Yesterday I laid out the first part of a response to a question I got last week … and promised to outline the rest of the story today. So, onward we go .. this part of the story is one that quite honestly I’m still working on. Several of these have been quite successful. Some get good for a while and I backslide. All are pretty universal and have noticeable impacts that come fairly quickly. Yesterday outline a couple major lifestyle shifts and a return to intentional and moderately intense exercise. Today .. well, today is about how that exercise, as well as the rest of a busy life, gets fueled.
Most of us could do a lot better with our eating habits. This isn’t really news to us and many of the changes we can and should make are not mysterious. But “should” do it doesn’t always become “did” it and good intentions don’t get you much farther than excuses. Here are a few of the things we tweaked around here that seem to make us feel better, keep illness more at bay than in the past and at least for me, enable me to keep a schedule of teaching boot camp style classes, keeping up a fair amount of the tech work I still do and run the day to day of a household that still has seven kids at home that generally elicits a question that boils down to “how on earth do you do that?”. So, these don’t have to be perfect, but to paraphrase Maya Angelou … we do the best we can til we can do better and then we do better and use that as the new starting point. I will however, put them in some semblance of my perceived order of significance — starting with the one the made the most difference and working down..
- Give up (almost entirely) soda … what carbonated beverages, particularly dark colored ones, do to our insides is downright scary .. plus it feeds the sugar addiction.
- Cut down on prepackaged stuff (note .. “stuff” .. to call it food is a little disingenuous..) In order to get that stuff to live on a shelf for a extended amount of time, a lot of very odd stuff none of us can pronounce seems to be necessary in the package. If I’m eating something I can’t pronounce, I like it to be due to my lack of speaking the language of its country of origin. Luckily, I enjoy cooking so the double benefit of eating a lot of “real food” is it can take some time and effort to prepare (although note that we eat a LOT of raw veggies around here too!)
- Carbs are not all bad and some carbs are better than others. Carbs are an energy source, but we do our body a favor in a whole bunch of ways if we choose carbs that our body has to work a little harder to use.
- Fat doesn’t make us fat … well, at least not as a blanket statement. Fats are very important to our diet and not just for flavor. And by the way, something labeled low-fat is probably high in something that we should be avoiding!
- Eat protein with every meal. I’m going to assume that if you are reading this, you either already exercise, or you know you should and have intentions to do so. This is a great equation. Losing fat and gaining lean muscle (aside from making us look good…) improves our metabolism. Protein is a building block for muscle. Want more muscle? Eat more protein .. especially get some protein into your body in the first hour or so after an intense workout.
- Eat cultured foods. Our lousy dietary habits cause some radically goofed up gut health. But don’t underestimate the body’s ability to heal itself. You can fix gut problems by getting probiotics into your system on a regular basis. Sauerkraut, kimchi, cultured veggies, kefir, kombucha are some of my favorite ways of doing this. I’m convinced that I conquered my stomach problems by cutting out soda and instead putting all sorts of good bacteria down the pipes in its place.
There are so many more things that we could talk about, but these are the high points for us. In general though, don’t stress over it. A little common sense will help you make progress. If you make progress, you’ll notice and you’ll find that you want to take it farther. Success breeds momentum breeds more success.
So there it is .. simple, right? It took a while and we’re still working at it. But it is oh so worth the journey!!