My Healthy Lifestyle, Healthy Hair Challenge

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Colorful Salad: Veggies and Nuts

Did I ever mention that I’m a bit of a wanna be health nut? 😉

Healthy Lifestyle Equals Healthy Hair too though, right? Having good health is very important to me. A few years ago, I decided I want to develop a healthier lifestyle, which included being more physically active, eating a healthier diet, reading food labels, cooking my own meals versus eating out, stopped relaxing my hair, putting natural products on my skin and in my hair, eating less meat, making healthy snack choices and more currently I am working on portion control.

I believe that I’ve done pretty well and I’m still working on continuing to develop the lifestyle, but since I’ve been traveling so much this year, I feel that I’ve been living to eat, rather then eating to live.

Traveling is not easy, especially when you are used to making your own meals or at least having healthy choices to choose from if you do go out to eat. On the road, options are limited and you have to do the best you can with what you have. For instance, I was recently in Nowheresville, Wisconsin, where the highest rated place to eat was Arbys. The food in this town was either bar food or fast food, with very few restaurants.  The restaurants were not much better; they served white or cheesy potatoes by default with every meal and they actually charged extra for vegetables! I ordered asparagus once and when it got to me, it looked wilted. When I bit into it, it was cold; I sent it back and they bought me something that looked as if it had been run over…I settled for a caesar salad.

After being on the road for a month, I noticed that my skin looked terrible, I was tired, bloated, and had gained weight. I was not a happy camper. I knew it had to do with my diet and lack of physical activity.  In an effort to get back on track, I have put myself on a Healthy Lifestyle Challenge.  In this challenge I will:

Modify my diet:

  • 85% plant based, 15% meat including lots of fish, 3 strips of bacon two Saturdays a month, and beef at least once a month. I have no justification for eating bacon; I just love it and will never give it up! During the last 3 months of 2011, I was completely Pescatarian (one who eats no meat other than fish); I noticed that I’d lost a bit of weight, which I didn’t mind, but I didn’t want my curves to completely disappear so I decided that I’d eat a very small amount of beef for the additional protein.
  • Switched to couscous as a healthy alternative to rice.
  • I swapped white potatoes for sweet potatoes; however, I do occasionally have red skinned potatoes
  • During the summer months, I usually buy fruit and freeze it to make fruit smoothies in the morning for breakfast or have oatmeal.

Get back into my physically active lifestyle:

  • Before traveling so much, I belly danced twice a week for 3 years. I plan to continue to dance
  • I’d begun taking Tae Kwon Do and did so 3 times a week for 3 months before travel prevented me from continuing. Though I liked that it challenged me mentally and physically, it’s not really want I wanted to do. I saw a sign for kickboxing on the door and since I’d always been interested in that, I walked in…how that ended up being TKD, IDK :)
  • I am going to find a gym that actually has a kick boxing program
  • There is a local Woman’s Self Defense class being offered at a Karate school that I’ll be participating in this month
  • 3 times a week, walk 2.5 miles. Last summer I incorporated this into my exercise regiment and had wonderful results, in that I felt great and my legs toned beautifully. Time to bring it back!

Portioning: This one is a biggie! It’s so easy to overeat, and I believe that most people unconsciously do it

  • When eating a grain, I will only eat 1 cup per serving. One cup of grains look about the size of a tennis ball
  • Say no to seconds! Instead, make my lunch for the next day using the would be seconds
  • Pay attention to serving sizes on the back of product labels, and adhere to them. It’s too easy to eat a whole bag of (baked) chips in one sitting :(

Make Better Drink Choices:

  • Traditionally, what I’ve done was purchase a 24 pack of water to leave under my desk at work. Each day, I put 5 bottles on my desk and make it my business to drink each bottle before I leave for the day. For extra oomph, I’ve added lemons, limes, or organic apple cider vinegar to water.
  • I cut out carbonated drinks for a year, but started having one a week recently. I’m reverting back to the no carbonated drinks plan
  • I only purchase 100% vegetable or fruit juice. Reading the labels on these items is crucial, as most of them claim to be juice but upon reading the label, you’ll find that they are far from it

    Last Night's Dinner: Chunky Veggie Rotini

For me, there is no end to this challenge; in fact, I’m sure that my list will grow longer once I learn more about things I can do to become more healthy. I’ll keep you posted on recipes I’m using and meals I come up with. Luckily I love to cook, so this should be fun!

 

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