A picture says a thousand words. Well, how about two?!
My ‘before’ was taken in June of 2018. It was barely a week after I had my firstborn baby girl, Meliana. I was post-partum, fresh out of the hospital, new as a parent, and chockfull of emotions and hormones. Quite the combination!
My ‘after’ picture was recently taken last Saturday, September 16th at the VIP Best In Pensacola black tie event where my husband, Victor, and I earned Best Dance Studio in Pensacola—Life’s A Dance. The picture and the award are both great achievements that I have worked VERY hard toward mentally, emotionally, and physically.
I look at both pictures and feel a deep sense of vulnerability. We always want others to see our successes. Our big wins. Our highlight reel! Yet we never want others to see where we started or the numerous failed attempts it took on our road to success. While I love myself in both pictures, I am so incredibly proud of myself in the second picture—a body that created two babies-five and three years of age, navigated the complexities of having a gastrointestinal hernia due to the pregnancies, attended a second round of university, started two new businesses, started a new nonprofit, orchestrated countless events, healed through numerous losses, pushed through injuries, and all while making sure I was putting my health first (or close to) so that I could be alive to do all those things and more to come.
In a world that is constantly on the move, it is easy to think that as long as we stay active and hit the gym regularly, we can indulge in our favorite treats without any consequences. After all, burning off those extra calories should be a piece of cake, right? Well, not quite. The age-old saying “you can’t outrun a bad diet” holds a truth that many of us tend to overlook. Let’s be honest, I have tried to. You have tried too. I’m sure we will continue the attempts on occasion! But we also must grasp the fact that it is just not possible.
Will we have off days where we might make a poor choice or two? Absolutely. I just had one of those off days this week. But that doesn’t mean that we cannot get right back at it the next day or the next meal. One meal is not going to derail your health or your workouts. But one positive choice that adds up to many will help get and keep your health on track.
Now, picture this: you’ve just completed an intense, sweat-drenched workout. You feel invincible, as if you’ve conquered the world. It’s tempting to think that all your dietary transgressions can be forgiven because you’ve just burned a ton of calories. But, alas, that’s a common misconception.
Exercise is undoubtedly crucial for maintaining a healthy body and mind. It strengthens muscles, improves cardiovascular health, and boosts mood. However, it’s not a magic wand that erases the consequences of poor nutrition. Consider this analogy: trying to out-exercise poor nutrition is like filling a bucket with a hole at the bottom. No matter how much water you pour in, it will keep leaking out.
This does not mean you should swear off your favorite indulgences forever! Life is meant to be enjoyed, and food is a significant part of that enjoyment. The key is moderation and balance. Treat yourself occasionally but make it an exception rather than the rule.
It is essential to create a sustainable, long-term approach to your nutrition. Like anything, it takes time. Instead of viewing healthy eating as a temporary fix, think of it as a lifestyle choice. Build habits that you can maintain over time, and you’ll find it much easier to resist the temptation of unhealthy foods.
Need more help learning what you should eat, how you should eat it, and how you can cook yummy healthy foods? Check out Vibrant Chefs and Dr. Erin Mayfield. I recently attended an educational cooking class at Ever’man Co-Op and their jackfruit taquito was beyond delicious leaving me begging for more! Thankfully, we were outfitted with lots of recipes and resources to make our own healthy and delectable foods at home.
In the grand scheme of things, exercise and nutrition are two sides of the same coin when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While physical activity is undoubtedly crucial, it can’t compensate for consistently poor nutrition. Making healthy choices isn’t about deprivation; it’s about nourishing your body and taking care of your long-term well-being.
So, the next time you lace up your running shoes or hit the gym, remember that while exercise is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle, you cannot outrun a bad diet! Opt for nutritious foods, practice moderation, and savor the occasional treat guilt-free. Your body will thank you for it, and you’ll find that achieving your health and fitness goals becomes a much more attainable and enjoyable journey!