Balancing Food & Fun

One of my favorite things in the world is food, and it’s even better when that food is GOOD! As part of my healthy lifestyle, I try to eat and cook real, nutrient-filled food. Our bodies are strong, efficient machines so we should feed our machines with the best things possible. Just like how a Mercedes runs better on premium gas instead of regular unleaded, our bodies are going to run better on whole fruits, veggies, and whole grains than on diet bars and foods.

a delicious and healthy salad in Italy

When I first started to lose weight after my freshman year of college, I counted calories and was successful in losing the weight. After starting to read more about healthy diets and healthy ways of eating, I began to focus on the nutritional quality of my food. I cut all fast food out and high fructose corn syrup (easier said than done) from my diet completely after readying Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. I even cut out all red meet for a couple of years. I also then began to focus on exercise, weight training, and making my body strong. My weight went up about 5 pounds, which I attributed to muscle gain and the stress of being a student.

Now as a full-fledged adult, and 4 years later, I’ve learned more and more about how to balance eating really healthy and cleanly, exercise, and having fun. This isn’t always an easy balance, but I like to keep my life 80% healthy with 20% of “not-so-healthy-but-oh-so-delicious” things. There’s nothing fun about diets. Diets don’t work anyway; only lifestyle changes do.

Cupcakes are best when they are mini and tie-dyed!

Here are my top 5 tips for living a healthy lifestyle while having fun.

  1. Eat breakfast! It seriously is THE MOST IMPORTANT meal of the day. You starve your body all night so you need to feed your body within 1 hour of waking. It doesn’t have to be huge, but it needs to be nutrient-dense to get your metabolism revving. Some great options are plain greek yogurt with berries or a whole grain english muffin with a tablespoon of pb. Even a banana on the go is better than nothing.
  2. Don’t skip meals. Again, it’s like skipping breakfast, you won’t save yourself any calories. Skipping a meal flicks a switch in your brain that says that your starving your body. Your metabolism will drop and will most likely gorge later on.
  3. Get moving and do it often. Even if you’re not a runner, spinner, yogi, or gym rat, get moving! Take a daily walk. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. It’s better for your bones, muscles, and heart.
  4. When it comes to deserts, indulge but not TOO much.I love desserts. I love pies, cakes, cookies, cupcakes, pastries – you name it. The trick is to indulge when you can, but not too much. Treat your dessert like it is, a treat. Eat slowly and enjoy the flavors. Before you know it, you won’t want the entire massive Cheesecake factory size slice anymore.
  5. Enjoy a night out on the town, but get back on track the next day. I’m guilty of this too: you go out with your friends one night, drink a few too many adult beverages and you feel like kaka in the morning. You then have a huge greasy breakfast and lay on the couch feeling crappy and guilty all day. DO NOT DO THIS! Don’t feel guilty about going out and drinking. Enjoy your free time and your life. Just get back on track with your healthy lifestyle the next day. Eat a healthy breakfast and do something active. One of the best hangover cures is exercise (I swear to god it is, trust me). Before you know it, you’ll be feeling much better.

We only get one life and one body. Treat it right, but have fun too. 🙂