A lot of people ask me for advice on health and fitness. So I’m giving the people what they want! I am not an expert and I recommend consulting people who are, but here is a broad look at what I do. As a reminder, I look the way I do from many years of consistently training to run competitively and I naturally have a small bone structure. Everyone’s ideal body will evolve over time as they learn what movements and foods work best for their body. I have researched and learned a lot about what makes me feel my best and I am happy to share what I have learned with you.
1. On eating: Our bodies are always trying to move us towards our ideal states, so I trust my appetite. I eat when I’m hungry and stop eating when I’m not hungry anymore. It sounds simple, but if you’re not used to doing this, it takes practice. This means when I’m training more, I naturally eat more. I focus on eating healthy foods I love to eat. After I’ve gotten healthy foods in me, I let myself enjoy dessert. It ends up being anywhere from one dessert per day to one dessert per week. In my experience, if I find myself craving too many sweets, I’m not getting enough protein or healthy calories overall. I don’t restrain myself from eating any particular thing, I just do my best to eat mostly healthy foods.
Eating should be delightful. I prefer to eat with happy company, instead of alone. I don’t eat food if I know someone angry cooked it. It’s easier to digest food when you’re calm and happy. If I’m upset, I wait until I calm down to eat. I also try to avoid rushed eating.
To also keep myself eating happy, I don’t weigh myself. I am not interested in how much I weigh, I am interested in feeling energetic, moving freely, and running fast.
I’ve been really poor and had to eat things that I know are terrible for me, but I always do what I can with what I have. Maybe I can’t afford the ideal diet, but I can eat some spinach and bananas. I can make sure I surround myself with loving people and eat food cooked by tenderhearted people. And I can still listen to my appetite.
2. On movement: I am frequently moving and I feel my best when I’m really active. Even during the times of day I’m not specifically working out, I move a lot. I walk at work and I love to go for nature walks. I go dancing whenever I can. I love to skate and rollerblade, as well. I like yin yoga a lot, because it helps me train my ability to focus. Pilates helps me with core strength and stability. I can’t do all these things all the time, so I work them in when I can. Normally if I am training less for running, I do more yin yoga, walking, and Pilates. I really enjoy swimming, so this is something else I will do if I’m resting from running. There are great Pilates and yoga books and YouTube videos to learn the basics. Classes are great to get a teacher’s guidance, if you can afford them.
Movement is another area where I do my best with what I have. When I was sleeping in my car, I would walk every day, run less often, and do pull ups, push ups and core work at the park. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive to be effective, just consistent.
When I’m training to run competitively, I work out anywhere from one to three hours per day. This includes running, core work, stretching and lifting weights. I do not recommend jumping into training this much if your body isn’t prepared for it. I’ve worked up to this volume of training over time, and I follow a personalized training plan, created by coaches I trust. For most people, this amount of training isn’t even necessary. I do it simply because I love it. I also don’t always do this. I have taken months off and even up to a year off at times, for an injury or just for a mental break from it.
The important thing is finding the joy and balance in movement. The things that are hardest to do, usually make you feel the best. That consistent core routine is a bit mundane, but it prevents injury so you can keep moving. Running hill repeats makes you feel like you might pass out, but the high after you’ve competed the work is the unmatched.
There are so many different aspects of health and fitness I could go into, but the article would get too complex if I threw them all in one. Let me know what else you would like me to write about on this topic.