Healthy eating is more important than exercising. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. Don’t get me wrong, I value exercise and do it at least six days a week. Exercise is essential to overall health and one should take the time to workout. But, I know that I’ll never reach my health goals if I eat unhealthily. I’m no doctor, nor a nutritionist, but even I, a laymen, know the difference between bad and good food: broccoli is better for you than a donut. We can all decipher that. But what choice will we make when presented with that option?
It was harder for me to turn around my eating habits than to start exercising regularly. There were a few things that helped create different eating habits in me. One thing that helped me was to just do it. No matter how much I didn’t like eating healthily I did it. I told my brain to shut up. I told my taste buds to take a hike. I basically forced myself to eat in a healthy way, and over time I started to crave those types of food more and more, and shun the unhealthy options. I remember when I tried beer for the first time. DAMN that stuff was terrible! But everyone drank it so I kept drinking it. Eventually, I liked it. I even enjoy the taste of certain beers, but it’s definitely an acquired taste. You can do the same thing with food too. Don’t like something? Just keep eating it. There’s an article about that from Real Age. Now when I eat the junk food, my body doesn’t always feel so hot afterward.
Another thing that helped me was to be aware of my food intake: conscious eating. I thought about food constantly, what will I have for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner? There are plenty of unhealthy snacks offered at work. It’s so easy to blindly, walk to the kitchen and just start munching away with no real thought about what you’re eating. Why you’re eating. Or if you’re even hungry. There goes a few hundred calories. I always tell myself think before you eat. One tip that I’ve learned is that if you’re between meals, you think you’re hungry, go ahead and drink some water instead. This helps because you may not have been hungry in the first place, and the water will satiate you until you’re actually hungry. Again, two articles from Real Age that talk about water in particular: Drink Water to Lose Weight and 3 Liquids That Help Halt Hunger.
The third thing that helped me were results. Physical changes in myself just by eating differently, no exercising. A few years ago when I was at my heaviest of 185 lbs (83.91 kg), I had a friend tell me that I looked fat. That spurred action because I agreed with him. Though ignorant action, nonetheless action. I started the Special K challenge (by the way, I don’t recommend or endorse any diet). In this diet you replace two meals a day with Special K cereal. (To my knowledge, at the time I did this Kellogg’s hadn’t created the whole line of Special K food, it was just cereal). Now I’m not sure if I followed the exact serving size, but I probably wasn’t eating more than 200-250 calories per cereal meal. My third meal probably didn’t exceed 1000 calories so that’s roughly 1400-1500 calories in a day. Even without exercise I lost weight, significant weight. In about 2-3 months time I lost 20 lbs. (I honestly don’t know the time frame on the 20 lbs lost, but it was a fast turn around.) I now weighed 165 lbs, which is the weight I stayed at until I started P90X. 20lbs lost just by changing my eating habits, that’s pretty amazing!
Eating healthy took a down turn for me around August and September of 2010 after I broke my hand playing basketball. Though, I didn’t totally start eating like crap, the frequency of which I ate crap moved from 1-2 times per month to 1-2 times per week. During this time period it was important for me to eat healthily because I couldn’t exercise with my broken hand. Jumping up and down even bothered it. (I’m sure there are lighter things I could have done, but I did nothing.) So in this absence of exercise if I had not eaten healthily the 5-6 times a week I probably would have started to gain unhealthy weight; instead I gained nothing and maintained my 147 lbs (66.67 kg) at the time.
Being mentally focused about your food intake in times where exercise is impossible is important to, at least, maintaining your current weight. Without exercise, healthy eating habits can help you lose weight (where as bad habits will have you gaining weight.) These two reasons are why I think healthy eating is more important than exercise, because if you can’t exercise (or don’t) then how else will you stay healthy?
Wow this post is a lot longer than I thought it would be. And now here’s more!
Go check out the website Forks Over Knives for showtimes. The movie releases on June 17th or 24th, depending on your area.
Am I working out for the right reasons? I hope so. Otherwise there will be a day that comes where I don’t care about the “wrong” reasons anymore and I stop. The right reasons for me are to be as healthy as I can every day. Each day is a new day with new challenges and TODAY I am working on being my healthiest and overcoming life’s little obstacles. I want for myself, to always be in the best shape that I can (mental ability, physical speed, strength, agility, endurance). God willing these healthy choices I’m making today help me live a long life where I enjoy my family and friends and am not hindered by diseases or physical impairments in old age.
This is why I live a healthy life today. So I can enjoy life tomorrow.
Here’s a passage from an interview with Tony Horton that I find fitting:
First things first, you need to ask yourself if you are ready to make a change in your life and commit to it. Horton said hopping on the Stairmaster for 20 minutes three times a week is a start, and better than nothing, but is not going to give you the level of fitness essential for a healthy life. Why are you making this change? Horton said if it is just to be thinner, you need to reevaluate yourself.
“Get away from the whole aesthetics factor. It shouldn’t be about eating foods that will help you be smaller later. It doesn’t matter how small you are—the fitness is what matters,” he said. Instead, Horton said to concentrate on all the other benefits of exercise, and if you lose a few pounds in the process—that’s a bonus.
“If I exercise today and eat well, I turn back the clock. Cells will grow stronger, my immune system will function better and improve my quality of life. Memory will improve, I will have less stress and feel better,” he added.
I hope your reasons keep you exercising for the long haul.
Just take your workout schedule and nutrition One Day at a Time. All you have to do is workout today. Just TODAY. All you have to do is eat healthily and thoughtfully TODAY. That’s it, it’s so simple. There is nothing else that matters except the workout and your eating habits TODAY.
Don’t worry about what you did or didn’t do yesterday, and don’t worry about what you’ll have to do tomorrow. Yesterday is gone, and can’t be changed. Tomorrow isn’t even here, so the future is uncertain. Today has enough worries for itself, there’s no need to have added stress about what has happened or what might happen.
Say you’re on day 20 of a 90 day workout schedule. Don’t stress over the 70 MORE days you have to go because, guess what … you have the rest of your life to go! That 70 days is a drop in the bucket compared to how many more days you could have in the rest of your life. Besides, you still have day 20’s workout to do, and you need to focus on that. Day 20 is here day 1045 is really far away, and day 20 needs your full attention.
Today is the only day that you can do something about your health and well being. So take that step, and let the change you make in your life happen TODAY!
Immediately finishing my first round of P90X Lean (June 2010), I started my 2nd round, and up’d it a notch, or two: P90X Doubles. I decided to do Doubles at this point because my wife (at the time) was exactly 13 weeks from her due date, and as you may know, P90X is 13 weeks long; so, it was perfect timing. I didn’t know what my workout life would be like after my daughter was born, so Doubles it is…err was. Get into the best shape I can before she arrives.
Doubles follows the Classic P90X schedule, neither of which I’m used to because I started out with Lean. (In Lean there is more cardio per week, and in classic there is more strength training.) This change brought in some new workouts: Plyometrics (jump training, aka the mother of all P90X workouts, and yes it is.) 13 weeks of Cardio X does not get you ready for your first time in Plyo X. I can’t remember the exact schedule, but there was definitely a new strength video for me, probably Chest and Back. Anyway… everything was new and different, and still hard; but I completed Phase 1 nonetheless.
Phase 2, and now Doubles comes into play. You’re still following the Classic schedule, except three times a week you have an AM workout (Cardio X), and a PM workout (these fell on strength days.) So Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays were double days for me for the next three weeks. Needless to say I quickly grew tired of the Cardio X, especially because Cardio X is so ingrained into the Lean schedule. Around the same time I also lost interest in Kenpo X because I felt like I was having to push myself much harder than the video’s routines. What can I say, I was a beast! The decision was made to start incorporating Insanity cardio workouts in place of Cardio X, three times a week, and Kenpo X once a week. I don’t remember exactly what I did, but I remember referring to this schedule to figure out which Insanity videos to substitute in for P90X videos (I still kept doing Plyo from P90X). And on double days I think I did Insanity Pure Cardio in the morning. It was actually funny doing that the first time, because I sucked at it so much. The 9-10 minute warmup alone was killing me.
Phase 3 began as scheduled, and now I’m into Doubles FOUR times a week. So Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday I have an AM and a PM workout. Exhausting, but invigorating. Week 11 came about. The week I agreed to enter into a Hoop It Up basketball tournament with my child hood friends. I don’t know why we play, we lose nearly every game, every year we play. What a waste of money! I hate that tournament. And to too off this rant, my hand was broken during the tournament. Talk about a bummer! It probably wouldn’t have been so bad if after the initial collision I played in two more games later that day. Real smart decision there. Real smart. But I’ll never know how much better it could have been if I didn’t keep playing. My wife took me to one of those PrimaCare places that’s opened on Sundays and had my baseball sized swollen hand x-ray’d, and received confirmation that it was indeed broken.
Internally I began to worry if I’d get back into it when my hand rehabilitated. About a month later I still had a hurt hand, my daughter was born. Everything is a big blur back then, days meld with nights, sleeplessness abound, I started working out again. Don’t get me wrong my hand was still healing, weight lifting was out of the question. I moved away from P90X. Here I started Insanity full time and created a schedule that used Insanity videos, but followed a P90X schedule (though I set up a 15 week schedule.) I’m not really sure how I did it, but I pushed through and kept with it. Thank God for an amazing wife, because without her being so supportive I couldn’t have continued working out.
Due to sickness (new baby illnesses floating around my house) I think it took me around 18 weeks to finish my 15 week schedule (sometime in Jan 2011). Then I started a modified P90X Plus schedule using Insanity workouts for all of my cardio. Though with a hiccup in my living arrangements I was unable to continue the workouts exactly the way I liked the entire month of March 2011.
Though, overall, with some offs here and there, I’ve basically been working out every day for the past year and 5 1/2 months. As of April 18, 2011 I’m currently doing Insanity: The ASYLUM, a 30 day workout, and I have 5 days left. I’ll give you another update after I finish that monster.
Basically what I wanted to get across is that when you finish something like P90X, it can’t just be about the accomplishment of doing it for 90 days. There has to be a mind shift towards a greater goal of making this part of your lifestyle and to continue what you’ve started. Stopping is so easy, don’t let that easiness look so appealing. You’ve worked hard to get to where you are now, don’t give up. You have to challenge yourself to continue to maintain and, if you wish, expound upon the results you’ve gained. However, if you’ve just started or have recently started a new workout regime, my advice would be to not worry about how long you have to go to finish. Remember this is a life style change, take it one day at a time.
Today, you have to workout… That’s it. Tomorrow can worry about itself.
Beachbody has a newsletter out today talking about the topics in the title of this post.
Yoga, 6 Reasons Yoga’s Great for Guys
Well… yoga’s great for both genders.
Picnic, 7 Substitutes for Diet-Killing Picnic Foods
I bet you can eat healthier during those Summer grill fests.
Small Spaces, Working Out in Small Spaces
I bet you have enough room to lunge back and forth.
There are other articles in the newsletter too, but those are my favorite.