We are a product of how we live, what we do, who we surround ourselves with and what we eat! Last week I told you about how after my first son was born I decided I needed to make some changes to the way I lived my life. Learning how to eat properly and exercise was something I had to self teach in order to make changes. I wanted to become a healthier person. I wanted to prove to myself that I was capable of doing this and set an example for my children in the process. It took time and patience for me to get where I am today. Am I where I want to be? No friends, it is always a work in progress.
I started with using Myfitnesspal years back as a tool to help me figure out what I was putting in my body versus what I needed to be putting in my body. I was neurotic about tracking every little thing I ate and drank. I logged each meal, snack and crumb that went into my mouth. It was exactly what I needed to stop and actually look at what I was putting into this body of mine. When you actually sit down and look at ingredients and the contents you can be surprised that sometimes what you think is healthy for you, is in no way healthy at all.
Once I fell into a rhythm it was no longer dieting, healthy habits became a way of life. This is where the focus shifts. I was able to stop tracking everything I ate because I had learned what my body needed, deserved and was asking for. When you change the way you look at things it makes even the simplest things much easier. Once I got to a point where I wanted to maintain my weight the focus was staying healthy.
What works for me may not work for you. Each person is unique as is our activity level, body build, and nutritional needs. For me it became about learning how to balance. I still enjoy the foods I love just not in the way I use to. I love food! I could spend most of my day eating. Since we are being honest here I will tell you that I do eat a lot. From the time I get up to the time my head hits that pillow I am putting something in my mouth. I try to eat every two to three hours and I choose foods that fuel me. With being a runner and maintaining an active lifestyle my body needs to be replenished with foods that will give my body the energy it needs. When I am in "training mode" I tend to eat even more. My body needs those extra calories to perform properly.
The focus of how I eat revolves a lot around my protein intake. Here are some benefits if eating a diet high in protein:
* Makes you feel fuller longer
* It aids in skin, hair and muscle repair
* Increases energy
* Greater Muscle Development with strength training
* May help in lower blood pressure
* Helps maintain better bone mass as we get older
* Protein can boost metabolism
* Helps to repair your body after injury
I start my day off with one egg cooked over easy on a Flatoutbread that has a light spread of goat cheese and topped with spinach. I like to put a slice of ham or bacon on it. I have been on this kick for awhile now. Granola or yogurt (sometimes both together) is another breakfast I enjoy. I love eggs though and could really eat them for every single meal. So eggs tend to be my first choice! I look forward to breakfast and go to bed thinking of it! Seriously, it is my favorite meal!
A few hours later after my morning workout I make my morning smoothie. I do this every single day! Some would think that one might get sick of smoothies every day yet there are so many different combinations you can make with superfood ingredients. I also include whey protein in my smoothies so it becomes the perfect post workout/run meal.
Then I have lunch, snack, dinner and snack again! I wasn't lying when I said I eat a lot. It is thought that frequent meals may help to boost the metabolism. This method has worked for me for years and I plan to stick to it. Remember though, you have to make healthy snack and meal options for this to work.
Some of my favorite snacks include the following: yogurt, granola, protein bars, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, popcorn, cucumbers, cottage cheese, and energy balls.
Dinner usually consists of some sort of seafood. I love seafood! I eat lots of salmon and mussels have been on my grocery list lately. Not everyone in the house feels the same way I do about fish so I also get my protein from chicken, chicken sausage and ground turkey.
Fruits and veggies I eat throughout the day. Every meal has a veggie and snacking on fruit is something I do as well as encourage my children to make a healthy snack choice with a fruit. How I eat becomes an example for my children. It is important for them to know how to make healthy choices and feel empowered that the choice was theirs.
Now, does this mean I don't ever eat things that are "bad" or that I don't "indulge" from time to time? Let me tell you, I indulge! Friday night we always order out and I look forward to this. I enjoy chocolate and love desserts, cupcakes and cake. This mama also loves beer! (and Whiskey and wine) It is all that balance I mentioned earlier. I would say I have a 80/20 ratio when it comes to clean eating. I don't feel guilty about eating something that would not be in my daily menu. I deserve to indulge!
None of this is hard. Healthy eating has become the best habit (after running) that I have developed over the past few years. I am committed to becoming a better me. Just as exercise is important, so is what you put into your body. Make smart choices, eat clean and enjoy the occasional cupcake or beer. As many things in life, you just have to figure out a balance.
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist. All opinions are my own. Consult your doctor or registered dietitian if you have concerns regarding your diet.
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