I am thrilled to have Andrea from Mommy Got Fit guest posting today! We share a passion for eating quality, nutritious foods. I think y'all will love her....
Hello everyone! My name is Andrea from over at Mommy Got Fit. I'm excited to be part of a guest blog swap with Wendy! She asked me to talk a little bit about nutrition. This is something very dear to me. Before I jump into that I'll give you some information about me. I'm a mother of 4 pretty awesome kids. I have a 16 year old, 15, 5 and almost 3 year old. Living healthy has been an issue very important to me. The women in my family tend to be pretty overweight. After having my kids, I saw my weight begin to creep up and I started to get a bit nervous. I knew that I did not want to follow in the footsteps of the women in my family. I, like so many other women, started the unhealthy relationship with food and dieting. I ate too few calories, tried a few different pills, whatever would help me lose the weight. It wasn't until I began running that I realized I was messing up my body. Not only that, but I was afraid that I would send the wrong message to my girls. That leads me to the shift in my lifestyle.
Once I began running and lifting weights, I started, slowly, to view food as a source of fuel versus something that was making me fat. I found that when I would eat enough calories, that's right eat enough calories, I could not only get more out of my workouts, but I functioned better throughout the day. The problem with the whole dieting thing is that, while it might help you lose weight in the short term, the weight usually comes right back once the diet is over. It's a short term fix. I know, I know, if you just lose X pounds then you'll start eating healthy and keep the weight off. Sound familiar? We'll do anything it takes to lose that weight and promise to keep it off. We'll change our eating habits and live healthy after we starve ourselves and take diet pills to lose that extra weight. We are impatient. The problem is that it just doesn't work. So often we are so willing to sacrifice our health for the short term fix of being skinny. Food isn't our enemy, our habits and thoughts are, I'm not going to get into media and the diet industry here, let's focus on ourselves for this.
So let's talk about some key points in living a healthy lifestyle:1. Eat enough. Sounds simple, right? Depending on your height, weight, age, and activity level, your body needs a set amount of calories to just function each day. The problem is that when you eat too few calories your body goes into starvation mode where is begins to store food as fat and starts to "eat" your muscle for energy. The body saves the fat for a "rainy day" and uses the muscle as fuel. When you lose the muscle and when all that happens, your metabolism slows way down. So how do you know what's "enough"? That leads me to #2.2. Do your research. First, find out how many calories you need each day. I do not recommend using My Fitness Pal to calculate your caloric needs. It's great for tracking but not for the initial evaluation. I tried out several sites including MFP and was surprised that no matter what activity level I entered (I'm training for a marathon at the moment so my needs are high), it said I needed to eat 1200 calories each day to lose weight. Ummm, no. Granted it subtracts for activity level, but my base needs for calories is above 1200. Personally I like Free Dieting. It's pretty accurate. MFP said I need to eat 1200 calories a day where free dieting said 1510 for fat loss.3. Try to eat on the 80/20 rule. There are a lot of foods out there that say they are low fat and fat free. The problem with these convenience foods is that they are filled with crap. They have artificial fillers and flavors that are horrible on your body. A good rule of thumb is if you can't pronounce the ingredients, it's not healthy, no matter what the label says. I'm not saying you have to be a saint and never eat "bad" foods. I'm saying aim for 80% of the foods you eat to be real foods. This might require more prep on your part, but if you plan ahead you can make it fit. Try to make those cheat type meals (the 20%) cleaner cheats. Real ice cream, sure a few cookies you made with real ingredients.4. Find some healthy swaps. If you have some less than stellar eating habits (who doesn't), look for healthier swaps. My family LOVES their sour cream. Instead of getting the fat free stuff (stripped of health benefits), I use plain greek yogurt. They have no clue. Love you some sweets? Try some healthier recipes. Some of my favorites are homemade Lara Bars. So crazy easy to make and incredibly yummy!5. No willpower = not in the house. I am the first to admit that my willpower is not the best. If there is a plate of cookies in my home, I will snack all day on those bad boys. So my method is to not have it in the house as much as possible.6. Fuel for your goals. Use food to help you reach your fitness goals. If you are lifting weights (great for revving up the metabolism and losing weight) you will need to get some extra protein, especially after a lifting session. Starting to or already running? You might need to look at your carbohydrate intake to get you through longer runs. Food = fuel for your body.7. Working out is not a free pass to eat. When I ran my first marathon, I was heavier than I am now. I couldn't figure out why the weight wasn't budging. two reasons, 1. I was under the mindset that I was running a crap ton so I could eat whatever I wanted. 2. I wasn't weight training at all (another topic). It is counter productive to spend an hour in the gym and then turn around and drink a full fat Starbucks Latte (and I love me some latte's).8. Read labels. I touched on this before, but read what you are eating. That salad you are eating might be loaded with a nasty dressing that makes your lunch less than stellar. Read what you are eating!9. Drink your water! I am absolutely horrible about this. I am notorious for standing over the sink and chugging 2-3 glasses of water at a time to try and get my water in. When you are dehydrated, your body will hold on to water from the foods you eat (translation, bloating). Your body needs water to function. Everything from thought processes to metabolism depends on proper hydration.10. Only you can make the change. Lastly, no one can force you to live healthy. I just want you to know that it's worth it, you're worth it. I never thought that I would go from being a bit overweight to running marathons and competing in triathlons! It is never too late to live healthy.I want to thank-you for taking the time to read my guest post! I love meeting new people and promoting a healthy lifestyle. I hope you like what you read! Feel free to stop by and say hi!
Stop by and say hi to her this morning!