I run a couple fitness e-courses. The one I’m currently running is called Not Your Average Fitness Course, Phase I: Sweat and Glow.
Back when I first started offering this course I was going through a weight loss journey myself, and so the course was mainly focused on that. Losing weight.
Now that I’m a littler older and wiser, and now that I’ve stopped solely obsessing over the number on the scale and the number on the tag in my pants, and now that I’m more comfortable with my body and have stopped unrealistically chasing the body I had twenty five years ago and before kids, the course has evolved to just what the title says.
It’s about fitness. It’s about getting people to lead a more active lifestyle. It’s about setting a good example for your kids. It’s about learning to push yourself out of your comfort zone cause some pretty good stuff happens when you do that. It’s about realizing that if you suffer from anxiety or depression, moving your ass is the best thing you can do for yourself.
So the focus of the first course is making exercise a regular part of your daily routine.
Many women who are currently enrolled have been asking me about food. What food can they eat? What food can’t they eat?
I was going to answer them in the group. But I feel kind of strongly about this. So I figured I’d address it here.
I think we Americans have a really fucked up view about food. And I think that has happened because we are always in a rush. We are always multitasking. We are always trying to save time because we are always feeling like we can’t take the time to stop and eat a meal. Everything has to be on the go. Everything has to be convenient. Everything has to be ready in less than a minute.
And most of us don’t even eat actual food anymore.
We are mindlessly shoving who knows what into our faces while we shuffle our kids around to practice and school and play dates and we are teaching them to do the same thing.
I’m not immune to it at all. Food is the hardest thing for me to get a hold on. I have a very hard time allowing myself to sit down and eat a meal and actually enjoy it.
I think it started for me back when I was teaching. At first I’d go to the faculty room to eat my lunch. I’d actually sit down and take a break.
If I was really busy or wanted to get out of the building before 5 p.m. that day, I’d work right through my lunch break so I could get as much done as possible.
Gradually, rather than that becoming the exception to the rule, it became the norm. I never sat down and ate lunch.
When you have kids, it’s easy to slip into that mindset 24/7. You are always rushing. There is never enough time.
The rushing is worse now than it’s ever been. We are all ridiculously overscheduled. And so drive throughs and microwavable crap in plastic wrap becomes incredibly enticing.
And rather than teaching our kids how to eat mindfully and prepare food and plan meals and prepare in advance, we are teaching our kids to eat on the go. We teach them nothing about nutrition.
And the cycle repeats itself.
So what do I think about food?
I think you should eat it!
And I think the French are great models to follow. They have an appreciation for meal times and they are generally mindful eaters. They eat delicious food and savor it while they are eating.
They take lunch breaks. Kids go home from school to each lunch. Many businesses are closed from 12 – 2.
I know! 12-2! Can you imagine giving yourself permission to enjoy a two hour lunch every day?
I can’t, but I’d love to get there.
So what about food?
I think butter in small amounts is fine. I think bread, in limited qualities is fine.
I think if it grows out of the ground, it’s great. I don’t think you can eat too many vegetables. I think the same about fruit.
I’m not a red meat eater, but I think it’s fine in moderation. But eating a half a pound of bacon is not the best thing to do on a daily basis. Lean meats are great. Fish is even better.
Unless your body can’t handle it, when you grow it or prepare it yourself, I think it’s fine.
Of course, there are those of us who can’t handle certain foods. There are people with food allergies or celiac’s disease and diabetes.
And while some of us may not be diabetic, sugar can still be really hard for some of us to handle in moderation.
It’s no different than an alcoholic or drug addict. When you are genetically predisposed to addiction, sugar can be dangerous. You don’t eat a sliver of cake. You eat the whole fucking thing.
So that might be something some of us need to cut out completely, at least initially, because moderation at first, is near impossible.
I think pasta and rice are fine if you watch your portions. I think your goal should be for 2/3 of your plate to be green.
I think real food is good.
There are some things I think that are really bad. Things you should aim to totally cut out of your diet at some point.
I think soda is bad, but not as bad as diet soda which I think is REALLY BAD.
I think artificial sweeteners are REALLY REALLY BAD.
I think highly processed food is REALLY BAD.
And I think most of us don’t drink nearly enough water.
I think if your eating habits totally suck, it can seem overwhelming and completely impossible to do a complete overhaul. I totally get it. I was there. And sometimes I still am. I’m still working on it, but I feel pretty good about how my family and I eat.
So if you are really struggling with the eating component of life, I suggest two things to start.
First, stop drinking/eating anything containing artificial sweeteners. Then, ditch the soda. Forever.
Then, focus not on what you can’t have, but what you can have. Establish a healthy habit. Even if you still have unhealthy ones, at least you know you’ve got a healthy one! Give yourself a small, attainable goal, like to drink at least 3 big ass glasses of water a day. Once that’s become a habit, add in another healthy one. Like eating veggies with lunch and dinner every day.
The more healthy things you put into your body, the more it will start to crave them.
The more you crave healthy foods, the more you will prepare them. The more you prepare them, the more your kids will see you modeling that behavior.
Once you start preparing real food, you will want to be able to sit down and enjoy it.
Then you will become more mindful, and as a result, so will your children.
And then you are on your way!
If you are looking for ways to incorporate healthier food and habits into your life, I highly recommend the book Eat to Lose, Eat to Win. It’s taught me a lot about food and nutrition and has given me a lot of useful tips.