I don’t know about you, but I love moving somewhere new. Sure, packing and the actual physical process of moving all your shit is a pain in the ass, but to me, traveling and setting up shop in a new city kind of makes me feel like I’m on vacation. Everything is new and novel again, and here in Austin, I’ve only begun to scratch the surface off all the recommended things to go do and see.
(I stole this pic of Red Bud Isle, which is dog park heaven – definitely a must see if you have a four legged friend like mine)
And what’s the fun of vacation if you don’t let yourself go a little bit? By that I mean boozing it up, going out to eat, and letting some of your previous established healthy habits and routines slide (*cough cough* like exercise…oops). So because I think I’m on vacation, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been in a little bit of a vacay mode the past couple of weeks. Sure, I’ve gone out for runs or scoped out some new yoga classes. And yes, I’ve been eating fairly healthy (just ask my poor roommates who have to endure my grocery shopping lists, which include foreign to them items like chia seeds, almond milk, and kale). But I still feel a little too lax. And when it interferes with how I feel (like how I huffed and puffed through my entire run today?), then I know it’s time for a change.
But how do I get myself “back on track”? How do we find the motivation to stop living like hedonists and start taking care of ourselves again? Because let’s face it, sometimes healthy living kind of, well, SUCKS. Sometimes it’s hard to say no to that second (or third) glass of wine at the end of a long day. And sometimes I want a brownie a whole lot more than a salad. But deep down, I know that making healthy choices the majority of the time makes me feel (and probably look) better, and usually that’s enough to help guide me in the right direction.
So here’s my plan of attack for getting out of vacation mode and into healthy living HAM mode (please refer to the Kanye and Jay-Z classic “HAM” should you not understand the reference and then thank me later for dropping a classic hip hop gem on your ears):
1. Regulate my sleep schedule: due to my “fun employment”, my sleep cycle is ALL over the place. It’s not unusual to go to bed at 3 in the morning, and I find that this really messes with my energy levels. In addition, I learned that research has shown that those who work second or third shifts at work (i.e. the night shift) tend to be much more likely to have depressive disorders because their circadian rhythms are so out of whack and because they aren’t exposed to as much sunlight as regular shift workers. It’s time to start setting a bedtime…and then actually sticking to it.
2. Workout a minimum of 4 times per week: I NEED exercise in my life for several reasons, such as the post workout endorphins, increased energy, stress relief, and to a lesser degree, to keep my ass from getting out of control (hey I’ll admit it, and I won’t apologize for the confidence that building new muscles in my body instills in me). For me, 4 times a week is the magic number I need to keep my sanity; any less and I can feel my fitness levels sliding. Now this number is different for everyone and what works for me may not work for you – some people need more and some people need less. But if I can squeeze in 4-6 workouts a week (and at this point in my life, there’s no reason I can’t), then I’m golden.
3. Eat clean and eat like a PRO: I became a dietitian because I believe that what we use to fuel our body can help us live and feel better, so eating clean is definitely up at the top of my priority list. So what does “eating clean” mean? Well for me, it involves whole grains, healthy sources of fat, and eating like a PRO, which is a phrase I’m borrowing from The Fitnessista (check out her blog at www.fitnessista.com if you’re living under a rock and haven’t already). To eat like a PRO, make each meal and/or snack contain a healthy source of PROtein (i.e. lean cuts of meat, fish, poultry, tofu, tempeh, soy, etc.), a type of PROduce, and (this I’m adding to her definition) make it as unPROcessed as possible. Of course, there will be times where this isn’t possible, but I can assure you that the more you eat like a PRO, the better you’ll feel.
4. Drink your water already: Why oh why it is so hard for me to stay hydrated lately? When I had a desk job, I always had a water bottle by my side and sipped on it throughout the day, which added up to several cups of good old H2O by the time I left for home. Now that I’m home, it’s harder to drink up which baffles me because I figured it would be easier than ever to have access to fluids. Whatever the case, I need more water and I need it now. Being dehydrated causes a decrease in your metabolism and increased fatigue, can lead to overeating, and is even bad for your skin. I’ve started to go on the offensive by making pitchers of my favorite cucumber water and stocking sparkling water for when I need a little carbonation.
5. Listen to your mom and take your vitamins: I know there’s considerable debate as to whether a multivitamin is really that beneficial, but it makes me THINK I feel better (whether its psychosomatic or physiological I don’t know and I don’t care).
So what are your tips and tricks for getting out of vacation mode and getting on the healthy living bandwagon? Any advice for me? If so, I’d love to hear it.
Here’s to a healthier week,