The Philosophy of Being Healthy, according to me…

I spend so much time thinking about being healthy and eating well. Literally. All the time.

I’ve come a long way in how I approach food. When I first did WW so many years ago and then did 21 Day Fix last year I literally planned out every bite I would take, what exercise I would do and approached weight loss as a General planning an attack. Even if I did not feel like eating what food I had planned I still had it because that was what “fit” for that day. I analyzed each food for calories, fat, fiber and nutrition. I was so regimented in my eating that I forgot to enjoy food and being social (!) and was pretty miserable.

I have to say I really have come to dislike (okay, hate) the words Rules, Off limits, Diet, and No. To my mind they represent restriction and hardship. Food and eating better should not have to be fraught with all these issues. Food is food, some of it better nutritionally than others but it’s just food. We need food to survive.

Exercise was often engaged in as a “payment” for eating; if I eat this then I have to walk/run/bike etc to balance it. I exercised to the point of being exhausted and sore for days. I have so many videos and all kinds of equipment that I could have a personal gym. We need to move in order to keep our bodies moving well but it doesn’t have to be hard every time.

So, my Philosophies on being healthy.

I’ve come to believe in being Practical and Simple.

No “Rules”. No guilt. No crazy planning.

These are my Guidelines:

* I try to live by the 80/20 principle: if you choose more’nutritionally dense food’ (further said as healthy/healthier)  in both type and portion you can splurge or choose something less healthy the other 20% of the time. Life is about balancing the two.

The same can be said for being active. I used to run, a lot. But it became less fun and injuries occurred and I just kinda stopped doing it. I love to walk (and hike) and I have a really fast pace naturally. I love walking with other people; conversations and sharing ideas happen so easily when you fall into the rhythm of moving. Most of the people I  walk with just are not as fast paced as I am.Just saying, but I am okay with that because I also reap other benefits of relaxation, breathing deeply and just enjoy moving. Could I focus on it not being a ‘high intensity’ workout? Sure, but why? I could force myself to do a HIIT workout and be so sore that I am unable to do it again for several days or I can just enjoy moving. I’ve come to realize that there are so many options to being active that to force myself to endure something I dislike just to burn a few more calories is absurd.

*No guilt about my choices. I could drive myself crazy thinking about every bite of something I ate that might not be the best for me or guilt myself for not exercising for 2 days but it serves no purpose. For most instances I find that guilt backfires: it leads to more of the same and suddenly you just give up and go back to old habits. Instead use it as a learning tool to see where you might change the circumstance (if you can). Most of our “bad habits” are just that–a learned reaction to a stimuli. Stressful situations often lead to just grabbing what is handy instead of a better choice (nutritionally). It happens. Maybe something that can avoid it is to keep a snack (granola bar or similar) in your bag. Super busy? Sneak in moving by taking the stairs, parking farther away or anything that makes you move like walking while you are on the phone.

*Being Prepared is half the Battle! While I no longer plan every bite I do try to food prep every week so I have healthy/ier options available. I cut up veggies, make brown rice and often precook chicken for salads. I make sure I have yogurt available.  Having these  things available helps to avoid choosing the other options that don’t keep me healthier. Helps, but everyone slips up especially when busy or tired.

*Make time to reflect and see the Big Picture. So often we get so caught up in living and working that we forget to have a life. We dream about what we would do ‘if we just had the time and money’ but rarely do anything to get there. I’m learning to simplify and have been getting rid of material possessions that I don’t need to that just add clutter. I feel calmer giving things to people who can benefit from them. I am being much more selective about what I purchase. My husband and I discovered kayaking this summer and started doing a lot of research. For what we want in terms of function and size it will run about $2000 for 2 kayaks, gear, travel stuff and little things. We could have put them on a credit card but we decided to save until next year and decide if it is truly something that will bring us joy and an opportunity to be together (or alone) in Nature or if it is just  a spur of the moment interest. So what does this have to do with being healthy? A tranquil mind often has a trickle down effect into eating well and being active because we are not trying to find a substitute for being happy in either food or drink.

These are my big guidelines. Am I a perfect example of a healthy person? No. Am I making progress? Yes, definitely. One day at a time.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and feelings.

Kindest regards,

Janice

 

 

 

 

Ephiphany

Sometimes one unplanned workout makes the best leaping off point.

I realized yesterday that I was doing the interval runs because I felt that was the next logical step in fitness…but then I realized why it was not working: I don’t have a goal to run a 5K, half or other races. Why was I putting myself into such a funk about running (and not really wanting to) when there are so many other options?

I felt I really needed to do something–anything= to keep myself from becoming inactive…so the treadmill. Ironically, I really enjoyed the “mountain walk” program on the treadmill yesterday because it so resembled my hikes. I LOVE being outside and being in the woods! Granted I am not a hard core hiker but it really is my favorite form of exercise.

So, the point? With so many options for being active, choosing what I love to do makes so much more sense than making myself do what I don’t enjoy and in all likelihood will not continue with.  I’m going to plan on the hiking prep and railtrail walking. If I happen to break into a run (just because it feels right) now and then, so much the better.

Kicking the “old me” down the stairs….

I met the old me in the kitchen today–she was busy cleaning and doing laundry and whatever she could to avoid -err, delay–actually exercising. “I’ll exercise in the afternoon” was the rationale. To tell you the truth, she really annoyed me!! So I kicked her down the stairs to the basement…where the treadmill is. The really weird thing–she liked it down there. I cranked the music up since no one was home to object–heavy on percussion and she just zoned out and it was over before she realized!

Alright, so seriously–despite my good intentions it was just a bit of a mental challenge this morning but I was really glad I was strong enough mentally to see it through and do the right thing–the Smart Choice! I chose a Podrunner called “Restless” at 139 bpm which for me works out to be a 4.0 mph pace. Brief warm up with intro at 3.5 mph/ 2% incline and then got right onto the 4.0 pace, with and without incline. I set the time for 40 minutes but I really did zone out to the beat and movement and honestly lost blocks of time since I was so “in sync” with my body today.

I followed with the abwork, changing it up just a bit. I have to admit it–they were tough today! I felt every crunch-especially #10-25!

So the stats:

Podrunner “Restless” 139 bpm

Treadmill time :40 minutes

Pace 3.5 (warmup ) then 4.0 mph

Incline 0-2%, alternating

Distance 2.653 miles

Caloric burn: 307 (per treadmill)

Ab/core work:

Crunches with ball–1 set 25 reps

Reverse curl with ball–1 set 25 rep

“rope climb”-1 set 25 reps

Standing side bends with weight (10# dumbells)-1 set 25 reps each side

I have to say I can’t wait until Saturday!! I may just walk again in the morning I feel so motivated–going to blow the 100 minutes out of the park!

I won’t be home on Saturday so I am packing my gear including my Forerunner305 which is now fully charged and my ipod nano (the old kind!) so I can stay on top of stats….looking forward to beach walking and around the gorgeous riverfront properties…

See you tomorrow for updates and motivation! ~Janice

 

Smart Choice Method: Guideline #4–Eat Food you like!

The  way to stay motivated about eating right is to eat the things you enjoy!

I mean it–really! who in their right minds would stay on a food plan (aka diet) that restricts you from the things you like and makes you eat strange food and sometimes weird food combinations that you don’t enjoy? I know I would not last long at all.  I think that may be the main reason that I don’t identify my eating plan with any one “diet”–I think they all have good points but are too restrictive for most people.  One thing to remember: this is MY understanding and perception of how nutrition works.  I’ve been looking at “nutrition” for a long time and have seen fads come and go, most of which make no sense in hindsight.

Our bodies are meant to be balanced with carbohydrates, proteins and fats along with fluids.  When we eliminate anyone one group or focus on any one ‘nutrient’ or ingredient it throws things out of balance. We needs carbohydrates for immediate energy, its the easiest source our bodies have. Yes, our bodies store the excess unused energy in our muscles and as fat but its a little harder to get easy access to. Protein is a great source of repair for our muscles but doesn’t really offer a quick way to get energized and sometimes slows down other bodily functions because it takes longer to break down and digest. Fat is great for neurological function, healthy hair and nails but also has its negative effects when the harmful fats are out of balance.  When we balance these out in the right proportions our bodies can do more than we ask of it!

#healthy snacks#smartchoiceshealthyliving.comBut I digress, the point is that if I told you that in order to lose weight you can only eat vegetables–and no forms of protein- for the next two weeks you just might be able to do it. Maybe. But are you learning how to properly supply nutrition to your body? I think if I were to say, ok–you can also have some protein( peanut/ nut butters, eggs, cheese, hummus) that you would be able to last a bit longer.  But are you happy with these limitations? Not for a long term way of eating, not for good! By being so drastic with something that should be giving us both nourishment and pleasure we’ve already created an major road block.

Guideline #4: Eating should be fun and enjoyable.

There are so many healthy and good tasting foods –and ways to make them so they are enhanced– that you should never have to be bored with eating! You can take the most mundane foods–say broccoli, carrots and cauliflower and add a little olive oil and spices and roast them in the oven–they are totally changed in character and taste than when they went in the oven!

#roasted vegetables

Vegetables roasted in the oven with a little olive oil and spices–delicious!

There is truly no reason to eat something you dislike! There are multiple options when you eat healthy. There are some foods that no matter what you do to them I still have no interest in them. That is ok though–find something else that gives you similar nutrition and you are back to being balanced. My daughter has become a vegetarian and has no interest in animal protein–I am fine with that so long as she eats food that will give her the things she needs to maintain her health; she eats nut butters, eggs, yogurt and occasionally tofu.  She does not like dairy milk so she has almond milk instead.

Eating Healthy

One of the nice things with her becoming a vegetarian is that I have also learned alot more about “alternate” nutrition sources and we’ve found many recipes that we can share or alter to fit our needs. Cooking does not require a fancy degree or education, just a willingness to try something new and be open to options. I can tell you not all of our recipes have been winners–some because of personal taste preferences and some just because they are not something we are willing to make again but by being open to things I’ve found a whole new world of food choices. Grains are a huge untapped source of nutrition most of us never even think of: quinoa, wheat berries, lentils, and barley just to name a few.

So the point: find things you do like to eat and make them a part of your plan. Don’t eat the things you don’t like but  find alternates to replace them. Easy as that.  Eat real food, not food products. Learn what food tastes like in its most natural state and you’ll understand better how to improve on it. Eat what you need to keep your body functioning, not eat to excess.

Have you been eating food you enjoy or just food to survive? Do you abide by ‘the rules of your diet’ or do you “cheat” because they are restrictive? Are you eating for Life and making Smart Choices?

 

Image Disclaimer: the food images are my own but the first and last image were obtained on Google Images, my thanks to their creators!

Smart Choices, Healthy Living….will return tomorrow

Pardon for the delay this week in posting. Hurricane Sandy put a slight dent in my plans. No we did not lose power or have dramatic damage done to our home. Mine is more of a personal nature–I had a minor surgical procedure planned for Monday which got cancelled by the hospital for safety reasons. I did have the procedure but on Thursday so I am just a bit behind in posting.

Guideline #4 and some reflections about being a woman tomorrow. Thanks for your patience!!~Janice

So many choices, so little time!

Isn’t that always an issue ? We have so many choices that we fail to make one….which is my dilemma today. Over the course of the summer I acquired all these exercise videos so I have a bunch to choose from to prevent boredom. The problem? I don’t know which to do first!

Help me choose!!

Exercise videos–which to choose?

SportsArt C53r Recumbent Bike

I have to say I am very fortunate to have gotten this recumbent bike a few years ago. If you are considering a stationary bike this one is solid and very functional. SportsArt makes a good product!! This one is totally powered by you but I believe you can buy an adapter to keep the monitor lit if you need to pause during a ride. Part of why we purchased this one is because it is not powered by electric, so it is very quiet to use and you can use it anytime, regardless of if someone is sleeping.

One of the really nice things about it? It can hold 4 “identities” so each of us can recall our settings without the full start up process and we can also switch programs “mid-stride” if we decide to change paths.  The seat position and back are easily adjusted and the heart rate feature is just a hand grip away.

No, this is not a ‘paid advertisement’ just my appreciation for a great product. ~Janice

Yes, I CAN eat that…but is it worth “the price”?

Its really amazing what can happen when you think about things differently! Living a Healthy Lifestyle is not about restrictions but about balance. You can eat anything but it all has a price.

Granted there are some foods that are better for you than others. The thing I’m learning though is its all a matter of balance. Sometimes it IS worth the Price to have that piece of cake or candy instead of the ‘healthy’ stuff. Sometimes it is what allows you to stay on track the other 80% of the time. Deprivation is not required for healthy living.

So what is “the Price” I speak of? Something that recently occurred to me is that all our actions–eating choices, activity choices and our ‘mental game’ all give us credits or debits in our Healthy Living bank accounts. I’m sure you’ve heard that to lose 1 pound of weight you need to eliminate 3500 calories either by cutting back on food eaten or through increasing exercise/ activity. To maintain your weight you need to balance calories in with calories out. Simple enough. SO–that Price is determined by what you have in your account–do you have ‘extra’ credits to have that piece of cake? Can you balance your account if you have it? Exercise should not really be used to counter a bad balance but to help create a positive one. To build the credits needed to splurge on the high calorie (high cost) items you can be more active on a regular basis, thus adding to your account for special times, or choose to really eat well to account for the high spending. Either way, to maintain or lose you need to keep your account balanced. Healthy Living does not have “charge accounts” to offer.

Sometimes the best way to keep your Healthy Living bank account in the ‘black’ is to plan ahead. If you know you have a special event or social activity where you may be tempted to splurge you can eat “cheap” for several days ahead or bump up the activity you do normally to create a surplus in your accounts. One great way to do this–prep your food, especially fruits and vegetables, so it is ready to grab when you may otherwise choose something quicker and easier. Lately I have been cutting up and storing carrots, red and green peppers and celery to grab with single serving containers of humus. While my hubby munches on chips or other snacks I am able to get my veges just as quickly and suffer no “overdraft” fees for choosing to go the easy (but more expensive) route. And you know what? I don’t feel deprived because I like veges and humus. If its not your thing, find something that works. My daughter opts for Greek yogurt, nuts or fruit.

Choosing to live healthy is making the most of what you enjoy, not what you think you ‘should’ have–its about versatility and balance and just having fun being healthy.

Best wishes for Smart Choices, Healthy Living! ~Jancie

Disclaimer: Images are from Google Images–my thanks to their creators!

You’re ready when you are ready….

Its funny about wanting to be healthy–you can wish for it all you want but until you are really ready to make the changes-and stick with them-it just won’t happen. 

I had this epiphany last night–I was laying in bed reading  a book I had bought a while ago…Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food. My regular doctor had decided to leave the practice and I was being given a new associate.  She was very enthusiastic and actually discouraged medications in favor of food, exercise and vitamins. Wonderful you think…but I was not ready for it or in the correct frame of mind to appreciate it.  I did buy the 2 books she recommended but only read about 30 pages each before sticking them on my shelf.

Fast forward to now–I am very much into reading more information about the process of how food is being produced, how others are controlling what we get to eat and actually growing some of it myself.  I am much more pro-active with my healthy habits in terms of eating, being active and doing what I need to do to be optimally healthy. Although I am not a vegetarian I am inching closer to that idea based on what I’ve read and how I feel.  I try to eat a “cleaner diet” whenever I can; by this I mean less processed ‘food’ and more real and fresh food. I am much more active but not always the kind you think of for a gym. I am human though and the dedication and commitment vary based on sleep and outside commitments. I am still learning how to make it the priority in my life.

One of the biggest things I have to accept and keep in mind is that not everyone is ready to think this way or can even see the benefit of “all the extra work” of being healthy. There are times I have to remind myself that we each must decide when (or if) they are ready to make this journey.

My own home is a great example–my oldest daughter became a vegetarian in December 2011; she almost goes to the extreme in healthy eating by weighing and measuring everything and only eating things she deems to fit her idea of being healthy. I had tried to discuss things with her but she was not ready to talk with me about ‘possibly’ being too thin. At her college physical my doctor made sure she (and I) knew she needed to gain 8 pounds to be a healthy weight for her height. She and I had a very candid conversation after that and she is slowly increasing her calorie intake to gain about a half pound a week. Something she can live with.

My younger daughter has not made a 100% transition to eating healthy but is getting there. She will only eat chicken and turkey (in terms of “meat”) but does make an effort to get in some fruit and vegetables and tries to keep portions moderate. She now goes to a gym and is working on building strength and learning to pace herself at running (she is more of a sprinter). She still drinks soda but now it is more socially than every day.

My hubby, well–he is a snacker; he often eats in front of the TV (from the bag and not a bowl). He often misses meals or eats a granola bar at his desk. Aside from OJ he does not normally does not get any veges (and no fruit) except for what I serve at dinner. He will make an effort to exercise at least several times a week but his job often interferes with a normal schedule. He understands the rationales of eating and being healthy but I’m not sure at what level of healthy eating he will achieve. If he could abstain from working and had someone preparing all his meals…I think he would be fine (enter real life).

So the point to my tale? When you are ready you will know it; it will sound normal and reasonable instead of something impossible to achieve. In the mean time, try making small adjustments to your eating and activity habits…sometimes all you need is a little motivation to steer you toward the Healthier Path.

Best wishes for making Smart Choices ~Janice