One of my fascinations is with the myriad of advice, tips, tricks, and general "information" out there about health, fitness and nutrition.
For a girl who's spent a fair amount of time in the gym, keeping a food journal, paying close attention to daily recommended amounts of various nutrients and reading quite a bit about the subject(s), two things frustrate me perennially:
- I still get frustrated with myself for not always "doing what's right" 100% of the time, and
- the fact that there are people out there who still preach (and therefore people who still believe) some pretty unhealthy stuff about nutrition, exercise, weight loss and health in general.
So I was encouraged by this article I just read on Livestrong, and it prompted me to write a little bit more, mostly to myself, about taking a long-term view, but coupling that somehow with a sense of urgency to some degree.
One of my favorite quotes - which has become a life mantra over the last 5 or 6 years - is "True life is lived when tiny changes occur" (thank you Mr. Tolstoy), and that's the idea here.
But the key to that whole idea is that TINY CHANGES HAVE TO OCCUR. Not just in my mind...in reality. And not just not just one change, but many...and with consistency and time comes a whole new life. This works in both directions, mind you - for the good AND for the bad (but that can be a whole other topic and blog post)!
There's a quick-reading and helpful little book about this idea I found a while back called The Kaizen Way. You can read it in an afternoon, which is what I did...and then I read it again more slowly. But maybe that's because I'm a slow learner or lack attention to detail or something. You probably will only need to read it once. The other half of the title is "One small step can change your life", which sounds all marketingy, but is totally true.
One small step that I took a long time ago was to stop eating anything sweet that was made in a mass-production bakery or food-like substance production facility. I was committed (like the article I linked above suggests) to NOT cutting out any particular food or food group out of my life, but wanted to make better choices.
And I love dessert. So I wasn't prepared to give it up. But when I was honest with myself, I had to admit that I didn't really LOVE most of the sweet things I ate. So I stopped eating even the occasional candy bar for the sake of having ZERO guilt or second thoughts at saying a hearty YES PLEASE to a home-baked goodie that someone brought to the office or offered in their home. Admittedly, this was one small change that had lots of opportunities for execution, but it was so freeing that I was excited about it, and I got to really enjoy the richness of a truly tasty goodie with a huge smile on my face as and when it was offered.
That one, single, solitary "no bad goodies" step I took, and the joy and success I was having with it, led to lots of other small steps over time, like "no diet soda" and "no high fructose corn syrup" (which, combined, means "no soda" for me...which I've not had or missed for over 5 years now). And then there was "no artificial sweeteners" and "no artificial ingredients" too. That last one stung a bit.
Admittedly, it hurt me when I read the ingredient list for fat free half-and-half, because I love my morning coffee, and I was using FF H&H to help maintain my overall fat intake at a level I was happy with...and so honoring my rule meant I needed to accommodate that added fat I would be getting now in full-fat H&H with my coffee...but in terms of competing priorities, I'm more concerned with what the ingredients I can't pronounce may do to me than anything else...so a little less fat elsewhere, and/or a few more minutes on the treadmill is fine by me.
Now to be fair, I started doing ALL THAT STUFF ABOVE was before I was trying my own hand at baking...and before I got married...and before I broke up with running...so I'm going to have to come up with some other small changes to keep me from eating too many of my own cookies (my fave!) and to help fend off the "newlywed nine" (which are akin to the "freshman fifteen" I hear), but you get the idea.
Let's be honest, this whole post (and others like it that may follow) is my own attempt at getting back to my own 'best practices' and advice, and incorporating them into newlywed life, but that's why people write blogs, right?