I bet that many of you have dreams of making your life better everyday and yet fail because you are unable to realize the difference just changing your daily food and exercise routine could make. You get stuck in the same routines out of comfort and because you often think that they work, when in all reality, they only keep holding you stuck in the same rut. So instead of getting stuck in routine that is making you more susceptible to stress, fatigue, anxiety, or even feelings of being overwhelmed, you must try to change what you now know. Rather than focusing on the exterior and the way things look, we need to remember to focus on ourselves and the way in which we feel in both mental and physical respects. By focusing on the way in which we feel eating certain foods, doing certain exercises, or even trying a new product on our skin, rather than focusing on what society deems is right, we will be able to get the better life in which we all deserve.
Let’s face it…I was stuck in that same EXACT rut you may be now.
For the longest time (and even years), I felt that I NEEDED to follow the same food and exercise routines in order to achieve the healthy lifestyle which I had so badly desired. Because I grew up with a type 1 diabetic, I grew up thinking that diet foods marketed as being low-calorie, diabetic-friendly, or non-fat were the safest and healthiest choices to make, and often tried to include these things within my day. As a result, for many years I often lived off of having non-fat greek yogurt, sugar-free dressing, sugar free coffee creamers, and other diet-related products (including diet coke). And for a while it just kind of stuck. As I got older, I got stuck into similar and yet different food routines that had apparently seemed to work. I had non-fat greek yogurt with fruit every morning, a salad for lunch, and sometimes only just an egg white omelette (with fat-free cheese and broccoli) for dinner, as I felt that was the only thing that would work. Oftentimes, I felt this so deeply that I felt discouraged every single time of having to eat as I felt that I NEEDED to have something than really WANTED to have it at all.
And while I could have stayed stuck in this rut for as long as I had wanted, the fact is that it did just that, kept me stuck in a rut, and I wanted to get out (and I’m still working towards it as well).
So lately I’ve been FORCING myself to do exactly what I was terrified to do and to step out of what I had been comfortable in doing. Rather than focusing on all the fads which society has often spewed out for everyone to follow, I’ve been focusing on my health…and to be honest it’s been the very best thing for me.
Making Changes With the Food…
Although it has not been very fast, as many expect it to be, I have changed several things in my diet and in my food routines that are better not only for my physical health, but mental health as well. These food changes have not only have helped my glucose remain relatively constant, contributing to my better moods, but have also helped in preventing the ulcers that I had been accustomed to having as a result of having “frankfoods” (as my college professor would have said). As silly as it sounds, these small little changes in my life have truly guaranteed me a new and healthier life, and I hope that they may bring you the same as well.
Changes To The Routine
Besides having to reverse diet (utilizing IIFYM and strength training to combat anorexia), and changing the calories that I had gotten accustomed to, there have been several changes to my routine that I contribute to my better moods and attitudes. And if they have made a difference in my life, I know that they are likely to make a difference in yours as well. But regardless of what I may write, just remember to focus on what does and does not work for you.
One of the main things that I have changed in this year and a half, was making a point to stay hydrated with ALL natural fluids such as water or tea. Throughout the day, I utilize water, water with lemon, decaf green tea, and a variety of sparkling waters to remain properly hydrated. I also incorporate water into my meals by making a broth-like consistency with my veggies and fish, as it not only keeps me warm (especially with the cold this season), but also to keep me hydrated as well. By staying properly hydrated with liquids and foods (such as watermelon, veggies, etc), I have truly noticed a difference in not only my moods or energy levels, but also in my skin as well. And if you are curious, here are two great articles that I read about the health effects of being hydrated: Mind Body Green: Benefits of Water and Benefits of Lemon-Water).
2. Decreased Coffee Intake
I bet that many of you are like me in the fact that you rely on coffee early in the morning to wake you up for those 5 am workouts. But while having coffee is actually a great antioxidant in that it helps to PREVENT a multitude of diseases (Benefits of Coffee), oftentimes it is OVERUSED to the point it becomes unhealthy (How Much Coffee Is Too Much?). But while each person is different from the next, I bet that many of you still need to cut back a little on the coffee. By cutting my coffee from 32 oz (YES) to 16 oz, I’ve reduced the prevalence in getting stomach ulcers and have also experienced much less anxiety than I had gotten accustomed to. Who knows, maybe one quick little change like this would help you more than you know, but the only way at knowing is by TRYING!
3. Cut out Zero Calorie Sugar-Free Beverages (ahem..Diet Coke) and Products (for the most part)
Another decision that I made which was much more difficult than others was in replacing my zero calorie products with those that were naturally made, such as water and tea, as I was terrified of being hungry if I gave these low calorie items up. And while it was hard to change from Diet Coke to seltzer or even light n fit’s to siggis, especially given what everyone else was doing, the fact is that by doing so, I not only felt physiologically better, but felt mentally better as well. And while I know that this may be an individualistic thing (as I know that my mom NEEDS her Twizzlers or Yahoo made out of God-Knows-What in order to be content), I noticed such a difference by making this small, but difficult change.
4. Focus On a Balance of Carbs, Fats, and Proteins
Another aspect in which I have been and am still trying to work on is getting the proper amount of carbs, fats, and proteins in my meals rather than restricting the fats. While I used to do less than 10 grams of fats per day, as I was nutritionally misguided to do, I somehow have been trying to get closer to 50-55 grams of fats per day, and its truly made all the difference in not only my mood, but my hair as well, as the fats not only keep me satiated, but also help me to absorb certain vitamins as well
(Vitamins ADEK)! And while I can go more into depth based on what I learned in college, and even the new studies that have been published since, I’m going to just leave it at this; that you truly don’t need to nor should you restrict fats unless medically advised. Likewise, you shouldn’t follow a fad diet that your friends follow just to fit in if you are not enjoying it nor feeling well while doing so. Instead, find something small that you can change in your food routine and see what a difference a little step could make.
5. GTS Kombucha
Last but not least, one of the changes that I have made is in incorporating a beverage called kombucha into my daily routine. If you have not heard of such a thing, kombucha is a FERMENTED beverage made out of black tea and sugar that has been acclaimed to be a functional food, as it contains PROBIOTICS. According to the science in which we have NOW, kombucha has been acclaimed to have a great effect in strengthening the immune system, helping the digestive system, fighting off cancer, boosting energy, easing joint pain, and a plethora of other things mentioned here (DrAxe). And while you can question these benefits and ask yourself if it’s really the cost, as I did for many years, the truth of the matter is that this small change truly did make a difference in my own life.
But before I go on about the changes it’s made in my own life, I just want to be honest in the fact that my decision to drink it was a spur of the moment thing, as I never would have even considered having it given both the cost and the calories. But at the time, I wasn’t feeling good at all due to esophageal ulcers, and couldn’t eat much, as I felt such a horrible burning pain upon eating anything at all. Because I was at work and this was available to me, however, I reluctantly decided to try it and see whether it would help, as anything seemed worth the shot.
At first I remember feeling a little iffy about it, as it wasn’t exactly what I had expected nor was I truly sure whether I wanted to waste 60 kcal or even 14 grams of my carbs on something I didn’t even know would work. But as I continued to drink, I actually felt a little better, in spite of my dismay. So to make a long story story, but since that time last August, I have made a decision to incorporate kombucha into my daily routine, and since that time, have not had ANY esophageal ulcers to boot.
So it has been almost a year since I have incorporated kombucha and while it has helped in preventing my ulcers, it has also helped in improving my mentality as well. Kombucha has given me both the probiotics and B vitamins that I had always needed, but also seemed to be deficient on, while providing me with carbs that I often utilize during my morning workouts. By incorporating kombucha into my day-to-day routine, I have noticed such a difference not only with my ulcers, but with my moods as well, and while it could be the probiotic content (Probiotics Help Mood), it could also be the B deficiency I suffered from as well. But regardless of what it may be, it has definitely been something that has helped me and continues to help me on my journey every single day.
And while I could go on and on about the benefits and how it’s truly been conducive to my health, the fact of the matter is that I’m only referring to one type of kombucha made by GTs. Out of other kombucha companies, this company is definitely not only my favorite, but also a necessity, as other brands oftentimes make me sick due to the use of stevia and other ingredients. GTs is as simply made as it should be, as it only contains black tea, some sugar, and all other NATURAL ingredients, which also means that most are lower calorie as well. And although they may be expensive at around $3.00-3.50 per bottle, it has been much cheaper than going for another endoscopy or taking prescription pills that do God-knows-what in the long-run.
**And while this may seem like a sponsored post, as GTs provided me with a few vouchers to write of my experience, it was I who made the effort to reach out to their company, as I know how lost I was before I incorporated into my routine. I knew how much pain and also of how much reluctance I had in trying something new, and figured that others, like yourself may as well.**
So while this blog may be rather long, the fact of the matter is that the way in which you are feeling could be associated with your daily routine when it comes to either food or exercise or even self-care. Instead of focusing too much about the exterior and how the way things should look, we should think about the interior and the way that we feel. We should focus on the habits that we have that make us feel better, and also focus on the habits that make us feel worse, and then see what we can do to change them. We should follow our own plans rather than following the diets of someone who we know, as who truly knows how we feel or how happy we are besides ourselves? Nobody. So with that being said, I hope you take this weekend and try to figure out what aspects of your life can be made better so that you not only feel physiologically better, but mentally better as well.
With Love Always,