Today is my birthday. I'm not 29, but that's what I tell people! I've gotten to the age where it's obviously not true so why do I keep saying that? Well, aside from being funny, it's how old I still feel!! Well, that's not actually true. I feel better than I did when I was 29! When I was 29 years old, I was a smoker, weekend partier, non-exercising, junk-food loving girl!! I didn't feel unhealthy at the time but upon reflection I'm going to have to say that that is because I just didn't know any better!!!
So how is it possible to feel better at ## than I did at 29? Well, it started with a diagnosis of high blood pressure. At my Dr.'s prodding I started to add more physical activities into my life. I didn't change my diet at first because if you've read my profile you know what a slippery slope I've been down on that road! I was not and am not to this day prepared to declare myself on a diet. Never again. I simply started to make a concentrated effort to really move my body a few times a week. I found a class that I really and truly enjoyed going to and after a while it didn't even feel like I was going to work out! (That was Jazzercise, of course!) It was work, don't get me wrong. It still kicks my butt to this day! But I have so much fun that it's not something I dread. I look forward to it! I started with 3 times per week and thought if I could keep that up, I was doing great! And I did! Eventually my fitness level improved and I added in a 4th class, and then a 5th! I still never gave a ton of thought to my nutrition but as my fitness level continued to improve and I started to feel better and better I began to notice that certain days were a lot harder than others. And then I started to make the connection to what I had eaten that day or the day before and how well my body responded to the demand I was putting on it. If I had a day of really poor nutrition I would go to class and my legs would feel like they weighed a ton! I would be more breathless than normal, I would feel like I did when I was first coming to classes! I also started to tune into my body a bit more and tried to make sure that I was getting enough water and getting some good vegetable and fruits every day. On the days that I did well with that I could get through my work-outs so much more easily than when I didn't. I slowly but surely managed to go from eating Pizza Pops and a Dr. Pepper for lunch to eating a nice big salad with some lean protein and water for lunch. What a difference!! It wasn't every day, not at first. But more and more days were seeing the salads and less and less days were seeing the junk food. And I continued to feel better and better!!
Our bodies are really remarkable things. After a pretty steady but slow change in my eating habits I began to notice something really strange! I would occasionally have a craving. But not the kind you're thinking about. If I had a week of vacation my nutrition would go a little sideways and eventually if I strayed for too long I would crave veggies!! I couldn't believe the first time I actually craved a salad! I realized then that I had come a long way from the junk food junkie I had been in the past! And I did it without dieting!! And I continued to notice that the cleaner I ate, the better I felt.
I started to make a habit of shopping the outside aisles at the grocery store. That's where all the nutrient dense fresh food is found and so I made a game with myself that I would not, unless I absolutely had to, go down an aisle. Now of course, that is almost impossible because I still drink coffee and my cat's still need their kibbles but I refuse to take my cart! I park it at the end of the aisle, walk in, get what I need and get back to the outside edge of the store. It's silly but it's a great way to avoid too many nutrient void, processed foods. I tend to think that if it can come out of a box and be ready in 45 seconds in the microwave, I probably don't want to eat it!
I have been eating clean for a long time now but that doesn't mean that I don't indulge once in while either. I try to live by the 80/20 rule. If I eat clean and get lots of exercise 80% of the time, 20% of the time is for those special occasions where you just want to have a piece of cake. Like a birthday!
So, here's to feeling better than 29 at the age of ## and here's to you and your good health!