Tag Archives: motivation

Why I Changed The Way I Eat

This is how I felt about not being able to figure out why I wasn't feeling so great.

This is how I felt about not being able to figure out why I wasn’t feeling so great.

 

This is a story all about how, my life got flipped, turned upside down.

Seriously, it is. I felt like the baby in the picture above; frustrated.

I want to share a personal experience that you, my friend, may identify with. “But I don’t know you, how can we be friends?!” Well, reader, the fact that you are reading this post means that you visited fitmentality.com. The fact that you are here means you, at the very least, somewhat care about living a strong and healthy life. I also share this interest. This makes us friends.

Let’s hop in our FM version of the Delorean. We’ll go back in time to 2005. I was in college, loving life and preparing myself for the real world. I was happy, working hard, and excited about the future. I would study hard, workout hard, and try my best to enjoy what was supposed to be “the best years of my life.” I had no complaints, other than my own lack of time management skills that would lead to me making multiple promises to myself to never procrastinate and have to write a paper the night before it was due. Just don’t tell my parents that. It’ll be our little secret ūüėČ See? We are keeping secrets for each other. Like I said, we are friends.

Then, something began to happen. I started to notice that periodically, my body would feel exhausted and achy. I would go through periods of time that for a few days I would want to do little else than lay on the couch. After some time would pass by, I would feel better. ¬†At first, I figured “oh, I just got sick, it’s okay. It happens.” It’s true, we do get sick, and it does happen. However, I didn’t have many other symptoms along with feeling this way. Also, it would happen almost regularly, every couple months. Not only did it make it tough to do the things I needed to do during these episodes, I would need to completely abandon any physical activity I had planned. This was more than an inconvenience. I wasn’t able to force workouts, either. Being able to be active is something I cherish. When it was taken away from me, it was more than “aw man, oh well.”

I went to the doctor, and found nothing. My blood sugar was fine. My thyroid was fine. No other diseases were found. I was grateful¬†that this was the case. However, I still didn’t have answers.¬†This went on for years. Without warning, I would be down for the count every month or two, for a few days. “What is going on hereeeee?!?!?!” I asked myself. Now, there are folks who live with conditions worse than this on a daily basis. I respect very much when people with difficult situations, find the strength necessary to achieve their goals. I don’t pretend to think that I had it worse than anyone. It was simply a personal struggle.

Fast forward to a year and a half ago. I was getting my internet surf on, while listening to ESPN in the background. I forget who the report was about, but I remember hearing about a professional baseball player who would go through periods of time where exhaustion would keep him from practice. The report stated that he even fainted during a practice while feeling this way. They explained symptoms that he would have periodically. I wasn’t paying full attention to the TV, but when I heard this, I immediately stopped what I was doing. The report went on to talk about how the baseball player discovered he had an intolerance to gluten. When he started eating gluten free, he started to feel better. I quickly turned my attention to the TV and had a light bulb go off in my head. “OMG, what if that’s what’s happening to MEEEEE?!?!?!?!” I’m not sure if I actually said ¬†“OMG,” but i wouldn’t doubt it. I was pretty excited. I immediately started looking into this way of eating as a lifestyle. I began to do some research and was on my way to give it a shot.

After a few months of eating this way, I did notice a difference. I felt less bloated throughout the day. I would still feel the way I described before, but there would be longer periods of time in between. Over time, this would happen less and less often. I also realized I would either get less upper respiratory infections (colds, etc) than before, or I would get better quicker. The more time went on, the more time would pass between feeling like a punch to my health’s face. I have been eating this way for about a year and a half. I feel great and I have been able to stay more consistent with being active. I don’t pretend to be Superman, but I do notice a difference. Thank you, ESPN.

This doesn’t mean I think you should immediately drop the piece of bread you are eating. I don’t mean for the reader to think that I feel that everyone should eat gluten free. I am simply sharing an example of when I wasn’t feeling all that great, and decided to take an active approach to trying to feel better. How do you feel? Have you been wondering if maybe you could feel a little better, more often? Taking a close look at your fitness level and your eating habits could be a great place to start.

To be clear, when you don’t feel good, talk to your doctor. I am not advocating for us all to be our own doctors. Modern medicine is incredible and should not be overlooked. Always check with a health care professional when looking to make diet changes. However, there is nothing wrong with knowing that eating better and getting more active, more¬†consistently,¬† just may help us feel a little more awesome.

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Compare yourself, to yourself.

Many times when we learn about someone who has reached a similar goal that we have, we compare ourselves to them. Or maybe they seem to be farther along in reaching that goal than we seem to be.

It’s natural to compare yourself to someone else. We do it all of the time. Many times without doing so on purpose. It’s healthy to gain inspiration from those who seem to have a better grasp on their fitness, or seem to be more consistent with their nutrition. However, be careful not to sink too far into the “they are so much better at this than I am, how can I even compare? That way of thinking doesn’t help.

Instead, feel encouraged that at some point they made a decision to slowly but surely improve their nutrition and fitness. Little by little, they got to the point where they are. Maybe you are comparing yourself to someone who works out five times a week and you wish you could do so. Don’t feel discouraged; take inspiration from their commitment and use that to fuel you to add one more workout to the week.

Maybe you have a friend who compared to you, is night and day with the food that they eat. You wonder “how do they eat so well? I ate In n Out three times in two weeks!” Instead of getting down on yourself and focusing on how different your diets are, spend your effort on improving your own diet just a little bit this week. Add one more vegetable every day this week. Just one, in addition to what you are already eating. You can do this by going to the store and buying a bag of a frozen vegetable or vegetables. All you need to do is pop a serving in the microwave and you are good to go. Add one more fruit each day. If you already have one piece of fruit each day, the next time you are the store, buy a few pieces of another fruit. If you already eat a few bananas a week, buy 5 apples also, and eat one a day. Baby steps.

Organic? Grass Fed? Free Range? Stayed at a 5 star resort before it made it on to your plate?

Yes, these are great things to consider when buying food. However, don’t worry about them if you have had trouble having a balanced diet to begin with. Improve the situation you have already consistently followed. Not eating many veggies during the week and then jumping to organic only everything, is a dramatic jump. I would say, slowly work in more veggies and fruits on a consistent basis (organic is great, if you can), then once you get that under control, put more effort into where you food is coming from and how it’s treated.

Gaining inspiration from others is great, but that is where the comparison should stop. We can learn from each other and put into action tips that have worked for others. Beyond that, it’s YOU that matters. What changes can YOU make? How can YOU keep these changes consistent? What can you realistically do, that will slowly move you to a stronger and healthier life?

Personally, I gain lots of inspiration from friends who are more fit or eat better than I do. I try as hard as I can to not get discouraged that I am not at their level, but take the inspiration that I feel from them and use that to make the gradual changes that are applicable in my own life.

The only comparison you need to focus on is how committed you used to be about fitness and nutrition, and what changes are going to be necessary to move beyond and consistently into the future.

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I know I should eat healthy, but I love food too much

On my way to the gym, I had a little conversation with myself.

Well, not out loud…

…this time.

This was more of an inner dialogue. I have had conversations with people about the whole idea of eating better and trying to make smarter nutritional choices throughout the day or week. After many a chat of this nature, I have felt a sense that some feel that they love food too much to try and eat healthier. Or, that they don’t want to stop enjoying food, therefore, they would rather not adjust the way they eat. They feel that what they like to eat tastes so good that they would be deprived if they moved away from some of those foods. Therefore, changes can’t be made.

Some of us may feel this way, or maybe to a lesser degree. But let’s be honest, are we scared of adjusting how we eat?

If you have felt this way, or do feel this way. I understand and don’t mean to harp on you. But allow me to propose a rebuttal.

(clears throat)

Learning about where food comes from. Educating oneself about the magic, straight up magic (er, science), of how food can make us live a stronger and longer life. Learning how food can help us achieve life goals. Learning about how the combination of different foods in different ways has a positive effect on our bodies. Studying how to improve illnesses or things that don’t seem quite right in our bodies, with food. Learning how foods can help us get off of most if not all of medications we take.

These are all examples about the love for food.

I was thinking to myself¬† “Wait a minute, if your idea of loving food is wanting to continue to often eat food that of which you have no idea what all of the ingredients it has, then my examples are even MORE of a love for food!”. Then I told myself¬† “Wait, Isaac, wait. This isn’t a competition. Though you would totally win, it’s not a competition of who loves food more. This is just an example of different schools of thought.”

I am not trying to tell you what you do or don’t love. That is not up to me. My point in all of this, hopefully somewhat humorous (otherwise I come off as some crazy person who’s posts you wouldn’t want to read) and extreme example, is to challenge how we think. Many times, people can get caught up in thinking that eating healthier requires sacrifice in how much we enjoy food. Yes, adjustments may need to be made. And yes, our taste buds can adapt to different foods. My point is, I challenge people to stop focusing on being scared of having to stop enjoying food and or being scared that we will hate what we need to eat to be healthier. We need to stop¬† and realize, that’s not true. If anything, you can learn to love food even more.

To be clear, I enjoy a good indulgence in food that isn’t the best for me, as well. Every once in a while, that is okay. However, that is not what this is about. This is about the ongoing choices that we make.

I’m won’t sit here (actually, I’m standing, but I started sitting down, until I got serious about the topic) and make it seem like this transition is easy for everyone. Because it’s not. It takes effort and commitment. I simply propose a challenge to how we think about food and the decisions we make about how we feed ourselves and our families.

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It’s not a matter of “if”, it’s a matter of “how”

Does the following describe you? You are committed to making a change. You are convinced that you want exercise to be a bigger part of your life. You are starting to realize the positive changes that come about from eating a more balanced diet. If yes: I encourage you to focus on “how.”

Don’t say “I don’t know IF I can do this.” Say, “I will figure out HOW to do this.”

The information is clearly out there. There are a million recipes and lists of foods that are great to eat. There are a million work outs and exercises out there. There are studies and studies and studies about this and that and the other. There are TV shows and magazines and movies that refer to fitness and nutrition. It can all feel overwhelming. The trick is to find out what works for you. I am here to try and simplify this process. I will share what has worked for me, as well as ideas that will hopefully work for you.

This is a constant learning process. The information out there can feel like it’s a bit much and does take effort to wade through it all. However, what’s important is that we learn little by little and try the ideas that we think may work. We need to constantly be aware of what is and isn’t working for us, so that we can make the appropriate adjustments that are necessary for us to continue on this path.

This is a lifestyle. It takes time and effort. A lifestyle that can feel tough without the support of others. Maybe you are on this journey with close friends or family. Maybe you feel like you are the only one who cares about this. Regardless of your situation, you have a supportive community right here.

It’s important to motivate each other; to keep the fitness fire going. Sometimes we need motivation, sometimes we can’t help but share motivation with others. Either way, let’s help each other grow with this lifestyle.

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I’m not fat so I don’t have to watch what I eat

I don’t mean to be insensitive to weight issues people have. However, I want to address this idea that if you don’t see yourself as being overweight, that you have a free pass to overlook the contents of the food that you eat. Yes, people who are overweight have a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease and many other horrible diseases. I’m not here to say who is or isn’t overweight. I’m not in the business of figuring out what body mass percentage puts someone in an “obese” category and not another person. As far as the weight issue, for now, I will leave it up to you. You know if you are carrying around some extra pounds than you should. You know if you don’t quite have the energy you used to, or if you feel less physically able to do the things you used to do when you were leaner. That part is on you, to decide when a change needs to be made.

What about the people who look in the mirror and don’t seen an overweight person? What if you are more active than most people, but figure you don’t have to watch your diet as close enough because you will “burn it off later”? I know people who think that because they don’t feel overweight, they don’t have to watch what they eat.

It is very easy to think that since you don’t struggle with weight, nutrition doesn’t require any special attention. I am here to explain that that is an excuse. Nutrition is important for everyone. It is entirely possible to have the genetics that don’t make you look quite as fluffy, but still have arteries in your heart that are getting slowly but surely clogged up. It’s entirely possible to not be overweight and still develop type II diabetes. You are kidding yourself if you think that diet should not be a major priority in your life. Your quality of life as well as dependence on medication can be greatly affected by how you fuel your body, regardless of whether or not you have a weight problem.

No matter the shape of your body, there are always life and health benefits from making good food choices.

Nutrition affects everyone. For some, it is more of a serious issue that needs to be dealt with more suddenly than others. However, it would be ignorant to think that nutrition is somehow less important to you if you don’t fall in that category. Nutrition is important, always.

Okay Isaac, I’m convinced! Stop yelling at me!

Ha, okay okay, mythical person speaking to me, I hear you. I will be posting practical ideas of how to slowly adjust your diet. I will post pictures and ideas of what to eat and how. I will be doing that over time. For now, I just want to show the world how passionate I am about this. THIS AFFECTS EVERYONE. Whether you choose to accept the responsibility of your nutritional choices is on you. If you are, however, interested in making changes, the readers of this blog as well as myself will help out.

Let’s.Do.This

P.S

Luckily, I was raised in a house that stressed the importance of a well balanced meal. Whenever possible, our plates always had vegetables and fruits on them, no matter what else was being served. The importance of a well balanced diet stayed with me. As an example, I have always enjoyed a whole grain cereal with chopped up fruits more than a sugary cereal. This is because I have been trained to take into account taste as well as how I feel after eating food. Also, meals to me don’t feel complete without fruits and vegetables. I am greatly appreciative of my family for instilling these nutritional values in me and look forward to sharing them with those who would like to listen.

I don’t mean to, in any way, make it look like I think I eat the perfect diet. I don’t. I am constantly learning about foods and how to incorporate better ones into my diet. I am on this journey just like everyone else.

What about you?

Please comment and share the type of nutritional or diet values your family has raised you with and how that has affected how you eat today. It is very interesting to share this information with each other and greatly enhances the cycle of information and inspiration on our journey.

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