It’s been an unprecedented week for most New Yorkers with an earthquake and a hurricane taking a bite out of the Big Apple. As I made my way through my elliptical workout this morning, while my iTunes played in my ears, my eyes were glued to the TV monitors around the gym as live shot after live shot described all the preparations for Irene’s arrival. Afterward, my usual Saturday errands were replaced with a hunt for batteries, tape and water. (Luckily, I found everything I need.) Now, I write this post not knowing how many people will be able to read it on Monday should we experience the major power outages predicted. As we brace for the storm, I realize this is a perfect example of how the best laid plans can be altered at any given moment and throw off our normal schedules – and that includes our exercise routine.
Weather aside, I just wrapped up a week filled with many unexpected happenings. Most involved work, and a string of events forced me to stay at the office much later than expected for not one, but three nights in a row. This ultimately killed my workout schedule, with the worst of it meaning I had to scrap my favorite group exercise class of the week. I was also on my own at home, which threw off my eating schedule. I found myself giving in to my old, bad habit of not having small, smart meals every few hours and then ending the day eating almost nothing for dinner. (One “Lean Pocket” and a tall vodka-light-cranberry on the rocks is not what the body needs after a long day at the office.)
So, you could say I fell off the fitness wagon. It’s not the first time it’s happened, and I know it won’t be the last. Do I feel more sluggish this weekend? Absolutely. Will this feeling last forever? Absolutely not! Instead of beating myself up about all the “bad” things I did last week, I look forward to starting a new week with a brand new attitude and plenty of chances to take better care of myself. Just like Hurricane Irene, the storms that sometimes make a mess of our everyday lives do pass. (For me, exercise is a great way to deal with the aftermath.)
The next time your best laid plans to follow a healthy lifestyle hit a tailspin, don’t sweat it. Just remind yourself of why you’re doing it in the first place, and before you know it, you’ll be back on the right track so you can have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Nutritionists and registered dietitians are the experts when it comes to healthy eating. I am neither, but as part of the fitness industry, I get plenty of questions about what people should and shouldn’t eat. So, in order to address this topic early in my blogging adventures, here’s a 100% personal account of how I try to maintain a healthy diet.
I joined Weight Watchers in May 2007. Why? Because the post-divorce “diet” I started which included a dinner of half-a-jar of peanut butter with chocolate syrup and a side of vodka on ice was not a healthy regimen to maintain. Also, being in my 30s, I couldn’t rely on the workouts I started during my Northwestern days to counterbalance the bad food choices I was making too often. Aside from worrying about gaining weight, I felt absolutely awful.
Today, I am a lifetime Weight Watchers member. I continue to go to meetings when I can and the program works for my lifestyle. Again, for me, it was not about losing a lot of weight, it was about learning to eat better. I’m not here to offer a lesson about point values and food. Instead, here’s a snapshot of what I’ve learned that helps me stay on track.
- I never skip breakfast. During the work week, I’ll make my own parfait with non-fat plain Greek yogurt, sliced banana, strawberries or blueberries (there’s two – three servings of fruit for the day!) and a serving of high-fiber cereal.
- Instead of having three big meals, I eat every three to four hours. This prevents me from being so hungry that I go overboard at the next meal.
- Every Sunday, I spend 30-60 minutes chopping red peppers and celery and pack up the sticks up with baby carrots or cherry tomatoes in individual containers, one for each day of the week. It’s an easy way to get in two servings of veggies while sitting at my desk. (The idea works just as well if you’re home.)
- I have embraced whole grains! I like Weight Watchers breads for sandwiches, cook whole grain pasta at home and on “bad”nights when we order Chinese or burritos, we ask for brown rice.
- Finally, I refuse to say “I will never eat (a fudge-covered Oreo/a bacon cheeseburger/lasagna) ever again!” First of all, life’s too short. Second, in my experience, the longer you deny yourself something you really like, the better chance you have of over-indulging when you do finally “break down.”
Now listen, I have my fair share of “bad food” days. I love dessert, especially chocolate, and I love Prosecco and red wine. But one bad day doesn’t have to mean “well, I blew it today, so I may as well throw the whole week out the window and start over on Monday.” On the contrary, every day offers a clean slate and a brand new chance to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!