Food Choices Deprivation Or Empowerment

Pass Junk food

 

“Don’t you miss eating fun foods?” I was asked that question one day…. this person obviously didn’t know my eating habits super well or they’d know my weakness for some occasional chocolate, powdered sugar donuts, or better yet, French fries.

Years ago as I embarked on my health journey, that may have been my mentality. It would’ve have been my mentality if I had banned foods or put them off limits or treated them like I’d never, ever get to have them again.

Not making foods “good” or “bad” has helped me be successful, and stay successful on this path.  I think this theory will work for the majority of people wanting to be healthy.

Oh, in the past I can remember parties or get togethers and “abstaining” from whatever foods/desserts I thought I shouldn’t have.

Let’s be honest, that kinda stuff flat out sucks.

But here’s the weird kicker. What starts out in the beginning as something that feels out of your routine, or daily habit, can slowly be transformed into a new habit and permanent change in our lifestyle.

If you eat “junk” food and it’s your thing to go to, then your taste buds have definitely been trained to eat that way. I’d like to think all of you were raised by moms who attempted to feed you good, healthy food in the beginnings of your life.

As a free willed individual, you grew up and did your own thing. That might involve not eating what mom tried to get you to eat but instead opting for other less desirable choices.

You get it… you train yourself to eat foods that support your health and give you energy or you’re comfortable eating foods that satisfy your emotions and mouth and offer no or minimal nutritional value.

It does make me sad when people make jokes about eating foods that support good health and they don’t participate in eating that way. I’m over here thinking… “that’s your body your living in, the only one you get!”

A mental shift has to occur for anyone to be successful in weight loss and eating in a manner that supports good health.

If you view not getting to eat “junk” food as deprivation, you will not move forward. If you view eating well as punishment, you will not move forward.

We all face temptations when it comes to foods. I have my own that are best for me to stay away from.

I know what it’s like to be in the store, hungry, and all those things I know I don’t need seem to taunt me to buy them.

After all, I’m hungry, right?

But then there’s the stronger part of my mind and body that knows better…. I know how empowering it is to know it’s there and leave it. I know how empowering it is to make good food choices and how I feel after the fact.

And yes, if you are hungry in the store ( a practice I do not recommend 😉 ) there is a plethora of foods that can help you that are healthy to snack on…. really. You don’t have to be drawn in at the candy when you are checking out.

It all takes practice. And determination. And failure.

Yes. I said failure.

You aren’t going to nail this each and every time. In the beginning it will be a struggle. With repeated efforts of success and failure you will eventually have more success than not ( this is where determination comes in… and a bit of stubbornness doesn’t hurt either)

As you practice this you will develop new strength, new strength is empowering when you walk away from something. It gradually turns into something you will just automatically do.

Assess what it is. Think about if you really need it. Think about if it will support your health and fitness goals.

Make a choice.

And you know what, sometimes, it’s ok to get that candy bar.

I had done a long endurance session recently and by midafternoon my body was wanting just all out pure sugar. I’ve come to know this feeling occasionally since I’ve become involved in endurance sports.

I intentionally bought a candy bar. I can’t tell you the last time I had one. It was delicious. That feeling went away after. I haven’t wanted one since.

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It was good…

 

No guilt.

I fully knew I could’ve gotten a “healthier” treat. I also made a mindful decision that I wanted to get that candy bar.

It is empowering when you are in mindful control of making choices regarding what goes in your mouth and how you eat.

As you learn to make eating healthier a priority, you not only feel better and are more energetic, your tastes for the lesser quality food really will diminish. In time, you will find those desired foods will have less pull and it becomes quite easy to ignore them and never have them, and yeah, you won’t feel “deprived” either. You will however, feel empowered.

A successful healthy lifestyle will involve balance. Good days and bad days. The key to success is to keep moving forward. Learn to enjoy how you feel when you make more aware choices of what you eat and when you choose a better option.

In time, it will come almost effortlessly to you.

Tell me was there or has there been a time you’ve felt deprived because you didn’t think you could have some type of food? How do you feel when you make a better choice or a more purposeful decision in what you eat?

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Tips To Kick Start A Healthier Lifestyle

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Once again another article caught my eye. I’m always drawn to news stories on health and fitness and am usually looking to see if it will tell me something new that I don’t know.   I  gather tidbits from articles that I find useful and valuable for myself or others and mentally discard the rest.

However, I’m always disappointed when the story leads to telling me this… being overweight/fat leads to health problems.

Like…tell me something I don’t know. Or tell the world something they don’t already know.

This is why the “diet” industry rakes in billions of dollars a year… from people who know that and want to make a change… who hope that the next new shiny thing will be what morphs them into being thinner, stronger, healthier, and more fit.

I may have said this before…  once or twice… and if you follow me much you know what I believe…

there is no magic cure or diet.

Can I just make a suggestion here? Throw something out at you? Do with it what you will…

Why not start with not eating crap… to put it bluntly…. and learning to exercise?

Two things. Two points here beautiful people.

Maybe you need to make a list of what you eat, maybe you don’t. You  know how you eat and what you eat. You know if it comes more in drive thru bags, boxes, or purchased off convenience store shelves.

Sugar, fatty, processed,  high calorie “foods”.  These are often what’s referred to as “empty calories” … simple carbs… it’s the stuff you don’t really need.

Cookies, crackers, chips, donuts, muffins, snack cakes, pastries, sugar cereals, sugared drinks, super size fries etc. we’ve been brainwashed to think we “need” to buy, eat, have these things.

We don’t.

All it does is mess with our bodies chemistry, often put us on a roller coaster of hunger, and adds nothing but fat to our bodies… and not the good fat we need.

It’s the kind of fat that grows around our waist and clogs up our hearts arteries and makes us buy bigger jeans.

Really, you don’t need that stuff. Yeah, some of it tastes good, but so does your health.  And trust me, when you start intentionally working your way away from it, these food products will have less and less pull on you.

So start there. Don’t go crazy and think you have to go live off kale and nothing else. Start by working to eliminate the crap food from your daily diet.

I’ve talked with people who “just” gave up sodas and they were amazed at their weight loss. No wonder. A standard can of Coke has 39g of sugar… which is 8 teaspoons in a can! Now figure if someone puts away….3,4, 5, or more Cokes a day…. that’s a ton of sugar for nothing but empty calories.

If one thing can make a big difference imagine if you cut out other stuff too. Depending on how much of these simple carbs show up in your daily food allotment you might have to take slow baby steps eliminating a thing or two at a time… but do it.

Your body will thank you… your improved health will be a huge reward for you.

Now the other part…exercise. I’m kinda big on that now days. Mainly because I have enough of a track record now to preach like crazy at you regarding all the benefits of it.

Mental clarity? Physical strength? Weight loss? Amazing lab results? A body that’s reshaped? Learning to set and achieve goals? Reduce your risk of heart disease? Gain energy? Improve memory?  Gain strength and flexibility? Sleep better? Increased confidence? Mood improver?

Am I selling you yet ? 😉

So here’s the deal. Find something you think you can stick with, that you like, and do it.

I hear all the time from people… “It’s great you run but I don’t like running!”

I get it… running is hard and its not for everyone… if you don’t like it…don’t do it… but for heavens sake find something you do like, or think you could learn to, and get after it.

Do it every day. Make no excuses to not do it. Put it on your planner like you do going to lunch with a friend or any other appointment. Don’t play the martyr role and place yourself on the back burner of life.

You… your health… is worth it… I hope you get that …really.

It needs to be up there on top of your list ’cause I’ll tell you, no one else is going to put your health up there and make you get stuff done.

So here’s the kicker. Here’s what I learned a few years ago when I was scrambling trying to get my feet under me and get on this fitness journey…

when I started daily exercising ( and I mean daily… I accepted no excuses from myself to not get it done) I liked how I felt when I finished. I liked the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction of doing it. I loved how clear my mind felt. I even liked being tired from it ( no endurance in the beginning for sure)

Before the scale had barely changed. Before a visible muscle had appeared. Before I ever thought about running or lifting or riding a bike like a crazy demon….

I loved how I felt when I finished. 

And when you start exercising and feeling good about yourself for doing it, you start taking more of  a look at what you are stuffing in your face and evaluating it.

Is it worth it? Do I need it? Do I feel better without it?

And as you keep on eliminating that crappy food you don’t really need and make a commitment  to daily exercise, somehow, the weight slowly and steadily will begin to come off.

You gain a new confidence in yourself. You start to look at what you do and how you eat in a different way.

It’s a process. But if you start with these two points, I’m pretty sure you’ll find yourself on a path to success… and skinnier jeans as well 😉

 

Monday Motivation

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Yeah.. it’s Monday beautiful people. I know it came as a startling realization  as your alarm blared you to life and left you scrambling trying to remember what day it was and what planet you were on.

Nothing like shaking the sleep out… shaking the body out… and rolling into a Monday.

You’ve already got the to-do list planned and a weekly agenda lined out.

Perhaps, if you’re like many, you’ve decided today….today is THE day.

No.. not to quit your job….

The day you’re finally going to get started…get moving… do things differently.

It’s time to take back your life… to lose weight and get moving again ’cause you’re tired of being fat ( let’s just be honest here, ok? if I can say that about myself where I was 8 years ago… it’s ok… being real is the first step to success) and you’re tired of well…feeling tired. Or feeling sluggish and having no energy or getting out of breath doing simple daily tasks.

You can change all that. Really. It won’t happen overnight, but it won’t happen if you don’t get started.

I don’t care how young or old you are you can start doing things differently to impact your life in a better way.

So, if you’re one of the many who rolled out of bed today with this on your mind, may I offer a few suggestions? Ideas? Tips?

First… I’m super proud of you for wanting to improve your health! And if you’re going to do this remember…

Take one day at a time. I know that sounds rather…simple? But seriously…take one day. Don’t look six months out or think about how you need to lose a zillion pounds… that will intimidate anyone and make them wanna quit. Focus on the day you’re in and focus on making better choices for yourself. Don’t expect perfection just aim for improvement.

Eat a little less, listen to your body when you are hungry, stop when you’re comfortable, practice eating more whole foods, don’t completely deprive yourself.

You know… just little things through your day that will start to add up.

Then… in that same day…try and see how you can add more purposeful movement into your day. Take the stairs, park further out at the store, go for an evening walk, go to the park and really play with your kids.. get creative.

Now… you made it through your day… get up tomorrow…repeat process… only this time you’re gonna try and do just …. a little more….

Eat a little less, eat something more healthy, go for a longer walk, think of a physical activity you want to try and then do it….

And you will focus on caring for yourself one day at a time.

Oh, and if you have a day you don’t do so well with ? You will get up tomorrow and start again.  Do not quit.

Focus on one day at a time, with small goals ( focus on 5lb weigh loss increments) adding in healthier foods, allowing occasional treats,  and getting in purposeful exercise will have you moving steadily on your way to your goals.

From that point keep challenging yourself to do a little more each day, and each week. Measure success not just in weight loss but also in things like, inches lost, energy level, mental well being, lab/doctors visits, confidence and feeling empowered at tackling your days for your health and fitness goals, and overall satisfaction with how you’re feeling.

You can accomplish anything you decide to do =)

Lean Habits For Weight Loss Book Review

When it comes to health and fitness, you know I’m pretty vocal on some subjects.

For instance, I have no use for any of the over hyped current trending “health/nutrition/weight loss” products that abound right now. I think these big multi level marketing companies prey on people who are needy and often are willing to grab onto anything that might be the “magic fix” to help them lose weight and get fit/healthy.

For the tremendous amount of money it costs, I think, it would be better spent on good food, but hey that’s just me.

I’ve read various books on health and fitness. I take from them what I find useful and move on. Again, there are lots of books on the market, everything from diets and dieting to crazy trends.

Again you know, I’m not into crazy fad or trendy diets. They just don’t flippin’ work.

What has worked for me is changing how I do things in my life. How I do things, day in, and day out. Eventually, I built some new habits and in the process of doing  that, I lost weight. I was out moving more. My body started changing. I was living my life and enjoying it and not feeling deprived or left out ’cause I had to “diet”. I wasn’t the poor victim at the family BBQ sucking down celery sticks and feeling miserable. I had occasional treats when I reallllyyy needed something.

Playing by my own rules worked for me.  I just plodded along letting the weight almost effortlessly come off in a slow, steady, and sane fashion. I didn’t push it. I wasn’t on a plan to get if off in “just a few weeks”. I think these tactics have worked for me…..

Now imagine my interested delight when I stumbled across a book that had shown up in my Facebook newsfeed via a fitness page I followed.

lean habit

As I read previews on it I was struck with the thought… “oh my gosh. THIS is what I’ve been doing the past 8 years. I’ve built habits and have changed my life and in doing so that’s allowed me to lose weight and keep it off. Someone wrote a book on it. A very GOOD book that helps you practice new habits for successful weight loss.”

I bought the book and well, devoured it. 😉

It is based on learning and practicing 4 “core” habits….

  1. Eat 3-4 meals a day without snacking
  2. Master your hunger
  3. Eating just enough
  4. Eat mostly whole foods

it follows with 12 supporting habits ( I’m not gonna tell you those ’cause you’re gonna want to scamper out and get this book and learn them yourself)

Well, maybe I’ll share a couple I liked. She addresses dealing with emotional eating (hello?? who on plant earth hasn’t dealt with that ??)  and  another…being 100% aware of treats you eat.. I think that’s a huge area of struggle for many people.

The premise is you will read and get familiar with one habit at a time, practice it, and move on to the next one. Georgie does a great job laying out ways to track your habits and be accountable with practicing them.

I also loved the approach that “perfection” isn’t what is expected, but a steady forward movement of practicing these habits until they become, well, habitual 😉 thus forming a way you are living your life… easily losing weight and getting healthy and strong.

It’s making your own routine that becomes natural and comfortable to you.

No diets or trendy angles on food.

No calorie counting or restrictive diets.

Not being told what you can or cannot have and avoiding or cutting out your favorite foods.

Not being restrictive and building new habits leads to permanent and sustainable weight loss.

Another term I related to because it’s how I refer to my personal change is.….it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. You will begin a lifestyle of freedom.

As you move through this book learning about building habits you will understand your relationship with food and the how’s and why’s of interacting with it.

This is a book I can get behind. I guess because I relate to so much of what is written and I know these principles can and do work.

Please hear me…. this book… it’s worth your time reading…what I like best about it is that it’s practical and doable for anyone.. and I mean anyone.

Therefore, since I’ve already stated how I feel about various health/weight loss/ diet things and I’m very particular about what I endorse and suggest to others….and you know I only hold out sane and reasonable ways to get fit and lose weight….

I really highly recommend you trot on over to Amazon and pick up a copy. It’s an easy read and the information it contains is invaluable. Get it here…. http://www.amazon.com/Lean-Habits-Lifelong-Weight-Loss/dp/1624141129/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444257014&sr=8-1&keywords=georgie+fear

Not only that it’s wayyyyyy cheaper than even a single month of a “health/weight loss product” 😉

Oh, and yes, the author does look amazing. Yes, for me, those abs are a reminder to continue my personal work in progress. For you, as I’ve mentioned before, you might have different goals of what you want to achieve… don’t worry about what others set for themselves.  Yours could be improved lab work, more energy, strength, confidence, better health and overall wellness etc…

Your goals. Your life. Your success.

Forget diets. Forget dieting. Learn about developing your own lean habits for permanent weight loss and a new lifestyle change =)

Food Vs. Fitness

biscuit
Biscuits. I could eat my body weight in them 😉

Food. It was on my mind. I just wrapped up a little over an hour on my bike. That’s roughly… 12ish miles for me… lots of hills and inclines so it’s not always easy. Which really, I don’t want it to be.

Coming in and cooling down, my tummy rapidly reminded me food was a long time ago ( last night) and it’s grumblings and rumblings were a sign I needed some nutrition.

Breakfast is my usual fare…. eggs… tons of sautéed veggies…. milk….  plenty of good protein and carbs to fill me comfortably.

It has become natural now for me to reach for healthy, nutrient dense foods. I crave them.  Not only that, how can you go wrong filling up on veggies that are amazingly good for you, satisfy your hunger, and leave you feeling strong and steady ( no dip and decline of blood sugar levels)  for hours ahead and for minimal calories?

Win. Win.

it hasn’t always been like that for me. On my health and fitness journey these past few years like anything, it’s been a learning process.

Choosing healthier foods over ones that didn’t support my goals has been a learned thing.

I guess the eye opening moment for me ( and I believe anyone who is seeking to lose weight and be fit) is determining who your love affair is with ? What do you love/want more ?

Food… the taste, sensory,  and emotional connection to fill your needs ?

OR

Food with balance and moderation with the goal being healthier and leaner ?

If you keep choosing food over your goals of health and wellness you will never get there.

You and you alone must decide….before something goes in your mouth….. is it worth it ? Does it support my goals? Do I want this ( thing) over my goals?

For example……Saturday morning hubby and I had determined a breakfast date for Cracker Barrel. If you’re in the south, you know what that means. If you don’t know, well, it’s this amazing southern foods restaurant that has all kinds of tasty treats.

I had biscuits on my mind. Coffee too 😉

All was well and good until our food came out and the waitress nicely says… “oh, we ran out of biscuits but we have some coming out in a few minutes” I assured her that was fine and launched into my meal, trying to not focus on the fact the eggs were slightly chilled…. and waited for my biscuits.

Hubby gallantly offered his up but I told him I’d wait….

and I waited… and waited…. until we were almost done and I flagged her down and she said… ” Oh I’m so sorry they aren’t done yet, but would you like a muffin ?”

Seriously. No.   It’s like asking a soda drinker if they want Coke or Pepsi.

I told her no thanks and was starting to feel like a disgruntled little kid. Hubby told me to take his other one ( which was not so warm anymore) and she brings me solid, frozen butter for it.

I did make an attempt to eat at it. I just couldn’t. It was nothing like I had envisioned when I had breakfast on my mind. I didn’t wanna be a brat…but seriously… it was disappointing.

Here’s where I’m going. I’ve learned to be selective on my journey. I didn’t want a muffin. I didn’t want a cool biscuit with frozen butter.  I’m at a place in my life and journey that if I eat something and take in those calories I want it to be good. I want to enjoy and savor it!  I want it to be worthwhile. I don’t have to mindlessly shovel it in ’cause it’s there. I can say no and walk away.

I can be picky and selective.

In my journey though it is a battle to think in terms of “food” versus “health/fitness”.  It is moment by moment decisions that lead me to victory.

It works like that for most of us.

It comes down to that moment of decision and deciding…. what do we want more…. food ? or our health goals ?

I’m not saying… don’t eat… I’m saying… make it worth while.

In time practicing this will  become a new habit in you that almost becomes second nature =)

What about you ? Is it a habit to think about what you put in your mouth and determine is really “worth it” ?

To Count Or Not Count Calories

In the ways of health and fitness stuff there are some common questions that I get frequently.

One being… “Do you count calories?”

Short answer. No. I find it to be a total drag.

Nowwww… if you’re a happy calorie counter don’t get upset here 😉 it does and can have it’s place in helping you understand your calorie intake. It just doesn’t need to be a life long thing you must do. With all the apps out there today keeping track of your intake has never been easier. (just make sure you’re brutally honest about exact amounts of everything you eat) AND understand exactly how many calories you need to lose weight and sustain your activities.

When I started my health and fitness journey ( 8 years next month!) one of the things I set out for myself was to not have to follow a certain set of restrictive rules.

By that I honestly mean, I got rebellious with those rules every time I decided to knock a few pounds off. I didn’t like being boxed into what worked for someone else.
I didn’t want to be told what to do when or what I “had” to eat.

Consequently, I dropped it like a bad habit after a couple weeks of dieting/calorie counting/ eat this meal thing.

You know what worked and what I developed over time ?

I built new habits.

Slowly, steadily, one day at a time plodding along. If I had a day that bombed ( and trust me, I did) I didn’t throw in the towel, I just kept on going.

My new habits meant listening to my body’s God given signals for hunger and being satisfied. When you sit down and are truly hungry food tastes amazing in a different kinda way. I ate enough to satisfy my hunger and stopped.

I learned if I wasn’t hungry at the next meal I wasn’t obligated to eat just ’cause the chow bell dinged.

I didn’t restrict foods or label any as “bad” or eat only salad and rice cakes.

Moderation became my motto. I ate what I wanted but listened to my body’s signals.

I didn’t need to clean my plate…. when I was comfortable I stopped… not when I felt stuffed or heavy feeling… gosh I hate how that feels and rarely let myself go there now days.
Unfortunately, most of the world loves to continue to feed their mouth long after the tummy is satisfied. The outcome? excess pounds.

So in building some new habits of eating when I was truly hungry, and stopping when I was satisfied, and training myself to eat natural and healthy foods the majority of the time I lost weight but wasn’t dependent on calorie counting. I was listening to my body and it’s specific needs.

You can do the same thing. It takes daily discipline and a tenacious, stubborn spirit to not give up, but I tell you it’s complete freedom when you nail down these new habits. Complete freedom.

After almost 8 years… I think it’s working 🙂

Tell me… do you count calories? Do you find it helpful? Or feel it’s something you must do? And if so, do you ever feel enslaved to having to do it ? Or do you know your needs and listen to your body and go by that as your guide?

Eating Mindfully

Food.

It’s everywhere in our lives, isn’t it? Food is essential for life and health, but it’s also used for purposes other than nutrition.

food as a drug

Perhaps you’ve seen this quote floating around the internet. Food is used for everything from celebrating, comforting, helping our emotions, and perhaps even feeding deeper things in us that we are unaware of, like coping with life.

There isn’t a person alive who hasn’t at some point, eaten, without the need of hunger. There isn’t anything necessarily “wrong” with it… I mean come on… when we have room for chocolate cake after a meal… we aren’t hungry, are we? And I usually won’t turn it down… 😉

For any of us on a health and wellness journey, eating mindfully is crucial to long term success.

What does eating mindfully mean?

Let’s look at it like this… have you ever been in the kitchen and found yourself mindlessly shoving something in your mouth ? Are really thinking about it? You might have seen it and thought… “oh this…”  you might not even really taste it in the full sense of tasting. You’re checked out thinking about the laundry, or tomorrows to-do list.

You can put yourself in whatever scenario…there are times we are shoveling food in our faces without a purpose and well, quite mindlessly.

Or, we could feel stressed and emotionally strung out. A hard day. Kids making us nuts. Aging parents. Job that takes a toll on you.

We find comfort in our favorite food.

Trust me… I get it.

I think one of THE biggest things that clicked to me a few years ago was recognizing I often would reach for food, and not good stuff, and realize I was emotionally eating. I also understood I had seen it modeled in front of me my entire life in my family. To identify (emotional eating) helped keep me aware of that weak area in me.

I remember one evening, after a rough day with one of the kids, my husband walked in the kitchen where I happened to be shoveling BBQ chips in my mouth.

I told him… “I want you to know, I’m fully aware that I’m emotionally eating right now!” Now that is kinda funny… but for me… saying it out loud and seeing it…gave me some power. ( I didn’t eat the bag… I really had a couple handfuls and put them away… I started thinking of what I was doing)

As I’ve moved along, I have become more aware of eating mindfully. I think for a lot of people, that is a key element missing in their quest to lose weight and get fit.

What does that mean? or look like?

Think about what you’re eating.

Are you hungry? Do you need it ?

If you are (hungry) learn to eat slowly and savor what you are eating. The slower you eat the more satisfied you’ll feel.

Think about your meals… what do you need? Plan tasty and healthy options that you enjoy.

Be aware of how much you eat. The majority of people greatly over estimate portion sizes often eating two-three servings. These extra calories in a day all add up to weight gain.

Think about your snacks. Be mindful of how they support your goals of losing weight and getting healthy.

One example for me is, walking into a gas station. I went in to grab a bottle of water the other day and looking around I thought “there is almost nothing in here I should eat”.

I’ve become “mindful” of my eating habits. It’s a good change to make. I’ve learned to look at foods and mindfully determine if it’s what I need.

I’m mindful when I make food selections and portions.

Gaining control in our lives with food will require intentional thinking and readjusting of habits ( in the beginning) in time though, being mindful of how you eat, why, and what, will all be new healthy habits for you =)