Steady Health

Steadiness is one of the hardest things to accomplish in life. It's in so many of our natures to be all or nothing. We are either the life of the party or our spouse's worst nightmare. We are either way into a cause or we can't stand to think about that stupid thing anymore. We either live and breathe for certain friends or we are completely mad at them. We tend to be so flip-floppy, and it isn't healthy to be so unbalanced. At least I know I am like that a lot.

And that brings me to my main point: steadiness in health. Why are we either Olympic athletes or couch potatoes? Many of us (I) seem to be either indulging in buckets of mexican food or eating like a mouse in order to lose weight, running marathons and doing Crossfit or sitting on the couch for a year straight. Life is too busy to not have a happy medium be our auto pilot for health.

I'd like to make five suggestions on combating this unsteadiness in health, because, as we get older, we don't have so much free time to give to binging/losing the weight, or to devote countless hours to exercise each week after we've been lazy for too long. This is to help us not have an asthma attack when we get that next class reunion invitation. We'll be ready to look great, because we'll already, steadily, be living a healthy lifestyle.

1) Stop eating either too much or little. Listen to your body. If you're not full, keep eating. When you're full, stop eating. You really might be full after eating half of your spouse's meal at a restaurant, so don't write off sharing. But don't go hungry; that's when you are tempted to overdo it later.

2) Stop eating either pure lard or absolutely non-fat. You will constantly be hungry if you don't have enough fats, so include plenty of the natural stuff in your diet. This does include 2% or whole milk, cheese, butter, meats, etc., and does not include processed or fast foods. And, here I go with the crazy talk, consider putting butter or olive oil on your veggies in order to include some fats so that you feel satisfied for longer. (Side note: don't forget to include a moderate portion of complex carbs and protein, and a generous portion of veggies, at each meal.) 

3) Eat sugar now and then as a treat, but don't make up for it with the fake stuff. Sweet is sweet to your body. Although you may be putting a zero calorie sweetener into your body, you are still telling your body it's getting something satisfying and full of calories. Our bodies aren't dumb, and when the high calories don't show up, our bodies respond by sending us into the "craving zone". That's not a good place to be in when you're trying to eat steadily and not gorge. Eat a treat now and then with real sugar. Don't say "No, never!" to desserts, but also don't say "Sure, anytime!" (Side note: if you don't like to be in the "craving zone", which you shouldn't, also stay away from foods containing MSG.)

4) Stop drinking your calories in place of water. Sugary drinks keep us fat and flip-flopping. Sweet drinks should be considered desserts, and the "every now and then" rule applies.

5) Stay relatively active every single day. You don't have to workout an hour each day if you are eating like you should. Do a short workout/walk or run. Then do some yardwork, etc., and live your life normally and actively. Park a little further from the grocery store or forget that elevators were invented. Go on a walk or throw a frisbee for hang out time. Make little active choices each day, so you don't have to binge exercise later.

I used to eat something like a grapefruit and lunchmeat regularly for supper before I was married, while occasionally gorging on a tasty meal out, so I was able to keep weight off pretty easily. But now (for some reason ;p) my husband actually wants a full sit-down meal each evening, so I have to be disciplined and eat a normal tasty meal while not gorging myself on it. In a similar way, all of that time I had to exercise as a single didn't necessarily translate over to family life. Prepare yourself now for the time when you won't be able to binge exercise or eat to your heart's desire because of life's circumstances. Be steady and be healthy.


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