Finding a Balance
Throughout my fitness journey, I have always had challenges with finding a balance between health and fun. Whether that is junk food, eating out, or drinking, it would be extremely difficult to give it all up for fitness. It would feel restrictive and unfulfilling to give all these things up. Since turning 19, these clashing forces become more difficult to manage. With that being said, there is no need to give all of these things up. Finding a balance and still consuming everything in moderation will prevent overly restrictive behaviours and allow you to have fun on your night outs. As a disclaimer, everyone’s bodies are different, and I am not in a position to tell people what to eat when I am not qualified to do so. In this post, I will share how I create a balance, and how I could improve.
Firstly, I try to cook my meals as much as possible, but I do not stray from eating out. If I intend on eating out sometime in the day, I will be mindful of the meals I eat before eating out at a restaurant or fast-food franchise. I will cook a protein-filled breakfast, and avoid snacking as often throughout the day. When I am at a restaurant, I eat what I want. I order my own main and often share an appetizer with a friend. If I am not incredibly hungry, I will order multiple appetizers to share with friends or family. It is important to make these decisions based on how you are feeling, without feeling guilty about it.
If I am not drinking alcohol, I will drink lots of water or opt for sparkling water for flavour. When I do drink alcohol, it is often once a week max. I avoid excessive drinking for my health and sugary drinks. In addition, I try to drink a lot of water every day and avoid drinking pop. Instead of Coca-Cola, I enjoy drinking La Croix, which I highly recommend. My favourite flavours are cran-raspberry, mango, passion fruit, and peach-pear. However, if I want to drink pop, I will drink a pop. Understanding that I get cravings allows me to not feel guilty about drinking pop or alcohol. With that being said, it is not a habit I would like to fall into regularly, which is why I prioritize daily water consumption over any other drink.
When discussing improvements for myself, I have a few things to consider. I would like to consume more protein, which could be more attainable if I track my protein intake, and eat at home more often. I eat a lot of eggs, to begin with, but I could be consuming more protein by eating protein bars for snacks, and some form of meat or fish for both lunch and dinner. I would like to try to meal prep during the weekdays, because I am often busy with school and will make something that requires little effort, such as spicy Buldak noodles, which are so unhealthy, yet so addictive. Instead, I would much rather cook salmon or chicken with rice and stir-fried veggies. Sometimes, if I have leftover ingredients in the fridge, I like to make my fried rice with all the vegetables I have in my fridge with eggs and tofu. I also have low-sodium soy sauce, which I feel tastes better than regular soy sauce. If I have a craving for chips, I will make air-fried fries or popcorn using a recipe from my uncle. My popcorn contains organic kernels cooked in avocado oil, nutritional yeast, truffle-infused olive oil, cracked black pepper, pink salt, and crushed toasted sesame seeds. While it is not the healthiest, it is one of my favourite snacks, and I like knowing all the ingredients that go into it.
Often, I like to make my salad dressing with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder. I may choose to buy coconut amino acids for more flavour in my salad, and avoid the olive oil instead. In terms of alcohol, I could seek an alternative option such as a low-calorie or low sugar alcoholic drink. However, due to my minimal consumption, to begin with, I would not need to make major adjustments since I do not drink frequently. I think I could cut out pop altogether because I rarely get the craving for pop anymore. I enjoy sparkling water and will opt for that instead.
All in all, I do not eat excessively unhealthy in general. I could make minor improvements that would not overly restrict my food intake such as drinking more water, meal prepping, eating more protein, and eating at home more often. I will continue to eat more fruits and vegetables in all of my meals, but I will not restrict my carb intakes such as bread and pasta. The key takeaway is to eat in moderation, but still, eat what you want. An important thing to note is that everyone’s preferences and cravings are different, and it might be easier for some people to give up certain foods for their health. I still find it difficult to find a balance between prioritizing my health and focusing on my wants, but I like setting goals for myself to find and maintain this balance. To reiterate what I said before, I won’t tell you to want to eat. However, I will encourage you to find alternatives that work for your health, if it suits you and if it is what you want.
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