Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Jumping on the bandwagon.. in a 'sane' way

As I mentioned in my first post, I didn't grow up playing sports or exercising as a habit, and my transition to the lifestyle I live now didn't happen overnight. Like anything worth doing, it takes time. This is why clip on hair extensions generally look terrible and baked sweet potatoes taste better than microwaved ones. You can't argue with that logic.. its science.

Real hair- that took me 10+ years to grow… and only 2 minutes to chop off.

So then what? Throw out everything in your refrigerator and replace it only with chicken and broccoli? Head to the gym and try squatting 100 lbs? Uh, no. Lifestyle change is gradual- even if you decide to clean out your whole kitchen today and commit to 30-60 minutes of daily exercise from now on you won't see results overnight, and you will probably burn yourself out- body and mind. If you go from eating out most meals to attempting to prepare every meal yourself overnight chances are you'll frustrated, overwhelmed and picking up the phone for Chinese takeout.

Trust me, even top chefs aren't eating homemade paella for every meal

Let's think about how to start this change out in a way that is sustainable for you and your lifestyle. For me, I slowly started making better food choices. I was in college, and had a range of choice from tacos to pizza to a salad bar- I started asking for a grilled chicken breast instead of a grilled cheese, and then headed to the salad bar to fill up on veggies. Workouts were scheduled on days that made sense- if I had an early class there was no way I would head to the gym in the morning. I committed to two days a week at a bootcamp class I loved.

Here are some ideas to get the change started:

  • Re-evaluate your drinks. A glass of juice can be switched for whole fruit. Try adding honey to your coffee instead of 3 pumps of vanilla flavoring. Try making your own soda with sparkling water and just a touch of juice.
  • Instead of a sandwich, try a salad. Think of it as the insides of a sandwich, but with WAY more vegetables. If you really want some bread, try having a smaller piece on the side with some real butter or olive oil. Better yet, try avocado (nature's butter).
  • Craving something sweet? Try eating a date or a piece of fruit. My favorite after lunch snack is a cold apple straight from the fridge or a persimmon (if they're in season). 
  • Ask a friend to take a workout class with you, or better yet, ask them to take you to their favorite fitness class. You are way less likely to skip it if you know someone is counting on you, and you might find an activity you love!
  • Download a podcast or book on tape and make a deal with yourself- you only get to listen to it if you go for a walk or jog.
  • Instead of brunch/lunch/drinks with a friend, get a coffee or tea and go for a walk (also a great way to save money!)
and hiking.. both more fun with friends!

Remember- not all the things work for all the people. It is totally OK if you really don't enjoy exercising with other people, or if hiking sounds like torture- the point is to give something new a try that can help you get started (or continue) on your path to health. I even caved in and went to not one but two bikram yoga classes (never to return again), and finally opened my eyes to the joy that is a ripe avocado after years of believing I didn't like them. Obviously, there are hundreds of other ways to start to change the way you treat yourself and the way you view your health- these are just a few of my favorites! Check out these websites for some more great ideas:

Mind Body Green
HuffPost Health

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