Let’s get one thing straight: I’ve never been on a diet. I’ve never checked my weight regularly or been particularly athletic. I was crappy at basketball where dribbling was impossible for my two left hands, I couldn’t do a head stand or go in a full bridge or jump ropes decently. The only thing I didn’t suck at was warm-ups or things that relied only on my flexible legs (not arms, noo, not my chicken arms).
Yeah, sure, like any young adult, I dreamt of Victoria Secret-style abs and legs but hell, I couldn’t go through all the motions. If I had to choose between getting some sleep and working out like a maniac, I’d go with the first.
Once I started an office life though, things began to change. I didn’t have any more time for long walks, roller blading and doing crunches on my bedroom floor. Instead of walking to the University, I hopped in a bus, then an underground train or a cab to get to my rigid desk seat. I’d spend there hours, cracking my knuckles, moving my painful neck every so often and fighting to stay in an upright position. I was basically always sitting and it didn’t feel good. My knees hurt and my back was a constant battle field. It didn’t help that I was always tired, bloated, thriving on coffee, French fries and chocolate. My skin was basically screaming at me to change!
So I did. This year.
It all began when my body started acting up after the compulsory morning coffee on an empty stomach. Yeah, you know what comes next. After years of indulging in this awful habit, my stomach began to hurt – really hurt – every single morning. Before going for a gastroscopy (the simple thought was giving me nausea), I decided to be a normal person. I started making breakfast.
One hour earlier that I’d normally wake up, I’d go make a platter of one boiled chicken egg (or 3 quail eggs), a bit of cheese, ham, several cherry tomatoes and sliced bell pepper or cucumber. Needless to say, after a couple of days, my stomach pains were gone. I felt so happy and full of energy, that I continued doing so. On off days, when I failed to wake at decent hours, I went for something that took even less time: a mix of oats, milk and muesli with honey and almonds OR a Greek yoghurt with a variety of seeds:
Guess what? This small change lifted my spirits so much that I got the itch to move, to feel alive. Okay, I wasn’t about to waste time walking until my feet bled but I could take an hour every 2 days to get some real workout. First, I tried spinning and working on the treadmill by myself until I realized I was paying a monthly membership to go 3 days out of 30 and spend 45 minutes inside. It was boriiiing! So, I did some research, and eventually ended up with an annual membership and the possibility to go at classes that would tone my body and relax my mind: Yoga, Pilates and Zumba.
I often find myself not in sync with the rest of the girls or barely keeping the balance or feeling as if my abs are on fire. But once I get out of there, it’s as if I’m walking on clouds. I feel lighter and content (not to mention I look with adoration at my post-exercise legs and abs).
These two major changes triggered other small but equally significant ones. Instead of spending money on burgers, fries and pizza day after day at work, I began bringing food from home. I purchased a whole set of casseroles from Ikea and started filling them with fajitas, salsa and guacamole or a salad of my choice:
This one is made of lentils, chickpeas, goat cheese, baby spinach, lettuce and cherry tomatoes:
Since it’s Spring, I did more than just take a healthy breakfast and lunch. I replaced the old croissants, biscuits, chocolate and chips with truly healthy snacks – on the go, too. In the past week, I’ve tried several fruit smoothies with what I had in the fridge:
- orange juice, strawberry, banana
- blueberry, banana, apple
- apple and carrots (this is in Tucano Coffee)
Of course not everything went as planned. I did eat chocolate at stressful times and did indulge in fruit jelly (but c’mon, it looks so cuteee):
But mostly I tried to be as responsible with my body as I am with shopping – therefore, choosing the things that proved good on the long term. Like these raw vegan bars that taste so good:
Do I know the secret to a happy, long life? Of course not. Am I going to look dirty at people who love juicy burgers, crispy chicken and fast-food French fries? No way! Just thinking about these crunchy foods made my mouth water now. I’m sure we’ll meet again, in fact 😉
What I’m saying is that just a couple of changes – a carefully planned breakfast, a homemade lunch, a smoothie instead of a soda, a healthy snack instead of chocolate and definitely a bit of exercise – can go a long way. It certainly gave me the energy needed to be more focused at work, to feel more alive and strong and enjoy every second of the day.
So, I guess my message for you is: … Winter is over, the sun is up, so get off the couch, put the pajamas away and be present in everything you do.