Thursday, January 16, 2014

Living healthy? Ain't nobody got time for that!

'Tis the season for New year’s resolutions, and while we’re all still motivated to keep them up, I thought I’d talk about the most popular resolution, getting healthy.

So I was talking with one of the ladies I work with the other day, because she’s trying to loose weight. I always like to talk about stuff like this, not only because I find it interesting, but because I know what these people are going through. Not too long ago, I was pretty fat, until my church started a program called C3Fit, where the whole church would come together and try to live healthier. (Your body is a temple, etc. You get the idea.) Doing that through my church kick-started my interest in health, and to date I have lost 45 pounds, solely with exercise and eating healthier foods/portions.

I want to say something right off the bat. I am not a vegetarian or a vegan, and I don’t eat super healthy organic everything all the time. I had Taco Bell last week. So I just want to let you know that you can live a healthier lifestyle and not deprive yourself, or be that friend who is always complaining about how they can’t have what their younger friends are having because they’re a victim of a slowing metabolism, or whatever. I have had to give a up a few things, but I found in the long run that I didn’t even miss them or want them.

I guess I’ll start with the foods I gave up, but it’s a small list, so don’t panic. I stopped drinking soda and eating candy. I still will have those things now and again though. I’ll have a glass of soda maybe when I’m eating out…and you gotta have soda when you’re eating pizza! They just go together! But I was drinking three or four cans a day, and that’s a lot of fructose, which is what causes belly fat. When I gave up soda, I actually did it because I read somewhere that drinking it was bad for your skin, and I had really bad skin at the time. So I decided I wasn’t going to drink it anymore, and I gave it up cold turkey, fully expecting to go nuts craving it within three days. But you know what? I never had any cravings for that soda! Now I feel like I can enjoy the soda more now, because I’ve made it a treat.

The candy was something I started eliminating from my diet when my parents made me do this fasting thing(Which was horrible.) As I was going through this fast, my youth group had a pizza party that I didn’t know about until I got there(Doesn’t that just suck when you’re on a fast?!) And, knowing I couldn’t have any of it, I was eyeing the pizza, and soda, and all the things like that, but I realized I wasn’t even interested in the bowls of candy, and it got me thinking…I wonder if I could give this up? I know it’s not good for me. I think I’ll try it! And just like with the soda, I found I didn’t even miss it after about a week. I know the vice for a lot of people is the candy, but let’s face it. Chocolate is better anyway!

Those were the only things I really “gave up”. With everything else, however, I just cut WAY back on my portions. I think this is the only way I was able to loose weight at all, and it’s also one of the healthiest, because you’re changing your lifestyle, but it’s not a diet. Like my mom says, “You can’t go off your diet if you were never on one!” Eventually, though, I did start incorporating some healthier alternatives into my diet.

First, and probably most important, I started drinking smoothies for breakfast every morning. People drink smoothies at any time of the day. I chose breakfast for a couple reasons:

1-It’s the most important meal of the day!!!

2-I wasn’t eating breakfast. I would always just wait for lunch. Mostly because I liked to sleep in and wouldn’t be hungry for breakfast, but also because all that heavy breakfast food would fill me up, and then I wouldn’t feel hungry for lunch, so then I would eat WAY too much for dinner. And that is really bad for you.

Anywho, so I have smoothies for breakfast. I bought myself a nutribullet and started experimenting with different fruits and veggies. FYI, I love my nutribullet. It is SOOOO much better than a blender, I can’t even tell you. Seriously. When I started, I didn’t like many veggies, so I would add as much fruit as possible and leave the veggies as almost an afterthought. As time went by, and my body got used to eating healthier foods, however, I started adjusting my fruit-to-veggie ratio, and now I’m almost entirely veggies, with the fruits acting as flavor. I made a video showing how to make my favorite smoothie that you can check out now:

When I was fat, I thought the only way to loose weight was to starve yourself, and I was pretty sure I would never be able to do it. But I started doing my research, and I discovered snacking. Best. Discovery. Ever. To supplement my smaller meal portions, I started eating little snacks throughout the day. Little things, like a Clementine, or a handful of carrots or apples, or, my newest discovery, dates. While having a small snack a couple times a day has been proven to be a healthier way of eating, I had to be careful what I was snacking on. It’s really easy to go for chips, etc. That’s a snack food. I had to do a lot of reading, but I did eventually find several things I could snack on that wouldn’t blow my whole day.

Do you ever watch those healthy cooking shows where they make holiday favorites like mashed potatoes, but they use cauliflower instead of spuds, and you just sit there like “No.” Because we all know it’s not really mashed potatoes! DUH! One of those foods I didn’t believe in was Spaghetti squash. It’s supposed to replace pasta, hence the name. But I saw it on an episode of Doctor Oz, and I trust what he says more than those pinterest recipes, so I thought I’d give it a try. If I don’t like it, I don’t have to do it again! But here’s the thing. Spaghetti squash is freaking amazing! Like, something that isn’t pasta shouldn’t taste that good. My personal favorite way to eat it is by making mac and cheese, with the spaghetti squash as the “mac”, and then I just make my own cheese sauce. From this experience I learned to try new things! Sometimes I failed epically, but I found a lot of new foods that I really liked!

Along with eating healthier, I very recently started counting my calories, purely because I was curious about how many calories I was eating. I found an app called My Fitness Pal that not only counts my calories, but keeps track of my water intake and how many calories I burn with exercise!

Which brings me to exercise. Anybody who’s put any kind of thought into weight loss knows you can’t get fit if you don’t exercise…which was a hard concept for me. I am probably the laziest person in the history of the world…no, I take that back. My sister took the trophy when she started texting her kids(in the same room) to go get her something(also in the same room). But I’m up there in lazy!

I don’t really have any advise about exercise, except to just grit your teeth and do it anyway. And make it fun. I knew I wasn’t going to do it if I wasn’t enjoying myself. I tried pretty much everything, but I found out I liked Zumba WAY more than I liked Pilates. But my mom prefers Pilates, so you just have to try it all and see what you like best. I was also able to find exercises that I could do in front of the TV, meaning you never loose sight of the screen, and I knew that would work really well for me because I watch a lot of TV. Just do your research. Pinterest has been a huge source for me, for sure!

As I began to get more into a routine with my workouts and was able to do more, I started looking for harder workouts. This past summer, I got into running, and I really love it. Cardio is REALLY important to weight loss. You can build all the muscle you want, but cardio is what will melt the fat so you can see that muscle. I used the C25kfree app, which was a life saver. My first time running was with my neighbor, who’s idea of a beginner’s workout was four miles. Yeah no. But I randomly found this app, which starts you out slow, and with only one mile. It’s a 9-week program, and I think the first week was to walk five minues, run one minute, walk five, run one, etc. for 30 minutes, and then slowly build from there. At the end of the program, you should be able to run a 5k without any walking. If whatever day I was on was still really hard, I would just keep doing it until it wasn’t hard anymore, which is why I’m still using that program. But you can listen to your own music and it tells you when to walk and run, and when you have a minute left. It’s really great! If you’re thinking about taking up running, I recommend the C25kfree app!

I know that running isn’t for everyone, and I didn’t want to run every day, so I found MANY youtube videos and pinterest pins with non-running workouts that I would do on my non-running days. Eventually, I happened upon another app, called the Wherever Workout. And that’s just what it is. It’s an app full of 20 minute workouts designed for small spaces with almost no equipment. All you need is a chair, and the kind of space a hotel room might provide. It also has stretches for if you’re taking long car or plane rides. This app was kind of like discovering gold, to be honest! And all these apps are totally free! SCORE!

I know that, when you’re first starting out, any kind of drastic change is daunting, and you’re like, “I can’t do that! I would be wanting to give up like every day!” And I did. Still do. When I literally roll out of bed in the morning, I have to have a debate with myself because I really want to sleep longer, but I also don’t want pancake butt, so I have to decide what I want more. Bleh. In order to let my healthy side win that argument, I had to give myself a day off. I chose Sunday because it’s the day of rest, and because I was already using that day to do absolutely nothing at all, but everybody has their own “off” day. I told myself I was going to be good all week; get up early, exercise, eat right, etc. every day; and then Sunday I wouldn’t exercise, I would take naps, and, if I wanted to, I would have that s’more, gosh darn it!

I think if you’re not going to go crazy doing this, you have to give yourself an “off” day, where you don’t have to think about what you’re doing and eating…at least for a day.

And that brings me to my last tip. Do this every day (except your “off” day). One bad meal doesn’t make you fat, just like one good meal doesn’t make you skinny. It took me two years to get to where I am today…because I had to make this a lifestyle, not a diet. I had to get in the habit of doing all of these things every. day.

If you’ve been thinking about how to live healthier, I hope you found this helpful! Living healthy is better with a friend, so make this a community, comment and tell me your story, or any advise you may have for me! I’m always learning and changing, and eager to hear more! Let’s make this year the year you actually go through with your new year’s resolution!

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