There are not many things in life that we get to do all for ourselves. There is one thing I do each day for me. It is my zen at the end of the day. It is my moment to breathe and process what happened each day. It is just for me. It is my daily run. Multiple times in the past few months I have had individuals ask me why I work out. Do I do it for myself? To lose weight? For Chris?
I run all for me. I work out to take care of me, to stay healthy and fit. I do it because it is the one hour of my day that is entirely for me. I can make the choice to just listen to music, or to read (yes I read while I run on the treadmill), or to zone out and meditate. It is my time. At the end of the day it does not matter how much I weigh, or the tone of my body, it matters how I feel about myself. Am I confident about who I am and how I treat others? Yes. That is what matters, not the curves or the sag of what the years have done to my body.
I am a health nut. My parents passed on when they were in their 50’s. I never once remember seeing my parents workout. Of course, my dad being a contractor had plenty of physical activity, but I never saw them consciously focus on what they ate, or specifically thinking about physical fitness. I want to be different. I want to be active. I want to think about what I put into my body. Is it good fuel, or crappy sugar that does nothing to give me energy throughout my day?
What do you do all for you? I hope there is something.
I have to start my day off right. It always begins with a green smoothie, water, and tea or coffee all before lunch. Those three things make all the difference in my day. For lunch I usually have a raw salad, and sometimes the additional protein on top. In the afternoon, if I am good I will have a clementine or some cashews. All of this is with the intent of consuming only raw foods before dinner. Why does this matter to me?
Over the past few years I have read so many books on health, eating, and fitness. What I have learned and what I have in turn become passionate about is making sure the food I ingest is full of nutrients and vitamins. Imagine if you put fake gas in your car? Would it take you very far? No. It might sputter along for a while only to shut down later, sometimes with damage done to the car. I believe we need to put the right fuel into our bodies on a daily basis. What is the right fuel? To me it is fruits and vegetables, nutrients that are grown by the sun. What is not great fuel? Pop tarts, and other foods that are filled full of preservatives and other crap. Basically any foods that require your body to use more energy to break down the food into usable fuel. Fruits and vegetables require less energy for your body to break the food down and use as fuel.
Green smoothie is an excellent example of fuel for your body. Yes, you probably think that I am a broken record on this topic, but it is true. The blender (my Vita-Mix of course, but any blender will do just fine) will break down the veggies and fruit, so that when your body consumes the nutrients it does not have to work so hard to process and use as fuel. If you were going to eat and chew all the fruits and vegetables in the smoothie, it would a) take too long to eat it all, but b) also take a long time for your body to break down the food and turn it into nutrients. The result: less energy wasted by your body = more energy = happier me!
Do I veer off course? Of course! If you have been reading my blog for a while, you’ll see that I love me some chocolate chip vanilla pudding cookies, homemade english muffins, and pretzel rolls, to name just a few. It is always great to pamper yourself with yummy foods, as long as they are in moderation. Usually my rule of thumb is how many fruits and vegetables did I consume that day? Did I stick to my normal raw before 5 pm? Did I have a work lunch were I veered off course? Did I go out to dinner? If so, I might not indulge in breads or sweets. Did I work out today? Did I gorge on something excessive? Did I give my body fuel today? It is a challenge of balance.
I am a food bore. Yes, I said it. I eat mostly the same thing every day. You have probably heard me mention that a few times. I think my colleagues might think I am strange. I have the same salad every day. The same (well one of two different smoothies) each morning. It works for me. The only place I have any variety is dinner.
Someone mentioned to me the other day about the drama of food indecision. It was an A-HA moment for me. That is why I have a boring food regimen. I would rather have a scheduled food day then be indecisive. There are so many other things I do not have control over during the day, that not having to think about what food I am going to have for breakfast or lunch makes things easier. Do you ever struggle with that? Often, when I did not plan out my breakfast and lunch, it meant I just ate a lot of crap in between. I would be so busy I would forget to eat lunch and then later eat most of a bag of chips.
Recently Chris and I did a detox, where we took out all the junk we had become so used to eating from the holidays. The mochas, chips, desserts, larger sized meals, etc. We decided to wait until after the Super Bowl, because who wants to watch the Super Bowl, and know you are not allowed to eat anything in the commercials (even if you never would want it in the first place). It is the fourth time we have done this specific detox, and each time it is easier and easier to do. It reminds me of how often we put so much power into the food we eat. When we remove all the crap from our diet and eat more fruits and vegetables, we begin to not want all the junk. Each time I have done this detox, I have ended it craving fruits and vegetables, and yes there is usually some junk food I still want too. Yes, I confess, that junk for me would be chips.
Are you a food bore, or do you bring sass and flair to your meals each day?
I recently became affiliated with the EmpowHER Blogger Network. EmpowHER is a Social Health Community for Women. I highly recommend taking a moment to explore their website. You will find many women bloggers writing about women’s issues, health and wellness, exercise, eating, weight, etc. While there are lots of pages of things I might not be as interested about (on diseases, or not so happy topics) I am sure that many folks find the resources on the website helpful to them. I wanted to share their website for those of you that might be interested, as I follow their exercise and eating healthy topics.
Exercise and healthy eating is NOW important to me, but it has not always been. I grew up in Indiana, where I might have mentioned in a past blog post that corn should have been listed as the state vegetable. There is a small amusement park/area in Indiana called: Indiana Beach. They have a tagline of: “There is more than corn in Indiana.” I am not sure I believe them! Well, truth be told, I grew up hating my vegetables. It took at least until I was twenty-five years old and married before I would start to enjoy eating any vegetable (thank you, hubby for making them so yummy). I started to enjoy vegetables because of how he prepared them, and also because living in Oregon there are a vast variety of vegetables that grow local and are fresh and easily accessible to obtain, especially with our many farmers markets.
Lots of things have happened in my life since my vegetable breakthrough, I will not go into those now, but I will tell you that what has resulted from all those things is an excitement for eating healthy and for consistent exercise. Friends that knew me from a younger age are still shocked at my transformation with food. I now willingly ask for vegetables at restaurants, crave them, and know that they are benefiting my health. Changing my diet has changed my mood, my energy level, and driven me to be motivated to stay in shape and be healthy. As I have changed my diet, I have also gotten into running. I try to run at least 6 days a week, it has been a great stress release from the day. The other idea on my list to try is boxing, this article about women boxing workouts on the EmpowHER site has inspired me to see where I can start boxing in my area. Here is another good article from their website on 5 Ways to Exercise Everyday.