My Rational Approach to Diet and Fitness

Wellness is a lifelong quest. And fitness, or in my terms, feeling and looking more fit than I do now, is also a life goal. While I have struggled for a good portion of my adult life with weight gain, I decided at the beginning of this month to take on my health and fitness in the same way I have taken on some of my other challenges in life. I launched this blog as a way to share and track my own commitment and growth in this process.

Here’s what I told a fitness coach who reached out to me recently.

“At the moment, I’m going my own way, working with my emotions and eating, a bit organically, with some incidental support and lots of discipline and rational exercise and diet.”

At the heart of my plan is self-guided, self-exploratory awareness of what I eat, why I eat it, and how it makes me feel. As a result I’m also watching how I can reduce all forms of sugar intake. Add to that a goal of hitting my exercise goal 5-times a week.

It’s been a while since my last “check-in” and I know I’ve been challenged a bit lately with 100% adherence to my no-sugar October, but I’m positive and happy with how I’m progressing. I’m not weighing in all the time, because I can see how my weight can vary based on salt intake, water intake, and minor constipation, so that it can become more of a distraction than a motivational tool.

Are a few misses that happened over the last week.

  • 2 X big sugar intake choices
  • my son’s birthday cake
  • next day, a few spoons of ice cream and some chocolate bark
  • 2 X pizza – rather than something more healthy
  • 3 days of physical exercise rather than 5 (day 1 due to some business commitments and day 2 due to laziness)

In my rational process (meaning within reason, and not extreme) I can merely restart my program in the morning. Every morning.

When I slip, either by choice, or by craving, I can make a note of what’s going on. Did I decide to give in? Did I let the craving get too intense so I couldn’t control it? Or was I merely responding to bad choices and bad snack items in my sister’s house, where I’m house sitting for the week?

My goal, in this process, and recorded on this blog, is to take my own time, learn what I learn, and share what I understand as I go along.

The answers don’t really matter all that much to me today. This evening I made food for my daughter and son based on their desires and choices. And I had some lean chicken prepared by the local grocery store. Again, my goal is improvement and commitment to my growth (or in this case, reduction) in self-awareness and physical fitness. Ultimately I want to live a happier and fuller life by improving my fitness, getting my waistline back in line with my physical frame, and improving my energy and resilience during the course of any given day.

Today, Sunday, I napped when I could have walked. I took the path of leisure, even as I was writing and being very productive elsewhere. I didn’t walk. But I’m rested, happy, and only slightly bloated from the chocolate earlier. Or is that just guilt?

I got back on the horse the minute I took the last little piece of chocolate. I reset and reconnected with my goals. Water and sleep at a rational hour tonight. Tomorrow I get my kids up and off to school and I kick off another week of rational eating, rational exercise, and conscious explorations of both aspects of my new path towards health.

I’ve got a very good friend (my daily “hey” check-in) who is a life coach. And today I had a fitness coach hit me up due to a mutual friend. And while I value their expertise, my path is not about training harder, or even correctly. It’s not about amping up to go for my dreams. My goal, in this process, and recorded on this blog, is to take my own time, learn what I learn, and share what I understand as I go along.

Weeks 1 – 3 were awesome and clean. This last week was less perfect, but HAPPY. That’s the ultimate test of how I’m doing. If I’m suffering greatly as a result of the process, I’m not doing it right. If I’m learning and growing from my exploration of new ideas and new lessons that do connect with me, then I am going in the right direction. That’s the real goal, keep stepping in the right direction and making choices to step away from things that are less healthy.

Sounds simple. And the logic is simple. The process is what I’ll share here, in all it’s wavering progress.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

Oh yeah, and a few observations. The cake on Saturday led to my weakness for sweets on Sunday. Ack. And both times I ate pizza I was merely being lazy. And I noted the bloated feeling from the cheese, flour, and oil. Fats, fats, fats. I definitely feel a bit better in my body when I’m slightly hungry and not FULL.

image: daily steps, daily exercise, john mcelhenney, cc 2014

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