Been awhile since I remembered to post about fitness.
Today’s thought has to do with something I ramble about on here:
Fitness isn’t just about exercise; it’s about EATING RIGHT too!
Just like we can’t expect our cars to run without gas, we can’t expect our bodies to run without fuel either!
We are bombarded with food options these days, but the way to find the BEST options for fueling our bodies are to follow these 3 steps:
1. LOOK AT THE LABEL. Honestly, if it even has a box and label you could probably find a healthier alternative. BUT, going with foods that have labels, we can look at the ingredient list. If there are items on there that you cannot picture in their natural state…it’s probably not your best option for fuel. Sure, it’ll have calories and you need calories to help your body move; however, if the ingredient list has more artificial or chemical ingredients…they are most likely empty calories! Your body is going to consume them and the chemicals are going to tell your body you are still hungry, and you may overeat on those empty calories. Even if you don’t overeat these items, you still aren’t filling your body with anything that is going to help your organs and systems work at their best.
2. KEEP A FOOD JOURNAL. I know, this one sounds like we’re talking about a diet. I recently recorded everything I ate over a period of 3 days and was surprised at the things I wasn’t consuming. Sure, I wasn’t eating a bunch of processed or chemical-laden foods, but I noticed I also wasn’t taking in a lot of water or as many veggies in the first part of the day as I had thought. Keeping track of every single bite you take might seem obsessive, but it really will give you a good idea of what your are eating…and NOT eating.
3.GET CREATIVE WITH ALTERNATIVES. So, you’re not going to take in a bunch of empty calories or the processed foods? What are you going to take in? You need to find a replacement for all your go-to foods. Are you a big snack person? Cutting out the chips and cookies is great, but unless you find a healthy alternative you will be prone to go back to the unhealthy snacks. Try cutting fruits and veggies ahead of time and keeping them in the fridge, so you can just grab and go (like you would with the bag of chips or a handful of cookies!). Dedicate a day to baking each week and keep homemade granola bars or even homemade cookies in your pantry, so you can SEE the alternative right there next to the unhealthy choice!
If it’s not snacks, think of healthy alternatives to the unhealthy things you regularly consume. Hamburger Helper? It’s so nice and convenient but read the ingredient list! It’s overwhelmed with unnatural ingredients. Instead of reaching for the box, make your own! Using chicken broth to make a roux, you can mix it with some egg noodles and meat and seasonings to get the same meal….without the fake stuff! It might take some getting used to, but that’s because the chemicals in the Helper tell your body you need more and more and that you need to take in more salt and crap! If you can get your body used to eating REAL things, you will notice you don’t actually need all that salt or the Helper at all.
It’s not going to happen overnight, but if we can commit to cutting out the crap one food at a time we can get back to feeding our bodies the things it NEEDS.
Yes, it will take a little more thought and a little more time to eat real foods, but it’s so worth it. Once you’re taking in fewer chemicals or artificial ingredients, your body can focus more on using the vitamins and minerals to fuel it instead of constantly starving for more because of empty calories! It can work to strengthen your body’s systems and detox itself a lot faster and more efficiently.
I do have to admit, I am still working on these three bits of advice myself. I struggle, usually on the busy days, with just grabbing a box of something processed at the store instead of taking the time to plan out our meals and use real ingredients. BUT, I do know when I set aside the time to focus on putting real foods on my grocery list, making a menu plan that includes these real foods, and following through with the time to cook or prepare them….we all feel so much better! My husband notices he runs better and has a shorter recovery time. I notice I’m not as tired because I’ve not bogged down my body with a bunch of toxins. The kids’ behavior is even A LOT less difficult because their systems are going haywire with artificial colors and ingredients.
SO, my challenge today is to keep a food journal for 3 days.
What items are you seeing that you consume the most? Are they REAL foods? If not, would you commit to finding a REAL FOOD alternative for it?
If you already eat real foods regularly, is there a tip you can share for the alternatives you’ve found to help keep you from going back to the unhealthy stuff?
Next week I will have a post on the things we have found as alternatives to the processed things we used to eat…. a lot of. Hopefully you will find it helpful and commit to changing your meals one food at a time as well!