Food Vs. Supplements

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Commercials. If there’s one thing they are designed for it’s to sell you on the product at hand.  To convince you that your life will be better with it. They want to make you spend your money on it.

You name it, nothing seems to be off limits anymore. One has caught my eye several times for an anti-aging skin care product… not because I put much stock in products that promote that. The cream supposedly has blackberry extracts to contribute to keeping a young look.

Of course my first thought was… why not just eat those suckers instead of using a cream that may have a touch of blackberry extract in it? They are a staple in my food consumption almost every day… I think it’s better eating them than slathering them on my eyes…

Blackberries are loaded with Vitamin C with a serving at 3.5 oz, offering 35% of the daily allowance, that serving is only 43 calories, and they are an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber. A serving offers 5.3 grams of fiber. This humble fruit is also loaded with all kinds of vitamins and minerals and antioxidant properties. These antioxidant compounds protect against aging, inflammation, cancer and other neurological diseases…their dark color is a sign of their high antioxidant content.

Now back to the skin care with blackberries being marketed as an anti-aging cream.

If blackberries are loaded with so many good things in such a tiny package, and are a huge anti-aging food, you should be eating them up and not just slathering a bit of cream on your skin that may have miniscule amounts in it.

You’ve heard that saying you are what you eat? Nourish your body from the inside out.

There’s a huge market right now for supplements and health products on the market. They all offer a replacement option to the actual thing… real food.

Vitamins. Minerals. Health aids. Probiotics. Protein powders. Colorful drinks. Meal “replacements”.

That’s my favorite. I don’t want a meal “replacement”.

I want real food, thank you.

This, that and the other. So many things vying for your attention and your money… mainly…. your money.

A quick stroll down the health and supplement aisle will have you believing you need these products to be healthy because well, you know, eating balanced, nutritious food just isn’t enough to keep you healthy, vital and energetic. Certainly you are lacking something…so take a supplement. Use our drink. Take this pill.

We’ve had this pushed at us for so long, we’ve started to buy into it…literally.

One of the biggest markets right now has to be with protein/supplements/shakes/add in’s etc.

Often people purchase thinking they need it, especially if they are spending time in the gym. I mean, isn’t that just a part of it? Like lifting, sweating, making gains.. you MUST be chugging down protein?

OK first… a quick look at what whey protein is

Milk is made up of two proteins, casein and whey.

Whey protein can be separated from the casein in milk or formed as a by-product of cheese making. Whey protein is considered a complete protein as it contains all 9 essential amino acids. It is low in lactose content.

This is what you see mostly in the aisles of stores.

Whey protein is used for weight loss and to help protect and build muscles.

If you use it, it should in balance too. Over doing on protein supplements can cause health issues such as stomach pains, cramps, reduced appetite, nausea, headache and fatigue.

A friend recently sent me a story of a young woman who was training and working on building her body for fitness competitions.  She evidently lived on a pretty steady diet of protein supplements/drinks/high protein diet etc.

She was found unresponsive in her home and later died. Evidently she had a rare genetic disorder that stopped her body from breaking down protein properly. This caused ammonia to build up in her blood and an accumulation of fluid in her brain.  Unfortunately, this isn’t really tested for and only found after her death.

I know you’re sitting there thinking… “well, this is a rare thing so… people don’t need to really worry about this” …

the fact is, to much of anything isn’t good for us. Our body can only use and process so much protein at a time before the rest of it’s washed out. Excess protein will not make us have more muscles or achieve a better level of fitness.

I love protein and it definitely keeps me satisfied and from feeling hungry. I know it feeds my muscles and helps them to get stronger, and even grow a little. My protein comes from food sources, although, after long endurance workouts when my appetite is not there, I will use one for recovery just to get some carbs and protein in until my appetite returns.

People are “sold” on the idea that food isn’t enough. Or if a supplement/vitamin/ drink is good, more should be better.

We are bombarded with products in the store, online, and even what our neighbor is pedaling that is supposed to help us fix all of our ills ( which we don’t even know we have till we get the product to miraculously cure them all)  There are a few out there that are promising to “cure’ more and more things. Just note, I’ve seen new fine print that says it’s not FDA approved and that its not to prevent, cure or treat diseases)

Once again I’ll say this, our bodies are made in a beautiful balanced way, needing just a certain amount of vitamins and minerals for optimal health. To much of one thing could be enough to make you sick or throw off another vitamin or mineral in your body.

And don’t be lead astray by companies trying to sell you on the idea you’re “lacking” something and need to take their product. The only way you know you’re deficient in something is usually through the doctor after having lab work done. And if you are worried about something, talk to your health care professional!

Case in point… last year my husband had labs done and was found to be deficient in Vitamin D. Yes, he has been using a supplement with his nutrition to get his levels where they need to be.

Don’t be led astray that you “need” something without any evidence for it.

So here’s the deal…

good quality, nutritious food IS enough.

It is enough to give your body daily fuel, sustain it for workouts, your daily activities, and help you build a stronger more fit body if that’s your goal.

When you cut out non-essential foods that don’t contribute to your health and fitness goals and focus on eating nutritionally balanced foods, your body will respond, especially when you add in a good healthy dose of exercise.

So many of the problems we deal with today can be improved on with better nutrition, getting the non-essential foods and drinks out, exercising more and maintaining a healthy weight.

You don’t need supplements, shakes, drinks, potions or anything else to build a healthy body. We need to be careful about extra things we put in it lest we throw off the perfect, beautiful, balance that its naturally made to operate in.

Do you or have you used supplements ? Do you feel they helped you?  Have you ever felt like you just had to go along with what was currently popular?

The Athletes Body And Food

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“With all of the exercise you do, I guess you can eat whatever you want?”

This is one of  several questions I  often get asked and the answer is, no, I don’t eat whatever I want.

I’ve tried these past few years to build a different relationship with food. Specifically, food in regards to exercise.  Maybe you need to build a different relationship too or maybe you’ve hit a balance with it.

The question I’m asked of course, is merely inquiring.

If I’m investing so much physical energy I should certainly be able to eat whatever I want. This naturally means freedom to eat all perceived “off limits” foods since I will burn them off.

Of course the game changer for me if you’ve read previous posts, is the fact I’ve set nothing “off limits” so I don’t necessarily feel the need to eat forbidden foods because I’m exercising.

I know it’s there, if I want it.

Since I started on my athletic journey a few years ago, I’ve made it a point to never treat exercise like a free card to eat poorly. I guess the idea of pouring myself out, working hard, and then coming in and wolfing down a donut and chocolate milk ( although chocolate milk can make a good recovery drink 😉 ) seemed rather, pointless and negating to all I had just done. Not only that, if I was training to get strong and healthy why wouldn’t I feed my body good stuff ?

So I learned to train my thinking, essentially reshape, another aspect of my relationship with food.

Our food relationship

I wrote about that in a post recently. Our relationship with food. We all have one. For many of us we will need to continue to define this relationship in regards to our athletic activities. We cannot treat it as a free card to eat extra or eat badly.

About eating extra…..

there’s a bit of a disclaimer to that. When my training has kicked up and I have days that I’m heavily invested on a physical level I know my calories will need to increase to support what I’m doing. This is where learning about my body, listening to it, and feeding it accordingly come into play. This isn’t eating extra just because I feel like it. Learning to support my body depending on my physical output that day is very different.

Same goes for you. If you are involved in physical activities, listen to your body, know your needs and eat to sustain your body for what you do. Eat accordingly on days you invest more physical energy and be more conservative on your non-exercise days or light training days.

Don’t use food as a reward for exercise

Yeah, I’m going there. I honestly cringe when I see posts or hear someone talk about getting to eat because they exercised.

Stop it.

Food and exercise both nurture your body. You don’t have to earn your food. On the flip side, you don’t have to abuse your body ’cause you had a burger and fries for lunch and feel you have to “work it off”.  As if.

Food isn’t a reward and you aren’t a dog being thrown a treat because you worked out.

Food is fuel for your activities

When our relationship with food is in a place of understanding that it not only nurtures us, but fuels our activities we can look at it in a different way. If we want to perform well we can’t expect our bodies to operate on food that isn’t optimal. It can shift from a mentality of  ” eating what you want” to “eating food that rebuilds your body and gives you energy”.

By all means, eat enough

Long endurance training sessions can seemingly kick my appetite in over drive for not only that day, but sometimes the next as well. I’ve learned to eat healthy foods to satisfy my appetite. Again, I listen to my body and feed it as needed. I try and eat enough, but not to much.

Listen to your body. Learn to feed it what it needs after your training. Focus on healthy foods to support recovery.

I will admit after heavy endurance sessions, food is often not on my mind as those workouts tend to kill my appetite for awhile. Intellectually, I know I need to get something in me.  I’ve learned I can at least get some protein and carbs in with milk in a protein drink, I also add a banana as well, this gives me a good blend of carbs and protein for recovery.

Eat what you like that satisfies you and gives your body what it needs for repair and restoration post workout.

Keep in mind that the goal is about caring for yourself, before and after exercise. Food should be used to maintain your health and wellness, but hey, if you need some chocolate in there at some point, go for that too 😉

How have you viewed exercise and food? Do you or have you, used it as a reason to eat more or eat lesser quality food? Do you think exercise is a reason to eat “whatever” you want? Have you changed your thinking on that? How did it help you?

 

The Dangerous Game Of Off Limits Foods

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Just let the quote I have posted breathe over you for a few minutes. Think about it.  Can you relate on some level whether it’s now or at some point on your health journey ? It resonated deeply with me the first time I read it.

It’s a thought that permeates our society right now. An out of control, crazy way of thinking.

And it’s designed to have failure as the ultimate outcome.

“Good foods/bad foods”, ” Eliminate food groups”, “Sugar is like cocaine”, “Carbs are bad”. “Fat is bad”…..

Blah. Blah. Blah.

Every single one of those thoughts can potentially set you up for failure when it comes to eating and nourishing your body.  Setting up negative thoughts is exactly why so many people struggle with their relationship with food.

You may not like to think of it that way, but you do. We all do.

Those relationships can look really different for all of us.

Food can represent a power struggle in both directions. To one extreme it can result in eating disorders like anorexia… withholding food.

It can go the other direction which is bulimia, a complete out of control power with food.

It can also be the act of just over eating. Eating more than our bodies need for nourishment and health which leads to being overweight. Eating to feed a deeper need than physical hunger…  like emotional eating.

Our relationship with food can become rigid where everything is monitored that is taken in. Food becomes a task master to keep after and keep under a tight rein. It’s thought of constantly.

Or we may be fortunate to have developed a healthy relationship with it naturally on our own, or through our own health journey and arriving there through life experiences.

When we begin to set foods apart, good or bad,  putting them in an off limits category, and tell ourselves we can’t have them or that they are bad we start to give food a lot more power than it needs to have.

A part of learning and building new habits is to keep food in a “neutral zone”.

Food is food.

Don’t demonize it or put yourself on some restrictive way of living so all you do is think of those “forbidden” foods.

Do you see the danger of giving certain foods so much power in your life ? It’s designed to keep you from being successful.

Why?

You restrict foods, take them away, label them as bad, or you decide food group “x” isn’t something you are going to eat anymore ’cause that’s the current hyped up trend going on ( not that you have any health issues dictating it) but you’re participating in it.

You really love those foods and will miss them … where do you think your mind will be ?

Exactly.

Smack on the things you’ve set up as “off limits” which will only continue to warp your relationship with food and it’s a dangerous process.

I guess I fall in the camp of figuring out my relationship with food on my journey of health and fitness.

I shared in another blog that I grew up in a family of emotional eaters. I was one too and figured it out as I grew in my understanding of my relationship with food. I’d say I largely have it under control, although there are moments I am aware I’m eating for a reason other than hunger.

I tried many “diets” through my life. Ultimately, all I could wait for was for it to be over and get back to “normal”. ( I see you nodding your head. You know what I mean). Good times.

I’d say THE single biggest factor in my success ( I’m 8 years out now so I think I can address this)

I put nothing “off limits”.  Nothing.

You know what that did? It took all power out of anything that may have been forbidden.

I know what you’re thinking…. “Oh, then you probably just went off the wagon all the time”

No. I didn’t. I’m a big girl and certainly have the ability to control what I stuff in my mouth. But it did keep me from over thinking on food.

If my family went to get a burger ( which was an occasional treat) I wanted to enjoy it with them and not sit there forlornly eating a tub of pale iceberg lettuce with two tomatoes in it.

You might think that would send me off the deep end. Like… throw in the towel. Not at all. I continued my commitment to what I was doing. My daily focus on food was to eat well, eat moderate, and allow some treats to be factored in on my weight loss journey.

Now hear me. Although I don’t like to label foods, we can agree that there are some that aren’t the best for our health goals or the best to eat on a frequent basis. I kept that in mind too.

Fried/processed foods, drive thru meals, sugar, alcohol, simple carbs like cookies, cake, chips, candy, sodas, sugar drinks etc. can be tasty treats but must be handled with moderation.

I wasn’t to crazy at all about the idea of giving up chocolate to lose weight! I learned that a small amount, savored, often was enough to satisfy me. I didn’t need to just keep consuming it because it was there.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. The most successful people I know have done it with a non-restrictive balance in their lives.

Do I have trigger foods?

You bet I do. I know that it’s just not a smart move to bring home any type of kettle potato chip unless I’ve got people there eating them with me. 😛

It’s been a learning process.

Learning to trust myself with food. I don’t have to eat it because it’s there or have a “last supper” mentality and consume it all because I may never get it again.

Learning to listen to my body and it’s natural signals.

Learning to not be horribly restrictive to prevent the caving in and eating whatever because I felt deprived.

Learning to make better choices that supported my overall health and fitness goals.

I have learned….

to know my body and what makes me feel good and energetic.

I feel better eating lots of veggies and fruit. I have learned some foods just make me feel more sluggish or bloated and I’d rather pass on them. Lean meats, veggies, and good whole grain carbs keep me energetic and decently lean.

Those foods that used to have a pull on me don’t so much anymore. Healthy eating is natural and comfortable to me now.

I’ve learned to be patient with myself. Some days just might not be that great and it’s ok if I get up and keep going. The “not so great days” though have become less and less as this has become my lifestyle and I’ve built permanent habits.

Forward, slow, steady progress is the best kind of progress. It lasts.

I’ve learned a lot about nutrition. I eat adequate, good food to nourish my body three times a day and I don’t really think about food much anymore… except when my tummy is yelling at me 😉

I’ve learned life is a beautiful journey and it will have birthdays, and holidays and celebrations and food is a big part of those things. Finding balance and being able to enjoy those times is one of the best things about not having “off limits” foods. I have learned I can have my treats and it doesn’t undo all of my hard work. The best part? Not having that self-imposed “guilt” that used to come with it.

I don’t know where you are on your journey of health and fitness. If you struggle with food and are trying to understand your relationship with it, I hope that you at least begin to not cast foods into off limits groups. I hope you give yourself the freedom to eat well, to learn about yourself in the journey, and that you will find perfect balance in your personal relationship with food.

In summary

Know your relationship with food.

Don’t categorize food. Food, is simply, food.

Learn to know your body and listen to it.

Nourish it with healthy foods the majority of time and allow occasional treats.

Trust yourself.

Don’t practice a restrictive lifestyle.

Walk the road you are on. Slow and steady will last a lifetime.

Don’t quit.

Where are you on your journey? Do you feel like you have balance in your relationship with food? Have you set foods up as good or bad and then changed your thinking ? How did that help you?

 

 

 

Hydration And Health

Water. Juice. Coffee. Milk. Sports Drinks.

Liquid… endless things that can offer hydration to our bodies but by far water is the best thing to keep them well hydrated.

Although, I’m pretty sure  black iced coffee is a good second 😉

Summer is heavy upon us here in the states and with that comes not only work to be done outside but also for many of us, the outdoors is our “gym” and with hard workouts come high sweat rates.

Of course we also lose fluids through elimination, natural sweating, and even certain foods or drinks can draw precious fluids from us.

Therefore you should make it a daily, intentional act to constantly hydrate and replenish fluid losses.

Water is of course, the best source for rehydrating, yet I’m shocked at how many people don’t drink it or have minimal consumption of it in their day.

Consider this:

the human body is made up of a high percentage of water.  Babies and children have the highest amounts, the average adult is 50-65%. Body composition varies according to gender and fitness level because fatty tissue contains less water than lean tissue. The average adult male is about 60% water. The average adult woman is about 55% water because women naturally have more fatty tissue than men. Overweight men and women have less water, as a percent than their leaner counterparts.

The percent of water depends on your hydration level. People feel thirsty when they have already lost around 2-3% of their body’s water! Mental performance and physical coordination start to become impaired before thirst kicks in, typically around 1% dehydration.

Since your brain is about 85% water, even mild dehydration can bring on changes in your mood and a decline in your concentration and alertness.

You know days you can feel tired or foggy? Have a headache? You could need a good dose of water and suffering from mild dehydration.

Want to know a really gross kind of way to know how hydrated you are? The color of your urine. If it’s light/clear or pale lemonade colored, you are well hydrated. Any darker, you need to get some fluids.

Again, waiting till you feel thirsty means you are already in some type of dehydrated mode. Avoid that by making fluid intake an intentional, purposeful part of your day.

How much water DO you need in a day?

New recommendations are the “8 by 8” rule.  Drink 8 ounces of fluid, 8 times a day.  Of course there are many variables to that. Where you live, how healthy you are, and how active you are all play into how much fluid you need so it comes down to a more personalized level.

I carry water with me all the time. It ensures I’m constantly drinking on it. Make it a part of your daily life and it will soon become routine for you and you’ll see it’s not so hard to get your water in 🙂

Let’s address hydration on an athletic level.

Loss of fluid volume can greatly affect your athletic performance. I’ve learned the hard way when I haven’t taken enough fluid in before, during, or after.

It’s key to understand your “sweat rate” so you can get adequate fluid back in you as soon as possible.

There are all sorts of formulas but the best one is fairly simple.

Weigh in before a workout, no clothes is best. Weigh in after you’re done in the same manner.

Know how much fluid you take in during your workout, let’s hypothetically say,  I took in 32 oz.  ( this would be 2 lbs.)

My sweat losses on heavy workouts can be anywhere from 2-3lbs.  I’ll just use 2 lbs for easy math.

My total fluid loss would be around 4 lbs.

The goal then is to begin to replace those losses as quickly as possible and no, I don’t count it as “weight loss”.  I would multiple 4 lbs. lost x 16oz (1 lb liquid) meaning I would need to work at replacing that fluid (64 oz) before I continued drinking for ongoing hydration.

This would also involve learning to drink if I might not necessarily “feel” like it to replace those losses. And thirst is not a reliable indicator of dehydration. If you wait to drink until you are thirsty and stop drinking when your thirst is satisfied, you’ll remain 25% to 50% dehydrated.

Using a balanced sports drink to replace electrolytes and other vital minerals lost is a good way to begin rehydrating properly.

I recently came across one that I like, and my tummy likes too. I’ve been using it on my long cycling session and after I finish my workouts. It’s called Body Armor. It comes in lots of crisp flavors and it’s not overly sweet. It also comes in at only 70 calories a bottle as well which is a big win.

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I’ve done Gatorade but it really reminds me of bottled sweat 😛

It’s important to find what works for you during training and train with it. Keeping your fluid level stable during your workout will make it easier to properly rehydrate after you finish.

No matter what you do in your day, from the time you wake up, until bed you should be intentional about your fluid intake. Again, if athletic activities are in your day, your fluid should even be more focused to maintain your performance and recovery. Being properly hydrated before hand is crucial and makes it easier to stay hydrated during those long sessions.

Tips on drinking water:

I get it, well, I don’t sometimes. It amazes me that people say they don’t “like” water. And if you’re used to consuming primarily liquids that have flavor it will be a challenge to you. You can learn though and in time, you will develop your “natural” thirst for it again.

Try adding fresh citrus ( lime or lemon) squeezed into your water. There are also several flavored waters on the market that have zero or low calorie to ease you into the process. Work then to gradually wean yourself to regular water.

Drink a glass first thing when you get up. As much as I love my morning coffee, a large glass of water is the first thing I take in.

Take it with you everywhere. I honestly run back in the house if I realize I left it when I head out.

With time and a little practice you will be getting all your water in and it will seem perfectly natural to you.

Do you have any water drinking tips? Anything that helped you to get in the “habit”?

 

 

 

Veggie Tales

I will admit this publicly. Maybe I shouldn’t.  You might be shocked.

But I’m semi-horrified when someone tells me they don’t eat veggies or don’t like them.

I’m like… “What did your mother DO to you??”

Oh, I get it. As parents we do try. I had one son who never really got into the veggie thing even though I fed him assortments of veggies as an infant (even then he wasn’t crazy over them) he has select ones he eats now, but at least he eats them.

As my kids grew up I made sure to present them with all varieties of food. I wanted them to at least try it before pronouncing they didn’t like it. I wasn’t a member of the “clean your plate” club like I grew up in but they did need to sample it.

My Mom used to delight in telling a story how I wanted scrambled eggs for breakfast but then changed my mind and didn’t want to eat them. When I stubbornly refused ( ah I was a bit head strong even then 😉 ) she evidently kept them around….

All. day. long.

They made an appearance at lunch… to which I refused to eat them… they were again brought out later.

Isn’t that child abuse or something ?! I had to take her word for it as I guess the trauma of having to see eggs that were becoming older and older by the moment was somehow blocked from my mind.

It’s a miracle I still eat eggs.

Needless to say, I didn’t grow up being allowed to be a picky eater and I was offered a wide variety of foods. It’s pretty much how my kids have been raised.

So when I’m confronted with the revelation someone doesn’t eat them ( more common than you may know)  I’m honestly floored.

Upon deeper probing sometimes that person reveals that the only veggies they may have known come from a can or they would be so steamed/overcooked by mom they turned into mush.

ok… well maybe then I’d be down on veggies too.  I’ve been in numerous buffet or banquet lines where the veggies in the pan were loose memories of what they used to be.

But beautiful, colorful, fresh produce?

Crisp green veggies perfectly steamed or better yet, roasted? There is no comparison in how delicious they are.

Roasting veggies has to be by far, my favorite way to cook and eat them.

I can eat my body weight in roasted veggies.  You think I’m joking….

Roasting is such a simple quick way to prepare them while not killing off the nutritional value. I usually use some olive oil, lots of cracked pepper and some sea salt. Roast at about 450 and stir occasionally to let them crisp up.

Pure. Heaven.

Ok I’m giving you a cheat sheet for common ones so you have no excuse to not try them 😉

roasted veggie

Ok maybe you like steamed. Some veggies are lovely when steamed till crisp tender. Steaming also helps retain all of the vitamins and minerals present in them.

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Some humor for you ’cause well.. it’s how I roll 😉

And to help you out… here’s a short list of steaming, boiling, and for the always handy micro 😉

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And for the record, all of those will roast up quite nicely too.

One of my favorite roasted combos is sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts.

Ok… stop turning up your nose and making gagging noises.  I hear you.

Seriously, I’ve turned my kids into brussel sprout eaters by roasting them. If the only memories you have are of Sunday dinner and grandma cooking the life out of them and watching them roll around your plate…well.. leave those memories behind and get in the here and now.

The sweetness of the potatoes blends so wonderfully with the sprouts… yummy. Let them cook long enough to get crispy with the potatoes.

I have some friends who chop up a little bacon and cook them together. Now if you go this route be mindful your also adding additional fat to otherwise healthy veggies…but it is really good 😉

Roasted cauliflower is another favorite. In fact, I have to watch myself ’cause I’ll just nibble at it while I’m finishing dinner then wonder.. “didn’t I make more of this?” haha

It’s another kid favorite too. I’ve now gone to making two heads when I do it to ensure everyone can have what they want. Not only that, leftovers make great additions to my salad lunch the next day.

Ok maybe now I should try and sell you on WHY you should be consuming vast quantities of these.

benefits-of-specific-foods

Keep in mind, this is no where near a comprehensive chart.

Veggies not only fill you up for minimal calories, they deliver incredible health benefits to your body in the way of vitamins and minerals.

They can help protect/prevent many diseases.  You can eat wheelbarrow loads of them and not worry about calories.

They do amazing things for your skin, hair, and many offer anti-aging benefits as well as help keep you lean.

A diet high in veggies/fruits also ensures that your internal systems all work regularly and properly.

Eating plenty of veggies also gives you energy and keeps you from that sluggish feeling of to many higher carb foods in a meal.

Listen to me. Just eat your veggies.

Your body wants them. Your health will improve with them. It will help you lose weight. It will help with the appearance of your skin and hair. Oh yeah, and remember me mentioning many have anti-aging properties?

How many reasons do you need to eat them? All you need to do is be willing to be open to try some new things and experiment. If you make a valiant effort with something you don’t like, move on to the next one.

Has it ever made you wonder why there are sooooo many veggies and fruits? It’s because we were made to eat a whole lot of them AND they are amazingly good for us!

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Do you have favorite veggies? How do you cook them? Share your veggie tales with me 😉

I Eat Ice Cream Don’t Judge Me

It had been one of those days. My morning started as usual, workout, then the life stuff I had to attend to.

After that, it was off to town to do errands and finally, landing in my favorite coffee cave to chill, socialize, and write.

Oh yeah. That’s what I’m here for.

Writing 😉

Believe it or not, I am way more productive being out than being at home where things pull at me.

I had been writing for awhile and was wrestling with the feeling of needing something sweet. This is sometimes for me, normal, after a morning with a hard workout.

Sugar is nothing but pure, raw fuel for the body. I’ve learned to not fight against it when it hits, but get something to quiet that need.

Last year after a particularly long run, by midafternoon, I was craving jelly beans in the worst way. ( Can you say sugar?)  I went and bought some and chowed down on a handful without blinking.

jelly beans

The next day, I had a couple and was overwhelmed with how sweet they were. I didn’t touch them after that.

Fast forward to the other afternoon with a similar feeling creeping in. I kept writing but that need was still there.

I finally decided I wanted ice cream. Actually, where I got it, it’s a fancier version with other goodies added into it. This one happened to be Salted Caramel.

As I’m prone to do posting fun, random, or whatever pics on my social media sites, I posted a pic of the ice cream.

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It’s drool worthy, right ? 😉

 

As I expected several of my friends teased me about being “normal” and  they were happy to see I ate stuff  like, ice cream.

Of course I do.  Don’t judge me 😛

I’m not just some perpetual veggie eating machine 😉  I mean I am… but… I still like some treats too.

Anyway, yeah, so the ice cream was delicious. But my tummy also let me know a bit later it wasn’t to crazy about that heavy treat during the day when it’s not used to it.

 

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Did I eat it all ?!

 

When you eat healthy most of the time, that other stuff really begins to not set well in your tummy.

So why am I telling you this? Because I want to share with you what I shared with those who follow me on social media.

The main thing that has led to me being successful in my weight loss and fitness has been a healthy dose of balance and moderation.

I knew I’d never be successful if I developed my own plan and it was restrictive and rigid. Somehow, knowing I could have my favorite things took away the focus from them. It’s a huge mental game and it was one I wanted to be in control over.

As I bounced through those first couple years losing weight, chocolate and occasional French fries were a part of my success. So was birthday cake and Christmas cookies.

Note I used the word occasional. As time went on, the pull became less and less.  Mainly in part because your tastes begin to change and those foods start to taste “off” and that also helps to stay away from it. The other part is, knowing it was available in some ways, made me not think about it.

This is what I want to bring to you.

I believe successful weight loss comes with balance. We need to get rid of the all or nothing mentality. Have lots or have none. Do without or eat it all.

These thoughts and attitudes do not lead to success. They can contribute to guilt and more self indulgence. When we believe we’ve “failed” it turns into a brutal cycle we can battle.

The only time you fail is when you quit. Staying with it no matter how bad you think you might’ve done in a day is more successful than quitting.

Life is going on and it has fun things like celebrations, and sometimes, it even has random just for the hell of it ice cream afternoons.

Did eating ice cream change anything for me? Did it change my fitness level? Make me gain 5 lbs? Turn me into a crazy “I can eat anything now” monster because I had ice cream?

No.

Nothing changed for me.

I eat well 95% of the time and the other is for whatever floats my boat.

Balance. Moderation. What is sustainable for the rest of my life.

That stuff works.

If you make it your goal to eat well and eat well the majority of the time, you are on your way to a life time of success. Throw in some solid exercise you’re doing even better.

I firmly believe that when you know you can have everything ( not that you are going to) and that foods aren’t forbidden or good or bad,  it removes a lot of the power from them.

It protects you from the “Last Supper” mentality.

You know… eat it ALL now ’cause tomorrow I diet and I will never, ever have it again.

**raise your hand if you’ve done that** 😉

If you know you can have it, you don’t have to act like the garbage can and clean it all up in a night. No one will take it away so you can’t have it again. Really, your favorite foods will still be around.

Do you see how so much of our thinking can be disordered when it comes to food and weight loss ?

This might take some practice. It might take a failed attempt or two to nail this practice. Maybe you’ll slip up and eat a half bag of cookies.

It’s ok… keep on with it… not the eating cookies part, the practice part 😉

With practice and some balance and moderation, you can have your ice cream and lose weight too.

 

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.