Monday, August 3, 2015

Balance and Moderation

Discipline is not one of my strengths. At all. Especially when it comes to food and exercise. It sounds cliche, but I have tried a few different diets, including Paleo, calorie counting, and a VERY strict diet made for people who basically want to train to be in bikini/fitness, I did not want to be in a bikini show, but an old friend who helped me did...However, I was never disciplined enough to see it through for longer than 30 days to a few months. I lost weight but gained it back when I returned to what I normally ate. I also hated how stressed out it made me feel, and confused as to why I was cutting out certain foods that seemed perfectly okay and natural to me. Some of these strict plans and various diets, such as Paleo, work really well for some people and I have nothing against that. It just did not work for me, and since it didn't, I needed to figure out what did.

I decided that I was not going to just accept the fact that I am not good at discipline. It is something I need to work on, but I can take control of my habits and lifestyle, especially when it comes to taking care of my body. Hence my new plan - all about balance and moderation.

Why do I want to lose weight? I'm not obese, diabetic, or have terrible cholesterol. I am rather healthy and have never had major medical issues (thank God). However, I have never felt extremely fit or like I could comfortably parade around in a 2-piece bathing family genes are also somewhat against me. Both sides of my family have diabetes and one side struggles with obesity. I also have gained weight over the past couple years due to being in my late-twenties, a lower back injury, and adjusting (still) to working full time and trying to figure out when to exercise and how to cook for most of my meals. 

What are my goals? I want to have a healthy BMI and body fat percentage, feel energetic and healthy, and take care of my body. I don't want to feed it junk and suffer the consequences later. Slowly but surely, a lot of packaged, heavily-produced (?) food grosses me out and does not feel like real food. I also feel like crap after eating it. I also want to feel and look fit. I don't need a perfect body, I don't care about looking like a model or having a six-pack. I want to feel good in my clothes, be strong, and not worry about feeling conscious about my mid-section (my problem area).

What's my plan? I know that fad diets, especially very strict ones, don't work for me. I think I actually gain weight when trying to count calories - it is totally psychological for your body to stress out over numbers and calorie-intake, and hold onto fat. So I am done with those. My friend is a nutritionist and has a very balanced-researched based approach, and she debunks a lot of myths about nutrition (check out her awesome blog here). I recently asked her for advice, on what to eat if I want to lose weight, etc. and I feel hopeful this time. I sent her my 'plan' and she gave me her advice and a great plan to try (I'll post it in another blog post). 

My new plan is about balance and moderation. It's also fairly simple - eat natural, good foods that you don't have to second guess whether or not it's good for you. I think we make nutrition a lot more complicated and crazy than it needs to be. I also am not cutting things completely out (for fear of over-indulging on something later). For example, I told her I wanted to cut out alcohol completely for 30 days- she said rather than that, try for 3 alcohol drinks a week. I also said I should cut out dessert, and she said I could eat up to 3 a week, if I keep within the serving size. She also recommends a diet based high on fruits and vegetables (novel, isn't it?). I also want to cut out fried foods, chips, foods with a lot of added sugar or high in sodium, and too much bread/carbs in one day.

As far as exercise, I just need to do it more and be disciplined about it. I have found a schedule and classes that work for me, I just need to stick to it and challenge myself, and adjust as needed. (I'll also post my plan soon). 

I have found that if I plan well, i.e. cook ahead of time, pick out recipes, go grocery shopping before it's too late, figure out when during the week I can fit going to the gym, etc...then I can be successful. A little bit of planning and preparation can go a long way. 

I also keep a food journal, which is extremely helpful for me to see how I've been doing, and to plan for the week. I count how many veggies and fruit servings I've eaten throughout the day to make sure I get at least 5 servings- after doing this for a couple weeks I've found that is is coming naturally to me, and I crave fruit. I reflect on each day and write out some pros and cons to hopefully improve or stay consistent.

Why do I feel hopeful this time? Mainly, I feel like this is something I can stick to. I don't feel like this is a 30 or 60 day sprint. This is a long-lasting lifestyle of taking care of my body and mind. I am eating a lot of fruit, vegetables, protein, healthy carbs, etc, and I am cooking a lot (which I love to do). I still have not figured out completely when I should "cheat" (after all, fried chicken and ice cream are my two greatest weaknesses). However I'm not worried about not having it all figured out right away. I also have felt more energetic and positive. I don't crave ice cream every night like I used to (that's a miracle right there). I am looking forward to see what other positive changes this lifestyle will bring. 


  1. Sounds awesome Alsie. You have found the balance between acceptance (discipline is hard and we all have weaknesses) and change (making doable changes to become more healthy). I'm excited to read about your journey.

    1. Thanks Cristin! There will be some yummy recipes on here you can use too. I didn't see your comment until just now. I need to figure out my settings apparently :)