doesn’t help when people send me stories or ads  because they know it gets me fired up ( thankfully they too, are on the same page and get it) and then I get to reading those claims about those products and thinking about the absolute, total, complete nonsense of some of it and then before I know it…

I’m writing a post on products and other overall odd stuff people  buy into on the daily.

Hold on…I’m on my soapbox again… and I promised after last weeks Snake Oil post I’d settle down for a bit.

Ah, maybe I shouldn’t make such empty promises… not when there is so  much rich material always at my fingertips.

I just get so passionate about people who will believe this stuff and are desperate and all they ultimately will really lose is their hard earned money. And let’s face it, there’s a plethora of companies out there with promises of health, wellness and overall ease into a healthy lifestyle.

It’s not easy! It does require work! It does require discipline and a willingness to keep at it every single day!

There are no short cuts to being healthy and fit, yet so many will go to many extremes other than simply doing what needs to be done.

Often these products are simply band-aids covering the underlying problem and never fixing or getting to the root of why a person is overweight and what their relationship is with food. Nor are they learning about balance, healthy eating and the importance of moving their bodies.

Let me just throw out some words from a few of these sales pitches that made my eyebrows arch even more…honestly… one of these days… they’re gonna arch right off my face…..

“Pounds don’t matter”, “detox fat cells to burn inches properly”, “oxygenate the body”, “build muscle”, “keep your blood sugar in check”, “lower your cholesterol”, “burn fat”, “control your cravings”, “many people can’t lose weight because of their blood sugars going up and down”, and finally my favorite…… “X product”  knows how to grab the yuck and send it out while blasting oxygen throughout your body”.

WHAT?!

And last but not least, the most interesting thing in so many of these glowing endorsements is to “go Google it!”

Like…really? You’re talking something up you are supposedly an expert on and you can’t even deliver to me, your reader, credible sources of information?

As a writer, research is something not new to me. I often consult a variety of sources to glean what seems to be the most consistent, overall thoughts, or ideas on a topic.

But consulting Google on your product or better yet, conditions you are supposedly curing with it, is sketchy at best.  And again I’m left wondering, why am I the reader, or better yet, anticipated future customer, having to go “Google it”.

I want to just pull out a few things to comment on from the quotes above…

“Pounds don’t matter”. Ok, so I understand there is more to the overall weight loss and getting fit than just the scale numbers. But if you’re overweight, yeah, extra pounds DO matter.

“Build muscle”. Listen, if building muscle was as easy as some supplement, pill or drink we’d all look like muscular gods.  It’s not. I’ve worked my butt off for years, as have many other people I know. It takes work, discipline, and a good daily diet to build muscle.

“Keep your blood sugar in check”.  So here’s the deal. Our bodies are designed in a perfect beautiful way to operate without manmade potions to keep them healthy, regulated or “balanced.”

It’s really super cool.

In case you missed biology or it’s been awhile… here’s how that works… the pancreas secretes insulin to balance glucose levels, keeping it from getting to high or to low. People with diabetes inject insulin because the pancreas is not working properly.

If you are having problems with high blood sugar, or you feel there might be a problem, you need to be working with a doctor. That means something is not working right in your body.

Otherwise, why would you take something for your blood sugar or to keep “levels in check” ? A healthy body does just fine keeping it “in check”.  And who is really determining that?  Are these people actually testing their blood ( as a diabetic person would) to know if everything is “in check”?

“Burns fat”. Hey, you know what burns fat?  A good dose of cardio exercise several times a week. Best fat burner out there.

Lower your cholesterol, control your cravings” just gonna throw this out there… when you eat a healthy, nutritious daily diet with scheduled meals, you won’t have that up and down swing of being hungry and craving things. Throw in at least 30% protein to every meal and you will feel “stable” and not have cravings.  Stop eating junk.  A healthy diet goes a long way to reducing cholesterol and even better if you add exercise in with it.

“Many people can’t lose weight because of their blood sugars going up and down”   People don’t lose weight because they eat to much and don’t move enough.

“Detoxing fat cells to burn inches properly” now I’m not sure how my fat cells are going to know from this product that they should now pay attention and burn my inches off “properly”.

I just don’t have anything logical to even bring to the table on this line…. other than.. are you serious??? Burn off inches properly?

On the subject of “detox” again, back to our wonderfully made bodies. If your body isn’t “detoxing” you’ll know it. In fact, you’ll be in the hospital if it isn’t. The liver filters blood, the kidneys filter out waste and excess fluids, not to mention what goes through our intestines. If those are all systems go …. then skip the crazy detox stuff and just….eat… good, healthy foods!

As to the other… “grabbing yuck and blasting oxygen through your body”... I just have to wonder… is that on the generated company propaganda all sales people get ? I just don’t know if that sales pitch would work on me.

“Grabbing yuck”.  What, pray tell, is “yuck” ?  Someone. Please. Tell me.

You want oxygen blasting through your body? Exercise.

Ok well that’s a bit simplified but true.

Hey! there are other ways to get more oxygen in your body…. just Google it.

 

 

Healthy Eating Habits

Healthy Habits

So it’s afternoon coffee time and I’m ready to kick back and write for awhile. This morning was my “brick” training session… meaning I run, bike, then run again. Today I increased my miles on foot to a full 5K.  I’ve been gradually moving it up as I’ve adjusted to this activity.  I really do love it. It’s different and it’s challenging.

Oh. And I want to do a duathlon at the end of the year so I do have some extra motivation 😉 It involves a 5k run, 22 mile ride, and a 5K run… on some crazy hills as well.

The weather was on the hideous side. Foggy, misty rain, poor visibility, cool, but not cool once I warmed up. I gave up on wearing my glasses as I couldn’t keep them cleared off ( any tips or ideas on that faithful readers?) once I was on the bike I was chilled from being wet and now flying down the road, water running off my helmet into my face, my gloves wet and the roads somewhat tricky in some places.

Good times.

I believe if I’m training for something, I need to do it in all weather ’cause I never know what race day will deal up.

Anyway, it’s a rather strong way to start my day. I’m really loving multi sport days. As time moves along I will most likely increase my training to two days a week doing it.

But goodness… it can fire up my metabolism all day long!

Ok enough of that.. on with the show!

I thought since I talked about building new habits yesterday I’d focus on a couple specific to eating.

One should be obvious but often it’s one we ignore or sadly, we never experience it anymore.

Let yourself get hungry and experience those hunger signals.

To often in our world, we are programmed to eat “because it’s time”.   As if we experience those growly, hungry feelings we might not survive.  It might take some practice, but learn to experience hunger 30-60 minutes before a meal time.  It is one thing I began doing years ago, learning to eat when I had true hunger.  Not because the clock said I should eat. It’s amazing how good food really tastes when you have true, real hunger.

( and hunger after a hard workout?? eek.. food has never tasted better haha)

Seriously, though. Get back in touch with your body if you can’t remember those feelings or overlook them.

Again you will have to work at it. It might be a new habit for you to work on if you don’t currently practice it.

Once you start getting in touch with your bodies natural signals again, you might want to practice this next step, or new habit.

They kinda tie in together…. which is…

Learn to eat just enough food to satisfy your appetite, but not over eat.

This might be tricky in the beginning for you. We are often conditioned to eat what’s on our plate, or eat because it just tastes good. We can eat well beyond what we need to be comfortable and satisfied.  Allowing yourself to eat slowly and really savor your food gives your body and mind time to be in sync. You will be surprised that a lot less food will handle your hunger.  Again, it’s a practice, a discipline, you will have to work on to build this as a new habit.

And a final new habit you might consider….

Learn to eat 3-4 healthy balanced meals in your day.

Unfortunately so many of us have been conditioned to skip breakfast or lunch and then go crazy at dinner like it’s our last meal or something. We practice a weird form of starvation all day and gorge in the evening.  When you learn to eat real meals, at regular times, and satisfy your natural hunger you don’t spend all day thinking about when you can eat.

Crazy, I know.

Somehow we’ve accepted a thought that eating breakfast is a good way to lose weight or that we don’t have time for it.  Or if we skip lunch we can have a bigger dinner.

But what if you had satisfying meals, staged at regular times, and got hungry for each one? You’d be less likely to snack or be thinking about when you could get your hands on food again.

The “4th” meal would be if you workout heavily, you might need extra calories somewhere between your meals.  Some days I need more, some days I need less depending on how hard I workout.

As in any other habit, you will have to be intentional about what you do. It wont come easy or over night, but with practice you’ll master these new habits. New habits lead to a lifestyle change and steady sustainable weight loss.

 

 

 

Eating Disorders And The Dark Side Of Food

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I was reminded of something again the other day that I hadn’t thought about in awhile. It’s something I’ve largely walked away from but it can, at times, still have it’s lingering claws sunk into me.

Disordered thinking about food and eating.

I guess on some levels, we all grow up with some kind of disordered thinking when it comes to eating and feeding our bodies.

If we’re fortunate we live in a family where balance and health is taught. We may or may not be so fortunate.

Food was always important in our family. Holidays, celebrations, birthdays, big Sunday meals, food was a part of everything.

That’s not inherently, bad. Food is a part of life and a part we should be able to enjoy and have fun with. Food nourishes us and gives us life. Food brings us together.

Unfortunately, food can also become as much of an addictive, powerful, and deadly force in our lives as drugs or alcohol.

My grandmother and mom were amazing cooks. It’s where I learned that nothing compares to homemade baked goods. They taught me how to read recipes and be inventive. I totally acknowledge I learned all I know about food and cooking from them.

Both of them, were also morbidly obese.

More was always better growing up. Clean your plate. Leave nothing behind. Seconds, well, of course you should have them. Eat until you felt your stomach would come through your skin.

That is such a gross feeling. It’s one I haven’t experienced now in so long I can’t tell you… I haven’t eat like that in more years than I can count… and I don’t miss it at all.

I’m not beating up on my family.  It’s just the truth of my reality.

It wasn’t till I was a full grown adult that I could really see much more clearly the impact food had on my family… in a negative way. Besides my grandmother and mom having all kinds of health problems from being to fat, there was the emotional aspect of food and eating that I could identify much more clearly.

Food was comfort. Food met unmet emotional needs. Food was love.

I was in a family of overeaters and binging on food was quite common.

Eating disorders at it’s finest.

Thankfully, as I began my health journey and started getting a handle on my weight and where I was heading, I also had eyes that started clearly seeing what I had grown up with thinking it was normal and ok.

It wasn’t. Overeating and binging on food is never ok.

And I’m not talking about, you know, Christmas dinner where you have an extra roll and potatoes. Those are special occasions where you might be tempted to eat a bit more than usual. I’m talking about it as an unhealthy lifestyle.

The other ugly end of the spectrum  of course, is not eating or withholding food. Anorexia and bulimia,   two major eating disorders wreak as much havoc on people as eating to much food.

All of them, incidentally, are listed as mental illnesses. Did you know that ?

All of them in their own ways, destroy the body. Food is one of the few things we have power over in our lives…what we eat…how we eat.. how much we eat…we have exclusive control. In a world that we might seem to have no power… we have power over our food intake…or lack thereof.

Consider a few of these stats:

One in 200 American women suffers from anorexia.  2-3 American women suffer from bulimia.  An additional 10% of women report symptoms consistent with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge disorder eating leaving the numbers at a staggering 75% of American women who endorse some unhealthy thoughts, feelings, or behaviors related to food or their bodies.

Of course these numbers don’t reflect men who suffer from these diseases as well.  The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders states approximately 8 million Americans suffer with eating disorders. There are indications from other forums that those numbers are actually, higher.

Those are staggering numbers.

Eating disorders — such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder – include extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. Eating disorders are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening consequences for females and males

 

Now back to my opening line of thoughts that still sink their claws into me…

No, I don’t believe I ever had a full blown eating disorder. Well, I know I didn’t.

Disordered thinking regarding food, absolutely.

There were times, certainly, when I was pretty thin. After all, isn’t that what’s pushed at us?

Be thin. Thinner is better. Except during those times I never viewed myself that way… I didn’t see myself as I really was…mentally I thought I was heavier… but the world saw a very tall thin woman.

 

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I ran the gambit of things growing up and well into adulthood.

Skipping breakfast, not eating till dinner, eating ridiculous small portions that weren’t enough food, pushing a lot of water, chewing gum to try and ignore my hunger, frequent check in’s with the scale, crazy fad diets.. yeah…disordered at its best. Thinking about food all the time or when I could have it (weird how when you are in those places, food can dominate your thinking, especially when you keep yourself hungry all the time) then when I finally allowed myself to eat… of course.. it was inhaled because I was so hungry.

Those thoughts can sometimes still creep in…

Like thinking about the calories of something when I know I need to eat…like after or before a workout.  Thankfully, I view food more as fuel for my body and a way to nourish it now days but sometimes I find myself thinking… maybe I don’t need that…

Maybe I should skip a meal.

Maybe I don’t need a pre-snack before a long hard workout.

Ignoring my hunger when I know I need to eat.

Sometimes not eating enough food.

 

However, those thoughts are rare now, and I think I have an overall healthy attitude with food and keeping it in a proper place in my life. I know eating well not only fuels my daily activities but what I enjoy doing physically.  I’ve learned eating three (healthy, nourishing meals) keeps me from being hungry and not thinking about food all day.

Not only that, good nutrition and athletic activities have given me a strong, powerful body that I prefer now over the vague quest to just be “thin”.

Some of you reading this might struggle with that very thing: keeping food in a proper place and relationship for what it is. Maybe you struggle with your perception of yourself.

Perhaps you’ve been there but have it managed now.

Food is, and will be a huge part of our lives. Understanding how we relate to it and the role we allow it to play in our lives is huge.

Again, as I mentioned earlier, it can also be a “power” issue.

The power to choose. The power to withhold. The power to overdo. The power to eat and hide it. The power to secretly eat to much and throw it up.

This can give us a sense of “control” when our worlds might be, or seem, out of control. Unfortunately, for some, these diseases can become what controls their lives.

These are such deep, broad issues that I’ve barely touched on. The reasons why someone struggles with it is wide and varied.

Eating disorders have no economic or social boundaries. Both sexes can struggle with them. Having an awareness of the issue is the first step to wellness and a healthier relationship with food.

For more information or help visit http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Need Supplements From Door To Door Salesmen?

vitaminsandminerals101

 

So before I dive into todays topic, I will preface it with this side note.  I started my morning off with a HITT workout ( high intensity interval training) I had been pondering a rest day… which is never easy for me to do… instead I pick a quick 22 minute HITT sesh as my other option 😛

Anyway, I’m now at the local coffee shop writing as it seemed like a fair thing to do, give the legs a rest.  But then I decided to wear these cute little heeled booties with my new sweater dress and my legs are asking… “why?”… but hey… fashion before function, right ? 😉

Have I ever mentioned, next to fitness stuff, I love fun fashion? yeah.. well maybe that’s a future post waiting to happen…

But for now… on with the show!

Todays topic.

It was generated by some articles I was reading the other day that got me once again to thinking and pondering what was being said and then, well here I go again, climbing on my  “snake oil pedaling” band wagon.

I’ve talked before about all the hype of “health and wellness” companies, the products that are offered, the claims that are made, and the money it costs for these items.

Some of the propaganda is quite enticing to people who are desperate and wanting something, anything, to fix the health and weight issues.  Something other than exercise and eating better…

I’ll tell you… so much of it hurts my heart that they are going to throw their money away on stuff and still be in the same boat they are 6 months or less from the time they started shoveling it out.

Now listen, if you’ve got something that works for you, great. If you’ve found something that works alongside what I refer to as the basics ( eating good wholesome food, in the right portions, minimal crap food, and plenty of exercise) good for you.

nutrition-vitamins

My issue is sales people that tell you that you “need” stuff in the products to be healthy or to lose weight.

For instance, here’s what tripped me up….this article was saying how you needed to take chromium because it’s not produced in your body.

Ok first of all… most people are not really going to care or know what it is much less feel like they need to run out and buy if cause their body is in desperate need of it.

Well… here’s a little lesson on this mineral our body needs that wasn’t included in company info…

Chromium is actually a trace mineral that our body uses in very small amounts for healthy functioning.  Chromium plays a role in the insulin-signaling pathways that allow our bodies to control the amount of sugar we take in, it balances blood glucose levels and gives us stable energy.

Here’s the kicker though… it’s easily found in the majority of foods that we consume… whole grains, cereals, meats, potatoes, vegetables, etc ( please don’t buy into the “our ground has been stripped and our foods have no good nutrient value anymore” nonsense) … you can also get more from cooking in stainless steel and drinking tap water. Since we use so little of it for natural functioning most people take in more than adequate amounts to sustain what they need. Meaning, a supplement is not necessary and the body only “washes” what’s not needed.

The only people found to (possibly) need a supplement might be those with diabetes or the elderly.

Like any supplement it is possible to take more than you need for a healthy body and although overdoses are rare to much can cause toxicity and some serious side effects. It is always best to consult your doctor when considering certain supplements , vitamins, and minerals or other products  you are thinking to add to your daily diet.

Todays thinking has become “if a little is good, more is better” and that’s not true. Our bodies are beautifully wired to work in a perfect balance and throwing in more than we need is often not helpful or can cause health problems if dosage is to much.

And a final reminder… no matter how well meaning your family member, co-worker, friend, neighbor etc… who are selling “health products” … they are often only sharing published information the company has generated that they in turn feed to you.

Keep in mind they are not your doctor, a nutritionist, or health care specialist and you should always seek advice of professionals before taking products you may not need

Be your own advocate. Do your own homework. Know what it is you are considering  putting in your body before you invest your money into something you may not need or benefit from.

A New Year And A New Start

fresh-start

Hello beautiful people and Happy New Year to you! I hope you’re still out there since it’s been awhile that I’ve offered anything up to you… I’m still here!

2016 ended with a lot going on, not to mention the usual Christmas events and celebrations to prepare for. A big thing for me was finally having to move my dad out of his home into a personal care home  in December as his Alzheimers had greatly progressed and he needed constant care.

Unfortunately, my 2017 started off with him passing away a few days into the new year. Even though we knew he would be leaving us soon, the finality is always something you still have to contend with.

Ah…kinda  heavy stuff to start the year off with but life keeps moving… right?

Even with so much going on in my life, a new year always inspires me, gives me a fresh focus and vision with things I want to accomplish or try. A new year full of opportunities and goals to set.  And trust me, I have new goals already set.

As usual I’ve heard from many people about their weight loss and fitness goals. That this is going to be “their year” for success. They are ready to get going on “the journey”.

And of course, all of the weight loss products are out in full force on every aisle in the store along with your neighbors who are pedaling stuff and are now experts on nutrition and health … I’ve said it once I’ll say it again… you don’t need any of that to be successful… save your money for new clothes…

it’s sounds old school but solid nutrition and some healthy movement are the only things that will give you life long success at staying healthy and fit.

Sooooo….you have good intentions. You’re ready. More importantly, you’re mentally ready to begin this process… and it IS a process. It’s not something you will achieve overnight but if you keep at it, will be a lifelong process of health and well being… it will just be what you do every day without thinking about it.

Where does one start? How does one start? Do you feel overwhelmed before you begin?

You aren’t alone.  I remember multiple attempts before it finally “stuck”. What made it different for me? What got me moving in a permanent forward direction?

I’ll share a few things with you….

First, I had to just make a commitment to myself to do it. Not for my husband or kids or so I could wear skinny jeans . It has to be for you. This is your life, your body, you are responsible for taking care of it and keeping it healthy and well.  Do it for you.

Own where you are and be honest with yourself. If you’re overweight you know it. It’s not a surprise. Be real and then get real with how you’re going to change it.

Set realistic goals.

Understand, no one, at all can do the work for you. I can offer someone tips, suggestions, food and exercise ideas etc but if they don’t follow through and do the work…well… then they go no where.  What you eat, how much, if you get out for some exercise, it all falls on you.

Know that you will have a good and bad days. It’s important to just keep going. No quitting. No deciding nothing is ever going to change. You commit to one day at a time, hopefully making more positive choices than negative and you live the day you’re in.

Get honest with yourself and really examine your relationship with food.. why do you eat? what makes you reach for food? are there things that trigger you eating?  Getting an understanding of food and how you interact with it will be helpful on your journey. For instance, one thing I identified early on, was that I came from a family of emotional eaters. Over time, I’ve really learned to rein that in, be aware of it, and have  control over it.

Don’t let the scale be your judge and jury to your health journey. It’s a tool. It in no way reflects your overall health and well being. Use it carefully.. maybe just once a week. Note the numbers and move on.  Things like losing inches, lab results (reflecting internal health), getting stronger, or faster  and your mental well being aren’t reflected on the scale.

Start small. Start with one thing to change at a  time. If you’ve never exercised maybe aiming for 2-3 times in a week would be a good starting place.  If you always eat seconds maybe work back on not eating those. Learn to listen to your body…seconds really… are for our mouth and eyes…not our tummies which are usually satisfied.

Food. Don’t cut out everything you love and go on some restrictive diet that makes you want to quit in a week. Eat enough food to satisfy your hunger, no more. Eat when you get hungry. Don’t eat when you aren’t.

Work on eliminating junk type foods. Simple carbs should be minimal in your daily nutrition ( that means things like cookies, candy, soda, sugary drinks, boxed snacks/foods, chips, processed foods, baked goods , fast food etc)

Complex carbs… those found in fruits,  green veggies, whole grains, beans/peas, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, pasta etc should begin to fill your plate along with protein and healthy fats.

Treats. I always tell people I’ve been successful by not restricting myself from things I love.  I learned early on to really appreciate and savor a small treat over nothing at all. Literally, I could get a few chocolate kisses with my coffee at night and it satisfied the need for a sweet treat. It wasn’t anything that would sabatoge my work for the day and I didn’t ultimately go on some binge because I had overly restricted myself.

With a determined mind set, a willingness to change, the knowledge to take baby steps and progress slowly knowing change takes time, and making small changes in your nutrition and exercise program, 2017 will for sure be your year to achieve a lifestyle of health and fitness.

And the most important ingredient to your success? Don’t quit!