This past month I’ve been a part of a Facebook fitness ‘challenge’ group, as well as participating in our campus’s yearly Fitness Challenge.  Although I don’t fully buy into the ‘use my system/shakes/videos/secret method’ angle of marketing (plus, anything that has to do with business or making money makes me uncomfortable), I have enjoyed the anonymity of being a part of something but also having a level of privacy too.  I love that I can do gentle, effective workouts that aren’t compared to anyone else.

Here are a few things I’ve learned this month about myself, fitness, health, food, and exercising:

  1. A plate of salad fills me up completely differently than a plate of pasta.  I knew it was true, but until this month I hadn’t ever tried it out.  When I go through the food line on campus, I make myself a huge salad and then sit and eat it with my family.  After I finish it, if I’m still hungry I’ll go back and get some of the protein or veggies that is served in the main meal line.  When I pass the rice or potatoes or pasta I often think, “Oh, that looks delicious!  I’m so hungry!” even after I’ve eaten a huge, veggie-loaded salad.  I’ve realized that’s simply my mind wanting to eat the food, not my stomach needing nourishment.  Now, when that thought hits my mind I immediately picture another plate full of salad.  Am I actually hungry enough to eat that?  If not, then I know I’m not really hungry, I just want to eat whatever food is calling my name.  Sometimes I say yes and have a few too many pieces of homemade French bread, but often that simple mental flip-of-the-switch has helped me pass up foods that really don’t nourish me.
  2. Breakfast can simply be ‘the first meal of the day.’  I’ve started to think of breakfast way outside the box.  Like this.  IMG_3110Sure, I still make waffles, pancakes, quick breads, oatmeal, and loads of other healthy (and hijacked – gotta fit extra nutrition in where we can) options for the kids.  Breakfast is the one consistent meal that we eat at home so I like to pack in as much nutrition as I can for the little ones.  For me, though, I’ve found that choosing a variety of real, whole foods that ‘go’ together is the best option to start my day.  Usually it’s a mix of veggies – fresh, sautéed, or roasted – with a fried egg, some Greek yogurt or hummus, nuts, seeds, and a diced apple.  It fills me up and keeps me full for awhile.  Sometimes I’ll nibble on whatever I made for the kids (especially if they snagged some of what I made for me) but I try to mostly stick with what I made for myself.
  3. High intensity exercise still sends me into a panic.  Something is there still from way back in the day when I was dating J and got into to running to make him happy. Whenever my heart rate goes up and I start to break a sweat, waves of anxiety and fear start to wash over me.  I’d rather stick with something low impact and effective (loving all of these videos – have done some of the series three or four times!) than push myself to do something that others think is good for me but really I hate.  I’ve been doing two short Pilates videos as soon as I wake up and then a bunch of sun salutations.  It’s working – I’ve gone down one notch in my belt.  I like it and I like the routine it sets for my day.
  4. If it’s not on my plate, I won’t eat it.  Back to the food line on campus…skip the bread, the tortilla, the extras that fill me up but do nothing for my wellness.  Once I get to the table I won’t eat it since it’s not in front of me anymore.  Simple but true.
  5. Late night snacking needs to go.  For the Fitness Challenge this month I set a goal to finish eating for the day by 8:30 PM.  I’ve had this goal for about three months now and it’s been revolutionary.  I had a habit pattern of eating after the kids go to bed as a reward.  I reset my pattern – thanks to HUGE stacks of books from the library – and now use the end of the day (my cue) to pick up another good book from the stack (pattern) and read the night away (reward).
  6. Sugar?  Buh-bye.  I’m seriously flirting with the idea of no sugar all year.  Sweet, desserts, candy, chocolate, drinks – all that messes with me so much.  I’m much more an abstainer than a moderator, and with no sugar this month as part of the Fitness Challenge it’s been easy to say no.

2 thoughts on “Me, Myself, and Wellness

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