To start, I’ll give you guys a little bit of a life update. I know that’s not necessarily the main purpose of this blog, but I want you all to be able to follow along with me in my journey here and I want to be able to be relatable in both the highs and the lows… And I am definitely at a low right now. I’ve been fighting a cold for probably the past week or so, and I believe it has finally caught up to me. Currently drinking some Alka-Seltzer Cold and Flu drink (I don’t know in what world they believe this flavor is anything near “honey lemon”) and alternating between struggling to breathe quietly through my mouth and downing as many fluids as possible. Happy Hump Day.
I know I’ve been fighting it- I’ve definitely felt it. Last week I was SO BAD diet-wise, and I’ve been more lethargic and unenthusiastic while at the gym so I feel as though my workouts haven’t been as successful as they could be if I really felt my 100%. That’s the way it goes when I get sick though, I just want to eat comfort food and lay in bed all day (not much different from what I want to do all the time, but when I’m sick I actually do it). And today I’ve given into my craving for Oreos (SO ASHAMED)!!!! I really have to work on cleaning up my diet again- I don’t need another accidental “cheat week”!
I say that I am ashamed of my Oreo bingeing, but in reality, it’s not the end of the world. Something that is really important to me as far as health and fitness is concerned is the acceptance that nobody is perfect and that everyone is going to slip up. At first when it was difficult for me to maintain my diet, I thought that it was only me who was having such a difficult time really being dedicated and sticking with my plan. It was easy for me to get down on myself about it because I felt like if the change was what I really wanted, I should be perfect all the time. This is absolutely not the case. From what I’ve seen, I’m definitely not the only one who slips up and at this point, even if I were, I would still be ok with it. I never want to deprive myself of things that I love and one bad meal isn’t going to ruin anything that I’ve worked for. Going out to dinner with friends or celebrating and treating yourself is good for you in a different way than being physically healthy, and I encourage that just as much as I will encourage eating healthy food. In my opinion, I think it’s better to have a “cheat day” or to splurge every once in a while- I don’t want to be a perfect, “clean-eating” machine. I want to have my cake and eat it too (pun intended).
A TON of the questions I get have to do with my diet. This is the hardest part of being healthy (for me at least, seeing as I have a very strong love for food)- you can motivate yourself to get on the treadmill or take the stairs instead of the elevator but NOBODY wants to turn down donuts. Nobody. Unfortunately, diet is a key component in any healthy lifestyle change. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle and bulk up, or even just tone up, changes have to be made in your diet in order for your program to be as effective as possible.
The way I see it, you eat to fuel your body. Not to satisfy momentary cravings. Empty calories, carbs, and sugary foods may satisfy you for the moment, but usually you end up being hungry again 30 minutes to an hour later… and then you decide to eat more empty calories, carbs, and sugary foods. It’s a horrific cycle, and that’s how I ate most of the time before I decided to change my life. When I was in high school, my metabolism was a machine. I could eat whatever I wanted and not really gain any weight, and if I wanted to lose weight, all I had to do was “be good” for a week and I would be 5 pounds lighter. My metabolism was like the Spartan army of 300. Nothing could stand in it’s way at the time… But everyone knew it was doomed to be defeated in the end. I had been told since middle school that “This is gonna catch up to you! One day, your metabolism won’t work like that anymore!” and don’t get me wrong, I believed them. I knew what was in store for me. I just didn’t know that it would happen when I was 18 years old. What a lovely entrance into adulthood!
So after packing on the pounds and being motivated to change my life, I cut out a lot of things and I added a lot of things. This is some of what I recommend to be cut/added. Bear in mind that 1: I am not a nutritionist, this is just what has worked for me and 2: Everyone’s metabolism is different and depending on what goals you have, this might not be the best diet plan for you! I recommend doing some intensive online research (again, PTL for Google, am I right?) or if you so desire, shoot me an email and I will do my best to give you my (unprofessional) advice!
- Most dairy products. I’m lactose intolerant, which has gotten worse over the past year or so, so this one really just made sense to me. As much as I love and always will love cheese… I can only enjoy it in moderation and with some Lactaid on hand. Even if you aren’t lactose intolerant, dairy products are notorious for causing bloating and uncomfortable digestive issues, and are usually pretty high in fat.
- Things high in sugar (except my Oreos obviously)
- White/bleached bread and sugar
- Most processed food
- Things high in preservatives- I try to eat organic if possible! Organic foods are usually (always) more expensive than the alternatives but in most cases it’s worth dropping the nasty chemicals and preservatives!
- Soda- This one was probably the second hardest for me- I used to have close to 4 sodas a day (Diet Coke and Dr. Pepper will always have my heart) and it is just NOT WORTH IT. So many empty calories, sugars, and chemicals and preservatives. I know the caffeine is nice but coffee is a much better alternative in my opinion. Once I stopped drinking soda (I pretty much only drink lemon water and coffee nowadays) not only did I see a HUGE decrease in bloating but honestly my mental clarity was higher and I craved less sugar in general. Now I can barely drink half of a Diet Coke (which I only do maybe once every three months) because I find it to be so incredibly sweet.
- Fried foods and pretty much 90% of fast food. And I work at Chick-fil-A. The struggle is so real my friends.
- Alcohol- Another one of those NOT WORTH IT types of things. Empty calories galore, plus a lot of sugar and a lot of bloating. Not to mention that it dehydrates your body! Hangovers are literally your body’s way of saying, “STOP!!! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?! THIS IS HORRIBLE FOR YOU!!”
Also another thing to keep in mind- I do have cheat days and I do believe that you should have what you enjoy in moderation! When I say that I recommend to cut these things out, I’m recommending that you remove them from your everyday lifestyle. Special occasions and treat-yo-self days are 100% encouraged in my opinion, as long as you understand how those days will effect your end goals!
- Fruits and Vegetables- obviously. Fruits can be high in sugars so watch out for that, but honestly I eat so much fruit it’s ridiculous. I’m having to warm up to vegetables (they’ve never been my favorite) but I’ve found that as I’ve changed my diet, I have been craving things that are better for me rather than things like cookies and candy and chips. Man, I could really go for some carrots and hummus right about now.
- Dark leafy greens- Great if you’re anemic like me. Very high in iron and more delicious in a salad than iceberg lettuce!
- Protein- Lean meats and fish. I try to stay away from red meat typically (but don’t get me wrong, I love a good steak). Chicken and turkey are my go-to’s! Also, depending on your gym routine and goals for your gains, it’s most likely a good idea to take extra protein along with the normal amount that you eat (ie: protein shakes and bars after a workout).
- Organic foods- I know I mentioned this in the list above, but I always encourage eating organically if possible! I know it’s stressful on the wallet at times but it’s worth it.
- Healthier snacking options- I am a total mindless eater. I can sit down with a bag of chips and watch TV and before I know it the chips are gone. Replacing chips has been difficult (RIP my favorite Cheetos) and a lot of the alternatives aren’t necessarily “healthy” but they’re way better for you than actual potato chips. I like white cheddar popcorn (SmartFood or SmartPop), Veggie Straws, and also nuts like almonds or walnuts when I’m craving something salty.
That’s really all I can think of off the top of my head, but if I have anything else I can add to the list I surely will do so! If you have any other questions feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
Also, if you haven’t checked out my “fitstagram” yet, please give it a look! The username is xfittiffx and that’s where I’ll be posting the majority of my progress pictures and things of that nature!
I hope this wasn’t too scattered, I’m going to try to kick this sickness so I can get back on my A game! Only a few more days until Friday, we can do this!