Friday Five: 5 Too-Good-to-be-True Health Hacks

Good morning! As I crank out this week’s list, I can barely move. Seriously. If you see me this weekend, please don’t bump me, I WILL fall over. On Monday I started another bootcamp with my favorite trainer, Stephanie Adkins. I’ve used her bootcamps before as jumping points, springboards to progress in getting healthy. This is her muscle building/toning version, and it is KILLER. Awesome, but killer. If you’re ever interested in a virtual bootcamp, check her out!

But anyway, it inspired me to share just a bit about our health journey. Over the last several years we’ve wanted to improve our health, lose weight, and just feel better. We tried fad diets, cleanses, eliminating one or more food groups, etc. But what we’ve found most effective? Just making healthy decisions. Our bodies were made to function with food a certain way, and taking care of ourselves with a stewardship mindset has led us into a whole new lifestyle. We have found what we feel is a very maintainable routine, and we are still seeing results.

The last six weeks, we have had a lot of exciting things going on. We traveled, celebrated birthdays, attended a wedding, and have been preparing for another. There was lots of “cheating” on our eating plan. Workouts were almost non-existent. Still, we lost 22.5 POUNDS together! Just making healthy choices! So here are our favorite ways to choose healthy.

They’re all those things we’ve always been told or taught. There’s no tricks or shortcuts, just ways we care for ourselves.

1) Water

Go figure. There has to be some catch, right? All I know is that drinking water makes me feel great. And I don’t even really like it! But if I get more than 70oz a day, I feel energized, and I don’t snack needlessly. I don’t feel that false hunger. I’m also a soda-holic. When I make a goal and compete with myself to drink a certain amount of water, I never rarely even crave my darling Dr. Depper…

2) Real Food CAN Taste Good!

I used to not have any recipes that DIDN’T contain pounds of pasta, bread, or end in the phrase “then cover it in cheese”. And I used to think healthy eating meant raw salad and rice cakes. While I still love (and wisely use) carbs and cheese, I’ve learned healthy food…real, whole, clean food…can taste GREAT! Vegetables, lean meat, fruit. I’ve learned more about bringing out the natural flavors in food and the best way to prepare them. Rather than seeing all my healthy choices as a “have to”, I’ve started getting excited about making healthy things that taste awesome and at the same time, give my body what it needs to function at it’s best. I love the tip to “shop the perimeter” of the grocery store. The perimeter is where the produce and meat is kept. The aisles are full of the processed, and it can be really difficult to find nutritious food on the shelves. Stick to whole, clean foods to get the best results out of your food.

3) Work-Out Early

Y’all. If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know I am NOT a morning person. I believe our days should start around 9 and we should all stay up later. But man, if working-out first isn’t effective. It wakes my body up: a good friend said it’s good to work out before your body really understands what you’re doing to it. And this is so me. I am a zombie, but just about the time I wake up, I’m finishing my work-out. For me, it helps me start drinking water which helps me eat better the rest of the day. And then I don’t have to think about working out the rest of the day! As much as I’m enjoying getting healthy and in better shape, if someone told me I never had to sweat again in my life, I would take it. Jeff is different, here. I think he finds real enjoyment in a workout and getting stronger. He’s a weirdo…

4) Stretching

If you don’t have time to do a full work-out, just stretching changes so much. It gives release and improves posture, which improves how you carry yourself through the day. Jeff loves band stretching. Even on days when he is not lifting he takes his bands and tries to run through stretches near his desk.  It helps his posture, lower back issues associated with sitting, and just gets his blood flowing while at work!

We have also found Yoga to be helpful (even with little friends!) in how we move and get the day going.  If there is not a morning workout or we are tired in the evening, 15 minutes of light stretching and yoga can change your whole outlook and most certainly changes how you feel!

5) MyFitnessPal

This is my favorite app. I guess this isn’t really a natural, intuitive way to be healthy. But I love this! If I don’t look closely, I have no idea how much food I eat. I can rival the Michael Phelps diet (12,000 calories a day) if I’m not monitoring myself. I also don’t swim for 12 hours a day. So, the math gets ugly. So with MyFitnessPal I can easily track what I’m eating, and it’s like a game! And you can win a game! I might be a little on the competitive side… You can also track water, work-outs, and interact with other users for motivation.

I’ve learned so many truths about food, fitness, and how we are supposed to care for our bodies in the last few years, I can’t fit it all into one post. But I have to say that I love living this way. I’m never hungry, because I’m not dieting. I don’t feel I’m depriving myself, because I truly enjoy my food. And when I do “cheat”, I actually appreciate the indulgence. A truly delicious dessert is even more so when you haven’t been trying to fuel your body with mediocre junk.

I believe we are to have life to the fullest. We have been given the awesome opportunity to enjoy food and enjoy activity. I really want to share more of my health testimony, but that will have to wait. I actually tried to get it all down last week, and it just rambled forever. But finding freedom in food and fitness is all about living. I hope some of our favs encourage you to feel your best!




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