Friday, May 17, 2013

The Rules

As most of you probably already know my background story involves me losing a substantial amount of weight (like 125 lbs) which in the process helped me to become more active and led me to two of my passions; running and cycling- hence the name of this blog.

I know for the most part I don’t talk too much about my weight loss. I know I mention those last ten pounds every now and again but I don’t think I talk too much about the first year or so, how much I changed in the process, what tools I used to get me to where I am today or the successes/pitfalls I had along the way. I had/have another blog that was dedicated solely to that portion of my life but I moved away from it as I moved into a new phase. As much as I want to share with you these things from my past it is hard to do because some times I am not sure they are relevant and I’m not sure they would provide anyone any help or guidance.

Then other times I ‘meet’ people who want to know about my story. How I got here. How I stay motivated. How I was able to overhaul my life and find the person I always wanted to be. And when that happens I am inspired to share a bit of that side of me because I feel that well maybe it will at least help one person on their own journey.

So today I thought I would share with you some of my rules of life. Ok, maybe not rules (that sounds way more serious than it really is) maybe I should call them my guidelines. These are just some ideals I try to stick to that help provide me with some balance; allowing me to work towards improving my health and still allowing me to let my hair down and be not so serious all the time. Does that make sense? I hope so, some days I can’t even follow my own train of thought. Lol!

  • The 80/20 Rule: Not really the same as the 80/20 (Pareto principle) that states 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Nope, mine is more like 80% of the time I eat really good foods which I prepare myself. I plan out my weekly meals. I eat for my body. I focus on nutrients in and recovery foods. I just try to put as much thought as possible into at least 80% of my choices. The other 20%- well that’s kind of like what happens in real life. That’s beers and (vegan) burgers before a baseball game, that’s a piece of cake for dessert, that’s nachos instead of salad, that’s just promising myself to not feel guilty if I ‘splurge’ (and I hate that word, I think there are too many words/phrases being used that give too much power/importance to our food choices) eating out or drinking because really I like to do those things. I refuse to abstain from these activities for the sake or weight loss. I am neither that strong nor dedicated. I believe you can be healthy and active and drink a beer every once in a while. That’s just my opinion though.

  • Hunger scale: My friend taught me this concept probably close to 2 years ago and I have tried as much as humanly possible to use it all the time. Basically think of your hunger on a scale from 1 to 5; one being full, not hungry at all- five being starving, wanting to eat everything in sight.  For me, I try to never eat when I am a one. That is just mindless snacking or searching for comfort foods or something unnecessary. If I am not hungry I really shouldn’t be eating. On the other end, I try really hard to not let myself get to a five. If I do, I will probably eat way too much way too fast. Being ravenous means I have lost control and I will not only overdo it I will probably overdo it with any foods that are in my sight. I can’t make good decisions at a five. So I try to stick to eating at a three-four, just when I am starting to get hungry. At this point I will be able to eat slowly, make good choices, and really enjoy what I am eating.

  • Fail to prepare means prepare to fail. Harsh I know but it is my reality. If I want to be able to follow guidelines one and two I need to be prepared. I need to meal plan, I need to keep healthy snacks on hand at all times (even in my purse), and I need to have a well-stocked pantry/fridge that is loaded with staples of my diet. Just like I pack up my gym bag with all of the essentials I need I do the same thing with my lunch bag. Plan, plan, plan.

  • Do what you love. Probably the one ideal I preach the most on this blog is doing what you love. I am happy with what I am doing because I love doing it. I love doing it and so I want to do it more frequently. I do it more frequently it becomes a part of me. Cycling is like this for me. I can’t get enough of it. I want to be on my bike all the time. It’s freeing. It’s exhilarating. And I love it. Maybe you hate it. If you do, I suggest not doing it. Don’t make yourself miserable. You deserve so much happiness. So, find what you love and do it!

  • Drink lots of water! Aside from beer and an occasional cup of coffee I only drink water. You already know how good it is for your body to drink water so I won’t go on too much about this. I say, just drink the water.

Last but certainly not least..

  • Don’t take life too seriously. This is the hardest one for me. For the better part of a year I was super focused on weight loss and results on a scale and working out all the time and skipping social gatherings because of weigh ins and what not; I had tunnel vision and it was bad. Not saying that you should ignore your health and ignore the scale but for me I needed some balance. I needed to be active AND social. I needed to give myself a break. I have made so many changes in my life that are now permanently there- I can cut myself some slack. One ‘bad’ (ugh! Again with stupid words) meal or a night out with friends at the bar will never undo what I have done. I follow my 80/20 rule, I maintain/slowly chip away at those last 10, and I just enjoy the ride! If you ask me, it’s never a good idea to take yourself too seriously.

Enjoy your life! Be happy! Take care of yourself! Live your dreams!

There you go folks, my super awesome (sarcasm in case you can’t tell) words of wisdom for this beautiful Friday! 

Run a race, drink a beer!