Daylight Savings Time starts tomorrow night. The days will get longer. The trails will dry up and beg for use. The hours indoors, craving comfort foods to keep me warm will subside. As far as health goes, DST is a double positive. It's inspiring me to write down the principles I know I should follow in order to be healthier, lose some weight, and feel great. I'm really looking forward to this. This is not a "diet," unless you consider a general list of principles by which I should live my whole life a "diet." Symantics. I never use the word "rules" 'cause rules are lame. But I do believe in learning and living by true principles, and I'm lazy enough that I also recognize I need a bit of accountability. That's why I'm writing this down on the wide world of interwebs. Maybe there's a part of me that hopes it may help inspire someone else as well. If so, great. I'd love to hear your story. But otherwise, this is self-centered. Hold me to it. Join me if you want.
Here she is.
· Whole grains only (no enriched flour if you can help it – plan ahead, lazy bum.)
· No fried food (as in “deep fried”)
· Only eat sweets as dessert after dinner when you’re in the mood (which is not every night – remember: dessert doesn’t have to be a daily tradition if your body isn’t screaming for it.), not a snack or munchies during the day.
· Drink lots of water all day
· Fruits and veggies in every meal.
· Is there a reduced or non-fat option? Does it still taste good? Use it. (reduced-fat mayo with olive oil, egg whites, cheese, yogurt, milk, ice cream, turkey burgers over beef sometimes, etc.).
· Remember: seasoning, spices, quality and flavor combinations help make up for fat flavor (i.e. pepper(s), hot sauce, garlic, olive oil). Stocking your kitchen and learning to cook to your preference puts you in control.
· I was most fit when I was my poorest, and walked a ton to get to where I was going (during college and mission). That’s not rocket science.
· Do something active that makes you sweat 5 days a week (notice I’m not dictating how…just have fun and make sure at one of those days really kicks your butt and stretches your limits. I already said this, but have fun.)
· There are exceptions to every point above, and there’s nothing wrong with that as long as you’re aware that it’s an exception.
· I’m a pizza freak. Delicious pizza whenever I want (within reason), go for flatbread crust when you can (my favorite anyway), healthier toppings like tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, peppers and other veggies prove to be very satisfying.
· Eating out happens. Enjoy it. Don’t use it as an excuse to break the principles, just do it when you should anyway and make educated choices when you do. It will still be delicious.
A few examples of great food you can crave that doesn’t break the principles:
· Whole wheat pasta with roasted garlic, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, crushed red pepper and fresh grated parmesan cheese
· Turkey cheeseburgers on olive oil grilled whole wheat bread or buns, piled with veggies and chipotle reduced fat mayo spread
· Green salad of any sort. Mmmm..Romaine lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers and olive oil /vinaigrette. Add protein or good cheese however you want. There’s no default principle against it.
· Baked sweet potato (or any potato) fries with olive oil and rosemary.
· Heart to Heart kashi cereal with banana and soy milk (Oak Flakes & Wild Blueberry clusters tastes like candy. I still can’t believe it’s kashi)
· Egg white sandwich with melted cheese on toasted whole wheat bread, mayo and hot sauce. Add turkey bacon, tomatoes or roasted red peppers if you’re in the mood.
· Any kind of sandwich with the above principles applied (Chicken salad, tuna, turkey, etc.)
The only conflicts I foresee:
· Jaime’s cookies and other delicious baked goods. I don’t usually crave them until they are already made and I can smell them, so I guess that's good. But I don’t plan on telling her to stop making them.
· *Potstickers, organic burritos and butternut squash raviolis from Costco. I may just have to add them to the exceptions list in order to keep it kosher.
· Which leads me to the last principle (never mind it’s not under the “Principles” section): Everything in moderation. That may be the most important over arching one. Think The 9-inch Diet.
I'm a believer that it's all about knowledge and training your taste buds and craving centers of your brain to learn to love the healthier option, because once you give them a chance you learn they're actually incredibly tasty. Here's to sticking it to rules and living by what tastes good and is good for you.
Ready, set, go.