When I was in my early 20’s, I cared about fitting into my skinny jeans at any cost. If I had an impending hot date, fancy event, or awesome vacation, it only mattered how I looked in that favorite new outfit. This meant extra time at the gym or running around the reservoir in Central Park lap after lap after lap.
Counting calories or carbs or fat (this was the 90’s!) was all part of the equation. Perhaps some latest, greatest “all natural” diet supplements (anyone remember when you could buy ephedra?!) and eating way too few calories. Hmmm…now that I think of it, perhaps this was the start of my IBS.
Slim Fast, Dexatrim, Atkins, Cabbage Soup, The Zone, Weight Watchers, Champagne and Cigarettes, Eat For Your Type, Xenical (hello Y2k!), South Beach, The Perricone Prescription… the popular diets of yore. This continued into the 2000’s. I believed I was healthy because I didn’t eat a lot of “unhealthy” things.
What We See as Fit
Even today, being fit is often associated with 6-pack abs, super low body fat, the use of meal replacements or other synthetic bodybuilding supplements and obsessive behaviors surrounding exercise and dietary habits. We see these images daily in the media and in real life going in and out of the gym. As a society, we have somehow come to believe that this image represents being healthy. But things are changing…
Change is Good
I have lived what seems to be a lifetime since my “skinny at any cost” days and I have, fortunately, evolved quite a bit. Being thin at any cost is no longer a goal. I now understand this is an unhealthy way to go about life. While I still believe it is incredibly important to exercise, keep moving, and to maintain a healthy weight, I have learned many lessons about how to achieve this and why it’s necessary. I am doing things differently by eating whole foods, getting outdoors for hikes, triathlons, and playtime with my kids, and being accountable to others in my community looking to evolve on their journey towards better health. With too many mixed messages and unhealthy (even toxic) foods pervasive in our food supply, I find the most success in thinking about what I can eat instead of what I can’t.
Is fitting into your skinny jeans what matters to you? If you find that this, or a similar, goal sounds familiar, then I would ask for you to rethink it. What do you equate with good health?
Living a Healthy Lifestyle
I enjoy surrounding myself and my family with loads of nutritious foods that make me feel satisfied and good. When I “crowd out” processed foods with healthy, nutritious alternatives (e.g., spaghetti squash instead of pasta) I am left with feeling satiated and energized. With that extra energy, I continue to stay active and exercise in many different ways. This fuels a cycle of healthy living.
What foods would you like to crowd out in your home? Begin by thinking about which nutritious foods you would enjoy eating more of. I’m not asking you to give up anything…yet. Just think about eating more of the healthy foods you love.
The Message I am Sending
In order to change the messages that my children receive, I need to be an example for them of good health. That means eating a well balanced diet which includes meats, fruits and loads of vegetables (all organic), and being able to occasionally indulge guilt free; exercising regularly and enjoying it. I also want to inspiring others to be healthy.
What messages are you sending to your children or loved ones about health and wellness? How can you edit this message to send a more positive, healthier one?
What Matters Most
Above all, feeling well is what matters most to me. I define this as being well rested, strong (physically and emotionally), free from anxiety, energetic, happy and surrounded by healthy relationships. And, yes, I still care about looking and feeling good in my clothes, albeit a size larger than in my 20’s.