I came across the awesomest (not a word, but it should be) picture on Instagram the other day. I feel like I’m always saying on here: “just because it’s [gluten-free] doesn’t mean it’s healthy!” but I wonder if anyone actually hears me, so…
Do you hear me now?!
The media and food manufacturers are constantly bombarding us with all kinds of catchy phrases, like fat-free, low-carb, sugar-free, all-natural, gluten free, organic etc. And a lot of the time, it does exactly what they want it to do: gets you to buy their product.
But the truth is: IT DOESN’T MEAN IT’S GOOD FOR YOU! (Or that it will make you skinner, if that’s what you’re going for.)
When manufacturers take these compounds out of your food, they have to replace it with something else. It’s science. Usually, they replace it with something artificial, and often, the replacement is going to be even worse for you than if they left the original compound in in the first place.
I watched a fabulous documentary on Netflix recently called Hungry For Change, where they discussed this exact topic. In food manufacturing, fat free often means they’ve replaced the fat with sugar. Your body uses sugar for fuel at first, but when you consume more sugar than your body needs (and we all do! most of us in excess), it is converted and stored… as fat. So, while it’s factually correct for companies to say that their food is fat free, it’s also hugely misleading. It may be fat free, but it’s also what’s making you fat.
And in case you think I’m just trying to scare you, listen to this stat from the documentary: The average person eats 150lbs of sugar per year. ONE-HUNDRED-FIFTY POUNDS OF SUGAR PER YEAR.
It’s not fat that makes you fat, people We need fats. It’s sugar that makes you fat. And it’s cheap and easy to make foods that contain sugar. And it’s clever and effective to label something fat-free and not mention the added sugar.
BOOM. They’ve got us.
So don’t be naïve. Don’t believe everything you read/hear/see. Do your research (I totally recommend watching that documentary, to start), and whenever possible, choose real, whole foods over anything that has to be packaged or marketed.
”The simpler I get, the healthier I get. If it’s made in a garden, I eat it. If it’s made in a lab, it takes a lab to digest it. And if it has a shelf life longer than me, I don’t eat it.”
Last night, I was browsing through a few blogs on my favorites bar, and I came across a post called What Keeps You Paleo Motivated? that really struck a chord with me.
Whenever you decide to make a change in your lifestyle – whether it be to eat better, exercise more, quit smoking, get more sleep, or whatever else – it takes some serious motivation. The post above talks about a few peoples’ individual motivations for choosing to eat paleo: they want to lose weight, fit into their jeans, succeed at living healthier, stop farting at work (seriously), ease their stomach pains…
Clearly, it’s different for everyone (be thankful you’re not the guy who wants to stop farting audibly in front of his coworkers), and this motivation certainly changes over time. At first, you may decide to eat better because you want to lose weight, but once it’s off, you may also realize that you’d felt crappy for a long time and now see that you never want to go back there.
The piece of the article that really resonated with me though was this:
For me, the answer to the question about what motivates me is feeling good. When I eat better, drink water, and work out regularly, I feel better. If I want to eat a bagel or an ice cream cone, I can… but I know what the consequences will be. And when I don’t eat those things, it’s not because I can’t because I’m on some diet, or because someone told me I couldn’t… it’s because I choose not to.
Of course, this mainly applies to eating for me, but it could apply to anything that you’re needing motivation for in your life. Do you want to lose weight? Then make the choice to eat healthier and do it. Do you want to have more energy, stop bone loss, and get stronger? Then make the choice to exercise at least a little bit every single day and do it. Do you want to live longer? Then make the choice to quit smoking/limit drinking/stop tanning/etc. and follow through. Do you want to be happier? Then get out of that bad relationship, quit that dead-end job, or move to an apartment on the beach and get happy.
Framing things out in this way really does help me feel less like a victim and more like a success story. I don’t want to have stomach aches, so I choose to eat well as often as I possibly can. I want to be fit and healthy, so I choose to get up early and workout. I want to live a long life, so I choose to forego tanning, drink a lot of water, and learn about things that are good for me.
Sometimes, it’s not easy. Sometimes I say to myself ‘why are you bothering with all of this?’ Most people don’t spend half their Sundays cooking food for the week. Most people don’t research restaurants before they go to make sure they can find something on the menu that won’t upset their stomach. Most people don’t skip the bun on a burger. Most people don’t get up at the crack of dawn to go to the gym and run around like a maniac. So why should I make my life so much harder to do all of these things when I don’t have to?
The answer is: because I choose to!
So, friends, what motivates you? You may not eat paleo, but there has got to be something that you choose to go out of your way to do because you know it’s worth it.
So… why do you do it?
Over the past couple of days, I’ve been feeling a little blah – really tired, and not motivated to workout at all. I think it’s just because I’ve been go-go-going all the time for the past couple of months, and I need a break, but it still sort of gives you an uneasy feeling when you’re not yourself.
Then, the other night, I came across this picture on Instagram:
I don’t remember this quote from the movie, so I could be taking it totally out of context, but still, I believe it. When you’re faced with something, you can either dwell on it, worry about it, and stress over it (like I usually do), or you can choose to look at it from a positive perspective, tackle it head on, and overcome it.
Sure, me feeling a little less-than-energized certainly isn’t the biggest problem going on in the world right now, but it’s still applicable. I could lay in my bed and cry about how lazy I feel, or I can just embrace it, take some time off, rest, relax, and recover. And that’s what I’m going to do!
Attitude change #1: I did make it to the gym yesterday morning, but my neck was killing me, and I really just wasn’t feeling it (again), so I did some heavy 5×5 shoulder presses and a WOD with 5 rounds of 9 cleans, 6 push presses, and 3 overhead squats at 55lbs and called it a day. Normally, I would’ve beat myself up over the fact that it wasn’t as “intense’” as I would’ve liked, but instead, I gave myself a lot of credit for just getting out of bed and moving around a bit.
Attitude change #2: For breakfast, (after going back and forth with the whole should I?/shouldn’t I? debate a million times) I decided to stop at Dunkin Donuts and get a chocolate chip bagel. Normally, I would abstain because of the inevitable stomach ache, and then the whole feeling-bad-because-I-knew-that-would-happen thing… But you know what? I wanted a bagel. So I got a bagel. And I enjoyed every bite of it.
Attitude change #3: Instead of sitting at my desk during lunch, wishing I was at home/in bed/at the beach/anywhere-but-here, I took my food and my book outside to the picnic table. I brought chicken (with crushed red pepper), and brussels sprouts and broccoli (with sundried-tomato and basil spices and olive oil) that I roasted in the oven, plus carrots, figs, and a dark chocolate square, and it was delicious.
I read a bit, and then my friend joined me while we ate – and it’s seriously amazing what a few minutes to yourself, some delicious, nutritious food, a little bit of sunshine, and good company can do for you!
My afternoon snack was a sliced Fuji apple with a handful of fruit and nut candy crunchies… delicious.
Attitude change #4: I had plans to workout with my friend after work, but when the day ended, all I wanted to do was go home and veg. That initially made me feel like a huge slacker, but instead of feeling bad about it, I decided to enjoy it. Free time doesn’t always come about that easily, so why not take advantage of an evening with nothing to do and just… do nothing?
For dinner, I heated up another serving of meatloaf + mashed cauliflower, this time adding green beans to the mix. To cook them, all I did was put them in a bowl with a little water and microwave them for a few minutes… easy peasy!
The rest of the night was spent on the couch… thoroughly relaxing. I caught up on a couple TV shows, read a little of my book, and got to bed early.
This morning, my alarm went off at the usual time… and I promptly turned it off and went back to bed for two more hours. I woke up the second time feeling like a million bucks – and not guilty at all.
There’s almost nothing you can’t overcome with the right outlook, so if you’re facing challenges right now – whether they’re big or small – I’d encourage you to change your attitude about it too. You will be surprised what just a small shift in perspective can do for you!
Have a great day!
When I took my current job and moved here last summer, I wasn’t really sure how it would all turn out. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it here, if I‘d want to stay with the company, if I’d want to try something different somewhere else… and the uncertainty left me feeling like a bit of a nomad, sort of living in this weird state of limbo between the end of college and the start of my “real” life.
For the past year, I have been traveling for work a lot, going back and forth between my apartment and my parents’ houses on the weekends, and for the most part living my life out of a suitcase and moving boxes. (Yesterday I unpacked boxes in my spare bedroom that I hadn’t touched since I moved in last June.)
But this was honestly the first weekend where I had no travel on the horizon, no packing or unpacking to worry about, no studying to do, and nothing to plan ahead for. I felt like my life is finally becoming more stable… and I loved it.
Okay, so why the sudden shift, you ask?
Well… That audit I went on last week was officially my last one… because in two weeks…
I will be starting a new job!
Although I’m sad to leave all of the great people I currently work with, and I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had in this group, I’m very excited about my new role. I feel like it will be a positive change for me, presenting me with new challenges and opportunities, and I’m ready for it.
It’s still with the same company, but now that I know I’ll (hopefully) be in this new role for at least a couple more years, I feel like I’m going to be able to start planting roots a little deeper here. I won’t have to travel nearly as much anymore, so my life won’t be disrupted as often, and I can focus more on building my career – and my personal life.
I really enjoy living here, and I can see myself staying, so making this change is something I’m really happy about. There are so many things I want to do to finally get started on my “real” life, some of which include:
- Buy a house
- Get a dog
- Start a garden
(Not necessarily in that order…)
It was seriously so great to not have to worry about anything this weekend, and I enjoyed it to the fullest.
I did some reading:
(Clearly, I’m slightly obsessed with food these days.)
I got in a good workout with a great friend and learned more about my newest love, CrossFit:
I took a beautiful hike on a gorgeous day with some cool people:
(Who knew all this was in our backyard?! I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.)
I picked up a new-to-me healthy habit:
(It really doesn’t taste that bad when you mix it with something, like honey, and drinking a spoonful or two daily has a ton of health benefits, like preventing stomach aches, indigestion, stuffy nose, sore throat, exhaustion, cramps, and yellow teeth, to name a few.)
I spent some much-needed time in the kitchen, prepping meals:
I took advantage of the warm, sunny weather and went for a long walk around my neighborhood:
pretended I don’t live in an apartment and pulled out my George Forman to cook up a nice, juicy, (lettuce-wrapped) burger for dinner:
I slept in, I lounged around, I cleaned, I watched my favorite TV shows, I organized, I unpacked, I looked through my new cookbooks, I took in the fresh air, I relaxed…
It. was. awesome.
Even though I didn’t mention it, I accepted my new job two days after I passed my NASM exam, so that was certainly an exciting week for me. My great-aunt said she asked my Memere to nudge God a little so that He’d be close to me, and I think it worked. I know she looks down on me every day, but she was certainly busy that weekend, because good news seemed to be all around me.
My mom sent me pictures of the flowers on my Memere’s favorite tree starting to bloom, and it’s becoming clear that Spring is definitely in the air around here. With the change in seasons, I’m feeling positive about the way my life is headed, and I can only hope that she’d be proud of me too!
I go through phases where I consciously drink a lot of water and others where I don’t. I always drink a good amount of water while I’m at the gym (it’s essential because I sweat profusely), but I don’t always get enough outside of that. The funny thing is that I can physically feel when I’m getting dehydrated – and it’s never fun.
The most recent reports say the average man should drink about 13 cups of water per day, and the average woman should drink about 9. Those exercising regularly, living in hot climates, or trying to lose weight should drink even more than that.
Drinking lots of water has all kinds of benefits, some of which include:
- Improving body temperature regulation, metabolic function, and endocrine gland and liver function
- Aiding in nutrient distribution throughout the body
- Maintaining blood volume
- Alleviating fluid retention (Yes, you read that right.)
But besides that, the body physically cannot adapt to dehydration – and dehydration affects every single function of your body. Fluid loss of even 2% of body weight will negatively affect circulatory functions and decrease performance levels.
Some of the signs of moderate dehydration to watch out for include:
- Dry skin or mouth
- Decreased urine output (or yellow pee… sorry, but it’s a good trick to know)
- Headache, sleepiness, dizziness/lightheadedness
But the more serious symptoms can include:
- Extreme thirst, irritability, and confusion
- Very dry mouth, nose, and skin
- Lack of sweating, urination, or tears
- Sunken eyes
- Shriveled, dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn’t “bounce back” when pinched into a fold
- Low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat and breathing
- Fever, delirium, or unconsciousness
If you maintain a regular daily routine of exercise, water, and healthy food consumption, you probably don’t have much to worry about.
But hear this: you need to be proactive about it. Thirst alone is a poor indicator of how much water is needed. If you’re thirsty, you’re probably already dehydrated!
In an attempt to proactively increase my water intake, I’ve put myself back into a ‘consciously drink more water’ phase – and I’m hoping that it’s for good. There are 128 ounces, or 16 cups, in a gallon, and that’s my goal for each day. It seems like a lot when it’s all in one jug, but putting it all in one jug will help me monitor the intake.
In case you’re looking to increase your water intake, here are some easy tips to help you do so:
- Infuse your water with great-tasting fruits, veggies, and herbs like cucumber, lime, lemon, strawberries, pineapple, coconut, and mint. You can even freeze pieces of fruit and use them as ice cubes.
- Mark a gallon jug (or whatever container you decide to use) with benchmarks you want to hit throughout the day. If you haven’t reached your “noon” line by lunch, drink up!
- Drink more tea. Tea has all kinds of inherent benefits on its own, but it will also help you stay hydrated – just go easy on the cream and sugar.
- Keep a water bottle with you at all times – in the car, on the couch, at the gym, at your desk. Seeing the water there in front of you will remind you to drink it.
- Use a straw. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but drinking out of a water bottle with a straw always makes it easier.
- Alternate between warm and cold water. Cold water can speed up your metabolism, but warm water can aid in digestion. Mixing it up will give you both benefits and keep you from getting bored.
- Invest in a reusable water bottle or tumbler that you can refill. Not only will you be helping the environment, but getting up to go refill at the sink/fridge/water cooler will also give you a little bit of extra exercise!
Of course, one of the downsides of drinking so much water is that (like me) you probably won’t be able to sleep, drive, attend a meeting, or go to the store without having to stop at a bathroom, but hey… at least we’ll be hydrated!
How much water do you drink per day?
Have you ever suffered from dehydration?