Tag Archives: better food

You Can’t Out Exercise a Poor Diet

That’s what one of my first Twitter responses was to my launch of this fitness/wellness/health blog. I realized that getting my exercise in action was only half (maybe less) of the plan. And today, I’m wondering if my “rational” approach is still to soft. Hard to tell with less than 30-days under my belt. But the real awareness is this: food is huge. If you are eating crappy, as I was, you can run your ass off and you’re still going to be fat. UG!

Better food, less food, is my laid back nutrition plan.

Another friend today, said, “I started eating based on how I wanted to feel in 30 minutes. By keeping that in mind I could regulate what I was putting into my system.”

That’s the ticket.

I used to say all the time that I could care less about food. I wasn’t picky. (Except I really was.) I just needed to eat to live. I wasn’t a #foodie or all that interested in cooking or gourmet meals. That stuff actually bored me to tears.

But, I started working with a company that had a cooking app for they iPhone and I quickly realized how little I knew about food. And even the food I was eating, thinking very little about it, was actually harmful to me. What?

I think the first big AH HA was about tilapia. I used to eat a bit of it from my local grocer who did some creative things with corn-chip encrusting and all, things that made it very easy to prepare. Except, my foodie friend first pointed out to me, farm-raised tilapia is poison. I was both horrified and bummed out. It was such an easy meal for my kids.

So tilapia went on the do-not-eat list. Right next to any-food-from-a-box or bag, which included all forms of chips and snacks. What in the world was I supposed to eat. I remember learning about a little of this stuff and changing some of my family’s eating habits. Some, I say, because I still really loved Triscuits and corn chips. Nothing wrong with those, right? Um…

Today I know better. Even the seemingly benign Triscuit is loaded with crap. Even the wheat is crap. Yeah, nice that they switched to ‘sea salt’ as an ingredient, but it’s not enough. No Triscuits.

And more exercise, more frequently is my activity plan.

I’ve been fairly slow in my refactoring. I’ve taken out all the things I know are bad. I’ve kept a few marginal things (eggs, bacon) and tried to move my eating habits towards whole foods. And secondly, towards less food overall.

Better food, less food, is my laid back nutrition plan. With a multi-supplement for my overall nutrition. And more exercise, more frequently is my activity plan. I even have 3 X per week cardio workouts, aimed at increasing my MaxVO.

Again, all of that is fairly subtle. I’m not on some crash diet, or crash fitness/workout plan. I’ll know in several months (heading into Thanksgiving and Christmas) how my rational plan is working.

I know if things don’t improve in my overall fitness, I’ll have to step things up again. I suppose that might look like running more than walking. And maybe being a bit more restrictive on my intake. I’m happy today, and I’m making strides towards my life goal. And in this gentle way I’m stepping towards fitness rather than falling away from it. That’s the easy plan. Let’s see how it goes.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney


image: triscuit, quinn dombrowski, creative commons usage

Dialing In The Perfect Snack

What’s the key to getting over your snacking requirements and cravings? I’ve been in search of the perfect snack, lately. Something that wouldn’t include any added sugar but might have natural sugar in it. (An apple, for example. But NOT peanut butter. Ick!)

So far I have a few snacks.

  1. Organic almonds with sea salt or tamari
  2. Organic bananas
  3. Organic apples
  4. add any other organic fruit here, but I’ve started with those above

I was in the grocery store last night looking for “something else.” Um… Gotta go with the big “O” when possible.

I came home with some rice cakes (organic, nothing but rice and sea salt) and some peanut butter (organic, peanuts and sea salt only). And I think I can add one more item to the pre-workout lunch option.

I had looked at the leading brand of peanut butter, the one choosy mother’s supposedly choose.


Um, NO!

So I went for something a bit more unrefined.


And I fell in love.


Time now to go do what I love to do: play tennis.

I’m going to get better at this: finding things I like to eat that are healthier than what I have been eating. It’s a process. A step here, a label there, a few changes… This is a lifestyle change not a sprint.

And next I need to look at this new data on “fitness age” here: https://www.worldfitnesslevel.org/ I really like their idea of 4 X 4 interval training. I’m not sure I understand it all, but I do know my VO2 Max is not near where it needs to be. But my resting heart rate and blood pressure numbers are wonderful.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

image: today’s perfect lunch, john mcelhenney, cc 2014