SO many times in my past around this time of year I would say,
"Okay when January 1st gets here I'm starting the _____ diet and going to lose weight and get healthy!"
But these days I realize it could have been much more simple. All of those years of deprivation until I gave in and binged until I couldn't button my pants...whew! It was like I had no grasp on BALANCE and how it could be. I would find a "diet" that felt right for me at the time, would get 110% motivated and I'd be off to a great start...but wait, what about dinner with friends on Friday night at that birthday party on Saturday that'll surely have delicious cake and ice cream? I could control myself, I was stronger than the cake! I AM STRONGER THAN CAKE. I'd repeat over and over...but wait chips and dips...I AM STRONGER THAN THE CHIPS AND DIPS. Over and over...
I'd do great right? Avoid the foods and head home eating my scheduled (tasteless) meal and I was on a roll. I had overcome the temptation. Once. A few weeks would pass, I was losing weight and focused. But wait, I'm a teenager and I shouldn't be worried about all of this, I should be enjoying my life with friends. I'd head out to dinner and BOOM! I'd blow it not even knowing why. I'd get comfortable, find my favorite items on the menu which were usually the highest in fat or deep fried :( and instead of indulging only a little, I'd eat the entire plate along with bread or chips and a dessert. WHAT?! But why? Surely one person doesn't require that much food in one sitting? I wasn't starving and on the verge of death before that meal, was I? Ughhhh. But wait after feeling guilty could I justify eating that huge meal? Of course. I was young and it wasn't fair for me to go without while all of my friends and family were enjoying these same meals, right? Of course :(
My head would hit the pillow at night and I'd tell myself, "It's okay tomorrow will be different, I'll start over and succeed."
Only tomorrow kept repeating itself over, over and OVER AGAIN...
Today my life is much different and it works. Sure I have tough days where I want to settle back into my old ways BUT I've worked entirely too hard to give up and revert back to my unhealthy way of life and what example would I be setting for my children? They NEED to know what healthy living is and why it is so important. It doesn't matter our age, gender, lifestyle or struggles...BEING HEALTHY IS IMPORTANT FOR ALL OF US. We want a good quality of life, don't we? Not to be bound to our homes and unable to enjoy playing with our children. We want to have the stamina to travel, go on vacations and play a game of soccer with our kids don't we? YES. When I was an unhealthy child, I could barely keep up with my friends which only made me lose focus even more. I would lose self-esteem and feel worthless so I'd repeat the patterns that brought me to that place over and over again and I felt like I had no way out. EVER and for a child or teen that life can be tough.
BALANCING our lives from day to day can be challenging and the same goes with our diet and exercise.
It's challenging, we're busy, life gets in the way and we must learn to roll with the punches.
I focus on BALANCE every day. It's not about PERFECTION but more about finding what works for you and your family.
I plan most days before they happen, especially when it comes to food. If I don't plan ahead, I realize that I'm much more willing to let temptation get the best of me.
If I plan it out, even if only in my head...I take on the day with a positive and healthy attitude.
If I'm attending a party, dinner with family or friends or having to eat on the go then I PREPARE.
I make sure I pack healthy snacks in the car and I look up the menu before I arrive at the restaurant. If it's a birthday party or at someones home, I know what they are serving so that I may plan accordingly. If I know it's something I wouldn't particularly eat, I eat at home before we arrive or I pack foods that I want to eat instead. YES this can be annoying but somehow instead of being frustrated these days with it, I find it satisfying that I'm choosing to put my health first. I know how hard I've worked throughout the week and don't want to blow it on curly fries, ya know what I mean?
If I attend a function and decide to give in a little more when it comes to my eats, I realize that tomorrow will be better, it's a not-so-perfect meal and it does NOT mean that I've blown all my hard work and I have to start over...NEVER. It's BALANCE. Good days, bad days, good eats, bad eats, good workouts and poor workouts...BALANCE!
For me personally, I had to get to a place where I appreciated the process and the journey. Instead of finding myself frustrated with having to plan ahead and constantly think about my foods and workouts, I take it as a privilege that I know how to take care of my body.
I no longer "blow my diet" or "start over on Monday".
I work toward my goals always, practicing and working to find BALANCE and you can too!
Some options that work for me throughout my day,
1/4 c frozen berries and handful of almonds. How simple and satisfying. For some reason I prefer my berries frozen but either way it doesn't matter.
1 slice sprouted bread topped with one slice low sodium turkey bacon and ground turkey with scrambled eggs. This was all prepared ahead of time in my fridge so I heat and eat! BOOM!
And yes this is a meal for me-small yet BALANCED with a small clementine orange this day, but any serving of fruit would be great!
Below is fresh string beans with a little garlic powder, onion and TJ's coconut oil spray. Slice chicken sausage (apple chardonnay flavored from Trader Joes) and some lowfat mozzarella cheese.
This is the NAAN bread-
Go To workouts!
It may not be ideal but it works. If it's raining and you can't get out for a walk or run, your favorite group fitness class is cancelled or you have a kid home sick from school...nothing better than a workout video!
You can't go wrong with Jillian Michaels-effective and affordable!
I also recommend Bob Harper's Ultimate Cardio-BURNS CRAZY CALORIES!
(Both can be purchased at WalMart and Target stores)
and I know we must be doing something right when I pop in my workout videos and my boys RUN upstairs, put on their workout clothes and join in! We kept seeing who could perform them perfectly, see how many we could do in the amount of time given and so on. If you make it fun, they'll wanna join in more often! While you're working out, explain why Mom and Dad do this...we are taking care of our heart, staying healthy, staying strong, etc! With my boys I quiz them on healthy fruits and vegetables, protein, dairy and grains! THEY LOVE IT!
Ya know even with my background and struggles, degree, experience teaching health and physical education to children and my work in cardiac rehab I STILL cannot guarantee that my children will appreciate a love for healthy living as I do. BUT I do know that they have learned BALANCE from an early age and will continue to learn about it for years to come. They respect and know that treats are exactly what they are called "treats" and that exercise and eating healthy are the way things SHOULD be for everyone. I strive to find balance for them as well. We cannot take all unhealthy things away from them and we do not have to expose them to all unhealthy things just because. We don't eat chips straight from the bag but I will pack "junk food" on occasion in one-serving portions in their lunch. They will not know to sit with a bag of chips in front of the TV as I did as a kid. They will know that grabbing 3-4 portions of mashed potatoes is not OKAY and that deep fried foods are not BALANCED but that doesn't mean they will never have them.
BALANCE for all of us this year and while I'll work at it for the rest of my life, my hope is that I'm able to share my struggles with it to somehow help others find it in their lives as well!
BALANCE IN 2014!
What are your goals for the upcoming year?