“Abs are made in the kitchen.”
“Don’t eat carbs after 4 PM.”
“Eliminate the toxins.”
“Eat your biggest meal in the morning.”
“Don’t eat any big meals — eat six smaller meals throughout the day.”
The Internet is inundated with quotes, images, articles, and even blogs telling you how to live your best, healthiest life. I am thankful for all of these resources, and yet I simultaneously find myself feeling overwhelmed by them. How do we even know what is best for our bodies? What is really healthy? And as a complete side note, what are we trying to achieve? I think the biggest question relates to your goals. What ARE you trying to achieve?
For a long time, I was obsessed with what I put in my mouth. I counted every single calorie that I consumed and I completely messed up my metabolism and menstrual cycle (sorry, guys) in the process. The “standard” 1,200 calorie diet does not and did not work for me and my body (though, depending on your height and weight, it might for you, and that is perfectly fine).
So what was I trying to achieve? Well, at first, it was to be skinny. Not healthy, not toned, just skinny. And I’m not going to lie to you when I say I loved being skinny. I loved having a thigh gap. I loved that my jeggings were too big. But I also KNEW deep down in my skinny soul that that lifestyle was not sustainable and healthy. I was hurting my body by treating it this way.
Since that time, I’ve become a more serious runner, I’ve added another group fitness certification to my resume, I’ve dabbled in Beachbody coaching…you could say I’ve tried it all. I just want that one magic “a-ha!” moment to come when I realize that THIS one way of eating and working out is the one perfect way. I don’t know if that moment will ever truly come, but in trying different nutrition plans and workouts, I find myself becoming both excited and exhausted. I love trying new things, yet I’m tired of trying to keep up with all the new and different things. I just want to live without constantly thinking about my workouts and my food. There are so many more things that are more worthy of my time!
With this in mind, here are three things I’m giving up in 2016.
Eliminating certain food groups from my diet.
I really don’t like the word diet, because as Chalene Johnson says, “You shouldn’t go ON a diet, you should HAVE a diet.” I much prefer her way of thinking. Either way, I don’t want anything to be off limits. This is not an excuse to eat anything that I want…I know what is unhealthy for me. I never crave fast food or highly processed foods because I don’t eat them. I want real food. But, as far as eliminating food groups that are good for me, like carbs, or good in moderation, like sugar…I’m not doing that. It creates an idea that food is “good” and “bad” and I’ve been there, done that. That way of thinking takes me back to my old ways and I’m not going there.
Feeling guilty for eating certain foods.
There just literally is no reason to do this. I am not overweight, I am not unhealthy, and even if I was, I don’t need to mentally beat myself up every time I eat something that isn’t “healthy”. So I had tortilla chips and salsa while I was watching “The Bachelor”. Worse things have happened. This guilt, in a way, stems from the phrase “clean eating”. To me, it sounds like I can never ever eat anything that isn’t considered healthy or on my list of “good” foods, and if I do, then I need to work it off or make it up in some way. I’m sure not everyone feels this way, but I really want to remove that negativity from my mindset, and having certain foods that are “good” or “bad” doesn’t work well for me.
Looking in the mirror and hating my reflection.
No diet or specific workout routine is going to make me love my body. I have to CHOOSE to love my body. I can’t promise you I won’t make a face at myself when I look in the mirror, but I want to practice positive thinking. I talked a little bit about this when I wrote my goals for the year. This is important to me.
There is a time and a place for a strict diet and workout routine. If you are working towards a healthier lifestyle, I am so proud of you. If you are training for a race or a competition, keep at it. I’ve trained for races where diet and exercise need to be fairly perfect so that I can perform well. But, in living my day to day life, I don’t want a whole bunch of rules and restrictions, whether they are part of a plan or just made up in my head, to control my choices and my thoughts about myself. I want to look back on my life and remember the experiences I had with my friends and family, the good food I enjoyed, the activities I loved doing…not all of the time I spent thinking about how to have the perfect diet, perfect workout routine, or perfect body.
I just want to be happy.
Who’s with me?