I have a plan.
I make plans a lot. It's kind of a thing with me (see my previous rant on Personality Types). I make plans to read three chapters now, and then go swimming for half an hour. I make plans to buy three pairs of jeans and a handful of shirts when I go shopping next week. I make plans to do homework for half of my subjects now and the other half during study hall. Point is: I just like making plans. It keeps me organized.
So anyways, right now I have made a plan. This is kind of a big one. I've been planning it for weeks actually, and it's not just a plan, it's a lifestyle change. My plan is to be healthy.
Okay so maybe that's a little vague, and don't all the professionals say that vague goals never get accomplished? Well yeah, of course they don't because we don't know where to start. That's why this 'plan' isn't just a plan, it's a lifestyle change.
I'm not exactly the healthiest person. I spend too much time watching television on the couch and I eat too much dessert and not enough vegetables and I don't get the recommended thirty minutes of exercise a day and just overall I don't feel very 'in-shape'. I mean, it's never really been a huge problem because my metabolism rocks and I'm still pretty thin and I can do the basic daily activities like walking home from the bus stop or climbing three flights of stairs without getting winded, but that's not exactly 'healthy', is it? Answer: NO.
Just because I am surviving, doesn't mean I'm thriving. I wanna thrive. I like the idea of being the best I can be.
A few weeks ago I was at a loss for what to do while on the internet so I started clicking on things and searching for stuff and I don't really remember how but I ended up reading some articles on nutrition and weight loss and eventually I found this program on Livestrong.com called a Calorie Tracker (My Plate). The premise was that you entered in the foods you ate and how much of them, and it would spit out your daily calorie consumption, as well as some other facts like how much fat, carbs, sodium, fiber, protein, what have you's.
The first few days I was eating almost 2,000 calories a day (which is apparently the recommended daily calorie intake, but honestly for someone my size to have that much I would be gaining three pounds a week at least). Not only was I aware of that, but I was eating some pretty startling things! Did you know that just two Ball Park hotdogs have over 1340 mg of sodium? That's more than half of the recommended daily allowance! One slice of cheesecake has more than 42 grams of fat. That's gross.
Suddenly I was looking at the things I ate with a new light. A bagel with cream cheese for breakfast wasn't as healthy as I thought. Eggs were packed full of cholesterol and I wasn't getting nearly enough protein. Just eating two Oreos for dessert was still nowhere near as healthy as a fruit salad. These were all things that I knew in the back of my mind, but having them all put in black and white was kind of scary. I mean, I wasn't eating McDonalds for every meal, but where were the fruits and veggies?
Thus began my journey into the world of nutrition. Logging meals led to nutritional facts which led to healthy-eating blogs and the big, delicious world of organic foods. I watched TEDTalks on the amount of sugar that companies put in things where sugar doesn't belong, like milk and packaged fruits. I learned what quinoa was, and then learned how to pronounce it. And then I started talking to my parents about this, and it turns out the health-food bug had bit them too, even though they were halfway across the country (great minds think alike). Suddenly, this desire to eat well was a family thing.
Now I am here with my aunt and uncle, and although I can't exactly start my "all-natural all the time" diet that I want, I'm eating fruits and vegetables and Greek yogurt (and still the occasional slice of cheesecake) and I feel good. I haven't felt bloated and lazy and I was actually able to sit through reading 100 pages of the worst summer reading book ever without falling asleep. Best part is, this isn't even part of the plan.
The plan starts on Sunday, which is my first full day back in good 'ole New Hampshire. Basically the plan is as follows:
- Eating all-natural, mostly organic foods. I know how apples get sprayed with nasty chemicals and corn gets injected with the leftover experiments of high school chemistry students and let me just say I hated chemistry class and I don't want any of those toxic gene-altering chemicals in my body, thank you very much.
- Being a weekday veg. Graham Hill outlined in this TEDTalk why he is a weekday veg and honestly, it sounds like a good idea to me. It's been proven that eating all these red meats and animal fats increases our risk of developing cardiovascular disease and heart disease and all these other bad things by...a very large amount, basically. (There are actually statistics here.)
- No soda. We know soda is packed full of sugar. We know soda is acidic in nature and eats away at our esophagus and stomach. We know it has high fructose corn syrup and it can cause diabetes. So, why do we still drink it? I haven't had soda in over a month, and coming from a regular ginger ale drinker, this is huge. I plan to keep up this streak. (This also applies to sugary fruit juices and pretty much anything fizzy.)
- Cow's milk is out. Our bodies are not designed to digest lactose, but because of our completely Americanized diet, they have. I mean, I could go into another huge rant about milk production and pasteurization here, but I'll keep it short. The way milk is made and processed is gross. Substitutes: almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, soy milk, etc. Greek yogurt and unpasteurized cheese are still on the menu, though. (Also, I am trying to figure out what to do about butter...)
- Physical activity, of course. The CDC recommends 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity a week for basic health benefits. For even greater health benefits, they recommend 5 hours a week. This is as simple as 20-50 minutes a day, and these activities include swimming, riding a bike, or talking a walk. It's seriously that easy. The CDC also suggests muscle strength training at least two days a week that works all major muscle groups. Guess what counts as muscle strength training? That's right, yoga.
I guess in a nutshell, there's my plan. Overall health and wellness - woot woot! I know that at first it won't be easy and I will probably be craving some serious chocolate and ice cream within a week, but I'm more determined about this than I was about getting a 4 on my AP Psych exam (which is to say, pretty freaking determined). They say it helps to visualize your goal, right? Well I can just see myself drinking green smoothies on the way to school, driving right past that pink and orange Dunkin Donuts with the delicious blueberry muffins and sweet iced tea....
Just kidding. ;)
What to expect: I plan on using this blog not only as motivation, but as a recipe book. Plan on seeing amazing pictures of me and my mom's delicious concoctions, as well as links to my favorite recipes. I'm going to let this be the chronicle of my journey towards a healthier lifestyle!