Sunday, January 8, 2012

My Journey of Health

Call it a resolution if you want to, I call it time. It's just time.

For a change.

I realized as the new year rolled around that I've been on a yo-yo with my diet, health and weight my entire adult life. Since college, I've gained and lost weight, gone on "health kicks" and given up so I could "just enjoy what I ate." I've joined and dropped Weight Watchers twice, started and stopped South Beach Diet twice, counted calories, become a health club addict, trained for a marathon (and gave up), run two Tulsa Runs, one Rt. 66 Half Marathon, and successfully packed on 20 lbs in a decade. Twenty pounds.

To be clear, I don't think I look bad (in clothes anyway); in fact, I look very normal and average. Sadly, though, average in our country is overweight, and 20 lbs on someone only 5'2'' is quite a lot. My BMI says I'm overweight, AND if I keep it up at the rate I'm going, I'll be another 20 lbs heavier on my 40th birthday. THAT I don't want. Yes, people generally gain weight as they age, and yes metabolism changes and makes it more difficult, but I just keep thinking that there shouldn't be so many excuses. My heart is still the same size, and all the rest of my organs. The inside of my body is built to take care of a smaller person, plain and simple. So, it's time for a change.

Obviously the majority of my journey with health has been centered around weight loss, which is exactly what I think gets us in trouble. We commit to outlandish things, often NOT healthy, just to get the weight off, then when we've reached our goal, we reward ourselves with all the bad habits that got us there in the first place. Why do you think Atkins followers are so well known for eating beef and cheese all day? You know that's not what the book tells you to do!

So, I'm deciding that weight loss cannot be my goal. I say that, while admitting that I've stepped on those scales every day for the last week (sometimes more than once a day). Focusing on weight loss hasn't gotten me healthy, and we've already covered the fact that it hasn't gotten me weight loss. Instead, I'm deciding to actually get healthy. And I'm going to try not to be obsessed with those scales.

Following a diet is not my goal, but eating healthy food is. Garbage in, garbage out, right? My husband and I are striving to eat food. Real food. Nothing processed or packaged, because the packages inevitably list a lot of things that AREN'T food. I was shocked while preparing a roast last week, when I glanced at the ingredients for beef broth, assuming that though it was packaged it would still be legal...I's broth, right?! Wrong. If you want to know what's in there, go to your pantry and read the label yourself. There's a lot more than beef drippings.

It's interesting how much this limits you in the grocery store. You're pretty much limited to fruits and vegetables, beans, eggs, and depending on how you look at it, meat. Oh, nuts are legal too. We are steering clear of grains, outside of raw oats and brown rice, because pasta is processed, and even making our own salsa. As far as condiments go, we're using salt, pepper, olive oil and fresh herbs to season our food. I need to do more research on dairy, but we're trying to limit milk and cheese as well. I've started using Stevia in my coffee, or sugar in the raw (it's sugar but at least it's not processed and refined), or honey. Technically, yes, sugar and honey come in I guess the "no packages" rule is kind of relative. But you get the point. No processed stuff with millions of ingredients besides what is supposed to be in there.

If you think of food as fuel for your body, then you'll start feeling less cranky about saying no to that cookie. Or to the easy cheese. If my body doesn't need it, or can't use it to give me nutrients I need, then why would I put it in my body? Yes, I love treats. I pride myself in my cookie making skills, but I don't need those every day or even every week.

And it turns out what we're doing is actually very similar to something called the Eat Clean Diet, but I haven't bought the book or joined the website. If you do, I'd love to hear your feedback!

And yes, I'm assuming that if I put healthy and nutritious things in my body and no junk, that I'll lose the unwanted weight. So far, I started this week 3 lbs. lighter than last week, so that's positive. More importantly, I feel good. I don't feel guilty about anything I've put in my body. Even if my reflection in the mirror isn't exactly what I'd like it to be, I'm convinced that the insides of my body are looking a lot better, and that makes me feel good too.

This, combined with a commitment to get my heart rate up with exercise every day has to make me healthy. At least healthier than sitting on my booty and eating sugar all day, right?

It's not a resolution, it's a journey, and I'm committed to a journey and a goal, not perfection.

I'll keep you posted on the results!

Love and Honey,

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