It’s not about diet fads. It’s about a life-style.
Last week a very close friend opened my mind by asking me what the first three letters in “diet” are. I immediately blurted out, “die!” My friend replied, “exactly!” We had been talking about the fact that going on a diet, even though it is healthy, is synonymous with deprivation. That is what diets feel like for many of us —dying — yet true health and fitness are life-styles to be enjoyed and should not feel like death sentences.
When I first got pregnant it was hard to see my body transform into a shape it had never been before. Even though I knew everyone would insist that I would look great, I wasn’t going to believe it. Maybe it was a lack of maturity, because I should have embraced the changes in pregnancy as a beautiful transformation, like that of a butterfly. I questioned if I ever would be able to get back to where I was before. I couldn’t wait until the doctor gave me the ok to start exercising after I delivered. (I was hiking the Will Rogers Trail the very day I gave birth to my first child!) And so, I began my journey or rather, obsession, of getting back to where I was. The stubborn extra pounds really liked my midsection! I began to deprive myself of food and went on several crazy diets. The cabbage soup diet, all protein diet, and then vegetarianism. I was almost where I used to be, but I just couldn’t get to where I wanted. Eventually, I finally did it. And before I knew it, I could only enjoy my “back to normal self” for a few years…because I got pregnant again.
After that pregnancy I had to take charge the right way. So I sought out a world-renowned exercise physiologist. He taught me how to do it the right way. The crazy thing is, I thought that my weight would just disappear because he was so qualified. But what I realized during working with him was that there really is a method to the madness. You don’t need to live on a treadmill, or starve yourself until you start to fantasize about eating your beloved dog! It took discipline, knowledge, patience, and motivation. Your body needs to be fed. Needs the right nourishment in order to function properly and believe it or not, to lose weight. Otherwise, it will think it’s starving and hold on to any excess weight for it’s survival.
Every woman who has had children will tell you that this is a crossroads in their metabolism. Through one, two, three pregnancies, I exercised before, throughout, and after. And along every step of the way was the obsessing about losing my “baby weight.” With three kids in tow, I couldn’t always pursue my love of hiking, boarding, or running, but I suddenly realized that these activities were very goal-driven. That’s when I decided to try “playing” instead of exercising. After all, the “fun-meter” was supposed to go up with the kids in the house, right?
So a married couple that are friends of mine who don’t have kids insisted that we join them for an indoor rock climbing excursion. He was a professional rock climber, so we were in for a treat. The kids had a blast, and so did. Not surprisingly, I was very sore the next day because climbing is an intense full body and mind workout. We laughed, we encouraged each other, and we worked towards our fitness. And when we were done, we were famished, and headed together for a family and friends dinner.
From then on, everything shifted to creating a “fun life-style” rather than stepping on a scale to see if I had lost a pound. I realized that working out is not just about looks; it’s about FUNction and how it feels. I remember that any fitness activity releases endorphins that make us happy. I started asking a friend to come along on my fun fitness adventures instead of framing our socializing in eating and drinking. Fun became the focus of food in our house, with my kids included in not only fun activities, but creating new fun recipes with names that include “feel good,” and “power.” We were creating a new lifestyle, not a managed diet or fitness goals.
It’s so important as families and as role models that we live well and reflect the value of our health in our whole life – not just our bodies. Today I watch my kids make food choices and realize on their own that they need to get some exercise. I’m happy their learning the language of fitness, fun, and food.
Here is a recipe that, like rock-climbing, is fun and is sure to strengthen you. You have to try it: it’s tasty, healthy, and so simple to make.
The Active Life-Style
- Think about how you want to look, but also about how you feel.
- Consider the time you allow yourself to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Healthy-prepared meals, exercise, and rest don't happen by themselves.
- Write down your favorite activities that get you moving.
- Think about which friends or family members you can include in each activity.
- Create regular time slot where you can enjoy the time dedicated to your well-being. This can be food prep, exercise, and more.
- Stick to it! Consistency is the key.
The Power Ball
- 1 cup almonds
- 2 cups of dates
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- coconut flakes
- ½ cup Pumpkin Seeds
- ½ cup Sunflower Seeds
- ½ cup Chia Seeds
Power Ball Recipe
Soak dates in a water for 10 minutes.
After they are finished being soaked, put them in a food processor with the almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and chia seeds.
Blend for one minute until the mixture becomes like mush.
Put the mixture in a container.
Make balls and then roll them in the coconut.
Add in 2 tablespoons of almond butter flakes until they are covered.