Lift weights 3 days a week. Perform cardio on 5 days of the week. Make sure you get to yoga at least twice a week to stay limber. Try out that new pole dancing fitness class. Oh, and that boot camp class too. Starting to feel like you need 12 days in a week? You’re not alone.
March is National Nutrition Month, and this year the theme promoted is “Go Further with Food”. This week’s Wellness Wednesday tip focuses on how you can feel better and do more by considering the foods you fuel your body with.
- Food Timing- When you eat can affect how you feel both physically and mentally. Some people cringe at the thought of food in the morning, while others feel shaky if they don’t start the day with something to eat. Some can go to bed and sleep soundly after a large dinner, while others will toss and turn all night if they eat too closely to bed time. Think about your own tendencies and how meal timing affects you. If you’re a breakfast person, plan and make a habit of eating a balanced breakfast each morning before you leave for the day. Don’t risk feeling sluggish or rely on the vending machine choices to power a sharp mind and strong body.
- Consider Your Health Goals- Wanting to lower your blood sugars? Then selecting foods with protein and fiber will help regulate your blood sugars and help you ultimately feel better. Interested in gaining more muscle? Then make sure you include a source of protein and carbs before and after your workouts. Whatever your goals are, do some research or seek the guidance of a nutritionist to help you find the foods that will best help you achieve your goals.
- Think Food Before Vitamins/Supplements- Nutrition supplements are intended to serve as back-up for food, not a replacement. The truth is that most people don’t even need these expensive products if they are conscientious about what they eat. As an example, if you’re looking for more protein in your diet, consider eggs or skinless chicken; both are a great source of protein and contain many more nutrients than you’ll find a tub of protein powder.
Back to Cleveland and back to reality this week after returning from vacation. This goes for my workouts too; no more slipping out of bed at 9am for a late morning fitness class. I’m back to balancing a demanding work schedule with my health and fitness goals.
So here’s the lowdown on what I did to move my body and steady my mind this week-
I recently lost an important business contract based upon on the way I look, or more accurately stated, the way I looked.
Imagine you’re in your car, driving along on a bright and sunny day. Things are going well, until all of a sudden when you hear a loud “bang”, soon followed by “thump, thump, thump”.
You’re able to pull over and get out of the car to take a look. Just as you expected, you’re dealing with a flat tire.
So what do you do? Your car is temporarily out of commission. Your day has taken a hit. Perhaps you’re a bit shaken up too. That appointment you were right on time for, is now out of the question.
You’re feeling frustrated, hopeless, and disappointed. Your plans for the day are “ruined”. You let your emotions get the best of you and quickly decide to take out your pocket knife and slash the remaining 3 tires.
Huh? Does that make sense? One tire is down, why would you destroy the rest?
So often I use this analogy with clients when talking about diet. It usually has to do with the same type of scenario….”I’ve already messed up, so **ck it, I’m going to blow the rest of the day/week/month…off”. A classic example of “all-or-nothing” thinking. “I overate at breakfast, I’ve blown it, I might as well just eat what I want and start back fresh tomorrow”.
This kind of thinking is all too common and I’m quite familiar with it myself. I used to approach my diet with such ‘black and white’ mentlity and every so often I still find myself contemplating the urge to finish off the box of oatmeal cookies just because I’ve enjoyed one too many. Yet today I’m much less inclined to slash the tires or say “**ck it”. When I’m in a situation where my diet is less than optimal or I’ve strayed off plan, my motto is “Do the next best thing”. What’s been the difference? Learning more about nutrition and metabolism, cutting myself some slack, a greater sense of self-acceptance, and ultimately realizing that it is consistency over time, not one day/week/month of off-plan meals that has the biggest impact on my progress. Changing my perception of the “perfect diet” has allowed me to adjust my mindset, and ultimately my success.
This week I asked myself to “do the next best thing” on multiple occasions. Today is an example for #WhatIAteWednesdsay.
Meal 1: Power Coffee (Coffee, whey protein, coconut oil, almond milk)
Meal 2: Egg & egg white omelette, sautéed bell peppers
Meal 3: Out of chicken, so another omelette with roasted asparagus while at work
Meal 3.5: One of mom’s homemade butter tarts & coffee. (Not planned, but really craving)
Meal 4: Greek yogurt & almonds
Meal 5: 5-grain oat cereal, whey protein & SF syrup
Meal 5.5: Brussel sprouts & almond butter (strange, mindless snacking, again off plan)
Meal 6: 2 Carb Master yogurts with 1/2 oz walnuts (not shown)
I had a couple extra ‘treats’ today that I had not planned into my macros. I could have used either situation as a reason to go off the deep end, but rather I did the next best thing, which in both cases was to get right back on track. I didn’t restrict for the remainder of the day either, I chose to continue fueling my body right. I took good care of the remaining three tires and decided I’d better learn how to fix a flat!
A week ago I was walking the sandy beaches of Waikoloa Village, on the island of Hawaii. Today I walked the snow-covered streets of Detroit, Michigan. Last Sunday, 85 degrees, today, a bitter 21 degrees. To say that it was difficulty to come back was an understatement! If I had my way, I’d be back on my on pool lounger, drink in hand, in a split second.
My trip to Hawaii was amazing. So many fun-filled activities, beautiful scenery, and one-in-a-lifetime experiences. I was so lucky to have my husband by my side throughout. While I could go on and on about the adventures we had there, I will defer those tales for another post. Rather than reflect on my memories of Hawaii, I’ve decided to touch upon the reflections I experienced while there.
This blog is intended to share my experiences and knowledge surrounding health, fitness and nutrition. However, part of the reason I started this blog was to create personal transparency. For most of my life I have been a very personal, a ‘keep to myself’ type of individual. Friends and family will be the first to tell you that I do not readily share my thoughts and feelings. This blog is one act towards opening my book, to divulging the skeletons in my closet, to learning more about myself, being honest, and perhaps even sharing a few words that resonate with others.
I spent a lot of time reflecting while in Hawaii. I shared in a prior posting that I have been dealing with what I assume to be an intercostal muscle strain. In addition to causing me daily pain, my workouts have been greatly affected by this injury. The effect of not being able to workout at my usual intensity, the disappointment of having to deviate from my fitness competition training, and the uncertainty of whether or not I’ll be able to compete in the spring has been trying on my mental state. While in Hawaii, feelings of self-doubt, failure, body insecurity and self-esteem issues reemerged.
These are feelings I thought I had put to rest a while ago. ‘A Whole New Fit’ encompasses my new approach to treating my body much differently than I have in the past. I workout because I like feeling and looking strong, not to punish myself for eating too many calories or to lose the extra fat on my stomach. I fuel my body with plenty of healthy foods and occasional treats. I don’t starve myself or attempt to survive on rice cakes and celery sticks. I eat foods of all types, sources and nutritional composition. I lead an active lifestyle that includes exercise, but does not revolve around my next workout. My reaction to this injury, to having to modify my workouts and to taking time to rest while also indulging in daily desserts, bowls of pineapple and papaya, and mai tais proved that those feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and self-doubt have never truly gone away.
I believe that Hawaii was a good place for these feeling to remerge. Helicopter rides through the mountains, whale watching cruises, snorkeling excursions, and luaus and were great distractions from negative thoughts. Feeling down is slightly more of a challenge when you’re surrounded by such brilliance. Spending the week in a bikini or sundress forced me to reacquaint myself with my own body. Walking past the fitness facility each morning without opening the door and the anxiety this caused me allowed me to realize the effect my training has on my peace of mind.
While in Hawaii, I thought my negative thoughts would eventually consume me; that I would begin to dread the vacation of a lifetime. What actually happened was interesting. I began to learn that I hold even the smallest amount of control on how I feel, and more importantly, and the largest amount of control on how I react. Feelings that used to consume me may still arise. The difference now, as I’m learning, is that I have power to let them go.
Strive to be happy this week. I am 🙂
I’ve thought about starting a blog for a while now. About a year to be exact. “Next weekend”, “If only I could find the time”, and “Who would read it anyways?” were some of the many excuses I used to trick myself believing I was too busy, too inexperienced, too unsure to actually start writing.
Well, here I am. Writing my first blog post. First of 2014. First ever.
What will I write about? A Whole New Fit describes my new approach to fitness, nutrition, health and wellness. I’ve been an avid health- seeker for at least the past 17 years. In my journey to finding optimal health I’ve tried healthy eating, anorexia nervosa, vegetarianism, points counting, calorie counting,fat counting, bulimia nervosa, no exercise, excessive exercise, veganism, binge eating disorder, shakes, smoothies, juices, cleanses, herbs, supplements, high-protein, low carb, all carb, powders and other ‘magic potions’. Some approaches were healthier than others, ie switching from veganism to a higher animal protein diet which brought my hemoglobin from 8.0 to 14.5 (trust me, a good thing for those not familiar with hemoglobin), to becoming more sedentary (aka cutting back from 5-6 hours of exercise per day to about 1-2), and cutting out a lot of the sugar and refined carbs in my diet to one that is now on the verge of paleolithic. Good bye rollercoaster energy rides! Some of my approaches were just plain dangerous and did cause harm. If only you could see my arm waving “good-bye” to the three stooges- anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder.
What I will be discussing in this blog is my shift to a new, sustainable means of achieving the optimal me. While the saying may be overused, this has truly been a lifestyle change. Over the past couple years, I have learned A TON about fitness, nutrition and health. In part from my formal education in becoming a Registered Dietitian, but also from my personal interest in sports nutrition as a competitive turned recreational athlete, and recently from meeting my now husband, a seasoned bodybuilder who just happens to be a physician as well. I’ve experienced many great learning opportunities which have changed my approach to wholesome health for not only myself but my clients, family and friends. Beginning today, I’m happy to start sharing my journey on the pages of this blog.