Cupcakes and fitness. What in the world do those two things have in common? I love both and can't imagine giving up one for the sake of the other!
I've been on a quest to achieve the best level of fitness for my body for years. I want to stay healthy and live a long and active life. But like many people out there, I'm stuck with that last 10-15 pounds I can't seem to get rid of. I've tried almost every popular diet/eating style/exercise regimen there is, from the ultrarestrictive low-carb diets like Atkins and South Beach to Weight Watchers to the Eat Clean Diet. I couldn't stick to any of them. Sound familiar?
I've realized that food is a wonderful part of life. The sweet comfort of icing coating your tongue, the buttercream infusing your tastebuds; the heartiness of a fresh slice of artisan bread, crusty and rustic; filet mignon that melts in your mouth, cooked to perfection, with a glass of red wine, of course; the juice of a perfect peach dribbling down your chin and your hands while you revel in the purest taste of summer. I can't live like food is just a means to fuel my body because I truly find so much joy in it. I find joy in sharing meals with friends and loved ones, I find joy in cooking and baking and being creative with food, and I find joy in discovering new restaurants, whether it's a mom-and-pop dive or a Zagat-rated dining experience. But I know that I've got to be realistic and eat healthy (most of the time) to achieve my fitness goals and avoid the consequences of obesity, like diabetes and heart disease, which, unfortunately, plague both my parents and extended family on both sides. So I've got a tough road ahead in my journey to balance my love of food AND my love of fitness and exercise, as well as to drop those stubborn last pounds.
I say I love fitness and exercise. AND I DO! What do I love just as much as food? Working out, if you can believe it. I've always exercised (and enjoyed it), whether I was 175 pounds or 125 pounds. I enjoy feeling my body working hard, my muscles contracting and extending, throbbing after each rep. The high at the end of a summer run, as the sun beats down on my arms and face, drenching me in sweat and sunscreen, is euphoric. In the past couple of years, I've taken up running. I run for fun a couple of times a week either at the gym or around my neighborhood. The furthest I ever run is 6 miles, but most of the time I like to go for a nice 4-miler. This past June I ran in my first 5 K race, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Washington, DC. The feeling I got crossing the finish line is something I can't wait to recapture, and soon!
I don't want to divorce food to be healthy. I want to forge a working relationship in which I CAN loose body fat, gain endurance and stamina, and get more fit and still have a cupcake every now and then. I still want to enjoy a full, real meal out in the real world. I don't want to order the side salad while everyone else has calamari! And I think moderation and portion size are key. I recently purchased a book by Jackie Warner (of Workout fame) entitled This Is Why You're Fat. In it, Ms. Warner talks about "eating clean" most of the time but allowing yourself two cheat meals a week of no more than 1,500 calories each. I don't plan on following her methods to the letter but rather follow the principles of such a method, using also what I've learned from the myriad of diets I've tried through the years.
This leads me to some of the goals I mentioned in my Welcome post on July 1. Although this blog is going to deal a lot with food and exercise, it will also include other aspects of living a full and fruitful life. I turn 33 next year! It's time to start living!
Up next, some Fourth of July firsts (and pics!) and my First goal: The Disney's Princess Half-Marathon