I have been running for many years, so by now most of my friends understand my need to get out there. There was a time in my not-so-recent past that people would get the “deer in the headlights” look when they heard about my exercise. They would say in a sarcastic tone, “You like to run?” to which I would answer with a chuckle, “Yes, I do.”
Making fitness and health into a lifestyle takes time and it won’t ever happen unless you tap into how you feel. What I failed to explain back then is that it isn’t the act of running that I am so passionate about (although I do love my alone time in nature). It’s more about how running makes me feel. As you become more accustomed to the discomfort of running, it becomes easier and you find a rhythm that is very similar to a meditation. If I ran simply so that I could fit in my jeans, I would have thrown in the towel years ago.
The same goes for healthy eating. If all you ever do is diet to lose weight, then it will never stick with you for the long run. Healthy eating is about making good choices, like picking out healthier foods and smaller portions so that you “feel” good about yourself, “feel” good in your clothes and “feel” sexy in front of your spouse. You see where I’m going with this? Living a passionate life for me is about tapping into my feelings and not thinking of things as sacrifices, but rather choices that make me proud and confident. It’s about thinking before we act. Not saying it’s always easy, but the more you think, the happier you are in the long run. I used to think passion was all about acting and not thinking, and action is all good and fun in the moment but it doesn’t last. Thinking, though, lasts.
This summer we have been traveling quiet a bit, and I’m not going to lie, there were several times when I thought, “we’re on vacation, I deserve to splurge on that ice cream,” and I did eat some things like that. But instead of eating a double scoop, I got the child’s size or cut something in half.
Something else I did was plan ahead. For our trips to both San Diego and Big Bear, we had a kitchen and I did some meal planning. I organized a menu so that not only did we save money, we also didn’t eat junk the whole time we were there. We shopped local produce stands and brought plenty of healthy snacks like fresh fruit, nuts, and high protein bars like thinkThin®.
Having snacks also helps us not overeat. If we have a little something in our bellies, we are less likely to overeat at meals, especially when we travel. The thinkThin® bars are great on the go because you can throw them in your purse and, when hunger strikes, they are quick and easy to access. With three kids and a husband who gets “hangry”, I carry emergency food everywhere I go, like when we went out on boat in Big Bear Lake. With no food or drink on site for miles, when my kids complained, “I’m hungry,” and we still had the rental boat for another two hours, I breathed a huge sigh of relief that I brought along some snacks.
Some people would describe me as a passionate person, one who lives from the heart, but I have come to realize that in some circumstances living a healthy happy life requires planning ahead and thinking before I act, and that leads to a different level of happiness.
Whether it be running or food, making small changes can lead to big results in the long run. For me, that’s about being aware of my feelings and reminding myself that the choices I make today effect my life tomorrow. Making the right ones brings me confidence, and there is no other feeling more wonderful than that.