Food And Dysfunctional Thinking

You don’t have to read to far, turn on the tv, or surf the¬†web to see¬†statements like this screaming at you…..

“Grains are bad for you!”, “Bread is bad for you”, “Dairy is bad for you”, ” Sugar is the devil and will kill you”, ” Starches are bad for you”, “Carbs are bad for you”, “Detox your body from poisons (bad foods)”, “Do a “cleanse” to help your body”, “You have to be hungry to lose weight”, “You can’t lose weight unless you cut out “these” foods” “You must only eat organic foods”, “You must eat only pricey beef or other foods” ( for the best health) “Skipping meals will help you lose weight”, “You need to do this “diet” to lose weight and be successful” “I ate to much yesterday so¬†I need to workout really hard today to take away those¬†calories” (as if) ¬†“Gluten free!”¬† “Fat free!” …..

food good or bad
Truth.

 

 

Oh, I could go on but I won’t ’cause I want you to stay with me.

You get it. You’ve heard it.

So many times when I hear these things, I roll my eyes. I can’t help it, when I hear nonsense, it kinda just happens.

My mom¬†used to yell at me when I did if for something she said… haha

What on earth has happened to us that we buy into and believe such dysfunctional ¬†thinking with food and our bodies? Why are we made to feel bad or guilty for eating food and satisfying a natural hunger? ¬†Why are we taught food is bad?¬†Why do we believe foods are “bad”? ¬†How do some¬†learn to obsess over everything¬†they eat and feel bad for it?¬†¬†How do we develop this¬†dysfunctional thinking ?

Worse yet, why do we follow along with an ideology or a certain camp of thinking, especially if it’s the current trendy thing to do, or our friends are doing it?

Sometimes, maybe we are a bit like sheep, eh?

First things first.

I want to address the fact that for some people, on a completely legit level, may have particular food allergies that necessitate removing particular foods. There are a small percentage of people who truly have celiac disease and have to live a gluten free life. Some may have experimented and realized maybe they feel better without certain foods than having them.

Real food issues that involve real health issues are important and need care and attention.

This is not what I’m addressing here.

Now that issue is settled….

Food isn’t bad for you.

Seriously. Food isn’t bad. Saying something is “bad” for you is¬† more disordered thinking of the world we live in and the¬†lies we’ve bought into.

We’ve bought into feeling¬†guilty over food. We’ve bought into thinking we should feel bad about what we eat. We’ve been taught we have to obsess over calories and most of all, there has to be a level of suffering involved with losing weight and how much food we get. We’ve been told if we eat, we’ll get fat so we learn to deprive ourselves and be miserable.

diet cycle
How dysfunctional thinking begins

 

 

Where has such wrong thinking come from?

Yes, many foods do not provide the best nutritional quality for your body. Having a soda over a glass of ice water is hardly a good nutritional choice. But if you only have one when you eat pizza and you have pizza maybe once a month, then it’s really not a big deal.

Daily sodas can pack on serious pounds fast, in that situation you need to assess, is that good for you ? Are sodas impacting your health.

Soda in and of itself isn’t “bad” used in moderation. ¬†Not the best choice perhaps but not some evil thing.

Oh those carbs

I guess one of the comments I hate hearing is that “carbs” are bad for you.

I guess if we’re gonna split it out, let’s define those carbs.

Simple carbs that are found in those “not as¬†nutritional food choices” would be carbs found in cakes, cookies, pastries, muffins,¬†chips, fast foods, sodas, candy,¬†sugared drinks, etc.

You should only consume those products minimally for optimal health.

Complex carbs, now those are a different creature. Fruits and veggies are loaded with complex carbs that are good energy sources for our bodies providing tons of vitamins and minerals which also helps protect against diseases, build cells, protect our vision. help our digestive system and major organs, fill us up for minimal calories, and so many offer anti-aging benefits as well.

Whole grains, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans etc also offer up a dense and nutritionally packed power punch for energy.

Sadly, these carbs are often viewed as the bad and shunned. Worse yet some “diet” plans entirely¬†remove these food groups.

Real, natural, whole food labeled as “bad”.

Oh that sugar….

if there’s one thing that’s been heavily demonized is sugar. Again, as I mentioned, there are things we need to be mindful of in our daily diets. You shouldn’t be consuming a lot of sugar. That too, will pack on¬†pounds if you’re eating those cookies and muffins on the daily. Don’t forget your sugary drinks you might enjoy as well.

Sugar in a modest amount isn’t “bad”.¬† If you have a weakness for it, then it might be that you make the choice to purposefully limit or stay away from it if it cause you to stumble in your health goals or to binge.

And fat free….

speaking of sugar, it leads me to the “fat free” thought. Get rid of fat it’s “bad” for you. Don’t eat fat.

Again like the carb lies, there are good fats and “bad” fats. Ironically, the fats that are not in your best health interest are also in many of the simple carbs I listed as well.

Years ago when the fat free rage was at it’s highest point and I was beginning to navigate the waters of health I learned a sobering truth while reading a label on some “fat free” cookies.

The calorie content was ridiculous! But why?? These were fat-free.

Listen, when you remove necessary fat from baked goods, you get essentially something that tastes like a cardboard shoebox.

To sell their product it had to have some taste so they majorly upped the sugar in their “fat free” cookies.

And the people eagerly bought into it. Because  fat free certainly must mean calorie free.

I realized if I wanted two “normal” cookies, I could do so with less calories involved. But then hey, the trend was normal cookies were “bad”.

Those other things I listed….

Cleanses and detoxes are awful for your body. Those are bad. Don’t do them. They just feed our disordered thinking on food and nutrition.

Skipping meals will not help you lose weight. You WILL be hungry and think about food all the time… so it’s a bit dysfunctional to ignore your bodies physical needs.

You cannot hit the gym the next day to “work off” food and drink from the day before. You can’t “negate what you ate”.¬† What you can do is get back on track with your eating and do sensible exercise. Again, more disordered thinking that we could actually lose calories we sucked recklessly in the day before.

There is no diet that is some magic wand to help you lose weight. At the end of each day, you have a calorie deficit. THAT is how you lose weight. Run away if some product or diet is making wild promises. It just isn’t true.

You don’t have to eat organic or buy meats that cost you a weeks worth of pay. For many people, it is way out of their budget to do so. ¬†I might suggest if you started eating more fruits and veggies you’d be on the road to a healthier lifestyle and wellness. Again, we’ve been conditioned to “believe” these things by a select group.

Foods that don’t fall in those categories (organic etc)¬†¬†aren’t “bad” or “robbed” of nutrients.

Could I make a radical suggestion here?

If food in general isn’t “bad”, perhaps it’s our behaviors with certain foods that are “bad”.

Perhaps we lack a level of control with certain foods. Maybe the mere taste of something pushes us to eat more. There might be foods that trigger our eating.¬† Maybe our emotions are what cause us to indulge in things we don’t need or eat excessively. Perhaps our mouth just wants to eat even if our stomach isn’t physically hungry.

These are behavior issues we have. The food, is what’s¬†used to support those behaviors.

Withholding food from ourselves or over indulging in food is dysfunctional thinking. We can’t medicate with or without food.

We have to get real with ourselves and know where our weak areas are.

It has been easier in the world¬†to make food be “bad” then it is to examine¬†issues that cause bad behaviors with food.

The bottom line

We have to change our thinking with food and how we interact with it. We have to stop thinking of it in negative ways and look at our own behaviors with it.

If you realize you may have some struggles with how you view food or the choices you make you might consider writing those things down and then setting small goals for yourself in ways to changes those behaviors or thoughts. Perhaps you might need an accountability partner, someone who you can confide in and you could walk with you and help you with those changes.

Listen, I believe eating well the majority of the time is important to living a healthy life, having energy and looking good.

I also like cake and occasionally some French fries.¬† I’ve grown in my understanding and relationship with food to not have any guilt connected to it. Life is to be enjoyed and sometimes it means having fries or cake or whatever may float your boat.

There are things like alcohol, processed foods, excess sugar, and high fats ( not the good kind) that not only aren’t good for your health, but contribute to your aging process as well. Again, those should all be used cautiously.

Keeping a  healthy balance in your daily nutrition not only will keep you from dysfunctional thinking about food, but will let you have your cake and eat it too.

In moderation, of course ūüėČ

cake

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Food The Socially Acceptable Drug

Hello world! We’re back on regular scheduled topics today. Thanks for letting me share and talk about my newest hobby/ adventure on flipping vintage and antique furniture in my last few posts. I appreciate your feedback on it and I’m pretty sure you’ll still be able to find some of my current projects on my Monday Musings posts.

If you missed the furniture posts you can find them here….

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/05/22/the-art-of-flipping-furniture/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/05/23/steps-to-transforming-vintage-furniture/

Todays topic though, we’re gonna get a little more serious and talk about something that we all need and use every day.

 

food drug

Food.

We all like to eat, right? And we need food at it’s basic level for fuel for our bodies to run on and to have energy for all our daily tasks and work.

Factors like our age, sex, body type, and activity levels, will largely determine how much food we need for optimal health and performance in our day. No one is the same in their needs.

Don’t eat enough for your body and activity level, you’ll lose weight.

Eat to much for your body and activity level, you’ll gain weight.

For many though food poses a harsher darker side. Food is as addictive and pleasing to the sensory part of our brains as drugs and alcohol are to others.

Food though. is completely and totally acceptable. No one considers it a form of medication to our deeper needs like we view alcohol or drug abuse.

Medicate me please….

We don’t really like to consider that we may use food to medicate deeper needs within ourselves.¬† We don’t (maybe)want to get that real and personal with our pain, our anxiety, our hurts or fears.

Emotional eating is as damaging to our bodies as other forms that are used to make people feel better. I wrote an entire post on emotional eating that you can find here…

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/08/09/understanding-emotional-eating/

All of us emotionally eat at any given time. It’s not all “bad”. We can eat for celebrations and enjoying time out with friends, we can get ice cream just because we “feel good”. I mean really, who is ever hungry for cake? It’s something we do because we enjoy it and that’s ok ’cause life is meant to be enjoyed.

However….

Habitual overeating can lead to obesity or eating disorders like bulimia. Obesity is becoming more and more of a health issue and causes many chronic ( preventable)  diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Foods people use to medicate can simply vary by individual. Everything from sweets to fried foods or maybe a certain style of food.

The act of¬†eating¬† soothes that “thing” within that troubles us. It can momentarily make us feel better and give a sense of comfort or peace. A false sense.

That type of behavioral  eating also broods other negatives as in self loathing or negative talk over what was eaten as the person feels guilty for doing it.

It can then lead one¬†to other extreme behaviors of perhaps, restricting or cutting back on foods, withholding food, crazy “miracle” diet ideas, or¬†cleanses or detoxes as a way to “negate” or get rid of what’s been done.

You cannot “undo” what has been done. You can choose to change the next behavior or choice.

it’s a whirlwind of self destructive behaviors while never possibly grasping the “why’s” of what’s being done.

It’s a process of understanding and learning why we do what we do and what triggers us to make those choices to medicate ourselves with food.

How can we counteract this?

People often dismiss the overall benefits of exercise. They often associate it as something you do to “lose weight” or to stay in good physical shape. They make jokes about it or moan about “having” to do it.

I get it. Been there done that. Exercise IS hard work and does require a healthy amount of discipline up front to make it a “habit” that you want to stick with.

I always tell people if they will just start, make that commitment, and give it a few weeks to begin to feel like a new habit it will be easier and really, they will begin to anticipate it.

Where both of those are true and helpful ( weight loss and staying in good shape)  exercise has far more wide reaching benefits to our body and mind.

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health.

Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts overall mood.

Exercise has shown to help/improve mild to moderate depression without the side effects of medication.  Exercise is a powerful depression fighter. it promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being.

Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment. It relieves tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy, and enhances well-being through the release of endorphins.

Stay focused on what you are doing instead of zoning out. Think about how your body feels, how you breathe, the feel of the wind on your skin and things like that.

There’s nothing I love more than being out on the road for a run, hearing my feet hit the road, the sound of my breathing, maybe the wind blowing and nothing else that is a calm to my mind and soul.

Ever noticed how your body feels when you’re under stress? Your muscles may be tense, especially in your face, neck, and shoulders, leaving you with back or neck pain, or painful headaches. You may feel a tightness in your chest, a pounding pulse, or muscle cramps. You may also experience problems such as insomnia, heartburn, stomachache, diarrhea, or frequent urination. The worry and discomfort of all these physical symptoms can in turn lead to even more stress, creating a vicious cycle between your mind and body.

Exercising is an effective way to break this cycle. As well as releasing endorphins in the brain, physical activity helps to relax the muscles and relieve tension in the body. Since the body and mind are so closely linked, when your body feels better so, too, will your mind.

There’s a lot of other benefits too…..

Sharper memory and thinking. The same endorphins that make you feel better also help you concentrate and feel mentally sharp for tasks at hand. Exercise also stimulates the growth of new brain cells and helps prevent age-related decline.

Higher self-esteem. Regular activity is an investment in your mind, body, and soul. When it becomes habit, it can foster your sense of self-worth and make you feel strong and powerful. You’ll feel better about your appearance and, by meeting even small exercise goals, you’ll feel a sense of achievement.

Better sleep. Even short bursts of exercise in the morning or afternoon can help regulate your sleep patterns. If you prefer to exercise at night, relaxing exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching can help promote sleep.

More energy. Increasing your heart rate several times a week will give you more get-up-and-go. Start off with just a few minutes of exercise a day, and increase your workout as you feel more energized.

Stronger resilience. When faced with mental or emotional challenges in life, exercise can help you cope in a healthy way, instead of resorting to alcohol, drugs, or other negative behaviors that ultimately only make your symptoms worse. Regular exercise can also help boost your immune system and reduce the impact of stress.

You may be thinking you don’t have the time or it seems daunting to even start the process. The good news is that really, even a good 15 minute brisk walk every day can help boost your mood.

Let’s face it, everyone has at least 15 minutes, right?

Of course you’ll want to build that time up to reap bigger and better rewards not only mentally but physically too.

Overcoming obstacles

even intellectually knowing and understanding that exercise can help you mentally, it’s just not often that easy to jump into it.

Exercise obstacles are a very real thing.

For example:

Feeling tired. It’s hard to imagine going for a walk or whatever activity you’ve chosen if you feel like all you want is a nap. Studies show that exercise greatly reduces fatigue and even telling yourself just a 5 minute walk will most likely lead to a longer one.

Feeling overwhelmed. With all of life’s demands and things expected of us plus dealing with mental health issues, the idea of adding one more thing to your plate can seem daunting. Begin to think of it as a priority and you will find ways to fit small amounts into your schedule.

Feeling bad about yourself. We are and tend to be, our own worst critics. Embrace¬†where you are and determine to think¬†in positive ways about yourself. ¬† No matter your age, size, fitness level etc there are people everywhere like you who are on the same path to wanting to get fit. Appreciate your body for what it can do for you and celebrate ways you are learning to take better care of it. It’s really ok to love yourself.

Starting small is the first important step and it’s really ok to start small. You don’t want to do to much to soon. Consistency will be the key to long term success. Commit to do something daily, no matter how small, and build on that.

Getting started in an exercise program is a good step towards having a healthy mind and spirit, to reduce stress and anxiety and maybe even, counteract negative behavior patterns with food and eating.

 

The Equality Of The Calorie

Calories. You can’t see a label on a food package, or now days be in a restaurant, without noticing the calorie count. If you are someone who “diets” then you might be controlled by counting calories in your day and monitoring them in the foods you eat or you may go through your day oblivious to them.

You may be waking up right now trying to get your first cup of coffee in and wondering why on earth we’re talking about calories already and “Oh my word… is she really holding a powdered donut in her hand with a box of spinach??”¬† as you note the picture I’m using for todays post.

20180404_184035
Yes. That’s a powdered donut. Yes, I find them kinda tasty… occasionally.

 

Yeah, you aren’t seeing things and yes we are considering calories in todays post.

But first.. what IS a calorie?

You ever realize there are things you “know” about, but don’t necessarily “think” about?¬† Like, calories have been a part of our lives forever, but do you really sit around pondering them? Other than understanding to many of them make you fat and to few make you skinny?

Simplified, a calorie is a unit of energy. In nutrition, calories refer to the energy people get from the food and drink they consume and the energy they use through physical activities.

Calories are essential for human health. The key for all of us is consuming the right amount for our health and daily activities.

There are “standard” guidelines put out suggesting what men and women need as an average each day. I¬† don’t entirely agree with that since I think caloric intake is really determined person to person based on many different factors including sex, age, size and activity level.

I may be a woman, but based on my physical training, there are probably many days I require more calories than a lot of men. I also know there are days I need less calories based on my daily activities. For me, not every day will have the exact same calorie need. Understanding your body, knowing what you do, and all other factors will play into what you need each day.

 

calorie

Other calorie facts….

People in the U.S. consume more than 11% of their daily calories from fast food.¬† ūüė¶

Foods high in energy and low in nutritional value provide empty calories. The parts of food that provide empty calories contain virtually no dietary fiber, amino acids, anti-oxidants, dietary minerals, or vitamins.

That being said… you shouldn’t be eating many of these foods on the daily…

Meaning, not all calories are created equal

Now back to that powdered donut….

I’m not ignorant of calories, I have a good rough estimate of what my body needs to operate on. I also understand that my caloric needs vary as to if I’m laying around for the day or if I’ve put in a lot of miles that morning on foot or bike, or both. I know that on given days my needs can look different. It’s been a road of learning on that issue.

I do not obsess over calories. I know and understand their place in my life but I don’t monitor and count them

No. Just no.

But one morning I had this revelation. I was stumbling around the kitchen and I wanted one of those donuts.

I like them, ok?¬† Don’t judge me.

There’s just something about their sweet powdery goodness that gets to me.¬† And I’ll tell you, not all are created equal either. I bought a different brand one time, took one bite of one, and didn’t touch them after that. Yuck.

But as I was drooling all over one eating it, I happened to actually glance at the calorie content on bag.

I mean, who really looks at that when they are stuffing donuts in their face?

Oh no, ignorance is bliss in that regard. Am I right my donut loving friends??

Well I couldn’t help but notice how it informed me that 4 of them would cost me….250 calories.

I did a double take. I thought my beady little eyes weren’t open fully yet and were misreading ’cause I’m old and that print isn’t what it used to be, ya know?

Nope, it was there big and bold. 250cal for 4 measly little delicious donuts.

I should mention, I never actually eat 4. Usually 2 is enough to satisfy that urge and I put them away. But it got me to thinking of foods I could have that delivered up a lot more volume and bang for my caloric buck.

I mean really, if you only get a certain number in a day, don’t you want them to have as much packed into them as possible?

Not all calories are created equal

notallcaloriesarecreatedequal

As mentioned above, empty calorie foods don’t contain the healthy nutrients your body needs. They are often high in fats ( not the good kinds) and sugars. Therefore, foods we eat each day should be nutrient dense and contain the calories we need for good health and sustaining our daily activities.

If I chose 4 small donuts at 250 calories, (130 of those coming from fat) that certainly isn’t going fill me up and will most likely cause my blood sugar to spike then I’ll come off the sugar rush.

Now consider my carton of spinach. A serving size is considered 3 cups. It contains 20 calories.

20 calories… for 3 cups.

I could honestly consume the whole carton for less than 100 calories.

Now you’re sitting there thinking… “spinach vs. donuts??” no contest… I’d take the donuts.

I can tell you this, when I use¬†a lot of spinach with other veggies, whipped up with some eggs for breakfast not only is my appetite satisfied, I’m not hungry for a long time. I can consume plenty of food because ( not all calories are equal remember?) meaning all those veggies and protein fill me up and keep me satisfied for hours without any of that sluggish feeling you may get eating things like donuts or pancakes or cereals and for only a small fraction of the calories.

Not to mention all those veggies, fruits and protein deliver lots of good things to feed my body in a healthy way that gives me plenty of energy and keeps me decently lean.

It’s a win/win thing.

I’m not sure about you, but I’d like to eat a decent amount of food that fills me up, but isn’t calorie laden either.

So it’s a matter of choices….

Whether you’re out to lose some weight, or just maintain a healthy place where you are now it all comes down to the caloric choices we make each day.

You can eat a whole lot of nutrient dense foods that offer tons of good health benefits for your body, that really fill you up and will contribute to weight loss or you can choose foods that are higher calorie, less nutrients and will not help you lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle.

A few things to consider;

pay attention to those labels. Note the serving sizes and calories for serving. People as a rule greatly over estimate a correct serving size.

Consider things you can swap out for a lower and healthy calorie count.

Find foods you can eat and enjoy that give you the most bang for your calorie buck.

Have a good working idea of how many calories you personally need each day to maintain or to lose weight then choose your foods wisely to support your goals and daily activities.

And hey, remember, it’s ok to have that donut now and then. ūüėČ

How aware of you are calories Do you think about them? Do you count them?

Spotlight On Peas

Hello beautiful people. Today’s foodie spotlight is on peas. Yeah, peas. Stick with me here ok?

20180307_192610
Eat your peas… they’re good for you

 

 

I haven’t led you astray yet have I ? Don’t answer that…

I recently had a new revelation on the lowly little pea. Over the weekend I had thrown down the usual big meal for the fam. I had made mashed potatoes, a slow roasted brisket¬†and also an amazing carrot recipe that everyone went nuts over. You can find it in my spotlight on carrots post¬†( hint it’s the one wrapped in bacon)

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/03/02/spotlight-on-carrots/

In a crazy way I thought peas would go good with all of it. What was I thinking??

Me, trying to pass them to people around table, “here, have some peas”

The response ranged from “ewww gross no!” to looks of horror as if I were attempting to poison them at the table.

Where did I go wrong? How did I fail as a mother? Heck, as the main provider of cooked food, how is it I couldn’t convince them that peas are indeed, tasty little morsels?

What is the pea, exactly?

The pea is most commonly the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the pod fruit Pisum sativum. Each pod contains several peas, which can be green or yellow. Pea pods are botanically fruit, since they contain seeds and developed from the ovary of a (pea) flower.

peas

How’s that for an interesting fact you probably didn’t know?

 Green peas are a very good source of vitamin K, manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin B1, copper, vitamin C, phosphorus and folate. They are also a good source of vitamin B6, niacin, vitamin B2, molybdenum, zinc, protein, magnesium, iron, potassium and choline.

A one cup serving of peas contains 8 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber. Peas are also really high in Vitamins A and C

Peas have many good things in them but it’s also important to remember they are a part of the “starchy” vegetable group ( corn, potatoes, peas, beans) meaning they contain three times the amount of carbs as their non-starchy counterparts.

If you can‚Äôt have fresh green peas, the frozen variety retains their color, texture, and flavor better than canned, and it‚Äôs great to know that the above characteristics aren’t affected when they‚Äôre frozen for one to three months. But neither frozen nor canned peas have an unlimited shelf life. Research on the matter has shown that the nutrient content of frozen peas begins to diminish during storage, so they should be eaten within six to 12 months.

Only about 5% of the peas grown are sold fresh. The rest are frozen or canned.

Canned or frozen peas are also high in sodium due to processing methods, to eliminate a lot of that, wash them first.

When buying frozen the petite types are often more flavorful.

Are there any health benefits to eating peas?

Yes! they have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits ( hello anti-aging food) they could help support blood sugar regulation, they promote a¬†healthy heart,¬† and could protect against stomach cancer.¬† They also contain 45 percent of the Daily Value¬†in vitamin K for blood coagulation, and nearly a quarter of what’s needed daily in thiamin, vitamin A, and folate.

How about some fun pea trivia?

Green peas are the immature seed of dried peas often called field peas.

Dried peas which have been eaten for over 5000 year and were a stable during the Middle Ages. Field peas were easy to grow and saved many from starving.

Fresh green peas did not become popular till the 16 century.

Peas  have such high quality protein that many commercial protein powders are starting to use it. This avoids the possible side effects of soy, or dairy products.

Canada is the largest producer of peas in the world!

Peas aren’t ¬†just for eating…

ok well, yeah, they are but do you know a frozen bag of peas makes an amazing ice pack? the peas are moldable around areas on your body to direct cold treatments. I’ve often used bags of peas as ice packs.

Have you ever used peas as ice packs ?

Time to eat…

Here’s a few fun recipes to try out if you wanna experiment with peas….

 

 

In summary although¬†peas are often treated like a cheap side “green” veggie in restaurants¬† to add color to a plate, they are a tasty, healthy and nutritious “fruit” that offers many health benefits to us.

Do you enjoy them? If so do you have ways that you like eating them?

Focus, Perspective And Weight Loss

Focus. Perspective. Seeing something in a different way. Clarity.

Focus: the center of activity or attention .

Perspective: a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something.

When it comes to pursuing personal goals regarding weight loss or improved health and better eating habits we all have that “thing” we focus on that keeps us in forward movement to (hopefully) achieve that goal.

 

losing-weight-fast-quotes-weight-loss-diet-plans-62813

We might post a picture of ourselves from years back from a time where we felt like we looked good or were at a good weight.

We could use certain items of clothing as a goal to work back¬†to wearing¬†that we’ve out grown.

We may restructure some of the foods we eat and how much we eat of them.

For many, the scale is the judge and jury of our success, or lack thereof.

The scale of course, offers a visual reward or assessment of how we’re doing in our week with our weight loss goals.

Back in the day, when I was just starting my journey, I’d hop on it almost daily wanting positive rewards and feedback from it.

I’ve written a couple posts on the scale…. https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/03/29/why-ive-given-up-on-the-scale/

If it told me what I thought was “good news”, my day was made. I felt awesome. I felt like I was being a superhero in the weight loss department.

If it told me less than good news ( in my mind) and by that maybe I lost no weight that week or had “only” lost a pound ( have you ever seen one pound of fat?? You’ll never say that again once you do) or worse yet, worse than the coffee pot not working one morning, was the dreaded I had gained a pound or two that week.

That was enough to make me feel like a failure. A bit of a loser. Those nagging self-defeating thoughts could creep in….

“why bother? You are never going to do this anyway?”

“wow, after all you’ve done and no weight loss, but a gain?”

“Just give up”

“Might as well just eat ( you fill in the blank here) whatever thing I had withheld from myself.

Lots of ways for me to get de-railed from my goals. The scale was definitely one of the bigger challenges to overcome.

I know I’m not alone in this misguided perspective of the scale and our weight loss and fitness journeys.

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The scale and I  are like friends who meet twice a year for coffee.

 

 

Where it changed for me.

When I first started out, the scale was a tool to show me that I indeed, was having less gravational pull ūüėČ that did help to offer motivation.

But after I’d had my mental “ah ha” moment of keeping¬†the scale¬†in it’s place it became easier for me to embrace other things that offered a “reward” for my work and diligence.

This shift in thinking offered me the encouragement I needed to keep going. Maybe it will offer you encouragement too.

My perspective had to change.

When I first started getting out and moving again, I realized after finishing up my walk one night how good I felt. I felt proud of myself for moving and getting out, I felt happy and I felt strong. None of that had to do with any weight loss. The numbers on the scale had no bearing on how good I felt overall when I finished what I was doing.

Not a lot had changed at that time, really, as far as obvious outward changes.

But there were things that  I felt that made me feel good, mentally and physically. I liked the tired feeling, or having sweat running down me from exertion. I liked how I felt good and strong just from the act of doing it.

I loved the accomplished feeling of doing it.

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Nothing feels better mentally than wrapping a good workout. I’ve come a long way since my beginning evening walks

 

My perspective changed in learning to embrace new changes in myself as new disciplines were being formed and slowly put together. These changes had nothing to do with a changing scale or looser jeans.

 

What does your perspective look like?

If you’ve been on a journey to get fit yet are often side tracked, where is your perspective? How do you approach getting to your goals? Is it based solely on having less gravitational pull ( i.e. the scale? ) Do you determine your success by that alone?

Learning to shift your perspective to the whole picture will help you move along celebrating other things that are happening with you as well.

You know that discipline you are building from making a daily commitment to get your exercise in?

Don’t underestimate that. When you learn to train yourself to daily exercise it makes other things in life easier to be disciplined in.

As an endurance runner, I’ve learned I have to put out a lot of strength and not just physical, but mental too. Once you’ve run 26 miles, or better almost 32 you realize you take can anything in life¬†head on.

I learned that strength I built in training carried over into all areas of my life and that was pretty cool.

Building your new habits and practices can help give you confidence in all areas of your life too.

Focus or perspective

So as you pursue whatever you’ve set before you the question to ask is are you focused on it? Or do you have a positive perspective on it?

If you are “just” focused on weight loss, making it the center of your attention, then it will be all you can see.

If you have a broad perspective approaching weight loss and fitness then you will be able to see all different aspects of the process and can embrace those things alongside the visible change of numbers of the scale.

You can learn to celebrate changes in how you are eating, the choices you make in food, your approach to eating, and how much you eat.

You can see improvements in your overall fitness when you climb a flight of stairs and aren’t out of breath, when you can walk briskly and it just feels good, when you can lift heavier things with ease, or when your body begins to reflect a new overall strength in tasks.

As your perspective changes and you embrace all of the changes you are going through you will begin to see there is more to having a whole balanced perspective on health and wellness than the ever shifting numbers on a scale.

Are you a more focused person or one who has more perspective on the big picture?

The Tortoise And Hare Weight Loss Approach

Do you remember the kids story “The Tortoise and The Hare”? It’s been in existence since the dawn of mankind.

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A quick summary, the rabbit challenges the tortoise to a race, confident of his abilities to win he dashes so far ahead that he decides he’s done enough and has it solidly in his paw to win, so¬†he decides to take a quick nap on the roadside.

Meanwhile, tortoise who has been plodding along, is taking it slow and steady, keeping his little beady eyes on the goal of the finish line.

He eventually passes sleeping hare and ultimately winds the race and the big time bragging rights in the forest that he beat the mouthy, sassy hare in a race.

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I hope tortoise worked it for all he could.

Today we’re gonna talk about the goal of weight loss and fitness journeys in that context.

I did a mini post on it for my social media last week and the idea has kinda kept growing. Basically, I thought about how there were two types of people when they decided to get serious with the idea of weight loss and fitness.

They are either the tortoise or the hare in their approach to it, go all out, or slow and steady.

The Hare approach

Don’t get me wrong. I think the hare had a crazy amount of confidence. I like that. Confidence is good. It can help you take on things you never thought possible and help you own yourself in a whole new way. Hare was a bit too confident though in his approach to being successful at reaching his goal. I’m pretty sure he didn’t plan well or make provisions for the unexpected.¬† Hare was going to go all out with everything he had and thought he’d accomplish his goal in a quick amount of time.¬†¬† Unfortunately, by the time he knew what was happening his prize had slipped away from him and he didn’t hit his goal.

All to often I observe people decide that they are going to lose weight and start exercising. It’s a common wish and desire among thousands. Making it happen for them is often another story.

So when they decide it’s time, they are possibly armed with a little information and a long ago workout idea or plan they haven’t done in years.¬† They decide “come Monday, it’s time to diet”. All the negative not “good” food is gotten rid of, sometimes by consuming it in preparation for Monday.

They make radical, broad, sweeping changes in their daily nutrition often cutting out the very things they enjoy. They restrict their calories in a way that leaves them feeling miserable most of the day ( hungry) and embark on a to vigorous exercise plan that their dormant body isn’t used to.

They may often have goals that are to lofty for the time frame they have in mind ( to much weight loss to soon, a fitness level achieved that might take longer, getting into a certain size etc) they weigh in constantly hoping their restrictive diet and new exercise will work wonder miracles in weeks.

They are often very focused and determined, but miserable along the way. After weeks of drastic restricitions and their bodies hurting from doing to much to soon, they begin to make excuses or begin to revert back to those comfortable old eating habits. Eventually, they lose sight of the goal, their prize, and lose the race they set out for.

The Tortoise approach

Those who are the tortoise in the pursuit of weight loss and fitness know that it will be a slow, steady race. They understand that getting to the goal isn’t going to be fast. They don’t look for weight loss schemes to get them there faster. They understand that they just need to settle into a new routine and let their bodies naturally do what they are meant to do.

They don’t wait for Monday or a special occasion. When they determine they are going to do it, they just start.¬† Even if it is on a Wednesday.

They won’t throw in the towel if they have an off day. They will simply keep going focusing on those positive changes.

The tortoise people will learn to make slow steady changes in how they eat, and they will eat enough food to keep the hunger away and not to much to allow for weight loss to occur. They will not have a “last supper”¬† mentality that says to eat everything “bad” in the house because they will never have it again. They begin to understand that if they want a chocolate chip cookie along the way, they can have it and still keep moving to the prize. They learn to appreciate healthy, nutritious foods and not view them as punishment because they aren’t eating a big burger and extra large fries.

They start to see how their body feels and looks from eating healthy foods and then those less nutritious foods seems not so desirable anymore. They have new energy and realize, hey! I think I’m gonna win this race. Along the way, they may pass others who sped off in the beginning with some weight loss gimmick or shake or whatever but because they’ve learned to sustain their bodies with real, whole foods they’ve not only got energy but they’ve been slowly, steadily losing a bit of week each and every week and those little amounts are now starting to add up.

Each day that has gone by they have tried to make small, healthy, choices and decisions everything from passing on the stale office donut to getting up 30 minutes earlier to get a workout in and the prize is in their reach. At this point the tortoise is so comfortable living a new lifestyle with healthy habits they have no worries about getting to the goal.

It may have taken a bit longer, but their results will be permanent.

Which are you?

If you are among the many who desire to make changes in their life by¬† losing weight or getting more fit¬†how do you approach the race?¬† Does the speed off and get there fast seem appealing? You just want the weight, flab and lack of energy to disappear over night so you’re willing to try whatever the new kid on the block is with weight loss sorcery. Maybe you don’t buy the sorcery but you just think the extreme cut everything out and be restricitive approach will get you there already.

Or perhaps, you’ve already been around the block a time or two with that approach and know it’s a process going nowhere.

You’ve learned and know and understand you haven’t gained weight and gotten out of shape overnight and it’s going to take some time to reverse the process. You just settle in for the long haul, taking it one day at a time celebrating each new day as you make decisions that will transform your life, physically, mentally and emotionally.

I want to win this race!

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The first step to being successful is having a desire to do it. An understanding that it will take time is your first move to being a tortoise and not a hare.

Allow for changes to take place that need to take place. You didn’t gain weight overnight, you won’t lose it overnight.

Make small daily dietary changes, not broad sweeping ones that leave you feeling hungry and deprived.

Eat a bit less. Don’t eat seconds. Add in a veggie or fruit if those are low on your nutrition list. Go for a walk if you haven’t exercised in a long time.

Schedule activities for yourself that you enjoy that make you feel good, mentally and physically.

Make new healthy recipes instead of eating out.

Learn to find activities to do when you feel like eating.

Weigh in only once a week. Look for other ways you are improving mentally and physically.  There is much more to process than your gravitational pull on this earth.

Settle small realistic goals. Continue to adjust as you reach them. ( i.e. focus on losing only 5 lbs at a time and not the whole 50 you really want to lose)

With some consistent, slow and steady moves, you will reach your weight loss and fitness goals and maintain them forever.

Tell me. In your approach to help and fitness are you the tortoise or hare?

The Rewards Of Rest Days

One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn as an athlete is the importance of rest and recovery times.

You’d think it should be easy, right? It should be easy to just take a day off and not train. It should be easy to come off of months of heavy training for an event and greatly reduce my training volume and just enjoy some easier workouts.

There’s a couple factors that can come into play here, well, at least for me. Once I’m disciplined to something it’s very hard for me to not do it. I can be rather driven with whatever I’m focused on.¬† Mentally as well, it’s hard to not do it although I intellectually grasp the importance of focused rest. My body and mind thrive on it, that structured often intense training.

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When I work this hard, rest days are essential.

 

My mind and body need the work but they also need the rest.

I’ve also learned active rest doesn’t involve laying on the sofa eating crappy food and being lazy.

Well what is involved with recovery?

Recovery times are designed to let our muscles heal and recover from all we put them through in training. It allows the body to repair and strengthen itself between workouts.

In a crazy way, when we exert stress on our muscles, it damages the muscles fibers causing them to break apart.  During recovery these fibers heal stronger than before, which in turn makes your muscles stronger.

When we rest and eat good foods, our body heals, recovers and builds new tissue.

Active rest for athletes can mean anything from a brisk walk ( what I’ve used when I recover from running a marathon for a couple weeks after) to short easy runs, cycling or anything that doesn’t stress the body.

For me in the past year, yoga has been a good form of not just active recovery but¬† it’s also a wonderful, different form of strength training. Not only that,¬†it also stretches and works those areas that tend to get tight from my running, cycling and strength training.

I’ve come to embrace so many of the moves that although sometimes at the start are a bit stretching, lead to feeling so good. It gives me some looseness and I feel better with it.

And although it helps with recovery, I think it’s also a wonderful strength tool as well.

I did a couple articles on my yoga shenanigans, find them here….

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/08/29/yoga-again/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2016/04/15/athlete-meets-yoga/

Stretching, bending, flexing and whatnot

Ok I’ll admit. For years I was awful, totally awful, about taking time to do some dynamic warm ups before running or anything else athletic.

I just wanted to get at it.

I was a wee bit better when I finished, but after always feels so good and my body has earned it after working hard.

Since then I’ve learned more importance in taking that time to do activities to¬† help keep me loosened up and prepared for what I love to do.

…..although… I can still be bad about short changing myself on it….. you have permission to give me a hard time if I don’t.

Tools of the trade

There are other things I’ve been schooled on my road to being a ordinary, middle aged¬†female athlete.

It¬†took me a few years to get through this ¬†“school” but now I know how important some things are.

For instance a foam roller. I would’ve never believed how amazing a cylinder of hard foam could feel on my body.

Foam rollers if you don’t know, are a method of self massage that lets you really key in on areas that are tight and achy. They also can help promote blood flow to recovering areas and break up knots and tension in muscles.

Then I went to Airosti for some treatments a couple years ago and the therapist told me I should be using a pvc pipe to roll on ’cause my muscles would adjust to foam.

I laughed. I told her she was crazy.

A hard pipe??? to roll my body on?

Ah well, laughing isn’t what I do with it now days as it’s my favorite device of torture… I mean… recovery haha

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She was right. The pipe presses into muscles in a different way and doesn’t give as foam will. I use it on my back and roll up to my shoulders.

My quads seriously have a love/hate relationship with it. It kills my calves in a good way.

The pipe wasn’t the only thing I was schooled on.

A lacrosse ball became really good friends with me too. It’s perfect for working into arches of my feet into those muscles and tendons that need released. It also becomes a device of torture when you lay on the floor and position it in a tight muscle in your shoulder and press into it.

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A solid ball of torture

 

Sweet mother of heaven. It puts me somewhere near death and blissful relief, I’m not sure which.

Another acquisition I got for Christmas is a roller with knobs all over it.

Are you seeing a weird pattern here? Devices that hurt, yet weirdly help haha

it looks something like this…..

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and it’s perfect to get areas that are knotted or tight.

All of these are wonderful tools for recovery to help tight muscles, to increase blood flow, and promote healing.

And of course, let’s not forget ice and heat which not only help recovery, but gosh, they can feel so good too.

Of course other factors like staying well hydrated and eating good whole foods also contribute to a good rest/recovery day or days.

Learning to embrace days of rest and recovery goes with the athletic process, I’ve learned. slowly but surely. You too should learn to embrace those days as times of healing and restoration for not only your body, but your mind too.

Tell me, if you train or workout, do you allow or take rest and recovery days? Is that hard to do? What are some methods you use for recovery?