What is all this about then?
I'm going to start this the right way by telling you I am not a personal trainer, a nutritionist, a medical professional or a certified genius when it comes to exercise or food. I am a normal human being..... Well, not normal but, that's not for discussion at this point, we may cover this once you know me better.
If I'm not a professional then what the hell am I doing writing about food and exercise you may ask, well what a great question thanks for asking - the answer is pretty simple, I love both and want other people to feel the same way.
I like many others believe that now we are surrounded by mixed messages when it comes to food, and some long-held beliefs about exercise are being disproved. I feel like there is so much information out there it becomes difficult to make the right choices, it is so hard to navigate all the information, and figure out what is right, what's wrong and what is marketing hype.
Like I say I'm not a qualified when it comes to these things, all I can say is what works for my family and me, we all know that everyone is different and what's right for me may not be the best fit for someone else. I have found it is about going with something that makes sense and sticking with it.
We follow some simple principles when it comes to diet and exercise;
1. Eat real food - simple yet effective
2. Move every day - doing something is better than doing nothing
3. Understand that you can't be perfect - everyone makes mistakes and has bad days, it's OK
Each of these principles can be as simple or as complicated as you want them to be, I don’t think that having them all broken down into a heap of 'rules' that are impossible to follow and impossible to live by is a good idea so keep it simple.
All I want is to explain why each one is important as the foundation of a healthy and happy life.
Many people will ask the question 'what do you mean by real food?’. What I mean is food that you make from real ingredients, like meat, vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts. We try to stay away from any highly processed food if it comes in a packet, bag or tin and has more than three ingredients listed don't buy it. Some processed foods make for interesting reading when you go around a supermarket, next time you go shopping take a look at the back of something in a packet. Eat real food is about making use of the actual ingredients, if it is in season and locally sourced all the better, once you know what is out there it is about finding the best quality you can afford. Having healthy foods shouldn’t mean boring foods, it should be the best tasting food you have, the wide variety of food available means that there is no end to the meals, snacks and treats you can create.
Exercise is just as important as food when it comes to living a healthy and happy life, doing something, every day is vital. I prefer the go hard option when it comes to exercise, but I honestly think just going for a brisk walk that gets you sweaty is better than sitting down doing nothing. I'll admit that I am extremely fortunate to live in a beautiful place, being outside and active is a huge part of the Kiwi lifestyle; we live in a beautiful city with clean beaches and parks that make being active everyday fun. No matter where you are in the world, you can still make the most of what is around you so you can be active.
The final principle is by far the most important; I think that everyone needed to recognise that perfect is impossible. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not a pessimist, I'm a realist. I am honest with myself about a real sense of achievable. We are bombarded by unrealistic versions of perfection every day, we see people who have perfect lives, make perfect choices and have perfect bodies. The reality is that if you look below the surface of what you think of as perfection, the perfection one won't be facing the same challenges you do every day and will not be as perfect as you think they are.
Everyone will have an example, like that chick at work, she has are perfect physique and always looks like she just stepped out of magazine page. I so want to be like that, but the fact is she has an entirely different life to me. I know that she has no significant other in her life, spends a fortune of a personal trainer to keep her on track, and buys premade meals at a premium so doesn’t have to think about what she is eating every day. So let’s compare, I am by no means look perfect, I balance working full time, keeping a house running that contains a grown man full time and two small boys part time. I try to exercise at least five days a week, and seven days a week put three meals a day on the table that are real food.
Should I compare myself to that chick? Should I beat myself up because I don’t look as good as she does? Should I feel bad because she never falls off the waggon? The answer, of course, is no. We do compare ourselves to others and feel bad about not being perfect. It may take a while but once you accept that its ok to be normal, make mistakes and be human the first two principles of healthy living are easier to deal with. So what you had a chocolate bar, the world is not going to end, it doesn’t mean all your hard work in the gym has been undone. Accept you ate the chocolate bar (and let’s be honest you enjoyed it!) then get over it, let it act as a reminder as to why you want to make healthy food choices in the future.
Keeping these three principles in mind has helped me to keep pushing myself forward to live a lifestyle that is healthy and happy - hopefully, they can help you to do the same.