I feel a small public service announcement is in order before we proceed any further. I’m sure we are all in agreement when I say…taking care of ourselves is A LOT of work! Seriously, it’s no joke! Trying to eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, have our kids eat right, exercise, get enough sleep…..it ain’t easy! But as they say, nothing worthwhile is easy. (UGH..Why IS that??) As we all know, how we choose to live and eat is an investment in our future. We want to remain healthy, active and injury free. We want to feel vibrant and energetic. Sometimes though, we tend to get overwhelmed with all that seems to be involved.
Does this sound familiar to anyone? You tell yourself you want to eat better. You’ve eaten healthy all day and slip up a bit at dinner. You immediately want to throw in the towel on your new venture proclaiming “I blew it!” Or, you have an off day at the gym and without really meaning to, start comparing yourself to everyone else. Instead of being happy with a good workout, you berate yourself with thoughts of “OMG I am literally regressing!” Or sometimes just the simple thought of preparing a healthy dinner can bring a tear to your eye ’cause you’re just not feelin’ it! Been there…
Here’s the deal… Striving to be healthy is NOT an all or nothing gig. It’s about balance and going easy on ourselves when called for. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have goals or set high standards for ourselves. Those are totally important and necessary to help keep us on track. However, when we screw up a little or don’t have a day full of “perfect meals” or the “perfect workout”, or the contents of our fridge aren’t “perfect”, it doesn’t mean we are a failure. It means… we’ll take a crack at it again tomorrow. It’s a foul ball, we’re not out of the game!
Yes, eating well and living well takes some calculating, organizing and a little elbow grease. But the more we do it, like anything else, it becomes familiar. We learn to form new and healthy habits that we can no longer live without. As we eat more healthfully, our tastes begin to change and we begin to crave our own cooking and feel the need less often to eat unhealthfully. We set a good and BALANCED example for our kids…that a healthy life is made up of really enjoying the good stuff, yet not feeling guilty or dejected when we choose to indulge (which we should now and then!) or make a mistake somewhere along the way.
I painted a saying on my kitchen wall a couple of years ago that reads…”Life is an adventure or it is nothing.” Ok, so I misquoted Helen Keller who eloquently stated, “Life is a DARING adventure or it is nothing.” I tried. You get the gist. The dictionary defines the word “adventure” as 1. an exciting or very unusual experience; 2. participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises. Why can’t our health and eating habits be looked upon as an adventure? They may not be “unusual”, but they can be exciting. It’s all how we look at it, right? Trying new, healthy foods and experimenting with new recipes…that’s exciting! Inviting friends over and cooking them a spread…that’s a fun undertaking! Participating in that triathlon or spartan race we’ve always wanted to give a go…that’s an impressive enterprise! Hiking, biking, baking…whatever it is…it can all be fun AND play a BIG role in our health and well-being. So here’s a proposition. Going forward, let’s keep in mind that it’s not the mistakes we make in life that define us, but how we respond to them. Let’s cut ourselves a break here and there and remember to live with the spirit of ADVENTURE… Even when it comes to our health:)
Here are a few tips for making healthy eating and life in general a bit easier. I know these are not new information, but they are worth repeating.
KEEP IT SIMPLE. Less is always more, as they say. Try to cook meals that only require a few ingredients. Then make them in big batches to have some leftovers. Save the fancy schmancy stuff for the holidays or entertaining, or when you must show up the neighbors at the block party.
Plan, shop, prep and cook on ONE day for the week…if possible. It sounds like a lot, but if you try to get into the habit, it ends up saving you so much time later in the week. Get online or dig through your recipe books to pick out your meals for the week. Shop, then right after you get home, try to wash, chop and prep fruits and veggies in bags in the fridge. Cook meats too! Have them ready to heat up and serve. (More posts on that to come!)
Get enough sleep. What a difference that makes. You will feel like yourself and be less likely to binge on unhealthy comfort foods just ‘cause you’re crankin’!
If you are new to a lot of healthy foods, be patient and take baby steps. Try one new thing a week. You will see how when you start adding new, healthy foods into your diet (even slowly), you will naturally crowd out the unhealthy ones.
Go easy on yourself. If you slip up on a goal, or on a new eating challenge or feel disappointed about anything in general, forgive yourself and move on! You can still make healthy choices despite a slip up.
Thank you. Now back to the show:)
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Comparison is the thief of joy. Your personal best is always enough:)
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