So, I have the house to myself for 9 days while my boyfriend is in El Salvador surfing “waves of glory” as he likes to put it.
Here is how I have spent the first 3 days of my solo time:
Day 1. Sex and the City Marathon
Day 2. Sex and the City Marathon
Day 3. Pretending I am one of the Sex and the City characters, Miranda, Carrie, Samantha, or Charlotte, by going out for dinner with 3 of my best girlfriends.
Day 4 – Today. I am sitting at my desk, curled up in my chair writing on my Mac. I am pretending to be Carrie Bradshaw, except that instead of designer clothes I am wearing yoga pants and blaring country tunes (don’t berate me for my guilty pleasure). I am also about to write about cooking (something that Carrie absolutely does not do, in fact she allegedly keeps clothes in her oven, something I have yet to see visual evidence of but will just have to believe…)
Cooking. Although that is what I said I am going to be writing about, that is only part of it (I really just wanted one more Sex and the City reference). I am really going to write about healthy eating and how I stick to my personal eating plan!
My personal life philosophy is to aim for and work towards a balance between Social, Emotional, Spiritual, Environmental, Mental, and of course Physical health. As a trainer, people often expect that I eat nothing but chicken and broccoli in order to meet my daily macros. However, as an advocate of excitement, moderation, balance, and sustainability, that just doesn’t work for me.
Since the New Year is upon us, it seems time for us all to make our obligatory “I plan to be healthier in 2015” New Years resolution (that tend to fall by the wayside within too short of a time). Rather than doing that, I prefer to focus on things I can carry forward full time, all year, every year, as I strive to live my ideal life.
Here are the 6 pointers that help me MAINTAIN a healthy personal eating plan and lifestyle. I encourage you to try them yourself:
1. Plan ahead:
One of my favorite quotes is from Winston Churchill and Benjamin Franklin: “Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail.” I love it because it is so true. Take an hour on a Sunday to plan what you will eat for the week and make a grocery list to go along. Get your groceries and start preparing your meals by cutting up all your veggies, marinating anything you can, putting the contents of your daily smoothie into a Ziploc bag for speedy prep, and packing your first few lunches for the week. We promise that if you take the time to do this, it will work! (And you will even save some money on groceries by cooking and only buying what you need!)
While you are planning your meals, also plan your workouts and schedule them into your week.
2. Enlist a team of merry women:
When I say this, I mean recruit some of your gal pals or ‘bros’! Ask them to participate in your new lifestyle with you, and make sure you encourage each other. Trust us, even if your friends don’t talk about it, they likely want to live a healthier lifestyle too!
Recently I created a Facebook page with some of my friends, clients, and family who are interested in healthy eating. On that page we share our healthy meals as a way to motivate and inspire each other to do the same. We keep it exciting by challenging each other to different things…try using watercress this week….try a vegetarian meal….no sugar for the week…etc…
3. Get your goal on paper and look at it….everyday:
You may or may not have heard this, but writing down your goals seems to help on your path to achieving them. I am not sure if there is any scientific evidence behind this, but I know that when I look at my goals everyday, written in my handwriting, it personalizes them and keeps them fresh in my mind. As a result I tend to think of the big picture goals when I make my small daily decisions (what will I have for lunch? Will I take the stairs or the elevator today? Etc…)
4. Create a healthy environment:
Don’t even purchase foods that you know are unhealthy and will tempt you. Some people have serious restraint and can keep a carton of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in the freezer for a month before they touch it. If you aren’t that type of person, then don’t buy the ice cream. Also, if you are trying to become healthier and you have a bunch of food in your house that doesn’t fit your new life style, don’t say “I have to eat all this bad food before I start eating healthier.” Give it to your brother, donate it to a food bank, do something with it besides ingesting it!
5. Make it Public:
Remember that group of friends we said to have on your team? Well, by sharing your goals with each other, you can all encourage one another to reach your goals. In my experience, once I share my goals with others it makes me feel more motivated to achieve them. I almost feel embarrassed if I don’t achieve it, and I think that is actually a good thing. My friends help me be accountable for my goals
6. Be mindful while eating:
Take away your distractions and be present while eating. I have heard this tip a lot and it took me a while to understand what it really meant. Now that I practice it, I find it very powerful. Check out this link to the National Eating Disorders Association for some tips on how to be more mindful while eating. http://www.uhs.berkeley.edu/eda/7Mindful.pdf It is great practice for anybody even if you have never struggled with an eating disorder.
Many of these pointers are things you have likely heard before. My biggest piece of advice is to quit being your own worst enemy. Find your discipline and make it happen! Bad is Easy, Good is Hard. It is so much easier to go out for dinner every night than it is to cook. It is so much easier to sit at home for an hour than it is to sweat it out. It is so much easier to watch Sex and the City than it is read a book. You get the point. As my old basketball coach used to say, Easy is its own reward. Hard is much finer.
Thanks for reading!