I’m eternally grateful to have parents who set amazing examples on how to lead a healthy, balanced, and active lifestyle. And I’m extremely lucky to reside in a state that so openly embraces exercise, the outdoors, and any health trend whatsoever! See below for my blog posts (ordered from most recent) on everything living healthy.
MY 2015 COOKING RESOLUTIONS – HOW DID I DO?
At the beginning of 2015, I shared a list of 12 things I wanted to accomplish in the kitchen this year in no particular order. I had a ton of fun experimenting in the kitchen, and some of these “resolutions” have become part of my daily menus.
I am a part of the awesome “Bloggers Gonna Blog” community – you should follow us on Instagram or check out our hashtag #BGBcommunity if you don’t already! We are a group of healthy living bloggers and we all have SO much in common.
A few weeks ago, I took “Intro to Fermentation” at a local San Francisco cooking school, and – not to be dramatic – it blew my mind. I’ve been a huge fan of probiotic rich foods for a long time, since I discovered their benefits of a healthy gut against my rheumatoid arthritis.I had so much fun sharing part one of my story with you all last week, so here’s part 2! That first post talked about my reasonings for seeing a nutritionist and what I was looking to get out of it.
A couple of years ago, I started out my job in consulting and was traveling every week for work to New Orleans of all places, and I put on some weight.
WHY I WENT TO SEE A NUTRITIONIST – PART 2
I had so much fun sharing part one of my story with you all last week, so here’s part 2! That first post talked about my reasonings for seeing a nutritionist and what I was looking to get out of it. This second post will discuss the tweaks that I’ve made to my diet and lifestyle and what impact that has had on my well-being.
While the changes are certainly not a major overhaul to my diet and daily life, they have made a world of difference for me. You can see the minor changes just from looking at previous WIAW posts from earlier this year and this week’s! Makes me happy just to see how much better I’m taking care of myself.
After my first session with my nutritionist and fitness consultant, there were just a few things that became super clear:
- I was often waiting wayyy too long to eat anything after waking up
- I often would go for too long in between lunch and dinner without any snack, which would affect my energy levels as well as going from super hungry to super full really quickly
- Some days I ate too much and other days I didn’t eat enough. Probably screwed with my metabolism a bunch
- I wasn’t honoring “rest days” and I was likely over-exercising my joints
- I struggled with guilt whenever I enjoyed a “cheat” meal or an indulgence
- I am wayyy too hard on myself when it comes to indulging. And I am also quite carb-phobic
So what did we decide to do?
- If there is a gap between when I work out and when I have breakfast (i.e. I workout in the AM, or I have to commute to the airport) I should eat something small. Like a small handful of trail mix or nuts and a banana
- They encouraged me to have smaller plant-based lunches, since those proteins are excellent for inflammation in joints. That’s why you’ve seen so many recipes like this and this on the blog
- In accordance with the above, I could save space for a larger snack around 3 or 4pm which always had to have protein and fiber. Yay for apples and PB EVERY DAY!
- Aim for veggies with every meal!
- Eat 2 cups of fruit every day. (This has been the most enjoyable to incorporate into my diet! I didn’t realize how carb-phobic I was even of fruit before)
- A plate should always be half veggies, quarter protein, and a quarter starch. But if I don’t want the starch, I don’t have to have it!
- I got a thumbs up for staying dairy free and gluten free due to the joints
- Enjoy 2 indulgent meals a week
- Allow for planned exceptions (i.e. when you KNOW you want to go out and eat pizza with your friends) and unplanned exceptions (when you chow down on some chips and guac at a happy hour). Be OK with both and know that they are both a part of life
- Go from exercising six days a week to taking THREE rest days a week. They can be active rest days with lots of walking, but do not have scheduled exercise on those days
What have I noticed?
- My digestion has improved
- My energy in the afternoon is better
- Inflammation in my joints has been pretty much gone, with the exception of my right wrist
- Taking rest days is super hard. I got a FitBit so I could make sure to hit 10K steps on those days!
- I LOVE having plant-based lighter lunches and a heftier fiber/protein snack in the afternoon. So much yum to look forward to throughout the day when normally I really was never into lunch and just waited it out until dinner
- If I’m not going to have breakfast right away, having that small snack right away in the AM helps with my focus and energy right away and just permeates throughout the day
- Not feeling guilt/shame about indulging is something that we’re still working on
- I am very much a person that likes to have an eating “routine” and when that routine gets shaken up I often indulge and then don’t feel so great about it all
- I don’t hit dinner with a ravenous hunger. There’s also no need to “save my appetite” for dinner – if my stomach is grumbling around 5pm, have a small snack
- Having the “healthy plate” in mind of half veggies, quarter protein, quarter starch is a super easy and applicable way to eat out, eat at friend’s houses, eat at celebrations. I feel so much more confident going into situations where I’m not in charge of the food – I have the strategies that I apply to my daily routine to these meals
- Drinking (even small amounts of wine) is directly correlated with indulging. Well that should have been no surprise!
I am still seeing the nutritionist and fitness consultant, because while I feel like there’s still so much to learn about my body and get ideas/recommendations from them. I’m really enjoying the whole process and journey. If you really care about your health and nutrition (who doesn’t) it’s amazing to review your diet and lifestyle with some professionals.
THOUGHTS ON EXERCISE AND LISTENING TO MY BODY
A couple of years ago, I started out my job in consulting and was traveling every week for work to New Orleans of all places, and I put on some weight. It was a really frustrating time, because I was working out like crazy and I couldn’t understand why I was gaining weight while eating “healthy”. I’ve since learned that a) weight loss is 80% nutrition and 20% activity and b) exercise does not “negate” calories. There was a point where I was training for a half marathon and working out twice a day, and I would feel guilty if I missed my “second” workout. I felt very much controlled (in my own head) by my eating habits and workout schedule, and it was kind of exhausting to spend so much mental space thinking about those things!
I really took a turning point maybe two years ago, when I started to learn more about nutrition and overall wellness and just simply observing that all that exercise was not making me stronger or healthier – physically or mentally. My workouts subsided to once a day, 5-6 days a week, and I incorporated a lot of different kinds of workouts. I would spin one day, run another day, do some strength training another day, HIIT another day, and then if I did yoga, I would often do a long walk afterwards. It all sounds really great, but I wasn’t enjoying like half of the workouts. I was just trying to cover all of my fitness bases – which is great – but when you spend 8 hours a day at a desk and you have an hour of time a day to zone in and focus on getting your heart rate up – you should really be doing the exercises that you enjoy! But for some reason I couldn’t pull it out of my head that I “needed” to always be changing it up. I wouldn’t let myself do the same exercise the next day, even if I really wanted to lace up my running shoes and go for another jog.
Earlier this year, I found myself spending a lot more time at my yoga mat. And sometimes, I found myself taking hot yoga three days in a row. And sometimes I found myself going on runs for several days in a row to explore my new city of San Francisco. And sometimes I just wanted to SPIN so I would go spinning. It was honestly liberating! I have never felt so in shape and strong in my life. Just like listening to what your body craves for food, it’s the same for exercise, it seems to me. When something hurts or your stomach grumbles – you listen to your body – no question. We should all do the same when it comes to exercise. There is no reason to turn exercise into a “chore” or a “checklist” but something to enjoy and look forward to. It’s taken me a while to get there, but treating exercise as giving my body what it wants has been therapeutic and almost like treating it to a dessert. I know that sounds crazy, but for so long I deprived myself of the workouts that I wanted on any given day to stick to a schedule, that mentally I was on a “diet”!
Anyways, the point of this story is that we receive so much info on what exercise we should be doing – mix of lifting, cardio, stretching, endurance, intervals, body weight strength – that sometimes it can feel like you’re not “meeting expectations” if you don’t hit all of those. I encourage you to spend a week doing EXACTLY the workouts that you want to do that week, and see how you feel. Who knows – maybe we’ll run into each other at Spinning three days in a row? Or maybe we’ll just call up our moms for long walks at night? Or maybe we’ll consider puttering around the DCC kitchen for an afternoon a “workout”?
I’d love for you to tell me how you feel about this subject – what works for you and your body? What is your fitness “style”?