Sunday, October 24, 2010

Healthy Living ~ Part Two / Mentally Healthy and Physically Lean

Part two… Before I answer yesterday’s question of how I became both mentally healthy and physically lean and healthy… let’s just remember I could truly write a book to thoroughly answer this question; but a book is not what you want to read on my blog today so the version of that answer that you are getting, is the tip of the tongue, first thing that pops into my head in this one sitting version…

Now that we have that established…
As I already began to show in this writing... I changed my thinking. I had to stop being extreme with myself. I tore up all my lists of rules about what I could eat, when, how much etc. and replaced it with a reasonable plan for maintaining a life of balance and good health. I was working on developing habits that I wanted to last a lifetime. One of the things I learned was that temporary changes bring about temporary results. If I wanted permanent results of being permanently lean and psychologically healthy, then I needed healthy, permanent habits. This meant all radical solutions were out the window. I was going to do this the only way it lasted permanently... the slow and steady way... the lasting way!

That's right. I learned in my college nutrition and weight loss classes that weight that comes off quickly, comes back even faster... with some extra weight along for the ride. If I wanted to lose the extra weight forever and fix my metabolism so that I didn't gain weight every time I ate..., then I needed to lose excess weight slowly and naturally, with maintenance habits that would last forever. I have always been blessed with the virtue of patience. I see that clearly now. This gift helped me to have the strength to take the long road ~ the road that led to where I wanted to go. (By the way... I have taken a few of these long uphill roads in my life. Thus the phrase on my side bar... "Life is a climb; but the view is great! ;)" The uphill climb may be hardest and take the longest, but the greatest beauty and best results are way up there at the top of the mountain. ;)

So I chose to start creating life long habits which would give me the life long results I wanted. That meant that the changes I would be making would be comfortable enough to want to continue; they would not be extreme. It meant making small changes; the cool thing is that these small changes actually added up to big results (and included simple things like healthy sleeping habits - IE getting to bed early and getting up early most of the time). It also meant that since I would no longer be making temporary changes, I would no longer be stuck with temporary results. My gradual and lasting changes would yield lasting results. :D BTW... I also knew that I did not have to be and do everything I wanted to be and do OVERNIGHT. I decided to make small, comfortable changes, and as I got good at those changes and was ready for more, I would make additional small improvements.

Here are a few of the habits I created:

*Studies showed that many times people ate when what their body was really asking for was water. So if I wasn't sure if I was hungry, I drank water (water is best... not soda and other high calorie high sugar drinks because they increase appetite causing us to over eat and are nothing but empty calories). If the hunger subsided, I knew I was actually thirsty (I now read my body easily... but this was helpful while I was learning).  If after drinking water, I still felt hungry, then I ate.

*I learned that our bodies are quite magnificent at knowing how much they need to maintain their current weight, and that to maintain, we need to Listen! Really listen So my new habit was to listen to and respond to hunger cues by eating when hungry and stopping when full, or satisfied… (Not stuffed!). ***This is so important! Eat slowly until satisfied, and stopping when full is one of the most important habits that I changed ~ I really feel that it helped me to relax and become really in tune with my body and what it needs.

Remember there is a difference between appetite and hunger. Eat when "hungry" not when you develop an "appetite" for something just because it tastes good. Save that appetite... that food that you want to eat just because it tastes so good... for when you are truly hungry; enjoy it then

*I learned more about the importance of exercise and made an effort to weave exercise into my daily life by making it a FUN part of my lifestyle again. This was an easy one for me (in some ways... time wise it took effort) because my husband and I had/have things we love to do which are active.

In addition to helping you to have a healthy heart... Exercise decreases appetite and speeds up metabolism. So when you exercise, you end up eating fewer calories and burning more. You also build muscle while exercising and muscle is where the fat is burned, so strong bodies burn more fat. A body that exercises also actually wants to be lean because it is easier to carry around less weight while exercising. Your body will simply decide it wants to be lighter if you exercise, and will speed up your metabolism to help make that happen.

My advice to anyone who doesn't feel like exercising but knows they need to, is to commit to at least 10 or so minutes of exercise, allowing themselves to stop after the 10 minutes is up, or to continue exercising at the end of 10 minutes if by then it feels good to continue. Usually, exercise makes you feel so good you want to keep going! So it helps to just make it easy on one's self mentally by committing to just 10 minutes. Chances are, at the end of the 10 minutes you won't want to stop! And even if you do stop… that’s 10 minutes to benefit from that you can feel good about! Everything good yields good results!

Another note about exercise...
I’m not a stick woman… even now while lean I have a ton of muscle, and enough fat to give some generous feminine curves; so with my body as it is, being lean helps me to look and feel good. I'm not one of those super lean people who can’t gain weight. My legs and butt are always full (the song “big boo dy, big boo dy” was made for me; but I don’t mind!). I have to exercise and listen to my body about eating to be lean, but since it is so good for me, I love it. Exercise is a privilege I give myself freely, it is not a chore. When I first began exercising regularly, 30 min a day consistently was an accomplishment. After having established exercise thoroughly in my life, my body loves it so much that 30 minutes feels like I am just getting started. I often feel that I am not even getting a workout; but I do know that I am maintaining. And I let myself exercise as long or as short as my body feels like exercising. Now and then, this means that some days I will roller blade for a couple of hours. Other days it may only be 20-30 minutes. Usually it is somewhere in-between. Just like I listen to my body about how much food it needs and when, I also listen to my body about how much exercise it needs and sometimes switch to another form of exercise for a short while when one form of exercise fails to meet the needs my body has of being pushed. I like knowing that my body is benefiting from what I do. This means that my mental and emotional states are also being taken care of. And like David O McKay stated... "the man who takes care of his body, also takes care of his spirit." :D I love that quote!

*I learned to stop telling myself that I "can’t" have something, and to… let myself eat! (Remember the forbidden fruit ;). I also learned to choose nutrient dense foods (foods with high levels of nutrients compared to calories) so my food can actually nourish my body. Doing this doesn’t mean you can’t have cookies etc.; you can and should. But make the best choices available (more living foods, high nutrient value foods, more fiber etc), while still allowing yourself to eat the things you love. Eat just a little bit better than you are used to eating. Eat one more carrot stick for the eyes, or a cucumber for that mid afternoon snack (if you like it and want it). Eat foods that you like and want, but if they are not all that nutrient dense, then eat them in moderation and be willing to try new foods and food combinations which are nutrient dense. Again, make the best choices that you have available while allowing yourself to eat foods that you like; let yourself be satisfied! You don't have to eat absolutely perfectly to progress; "better" is better regardless of how imperfect it is and better choices do yield better results. :)

*I also learned to eat sitting down... to slowly savor each bite... to enjoy food, to take my time with it. This is good for two reasons... One, it satisfies a need we have to enjoy food and helps to develop a good relationship with food. And two, it takes about 15 minutes for our brains to produce satiety cues that let us know when we have eaten enough. So if a person shoves their food down quickly, they are liable to continue eating even if they have indeed had enough, because those satiety signals haven't had time to send the "I'm satisfied" cue to the brain that tells you it's a good time to stop eating. I also set aside meal times to allow my body to know that it would be fed in normal intervals and when to expect food.

*To be healthy, I need to LOVE my body and be KIND to my body – today. - Speak and think positively and kindly about yourself. Go to bed early. Wake up early. Exercise regularly/ (I try to enjoy this privilivge pretty much daily with exception to Sundays and those days that are occasionally just too full etc) and make it exercise that I ENJOY. Exercise is a "break" from work for me; and I don’t usually call it "exercise"; I call it something like... biking, rollerblading, hiking, or dancing to Zumba (only did that one twice so far… but I loved it! I want to do it more!!!) etc… you get the drift! So mid day, when I am tired from schooling the kids and need a break - I usually roller blade to get that break! :D

Here is a list of a few other things that I learned...

I also learned that…

*Diets don’t work in the long run.
*It is futile to waste money and time on desperate thinking or dieting.
*Starvation, pills, exercise for hours on end, throwing up, and anything that is either a “miracle cure” or involves some kind of temporary nightmare ends in temporary results.
*Slow and steady wins the race.
*Today is the day to change your life. If I you live today in a healthy way... then you can be healthy every day.
*If I maintain the health that I have… it actually improves over time.
*Whole, living foods with real living water in them are the foods that best nourish and strengthen me.
*It is wise to avoid foods that make you feel groggy and heavy. If you are having trouble digesting it... what do you think your body will be forced to do with it? Besides, food should make you feel good... after, as well as while you eat it.
*Weight loss is not a race.

Love your life style TODAY and make today's life style a life style that you know would maintain a healthy body and mind; and that new healthy will become the new you. This is not a race... this is life - your life. And you were created so that you could be happy. So love yourself TODAY. Take care of yourself TODAY. Do things that you enjoy. And eat foods that taste good to you. Go to new places to eat to discover new foods.

There is a fabulous Café in Coeur d’ Alene called Café Carambola that serves amazing salads that will tantalize your taste buds and give you a nutrient dense meal that tastes better than any greasy sugary dead food ever could. Find restaurants in your area that serve real living foods (I realize this is rare - and you won't find it in a fast food joint) to expose yourself to better eating choices and provide variety. Eating good can mean eating both delicious and nutritious foods. You don’t have to eat “sawdust” to eat nutritiously. But when you do eat it... take your time... listen to your body. Don't starve. Don't force it to eat after satisfied. Don't rush your body to eat quickly, not allowing yourself to relax and enjoy the meal. And for heavens sake... stop eating when you are satisfied! (You can always finish it later...)

If you're not sure if you are hungry, drink water; you may just be thirsty. If you have an appetite, but are not actually hungry ~ drink your appetite away with refreshing water. Love yourself. Be kind to yourself. And you will find that your body will be a whole lot happier, and it will be kinder to you, too! ;D

*Be positive and remember... as you make small changes, your taste buds will change; your appetite changes; you change. :D Some people have lost incredible amounts of weight just by changing a simple little habit like replacing a daily soda with herbal tea or water. All consistent improvements make a difference.

Well, I've really rambled on enough. I'm sure I didn't tell all... but if anyone wants to know more, they can ask! :D

TTFN... and Happy/Healthy Living!
Corine ;D

PS. * I would just like to note that I find it really strange to have suddenly found myself writing these two blogs. I never think about weight, or dieting, etc. I'm NOT focused on physical bodies in the least (though I am committed to taking care of my body because it affects my spirit and mood so much). I don't imagine I will ever write another article about it again. But I hope that something good comes of these, and that if anyone reads them and needs the extra support or encouragement they will know that they can count on me. :)

***I also think it is cool that the subject did come up, however. It has reminded me that I got through a really hard time in my past. It reminded me I can do hard things. It reminded me there is no challenge that can't be overcome.

The eating disorder I went through before establishing these habits was the most consuming and excruciating experience I have ever gone through. I am amazed at how thoroughly obsessed I once was... and how completely over it I am.

In college I was told that once a person has an eating disorder, they never get over it. Sort of like, the alcoholic is always an alcoholic... But I don't believe that. I live by faith. Faith is more powerful than any habit, any drug, any addiction or disorder. I know recovery can be complete. And I love that! :D

I'm glad I remembered this old struggle that I overcame. It has caused my faith to grow and given me strength to continue progressing in other areas in my life. If I can do what I did... (and I did... :) ~
With Heavenly Father's help...

I can do anything! :D 
So can you! ;D

Corine  :D


  1. Love it! Thanks for sharing. I have felt the same way. We have to change our whole way of eating, not just "diet" Eat good, sometimes have a treat and drink a lot of water!! I totally agree that the way we eat will affect our spirits! Thanks for the reminder. Now if I just felt good enough to eat less carbs, but this baby is making me so nauseous :)

  2. I guess I'm really strange but I have always listened to my body. It knows what it needs in my mind. I have to have carbs, tried once to give them up and got sicker than a dog.

    This is a great post and women especially should simple strive to find that HEALTHY point in their lives and be happy. :D
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  3. You have so many answers to so many questions women are seeking concerning their weight/eating issues. I believe moderation is key in practically every aspect of life and in essence that's what you've just recommended.
    BTW, I appreciate the comments you left on my blog ( Thanks for stopping by :-)

  4. This all makes complete sense. Thanks for sharing.

    Must remember...... drink more water...... not eat more cookies. ;)

  5. Kendra - Congratulations! :D (baby... ;) ...and don't worry too much about the carbs (I have a feeling you're talking crackers, not candy. ;) Relax, everything will go fine for you as long as you really listen to your body; I'm absolutely SURE OF IT!

    Jules - Good for you for listening to your body in stead of dieting!!! You are part of the small 3% of American women who are considered "normal" eaters (the rest have some type of eating disorder). I'm betting you are lean, and very seldom weigh yourself... perhaps you don't own a scale??? I'm so happy to be part of the 3% now! :D Yeah!!

    Marie - I'm glad you enjoyed the post. And thank you for your comment and appreciation! :D

    Rachel - *But be sure to eat cookies, too! :D Thank you for your comment, and you are welcome! :)

  6. UPDATE: I rewrote this and included more info; you can find at the following link (different blog) if you want to...


There is a ripple effect in all that we do; what you do touches me, what I do touches you...

THANK YOU for your comments; you add so much insight and brighten my day! :)