I have heard people say that the carpe diem attitude towards life is counter to living a healthy lifestyle. In some ways, I understand the argument. If it was my last day on Earth would I forgo the ice cream cone I'm craving? Would I spend an hour at the gym or working out at home? (Well maybe, I really do love workouts.) No, you would enjoy every moment and indulge in all of life's pleasures.
BUT it isn't, as far as we know, your last day on Earth and because of that you should be doing everything you can to enjoy a QUALITY life. That means as many illness-free, high energy, feeling good days as you can manage. And that comes from a healthy lifestyle. So the next time you think "life is too short, I can eat that junk and not workout if I want to" take a moment of perspective and ask yourself these questions.
What if you live to be 100?
As many of you have heard me say before, I fully intend to live until at least the age of 100. Why not? We've got great medicine, I live a healthy lifestyle, and there are far too many places in this world for me to see and experiences for me to have in any shorter a period of time. Here's my caveat: I want to be 100 and still physically mobile with a sharp mind. What's the point of living such a long life if the last 15 or 20 years are rife with illness, pain, immobility, and a loss of memory or cognitive abilities? I workout now so I can live longer.
Is it about balance or a lack of focus?
I will be the first to admit I have a full on sugar addiction. It is something I constantly battle and every few weeks totally lose to. Every time I find a way to step away from the ice cream, donuts, etc. and get back to eating healthy. Here's the thing... when I find myself giving into cravings and grabbing something sweet on the way home from work, I don't pretend like it's under the guise of "balance". Here's how I define balance... taking the opportunity to indulge to appropriately enjoy a moment, an occasion with others, or to keep from a deprivation mentality. So enjoy the birthday cake, the glass of wine on girls' night, or the doughnut that one morning because it's been weeks since you've had a treat and it's starting to feel like a job. Just try to ask yourself if you're just off track when you make a decision to indulge. I'm with you in the struggle, but keeping perspective helps me break the habit.
Do you want to feel good today or tomorrow?
You might hate to workout and you might love fried food, but the fact is, maintaining a healthy lifestyle today will make you feel so much better tomorrow! Sitting on the couch eating junk food might make part of your brain happy in the moment, but you're going to feel even worse tomorrow. It's a vicious loop of bad behaviors that make us feel worse so we act worse to try and get more of a momentary high. It is impossible for me to share how good it feels for your body to be running at its peak, but once you experience it, you won't want to stay away from that feeling for long. Knowing how good I can feel is my best motivator for changing my behavior when I start to get off track. Give it a try, it's worth it.
So remember, focus on having a QUALITY life, not just one lived in the moment.
P.S. If you're struggling to learn what fit and healthy means to you, I'd love for you to join my free Facebook community where I post tips about how to find balance, love your body, and stay healthy and strong.
Ever worry about what others will think if you take up that hobby you've been thinking about for a long time? Worried what your family will think when you come home with a new look or a new life philosophy? Afraid your friends will judge you for making a big life change?
Forget about them. Just be you!
Too often we miss out on becoming who we really want to be for fear of others not liking the decisions we make. But guess what? If people are going to judge you or make fun of you, you don't want them in your life anyway! Happiness is something that comes from within and we cannot expect others to provide it for us. So find the things that make you happy, and do them. The right people will gravitate towards you and your bliss will be more than you thought possible.
Don't be afraid to be different. Different is not a bad thing. In fact, most people want to try something different, but the fear of the unknown holds them back. When I decided to go vegan, friends and family thought it was weird, criticized it, and thought it was just a phase. Now that I've been at it for a while, everyone accepts me as I am, is extremely accommodating, and seeks me out for advice on how to eat healthier. So set the example and see how those close to you learn and grow in the process.
So that thing that you've been thinking about but not acting on, try it. Do it. Plunge in head first and explore a new community of people and be patient with those around you who may take some time to adjust. I promise that if you do what makes you happy, even if there are some growing pains at first, your relationships with others and the world as a whole will be more fulfilling and satisfying. Do what makes you happy, and you'll actually BE happy!
Hello Day 8 of sugar-free living. Let me start this post with a confession… on Day 5 (Saturday) I cheated. One of my college roommates was in town and I haven’t seen her since September, so we walked around beautiful Colonial Williamsburg and ate lots of delicious food. Said food included a “no sugar added” soy mocha coffee smoothie, which I would wager does, in fact, have some sugar in it, but I have yet to confirm that, a small piece of chocolate covered peanut brittle, a glass of hard cider (from my reading it is debatable whether or not there is a true sugar content to beer-type beverages which use it in its making but the sugar then ferments), a fried eggplant sandwich (if nothing else there was probably sugar in the goat cheese spread and it was breaded and we’ve already discussed how flour is really sugar), and… frozen yogurt. I did opt for the no sugar added NY cheesecake frozen yogurt, and topped it mostly with strawberries, but there were some sprinkles involved and a few samples of other sugary flavors.
Here’s what I learned… now that I’m very aware of sugar, even when I eat it, I definitely do my best to keep it to a minimum (for example, choosing no sugar added options instead of just getting the tastiest flavor). The sugar didn’t drive me crazy or anything, but boy did my stomach have something to say about the offending food. Nothing too terrible, and part of it may have been from the dairy (usually I eat vegan), but there was some grumbling and a few trips to the bathroom. Oh, and my belly looked like a balloon it was so swollen… yuck!
Unexpected side effect? Sunday I suffered from terrible sugar cravings! Ask anyone I work with… all I wanted was a sugary vanilla latte in the morning and then all day I whined about how badly I wanted a soda. Thankfully I had enough support from my co-workers, reminding me that I shouldn’t give in and that I’ll be happier if I just stick it out. Never did I expect to have the next day be so torturous. Really, I kind of expected to just wake up and go back to no sugar without a problem, thinking all of the damage was done on Saturday. Sugar is really an interesting and challenging beast that I’m afraid many of us (very much including myself) don’t really fully understand.
I’m so happy that I resisted the temptations on Sunday and made it to Monday sugar-free. Monday was easy and today is going smoothly as well. Bananas continue to be my best friend as the natural sugar definitely fulfills my want for something sweet without triggering any sort of “must have it” feelings towards sweets. And my Chocolate Vegan Shakeology blended with unsweetened almond milk and a frozen banana in the mornings keeps me so satisfied (it’s seriously just like drinking a milkshake) that I don’t feel like I’m missing out on life or being deprived.
Looking ahead, I’m in the process of researching all of the sugar/sweetener options out there to see if there is truly a good solution to my desire to stay off the sugar habit and my love of baking and cakes. I’ll report back on that soon.
Have a naturally sweet day!
I'm Amanda K; lover of fitness, sweets, veggies, adventure, travel, and happiness.