Happy New Year! Here we are in 2021, poised on the threshold of so many new possibilities and adventures. Like my new empty planner, the year waits to be filled with the ordinary and extraordinary.
I promise not to wax all nostalgic on you or proclaim “new year, new me!”
About the only thing new happening is getting a new haircut, with some color adjustments coming soon too 😏
Let’s face it though, before the candy and wrapping paper are out of the store aisles the focus turns to weight loss products. The snake oil people rise up in full force ready to capitalize on those bemoaning their excess weight.
Shakes, supplements, pills and cleanses abound.
All promise fast, unrealistic results, yet sadly none will work and the individual will be back where they started.
If you make any goal or resolution for yourself, don’t give in to diets or gimmicks that won’t help you in the long run.
What can you do?
I get it. 2020 was, well, intense for most of us. Quarantine had so many at home for longer periods of time, this equaled more sedentary time, out of our usual rhythm, eating more and more foods that we may not usually eat.
Enter, a few extra pounds.
This has many looking for ways to quickly get rid of it.
The reality is, there is no “fast ” sustainable way. We have to methodically work our way backwards to our goals in a slow and steady manner.
May I offer a few suggestions?
So what will work to get back on track and be sustainable?
Forget about pointless things like 21 day juice cleanses, detox teas, and pills, weight loss shakes and replacement “meals”. Don’t cut all your carbs or withhold treats or resort to the lastest diet craze.
Detoxes and cleanses do a good job of cleaning your pockets.
Besides your liver and kidneys do a great job detoxifying your body. 😉
Do however……get plenty of rest, drink 2 liters of water, get in 10k steps a day, and use a 80/20 approach to eating ( 80% of the time you eat healthy balanced food, 20%, hey have some fries 😉)
Balance is key to long term sustainable success. No one wants to feel restricted or deprived. Allowing for some treats gives us freedom and thus keeps us from giving up.
Some basic 101 food suggestions
This can work for all of us…
Eat at least two fruits a day, load up on veggies at every meal, choose complex carbs, eat lean proteins and healthy fats and make water your drink of choice. Eating a good variety keeps us satisfied and reduces the chances of binging on less healthy food later.
Finally, a few reminder notes for 2021
Focus on nutritious and healthy foods. Think of how good you’ll feel fueling your body with good food.
Focus on progress, not perfection. Slow steady progress wins over a fast quick ( temporary) fix.
Get in some purposeful exercise that you like and makes you feel good.
Track your water, exercise and food if it helps get you on track.
Set realistic weight loss goals and celebrate the big and small goals.
With some careful adjustments, 2021 will be a year of positive progress for you!
Tell me, what strategies do you use to lose a few pounds and keep your eating healthy? Do you have some goals for this year?
I’m in the midst of reading a book ( among many other projects) right now. With so many active things to keep me moving, getting still to read is a treat.Not only am I carefully reading through the smart, intelligent writing of this book, I’m also fact gathering for the book review I will write on it. The book is titled “Give Yourself More” by Georgie Fear and K. Aleisha Fetters. ” a science backed six part plan for women to hit their weight loss goals “I had the pleasure of writing reviews for Georgie’s book “Lean Habits For Weight Loss”, both editions. Be sure to check those out in my past posts.What I love about this book so far is the sound truths women need to hear and be reminded of.You are enough. It’s ok to take up space, to be strong and powerful.It’s ok to eat food, real food that is healthy, tasty and nutritious.I’m so tired of seeing ads, sales posts, multi level marketing companies etc telling women the only way to lose weight is to go on a cleanse or fast. That they need to detox their bodies to get healthy. That they have to be miserable, hungry, live off shakes and pre-made who knows what fake foods, or denied of adequate food to lose weight. Really, how fun IS it to be at a party or out to dinner and you are sitting there watching everyone enjoy themselves while you are denying yourself the pleasure of good food? Why when you can enjoy in moderation and balance and not sabatoge your goals, really you can.Ah! I digress.I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m just so dang passionate about this topic.I was talking about exerciseA few years back, I wasn’t on the “exercise is awesome” train. Like many of you I viewed it as a painful chore to get done.Something I “had ” to do to lose weight or to validate myself in some way.Like many of you, I’d determine a day I was starting and I was going to get it done.Once for all, I’d become permanently hooked on it.Then I’d crash and burn a couple weeks into it. Sound familiar to you? I’ve seen far to many people get on social media with a similar agenda. There are so many consistent similarities I can almost see the end before it starts.Why is it like that? Thankfully, I’ve learned a whole lot about myself these past few years and what exercise means to me. I pushed through those initial weeks, then months, and moved to a whole beautiful world on the other side.I love my workouts, I miss them when they don’t happen. I love how they make me feel, mentally and physically. I love the side effects of building a strong body.There are so many wonderful benefits when you stay strong and push through your mental struggles to do it.Oh, the bookYes, I was telling you about what I was reading.The author asked ( me, you, the reader) how we viewed exercise.Did we see it as a form of punishment, something to atone for the foods we ate, something to get done to lose weight? These ideas are geared towards us becoming “less”. To be Smaller, take up less space, be less. We are critical with our bodies picking out flaws or short comings, focusing on what is “wrong” with us instead of celebrating our body for all the awesome things it can do.It was mentioned that as ( women) we’ve lost the ability to enjoy movement, something as simple as a walk in the evening or playing outside with our kids.Our bodies are designed and made for movement.Yet we’ve made it something to dread or a form of punishment for eating the very food our bodies need for fuel.We’ve bought into the ” no pain no gain” mentality. That we must hurt or suffer for it to matter.Not true.A personal perspective During my strength training yesterday I was thinking about how people can view exercise as punishment. I’m long past that and although often “work ” I enjoy and appreciate exercise. I love the feel of my heart beating strongly, the deep breathes from my lungs and the sweat pouring off of me.I was also thinking about progress and appreciating our bodies even if we aren’t happy with something. And I thought about how I can lift things 99% of people around me can’t do.Like my 185 dead lift, or my 110 bench press, or doing butterfly situps with a 35 lb weight plate, and renegade rows with 25lb dumbbells and so much more…. And I thought about how freaking awesome my body is, middle-aged and all, tipping more towards the 60s after my last birthday, but how much stronger and more powerful it is now than it ever has been. And that my friends, is the bomb. 😁The Joy Of Exercise I guess you could say by now I have ( mostly ) 😀 found the joy of exercise. I have found the ability to appreciate it, for how it makes me feel and not use it as a means to the end.So how do you get that? How do you walk that path that turns into consistency and is built into your daily life?* think of activities you truly enjoy and start there. Do you enjoy feeling the evening air on your face after dinner? Go for a walk around the block. The next day do it twice. Think about what you see and feel. Just enjoy the movement of being outside. *Focus on activities that you will be consistent in.*Strive for at least 30 minutes to do your activity, most days of the week.* Be positive about your body, thinking of the ways it is serving you in that activity.* What do you want to get better at? What goals can you set to do that? When I started running nothing made me want to get better at what I was doing than having an event to train for. Since I was my only competition I was always looking for ways to improve my running game.* Don’t use your activites with the idea of weight loss or for punishment for eating. Appreciate your body for all the awesome things it can do for you!* Plan in variety. The more activities you can choose from the less you will be likely to feel bored with constant repetition of the same activity. My physical activities have ranged from running to cycling, rowing, weight lifting, boxing, walking, and the elliptical. Every day I pick a different activity, or activities. Exercise is now, more than ever, important for our mental and physical well being. Love your body, appreciate it, and offer it exercise as a form of self care, not punishment.Tell me, what has been your mindset on exercise ? Punishment for eating or a tool for weight loss? Or an activity to be celebrated and enjoyed?
There are lots of “new” terms being thrown around in the last few months. Some I’ve honestly come to despise….social distancing anyone?
However, one phrase,although not newly coined, has been something overlooked in many lives. “Self care” is something that many have put on the back burner even before the global issue became a concern.
I think self care is even more relevant and important now than ever. With so many forced to stay home a new, weird daily life has formed for many. Our routines are displaced and many of us have tried to maintain normal activities as much as possible.
Yet, sometimes it requires extra effort to make it happen. I’ve heard many say how they are trying to get back in a fitness routine, that life has gotten them off track.
Oh do I understand about fighting back to get in an established routine! My year started off with my husband having cancer surgery mid January which turned into a 36 day stay because of various things. My workouts were hit and miss as my days were in a roll of waking up and heading to hospital and spending the day there. I had no energy to even contemplate it when I got home. I squeezed in workouts where I could and when I could dial up the mental as well as physical energy to do it.
Once he was home ( end of February) we had a couple weeks as we tried to get back to normal. He required some help and care and I was still focused on getting him settled back into home life. Work outs were sparse but I always felt better after.
Then when all the world weirdness started and days were a blur into another it made it a bit harder in some ways. I did however, have one thing going for me in that, I’ve always worked out at home. It meant digging deep into my discipline ( cause motivation can be a fleeting thing) and taking myself out the back door most days of the week.
There is a wonderful beauty of working out in my own little space. Whether I choose to hit the road
or stay in to do strength training or use the elliptical ( my surrogate running for now) I can do it. I’m not bound to someone’s arbitrary rules and my sweat is all that I’m dealing with. Not to mention, I don’t feel a need to look a certain way.
So how do you get back on track
You start. You start somewhere. You determine that you will do something that is positive for you. If you prefer mornings, know the night before what you are doing. Maybe it has to be later in day or after work. Whenever your preferred time of day is, set it to your schedule. You might set out clothes and accessories you need so you see them waiting. Don’t make any excuses to cancel out.
Engage your mind
I often have people tell me they admire my motivation. My response is motivation is fleeting. Yes, you can get motivated to do something but that feeling can quickly leave. Discipline however, that is what often drives me. I’ve disciplined my mind to push into what I know I need to do . Discipline feels powerful and controlled. It is the thing that moves me from merely thinking about it to actually doing it. To get started again, you need to mentally engage yourself .
Do what you love
Doing things I enjoy and that challenge me have kept me at it. If I find myself doing too many days of an activity that is making me feel…restless…I change things up. I always tell people they should have more than one activity, but no matter what they should enjoy those activities. If you hate running, don’t run. Brisk walking can give you lots of good benefits. Get back to the thing that makes you happy and you enjoy.
Take it easy on yourself
As I’ve been pushing back into more athletic activities, I’ve had a few moments of frustration feeling like I’m not where I was like, 6 months ago, and yeah that annoys me. However, I was out on the bike this week and I’ve been hitting really big hills I haven’t seen in awhile and I scaled them just fine so maybe I’m not the weakling I thought I’d been reduced to 😅
No matter what activity you may have gotten off track with, be kind to yourself as you get back to it. You might be surprised that you are in better shape than you thought.
Your self care is important
During these trying days, with conflicting information, disrupted life and schedules, lack of work for many, self care is more important than ever. It may not be about achieving a certain level of fitness as much right now, as it is about your mental care as well. Exercise is one of the best tools to combat depression and anxiety, as well as potentially helping you sleep better and overall feel good about yourself. I find I do my most creative thinking during exercise, as well as problem solving. Self care isn’t selfish, its necessary for you to be healthy inside and out.
How are you doing with self care during these trying times? Have you had a plan or do you need to get on board and get back to what you were doing?
It hasn’t escaped my attention these past few weeks, people asking questions on Facebook about what they should “take ” for a strong immune system.
I discussed it in yesterday’s Monday Musings post. My response on Facebook was a post on what I observed on a shopping trip.
I couldn’t help but notice when I was trying to pick up a few items last week that a vitamin I’ve taken for years was sold out as were many other vitamins/supplements
I joked that people were picking a fine time to decide to be healthy..
Seriously though, you can’t just throw a bunch of vitamins and supplements in and expect it to be some magic potion.
I actually read an article yesterday where a doctor said the same thing.
Keeping your body healthy and strong should be a daily goal for all of us, not just when you want to avoid a virus.
Let’s talk about food
Your best line of defense is feeding your body foods that help build and keep your immune system strong.
Real food. Your grocery cart is your best line of defense.
What are some of those foods? Let’s take a look.
》 Citrus fruits …interesting factoid…do you know your body doesn’t make or store Vitamin C? This is what most people turn to after they’ve caught a cold. Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells. They are key to fighting infections.
Popular citrus fruits include oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, clementines, and tangerines.
As mentioned with your body not producing it, this should be a vitamin you get daily fir immune health.
If you think citrus fruits have the most vitamin C of any fruit or vegetable, think again. Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus. They’re also a rich source of beta carotene. Besides boosting your immune system, vitamin C may help maintain healthy skin. Beta carotene helps keep your eyes and skin healthy.
》Broccoli Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as many other antioxidants and fiber, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you canput on your table. The key to keeping its power intact is to cook it as little as possible — or better yet, not at all.
Garlic is found in every cuisine in the world. It adds a little zing to food and it’s a must-have for your health. Early civilizations recognized its value in fighting infections. Garlic may also help lower blood pressure and slow down hardening of the arteries. Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.
Spinach made the list not just because it’s rich in vitamin C. It’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems. Similar to broccoli, spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients. However, light cooking enhances its vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid.
Look for yogurts that have “live and active cultures” printed on the label, like Greek yogurt. These cultures may stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases. Try to get plain yogurts rather than the kinds that are preflavored and loaded with sugar. You can sweeten plain yogurt yourself with healthy fruits and a drizzle of honey instead.
Yogurt can also be a great source ofVitamin D so try to select brands fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and is thought to boost our body’s natural defenses against diseases.
When it comes to preventing and fighting off colds, vitamin E tends to take a backseat to vitamin C. However,vitamin Eis key to a healthy immune system. It’s afat soluble vitamin meaning it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts, such as almonds, are packed with the vitamin and also have healthy fats. A half-cup serving, which is about 46 whole, shelled almonds, provides nearly 100 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E.
Papaya is another fruit loaded with vitamin C. You can find 224 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C in a single papaya. Papayas also have a digestive enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects.
Papayas have decent amounts ofpotasium, B vitamins, and folate, all of which are beneficial to your overall health.
》Kiwi Like papayas,kiwis are naturally full of a ton of essential nutrients, including folate, potassium,vitamin k, and vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts white blood cells to fight infection, while kiwi’s other nutrients keep the rest of your body functioning properly.
-》Berries of all types.
Blackberry, blueberry, strawberry, elderberry etc. ( be sure to check out my post The Benefits of Elderberry) these dark fruits pack powerful antioxidants. Berries are a great source of vitamin C which is thought to help prevent damage to your cells and also protects theimmune system against deficiencies. Darkberries likeblackberries, strawberries and blueberries not only taste great but they are also a great source of flavanols which are highly effective antioxidants.
When you’re sick, chicken soup is more than just a feel-good food with a placebo effect. It helps improve symptoms of a cold and also helps protect you from getting sick in the first place. Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is high in vitamin B-6. About 3 ounces of light turkey or chicken meat contains 40 to 50 percent of your daily recommended amount of B-6.
Vitamin B-6 is an important player in many of the chemical reactions that happen in the body. It’s also vital to the formation of new and healthyred blood cells. Stock or broth made by boiling chicken bones contains gelatin, chondroitin, and other nutrients helpful for gut healing and immunity.
Shellfish isn’t what jumps to mind for many who are trying to boost their immune system, but some types of shellfish are packed with zinc.
Zinc doesn’t get as much attention as many other vitamins and minerals, but our bodies need it so that our immune cells can function as intended.
Varieties of shellfish that are high in zinc include:
Keep in mind that you don’t want to have more than the daily recommended amount of zinc in your diet. For adult men, it’s 11 milligrams (mg and for women, it’s 8 mg. Too much zinc can actually inhibit immune system function.
Keep in mind, these are a few foods to help build a strong immune system. Remember your best medicine is heading to the produce aisle for all of those wonderful colored fruits and veggies and making them a part of every meal.
I realized writing this, I eat almost all of these things, but wow, I need to try papaya!
Tell me do you have favorite foods that support a strong immune system?
Like each one of us are unique, so will be the vehicle or ways that will help us live a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.
Personally, I don’t endorse anything that excludes food groups unless it is for health reasons, or if it overall makes you feel better by abstaining.
What I want to talk about today is learning to think about how/what you eat in the form of single ingredients.
There is a term spun around the fitness community referred to as “clean eating ”
Personally I’ve never liked this term as it seems somehow a bit elitist. Simplified, it really means trying to eat food closest to it’s original form without lots of other stuff added to it.
Just real food.
Mostly I try and eat foods that fall in this category.
Then I read an article recently that made me realize I’m not alone in the idea of wanting to eat this way.
I love the idea of just making the focus on your “diet” single ingredient foods, while still being able to incorporate and enjoy those other things in life that are “extra”. For me, it is having dessert with the fam. For the guy writing the article, it was occasional beer and pizza haha.
You get it though, right? Focus on healthy, real, “clean” foods majority of the time, eat in moderation, listen to your body’s natural hunger and full signals, and allow for some fun stuff in there too. And when I say “single” foods, I don’t mean just eating one at a time.
You can certainly mix up a variety of “single” foods. I make lots of one pan dinners ( these are the cat’s meow by the way….) and they contain assortments of veggies ( sometimes some fruit!) and lean protein. The idea is to build meals/snacks with a single idea in mind keeping you closer to eating just real food.
For instance, my breakfast may be eggs, sauteed veggies ( whatever is hanging in my fridge) usually spinach is the base of it, berries of some kind, and milk. Some times a slice of multi grain bread if I had a longer training session. That isn’t a single ingredient, but it usually falls under 5 or less. Most of the time the eggs, veggies and fruit adequately fill me up.
Or it could be a bowl of non-fat Greek yogurt with a variety of berries and raw almonds.
Steel oats with craisins and walnuts is a fav before longer endurance workouts
Lunch is usually a salad crafted up depending on my mood. It contains lots of colorful veggies, sometimes some fruit, and of course adequate protein. A few whole grain crackers can go with it if I’m feeling like a need them.
Snacks, I usually try and keep it with fruit or add some cheese cubes with it as well.
Hardboiled eggs, raw nuts, cheese sticks, fruit and veggies are other single ingredient snacks.
And chocolate. Sometimes, I may just want something chocolate. And yes, it is totally off single or less than 5 ingredients and that’s ok too.
You see where I’m going right?
Balance and moderation lead to a sustainable lifestyle.
This approach really gives you not only great flexibility in what you can eat, it will ensure you gather plenty of good, healthy nutritious, from all food groups in your day.
How complicated is this?
Simply put, anything that grows from ground and isn’t tampered with will make it easy. Also sources like dairy, meat, eggs, grains, beans etc
Are you a label reader? Learn to be. The ingredient list will quickly tell you what’s in your food.
Does the box just say “brown rice”? Or is it rice with other added things you can’t pronounce?
Focus and learn about new fruits and vegetables. Learn how to make new recipes with them and incorporate them into your meals. Be willing to experiment and explore new things.
I’m not talking crazy or restrictive here…..
listen there are some things I happen to like occasionally and don’t plan on giving up because they will leave the minimal ingredient list…
Chocolate, French fries, pizza, a fun meal out with hubby….
I don’t eat these foods often, but when I want it, I’m not gonna feel bad about it or think I’m “cheating” on my diet.
I really honestly, just want that stuff less and less as time goes on.
My point is, if people overall made an effort to eat more natural, as close to real food as they could, they’d easily lose or maintain weight, look good, and their bodies would reflect the healthier foods they took in.
Remember that old “you are what you eat” saying?
Don’t think for a moment your body won’t appreciate those healthy foods you offer it.
At least focusing on single ingredient foods is fairly easy, right? I say single, but really even 5 or less is good too. I know some people way more extreme who say 3 or less. The idea is to do what works for you, with a focus on healthy, balanced and sensible eating that allows you to feel energetic, not be hungry, and helps maintain a reasonable healthy weight.
Perhaps, initially, just focus on what you eat, the types of foods. How do they line up with the idea of being just five or less ingredients? Basically, take inventory of your eating habits.
Then challenge yourself to do it at one meal. From there it could be how or what you snack on. Each step will help you to make better choices for yourself in the long run.
Awareness is the key to getting started and becoming more successful at incorporating healthier foods into your daily nutrition plan, this in the long run, will help you live a healthy lifestyle and not the world of yo-yo dieting.
Tell me, have you considered single ingredient foods as a way of eating and a part of a healthy nutrition plan in your life?
Well the first week of the New Year is almost under us. How’s it going for you? How’s it going in getting on track with your health and fitness goals? Did you stay fairly focused through the holiday season or did you get de-railed?
New Years Day morning had me out on the road for a few miles. I really love being out on that first day because it mentally sets a tone for me in the up coming year and my pursuit of being physically active.
Not that I’m “not” planning to being working out… but it definitely centers me for my goals and commitment to being fit.
Maybe you’re like I am though. Maybe you are making some changes in getting your eating back on track after a season of cookies and other treats.
Maybe you want to get back into your exercise after being off your normal routine for awhile.
I hope you haven’t just gone into the “all or nothing” approach. Sometimes easing back into things is the best way to get into a disciplined routine again.
Here’s a few tips that may help:
Don’t think you have to eat up all the left over cookies, candy, chips, whatever it is you may have laying around. I’m kinda joking, but kinda serious too. People do think they will make a final “last supper” moment and eat up stuff before they go on their “diet”.
Do allow yourself something if you’re craving it. Having a piece or two of chocolate is way less damaging than ignoring your desire than binging on a half a bag later on.
Don’t go all extreme and restrictive in your eating. Your body will rebel if you drastically reduce your food if you’ve been feeding it more than it needs.
Do gradually adjust the type of food and amount of food you have on your plate. It doesn’t take a lot to satisfy your appetite.
Don’t cut out all things you love. This goes a long way to being successful in new eating habits.
Don’t “over” exercise. Doing more than you are used to will only make you sore and not want to continue.
Do ease back into your normal routine if you have been exercising but maybe got off of it for a few weeks. Adding a bit more to what you do through the next week or two will bring you back up to where you were without negative side effects.
Do set small, attainable goals. If you have a set amount of weight to lose, consider looking at it in 5lb goals. This is easy to achieve and makes it a bit of a game. Weigh in only once a week.
Don’t get discouraged with what you need to do by staring at the “big picture”. Focus on one day at a time making positive small choices. These will add up. Move through each day with a focus on those choices.
Do remember that change takes time and don’t get discouraged because you are expecting to much to soon.
If you keep in mind that each day is a series of baby steps leading to your larger goal, it will be easier to manage and you will be much more successful in the end.
Do you have any tips or tricks that work for you to help you get back on track or to reach your goals?
One of the most overarching things I hear ( and read) are from people who want to eat healthier, who desire to do so, but often seem at a loss of where exactly to begin.
I mean, really, it shouldn’t BE hard, right?
Get the good food, eat the good food.
Why on earth are chocolate covered donuts in the basket??!
As I write this I’ll toss out the disclaimer that I’m certainly no expert on perfect nutrition. I openly and freely share my vices with you….hello powdered sugar donuts and salt and pepper kettle chips 😛
I have just learned how to control my behaviors associated with those things. I’ve learned that those foods don’t support my athletic or health goals. I also don’t deprive myself so if I want something, I have some of it and move on.
On the whole of my day though, I make constant choices to choose wisely in what I eat.
It has been a learned process.
Some days are awesome other days are …..meh.
Ok so now that we’ve got THAT outta the way, lets continue.
You aren’t a dummy, really.
When it comes to eating and nutrition you really are largely a product of what you’ve been raised in, what you’ve been taught, and what you’ve been exposed to. Ok and you do have a healthy amount of “free will” as a grown up in your food choices as well.
You can “choose” to buy a candy bar and coke in the gas station… or you can “choose” to buy water and a banana or pretzels.
Huge difference in calories and nutritional content.
So free will goes a long way to helping us become more successful in our efforts to eat better.
I totally understand environmental factors. I didn’t grow up with a focus on healthy, moderate eating.
I grew up with good food, cooked by a mom and grandmother who knew what they were about in the kitchen ( skills they taught me to which I’m grateful) and food was all about not just eating, but comfort, family, and eating, plenty!
Seconds were just expected and a given. Everyone ate till they were in the food coma stage.
Of all things I’ve learned/taught myself these past years is to stay away from that mentality. It is a feeling I don’t like experiencing anymore, nor want to.
So some beginning steps towards getting smart with food is to understand your background environment ( what food was for you in your family, how it was treated, foods that were prepared etc) and accept your food behaviors today.
No one makes you eat anything you don’t want or more than what you need.
In the beginning….
Ya know, when our Creator landed us here a zillion years ago, eating wasn’t complex. I have no personal experience with this but eating then was probably what it was designed for.
Food was fuel.
You ate to get fueled and you didn’t eat again till your tank was running low and you needed it. Repeat process. Spend time running from wild animals to survive ensured you got your cardio in 😉
Of course our early ancestors didn’t have all the processed, fatty, sugary non-essential foods we have today or I’m pretty sure they woulda been having brownies for dessert too.
One thing is still the same though.
Food is fuel. We need it to survive and to have adequate energy to get through our days.
It’s WHAT we choose to fuel or bodies with, how much, and how often that has become the issue.
It’s eating to eat and not eating because we have genuine hunger and need to fill our tank.
We eat to feed our eyes, mouth, and minds very often, without as much thought to what our stomach is saying.
Are we really hungry?
We’ve been given natural signals to indicate we need to eat yet many people go through their days never being aware of those signals because they never let themselves become hungry.
Back to the basics.
There are a few things you can do that can help you get smarter with your eating. They aren’t complicated or really hard, but they may feel that way as you have to intentionally work to adjust your thinking and behaviors.
Eat when you’re hungry. When you’re authentically hungry, feed your body. You get no extra points for ignoring your hunger or pretending it isn’t there, so eat. If you aren’t experiencing those hunger signals, find something else to do.
Eat just enough. Now this can be a fine line to walk for all of us as we tend to eat and think we need more but if we give our bodies a little time to process what’s been taken in we would realize that we’ve had enough. One thing I’ve learned and been amazed over is how little food it really takes to satisfy my appetite and end my hunger. The same is true for you but you may have to teach yourself new patterns and behaviors with it.
Be mindful and intentional.This is where your food choices come in with the other points above. Assuming we’re all adults here, each one of us knows and makes choices over the foods and drinks we consume in our days.
No one *makes* me go through a fast food drive thru or *makes* me buy non-essential, empty calorie foods at the stores.
I am responsible for what I do.
Same goes for you.
I’m at a point in my journey now where if I want something, I am fully aware of the choice I’m making. For those of you who still operate in a zone of feeling “guilty” over food, ( find my post on food guilt here… https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/07/07/food-and-guilty-feelings/ ) this becomes very freeing as you know you’ve made a purposeful choice and not just been swept away because you’ve deprived yourself for so long.
Making different, healthy choices won’t be easy in the beginning. Work on listening to your body and eating just enough to feed your hunger, even if your food choices aren’t the best.
As you master the first two habits, you can begin to change things you’re doing. DON’T make sweeping, broad, extreme changes to your eating all at once. You will be setting yourself up to quit in 24 hours.
Small steps are the best steps.
DO think about the foods you consume. Make a list if you have to. Which are healthy and offer good nutrition to your body? Which are non-essential empty calorie foods that don’t promote good nutrition ?
What non-essential foods could you swap for something healthier? Don’t forget what you drink too.
What non-essential. empty calorie foods do you consume that you could learn to live without or have on a less frequent basis?
Are you willing to try new things? To change you must be willing to step out where you haven’t experimented before. Add in a new fruit or vegetable to your week. Find a healthy recipe or learn to swap out higher fat ingredients for less fat options.
One of the biggest swaps I’ve made is using my non-fat, plain Greek yogurt in recipes that call for sour cream or mayo. Sometimes with the mayo I only use half to half yogurt. Not only do you cut fat and calories, you get a little extra protein thrown in too. I also use this when making dip for veggie trays and as well as other sour cream based foods.
Look at how much added sugar or fatty foods you consume and see if you can eat less of it or make healthier swaps for something you like.
Learning to be intentional about what you put in your mouth will be your biggest challenge and your greatest victory to healthy eating.
Once you begin to master that, eating healthier begins to feel like an easy choice.
Why? Because when you build new habits, they tend to take over the old behaviors.
Undoing and changing a lifetime of learned behaviors is a purposeful and intentional choice made day by day, but with time and consistency you will be on your way to healthy smart eating and permanent lifestyle change.
What steps have you taken to becoming a smarter, healthier person?
Hello world! Yeah I know, no Monday Musings yesterday. I had nothing to muse over. Well not entirely it was more like a busy weekend and it just didn’t happen. But if you wanna read some of the past ones, find some here.
The life of writing involves making myself sit and be still and grind it out when I’d rather be up and moving. If there were only a way to do other stuff AND dictate my posts while doing it, that would be awesome 🙂
Anyway I thought we’d talk today about some common myths in regards to fitness and health. I heard something this past week that got me to thinking and I was gonna give it a nod in my Monday Musings but decided there was enough fodder for it to have an entire post of it’s own.
Let’s face it, in the world of health and fitness there’s a lot of things that aren’t true yet people unknowingly buy into them all the time.
Let’s consider a few in this post….
Feel the burn.
I’ve seen this quite a bit lately in different places. The whole “feel the burn” thing in regards to working out.
Now I’m not sure about you, but if something feels like it’s burning during a workout, I’m fairly sure that’s not a good thing.
Feeling a burn could indicate you have over done something or doing more than your body is physically conditioned for at that point.
This is not the same as just working hard in a session and pushing yourself within your current physical conditioning. Our bodies require time to change and adapt to what we put them through, this doesn’t happen overnight or in a few sessions when you feel like you’ve got your “beast mode” on.
If something feels like it’s burning, you really need to stop and not go to that point anymore lest you pick up and injury that sidelines you for awhile.
A gradual, consistent approach that continues to build will let you work harder and longer with less risk for injuries.
The longer you workout or the more you do in a day the better
You might mentally think you are doing something great but really unless you’re an elite athlete getting in some extra work you are simply setting yourself up for potential injury and at best being over tired, sore and not feeling great after the fact.
Stick to a structured daily workout plan, give it your best efforts and call it a wrap. Think quality over quantity. If you need to do other things consider yoga or stretching to help keep those worked muscles relaxed and loose for your next workout session.
You get no extra gold stars for excess workouts. 😉
I’ve gained weight but I know it’s muscle.
I’ve heard this when someone has been working out for like…6-8 weeks. Building muscle is work, hard work. If you’re a woman, it gets even harder. We often don’t lift heavy enough, or often enough and eat enough to build muscle in that fast of a manner. It has taken me time to build muscle, years. Although cycling and running have contributed to my muscle building, I do specific weight lifting a couple times a week alongside that.
If you want to build muscle it will take time, determination, consistency and good nutrition. Did I mention time ?
If you’re gaining weight that early on, you might be eating more than you need so adjust your calorie intake.
I’m skipping breakfast because I want to lose weight.
Do you know that breakfast really is the most important meal of your day? Your body has been fasting for hours ( think your last meal the night before) eating properly helps kick start your metabolism for the day, wards off hunger and helps prevent binging later on when you are full blown hungry. It will also give you energy for your morning. Not only that having proper fuel helps you to be focused and alert, without it you can be irritable and grouchy. Skipping breakfast won’t contribute to weight loss, but it will keep you hungry and focused on food.
It doesn’t have to be a huge meal, but one that is healthy and offers adequate protein and carbs to fuel your body and brain.
Eating lots of protein gives you more muscle.
Listen, I’m always one who will preach eating protein to you ’cause it delivers a big bang for keeping you from feeling hungry for long periods of time. Your body needs protein to build muscles and grow cells and hair and nails and all that other cool physical stuff. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues.
However, when it comes to fat loss and a better body, protein is the king of nutrients. Protein can reduce hunger and boost metabolism.
But in the often misguided fitness world, the more is better approach is often heralded as the way to do things.
Yes, you need adequate protein. Yes, if you are athletic you need more than the average sedentary person, but consuming high amounts won’t necessarily put Popeye muscles on you.
Why? Our bodies know what they need and the amounts needed and can only ingest 12-15 grams per meal. At a point, the excess protein is excreted or stored as fat if it’s surplus calories.
Building muscle is a combination (again) of consistent hard work, daily discipline, lifting heavy and good nutrition.
Not massive quantities of protein.
Try and consume your protein from natural food sources and limit manmade protein drinks, shakes, powders, bars, supplements etc etc.
The 1200 calorie diet.
Ah yes. The standard caloric intake often given to women. Men do get a bit more but it’s just as limiting.
It still amazes me that these standard diets are often assigned to people without any given consideration to their personal needs.
Eating to low amount of calories is just as counterproductive as to many.
If you are seeking to lose weight you need to have a good understanding of yourself, your lifestyle, and your physical level of activity.
All of us have a basic level of calories our bodies need to just be alive. That means to support a beating heart, brain activity, cell growth, breathing… you know.. just the normal things. Our basic BMR ( basal metabolic rate) will be different for all of us again based on our age, sex, fitness level, jobs etc.
It’s important you know what you’re baseline is and not eat calories under that.
From there, you would determine what kind of work do you do? Is it physically demanding or is it a desk job? What kind of purposeful exercise do you do? None? Light ( 1-2 days a week) moderate (3-5) or more intense (6-7)?
All of these things come into play determining your daily caloric needs. And this can be a shifting scale most days.
For instance, I know on my long training days, I’ll be burning off a lot of calories and making my body work hard. I know I’ll have higher caloric needs based on my day in general, as well as my purposeful exercise. I know I can consume more calories on those days over days where I might just run a 5K that morning to where I don’t really alter my normal eating.
I am aware that on any given day I may need more or less calories depending on my activity level.
When you have a better idea of your personal needs, you can determine the calories you need to lose weight, or maintain your weight.
Eating a big meal makes you gain weight.
OK this is one that for sure comes up around Thanksgiving. For some crazy reason people go hop on a scale the day after.
Like… why? Do you just wanna feel crappy for enjoying your day?
Listen up, if you show a gain, it’s not fat ok? You aren’t gonna toss on 2-4 pounds of fat overnight.
Yes, the scale *could* show a gain but I’m gonna just say it’s most likely water weight from all those carbs you took in the day before from potatoes, rolls, dressing, pies etc.
Carbs, if you don’t know this, are like little sponges that hold onto water. Why do you think body builders restrict carbs when they are close to competition? To deplete water out of their muscles.
I would suggest if you go back to your normal eating, getting normal exercise and check again in a couple days, you’ll have weight *loss*.
To stay in shape you only need one or two days a week.
Sorry. That might clear your head or give you a quick burst of energy but it won’t get you in shape or help with any weight loss goals.
Ideally, you should really strive to workout most days of the week for optimal health benefits.
Start with a couple days but aim to get in at least 5-6.
You can crunch your way to good abs.
Sorry… but no. I cringe when I hear people talking about doing crunches and dutifully going through the motions. The reality is it’s an ineffective way to get those abs. Instead you should be doing things in a combination of interval training, utilizing carbs wisely, getting adequate sleep and keeping stress levels low. Of course the right training moves help too. Moves like squats, deadlifts, and chin ups can contribute to that shaped mid section.
I’m eating healthy, I will lose weight.
Truth is…. you will lose weight if you take in less calories than you need in a day and create a deficit. Yes, eating healthy foods is definitely what you should strive to have in your day, but if you eat to much of anything your body will take what it needs and store the rest for fat.
Eat healthy, focus on eating just enough to satisfy your hunger, and then move on with your day. Don’t get caught in the thinking you are going to lose weight if you have no idea of your calorie consumption in the day.
Be mindful of another “trap” by drinking “healthy” liquid calories in the trendy shakes and smoothies. The calories are often astronomical in it and you’d do better eating regular food.
My son used to get a smoothie from a local place. He asked me to stop and get him one and bring it to work. Me being me, I’m standing there picking apart menu and code words that still mean sugar no matter how you try and gloss it over ( good publicity makes you feel like you’re doing yourself a healthy favor) I found the one I was buying for him and almost fainted when I saw it had nearly 1,200 calories in it. True, it was a large one, but still, that is an obscene amount of calories for something that is being promoted as “healthy” it is close to exceeding daily caloric intake.
When I told him he was shocked and stopped buying them.
Working out will turn fat into muscle.
No. You have fat and you have muscle. You can’t make one be the other. You can lose fat and you will be able to see your muscles better but you won’t turn your excess fat into muscle nor will muscle turn into fat.
Oh and another myth I’ll put in here that ties in, my favorite, muscle weighs more than fat. ( a way to justify weight gain)
5lbs is still 5lbs. muscle however, is sleek, compact and lean and fat is thick, bulky and fluffy. Having more muscle under your skin gives that “toned” look people always go on about. Toned is a weird way of saying you have some muscle holding your skin out.
And that’s about all I have to say on that topic 😉
I guess I could keep on with other points but I need to bring it to and end. If you are unsure of something in regards to health and fitness, find credible sources to gain information. Don’t go by what the bulky dude at the gym does or the girl in the yoga pants tells you to eat. Educate yourself on things so you can make the best choices for you.
Tell me, are there some myths you’ve heard that people believe in?
I’m struggling to grasp the fact we are nearly two weeks into October already. Like where has the year vanished to? October heralds the start of all things “holiday” in the commercial realm here.
I’m not sure what it’s like in the rest of the world, but here in the U.S. it’s become sadly common place the last few years for stores to just throw all holidays together like some huge smorgasbord you just go in and pick from.
Why yes, I want to look at Christmas trees and lights while I’m picking out orange and black Halloween candy.
Back in the day when I was a wee little girl ( a really long time ago ha) there was a general appreciation for each holiday. It was recognized and then you moved to the next one. The official start to Christmas was after Thanksgiving and you didn’t go get your tree till December.
I’m remember my grandparents being shocked when the neighbor put theirs up before December one year.
One just didn’t break Christmas rules by putting the tree up to early.
And Thanksgiving, well that’s just about swept under the rug and barely given a nod to. If you’re lucky you may find some turkey napkins and fall leaves squished into a small area on one single aisle.
By the way….Do you know Canada has Thanksgiving in October??? Like they just had it… weird… although I was a little jealous they were already having turkey… but I digress….
This isn’t a post about me whining on how commercialized the “holiday” season (Oct-Dec) has become or how I wish things were simpler, although I do.
No, this is a little post about having a survival fitness guide for the “holiday season”.
I saw the first meme the other day… you know.. one that’s designed to make you feel like a guilty loser for enjoying foods or treats for the holiday? Get out there and work off your food!
Yeah, I think those are awesome too… not really.
I think they are designed to steal your joy over something that should be fun and celebratory, isn’t that what holidays are about?
Family? Food? Friends? More food?
That’s what life is about.
However, all of us want to navigate through these upcoming months and not look like the Butterball turkey come January. You really can go through these months and not gain weight, I promise.
When I started on my health journey, it was mid October. I stayed the course all through the rest of that year and when I checked in with my doctor in January I had lost 20 lbs.
Yes, you read that correctly. No, I didn’t starve myself or do without. I ate normal almost all of those days, I enjoyed the celebrations of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. I baked, I ate cookies, I nibbled on my favorite chocolate treats, and I enjoyed the season.
I also stayed true to my exercise at the time, every day. I didn’t treat each day like it was a party that I needed to over eat on, I ate in moderation. I didn’t eat till I was miserable on the actual holiday.
I wore form fitting clothes to remind me of my goals. Crazy I know but it works. Trust me, you are much more aware of your body and how you are eating.
So I want you to have your own personal survival guide
This is gonna look different for all of us. It will vary by our goals, our lifestyle and what we are trying to achieve. I’m assuming, you really don’t want to add any extra weight to you.. that’s why you are here.
First of all, if you fall in the camp of already throwing the towel in and proclaiming “I’ll start in January!”
Seriously, stop thinking like that. There are only a few days in these upcoming months that would be out of the norm for eating purposes. You have days of normal life going on there are no reasons to toss in the towel and view these months as an eating binge.
And… I’ve just told you I lost weight through these months so I know it’s possible. Either that or you maintain your weight.
If you aren’t yet at least get out and start walking. Regardless, you want to make time in your day for that. It not only helps with the weight issue more importantly it keeps you sane and focused on days that get busy with all the hustle of the holidays.
One of my fav things I’ve done every Thanksgiving since I started getting myself in shape, is getting up early for a sunrise run. It centers my mind on what the day is about, let’s me think of all I’m grateful for and blessed with, burns off some calories and energizes me for the long busy day I’ll have as Chief cook and Dessert Master 😛
Oh there are so many delicious things to sample aren’t there? And pie. Glorious, delicious pie.
I eat the things I love the most. I don’t worry so much about the other stuff. I don’t eat it because “it’s there”. I feel no obligation to eat everything that’s put out, you shouldn’t either. If you can’t really stand Grandma’s sweet potato casserole with gobs of marshmallows, for heavens sake, leave it behind!
I don’t feel deprived or left out. I have what I want in small portions.. with so much food available it doesn’t take much to fill a plate. I detest that over full feeling so I really try and keep away from doing it.
You need to make your plan now
~ determine what you will and won’t do. This puts you in charge and not just being bounced along day to day,
~ on the actual day be mindful of how you eat. Listen to your body. Trust me, there will be food for days so you don’t need to eat it all at once.
~ don’t over eat or eat “bonus” foods on random days. Eat normally and respect your decisions you’ve made.
~ don’t feel obligated to eat everything that’s put out. Be selective in what you want.
~ do try and limit alcohol and keep your water intake up.
~ do commit to daily exercise.
~ do enjoy your family traditions and foods. Don’t get hung up on how many calories are in things.
~ do remember, you can’t “work off” things you’ve already eaten. It’s done. Move forward and work out sensibly.
~ do listen to your body. If it’s telling you “enough” then learn to stop. Like I said, food will be around for days 😉
~finally, do set a small goal for yourself to achieve at the end of the season. If you have something you’re mindful of, you will be more likely to stay focused on it.
Make sure you check back in the upcoming weeks for a few more tips and motivation to keep strong and fit through this season.
With some planning, awareness of yourself and each day, you can move through these months enjoying yourself, staying positive, and maybe even dropping a few pounds in the process.
Do you have any tips or tricks you use to stay on track during the holidays?
Another came rolling through again. The obligatory salad post with some “diet” caption attached to it.
I see them often.
The person is usually getting on the diet wagon and where else do you start, but by eating salads, right?
Now hear me out.
I’m not knocking salads. I love them. They are often my lunch of choice because well, I simply enjoy eating veggies, they fill me up, don’t make me feel sleepy, and leave me feeling energetic.
Salads done right are a wonderful meal and offer endless amounts of creativity with them.
Sadly, some I see, I’m left thinking that the poor person will be starving soon ( no protein in salad) and often lacking a good variety of veggies in it.
We have also been conditioned to think of losing weight and getting healthy in forms of deprivation.
Nothing fun or tasty.
A boring iceberg salad mix with a few cherry tomatoes thrown in, a bit of cucumber, and maybe some shredded carrot.
Yay. Go to town on that.
After all to lose weight, you gotta suffer right? Be miserable? Hungry all the time?
No, not really. Not at all.
Well, what works then?
There are many things on the market promising weight loss. There are lots of “trendy” new diets you can commit to if that’s your thing.
None of them are magic. None of them have some super power over the other. Some offer restrictions, others take food groups away from you, some have you eating gobs of fat, some give you barely enough calories to operate on, some offer “meal replacements”… gosh the list can go on….
At the end of the day it’s simply science.
We lose weight when we take in less calories than our bodies need for daily functioning.
You could achieve it on an Oreo and milk diet although I wouldn’t recommend that…. mainly ’cause I’m not into Oreos 😉
You create a deficit by calories and activity level and in a slow and steady way weight loss will occur.
You need to reduce your daily calories by about 350-500 a day to lose weight.
How the heck do I do that?
I’d say start with things that might not matter a lot or that you could easily reduce. Do you stop for some sugary drink at Starbucks or the local coffee shop?
Do you have any idea of the calorie, fat, or sugar content of it for the size you buy?
Go ahead… I’ll wait.
Google it up and look.
Are you shocked? Most people are.
How much sugar or creamer do you add to coffee? How many sodas or sugar drinks do you consume? Alcohol?
I’d say the best thing to do is simply write down all you eat in a day for about a week.
Be honest. Don’t try and hide anything from yourself. This will give you a guide of what you eat.. the good and not so good.
This will be your starting place to look at where to weed out those 350-500 calories a day.
We often mindlessly stuff things into our mouths without recognizing that yeah, those calories do count.
So do an honest assessment with yourself if you want to see where you can reduce or cut out to help lower those calories while keeping the more nutritious foods in place.
Speaking of nutritious foods…..
Consider foods you like that are healthy and offer your body good nutrition. You know I don’t really like to label foods, but let’s be honest, there are many foods that offer more to our health, feeling good, being energetic and losing weight than others.
Whole grains, fruits, veggies, lean meats, dairy products all offer an abundance of goodies for us to choose from to plan our daily nutrition needs.
Vegetables and fruit… consider this…
On average, only 14 percent of American adults consume at least 2 servings of fruit and at least 3 servings of vegetables daily.
Sadly, in my communication with people I’m always staggered at the truth of that. The very idea of vegetables is something repugnant being offered to them.
You can eat a whole lot of veggies that fill you up, keep you feeling energetic, and come in really low on the calories.
They can be eaten raw or cooked in all kinds of ways that are delicious.
Here’s the deal… if you’ve trained yourself to eat not so nutritious foods, you can train yourself to eat foods that support good health and weight loss.
And you have trained yourself to eat and drink the way you do now…..
It just will take some time and intentional effort on your part…. you know… that habit thing I always blab about….
I was at a dinner party recently and the couple across from me were, well honestly, really over weight. The wife was telling me how she was trying to get him to eat vegetables and he was telling me about ones he had been “trying” and she said “I’m even trying to get him to eat brussel sprouts!”
I said “Oh, how are you preparing them?” (Help me. I already knew the answer before it came)
“Oh, I boil them!” she said smiling at me
I tried to contain my face and not imagine them boiled and rolling around the plate like little green heads… boiling them is like the kiss of death. Boiling them is the reason people rebel against eating them 😉
I told her for a change, that would be tasty and healthy, to slice them up, toss them with a little olive oil, cracked pepper and sea salt then roast them till they started to get crispy.
Her hubby definitely perked up to that.
Seriously though. Learn to experiment with vegetables. Roasting brings out the best flavors in them. Some do better lightly steamed but most anything can be roasted.
Now about those salads….
Just a few tips on making a good salad for your meal.
~include a variety of colorful veggies. Peppers, radishes, tomatoes, avocado, red onion, broccoli, really anything can be added.
~ don’t be afraid of tossing some fruit in. Blueberries or strawberries can make a good addition to a green salad.
~ Don’t forget a healthy dose of protein… this keeps you from getting hungry soon. Feta cheese, grilled chicken, canned tuna, boiled eggs etc can be great options to add in.
~ healthy fats like avocados or walnuts are a good addition to your salad
~ go easy on salad dressings or this will negate all the good efforts of your salad. Be mindful of calories and fat and the fact a serving size is usually like 2 tablespoons… yeah.. go ahead and measure that out… look for low calorie ones or better yet learn to whip up your own healthier alternatives.
I’ve found the more creative the mix of my salad, the less I really want any dressing or at best just a minimal amount.
So post those salad pics…..
Seriously, if you’re on the road to dropping some weight, good for you! Salads offer a fun, tasty and super healthy way to get there. Make them satisfying to your tastes and share your creativity. It’s ok to enjoy your fruits and veggies.
Keep in mind as well, a balanced nutrition plan, with a small daily reduction of calories, will lead to weight loss and keep your energy level up in the process.
What is the way you find most successful to lose weight? Are you good at eating your fruits and veggies?