Happy Leap Year!
What are you doing with your extra day? I’m planning a Spring full of good nutrition, starting tomorrow with the first day of National Nutrition Month.
While I’m not a registered dietitian or nutrition expert, as a fitness professional I do have a working knowledge of good nutrition, and how it applies to health and weight. The more I learn about health and wellness, (and the older I get!) the more I see what an impact nutrition has on every part of our lives. Weight, health, mood, sleep, energy level and aging are just a few of the areas eating well can make a difference.
I’ll admit that not so long ago I figured if I worked out enough, I could maintain my weight and eat whatever I wanted. As a personal trainer and RPM instructor, I was teaching several classes a week, taking one or two more, plus doing strength training, yoga, hiking with my family, and fitting in the occasional beach run. Calories weren’t much of an issue, except the days when I felt like I wasn’t getting enough. And in fact, those days, when I felt tired and ravenous, led me to eating too much of the wrong stuff, too fast. I felt like crap.
Lucky for me I had a registered dietitian right down the hall. She helped me see that my new level of activity required more, and better fuel. I made smarter choices, but I still didn’t worry too much about that extra glass of wine, or the guacamole and chips. Then my back crashed, and my activity level changed again. I didn’t need the same amount of food, and I couldn’t get away with those extras. I struggled to adjust my mindset.
I won’t say it’s been easy, but I’ve spent the last year trying to educate myself and make even better choices about nutrition. Sometimes I slip. Sometimes I fail miserably. But little by little, I am making progress I’m really proud of. I eat more fruit, and even kind of like it. I chose salad or other fresh veggies with low-fat cottage cheese, soup, or nuts for lunch most days, and I’ve given up most processed foods like crackers and granola bars. Sometimes I indulge, but I try to be more balanced and thoughtful about it.
I’m learning to listen to my body. Fatigue, injury and pain are signals that you’re out of balance. And if you don’t listen, your body will yell a little louder until you have no choice but to pay attention.
Because National Nutrition Month is –shocker–a whole month, I plan to do a few posts in March including, tips for healthier eating, how to make small but significant changes, and maybe even break down some current nutrition research. Stay tuned.