A Balanced Life Includes Fitness and Ice Cream

If you know me, you know that indulging is one of my favorite parts of life. Whether that be with shopping, self care or dessert, I take it very seriously. I am a firm believer in the idea that life is short. That is some cheesy shit, however it helps me when I am struggling with the guilt of a new purchase or a thousand calorie dessert (damn you, Cheesecake Factory). That being said, I also balance my indulging tendencies with a healthy lifestyle. I would say that 80% of the time, my priority is to fuel my body with clean, healthy foods and exercise. Life is all about balancing the good with the bad and I have learned a few tips and tricks to help maintain that balance. (I am by no means a doctor and am simply explaining the things that helped me transform my lifestyle. For any and all medical advice, please seek a certified physician.)

1. Food

Food is my weakness. I always tell Bryce that I was a 400 lb chef in my past life because I love to eat. Truthfully, I typically eat more than Bryce. As much as I used to be embarrassed about the foods I was craving and the calories I could put down, I have learned to cut back on the shitty foods and pack in the clean foods. That doesn't always necessarily mean healthy foods, however organic, non GMO, preservative free foods are a great way to start implementing a healthier lifestyle.

One day, after checking my credit card statements and seeing the mass amounts of money I was spending every day on Chick-fil-a, I decided to start cooking at home. This, alone, has helped me with portion control, as well as keeping track of where each and every food is from. We try to eat at home for 50-70% of our meals throughout the week, depending on our schedule. We typically opt for hearty, savory meals that are simple to make. Some of our meals include your traditional spaghetti, salmon with veggies, chicken pesto, etc. (lots more in the "eats" highlight on my IG). Since Bryce has celiac, our dinners typically do not include wheat of any sort. If they do, they are gluten free which is also helpful when cutting back on calories. We also try to cook with olive oil as opposed to butter, and eat as little dairy as possible. This is a huge struggle for me because I am such a cheese fanatic. Lastly, we try not to drink our calories as this is an easy way to rack them up throughout the day. Thankfully, I prefer water over most drinks, anyways. Add a little lemon and it becomes a fancy, healthy drink.

If I have maintained a relatively healthy diet for the day, for example no fried foods, minimal amounts of sugar and bread, and no Starbucks drinks (the hardest), then I will allow myself to indulge in dessert. This typically includes a couple scoops of dairy free ice cream, a few Bark Thins, half of a Sprinkles cupcake, or lately, a Brown Sugar Cinnamon Poptart. Then, on the weekends, I am free to eat, mostly, whatever I want, as long as I know it won't have me hunched over gulping Pepto Bismol for the rest of the night. Like I said, BALANCE.

2. Fitness

Since I was a kid, I have always remained active in some way. Whether that be volleyball as a kid, track as a teenager, or cardio as an adult, fitness is a way for me to detox, both physically and mentally. Unlike most people, I do enjoy running. It is therapeutic and relaxing to put on a good podcast and run a mile or two. I also enjoy class workouts, such as yoga, cycling, pilates, etc. Weight training on the other hand, is not my favorite.

In our last year of college, (January 2019), Bryce and I decided to buy a scale as we had not worked out or weighed ourselves in months. When I read 145 on the scale, I immediately thought it was broken. I had never weighed that much. Not to say that is a bad weight, however going from 125 to 145 in the matter of a year was alarming to me. After doing my research, I decided that I would start working out 5-6 days a week, while also tracking my calories. Two weeks later, I was back down to 125 pounds. Not only did I cut my caloric intake from 2,200ish calories a day to 1,400 calories a day, I also incorporated a lot of HIIT cardio into my workouts. From treadmill sprints to infrared sauna cycling, I was burning 200-450 calories within each workout, which was a record for me. The first week, between the fitness and the calorie deficit, was hard, however the second week, I noticed my body becoming stronger and better equipped to handle the workouts I was doing.

Since then, I have done my best to maintain that same balance. Although I do not track my calories as strictly as I did then, I do still track them on the weekdays. The app My Fitness Pal has thousands of food options and restaurant menus built into the app, making it very simple to select what you ate throughout the day. It also incorporates your calorie burn from your smart watch and implements it into your daily caloric intake. This app, alone, allowed me to stay focus, determined and dedicated to shedding weight, while also maintaining my current weight.

All of that to say, life is too damn short to not take advantage of the sweeter, tastier things. Yes, continue working hard to get where you want, but have fun while doing so. Run the mile, eat the veggies, and then INDULGE. You deserve it!

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