I mostly write about design on here, with the occasional post about fashion, shopping, or my dumb life, but I thought I would share some of my thoughts on living a healthy lifestyle, and how I do my best to achieve one.
*note: I am not a nutritionist nor do I have any actual training or teaching associated with health, nutrition, and/or physical fitness.
My knowledge on the subject is purely from my own experiences and research with diet and fitness. I consider myself a pretty healthy and balanced person. I eat a mostly balanced diet and exercise at least five times a week most of the time (we all have our slip-ups, mine being vacations to Boston). I just wanted to share my own journey with food and exercise since I find that hearing about other people’s stories can give me a better perspective on my own lifestyle.
When I was a youngster I was lucky enough to have pretty healthy parents. My mother cooked dinner practically every night, and provided a pretty balanced diet of proteins, veggies and grains (bread, potatoes, rice, etc.). I had cereals or oatmeal for breakfast, usually a tuna sandwich+apple+fruite juice for lunch. I never ate school lunch. In fact, I detested it so much, that on the rare occasion my mother forgot to make my lunch, and had to give me money to buy one at school, I would starve myself during lunch period and binge on crackers and carrots when I got home. You’ll notice this starve+save money things crop up again in the college years.
I’m such a role model. For those, offended, A)you’ll never like me then, and B) I was not pregnant- that’s a balloon.
I never got into sports, aside from one soccer team I played on and a few years of tennis lessons in my youth. Let’s just say I am an only child and definitely not a joiner. My parents usually made me feel like this was a bad thing, but I’ve learned I’m just independent and exercise better on my own, without comparison or distraction from others. I did do many years of ballet, tap, and jazz dance classes, which provided good physical fitness, and I was big into riding my bike, rollerblading, and playing outside with friends in the neighborhood. Plus, there was gym class, where I always felt a tad awkward and always clumsy.
In middle school I wasn’t doing anything different, but developed early and turned into a bucket of ugly for about 2 years (6th & 7th grade- most of the photos have been understandably burned). Somehow, in 8th grade a swan emerged. Not really, but I was considerably less gross, and I pretty much look the same today, give a couple wrinkles and a stray grey hair now and then. High school was pretty much the same as middle school, minus the extreme ugly. Look, we all have an awkward phase so we can feel blessed just to not look gross any more.
I’m the yuck on the left.
Somehow, during all of this, I learned almost nothing about healthy eating or a good fitness routine. America’s education system, ladies and gentlemen! In home economics, I actually learned the food pyramid, immediately followed by how to make a butter-drenched coffee cake and an Orange Julius. Not so healthy, I’ve learned, and quite contradictory to the food pyramid.
Bowling and butt-grabbing would have been my fitness routine then.
Enter college, and dorm food. I learned about being able to eat waffle fries and fried chicken tenders, chug beers and syrupy liquor drinks, vomit in public, make out with strangers, experiment with weird substances, and still look sexy! No, that isn’t true. I gained some weight and it showed in the ass, thighs, arms, fatch, and BOOBS! Sweet…not really. In all honesty, this was the best thing that could have happened. Realizing I had to take care of my body for it to look good and maintain its size was a wake-up call…ish.
Taffy on your teeth is good for cavities.
My initial response to the small weight gain was to sign up for a fitness class that just involved running for the entire class, and to eat better, and to take Ephedrine. Stupid, I know, but a lot of girls go through this phase. Sometimes you have to fuck up to learn how not to. I remember taking Xenadrine for the first time. I took two pills and chased them with a Powerade. Brilliant! I was jittering and my hands were shaking as I typed up my homework assignment. I dropped all the weight and then some in like 20 days, though. Naturally, this was the answer.
At some point I wised up, and sales of Ephedrine was banned in the US. Funny how these events coincided. For realsies, though, I started learning about what exercises worked for different body parts, and the value of cardio to keep your ticker (heart) tocking (beating at a healthy pace). I met Brooks (my chef) and had my eyes and palette opened up to new food choices and cuisines. I never looked back.
I’ve never really tried any fad diets. For me, telling myself I can’t have something is very limiting and makes me feel like I want that thing more. However, this isn’t to say that I haven’t read about all kinds of diets, and I can appreciate some basic principles from many of them. For instance the way I eat today is a melange of several different “diets”. I’m not a vegetarian or vegan, but I never eat anything that was once living at home. I eat a limited amount of cheese and animal products, but I do eat eggs. When I go out to eat, if I’m feeling like it, I’ll have fish or beef or lamb, etc., but only if I know it’s local, cruelty free, and raised organically. Call me pretentious, or whatever, but these things are important to me. Admittedly, every once in a while I indulge in the horrids of ball park sausages. Whatever, I’m human. I have weaknesses.
The contents of my fridge at the moment. Mostly veggies and tea/coffee. That’s tomato pie with almond flour crust. So yummy.
Also, I’m not Paleo, but I don’t eat processed foods, most dairy, most grains, gluten, a lot of oils, soy, and a lot of other things that being Paleo entails. Still, being Paleo means eating a LOT of meat and not eating legumes. Fuck that, I love peanuts and butter beans. I should also mention I don’t eat cane sugar and am allergic to shrimp (shit!) so those have also been cut from my life. Um, and I love beer and wine, so that isn’t going anywhere.
Basically, on most days, I cook my own food using whole ingredients, consisting mostly of vegetables, nuts, fruits, eggs, and coconut products (coconut oil, coconut milk). The chef and I are members of a CSA, so we pick up a big bag of fresh, seasonal, local produce and eggs every week. I plan my recipes using mainly what comes in the CSA and spend about 15 minutes every 2 weeks at a grocery store, buying things like oil, salt, almond flour, and soap. Cutting grocery shopping out of my life has been HUGE, and when I cook my own food from one farm, I know every ingredient that goes into my body. We are what we eat, people.
What this diet means for me is more energy, better sleep, a more glowing complexion (blemish-free, minus when I cheat and eat sugar), and a faster metabolism. I’ve also noticed that I get sick less often with colds and viruses, but that could just be a coincidence. I’m usually a germ magnet with a terrible immune system.
As far as fitness goes, I like to mix it up. I am very into reading fitness blogs, and love learning about new forms of exercise. My faves, in current circulation, are Power Vinyasa Yoga, Pilates, running, barre, high intensity interval training, and basic strength training/aerobics. I regularly do push-ups, tricep dips, weight-lifting, squats, lunges, butt bridges, leg abductions, crunches, planks, and a LOT of other great toning routines.
I love switching it up because I find it gives my muscles a jolt and they never get a chance to get too comfortable with one style of fitness. This seems to help me get the physical results faster, and maintain them more naturally. I am no expert, and I have flip-flopped before, because of lifestyle changes, but when I make my diet and fitness a bigger part of my lifestyle, I tend to maintain more easily.
making my awesome face on my wedding day, and not-glowing.
For all the healthy habits I have today, though, I definitely go through periods where I’m lazy and overworked, and my healthy habits just get replaced by comfort foods and baggy jeans-wearing sofa-lounging mornings. It happens, and I’m okay with it, but I am trying to work on maintaining and not thinking “Hey, I look great and have been eating so well, so now let me forget everything.” It really has to be your lifestyle. I don’t have “cheat days” because I am not hard on myself about rules. I think balance and not feeling guilty about giving into my body’s cravings are the best things that I have learned through all my experiences. That, and that if I can fit into a bigger bra cup size, my jeans are probably about to split in the back. Thank you, and goodnight.