Everyone has a mental picture of their ideal body or a number [whether size or weight] they want to achieve. Some get there by running miles & miles each day. Others say “no” to the sweets and the pounds melt away. I am unfortunately neither of those people. When I attempt to run long distances, I think to myself “why are you running? Slow down to a walk, you’ll get there in relatively the same amount of time, and be sweating less”. [Hey – I was a soccer player. I CAN run, but I prefer there to be a crystal clear reason for it]. I also love sweets. My brother can turn down chocolate, cake, and ice cream with such ease; I was not given that willpower in my genes. But what I do have on my side is the want/need/desire to be healthy. So I follow a couple rules ..
1) Never deprive yourself of something you want. The more I tell myself I can’t have a particular thing, the more I want it. It’s like telling a kid “Don’t push that RED button” it increases their interest ..and they do it. I may be 24, but I am far from a mature, grown-up (if that’s a real thing). Which is why I don’t even attempt diets – no carbs, no sweets, no solid food ..SERIOUSLY?
one of my favorite indulgences – Crumbs Cupcakes ..perfect to share :)
2) Make GOOD choices at the grocery store. Whole grain, whole wheat, low fat, blah blah blah ..you know the drill. My goals when I get to the grocery store – stock up on fresh produce, whole grain, frozen veggies AND avoid “put in the microwave & voilà you have a meal” food. Which is hard for me. I look back to college & see ..Lean Cuisine Meals. But I find motivation in the strangest things ..in this instance the HIGH sodium in pre-packaged, frozen foods. Too much sodium means my eyes will somewhat resemble a puffer fish in the morning, which is not good for my visibility OR for the people that have to look at me. (Told you – strange motivational tool).
Too much sodium? I think yes!
3) Be active! (By far the hardest rule for me to follow). Until the age of 20, I was involved in a handful of sports; basically I had no choice but to be “active”.
BVU soccer – & the two coaches that made sure I worked out.
Then I left, transferred schools, ended my short stint as a college athlete ..and along with it my daily workouts. There is a point to all of this ..
My last semester at the University of Iowa, I took an ‘Activity & Health’ class; purely because I heard it was an “easy A”. Well lucky for me, I learned a thing or two. The big portion of our class grade was a project that we had to wear a pedometer every day for 4 weeks. The first week we went about our ‘normal’ life, making no changes to our daily routine. Then the following three weeks were supposed to make goals & improve our step count. Let’s just say I hated it. My VERY first day my step count was 3,082. After hearing the steps an “ACTIVE” person takes in a day (8-10k), I wanted to cry. Granted my job at the time was working at a casino standing in one place for 8 hours and I lived off-campus so I drove to every single class, but still.
There’s a difference between thinking you’ve been a “little lazy” lately, and having cold-hard, in-your-face facts that you’re living the life of a ‘sedentary‘ adult. Ouch! I was quite surprised the amount of benefits walking has ..”you mean I don’t have to run around a track 30 times to see results?” Perfect for me! The point ..
Sometimes you just need a metaphorical ‘slap in the face’. Something that screams “HEY, you’ve been slacking in the ‘healthy human being’ department”. For me, I can talk my way around the number that appears on the scale. (“Muscle weighs more than fat”. “You just ate dinner”. “You’ve drank so much water lately, it must be water weight”. See!). But it’s hard to get around the number of steps you take in a day compared to what you should. So, I am taking what I learned in college and applying it to my ‘real life’ [my professors would be so happy]. I have committed to wearing a pedometer for the next four weeks. This week is purely to record the steps I take without changing my routine. The following three weeks are the ‘make goals & never sit down’ part. I am excited. It’s a great way to measure my activity. It’s also a great reminder during the day to get up and walk over to tell your coworker something instead of email. Every step counts!
I don’t believe in diets. I love my carbs, I don’t hide from my sweet tooth, and I indulge on alcoholic beverages [in my book, they’re sometimes well worth the calories. plus red wine is good for your heart]. Don’t deprive yourself …that’s when anger & moodiness set in. [Ask Jeff. He can always tell when I’m hungry. Hello cranky!]. Life is about making choices, preferably smart ones. When it comes to food and working out ..it’s no different ..make smart choices.
Move those feet, eat your veggies, don’t overdo it, have fun, drink red wine [or beer, or a margarita], eat a cookie when you begin dreaming about it, and at the end of the day look in the mirror .. & love what you see.