SUGAR. It's everywhere and it hides very well, so you may not even realize how much sugar you're really taking in. I'm not even talking about our typical dessert foods. I'm talking about our drinks and savory foods. Our American diet is saturated in it and manufacturers have used sugar to make products more appealing to our taste buds. If you interview someone who visits the US from out of country, they will likely report our food is almost sickeningly sweet.
I've found that the more I move, the better I feel. I've also found the more I move, the more I want to keep moving.
Are you an exerciser? Moving our bodies has major health benefits that range from keeping our blood sugars under control to decreasing our risks of diseases and cancers. Think it's too late for you and you've missed the exercise bandwagon? Studies show that it's never too late to start exercising and seeing major benefits from it. Studies conducted on the frail elderly showed significant improvement in strength and health benefits when they initiated an exercise program, and those improvements were maintained with continued exercise.
I didn't realize how important sleep was until I wasn't getting it anymore. I was that person who REQUIRED a full 8 hours of sleep in order to function the next day and be nice. And then babies happened, and long gone have been the days of 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. On the positive side, it's been neat to see how God sustains us tired folk despite our weaknesses (and being prone to grumpiness).
I've never been very flexible, but I've found that stretching helps me maintain the flexibility I do have and also helps me to decrease muscle soreness after harder workouts. One of the physical therapists I worked with a few years ago started a personal yoga routine with amazing results in his flexibility and he reported he didn't realize how trapped he was with his lack of flexibility at the beginning until his body could actually move more following the program.
I love breakfast! My parents started me off always eating breakfast before school, and this has been a habit I've carried with me into adulthood. Lately with the warm summer weather, I'll whip up a protein shake in the blender and it not only fills me up and keeps me full, but has balanced my blood sugar so well that I find my mood is pretty even-keel throughout the morning. Eating a delicious donut or bagel for breakfast, however, leaves me cranky and lethargic all day.
Moments of weakness. We all have them. We have our goals, we are humming along, and then all of the sudden we are ambushed by something that undermines our resolve and we are tempted to give in. Sometimes we do give in. Maybe a lot of times we give in. Or maybe we live in a constant state of having difficulty overcoming our weakness and exist in the giving-in state.
Oh snacks. I find during some seasons of life they are necessary for me during the day so I don't get HANGRY. But it's also important for me to fuel my body with good-for-me snacks, otherwise they leave me reaching for more and more snacks that are probably higher in sugar and leave my blood sugar levels all over the place.
As promised...today we are talking about DIET SODA.
Diet soda was originally created and advertised as a pop safe for diabetics to drink, and over the years it's become an "in" drink for those trying to maintain/lose weight as well. But the numbers are showing it's not good for healthy weight loss OR diabetics.
That sweet and fizzy drink seems to hit the spot and taste just right with a lot of foods. Americans are addicted to it. But beyond our taste buds being satisfied, our bodies don't like it much. Harvard studies have shown that women who drink 1-2 cans of soda a day have a 40% higher risk of heart attack compared to those women who don't drink it and are nearly 50% more likely to develop a metabolic disorder (diabetes). If you haven't yet, check out this article I wrote about the importance of blood sugar control:
A big hang up at our house is meal prepping. I don't enjoy being in the kitchen. I also don't enjoy meals taking a long time to put together. To make it a little more difficult, Jon usually doesn't enjoy the same food I do and is a little more picky. But I have found that if I don't plan my meals and have them at least somewhat ready at the start of the week, I won't stay on track with my goals.
I love eating out. If someone else is cooking and I don't have to, I take full advantage of it and savor every bite because it always tastes so much better when someone else is cooking. I also can get myself into trouble here.
Vegetables. I find most people either love 'em or hate 'em. When Jon and I got married, the only vegetable he would *occasionally* eat was broccoli. It's been almost 12 years now since we walked down the aisle, and his vegetable repertoire has expanded by just a few, but he still tends to neglect that side of his plate. Cauliflower pizza crust is basically un-American to him. Maybe you're in the same boat.
Life can be crazy. Our schedules are hectic, our work is demanding, our families and friends can be filled with drama, and our internal fuel tank continuously sputters on empty as we just try to keep our heads above water. In effort to keep up, we tend to cut out things in life that feed us, things that feed our souls.
Do you ever feel adrift in your health journey (or life in general)? You kind of know what you want, but you aren't really sure how to get there. This is where setting goals comes in handy. Goals are great for helping you think about what you want, develop steps and plans to get there, and bring your vision into fruition. They give you direction and help you know where to focus your efforts.
How do I make good goals? How do I create goals that don't leave me so overwhelmed with the BIG PICTURE that I can't really see all the little roads I need to take to get me there?
We all tend to be creatures of habit and stick to a fairly regular daily routine. We find what works for us or what we enjoy, and then we keep doing it. But sometimes those habits aren't good for us. And man, habits are HARD to change!