This is an important topic to me, so this is going to be a semi-long post! Okay, let’s get started…
Way back in the day (seems like a million years ago!), when I was in grade school and into high school, I was a bit on the chunky side (probably about 10-12 pounds heavier than I am now). It wasn’t until high school that I started to care about my weight. So, probably about mid-way through high school, I decided to join the track team and began to lose some of the extra weight. In the beginning of my college years, my mom and I did Jazzersize together and I bought some home workout DVDs. Remember Mari Winsor & Winsor Pilates? Well those were my very first at home workout DVD purchase (oh yeah…and I think I bought a workout
DVD VHS [remember those days!?!] from Prevention too). I can’t remember for sure, but I guess I was working out several days a week.
never… somewhat…okay actually looking back on it, I ate more fast food/junk food than I originally thought…I definitely ate my share of french fries, pizza, zebra cakes, Oreo cookies, snickers bars, soda (specifically root beer), also, Italian family = lots of pasta and bread…you get the picture?
Also, when Justin and I started dating in my senior year of high school, we’d often go out to eat and, at that time, TGI Friday’s was our restaurant of choice (now we know better!).
I remember saying to my cousin one time…”as long as I’m working out, I can eat whatever I want!” What was I thinking!?! I definitely indulged more often than I should. Ironically, I was a vegetarian at the time and thought I was being super healthy about it. Looking back at it now, I was NOT eating the right type of foods and my diet was not well-balanced. I was eating fried, processed and sugary foods…so NOT good!
Justin had also gained some weight during the years we started dating and was probably getting even less exercise than me. A year prior to our marriage, he decided he wanted to lose weight before the wedding. He literally cut out ALL junk food and starting lifting weights and working out regularly. I’ve always admired him for his discipline during that time. Cutting out the foods you love and are used to is NOT easy! He did NOT cheat and stuck to his healthy eating plan. I, on the other hand, was still enjoying my zebra cakes (probably more often than I’d like to admit) and really only exercised on occasion (e.g. biking, running, etc.). Justin lost approximately 50 lbs, and was much happier and more confident in his own skin, and even more important, he felt better and had more energy. It’s been 6 years and he’s been able to maintain his weight during this time. He used (and continues to use) John Stone Fitness as a source of fitness information and motivation.
After Justin and I got married, I wised up and completely revamped my diet and exercise plan. I began to workout on a regular basis and stuck to a schedule. I began to care about what types of foods I put into my body and what types of foods we kept in the house (less temptation this way!).
I am by no means trained in this area and do not consider myself an expert, but I wanted to share some of the things I (and Justin) do to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
I always eat breakfast…a healthy breakfast. I’ve learned that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. What you eat for breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day, so I start off eating the right foods. I used to eat toaster cakes and sugary cereal…empty calories! Now I start my day with a healthy meal which may include this or this protein smoothie full of fruits, veggies, chia or flax seeds or I may have PB Overnight Oats, Kashi cereal or a healthy egg wrap.
I exercise regularly. Currently, I workout 5 days a week (I give myself Wednesday and Friday off). I either go to Zumba, do an at home workout DVD, bike ride (especially in the summer months) or do another activity. I make sure that my exercise routine not only includes cardio, but also some weight training (remember…muscle helps burn fat). Working out is a big part of my life. I do it for health reasons, but I also do it because I enjoy it. It’s important to find a workout you love and that you look forward to doing.
I don’t deprive myself. I’m NOT going to sit here and tell you that I don’t indulge in sweets (after all I do LOVE to bake!) or have pizza sometimes because…I DO! And I’m NOT going to say that it isn’t hard during holidays or when you’re on vacation to be good all the time because…it IS! I’m only human and I DO allow myself the occasional treat, but moderation is key.
Eating out. As you already know, we like to eat out. When we eat out, I typically stay away from fried foods and we rarely order dessert (every one in a while we do treat ourselves though). To name a few examples, I tend to order salads, grilled chicken breasts with veggie sides or grilled salmon.
I eat snacks in between meals, which helps curve my hunger cravings and helps me not to overeat at lunch and dinner. Especially when I’m at work during the week, I bring my snacks from home so I stay away from the office candy bowl (although I do sometimes succumb to temptation…ugh!). My snacks of choice include an apple and a few almonds, some type of granola bar, veggies and homemade hummus, etc.
I’ve eliminated processed foods as much as possible. I cook and Justin grills, so we always tend to make fresh foods for our meals. Now…granted, I still like my granola bars and cereal (and won’t give them up!), but I try to buy ones that are organic and don’t contain a lot of sugar, fat, calories, etc.
Portion control! This is key. I try to eat ONLY what’s on my plate and not go back for seconds (admittedly, sometimes hard to do!).
I eat clean as much as possible. I incorporate lots of fruits and veggies in my diet, and eat lean meats (e.g. chicken breasts) and fish (e.g. salmon).
So there you have it…these are the standards I try to live be on my journey to a healthier lifestyle. It certainly isn’t easy all the time, but I do what I can and try not to get down on myself if I slip off the bandwagon sometimes. I hope some of these tips are helpful to you and am curious to know…what do you do to maintain a healthy lifestyle?