Over the past few months, I have found myself (finally) making commitments to do the things that are enjoyable for me on a semi-consistent ... let's say, weekly basis. Tonight, for example, a lovely weekend-eve Friday night, I got home around 5:30pm after work, put on my Pj's, poured a short glass of white wine, and snacked on a random assortment of foods including cheese, apple, gluten-free pretzels, carrots, prunes, and salami. Okay, and a little ice cream. I was relaxed, comfortable, and just enjoying the peace of being home.
To be honest, I knew I wanted to write tonight, and I did not want to spend time cooking... and in the end, did not eat a very healthy meal by my standards. (Can I even call it a meal?)
Truthfully, I eat this way frequently. Although, generally in a more organized "here is the pu-pu platter" kind of assorted fruits, veggies, meats, and cheeses manner. Chopping and not cooking is easy, delicious, and I have to say, I think there is something to eating raw that I might like to explore. I have so much energy when I snack on whole foods!
I do not know when or how it happened, but at some point in my young adult life, I started fantasizing about eating healthy foods. I was terrible at it in my teens, and my early 20's. Dorm food and low budgets do not make for choice selections in the grocery aisle. I find myself now, reading the ingredients on any food that comes pre-packaged (or on any health and beauty item - there are so many unrecognizable items in face cream! I mean, really! Do you want .... "whateverthatis" on your face and in your body???)
My turning point came in 2009, when I signed up with a trainer at my local 24 Hour Fitness. I was relieved when I found out I would be training with a woman - a girl, in fact someone my age. She had spunk, was super cute, strong, funny, and knew just what to say to get me to do what she wanted. In less than two weeks, I was on a very regimented work-out schedule, keeping a food (and "how are you feeling") journal, and pushing physical boundaries I never thought I would be touching.
It's true, in two months I had lost a significant amount of body fat, gained 7 pounds of lean muscle and I was working out with such focus and intensity, the only time I was approached by a man at the gym it went like this: Him - "You look like you're working hard." (slight smile on his mouth). Me - "Yes, I am." (Matter-of-factly) Him - " . . . (crickets) . . . " (turns and leaves). I scared him away. ...Must learn how to appropriately engage in conversation with interested men... oh, well.
Over time, I lost my enthusiasm for the gym. The things I really kept in practice are in regards to food. Portion size, variety, the importance of having lots of colors in your food, frequency of meals to keep up the metabolism... all of these have had a tremendous impact on my energy level, how I feel in my body, and combating tiredness. The greatest impact was unintentional - I was instructed not to eat carbs (ie: bread and wheat) except in the morning. Oatmeal or sprouted wheat toast were ok in the early hours when you are kick-starting your body. By following this advice, I learned how much my body dislikes wheat, and I am so grateful to have been given this knowledge before any number of physical consequences reared their ugly heads.
Despite all my training and the lessons I have learned, I am constantly striving to eat better. I want to eat more vegetables. I want to eat less sugar, in fact, perhaps eliminate all processed sugar from my diet. I want to cook more of my meals. I want to eat local foods that I purchase at the farmer's market to support local business, and make Earth-healthy choices (closer food equals less fossil fuel consumption in shipping goods). Making these changes takes time, energy, planning, prepping, and spending time at home cooking rather than choosing social occasions eating out. Lifestyle change - difficult, important, and definitely possible.
So this month, I am choosing to Nourish my heart, soul, and continue to honor and nourish my feet and legs with running (especially with a Marathon and a 50K coming up in the near future). For my heart, I am participating in a 30 push-ups/day for 30 days challenge inspired by a couple of very cool ladies over at It's A Marathon AND A Sprint, Colby and Tina (arm and core strength are good for the heart, right?). For my soul, I am committing to writing every day for the month of May, following the BlogHer prompts for "Nourish" NaBloPoMo. I love that they have put together a "Write Your Heart Out" theme for every month! Whenever you decide to pick up the pen, you can find support of other writers, getting their Blog on.
Here's to writing, running, pushing-up for dynamite shoulders, and eating like we've always dreamed so we can feel that good.
Happy Nourish-ing... ~Alaina