The Balancing Act

Would you rather change your diet to something nutritious or give up your smartphone? For most of us (myself included), the idea of eating healthy sounds just as miserable and boring as not having your phone. But why does nutrition have such a bad rap? Maybe because the majority of us were bored to the verge of actual tears at the mere thought of the food pyramid talk that was repeated monotonously throughout grade school. Or maybe it’s because every day you hear that some new fad is in and another ‘healthy’ food was found to actually be the complete opposite. When the nutritional revolving door is spinning so fast that you can’t tell what’s healthy and what’s not it’s easy to get lost and defeated. Nutrition doesn’t have to be hard and it definitely doesn’t have to be boring.

As a former fitness instructor I used to hear this lie all the time, and I used to believe it too: you can out exercise a bad diet, just work out as hard and as often as you can and you can eat whatever you want! Sounds like heaven, and a little too good to be true. I don’t know who started spreading this tantalizing lie but it is deterring the success of many people. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There has to be a balance between nutrition and exercise to be healthy overall. Food is fuel for your body, think if you put old sludgy diesel into a race car, while the car may be built for excellence with low-quality fuel it’s not going to make it very far. At the same time, you can’t just eat a healthy diet but remain sedentary and still lead a fit life. Exercise doesn’t just help with cardiovascular and muscular strength, it also helps keep your joints and bones strong and sturdy.

On to nutrition —-doesn’t have to be boring! Say again, nutritious eating does not have to be boring! You don’t have to eat boiled chicken and broccoli every day… try and have fun with it. And it is perfectly okay to eat out and eat with friends. Just makes sure there is a balance. Don’t starve yourself, enjoy life. The majority of your food should be healthy but make it fun and don’t make it another job. Find what works for you, you will be more likely to stick with a style of healthy eating that you actually like. Experiment and find ways to make healthy foods with quality ingredients taste good without going overboard on fats, salts, or sugars.

Don’t try and change things all at once (and of course, always check with your doctor before making any diet/exercise changes). Big changes are hard to stick with because you will wear yourself out and feel like you are giving too much up, this can lead to an endless cycle of yo-yo dieting and exercising. Slowly work from walking 30 min a day to walking and adding weights or trying a class, slow and steady work it into your life and it will become a part of your routine. Same with food, start by cutting out eating out and sweets and soda, then work on making meals that are nutritious and delicious. Check out Pinterest for ideas or find an Instagram you want to follow with great recipes. There are tools out there to make your life easier and to help you succeed, it would be a shame not to use them.

You can succeed and you will, just take the time to do your research and find what works for you. Make sure you are out and about and LIVING, go to dinner with friends, eat that cookie. It’s OKAY! Your guilt and stress may be doing more damage than the calories from that cookie. Just keep it real and in balance, it’s all about moderation. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Don’t make it “work,” make it a routine and you won’t even think about it, it will just come naturally. And don’t forget to love your life, and LIVE!

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