Monday, July 20, 2009

perfect routine

Hi darlings! How are you? Oh how I've really missed you so :). As you probably saw in my post yesterday, I spent the weekend at a friend's house... and not just any friend but my roomie along with another one that was visiting. More than once we discussed how we only lived together for the first year and a half as roommates but would nevertheless refer to each other as such until basically the end of time. But, as much as this weekend was incredible for me both mentally and emotionally, I didn't feel the best physically by the end of it. That's what sugar and alcohol will do you I suppose. How did I not realize that I hadn't had a fudgy chocolate brownie in more than a year and a half? Let's just say that I've had my share of treats at this point.

Today I was more than happy to center my work day around my usual whole and natural foods, eating the way that our bodies are meant to be nourished. When I first became interested in nutrition it was purely for weight and vanity issues but I've found that my entire being has gotten used to it, I'll even go as far to say spoiled by it, so even just a few stray meals and I'm already craving clean. And, I'm not going to lie, these cravings come with feelings of discomfort, similar to those that I battled while I was abroad. A reader e-mailed me a few weeks back on advice about staying healthy while studying and traveling, because, of course, I'm the supposed expert ;).

What I have to remind myself often is that even I step away from my perfect routine and most of the time, it's perfectly okay. My response to her was as follows: "I had been eating especially mindfully in the past year before I left so I fully planned on sticking to extremely high plant-based vegetarian diet. Eh, not so simple nor fun. At first it actually kind of got to me. I disliked knowing exactly how not good for me certain foods were and felt guilty for eating them. I even got stressed out about it. But what is healthy about living like that? Nada. I came to realize that this may be one of the last chances I may ever get to try some of the indulgences I did while visiting and/or living in these countries, but also that I was not, by any means, on a 10-month vacation."

"I was lucky in that both host families I lived with (in Chile and in France) ate very well and cooked mostly veggie-centric meals. Still, if I desired other yummy and nutritious items, like oatmeal for breakfast, or plain yogurt for a snack, I simply bought them for myself. I told my host families from the start that I loved vegetables and I adored fruits and they provided for me beautifully. While in Santiago and Strasbourg I had the occasional treat at "home" for holidays and birthdays but mainly was able to continue eating as I enjoyed, a way that made me feel good and continue to keep me confident in the fact that I looked good."

"You're going to be surprised how generally healthy most people eat without even a second thought outside of the U.S." (I will be referring back to this at a later date.)

"When I went away on trips I continued in this manner unless there were regional delicacies or to be perfectly honest, I was just craving something unhealthy." As I've said before, food has always been a part of the cultural experience for me and as a result made it a priority to stay active. For me, eating healthfully has always been easier than exercising regularly but I explored new passions while learning more about the kind of lifestyle that worked for me. In Chile and France I fell in love with running twice. "I found that I love the serene stillness of the city as the sun rises and exploring my new neighborhood kept me visually interested in my surroundings."

But I also learned what amazing exercise sight-seeing is, "I explored some of the most spectacular places on foot and not only did it keep my weight steady, but it also provided a very real glimpse into the culture and people of these places from outside the tour bus." Studying abroad helped me to have a healthier lifestyle rather than ruin it as it has been said to do for some. I became more flexible and was exposed to countless different approaches to living, eating, and moving. I wrote about the particular philosophies I've adopted from various cultures it in a pretty extravagant post while my (first of many) experiences living in foreign countries was coming to an end.

With each day that passes I find that I'm coming more and more to term with my intentions for these healthy habits of mine. Food is meant to be enjoyed, food is meant to be savored... it is not meant to cause discomfort, fear, or distress. That's just crazy :). At the end of the day I have to admit that I'm doing better, I feel fantastic, and the all the while knowing that I deserve to be this way. Sure eating the right foods may keep my skin clear and my body slim but it also will ensure my well being today and for many years to come and if nothing else, I've certainly got more exploring to do!

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