Abs are made in the kitchen
Finding a balance that still supports my fitness goals
About a year ago, I started lifting weights with some regularity. I had no idea what I was doing, so I went 3-5 times a week to Planet Fitness and used the Fitbod app to program my work out. Fast forward to June of this year and things went to the next level for me. Deanna became an instructor at Lifetime Fitness. While their membership is insanely expensive, I get enough of a discount now that it’s an absolute no brainer to join. I moved from simply using machines and dumbbells to a Push/Pull/Legs routine focusing on heavy compound lifts with the barbell. In the last couple of months, my consistency has jumped and I’m seeing results that I honestly never thought possible. Physically, and mentally, I’m transforming. I have a long way to go, but I’m HOOKED and wake up eager to get to the gym to put in the work. This past week was a huge morale boost as both a trainer and a body builder separately commented on how awesome I’ve been doing and how hard I’m working.
I’m ready to take my goals to the next level, but doing so isn’t something I am going to accomplish in the gym. As someone who loves food, this is something I’ve really struggled with. I know I can’t survive off chicken, rice, and broccoli alone. Generally, speaking, I think I eat pretty well. I don’t eat out much and I don’t eat a ton of sweets (a pastry course I took really broke me of wanting a lot of sugar). Early last year, I had my gallbladder removed and while many people are still able to eat fatty meals afterwards, I’m not one of them. This has naturally reduced my desire to eat a lot of things. That being said, I know I still need to make a few improvements.
Focus on reaching daily protein and fiber goals. I need these to support gut health and muscle gain.
Shift more heavily toward leaner protein sources. Fattier cuts taste better, but see #1.
Reduce alcohol intake. I love a great craft beer or glass of wine, but I need to make it a treat rather than a routine.
So one of my goals for the rest of this year and into next is focusing my cooking more on the types of foods that will ultimately support my physique and fitness goals rather than hinder them. There must be balance, however, as my love of flavor and culinary exploration is key to me being able to make this work. One series I’m thinking about doing is taking some dishes that are incredible, but not particularly the healthiest, and reworking the recipes to get closer to something you can eat guilt free while still maintaining the soul of the dish. Dan Dan noodles, I’m looking at you!
I’m just starting to really explore this topic and something I hope becomes a continued dialog in my writing. I do think it is possible to feed both the body and the soul in a way that helps us achieve the goals that we set for ourselves.
I’d love you hear your thoughts. How do you balance a love of great food with your health goals?