Fitness Humor – The Magic Pill

There’s definitely some humor in this at first glance, but the quote also suggests that nutrition is vital to our health – what we take in to fuel our bodies matters, and it’s almost amazing that it isn’t one of the first things many doctors look into for chronic illness.  

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I think a lot of folks assume “clean eating” is bland, boring, and flat-out awful…but it ISN’T.  I’ve never heard someone say that they tried eating healthier foods and found themselves to be more lethargic, or that they suddenly were getting sick all the time, or that they gained weight… It has always been the TOTAL opposite – people have more energy, they feel refreshed and stronger physically, they sleep better, get sick less, have more mental clarity…and they often lose some stubborn pounds while they’re at it.

Sautéing your spinach in a cup of olive oil isn’t going to help…but let’s say you added a dash of oil (healthy fats) and some salt and pepper.  You’d be amazed how great that can taste!  Veggies, fruits, lean proteins…they’re absolutely DELICIOUS and they certainly don’t have to be devoid of flavor.  Spices can make a marked difference, and what’s really great is that no sauce = you can actually taste THE FOOD.  

If, however, we just reach for sugar, products with more ingredients that you can’t pronounce than you can, fried foods (the list goes on), it may taste and feel good in the short term…but it will kick your butt later.  You might find that you are dragging a lot, or that your skin has become dull or temperamental.  It may be that you are even feeling more depressed than normal, heading to the doctor more frequently, or that your clothes have started to feel too snug.  The side effects of a poor diet are doing as much damage to your internal organs too – they heart, brain, blood, ALL of you, needs clean sources of fuel to keep it functioning optimally.  Imagine putting the lowest-end fuel in the Ferrari – it’s not going to do what it is capable of, period.

Challenge yourself – even if in small doses, or for a short, manageable time frame – to try more whole foods, and start to lessen the processed ones.  Being creative with cooking isn’t hard these days with all of the apps and recipes you can find online.  There are also tons of recommendations out there about spices to use, or lower-calorie condiments if necessary, to keep your meals tasting as delicious as you deserve them to be.  

Cutting out the junky stuff might be tricky at first – withdrawal is a real phenomenon.  But stick it through and give your body a chance to adjust – you will find that you had the “magic pill” all along.  Caring about what you put in your fuel tank can make ALL the difference.

Nutrition Humor – Refund!

I’d like to appeal to the “powers that be,” whomsoever you are, that this be instated forthwith.  I, for one, am all in favor in spite of the “yeah, you wish it!”s out there.  Listen, magic happens every day. . .

“Yes, thank you.  I’d like a refund on that milkshake?  It just wasn’t as creamy, malted, or chocolate-y as I (an my stomach) anticipated.  Awesome, thanks!  800 calories for something else! 😀 “

Tell Me I Can’t

Dead on.  I’ve found others’ negativity and / or lack of confidence in me as fuel for my fire on more occasions than I can count. . .

Health, titles, belts…so many times I was discouraged, and I did it anyway.

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Let it go in one ear, and out the other.  Do it anyway.  Because you can.

Setting Up The Day

There’s something to be said for having breakfast in the morning.  It doesn’t have to be sitting on your night table and devoured the moment your lids go up…but having a meal in the morning as you get going can set you up for a much better day.

My system is a little quirky – if I wake up early, before my usual (and more natural) time, I have to eat pronto.  Not doing so lands me in a puffy and uncomfortable way – no one can explain it, it just is what it is.  Same thing happens if I wait too long between meals or snacks! Frustrating but…I know it happens, so I’m able to be proactive and head it off!  If I wake up at my usual time, a cup of coffee and a little time before eating works best.  Everyone is different and there is nothing wrong with the way your morning routine is if it works for you!

I don’t vary a ton with my food in general – I could list my staples on one hand.  So breakfast is either eggs and vegetables, or eggs and fruit.  I don’t manage to get bored, remarkably (spices and sometimes even salsa or hot sauce can make a nice change!)

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What I find, though, is that having a decent amount of protein, paired with high fiber and high water content foods sets me up to have more energy for the not just the morning, but the day.  It kicks starts the metabolic burning process, and it often keeps me from devouring everything in sight later (that happens – for sure – when I don’t.)  

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Whatever mix of macronutrients works for you so that you feel your best, have the most energy, and feel satisfied, is what you should do!  That might be toast with peanut butter and some fruit, or a big greek yogurt smoothie… Whatever it is, though, squeeze it in if you can.  Breakfast is hugely important and will give you the support you need internally to start the day right. 

 

Nutrition – The Easy Way To Add Volume

I definitely need to eat “volume” – a small snack will never cut it for me, despite that I am constantly snagging something to munch on.  I need to feel satisfied not only because I don’t want to feel hungry, but because my body doesn’t react well without the appropriate, and fine-tuned, amount of fuel.

The easiest way to add volume – the most obvious, also, but for some reason not as often as looked to as you might expect – is to load up on veggies.  A few sites are good about recommending this simple, incredibly effective “trick” but I feel like people still neglect to use it.  

One of my favorite recipes is an enormous sauté of vegetables and ground chicken – I use my Curtis Stone pans, with which I don’t need to use a stitch of oil.  (Yes, oil IS good for you, so a dash of olive isn’t the end of the world, but I try to be mindful, and not use it all the time if I don’t need to.)

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I sauté diced onions for a few minutes so they brown, then I add in fresh mushrooms (and, often, peppers too – red, yellow, and orange preferably, since they are the sweetest!) I later add diced tomatoes to it to make kind of a “sauce” – one, mind you, that is more vegetables than sauce! In a separate pan, I sauté the chicken, with nothing more than himalayan pink salt and spices.

Separately, I steam – in a BPA free microwaveable container, of course! – diced (or pre-riced!) cauliflower.  If I don’t have pre-diced (sometimes it is hard to find), I steam cauliflower florets – when they are done, and nice and soft, I use a potato masher to make little “diced” or “riced” type pieces.  You can use a food processor to do the same thing – this just takes less time and clean up to use a masher. 🙂 

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I have everything going at the same time, and will reduce the “sauce” to a simmer if necessary.  Once the cauliflower is ready, I mix it – and the “sauce” – into the pan with the chicken. And that’s it!

It makes a HUGE amount a food, and because of the volume of vegetables, each serving is less calories than it would be with just chicken…not to mention, it lasts longer, so you get more meals out of it. 🙂  

The Role Of Consistency In Achieving Your Goals

Consistency can literally make or break you – but it’s important to understand that “consistency” doesn’t necessarily translate to 100% of the time (no, not 110% either.)

Life is complicated – there are days that derailment occurs because of a last minute schedule shift.  It could be, instead, that you come down with a bug. . .one that keeps you down for a lot longer than you’d expected.  Nothing is for certain, no matter how well you plan, so you need to make room – if nothing else, mentally – for the possible blips that may arise.

The principle can be applied to anything – work, home life, fitness goals, an on and on.  For the purpose here, let’s stick with health and fitness – keeping oneself in good shape is important, especially as we get older.  For each of us, the goal is a little different…

It may be simply that we’d like to feel less lethargic throughout the day.  Maybe we have a few pounds of extra “us” that we could honestly do without. It could be based on performance in our sports, for another… Whatever the case is, you must be consistent in your approach.  Successfully reaching goals isn’t only about maintenance, but making it a lifestyle – a comprehensive course of daily actions.

So let’s say that most of the time you eat healthily, and exercise…but you suddenly can’t, for weeks, because you caught a nasty virus – not easy for those who have a need to move around, and for sticking to routine!  (This happened to me just recently, quite unexpectedly, and it was definitely a challenge for my go-go-go personality.)

So what do you do when you simply can’t mange your regular schedule?  Recognize that you:

  1. Are being told to “slow down.” Pay attention!
  2. You can still maintain a level of consistency
  3. Even without your specific routine, you aren’t going to go to hell in a handbasket
  4. Along with #4…it WILL be okay

You need to remind yourself that it takes a lot longer than you probably think to get completely off track.  In the case of not feeling well, rest is necessary – the body has to heal and get back on track before jumping in head first (doing so is a surefire way to stay down for longer.)  I have a hard time with it myself – I want to “DO,” and sitting at home, especially when I haven’t had a chance to move around, can bring my mood down quickly.  But I was actually good about it – I took it slow, and for many days I did absolutely zero.  That was exactly what my body needed.

With nutrition, consistency is HUGE.  But again, remember that deviating from your plan once in a while is not a big deal. AT ALL.  What matters is whether you take it in stride, and get back to the usual…or if you let it pull you into the downward spiral.

When I was sick, I wasn’t quite as hungry as usual…but I still prepared the meals I normally do, because even without the exercise, my body needed the fuel and replenishment.  It isn’t worth abstaining because I think I’ll gain a pound or two.  I might not be processing as much, burning as many calories, or even keeping my muscles as cut as usual…but even two weeks isn’t going to turn me into a lump!

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It’s definitely frustrating when you can’t be “on” like usual – for some of us it isn’t just relegated to the physical, either, it’s as much mental.  But take heart that when you do get back to it, you are going to do great – your motivation and mind WILL return to go-go-go mode, and your body will respond.  

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No matter what life throws at you, or how the routine shifts, you can achieve your goals – it’s a lot like the “be water” concept – allow yourself to be flexible.  Move with tides, and you will find your usual stride soon enough. 

 

Healthy Eater – Even At The Races

This showed up in my FB memories recently and I had quite the laugh – I’ve always been a bit crazy (er…neurotic!) about snack packing when I travel.  When I’m going to a car show, I have to be especially on the case, though.  Unless, of course, I don’t mind a corn dog, fried food, and / or beer (yes I’ve seen it be treated as a food group!) I can only imagine my fiancé saying to himself “yeah, because those are exactly the OPPOSITE of what she’d eat!” Annnnd, he’d be correct!  I’d rather go hungry, which is also a TERRIBLE idea!

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The one I was prepping for above was a drive away (not a flight), and the rooms at the hotel had refrigerators, so I was actually able to take some perishables along.  Typically my choices have to be non-refrigerated items…which isn’t as easy for the protein, but absolutely doable (note the salmon packs! 😉 )

Inevitably, my father will shoot me looks as if to say what I’m eating is positively grotesque.  People walking by, pizza dripping in hand, will sometimes also do a double take, and offer the same look of confusion and / or disgust.  But…my salmon packs and I are just as happy having lunch together as the rest of them are!

I think what made me smile about this in particular is the image is so typical – but then consistency is really the key to maintenance success (for me that means staying around the weight I am, nourishing my muscles, and giving me enough fuel to perform in my sports.)  

Everyone is different but where we are the same is that what we take in MATTERS – the fuel you provide your body with will determine your success as far as your own goals (and your goals are your own.)  Whatever they may be, they are achievable, even when you aren’t home in your own kitchen!

More of my Nutritional Silliness