Hello and happy pre-Friday to YOU! :D
First of all, goooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Dallas Mavericks!
(Can I GET a hell yeah?!)
I wanted to talk a bit about finding what works for you eating and exercise-wise. I think that one of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to get healthy or lose weight or get in shape is that they want someone to tell them what to eat and what to do. The diet industry is a monster, and consumers are constantly searching for that magic pill/meal plan/piece of exercise equipment that will change everything and answer their prayers. The truth it that it just doesn’t exist. Obviously if it were as easy as taking a pill or following someone else’s meal plan or using the shake weight twice a day (heh, good grief), everyone would probably be in great shape. Back in my dieting days, I was a miserable, deprived, pudgy, out of shape girl who was endlessly searching for the next diet plan that was going to be it, the one that would change my life. I didn’t trust myself around food, didn’t think I knew “how” to eat, so I thought I needed a book or a person to spell it out for me. Unfortunately, this can easily become (as it did for me) a vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting where you end up even heavier and more miserable than you were before you ever picked up that diet book in the first place.
You can’t live someone else’s life, eat what someone else eats, do exactly what someone else does and expect it to be a perfect fit for you. Diet books and meal plans do not take into account your personal preferences, tastes, lifestyle and interests. Even those “custom-made” meal plans will do you in, because most of them include a long list of foods that you can’t have or recipes that you have no interest in preparing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve signed up for a “tailored” meal plan in the past only to find that my allowed dessert for the night was something like 1/2 cup pineapple chunks topped with a tablespoon of fat-free cool whip. Boy, what a treat! NO THANK YOU. If you adore chocolate as much as I do and you try to satisfy that craving with fruit, what do you think is eventually going to happen, no matter how badly you want to slim down? After a week or so, I’d always end up eating half a gallon of rocky road ice cream or a whole bag of Hershey’s kisses, feel incredibly guilty, and then eat even more to make myself feel better. I’d end up gaining all the weight back plus some, and so the search for a new diet would begin.
It took me years to see the logical reasoning behind this maddening cycle, but now it just makes plain old-fashioned good sense. It wasn’t me that was the problem, it was whatever diet I was following. The saddest part was that each time I went through this cycle, I’d feel even more lost and out of control than before. I felt like a failure, like I’d never be a “normal” eater, like I’d never be happy and healthy and confident and in shape. The diet industry is designed this way, and man, it is a bitch. My one initial piece of advice for people wanting to lose weight and get healthy FOR LIFE would be first and foremost to STOP DIETING. Give it up for good. Vow to never diet again! It can be scary, because if you’ve been doing it for long enough, it becomes a way of life. I know a ton of people who count Weight Watcher points or calories half the time, and then we’ll meet for lunch another day and they’ll order the biggest, most greasy and fattening meal in the whole restaurant and eat it all, simply because they were “off the wagon” that day. To get to a healthy weight and stay there for the rest of your life, you have got to escape this black-and-white way of thinking.
Have you ever felt trapped in that yo-yo dieting cycle? Are their people in your life who are constantly going on and off of diets?
All of the blogs that I read (and there are MANY!) that have authors who have gone through some kind of health transformation- gotten into shape and stayed there, lost weight and kept it off- have one thing in common: they ALL do their own thing. No one follows any kind of diet plan from a book or orders their meals from Jenny Craig or takes a magic pill. Reaching a healthy weight and staying in shape does take effort, but it’s really pretty simple: eat well and move your ass. That’s really it! It’s up to you to discover how much food your body needs, which foods help you to feel and look your best, and which forms of exercise you truly enjoy. You also have to go at it with an open mind and an adventurous, fun attitude. You have to get creative with food to keep it interesting, satisfying, fun and tasty, and you have to make sure that you find ways to exercise that won’t burn you out or make you want to strangle yourself with a shoelace. Everyone gets into food and workout ruts from time to time, but I credit much of my long-term weight loss success to making it a point to find new workouts that I enjoy, experimenting regularly with new foods and recipes, always being good to myself, and never, EVER depriving myself. It takes some trial and error, but if you approach it with an open mind, lots of self-love, and with optimal health and overall wellness as your main, overarching goal, you will succeed in finding the right healthy lifestyle for you- one that works. You will!
I have found a handful of healthy living blogs that I read regularly because I just love them. I find these people to be real, honest, motivating, and full of creative ideas that inspire me both in the kitchen and in my workouts. Here are some of my faves:
Linda at All & Sundry is a 30-something married mama and writer who discovered her passion for good health and fitness around five years ago. I love her honesty about not always wanting to work out and her tendency to eat nothing but processed carbs for weekends at a time, but she always gets back on track and writes beautifully about the non-vanity related benefits of living a healthy lifestyle (confidence that carries over into other areas of life, setting a good example for her kids, etc.).
Tina at Carrots ‘n’ Cake is a writer and runner who takes pictures of almost all of her meals. She works out regularly and eats well, and I find that I can relate to many of her posts. You can read about her weight loss journey here.
Emily at Daily Garnish is a vegetarian chef, marathon runner, heavy weight lifter and brilliant writer, and I really enjoy her posts. I love her honesty, and her beautiful spirit shines through in her blog posts. She has a ton of awesome posts about fitness, health and food- definitely check out her site if you haven’t before! You can read about her lifestyle transformation here.
Kek at Day 85 to Infinity is a married 40-something mother of three with a full-time job and an online personal training business. Her fitness addiction began in 2004 when she lost quite a bit of weight through healthy eating and regular workouts (and has kept it off ever since!), and I love her suck-it-up, JUST DO IT attitude where committing to living a healthy lifestyle is concerned.
Jenna at Eat, Live, Run is a recipe writer, chef and fitness enthusiast. My favorite thing about her blog (besides the incredible food pics!) is her food philosophy, which is very much like my own. Brilliant.
Kath and Kath Eats Real Food is a registered dietitian whose tribute to oatmeal immediately made her blog one of my absolute favorites. She is also a runner who has maintained a 30-pound weight loss for five years and likes to take food pics. Read about her weight loss journey here. I especially love that she makes healthy eating and staying active FUN and finds joy in living a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
Meghan at Meals and Miles is another healthy living blogger and runner that takes pictures of most of her meals (which you know I love!). She has maintained a 20-pound weight loss for a few years now with regular workouts and a focus on lifestyle changes- no dieting here! Her blog has lots of pep, which I appreciate. :)
Angela at Oh She Glows is probably the healthy living blogger that has had the biggest, most positive impact on me. She writes with incredible honesty about her struggle with an eating disorder over the years (both restricting food intake and binge eating), about learning to love and accept yourself, and honoring your body with food that tastes amazing and makes you feel and look your very best. She owns a vegan bakery and her blog is full of amazing recipes! Her positive attitude is truly contagious. I can relate to Angela in so many ways- she is living proof that it is possible to beat an eating disorder, reach and maintain a healthy weight, and achieve a happy, healthy balance with food and exercise. Anytime I’m feeling down on myself or if those old, nasty, negative disordered eating voices start to resurface (as they tend to do from time to time), if I click over to Angela’s blog my spirits are instantly lifted, and I’m reminded of just how far I’ve come in my own health and weight loss journey.
Sara at Sanaworld is an intuitive eating advocate and regular exerciser who has also overcome an eating disorder. She also owns her own supplement company! I’ve read her blog for years and enjoy her real, honest, often times funny posts about her journey toward finding balance with all things food and fitness and discovering what works for her. Not only is her name also Sara, she just happens to love red wine. We were meant to be friends, obviously. ;)
Skwigg is another one of my all-time favorite healthy living bloggers. She, too, has overcome an eating disorder and maintained a significant weight loss for several years through lifestyle changes and regular workouts. More recently, she let all the rules go and adapted an intuitive eating way of life, which she refers to as Intuitive Eating 2.0. Her blog is smart, funny, and honest. She’s all about looking great without deprivation and staying active, and I find her posts to be truly enjoyable and motivating. She also started the website Happy Eaters, which is a great place for people who want to stop dieting in favor of finding a more balanced, sane way to get to and stay at a healthy weight.
Gina at The Fitnessista is a spin and Zumba instructor, personal trainer, food lover (and picture taker!), and military wife who has maintained a significant weight loss over the years by finding what works for her. You can read about her journey here. Her posts are funny and energetic, and I always leave her blog feeling inspired. :)
I hope you will find inspiration from some or all of these amazing bloggers! They have certainly helped me on my path to balanced living. It really helps to find like-minded people that you can relate to. We health nuts, exercise addicts and foodies must stick together! ;)
After screwing around on the internet for about a million hours this morning, I rocked Muscle Max with some kind of renewed post-vacation vigor. Afterward, I had something new today for lunch: a sprouted grain pita spread with hummus and stuffed with pepper jack cheese, tomato, cucumber and avocado slices, alfalfa sprouts, and sprinkled with garlic salt and pepper, plus a side of artichoke hearts (which I meant to stuff into the pita but things started to fall apart).
It was so good! :D Dinner was even more amazing…
Food Network’s Turkey-Vegetable Parmesan
Pan-fried turkey cutlets topped with grilled eggplant and zucchini slices, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella cheese, and chopped plum tomatoes simmered in white wine.
A spinach side salad with red bell pepper chunks, zucchini strips, baby carrots, pine nuts, crispy jalapenos and balsamic vinaigrette completed this amazing meal. It was so flippin’ delicious!!! Another winner from Food Network mag!!!
We’re gonna panini up the leftover cutlets on Monday… I CAN’T FREAKIN’ WAIT. :)
It’s ice cream time and then I’m drifting off to dreamland. I hope your Thursday night is an amazing one! See ya later, alligator. :)