Saturday, March 31, 2012

Getting in Shape

When I was pregnant with each of my children, I was a very predictable person. I would read all the nutrition labels, make sure to get all my fruits and veggies each day, limit my sweets and fast food, drink tons of water, and generally eat healthier. Then each child would be born and I would revert back to my old eating habits. More fast food, more sweets, fewer fruits and veggies. Over time, I began to realize that I wasn't setting a good example for the kids. I expected them to eat their fruits and veggies, but I would never pass up a cupcake or piece of candy. What I realized was that I was willing to give my kids the best start in life, but I wasn't doing it for myself. That was something that needed to change.

As I said before, at the beginning of the year our family went organic and natural with our eating. We stopped shopping at the big box stores and started shopping at Earth Fare and Trader Joe's. I made sure that we were all eating enough whole grains and fruits and veggies, and started incorporating more lean meats and fish into our diet while simultaneously cutting out the higher fat dairy products and sugars. Gone are the carb loaded pasta dishes with creamy sauces, in their place came tons of dishes seasoned with herbs and spices and citrus. We all got more active, and the change in just a few short months is absolutely astonishing. Higher energy levels, more endurance, better attitudes even. I still bake a treat every week or two (and give away 2/3 of it to neighbors) and we still have times where we head out for ice cream, but those times are much further apart than they used to be. As a result, sweets and desserts have become much less of a meal ender and more of a treat, as they should be anyway.

One thing that has helped make the change is the app that I downloaded for my phone called My Fitness Pal. Available online and on your phone, this app is wonderful. It has a huge database of foods to help you keep track of your dietary intake for the day as well as your cardiovascular exercises and water consumption. Keeping track for a few days makes you realize just how much you are consuming and helps you make better choices for your dietary intakes. I won't lie, for the first several days I was STARVING, but after those initial days my stomach started to shrink back to where it probably should have been all along and now I am down to consuming what a healthy person should be eating in one day without feeling deprived. Whether you want to lose weight or just get healthier and feel better, this app is an amazing way to help you on your way to that goal.

I can honestly say that this was one of the best things that I have done for myself in a long time, and I feel better about the example I am setting for my kids and the lesson that I am teaching them. Hopefully this is a lifestyle change that will stick with all of us for life!

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