My Fitness Journey, Part II

The initial weight loss that I experienced when I first started working out was uplifting but like most, I plateaued. The realization that this new lifestyle could not consist of exercise alone weighed me down like the sliding weight on the scale in front of me. I needed to revise the nutrition side of things. My diet wasn’t terrible, as I had cut out fast food before I had quit smoking, but it certainly wasn’t a healthy or nutritious intake. Lots of articles, several books and documentaries helped enlighten my mind’s ignorance about food. I educated myself on the things I had foolishly been consuming for years. I cut out all sugary drinks, processed foods, whole dairy and white bread. I immediately noticed a difference in how I felt and how I looked. My digestion had improved regularity and I experienced less bloating and indigestion overall. Another incidental consequence of this was that my waistline looked slimmer far more regularly. I didn’t notice the scale going down in numbers but I did see my pant size going down in numbers and muscle definition improving everywhere and though how I feel is more difficult to quantify, there was noticeable boost in my energy and alertness.

Nutrition is the other side of the health coin. Exercise without nutrition or vice versa will only get you halfway to where you could be and how you could feel. Your metabolism will certainly experience a massive level of improvement when you replace those sugary, processed carbs with fruits and vegetables and lean sources of protein. No transition happens overnight. I cut things out gradually but eliminated the worst offending foods first, then one by one, even the favorites were abolished from the house. Nothing has been safe except for chicken….for now. Potato chips were one of the most difficult food vices to abandon but it had to be done. They are basically salt, starch & oil; the trifecta of evil hell bent on destroying waistlines & cholesterol levels everywhere. There really are a multitude of healthy alternatives to this favored but foul snack. It was a matter of detoxing my body and taste buds from all that sugar, salt & fried food.

Putting the right stuff into your body is as important as keeping the bad stuff out. Daily multi-vitamins was one of the first things I incorporated into my revised nutrition regimen. They are great for energy and particularly for women, contain a lot of nutrients and supplements that we need as we get older. Think bone and joint health, ladies. Women definitely need to be aware of the calcium depletion in their bones and increased risk for osteoporosis! Vitamin D might be a good addition to your own daily intake. I have added other herbal supplements like Tumeric, Apple Cider Vinegar, Black Seed Oil and Beetroot for energy, alertness, memory improvement, increased blood flow, antioxidants and immune health. You should always consult your doctor before beginning any new regimen. My physician is fully aware of everything I take and they are included in my medical records. I have not had an illness that required an antibiotic or cold medicine in years and I work in a school. Before I started this journey, I would, like most people get pretty sick at least once a year. That just hasn’t happened since I changed my nutrition. Replacing processed sugars with natural ones and bad starches with fibers & vegetables, generated a sustained upsurge in my immune system, energy, metabolism, recovery rate and even my mood.

A part of this is an investment in my later life; God willing I get there. Proactive lifestyle choices can prevent a great deal of reactive choices we may need to make as we get older. If I can avoid taking medication later by taking vitamins now then I’m here for it. If I can avoid surgery later by strengthening my joints now, then you can find me at the gym. And, If I can avoid a cane later by moving my ass now, then honey, do try to keep up with me.

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