|My goal is getting back to the intersection of health and happiness. What's yours?|
As I continue on my journey to be the healthiest I can be, I am learning so much about certain unhealthy behaviors that I didn't even realize I was engaging in over the past few years. And as I make daily changes to be a healthier individual, that voice in my head will not let up in reminding me that I have to let these things go.
As I get back into running and working out regularly, and I work to get my emotions and coping mechanisms under control, I'm feeling my body thank me for taking better care of it. I am happier these days than I have been in a long time because I feel like I'm in control of my life. It's a wonderful feeling and I refuse to let it go.
That being said, it's a long way to being perfect and I have no delusions about the journey to get there. I think everything in moderation is a good goal to have. But eventually, I'd like to stop doing some of these things altogether, and I'll be damned if I don't keep trying.
So, without further ado, here are the eating habits I am working to kick this year:
Not drinking enough water.
A very close friend of mine who is a very fit doctor recently told me that she developed a bladder stone. For whatever reason, the stones passed from her kidneys into her bladder without her feeling it. From there, it began to cause excruciating pain and bleeding every time she went to the bathroom. This girl is one of the HEALTHIEST people I know and she told me she was actually afraid to use the bathroom because of the level of pain she was experiencing. I cringed when she described her symptoms to me.
And do you know what her doctor said caused it? Not drinking enough water. She is super busy and would find herself usually drinking juice or coffee or whatever is in the house or her job. It's VERY easy in today's society not to consume any water because you have things like soda, juice, sports drinks and coffee available wherever you go. And let's be real, sometimes you want something TASTY to quench your thirst.
So what I've been doing to make sure I get it is forcing myself to drink it if I don't feel like it. I wake up, chug a BIG glass of water before I eat breakfast or workout. When I work out, I make sure to drink before, during and after (this is usually the easiest time bc you're dying for it), before lunch, I chug another big glass, before dinner and then an hour before bed (give yourself an hour so you can pee before bed, because yea, no one wants to have to wake up in the middle of the night).
Drinking diet soda
I really friggin love diet soda. It's stupid, they are gross and full of chemicals, but I love 'em. I love the fake sugary, fizzy goodness. It's very hard to give up. I can usually last a few months at a time, but then the devil's ambrosia, aka Diet Coke, comes whispering sweet nothings in my ear and I'm seduced by its deliciousness once again.
The interesting thing about diet soda is that the warnings are all about how the sweeteners in it make you crave more sugar and that's why it's bad. Well that means ZERO, ZILCH, NADA to me, bc guess what, when you're trying to eat healthy you're always fighting your cravings. They are a part of life, you don't have to give into them.
What concerns me are the reports about aspartame and splenda. That stuff is no joke. I've read reports that it's a neurotoxin, cancer-causing carcinogen, leads to alzheimers (which runs in my family), can trick your body into thinking it's real sugar leading to insulin issues that cause diabetes, causes metabolic syndrome and many other equally frightening stories. I don't want that in my body and the only place I really find myself consuming it is in diet soda and coffee. But I know I have to bid you adieu, my dear beloved. (Excuse me while I go cry now ....)
Not buying organic
Admittedly, the whole organic regulation industry is a mess. The regulations these days and the claims being made by supposedly organic/free range/grass fed meat and produce are becoming outrageous. Why? Because it's very "in" to eat that way and people are shelling out a lot of money for it.
Don't believe that there is shadiness going on? Consider the evidence below:
All in all, it's important to make sure you do your research about where you are shopping and which companies you are giving your hard-earned dollars to.
Unfortunately, we all consume trace amounts of pesticides. And FDA and the USDA keep promising that there are no demonstrated health problems. But do you want chemicals on your food? Do you want to consume the poison killing pests and just believe what the government says? Probably not.
While it can be expensive, the good news is that even just switching some of the fruits and veggies you eat to organic can make a difference. I was surprised to learn that apples are the worst foods to consume if you aren't eating organic. Switching the so called "dirty dozen" to organic can make a big change.
These include: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, grapes, nectarines, potatoes, peppers, lettuce, berries, greens like kale, collard greens, milk, meats high in fat (like red meat).
Some foods you don't have to worry about? (According to reports, although I'm still giving them the side eye): onions, cabbage, watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potatoes, mango, eggplant and avocado.
I remain skeptical of those mentioned above, but hey, baby steps, right?
Eating processed food
This is a long discussion for another day but is probably my BIGGEST goal.
The frightening reality of the American diet is that we are so often consuming food already prepared for us in a manner about which we have NO IDEA. I'm not even talking about restuarant meals. I mean good old fashioned microwavable food. How often do we eat lean cuisines, prepared soups/stews, tv dinners, "formed" chicken tenders/breasts/patties? We just pop it in the microwave for three minutes and boom, good to go. We're all guilty of it, myself included. We're busy busy people, but is your schedule really worth poisoning yourself?
By now, most of us have read about scary food ingredients you can't pronounce, but let me just share some frightening ones I've recently come across.
Cardboard and ink
FETUSES: (Yes, I did write that)
Additives considered to be "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen)
And the list goes on. Bottom line? It's time to start cooking our own meals so we can control the ingredients we are putting in them.
Also, if you really, really want to eat some junk food - like nachos or quesadillas or buffalo wings or typical bar food fare, why not cook them yourself? The effort it takes to do so may deter you and even if it doesn't, it's cheaper and healthier to cook it at home. I learned that tip, btw, from the AMAZING blog "Black Girl's Guide to Weightloss". I highly recommend adding it to your reading list. Very informative about the health and diet industry.
What habits do you want to give up? Share if you dare!
Have a happy, healthy weekend