Hello! I hope you guys had a fun weekend, whatever that may have involved. I spent most of mine reading on the roof of my apartment building and walking in the sun (!) to get coffee on High Street.
Moving on to today’s post…I started this blog partly to explore what constitutes a healthy lifestyle and how I might achieve such a thing. From a diet perspective in particular, I’m not finding anything useful in the content I read today – the suggested regimens in most magazines are so unrealistic to me that I sometimes wonder whether they’re meant to be purely aspirational. Or, you know, I just need to find some self-control.
Either way, the day I wake up in time to make an egg white omelette for breakfast, eat exclusively lean protein and vegetables for lunch and dinner, and “indulge” in a single square of dark chocolate for dessert is probably not coming anytime soon. And I’m fine with that. But recently I decided that paying more attention to my habits and which ones help me feel my best (and which ones have the opposite effect) would serve me well. I obviously haven’t figured it all out yet, but here are five things that work for me.
Stop Tracking Steps and Calories
I understand how tracking calories burned from exercise or consumed from food can make a positive difference for some people by increasing their accountability and awareness (and that this is what I just said I wanted to do). But I’ve realized there’s nothing a Fitbit can tell me that I haven’t learned in my time playing competitive sports and that entering every part of every one of my meals into an app, in addition to taking FOREVER, isn’t healthy for me. I worry more about how much I’ve eaten, write days off as total losses for exceeding my goal, and then gather all of the desserts to eat in my bed so as not to have them around anymore. Without these apps, my food choices relate more to my needs for energy and nutrition.
Run at Least Twice a Week
I keep myself accountable with running instead of fitness apps. Not marathon training or anything like that; if I’m pounding out three miles at a good clip, I likely have my diet and exercise routine under control. While I can eat half a Trader Joe’s cheesecake and still bumble through an evening elliptical workout or spin class (I have done this, as Trader Joe makes a great graham cracker crust), I couldn’t go overboard like that and then run on a treadmill. Making choices with an eye toward staying in “running shape” allows me plenty of flexibility while limiting those half-a-cheesecake days.
I’ve tried probably ten times to start a regular meditation practice but usually become “too busy” to maintain it after a few weeks. My only responsibility outside of work is a cat, so I will keep trying. Choosing not to focus on whatever negative thoughts might float through my mind for a few minutes a day has helped me in many ways – I’m reminded that things won’t fall apart because I didn’t spend time worrying about them, and I’m better able to slow down and make smart decisions at work, to name a couple.
Start with a Healthy Breakfast
While this is one is kind of a no-brainer, I literally turn into a psycho piece of garbage within thirty minutes of eating a donut or bowl of sugary cereal for breakfast. I crash, become super irritable, and subsequently make poorer choices at lunch and dinner. Ensuring I make healthy choices in the morning when I’m freshest sets me up for a better day and gives me room for a bowl of ice cream at night (a necessity).
Save Time by Prioritizing Health and Fitness
I’d rather read or blog on the couch than cook, but using some of my downtime on weekends to prepare meals keeps me from the pad thai takeout place down the street during the week, where an order weighs approximately five pounds and basically puts me straight to bed. I also don’t have a couch because my roommates have always had the couch, and now I live alone with just chairs, so. And I tend to accomplish just as much on evenings I go to the gym as evenings I don’t, because even a short cardio session refreshes me and provides a little boost for whatever I may need to finish.
I’ve never formally studied nutrition or exercise, so these ideas may or may not have a place in your healthiest lifestyle. Just sharing my thoughts – feel free to let me know what you think and add your own ideas in the comments!