Three Cheers for Healthier Lifestyles!

August 6, 2008 at 1:42 AM (Goals, Musings) (, )

For the record, I don’t intend for this to turn into a physical wellness blog.  However, I do intend for this blog to be about whatever happens to be on my mind, and my physical wellness has been on my mind recently.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve slowly but surely been improving my eating habits.  At first, I only made a point of eating at least three times a day.  I’m prone to light-headedness, and given my active lifestyle, I need to eat more than once a day if I don’t want to pass out.  The biggest step for me was being sure to eat something immediately after waking up.  For some reason, I’ve always been able to convince myself that I can do without breakfast (despite hearing for eons that it’s the most important meal of the day, and so on and so forth).  Since the end of July, I think I’ve managed to eat something for breakfast at least six days a week.  Granted, it’s no banquet – usually it’s a bagel or a muffin, but it’s something.

The second, almost as difficult step, was cutting down on the junk.  I could snack on chocolates, Cheez-Its, corn ships and so on until there is nothing left.  What’s worse is that I usually crave it late at night, after I’ve been practising for a couple hours, right before I go to bed.  Last week I made a difficult resolution: no more sweets unless it’s a special occasion.  Granted, I’ve been somewhat flexible with my definition of the term “special occasion,” but at least I finally put my foot down, albeit softly.  I haven’t had an unhealthy late-night snack in at least a week and a half, if not longer.

A more long-term project has been improving the overall quality of what I’ve been eating.  Due to my current financial situation, and busy schedule, I’ve been eating cheaply, on-the-go and unhealthily.  I know enough baristas in this town to have a free toffee almond bar wherever I go.  With Dunkin Donuts’ current “Bases Loaded” promotion, their flatbread sandwiches and personal pizzas are beyond conveniently cheap.  Unfortunately, I don’t eat nearly as many vegetables as I should, and I’m consuming waaaaaaaaay too many saturated fats.  I’ve been trying to phase those out in favour of Starbucks’s Vivanno, which is essentially a cup of pulverised fruit and some protein.  Tasty, and surprisingly filling.  And if I charm the barista just right, sometimes it’s free.

An even longer-term project within that project has been cutting down on all the espresso.  As complementary as it is to my exhausting schedule, I know that it isn’t something I should be pumping myself with as frequently as I do.  Slowly, ever so slowly, I have been opting for green tea instead of the lattes.  I’m no expert in nutritional values, but I’ve heard “green tea” coupled with “antioxidants” often enough to figure out that it can’t be TOO unhealthy for me.  And it’s actually a better thirst-quencher than espresso, if I do say so myself.

I have NOT set a weight-loss goal for myself.  I don’t even have a scale right now, and I have no clue as to how much I weigh.  A few months ago I had an “ideal” weight that I used to be a few years ago.  Today I recalled that when I was that light, I wasn’t eating well, and I was incredibly stressed.  I was also probably exhausted more often than not.  Yes, my waist is not as tiny as it used to be, and my upper arms have a bit more meat on them, but for the most part, it’s all healthy weight.

That said, I am gradually diversifying my exercise regime.  Not only am I dancing more styles, but I’m beginning to swim again.  The swimming’s coming along slowly – motivating myself to go can be tough, especially when I’m going alone – but surely.  Eventually I’d like to start swimming at least twice a week for 45 minutes at a time.  Hopefully it will improve my stamina, which is definitely lacking right now.  I haven’t started yet, but I’d like to start doing crunches again, too.  I used to be able to do over a thousand at a time.  Now I’m panting after 20.  It’s embarrassing.

So why even bring this up?  I managed to catch up with one of my roomates-to-be tonight for dinner, and as I walked home, I realised that I felt REALLY good.  My muscles were pleasantly achy from the swimming and dancing the previous two days, and I’d been eating almost healthily for a few days, as well (if you ignore the kahlua ice cream I had after my delicious sushi dinner).  I wasn’t tired, and I felt happy knowing that I was taking better care of myself.  Admittedly, my steps have been small, but it’s a work-in-progress, and the rewards can only get better from here.

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