Fit or Fanatic
[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]D[/mk_dropcaps]o you ever feel like everything in the wellness and nutrition world is conflicting? We have gone from carb loading to carb restriction. From eating primarily protein to vegan. From low fat to high fat. I don’t know about you but thinking about it gives me mental whiplash. This month we are going to dive into what a healthy lifestyle actually looks like. My goal is that by the end of the month you have a better grasp about what a healthy lifestyle looks like for you. That you see the next couple of key steps you can take to move down the path of healthy living. Being fit is not an event, it is a lifelong endeavor. Why not set down the fanaticism and lean on wisdom when it comes to caring for our bodies? After all, we only get one and it impacts every area of our lives. If you do not have your health everything in your world will suffer to some degree. To start, let me tackle the questions I get the most often about healthy eating.
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]How do I fit healthy eating into my already busy life? [/mk_blockquote]
Short answer: Preparation. Daily and/or weekly, whatever you know you can stick to.
I get this question the most often. The key to this is addressing your motivation to make changes. If you do not know why you are making changes you will not stick to the changes when they require more effort and intention than you may expect when you are excited launching out on your journey. The truth is for things to change you have to be willing to change. Change is a process and is not automatic. That is why the short response to this question is preparation. The first part of preparation is to identify and clarify your “why?
Secondly, you must help yourself be removing as many excuses as you can. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. You must be intentional with your food choices and the simplest way to do that is meal planning. This does not have to be making a week’s worth of meals over the course of 8 hours over the weekend. It simply means you know what you plan to eat that week and ensure you have it on hand as needed. That means the food in your house is healthy food. You eliminate temptations everywhere you can. You make sure you have food on hand so you do not end up so hungry you go to the closest drive through.
How do you meal plan? What I do is plan out dinners for the week,(it is ok to include nights out or a cheat meal in the plan). I then make a grocery list of what I’ll need to make those meals that week, plus grab plenty of the foods that I like for lunches and mid am/pm meals. I often make meals for dinner that are easy to have for lunches throughout the week as well.
Ideally I try to set aside your food for the next day the night before (you don’t have to spend 5 hours on a weekend meal prepping if that does not work for you). This does not always happen. But because I am aware of my meal options for the week I can “wing” it much easier if the week gets a bit crazy.
Find what flow and rhythm you can sustain. If you find you are cheating more frequently that is an indicator it is time for a change up. But most of all when you fall short, get back up and get back in the habit of healthy eating. To be prepared obviously requires you set aside time to think about what you’re going to eat. My experience shows that we all know what is healthy to eat: lean protein, fresh fruits and veggies, healthy fats. But how do we practically incorporate those foods into our daily routine?
This is where programs and coaching like what get through Advocare come into play. Most of us just need a minor tweak in how we approach food and we can see big shifts over time and enjoy the road to get there. Learning from those who have a healthy lifestyle and what works from them is the best way to learn how to incorporate healthy eating into your own unique routine.
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]What is the best way for me to change my habits?[/mk_blockquote]
Short answer: Baby steps. Progressive not radical change lasts.
Explanation: The most common and unsuccessful approach is to try to make an abrupt and complete about face in our behaviors. We try to do it all. But then we end up like a computer with WAY too many windows and applications open. What always happens? The computer freezes and crashes. We are much the same and cannot sustain long term radical change.
Small easy to do steps compounding over time will make it so the changes you implement become routinized and habitually. You do not have to put too much conscious thought into healthy behaviors over time. Some will always be required as we go in and out of busy seasons or higher stress. Like our bodies take time to adapt and strengthen to a new workout routine our habits take time to change and become cemented. The best way to change your eating habits is focus on one little thing at a time. Here are some great baby step habits you can start with:
- Drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water daily.
- Eat balanced meals every 2-3 hours.
- Consume 5-8 servings fruit and veggies daily
- At every meal get a minimum of 10g protein and under 30g carbohydrates. (Workout more than 3x/week: Your numbers on protein should be significantly higher, and your carbs can as well but keep to nutrient rich sources. )
Note: These are a general rule of thumb and modifications should be made for your specific needs and goals.
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]How many calories should I eat? [/mk_blockquote]
Short answer: To lose weight- less than you burn. To put on weight- more than you burn. But not all calories are created equal. Make every calorie count by having nutritional value on top of caloric value.
Yes when calories in are less than calories out we drop weight. But that is only part of the story. What those calories consist of matters more than just the final number. What do you think is better for you 1000 calories of a dessert or 1000 calories of lean protein and veggies? No brainer right? Protein and veggies.
Why then are some people are so strict on calorie counting? We want a cut and dry formula that allows us to only focus on one thing and only ever one thing without changing. That is not a healthy balance nor is it realistic. Our bodies are complex machinery and to expect we can reduce them into a calories in calories out approach is silly. I have seen many people miserable because they obsess over calories. With already having to battle with image issues this approach can be even more dangerous. We cannot be so narrow minded we give ourselves no room to be human. That is why disordered eating comes into play. Our culture pumps an impossible standard to uphold that to be healthy becomes more challenging. We may look a certain way but on the inside have a whole host of issues.
Healthy eating is marked by consuming variety and the proper ratio of macronutrients (protein-carbohydrates-fat). Our bodies need all three and in the right balance leave us feeling energized, help to boost our metabolism, help us combat sickness, and makes it easier to drop a few pounds and do it the right way as needed.
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]Nutrition programs or products are so expensive. How do I keep costs down? [/mk_blockquote]
Short answer: Pay now or pay later. You do get what you pay for.
The truth is medical bills are at an all-time high in our country. Having seen the harsh reality of how this can bring stress on an already stressful situation with my father, I am a firm believer in how a healthy lifestyle can be preventative medicine. 9 of the top 10 causes of death are related to unhealthy lifestyle habits. What if we actually took the time to live out a healthy life and cared for our bodies the way they needed?
I am not saying we will never get sick. But a little extra money invested in keeping our bodies healthy today can save us at least 1000’s of dollars in the future. When we invest in quality supplements, Chiropractic care, massage, in a gym membership or a trainer, these are all far less costly than what having surgery or treatment for medical conditions. The cost is not only financial either. When you break down the cost of certain products and programs per day, the investment is just a reallocation of your funds and can often save you money. Think about all the convenience meals you get and meals out you go to? The average American spends $15/day on convenience food.
When you meal plan you cut down that number significantly. You can get a lot better value out of meals you prepare than from a restaurant. The value is not only in the cost but in the nutrient content as well. The price you pay for healthy food is nothing compared to that of a lack of physical health. You chose. Pay a bit more now or A LOT more later and in something you can never fully pay back (getting your health back). And yes believe it or not you can eat healthfully on a budget. If you have questions on this please do not hesitate to comment or send me an email. A little goes a long way and do not let this go any longer. Your family, friends, and those you are called to impact are counting on you to be a around to fulfill your purpose. Spend a little time and money and invest in your health. The return will be more than worth it.