Thursday, December 1, 2011


It's been several days since Thanksgiving.
And my fun dinner the other night consisted of an entire Wedge pizza + beer.
So, I thought it perfectly appropriate timing for Kate's Perspectives on Health - a completely unprofessional, actually quite sloppy and a constant work-in-progress, look at my own experiences with trying to be healthy.

Okay, so on exercise:

There's a picture of skin-and-bones me from sophomore year of high school on the fridge at my friend Christa's mom's house, all thanks to a very brief stint on the track team, where I'd spend the entire school day making myself sick with nervous dread for the workout that lay ahead of me, killing myself for one ounce of speed in practice, and coming home to spend the rest of the day in the bathtub devouring entire boxes of Chex cereal. Seriously, the skinniest I've ever been in my life - and I wasn't even trying.

What did I take from that horrible experience? Pump your arms when you run. Have good posture. Exercise can be scary.

I kept up the running throughout college. But that's all I would ever do: run and run and run, mostly thousands upon millions of times around an indoor track.
This wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either in terms of my making any progress.

Post-college, it got a lot better:

I joined the Y.
Which goes with my theory: find something that works for you.
The Y works for me: multiple locations, wide variety of classes for mixing it up, a sense of normalcy and community that I never felt when surrounded by sorority girls and meatheads at The Huff (no offense)...
I learned to mix up my workouts - now I only do one long outdoor run a week, and actually look forward to it.

I literally throw a gym bag into my car when I leave every morning, because you never ever know what the day will bring or where you'll find a pocket of time.
And time is probably the biggest hindrance to the ability to exercise.
I once read somewhere that workouts should be considered an unbreakable appointment, akin to the work meetings, classes, and social dates we all refuse to cancel.

But for me,
I just did it and did it and did it until my body came to crave it.
I've basically got to exercise on a daily basis or it will literally feel like my body is screaming at me: move it!
It's not meant to be hunched over computer screens, packed into a car, and forced into a sedentary routine.
And when I do get to exercise, I do everything else better.

I also do 10 minutes of this pilates/abs video thing in my living room. Again, I just made myself do this until it's become a daily habit I can't kick.

I don't think of myself as athletic.
I don't go near weights (ick) - and so consequently have no arm strength.
I always have the best of intentions to get into yoga.
And am currently grappling with the idea of not running a marathon with a friend (when even a half seems daunting), because I really just don't think it's in the cards for me.
...but I do know I feel happy, healthy, balanced, and physically capable (hello, Inca Trail) - so I've got to be on the right path.

Jams are super important.
I can't even run a mile without my iPod, a fact I'm a little ashamed of. And soundtracks will make or break my opinion of a spin class instructor.
(Do yourself a favor and download David Guetta's I'm a Machine, which was made to workout to).
...but I also listened to Neutral Milk Hotel on my run the other day and contemplated what Jeff Mangum would think of me. I highly doubt a 24-year-old girl motivating herself on a six mile run through a patchwork Oklahoma City neighborhoods was his intended audience.

And so, on to food:

I don't deny myself anything I'm really wanting. It just seems like a recipe for disaster.
And I have an epically bottomless appetite the stuff of legend.

Basically, I stress quality. It better be 100% worth it.
Just for example: yes to Prairie Thunder's homemade blueberry scone, no to pastries from Starbucks and Panera - because, to me, they're simply not as good, and thus, not worth the calories.

I don't buy groceries that I don't want myself eating. Basically, I don't keep things in the pantry or fridge that are on the bad list.
(So maybe one night I'm craving "Natural" White Cheddar Cheeto Puffs, that means I have to make a separate trip to the store just for my beloved Puffs: waste gas, brave the creepy parking lot, spend money, wait in line. Sometimes a successful deterrent, and sometimes completely worth the trip).

Juice and fruit all the time. And water, can't drink enough water.
I love my pizza, but prefer it loaded with spinach and mushrooms.
Always eat breakfast - currently working on favoring eggs over cereal.
And trying to slowly phase out diet soda. Oh, but never coffee.

I also try to remember how awful I feel after eating an entire bag of gummy bears, etc. - as opposed to that opposite end of the spectrum feeling after drinking a smoothie or eating a kale salad.

I am not perfect, nor do I want to be - those people scare me.
I mean, good food is the best!
I never want to imagine myself not fully relishing a burger. Or cheese - oh my gosh cheese!
But, ya know, it's a work in progress.

(p.s. This news piece on artificial flavoring officially freaked me out).