By the looks of my green smoothie I think it’s safe to assume I’m willing to give any healthy beverage a try.
But to be totally honest, my first day drinking a green smoothie I literally gagged it down. I think it took me over two hours to drink it and eventually I just forced it down. I stuck with it for 3 days to complete my detox plan and by the end of those 3 days I had come to really like them. Now I drink green smoothies 3 – 5 days a week.
So when I saw a recipe for a ‘fat flushing water’ on FaceBook I was willing to give it a try. Now mind you, I like all the ingredients so of course they should taste great in water, right?
- Cucumber and
Granted the recipe stated the longer the ingredients sat the better the water would be. So I blamed the first pitcher on the fact I hadn’t let the water sit long enough. So I made second pitcher and let it sit overnight. Let’s just say the water didn’t age well. I didn’t make it even 24 hours into the 10-day challenge.
This was one recipe I just could’t gag down and try to acquire a taste for.
But I’m not writing this to discourage anyone from trying the ‘fat flushing water’ or any other healthy water recipe. Rather, I want to take a look at the root of these water recipes and how we can tune into our personal preferences to increase our water intake.
The major success of any of these recipes is that you are hydrating with water! In an age where we can choose anything from coffee to energy drinks, from milk to soda, it’s no wonder we are consuming less and less water in its purest form.
Let’s face it, water tastes pretty darn plain compared to our other options. And even though water may be the main ingredient for some of our beverages of choice, we are consuming a great deal of empty calories and/or artificial sweeteners and dyes as well. Cutting out these unnecessary additives is an excellent way to manage calorie consumption and work towards a more clean diet.
If you find regular old water boring you are going to find it extremely difficult to consume 50% of your body weight in ounces of water every day.
So why not seek out ‘healthy water recipes’ with natural ingredients that give it the kick you are looking for? There are a number of water recipes based on natural ingredients to meet your personal preferences. I really like Sassy Water published in the Flat Belly Diet, but for someone who isn’t a fan of lemon or ginger this water would be a total turn off. The key is to find one that works for you.
What I hope you take away from this blog is that:
- Water doesn’t have to be boring – find natural additives that make it more tasty for you
- Staying hydrated is key to health and weight loss – drink at least 50% of your body weight in ounces every day
The holidays are a great time to enjoy rich foods, tasty cocktails and late nights with family and friends. I did all of those things and enjoyed every moment of it…until the alarm went off this morning.
Could it be time already to get back to reality? Was I really ready to start my day with a green smoothie?
Now don’t get me wrong, I actually stayed on track with my workouts – I ran in a Turkey Trot and still attended my Boot Camp classes. And I didn’t overindulge ALL day long; I at least tried to keep myself in check for the majority of the day to hold on to the most calories possible for the festivities.
But today was a great reality check for me.
Lack of Preparation
Even though I knew today was the day to start clean eating I hadn’t taken the time to go to the store to buy the things I needed. So after Boot Camp I was hungry and ready for a green smoothie but only had about half of what I needed so off to the store I went. By the time I got home I had no patience do deal with the washing and the measuring so I opted for turkey on a slice of Ezekiel bread. Was it still a good choice, sure, but not how I wanted to start the day.
Lack of Sleep
During the week I do my best to stick to a pretty normal sleep schedule. I’m definitely not a morning person so anything I can do to get going in the morning is a huge help. Over the past week I had stayed up late, gotten up early some days, slept in late on others and completely ruined my established schedule. The result: this morning was complete struggle. Between trying to encourage 3 kiddos to get their things together for school and trying to motivate myself for the shock of the cold weather and Boot Camp, the 8 hours of sleep I got the night before didn’t seem like nearly enough.
Lack of ‘Good Food’
As I said, I didn’t completely blow my diet but I did indulge in things I don’t normally eat. I can tell while I didn’t lack in the quantity of calories, I definitely lacked in the quality of calories. It’s a little difficult to accurately describe but in short, my mind doesn’t seem as sharp, and my energy level (and motivation) is clearly lacking.
So was today rough? Yes. Could it have been avoided? Yes. Would I have changed my past week? Yes, well some things.
I think we all need a break from a strict routine but we need to be mindful of how all of those decisions will work against us when we are ready to get back on track.
I’m thankful for the lessons of my tough day and in the future I’ll:
- Take a little bit of extra time to get my shopping done the day before
- Enjoy a night or two of staying up a little late but stick to my sleep schedule as much as possible
- Carefully consider what is worth indulging in rather than having a little bit of everything
So I would encourage you to not be discouraged by choices of the past holiday but learn from them. I know I have.
As a side note: check out the veggie turkey I made.
One of the biggest challenges with weight loss and healthy eating is making sustainable life-long changes. If you’ve ever committed to change before you know how challenging it can be to maintain the necessary willpower to overcome temptation.
This is why in some cases it’s better to learn ‘moderation’ over ‘elimination.’ I’ll give you a personal example. I love going out for Mexican food. And when I say, ‘I LOVE GOING OUT for Mexican food,’ I mean I could actually go out for it every night of the week given the right restaurant. It’s something that willpower cannot overcome and I’m not willing to eliminate it from my diet.
So instead, I allow myself to go out no more than one night a week for my favorite foods and while there I limit my intake. Do I want a whole bowl of chips and salsa to myself? Absolutely! But instead I opt for just a few chips (5 or so) and push the rest away. When it comes time to order my meal I stick with the main dish and avoid the tortillas if possible. If the meal comes with rice and beans I only take a bite of each and leave the rest. When I am especially motivated I split my meal with my husband.
By still allowing myself to enjoy my favorite things I have the ability to control my intake while there. I have a feeling if I didn’t allow myself these weekly treats, I’d lose all control and completely overindulge in everything at the table given a chance.
But on the other hand there are things that I need to completely eliminate because even just having a little makes me want more, and more (and more).
Allow me to introduce my addiction to diet coke. Even just writing those words makes my mouth water. I met diet coke in my late teens and have battled with it ever since. Despite reading study after study, and numerous articles on the ill effects of diet sodas and artificial sweeteners, my desires for it overtake all reason and I allow myself to indulge in the toxic liquid.
So here’s my pattern…I quit drinking diet coke and then we take a road trip. I think, ‘Well, I can have just one while we travel. It will help me keep my husband company while he drives.’ Then we arrive to our destination and I think, ‘Well, we don’t normally eat here and a diet coke would really taste good with this meal so I’ll order just one.’ Before I know it I’m stocking up on the sales while struggling to keep the fridge stocked.
Meanwhile, my water consumption is tanking and my body is bloating. Yes, I know it’s zero calorie but between the carbonation and the artificial sweeteners I expand like a blowfish.
So for me, moderation is NOT a choice when it comes to diet coke. I have no choice but to completely eliminate it from my diet. One leads to another and before I know it I’m back to drinking 2 or more a day.
It’s been about a month since my last diet coke. Do I want one? Absolutely. Am I going to give in? I truly hope not. But if I do, the decision won’t define my journey rather be a stumble along the way.
As you think about making changes decide if it’s something that you need to moderate or eliminate. If you determine it’s something you should eliminate from your diet, don’t beat yourself up if your willpower fails. It might happen. Just know that just because you indulged once, doesn’t mean you have to fall back into old patterns.
Prior to our move I spent on average 6 hours a day, Monday through Friday teaching and training. I was at my peak condition and never felt better. It was probably the first time I can remember in my adult life where I stopped critiquing myself in the mirror.
But it wasn’t just all about my physical appearance. It was also one of the first times that I felt like I had a good handle on dealing with stress. There is so much truth to the release of endorphins when working out. That’s not to say I never got upset, but I was much more likely to let things roll than to react to something I had no control over anyway.
I slept better, I consistently ate better, I was generally a happier and more positive person.
Now don’t get me wrong, we couldn’t be more thankful for our move and my husband’s new career. It’s been a true blessing to our entire family. But as with all changes, there is a transition period. While I was focused on getting everyone settled here I kind of lost sight of who I was and what I needed to be whole.
I joined a gym near our house but struggled to get into a consistent routine. I’d have a good week, then a bad week, a good week, then two bad weeks. I just couldn’t find a rhythm.
I was able to keep us eating generally healthy until summer hit and then fattening BBQs and eating out were so much easier after a long day of lounging at the pool. Notice I wasn’t swimming at the pool – just lounging.
The more inactive I became the worse my sleep patterns were and while I can’t say I was stressed out, I certainly didn’t have the calm I had come to know.
All of these things contributed to my clothes fitting tighter and tighter and longer periods of examination in the mirror. I reverted back to that girl who tried on 5 different things before deciding on an outfit that I hoped would hide the imperfections I couldn’t stop staring at.
I had not only lost all of the progress I had gained physically, I had lost the confidence and the happiness that had previously defined me.
My husband had a long week of travel which left me to do some deep soul searching. It was during that week I realized it was time to find myself again.
With the kiddos back in school and our family operating on a more normal schedule it’s been much easier for me to consistently hit the gym and make healthy meals.
I’ve discovered that while the gym I have belonged to is close and cheap, I don’t feel challenged by their classes and I’m likely to make excuses for not going. On the other hand I’ve discovered both a Boot Camp and a Boxing gym that I can’t get enough of!
The past two weeks have been a great reminder of who I was and why I loved being in the fitness industry. It feels good to have sore muscles, I like pushing myself so hard that I have to catch my breath and being drenched in sweat is the best remedy for stress or a bad mood.
The numbers on my scale haven’t really changed, and my clothes aren’t yet fitting that much different but I’m not going to focus on that – all of that will come with time. What I am choosing to focus on is that I am getting stronger and healthier with each workout and healthy meal. I will not let my return to health be defined by watching the numbers on my scale go down, I will define myself and my success by shutting down the negativity and self-criticism and replacing it with confidence and courage to keep going.
I’ve always said the key to a successful workout plan is doing something you love. If you hate it, or simply don’t enjoy the activity you are likely to find every excuse in the book to skip the gym.
That’s how I felt about yoga. I’ve taken classes from some excellent instructors but I just never thought it was for me…until the yoga sculpt class I took yesterday.
The class incorporated yoga poses with the use of free weights and more chaturangas than I could count! At the end of class I was a hot, sweaty, exhausted mess – and I LOVED IT!
So I think it’s important for me to share my lesson learned with you…even though you may have not liked something in the past, be daring enough to give it another try. You may find a new instructor or format can changes your whole perspective on the workout.
So after a summer of sporadic workouts and more unhealthy meals than healthy ones, I spent the past week getting back to the ‘old me.’ The me who chooses to run or walk to the gym rather than driving, the me who looks past the diet coke and refills her water bottle, the me who would rather sweat from a workout than sitting in the sun, the me who chose a salad over pizza for lunch.
Was it easy? I’m not going to lie…at times it was pretty difficult. But was it worth it? Without a doubt!
Let me share with you some of the things I was reminded of this week…
I was reminded of:
- How nice it was to have the kiddos back in school and the time to get to the gym.
- How silly I think I look when I kickbox.
- How exhausted my legs can get from a series of squats against a wall with an exercise ball.
- How important it is to fuel after a tough workout.
I was reminded of:
- How difficult it is to run in the sweltering heat.
- How much I missed Pilates, and how much my core strength has depleted since I stopped.
- How effective exercise can be in reducing stress.
- How it is possible to resist over-eating even when attending a shrimp boil with friends.
I was reminded of:
- How much progress I had lost in both endurance and strength.
- How much I hate spin class but how it is a great cardio workout.
- How sore muscles can get and how good soaking in an Epsom salt bath can feel.
- How important it is to accompany your spouse to the gym (even if it’s only to walk while they workout).
- How much better I sleep when I exercise.
I was reminded of:
- How important it is to take a day of rest.
- How hard it is to choose a salad over pizza for lunch.
- How important it is to walk to a destination if possible.
I was reminded of:
- How important it is to still workout even when you are on vacation.
- How hard it is to stick to speed work on the dreadmill, oh, I mean treadmill but how good it feels to stick to my workout plan.
- How much of an appetite can be worked up after doing said speed work on the treadmill.
I was reminded of:
- How good it feels to kick the weekend off with a morning workout.
- How much I appreciated making and extra large salad the night before so I could easily fill my bowl for lunch.
- How important it is to set weekly goals and stick to them.
- How good it feels to follow through and accomplish goals.
- How good it feels to see the numbers go down on the scale.
I was reminded of a lot of great things this week. But most of all I was reminded of how good it feels to be getting back to the ‘old me,’ the healthier me, the stronger me, the happier me.
This year has been a whirlwind for me and my family.
I went from teaching and training 6 hours a day 5 days a week, to scrubbing floors and showers to prepare our house for showings. Then came the decluttering, packing and finally the move. The new house brought about more scrubbing and cleaning and of course the unpacking and decorating. By the time the house was organized, school was close to letting out and once again my schedule was going to be flipped upside down.
Summer always brings about chaos and non-stop activity. Between the afternoons at the pool, the BBQs and vacations it’s next to impossible to stay on a schedule. I am the type of person who needs a schedule, without it I’m lazy and inefficient.
You know the saying, “If you need something done ask a busy person.” Well I’m that person. But when left to no schedule the laundry piles up and the gym shoes get looked over for flip flops.
I know – GASP – a trainer who takes 3 months off from hard core workouts. It’s unthinkable. In reality, I think it’s what makes me human and it’s what makes me the type of trainer that can understand my clients.
I know what it’s like to choose a BBQ and beers with friends over a 6 mile run.
I know what it’s like to choose an afternoon at the pool with my children over a group fitness class.
I know what it’s like to realize you’re totally ill prepared for a half marathon that’s in a month.
I have passion for fitness and for helping people achieve their goals. I didn’t realize how much I would truly miss teaching and training until it just became one of those things I ‘used’ to do.
So after dropping my two youngest off at school I ran to the gym and put in a solid 2 hour workout. I was drenched in sweat and boy did it feel good.
Like many of my previous clients I know what it’s like to get off track, to lose the progress you had worked so hard to attain. But I also know how good it feels to recommit. Tomorrow my sore muscles are going to be the best reminder me to keep at it.
So I’m starting over. What’s stopping you?