Tag Archives: body

Listening to Your Bod

4 Oct

Yesterday my sister called me complaining that she had a stomach ache because she overdid it this weekend. “I ate way too much this weekend,” she moaned. You see, she wasn’t upset over the fact that she over-ate (I’ve always admired my sister because she’s never let food make her feel guilty by any means), but rather she was upset by the way it made her feel...physically. It was family weekend at her school which meant parties and endless meals out. Between an entire chicken parmesan entrée to chips, dips and beer, she was definitely feeling it come Sunday night. Maybe a year ago, this kind of eating wouldn’t have made a difference on how she felt, but ever since she’s developed a healthier diet, she can no longer handle loads of grease, cheese ‘n’ fatty appetizers all in one weekend (and frankly, neither can I). 

This brings up my point that I-among many people who I know-choose to follow a healthy lifestyle and diet not because it’ll make us “skinny,” “healthy” or “heros” in any way but because it makes our bodies feel good. It’s funny because when I was a little kid (yes, I was a little chubby) I could eat an entire chicken parmesan feast (pasta and all) with a large soda, then dessert and feel wonderful afterward, still hungry even. Now if I tried to tackle that kind of meal I’d definitely feel the burn…in my stomach. My tummy can only handle half a burger these days (which I only do on occasion) and I also had to give up pasta, breads and pastries due to my gluten intolerance (grr). While years ago I could have probably downed an entire large pizza in one sitting, a slice or two (of gluten free) now does the trick. You get the point. 

Once you start to develop healthier eating habits, you begin to crave healthy food,  not because it’ll make you thin but because it makes your body feel good. While many tease me that I’m a health freak or admire my “amazing willpower,” it’s really not because I’m heroic or super motivated in any way; it’s just I enjoy healthy, wholesome food. Believe it or nut, but I actually crave grilled salmon and chicken with roasted vegetables. Hummus, edamame, kale, and other food people find “weird” or “healthy” appeal to me, and many others. I love cooking and experimenting with new foods each and every day, making meals that’ll fill me up, spark my creativity and ignite my taste buds. 

I guess my point is that being healthy isn’t so hard after all. It’s just a lifestyle choice that soon becomes second nature to you. I don’t avoid Doritos because I think they’ll make me fat but because I’d rather indulge in fresh fruits and veggies (they taste better) and I’d rather avoid the stomach ache I’d get from eating a bag of oily, greasy chips. Same goes for the ChickenParmesa/beer/party food indulgence my sister was complaining about. While I’m sure the meal was decadent and she enjoyed every bite, she had to pay the not-so-pleasant consequences of feeling bloated and full the rest of the weekend. Maybe eating half or saving some for later may have been more gentle on her body?

That’s the whole point: listening to your body. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Know that foods are going to bother your stomach, and eat them sparingly. If cheese or beer always makes you feel bloated, maybe skip those foods on a weekend you have a lot of plans going on. It’s all about knowing what works best for you and your body, and using your body as your #1 decision maker. Take last night for example. I made a large salad with fresh veggies, Whole Food’s chicken veggie salad and a few mini mozzarella cheese balls. It filled me up for quite some time, and I figured that’d be it for the night. However, 9:00 rolled around and I was hungry again. No I wasn’t going to deprive myself, but I also knew I didn’t need an additional meal. So I met in the middle. I was craving salty and savory so I made a mini plate of low-sodium nachos with cheese and boy did it hit the spot. That’s listening to your body at its best. While 9 p.m. Sunday nachos might not be the norm,  it’s what my body was craving at the time, so I fed into it. 

I encourage you to do the same.

Do you listen to your body? What kinds of food make you feel good? Are there others that you struggle with (i.e. allergies, intolerance, bloat, etc)? Please share your personal experience with listening to YOUR body…

Get Rid of That Guilt: Why Skipping a Workout is OK

9 Sep

This morning, I got up early and headed out to meet my friend at Starbucks for…wait for it…PUMPKIN SPICED LATTES! Yes, they are indeed back and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Not only do I love the flavor, but it makes me ecstatic for the fall season: pumpkins, running outside, not sweating in my 100+ degree apartment, kettle corn, hayrides, apple picking… Seriously, I could go on forever. 

Anyway, as we chatted over our absolutely delicious “fall in a cup” lattes in the park, my friend admitted to something: she felt guilty for skipping her morning run. “I woke up early so I could run before work and then just laid around the house and didn’t do it. Now I’m going to feel guilty the rest of the day.” As I took another sweet slurp of my latte, I reflected on how I’ve been there a million times in the past. Whether I wasn’t “in the mood” to go for a run or skipped a cardio class at the gym due to pure laziness, it’s hard not to feel a little guilty when you skip a workout. I remember in college if I didn’t go to the gym for an hour each day or missed out on my weekly cycling class, I’d completely beat myself up over it. I’m lazy. I’m fat. Now I’m going to gain weight. I may as well not eat for the rest of the day. I should have just gone to the gym. Negative thoughts would haunt me for the rest of the day. Therefore, I’d force myself to exercise on days my body wasn’t feeling it, and skip out on fun dates with friends in order to go to the gym. Looking back now, it’s completely pathetic that I put so much emphasis on my psychotic workout plan.

Now, my mindset has completely changed. I don’t let myself feel guilty anymore because if I decide not to work out, I don’t think of it as a bad thing. The phrases skipping or giving up have such negative connotations to them. It’s not like you gave up on eating healthy forever or decided to drop out of school. It’s one workout for Pete’s sake! Therefore now when I choose not to do a workout, I think of it as just that. This was my decision. My body wasn’t feeling it at the time. I’m going to go with what my body tells me to do, rather than meeting my expectations. 

Once you have this mindset, you’ll never feel guilty about missing a workout again. In fact, I decided to skip  opt out of my morning run yesterday, and ended up having the most fabulous, healthy day because of it. I was able to make a hearty breakfast, do 20 minutes of morning yoga, and go for a long walk with my friend later in the afternoon. Sure I didn’t sweat a bunch or torch hundreds of calories, but I felt good about it and made the right decision for that day. On the other hand, I will be going on a 5 mile run this evening and couldn’t be more excited about it. I’m excited to challenge my body, see what my time will be and run in this gorgeous fall weather. However, if I happened to not be feeling it at the time of my run, I’d chose to do something else and would move on with it. It’s all about listening to your body. 

After all, working out shouldn’t be a chore; you should feel motivated and inspired by it! Whenever friends complain about going to the gym or talk about “forcing” themselves to go, I tell them to stay home and do something else, or go for a long walk to sort things out. If you’re feeling miserable and dragging yourself to exercise, it’s NOT going to be a good workout. And let me tell you: 25 minutes on the elliptical at a slow “I-don’t-want-t0-be-here” pace is going to do nothing for your body or overall weight management efforts. Our bodies need a break once in a while after all. And if you’re someone who exercises nearly every day, the occasional rest day is more than OK; in fact it’s good for your health. We don’t want to overwork our bodies now, do we? 

So to wrap things up: next time you find yourself feeling guilty about “skipping” a workout, try to listen to your body and think about what’s right for you. If you really are just being lazy, give it a few minutes and see how you feel, or start by just going for a walk and begin running if you feel like it (not ’cause you HAVE to). However, if you really do just need a day of rest, take one guiltlessly. There is always tomorrow and one little missed workout is not going to make the slightest difference on your overall healthy lifestyle (I wish I had known this in college). Trust me. 

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