I’m aim to find the positive in a negative situation. Sometimes it takes me stepping outside of my situation, reflecting, writing, and reading the Word to realize it is possible to find good inside the bad. Well I was really put to the test with a breakup after a little over 2 years together. See my article on that topic here.
Yes, there were several lessons learned and observations made (hindsight is 20-20 – isn’t that always the case), but I want to focus on one particular life changing aspect of the relationship that I will carry with me forever: the importance of eating better and working out.
Because I’m slim, I don’t broadcast information about my body since others tend to think “skinny people” don’t have a complex about their weight. But we’re all hung up on something physically about ourselves that we want to work on. During the winter of 2011, I was an unhappy 150+ pounds. (In high school and college my high metabolism kept me around 115-120lbs but it begin to slow down when I settled into my career in 2005). I know the actual number doesn’t mean much but the fact my size 6 pants were tight didn’t sit well with me. Not to mention the discomfort felt after teaching all day in pants that were pinching my belly! Plus I couldn’t fit ANY of the size 4 pants in my closet!! Though I tried, it was half-hearted, so I was having trouble working off the pounds even with my during-the-school-year-workout-schedule (which tends to be less rigorous since I have to focus more on work).
Currently, I fluctuate throughout the 140-pound-land and my 4s and 6s in the closet all fit just fine! Yay! This leads me to my lifestyle routine.
152lbs wasn’t a bad look from behind, but my stomach wasn’t pleasantly pleasing to my eyes.
You can’t work off a bad diet. Say it with me: You can’t work off a bad diet!! Please write that on a sticky note and read it everyday you get low about your weight. If you’re not eating at least semi-healthy foods each day then you can’t expect to see results. Point blank. When in a relationship, the ex cooked for us on a more regular basis than I cook as a single woman. The meals were often on the healthy side and he didn’t fry foods. We also didn’t do fast food often. Qdoba and Noodles & Co were frequented though. So when you’re on the go, consider the fast food restaurants in which you choose to dine. It might be worth it to spend a few bucks more to get healthier and fresher ingredients.
A dish I recently made with half a box of pasta…besides a sprinkle of basil, these were the only ingredients I used.
I am anti-diets unless the mission is clear: short-term/temporary weight loss. I haven’t come across anyone who said they went on a diet, completely removed this and that from their diet, lost the weight, then went back to eating the foods they love again, all while keeping the weight off. If that’s you, I commend you because the logic makes absolutely zero sense to me.
Eating healthier than in the past allows me to stay in the cute summer outfits I love so much!
That being said, I don’t tell myself, “you can’t eat the foods you like,” but I do limit the not-so-healthy foods. This summer alone, I’ve only eaten fried foods a handful of times and I limited my sugar intake. I have a thing for very biiiig bowls of the colorful, kiddie cereals and Girl Scout cookies (I have some in the freezer right now). So it’s not easy to limit those things I love. I’ve even limited my intake of tall Iced Cinnamon Dolce Lattes and lemon pound cake from my favorite people-watching establishment, Starbucks!
People have a problem with what I’m about to say, though I’m not sure why because my lifestyle doesn’t affect them…however, I do not cook much because it’s not required of me. Being single without kids on top of a busy schedule means my kitchen tends to be a resting place for mail and purses I’ve switched between throughout the week. But the few times I did cook this summer, I did my best to cook healthy meals that I could eat for a few days; mainly pastas with few ingredients, but plenty of taste. I’d even substitute regular pasta noodles for whole grain (I can mask the taste with seasonings). Click here for an example of a pasta dish I like to make.
During the school year (I’m a teacher), I eat the best lunch a school cafeteria can make. No, really. Usually school lunches are the worst with frozen or packaged meals, pizza and fries on a regular basis, and few fruits and veggie choices. But my current school has a garden and the food is cooked fresh day by day. I’m able to get my vegetable and fruit serving, order healthy sandwiches (a simple turkey or ham sandwich that I can spruce up at the salad bar), and even the dessert tends to be a healthier one like yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit mixed in. I know many aren’t as lucky when it comes to the lunch they choose, but if you have to bring one or leave the workplace to grab one, make it a good one! You want to have energy to make it through the rest of the day!
Back to this summer…in the mornings, if I did just HAVE to have a bowl of cereal, I’d opt for a small bowl instead of one like Craig <– Friday, remember? I also only drink 1 or 2% milk, though I grew up drinking whole milk. Other mornings, I’d have a granola bar or a banana and orange juice or water. Then after my morning workout, I’d snack on fruit or another bar of some type.
Small adjustments like switching your pasta or milk preferences will make a difference in the end and it doesn’t completely stop you from enjoying the things you like. You’ll grow accustomed to it…well, at least I did and I’ve been known to be a picky eater.
I love to eat out. Don’t judge me. If you can afford it and think cooking is the opposite of therapeutic (like me), it’s not such a bad idea. When I eat out, I’m conscious of the foods I order; avoiding mainly the fried foods and seeking at least one green vegetable if possible. I also drink a lot of water when I eat out versus sugary soda or juice. I even ordered a turkey burger for the first time this summer that was to die for while visiting a friend up north. This summer was full of travel for me. While on vacation, I ate as healthy as possible while not sacrificing the taste factor. If you don’t believe me, scroll through my pictures… I didn’t gain weight while on my “US tour” visiting friends and family in Atlanta, Jackson (MS), NYC, and Minneapolis (pictured in that order). If anything, my body continued to get toned because I continued my lifestyle routine! And you can see, I made sure to snap a pic of the food or at restaurants in each city…so eating is a big deal!
Lest I forget, whether at home or eating out, rarely will I eat until I’m full. I consume half of my meal, saving the other half for the next day. This also helps me make sense of drinking my calories in the form of an alcoholic beverage or two (or three if it’s a good night – I work hard and deserve to play hard too).
If eating in moderation is a struggle, try eating slower. Have you Googled the benefits of “eating slowly”?? Well here’s two articles I found that break down the importance:
Scarfing down your food quickly, then rushing toward a second plate doesn’t allow your body to begin the digestion process of the first serving; plus it doubles your caloric intake unnecessarily.
More food for thought (from Hey Fran Hey’s Facebook page):
“How many meals do you eat in a day? I used to eat once a day because I felt it kept me slim! So awful! I think most people assume the less you eat the less you will gain, but you’re actually doing the opposite. The less you eat the slower your metabolism, which results in weight gain. Print this chart as a reminder of a great eating schedule. And read this breakdown by Livestrong on the best way to eat, stay super healthy and even lose weight in the process: http://www.livestrong.com/article/455054-is-eating-small-meals-better-for-weight-loss”.
My desire is to work toward something similar to this!
Feel free to share with me your lifestyle routine! Let’s keep one another motivated and encouraged to be healthier!