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Keeping It Simple

A couple years back, a good friend who I hadn’t seen in a while said to me, “Kelly, you look great! What’s your secret?” I responded with, “no secret, really. I just exercise and try to eat well.” She looked kind of disappointed and said, “Oh. I hear that works.”

It seems like everyone is hoping for a quick fix. Others are hoping there’s some magic secret to being in shape that they’ve never heard before. There are a million diets out there that promise really fast weight loss with very little effort. Anyone who tells you that you can lose 10 pounds in a week (and not pass out from hunger) is lying to you. You might lose it, but I promise you won’t keep it off! Staying healthy and in shape takes effort and consistency. Hate to break it to you, but going to the gym once in a blue moon won’t make a huge difference.

Funny Encouragement Ecard: Hope you're not too exhausted from your yearly visit to the gym on New Year's Day.

Through consistent exercise and (mostly) healthy eating, I’ve been able to stay within the same 5-8 lb. range basically for the last 10 years. It’s been hard at times, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve managed to do it by sticking with some simple and basic principles. Here are 3 of the top ways I stay on track:

How I Stay Healthy (and still eat pizza)

1) Don’t use the word “can’t” when referring to foods.

“I can’t eat dessert/bacon/pizza/etc.” Just stop saying that! When you self-impose harsh restrictions, your lifestyle no longer feels like a choice. Suddenly, you’re a prisoner to food, which will make you resentful of eating healthier foods. Even worse, it send the message that you didn’t actually choose to eat this way!

Instead, make conscious decisions about what you want to eat (and what you don’t), and don’t make a big deal of it. If someone offers me McDonalds, I just say, “thanks, but I don’t eat fast food.” Not that I CAN’T eat it. I could if I wanted to, but I don’t. Just changing that one word gives me a sense of empowerment over my food choices and I feel like I now have complete ownership over my decisions.

2) You don’t have to move a LOT every day, but you do have to move.

This is easier for me because I really LOVE working out. Breaking a sweat is rarely a chore and I love being in the gym. On days I don’t work out I walk the dog, which is always enjoyable!

Bella Walking

She never has to be convinced! Some days I’m sore, tired, sick, or just don’t feel like doing an intense workout. So I don’t! I do some easy cardio or use that time to get in more stretching than I normally would. It’s not a requirement to be a hard-core athlete to be in shape. All that matters is that you make physical exercise a part of your daily lifestyle.

3) Educate yourself about food

This one is a biggie. You can’t make healthy choices unless you actually know what’s in your food! I’ve cringed so many times when I hear people say things like, “I’m trying to be healthy, so I had the crispy chicken salad instead of the steak. That’s great, right?”

Let’s compare this for a second. Using the Outback Steakhouse nutrition calculator as a quick example, I’ve compared the Crispy Chicken Cobb Salad with honey mustard dressing to a sirloin, veggies, and house salad with light balsamic dressing.

Salad: 1.195 calories, 90 grams of fat, 21 grams of sugar (WHAT?!?!)

Steak Entree: 544 calories, 11 grams of fat, 16 grams of sugar

Surprised? So was I when I first saw this! The point is, do your research. The more information you have at your disposal, the more likely you are to make healthier choices.

One of the best things I ever did was download the My Fitness Pal app on my phone. I don’t really count calories, but I use it as a reference when I’m trying something new or just want to get an idea of what a “serving size” really is for something. It’s a major eye opener!

Those are just a few of the general principles I follow in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I’m not a fan of restriction, judgement, or extremes of any kind! I also believe that all the research, preparation, and good intentions won’t change the fact that sometimes you just want a piece of cake. If you’ve been keeping it simple and being consistent, that one slice won’t put a major damper on your efforts, so go ahead and eat the darn cake!

By keeping my food and exercise philosophy simple and flexible, I feel like it’s something I can maintain long-term, which is really important to me. I’m not working towards a goal weight/size/waist measurement. I’m just interested in being the healthiest I can be while also allowing myself to live a little and to feel empowered (not restricted) by my lifestyle choices.

Your turn! What are your tips for keeping it simple?


22 thoughts on “Keeping It Simple

  1. Some great tips here! I think definitely the one about ‘Can’t’ really rings true for me as ever since taking things off my Can’t list since starting Intuitive Eating I find I want things a lot less that used to be on my ‘Can’t’ list which when I had them I would go CRAZY on and now it is just like no big deal to have a little and move on.

    Moving every day is also a key one for me. I think for some people starting the habit can be very hard but once you get past that it just becomes part of your day. I was once told to think about exercise as just like brushing your teeth something that you just do without thinking about to look after your health long term 🙂

  2. These are great!! its true theres no 1 quick fix. i especially like #2, on the days you really dont feel like a real workout, just a walk has better long term effects than doing nothing. i also think the key is finding food and exercises you truly enjoy. like, if you HATE celery and running, then you wont partake in either. maybe apples and crossfit is your key to success- there’s something out there for everyone!

  3. I love this! You are so spot on and it’s so true that’s there aren’t “secrets”. I used to say “can’t” a love but making the change to “don’t” made a huge difference. I’d also add prepare! Food prep is a huge part of my week but it makes a world of difference. When I do not prep enough I certainly feel it.

  4. Such great tips! #1 I agree 100% with. I used to restrict myself from so many things and it was the worst thing I could have ever done. Now, I eat what I want BUT in moderation and watch my portions. I notice I have been doing so much more walking now that we have Maddie and I love it! Walking is so relaxing and enjoyable…you actually take time to enjoy your surroundings!

  5. My Fitness Pal has definitely helped me out when I’m ordering food at restaurants! Did you ever hear of the book “Eat This, Not That”? It’s basically a comparison of popular foods at restaurants and they tell you the best things to order/what not to order when you go there. It blew my mind! They even tell you where to find the healthiest version of things so that you don’t waste a crazy amount of calories (like Baskin Robins vs Dairy Queen hot fudge sundaes). I was also surprised to learn that salads are usually not the healthiest thing on the menu!

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    post to him. Pretty sure he’s going to have a very good
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