The Healthy Coastal Lifestyle Continues

A couple of weeks ago, I shared how my journey toward the healthy coastal lifestyle began with exercise.  As I began this journey, I determined to keep a food journal in my phone.  This helped me see what I was eating, how much I was eating, and how healthily I was eating.  After sweating through my first months of exercise, I decided to start getting serious about eating healthily.  If I was doing all this work, I definitely wanted to make sure I wasn’t sabotaging my efforts.

Now, for my caveat…  I don’t have any dietary restrictions or health conditions that prevent me from eating whatever I want.  I do have a genetic predisposition towards high cholesterol, which often sucks, given how much I like eggs, shrimp, and liver pudding, so I do limit myself on these foods.  If you have questions or concerns about how to adjust your diet, talk to your doctor first.  These tricks are what have worked for me.

Things to be aware of…  Sugar is the basic source of energy for us people.  Our bodies burn off simple sugars first – sucrose, fructose, glucose.  Then they go to carbohydrates, converting carbs into sugars.  Once our bodies don’t have any carbohydrates to consume as energy, they start attacking fat, converting fat into sugars for its use.  Keep that in mind, as it is very important for how you eat.

The food journal/diary is very important.  It’s an old trick, it’s fairly simple with today’s technology, but it’s still important.  You can go old school and write down what you eat with pen and paper.  There are computer programs and device apps that keep track of your meals, your calorie and nutrient intake, and whatever else you could want.  Mine also keeps up with my nutrient score and rewards me with a badge when I hit 80 or above (the closer to 100, the better).

Focus on carbs earlier in the day.  This gives your body time to burn it off throughout the day.  Shoot for absolutely no carbs after 5 p.m. (way easier said than done!).  Each gram of carbs is worth 4 calories, so remember that when you’re ready to dive into that Cinnabon.  I hit another plateau in my weight loss, so I started cutting back on carbohydrates, forcing my body into fat-burning mode with the twice-weekly aerobics classes and thrice-weekly walk/jogs.

Working, exercising, straining muscles need protein.  Proteins help repair muscles after workouts, though a protein hit an hour before your workout will boost you gloriously through it.  I grab milk, peanuts, a protein bar, or a cheese stick.  Proteins will also help you feel fuller for longer, so you won’t be as tempted to snack.

We can’t forget the fats, though.  It’s gratifying seeing that I truly am cutting carbs, but it’s also disheartening to see the fat grams stacking up.  Our bodies need fat, though.  It’s essential to the metabolism of vitamins A, D, E, and K.  Keep it lean as much as humanly possible, though, avoiding saturated fats and embracing unsaturated.

I honestly deny myself nothing.  If I want dessert, I eat dessert – but only if I’ve kept the eating limited throughout the day.  When I know I’m going to be eating heavily, such as at special dinners, I just go with some lean protein for lunch.  I learned several years ago that when I crave something, I should enjoy it in moderation and get rid of the craving.  Otherwise, that craving becomes an obsession.  At the same time, I listen to my body’s cravings, because usually it craves foods with nutrients it needs.

Working out paired with dietary changes has made a huge difference in how I’ve felt and in my healthy lifestyle journey.  I had to make a wardrobe transition, donating too-big clothes and buying new clothes that are already feeling loose.  But it’s all good, because I see the changes in my body, both in the mirror and when I feel the new muscle tone in my back, arms, abs, and thighs.  And just Sunday, a friend/aerobics instructor said she could see in my face that I’ve lost weight.  When I washed my face last night, I could see my cheekbones have reemerged – those lovely cheekbones that bely my Cherokee heritage.  It’s so good seeing them again!

What steps will you make towards embracing the healthy coastal lifestyle?  Here we are, early in the year with New Year’s resolutions and Super Bowl junk foodin’ behind us.  It’s a great time to get serious!  We’ve got this!


Inward Beauty is the Best!


Hey Guys!

I was re-reading an AWESOME book (the third in the trilogy Paradise Falls; Christal, Falling, and Forever) the other day when I thought of one of the speeches one of the main characters makes. Her name’s Christal, and she’s beautiful just the way she is – no make-up, simply nothing. In looking for her dude that left her (they moved; it was her mother’s decision) at what she hopes is his high school, she comes across cheerleaders in “face paint” picking on a younger girl. What she says is powerful for me, and inspired this blog.

“You think you are more beautiful than others, but you are not. You judge others by a standard of beauty that you do not have. You use your face paint to hide your flaws and appear beautiful to the world but I can see that you have many blemishes and imperfections. You need to be made beautiful and healthy from the within, and only then can you be beautiful on the outside.”

Love your unique self!
Love your unique self!

So thinking of that, we ought not to worry about outward beauty, but the inward beauty. As I was thinking about this, Colbie Caillat‘s “Try” came on. Then I contemplated, You know what? It’s not about what other people think of you, it’s what you think of you. So girls, ditch the make-up and the things that make you skinny. Quit that diet. Your boy’s going to find you, and he’ll like you for who you are.  And boys, don’t be picky about having abs or not. Not all girls care. And you don’t have to work out to be good-looking. Nowadays, smart girls want smarts, not looks. Can they cook, what sort of work can they do, can they clean, are they fun, trustworthy, caring, loving, and don’t put others down, are the sort of questions that most wonder. Looks are just additives to the package. You could be the tee-total ugliest guy in the world, and be smart, can clean, cook, and be loving and trustworthy. Stop turning yourselves into something you aren’t. Make-up’s turning you prettier on the outward appearance. Diets are making you skinnier. Work outs are building muscle. But ditch those. We tend to worry so much about our outer appearances that we don’t worry about our inner. You could be really pretty with make-up and other stuff, and not be smart. Or you could be “blemished covered,” and be as smart as all the world put together.

Be natural. Do what you’re good at. I’m good in math. I want to be a math professor. Though I know for a fact that if I stepped in to do tennis, I’d fail. I might get there, but it wouldn’t come naturally, unlike math. If you’re passionate about your strengths, then you can be radiant inside. I must admit, I’m not as passionate about math as I’d like be. But I can do it. You have to want it in your gut. Stop trying to be a ballerina when your strength is engineering. Girls can be engineers too. “I can go somewhere, I can go the distance. I’ll be there someday, to find where I belong.” This is from Hercules,  “Go the Distance.” You’re good in your own way. Listen to your heart. For you people who feel like misfits, if you work up the things you’re good at, even as hard as it is, and you don’t listen to negativity, then you can be better than the people who bring you down. They focus so much about outward beauty that they don’t build up the inner. Think of every failure as one way that it won’t work, and start figuring out another way to do it. You can do it!

Christal said, “Look at you, you fight and you’re mean to each other and you put each other down and call people losers, don’t you realize that this life is hard for everyone? You need to take care of each other in this world, other wise you’re all losers. It is only through helping each other that you can make this life better for everyone, including yourself. You need to look after each other and see that you’re all in this together, everyone of you! Don’t look down on other people or compare each other, you are all human beings experiencing this life together. Care for the ones who have it the hardest, and be kind to those who are picked on the most.”

The reply she got was: “She’s right. Life is hard and we make it worse for each other, but that’s the way it is.”

She replied, “It doesn’t have to be that way.  You need to stop being afraid of each other and start caring about the people around you.”

Be kind to people, lend support, or simply (or not that simply) hugging your enemy, or liking that person, are ways that you can make life easier. Giving a stranger a smile is one way you can boost that person’s spirit. Stop being mean to someone littler than you and you’ll be building up inner beauty. The primary way to build yourself up is to raise someone else up. I know this probably sounds weird, but if you elevate people up, then people see you as kind and uplifting, and will raise you up. We are all who we are, and we have NO NEED (I repeat, NO NEED)  to hide our blemishes. We are all beautiful.

Do you like you?

‘Cause I like you.