So, here they are. Expect a follow up post or two, when I will talk about why my philosophy has changed to much in 6 years.
The 10 Commandments of Kim's Healthy Lifestyle
- Thou shalt keep the number on the scale in perspective. I have, in the past, had a tendancy to look at the scale and freak out about it. Or, be obsessed with it. Or, tie my entire sense of accomplishment and self worth on what it says. None of this is good. Running has helped me to find another focus, and it has become easier for me to remember that scale weight is just one metric, and not one that even matters all that much.
- Thou shalt eat foods based on how the food will make thee feel. Food is fuel. When I started running, I realized that I couldn't keep up the low calories and fake/processed food that often comes with Weight Watchers and other mainstream diet plans. Fake bread, spray butter and other such diet staples are unsatisfying and make me feel sluggish when I run. I do my best to think about how I will feel after I eat something, and I've found that I enjoy my food more as a result. There's less regret involved if you feel good after, and I've learned to hate that sick feeling that I get after eating something really heavy, greasy or processed.
- Thou shalt never ruin a special event with a "diet." I just let it go. I don't worry about what I'm eating on vacation, for example (even with as much as we travel). However, I do still follow #2, so if a food is going to make me feel bad after, I normally won't eat it. As much as I love pancakes, waffles and pastries, I had to skip them on our trip to Little Cayman because I get too hungry during the morning dives if I stuff myself with carbs and not protein. So, eggs it was. Furthermore, I make sure that I always eat at least two of my Grandmother's cinnamon rolls when she makes them. I eat all of the traditional holiday goodies, and I just enjoy eating, because I love eating just as much as I enjoy running... :)
- Thou shalt keep up a reasonable exercise schedule. And by reasonable, I mean that I can only do what I can do. Sometimes, this means I'll go a few months with 5 or 6 workouts a week. Sometimes, this means I'm barely getting in my required runs. I do need to exercise because it makes me feel good, both mentally and physically, but I can't keep up a 6 day per week regimen 52 weeks per year. It's just not possible.
- Thou shalt buy clothes that fit. This is so silly, but something I need to remember. If I want to be in a size 10 and it's the size 12 that fits, so be it. I will no longer force myself into a smaller size simply because it's a smaller size. No one sees the tags on my clothes, why is that such a big deal? Besides, I always remember that the dress that I wore for my first wedding, when I was the thinnest I've ever been in my entire life, was a size 16. Turns out wedding dresses are sized small. But, who cares?
- Thou shalt strive to eat food that is wholesome, satisfying and healthy. Again, food is fuel. Still, I can eat what I want and I often do. I do try to eliminate trans fats from my diet (almost 100% trans fat free at this point). I try not to eat fast food, and I try to limit processed foods. I try to limit "diet," "low fat," "light," and other such foods. The best food out there is whole, unprocessed foods, and Mother Nature doesn't have a fancy marketing campaign going on.
- Thou shalt never sacrifice happiness for weight loss, races, or speed. I've done this in the past, and for that I am sorry. Whether we are talking about diet, exercise, running or whatever, none of it is as important as happiness. In the end, it's only a small piece of my whole life. This is why I don't run on most of my dive vacations, and it's why that I sometimes have to stop just to breathe a little bit. It's why I'm not weight training right now.
- Thou shalt be skeptical of diets. Look, all "diets" boil down to one basic thing - eat less calories than you burn. All diets are some piece of that, when you really look at them. Last week, my friend sent me a link to a paleo-type diet, and it's just more of the same. I'm making a lifestyle change that I can live with forever, not looking to drop a few pounds temporarily. I have yet to meet a diet plan that I know I could live with for the rest of my life. So, I make up my own rules.
- Thou shalt choose to run for life, rather than for one race. This is so important to me. I am conservative in my training, and that is because I have seen far too many people hurt themselves from pushing too hard. I do my best to listen to my body, and I don't care if that means that I sacrifice speed or whatever. I want to still be running when I'm 80. Period. I won't let a PR take that away from me.
- Thou shalt never give up a particular food simply to lose weight or be healthy. Carbs are not evil. I love carbs. I am not sure what I would do if I was told that I had celiac disease. I eat pasta the night before a long run because it tastes good, not because I need it. It makes me happy. Desserts make me happy, so I'm never giving up sugar. Red meat makes me happy, so that's not going anywhere. In fact, I think I will grill a steak tomorrow! Fat, carbs, sugar, whatever. I eat it all, just in moderation. Even trans fats, which I am trying to eliminate from my diet, I do eat sometimes. No worries, it's all about moderation and happiness.
Join me in a future post where I talk about the original commandments, and why I don't like them anymore. And, why things have changed so much for me since 2004. Certainly, you can see some differences if you look at both lists...