I don’t put much stock in diets anymore. I can’t really. After spending much of my adolescence and early adulthood battling an eating disorder and some very detrimental body image and self-esteem issues, I’ve found that it is much healthier for me to stay away from dieting altogether.
Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t try to watch what I eat, I just try to keep myself from going overboard with it. I choose whole grain pasta and bread over the regular stuff. I try to stay away from the super sugary cereals (though I have a definite weakness for Cocoa Puffs and Cinnamon Toast Crunch on occassion). And lately I’ve been trying to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables I’m eating.
What I don’t believe in though, is cutting out or depriving myself of any foods, even the “bad” stuff. Anything can be bad for you if you overindulge, so really, the trick to successfully eating healthier is finding a balance where you can eat well, treat yourself every now and then, and not set yourself up for failure by denying yourself the things you crave and enjoy. Sure, if I sat down and ate 20 Hostess cupcakes every single day, I would likely be paying for it as I watched my waistline expand. But, snacking on one every once in awhile to satisfy a craving for something sweet is certainly not going to kill me. Life is far too short for hardcore deprivation diets, don’t you think?
These days, however, both Steven and I are finding that we are increasingly unhappy with our increasingly flabby bodies, and we finally decided we needed to do something more than the occassional walk on the bike path, since the walks always seem rather limited with a dog and a toddler in tow. After looking at a couple of options, we decided to join the YMCA so we could start exercising regularly again, and so far, we are loving it. Not only does it give us a chance to get active again, but we can also get Cadence involved. She’s already had a blast swimming in the pool and playing with other kids in the child care center.
One thing I am very conscious of now that I have a daughter myself, is making sure that she is able to grow up having a healthy relationship with food and a healthy body image. Our culture can be very tough on girls, dictating a very warped view of how the female body should look. Fortunately, we seem to be doing pretty well so far. Cadence is super active, and is always game to go running around or head to the Y. And while she does enjoy the occasional treat like chocolate chip cookies or ice cream, Cadence is still much more interested in eating a plate full of veggies, cheese, and whole grain pasta. Her newest favorite food appears to be apples. She loves when we give them to her whole (with the skin removed), and she hold them like a big girl and eats them right down to the core. That’s my girl!
Today’s 365 Project Entry is dedicated to finding your own healthy balance and making it work for you. Don’t go crazy depriving yourself, people! Instead simply try to be a bit more mindful of what you’re eating, and then get out there and get active!