The Basics: Building Your Base with an Active Lifestyle, Good Nutrition, and Preventative Care – Part II

July 15, 2012

Part II – Good Nutrition

One of my favorite things in the world is food. Food, food, food!!! Let’s take some time and get down to the nitty gritty about food.

You must be aware of the way you think about food. What is food to you? Is food a source of energy? Nutrition? Comfort? Recreation? Pleasure? Throughout your life, has food been a positive or a negative thing? Are you harboring negative feelings about food because of your life experiences? Have you struggled with an eating disorder? Have you experienced having little food to eat and limited means to get food? Take some time out and think, even journal, about the way you feel about food. Be honest with yourself. The way you think and feel about food will impact how you eat, and what you eat.

I don’t believe that food is purely fuel for the body. I find food to be a source of pleasure. I enjoy tasting different foods, preparing meals, and gathering with friends over food and drinks. I feel that food was put here for me to enjoy, and I want to enjoy food without hesitation. The people around me feel the same way.

As with any pleasurable thing, food can be overindulged in, and food can be abused. At times, I have mindlessly eaten food while watching television, studying, or when socializing. I have also willingly overeaten because I liked the way something tasted, or simply because the food was there. I remember being at church social events, and any time there was a buffet, the women were invited to fix their plates first. The men would say, “here comes Cece with her two plates.” That’s me. Two plate Cece. I can always eat. I like to think of myself as having the ability to eat like an athletic 14 year old boy. If only I had the metabolism of an athletic 14 year old boy! Another unladylike thing about my eating…I tend to eat with both hands, like an old fat king. Imagine being on a date and your date saying, “wow, you eat with both hands at the same time!” I am a sugar lover, and I don’t mind salty treats either. Additionally, if I’m out socially, I am often tempted to have a drink (empty calories!!!). In order to eat more nutritiously, I have to think about controlling my portions, be aware of my calories, and limit my intake of empty foods (foods without much nutritional value, like sugar, unhealthy fats, and alcohol). So…it is a struggle for me to maintain a healthy diet. I would much rather just workout, but that isn’t enough.

I remember trying several different techniques to improve my nutrition. I have attempted to be a vegetarian (for about 1 month), cut red meat from my diet (for about 13 years, but not currently), and tried eating only raw foods (only made it 1 weekend). I read about nutrition, take courses, buy books, and talk with friends. In high school, I teamed up with a friend who began exercising and preparing healthy meals with me. That was when I stopped eating red meat, and began learning about whole grains and fiber. My parents were supportive. My mother would cook separate meat dishes for me, and began preparing more nutritious meals. My brother and father didn’t help me as much with nutrition, but they did help me with my fitness. My father began inviting me to run with him from time to time, and we would play tennis. My brother taught me how to lift weights, and how to do so safely.

I have been in love with health and wellness ever since. I find food fascinating, and I enjoy taking meals and making them more nutritious. I also allow myself to have treats now and again (sometimes too often), but I am working on being more disciplined, and feeding my body in a healthier way.

So what is the take home message here? Well, I want you to think of food as a good thing. Food gives you the energy you need to move your body and think, and meals bring people together. Think about holiday dinners, parties, and happy hours. These times often center around a meal, and they bring invaluable time with friends and family if you have good healthy relationships. Take some time to think about how you feel about food and eating. Be prepared for the next blog about nutrition. It is going to be good!

~ Cece

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