What is healthy? Thin doesn't necessarily mean healthy. Active and fit doesn't either? So what is healthy?
This is something I've been trying to figure out for a while. For the most part, I've come to the conclusion that healthy means have good balance in your life. This means running AND yoga. Parties AND time at home. Fruits and veggies AND a cupcake. And for the most part, I'm doing OK with this. I run a lot, but I do get some yoga in, and I'm trying to get some cross training in there too. I work a lot, but I definitely take time to enjoy my rest, and I try to make time for friends wherever possible. Where I'm struggling most is with food.
Does eating healthy mean eating zero processed foods? Does it mean no / low carbs? Does it mean no meat? Does it mean less meat? What about red meat? Everybody seems to have a different answer to this question. Many runners talk about carbo-loading, but plenty of nutritionists and dieticians say that runners / athletes overload. Some people claim that zero processed foods is the way to go, but then doesn't that put more stress on you as far as eating with friends / eating out / budgeting? And don't even get me started on the carb / meat debate!
A lot of this has been at the forefront of my mind since Dad's diagnoses with diabetes. You see, it's not just about wanting to see my dad healthy and living a long life (which I do). It's also about the fact that his diagnoses means that I'm at risk. Little things like a spike in blood sugar could just mean that I ate something a little too sweet, or it could mean that my body is having serious trouble regulating foods. Eating healthy now could mean that I might avoid a similar diagnoses in the future. Eating healthy now might also save my future children.
So, where do I begin? Well, I think everyone can agree that eating more fruits and veggies is a good thing. Most people can agree that whole grains are better than processed. What I'm trying to figure out is the balance. How many carbs can I or SHOULD I eat before they're a problem? How often should I eat a salad versus a sandwich? Is it alright if I eat out once in a while? What if I have a doughnut or Qdoba or some other horribly fatty / sugary item? Am I OK?
A while back I started tracking food on an online database. For whatever reason (namely I got tied up starting the business), I stopped tracking. Now, I'm trying to get back to tracking again, and apparently I'm eating more than I used to. So, I'm back to relearning how to eat. How should I eat when I run 12 miles in a day? How should I eat when I'm fairly sedentary? How will that food effect my energy levels, and will I be hungry within an hour or within 5 hours?
Now, here I am. I'm training for my second marathon, but instead of focusing solely on distance and eating whatever I want, I'm also focusing on food and how to properly fuel. I'm looking at healthier options for desserts. I'm reading up on Paleo diets AND Mediterranean diets. I'm cutting some things back, and I'm adding in others.
How about you? Where do you find your healthiness balance? Would you care to embark on this journey of self-discovery with me?
Here's to hoping things go well!