A little rambling/ food for thought today. Lately, the topic of healthy eating has been everywhere. Blogs, TV, news websites…everywhere. There has been increased discussion on social media as well (tweets, instagramming healthy food, etc.) and among my friends. It’s funny to think back to my middle and high school years, when I equated “healthy eating” to consuming a couple of servings of veggies a day (on a good day) and having some fruit after dinner and before my nightly cookies + milk.
Simply put, I will never stop eating “junk food.” My two favorite foods are cake and pizza. Close behind are fries, burgers, chicken tenders, cookies, pasta, bacon, pie…really, I love most unhealthy things I can get my hands on. A few years ago, my doctor informed me that my cholesterol was a little high for my current age. Nothing to be alarmed about, just a bit high. As I discussed my diet, she gently suggested I try to stop eating so many fried, fatty foods. I vowed to exercise more and do my best to cut out “the bad [i.e. good] stuff.” Don’t get me wrong, I do love fruits and vegetables. I’m just not willing to sacrifice the other things (mentioned above) that I enjoy eating regularly.
Given that I was in high school and playing sports, was pretty active. I did a varied mix of cross country, dance, yoga, soccer, and lacrosse over the four years. Still, my doctor wanted me to replace the “bad” things I was eating with more fruits, vegetables, and protein. That’s where I resisted. In college, it was easy for me to keep up with a regular gym schedule because I liked having class in the morning and going to the gym in the afternoon (I miss this. Can I go back to college?) It’s been harder since graduating, because it’s not easy to convince yourself to hit the gym for an hour when you’ve been at work all day. Or the opposite–because you realize you’ve been sitting at a desk all day and desperately need some physical activity. I’m stuck in the middle. It’s been hard to gym regularly with so much going on after work. I’ve made it a habit to do something each day, whether it’s stretching (I have, hands down, one of the worst, tightest backs you’ll ever meet), doing some push ups, jumping jacks, or even gymming for just 15 minutes. Being completely inactive each day is really, really hard and makes you feel really, really crappy.
Long story short, I think I’ve matured on the food front since high school. In the past year alone, I’ve been better about not eating after I’m full (this was seriously one of my biggest downfalls) and consuming more fruits and vegetables. When I got to college, I realized something. I didn’t want to replace the “bad stuff” with the “good stuff.” I wanted to supplement. Eat the good in addition to the bad. Along these lines, smoothies have been a blessing. It’s hard to wait for your favorite fruits to get back into season (hi, berries). Frozen fruit in smoothies is an easy fix, plus the greens you can add make every serving a nutritious and delicious snack. I consume way more water daily than I did three years ago and know that in general, I eat “cleaner.” Brazil nuts and almonds are part of my daily diet. And I don’t drink coffee, but I love tea. Little things like that are what count for something, right? I will never give up sweets, but saying no to thirds when I’m already brimming with fullness is finally something I’ve learned to do.
Meg had this great post Monday about fitness, and I can relate to most of what she’s saying (minus the hand-eye coordination, since I have zero). Taking fun gym classes is on my agenda this year. When some $ is saved up, perhaps I will eventually invest in a juicer. It is doubtful you will ever find me doing a juice cleanse (seriously, people, how do you survive?!), but I’m eager to continue incorporating healthier elements into my daily routine. Is anyone in a similar position? If you have any suggestions/tips or things that have/haven’t worked for you, I’d love to hear!