Saturday, June 2, 2012

Summer Food and Exercise

Since I have been keeping track of my food, my diet has definitely improved as my meals are once again centered around produce. That’s what I usually strive for, but somehow when life got really busy a few months ago, I started eating fewer vegetables and fruits.

A typical day of food often looked something like this: oatmeal with Greek yogurt and walnuts for breakfast, a sandwich with lettuce and few tomato slices for lunch, and some pasta with veggie sauce for dinner. I also made sure to eat at least one piece of fruit (since I don’t love fruit, this usually requires a conscious effort). Overall, I ate definitely too many carbs and not enough vegetables and on some days  not enough protein.

Lately, I’ve enjoyed going to the Farmers’ Market and bringing home big bags of produce again. And my meals are closer to what I want them to be again. Now my meals look something like this: a slice of wholegrain bread with 1/4 avocado & a big tomato for breakfast, cherries as a snack, a big salad with lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, spring onions, and egg whites for lunch, watermelon slices in the afternoon, and some grilled fish and a salad for dinner. I had seriously neglected eating fish for a few months…

Eating this way makes me feel so much better. I have more energy, and I enjoy the food I am eating again. I love looking at all the colors on my plate before sitting down to eat. Yesterday, I marveled at the color of the (very expensive) organic cherries I shared with hubby. Since the cherries were so expensive, I only bought a few – instant portion control! Smile    


Since the weather is nice and not too hot yet around here, I have been hiking more again. Hiking is definitely my favorite form of exercise. A friend and I try to catch up about once a week while going on a hike. We both have busy schedules, so our hikes are shorter than what I used to consider a “real hike.” But we climb up some pretty steep hills and cover a little over five miles in about an hour and a half. It’s definitely a workout, and it’s great to connect with a friend at the same time.  I have also continued to take barre classes and lift weights a few times a week.

Getting older and living as healthy a life as possible has been on my mind a lot lately. There are no guarantees in life, but I want to make sure I maximize my chances of being able to live an active life for many years to come. Every day is the opportunity to make healthy choices. It’s not about being “perfect,” and I think there is definitely room for some “treats” and some lazy days. It’s just important not to make them the norm.

Lastly, I have been gradually increasing my coffee intake over the past few months. Do you see how there is a pattern of bad habits creeping back into my life when things get stressful? Last year I wrote a post about how to drink less coffee, and I’ll go ahead and take my own advice! Smile

Questions: Does your diet tend to suffer when life gets busy and/or stressful? If so, what are your strategies to get it “back on track?” What’s your favorite form of exercise? Do you drink coffee? If so, how much?
 
Be well,
Andrea

46 comments:

  1. I've been getting some emails that people aren't able to comment on this post. I apologize and will try to figure out what's going on.

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  2. Yes, I need to get myself to the farmer's market--fast! I'm exactly like you describe above. Stress makes me eat terribly! When things are going great, I eat so well, provided the right foods are there. And your fitness strategy is so much like mine. :D

    :-) Marion

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    1. Yes, when life goes smoothly eating well is so easy, isn't it? Enjoy the Farmers' Market! :)

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  3. Stress for me definitely causes me to eat worse and drink more coffee (or sometimes..alcohol!). The way I stop myself is by reminding myself that the worse I eat, the worse I feel, and therefore the longer it takes me to get out of my funk. I also tend to reduce my exercise, but that makes things worse too (in fact, right now I'm trying REALLY hard to get motivated to get on the elliptical just for 20 minutes because I KNOW I will feel SO good afterwards!).

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    1. So true! I know that eating well and exercising is especially important when things get stressful. But it's so difficult to do at times... Hope you go on the elliptical! :)

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  4. There appear to still be commenting issues, especially for those on wordpress.com.

    It appears that you can still comment with the NAME/URL option if you'd like to comment but have trouble doing so with your wordpress account.

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  5. Really interesting post! I know what you mean about sometimes eating too many carbs, but I do try to fit protein in at every meal, it makes me feel much better. I have to keep an eye on my caffeine intake as well, but I've finished my exams so hopefully I won't need it so much now!

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    1. I think fitting protein in with every meals helps a lot with not eating too many carbs. Hope we'll both drink less coffee! :)

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  6. Definitely when life gets busy/stressful keeping a healthy diet gets harder but I think it's even more important to eat well when we're stressed out so I always put that as high priority. Maybe I don't get creative but at least I made meals that are balanced in nutrition and that I know I will enjoy eating it.
    Eating too much carbs is really easy when you're short on time, but too much carbs drain energy so I try to eat carbs mainly for breakfast, focus on protein in lunch and veggies and whole grains for dinner.
    Favorite type of exercise? walking/hiking.

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    1. It's so true that eating well is even more important when life gets stressful.

      And I know you have done some great hikes!

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  7. I still can't believe you're not a lover of fruit. I guess you can't believe I'm not a lover of tomatoes ;)

    I adore fruit, especially cherries, and the biggest barrier to me not eating more is definitely the expense (especially since I try to buy organic). I bought a bunch of peaches and nectarines for $3.99 a pound last week and they lasted me for two days of snacks. Oops.

    This week we bought a GIANT watermelon from Costco, so the challenge will be eating it all before it goes bad. Kind of a fun challenge :)

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    1. Yes, it is very difficult for me to understand that there are people who do not love tomatoes! :)

      I actually love cherries, so when they are in season it's not a problem for me to eat fruit, other than that they are so expensive... But we just got a big bag of cherries from my in-laws, and we have all been enjoying them.

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  8. I can relate to everything you wrote about Andrea. Yes, when things get stressful or too busy my healthy eats suffer as well as my exercise plan. What's crazy about that is that when life is stressful and busy that is when we need the healthiest food and exercise.

    To get back on track I have to plan some meals, shop with purpose and make a plan to exercise.

    Coffee? Yep, I drink 1 1/2 mugs each morning and looks forward to it!

    I love to walk and hike for exercise. There is something so energizing about being outside. Love it.

    Glad you are back on track and feeling good.

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    1. Thanks, Tami! :) And, yes, exercising outdoors is so energizing and good for body and mind!

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  9. Sounds like you had a great week Andrea! I haven't had any cherries yet, since last time I saw them they were still $12.99 a pound. Hopefully the price will come down soon, as we are big cherry eaters in our house :-). Your hike sounds wonderful. I am a big hiker too, and started off last week w/ a 7+ mile, very hilly hike w/ a bunch of friends. Besides hiking I also lift weights, workout on an incline treadmill, cycle ocassionally (hope to get a new bike soon), and run 1 x week. I used to run a lot but was always getting injured. By running only once a week, I'm less likely to get an injury, but I can still compete in an ocassionally 5K. Coffee? Love it, and with all the positive health benefits linked to it, I will never give it up :-)

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    1. I have a weak ankle that gets injured easily if I run too much, and I have therefore not run in quite some time. I have never tried running only once a week. I should give it a try.

      And, yes, coffee has lots of positive health benefits but can also affect some things negatively. Unfortunately, my doctor things I'll do much better with only one cup...

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  10. My eating doesn't really change when I'm busy because I always plan. But ... now my vacation is close I find I don't feel like cooking much anymore so this week is going to be an easy week foodwise.

    My favorite exercise is running and second is taking walks with Bella.

    And yes I drink coffee ... a lot. It's my guilty pleasure and I have no intention to drink less of it :)

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    1. Great job planning! And enjoy your vacation!!!

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  11. Finally I can comment! I was stuck in a loop of not being able to even see the box (so I could not select name/url). But it seems fine now.

    I have one nonfat latte a day. I don't NEED it but I really really like it and don't plan to quit anytime soon.

    I love hiking with my dog but try to get some aerobic exercise in as well. I'm a bit out of shape now since I took so much time off recovering from a broken foot but trying to get back on track.

    When I'm busy, I actually eat less. It's when I'm at home on the computer with a glass of wine that I have to be careful about mindless snacking!

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    1. Sorry about all the commenting troubles! Blogger has been really unreliable lately...

      I think if you can enjoy coffee without needing it that's VERY good! :)

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  12. You have a great attitude about being healthy. When I get stressed all I want is chocolate and the sugar throws me off for days. Fortunately I don't binge on chocolates too often.

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  13. I'm studying for the Bar right now, and yes, healthy eating habits have suffered. I tend to get grouchy when hungry, so try and keep snacks on hand, such as

    1) baby carrots
    2) roasted brocoli (yes, I eat these out of a ziploc bag with a fork)
    3) roasted halved asparagus (it's like candy, no joke)
    4) cut up fruit tossed in lemon juice to stay fresh

    I find that if I prevent myself from starving at dinnertime, by healthy snacking throughout the day, I tend to ear slower and therefore fill up faster :)

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    1. Great list of snacks! I love roasted veggies but have never brought them along to snack on. I think I'll have to "borrow" them from your snack list!

      Good luck taking the Bar!!!

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  14. Ah, coffee keeps me happy, and I'm sure it makes me healthy too because I'm happy. :-p

    My mood does affect my diet, too. Some days I just wanna gorge on donuts and ice cream. Unfortunately it starts a vicious cycle of feeling crappy because of the bad stuff I ate, and then turning to them because of my stress level.

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    1. Well, how can I argue with your coffee keeps you happy and is therefore healthy argument!?! ;) I actually don't think coffee is bad, but it can aggravate a whole bunch of things as you are getting older (like why older, like me!)... :)

      It is very interesting how what we eat affects the next meal(s).

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  15. Hi Andrea - it seems you and I have been on the same path lately. I can totally relate. Too much stress and too many dinner engagements have taken their toll on my diet. I'm back to working on a healthier meal plan, and like you, I'm not a fruit fan, so my morning smoothie really helps there. Have a good week!

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    1. It's very challenging to continue to eat well through a stressful time. But I'm determined to get better at it! :)

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  16. Andrea, I think it's important to talk about this bad habit "creep". My habits suffer when I fail to plan which can be for a number of reasons. Menu planning, exercise scheduling, food shopping such basics but easily neglected even by those of us who know better. Exercise- I love a good run (not every run is good), I love to play tennis too. I savor my cup of coffee in the morning, I have a cup or 2 of tea throughout the day on work days and many days a cap in the afternoon.

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    1. Yes, the bad habit "creep" is dangerous...

      I now drink one cup of coffee and a couple cups of tea after that.

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  17. I am jealous of your hiking area - it is an awesome form of exercise!

    Yep, sometimes I fall of the wagon, but now it's for a meal here, maybe a couple days there - I know myself too well that if I let it all go I'd be back to fast food - which got me to 210 pounds and I don't want to be there again!

    Hope you are having a great week!

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    1. Yes, we have some awesome hiking areas around here.

      It's all about catching ourselves quickly if we fall off the wagon...

      Hope you are having a great week, too!

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  18. Dieting is always hard, luckily I do not have to battle with it...when I need to loose a couple of pounds I know that for sure that cutting carbs and sugar do help...
    Hope you are having a great week Andrea :)

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    1. Yes, cutting carbs and sugar does help a lot... :)

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  19. I love running and kickboxing. I'm burned out on spinning and trying to fin more low impact. Ben thinks I'm nuts b/c I get so excited about fresh veggies!

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    1. Yes, fresh veggies are the best!

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  20. i think it is hard to eat whole foods during times of stress, but i also tend to prefer things to be simple when i have a ton to do, so that helps. but yes, dark chocolate is my weakness.
    i always try to keep the mentality that one day of stress eating does not ruin anything, and tomorrow is always another opportunity. :)

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    1. You are so right, as long as it's only one day, it's not a big deal. And, yes, tomorrow is always another opportunity! Great outlook!

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  21. I find that if I don't have a game plan, I overeat, regardless. But if I have that plan, stressful or not, I tend to do okay.

    You'd think that would mean I'd spend more time planning, wouldn't you?

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    1. Yes, planning is very important! Unfortunately, it's a lot harder for me when I am stressed...

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  22. Hi Andrea. There is no question, during times of stress, portions get bigger and choices sometimes aren't the best. Sending warm wishes and hopes for more calm in your life soon. Hugs.

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    1. Thanks, Roz! Things are luckily calming down... :)

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  23. I was super stressed out this past month and my diet and exercise suffered. I have to try to remind myself that even if I am stressed, eating this way not make me feel any better.
    Now that I am back from vacation, I have been incorporating more healthy foods into my day. Feels great!

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    1. Yes, I think the way we eat can make such a difference in how we feel...

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