Like millions of other people in this world (even just in this country alone), I am guilty of the fast food/no exercise diet. I rarely drank water, instead I drank soda.. while I am an avid lover of vegetables & fruit, I still never ate as much as I should have & chose to eat candy for breakfast (or something just as sugary, like pop tarts or lucky charms). I really never thought anything of this because I have stayed the same weight since I passed puberty. The only thing I saw suffer were my poor teeth, who endured an embarrassing amount of cavities and anger from my dentist. After I realized the severity of my soda drinking habits, I have definitely cut back. I hardly drank any at all while I lived on my own, but since the rest of my family hasn't followed in my footsteps, I am slowly becoming more and more dependent on the diet coke taste that once took over my life because it is readily available at any given time. HOWEVER.. while I can say I've opened a can a day, I almost never finish them. It's progress, at least!
Anyway, a few years ago, on a whim I decided to just stop eating fast food. It really wasn't very hard to do because I had gotten to a point where I felt sickly after eating a hamburger and fries. I was starting to become conscious of how much money I was spending and the fact that I wasn't very fit & active, and I saw a slight increase in my weight so I freaked out. Another reason was because I still was living at home (never had moved out yet) and I was bypassing all of the home cooked meals for convenience.. something I would probably never do again after living on my own! What I mean by convenience is that I would most likely be on my way to school or work & I wouldn't have time to sit down and eat. Instead, I would stop and get a burger and eat that while driving. Kinda lame, eh?
I noticed a huge difference after a few weeks of not eating fast food. I fell back into it sometimes, especially when I worked at O'hare in 2009 because McDonalds really was the cheapest place to eat! But I can proudly say that this past summer, I didn't eat any fast food (except for fries, which I allow very rarely as there is no meat in them) while working. No burgers, chicken nuggets, ice cream, nothin. I am so proud of myself! Even though in order to curve my appetite I'd order a coffee.. still, I think it's slightly better than eating chemical-based processed nasty burgers from who knows where!
So that brings me to my point. Even if you aren't overweight & you're at your perfect percentage of body fat like I am (sorry, I might be bragging a little but I'm proud!) you really DO need to eat better and take care of yourself. If you're still eating fast food & drinking soda & eating reese's for breakfast, try to cut back & start drinking more water and eating an apple instead. Next time you go somewhere with an escalator AND stairs, take the stairs. I know these tasks sound really lame and boring, but the healthy feeling you will get is unbeatable. There is no other feeling like it - when you feel cleansed, worked out, & hydrated, it's like bliss.
To help you get started, here is a short list of things I try to do every day to improve my health:
- Take the stairs! I rarely take an escalator or elevator (unless, of course, I'm going up to the 9th floor or something!) even going down. It is one small thing you can do in your day that'll improve your health, strength, & burn some calories. Plus, it's quicker! Nothing confuses me more than seeing people stand on escalators, except at the airport where everyone has luggage! It makes sense there!
- Right before bed, drink some water. It's a lot easier to do than when you wake up for some reason! Realistically, you should drink 1/2 of your body weight in water every day! (so if you weigh 130lbs, you should drink about 64 ounces of water which pretty much amounts to 8 cups)
- Try to drink one extra cup of water a day if you have a hard time drinking water. I am constantly trying to make my mom do this - she rarely drinks water and she really needs to! Especially with the amount of coffee she drinks - it's scary!
- Plan your meals as much as you can. I really need to do this one, because when I get hungry, I really don't feel like thinking or making something - I just want to EAT! So I end up eating something bad, like 5 granola bars or 6 packs of fruitsnacks. Instead, I am going to try and plan out my meals because next time I am starving, I don't even have to think - I'll just go to whatever I have planned to make. I work really well like that, though, and some other people might not.
If you have any tips, please share them! I love.. ok, maybe I'm obsessed!.. health and finding new ways to stay healthy, especially while I live in a house filled with unhealthy stuff!
And I can promise you this: Once you cut the fast food out completely, once you start eating better & drinking more water, you will NEVER go back. The food you once ate will taste like CRAP and you will find yourself craving WATER. I can promise you that!
Good luck!! LEt me know if you take any of this to heart because I'd love to hear stories!!!!