Welcome to part one of my REAL Stories series all about relatable, everyday, amazing ladies. I wanted to run a series of posts on the blog that feature some women that inspire me every single day. They all understand what real health is. They’re living proof of the power of real food, positivity and a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
As this series progresses over the next six weeks, we want you to join the conversation on social media. Use #weareREAL and tell us what you think! What does #realhealth mean to you? Show us your #realfood meals on Instagram, tweet us your thoughts and visit me on Facebook to share how you make a healthy lifestyle work for you. Let’s start a #realmovement all about supporting each other, being true to ourselves, maintaining healthy balance while working hard, eating real food and loving our bodies.
For part one of the series, I’d like to introduce Amy from The Little Honey Bee. I asked Amy to contribute because her real food journey is just so inspiring. Amy is a shining example of how real foods can transform your whole life. Her passion for health and helping others find theirs inspires me everyday, and I know she’ll inspire you too. Enjoy!
Guest Post by Amy Sherman from The Little Honey Bee
I am so happy that Deryn asked me to be a part of this amazing series. I absolutely love Deryn and reading Running on Real Food – she inspires me in so many ways: to get creative in the kitchen, push myself at CrossFit and eat lots of yummy plants. I wish we lived closer!
I began writing my blog in May 2013 after I graduated from college and lost a bunch of weight. I wanted to share my passion for fitness and nutrition so I started to write. I have always been active (I played basketball in college) but I did not have the most stellar eating habits. I started to make some changes.
So what did I do? For almost two years, I tracked every.single.calorie I consumed. I thought I needed to do this in order to lose my “freshman 15” and be “healthy.” I bought into the message the mass media sends us: low calorie, low fat, eat less, lots of cardio. I associated “healthy” with “calories” and like so many, lived off of low-cal granola bars and frozen dinners. Little did I know that they were filled with sugar, preservatives and chemicals. Sure I lost weight, but was I healthy?
It took me awhile to change this mentality. It was not easy to change this way of thinking given that these are the messages of conventional wisdom. It was not easy to change this way of thinking after losing weight and not wanting to gain it all back. But I changed it. Last year, I started to better educate myself about food, nutrition and the body. I read countless books and studies, attended lectures and started to learn about the power of eating real food.
I stopped counting calories and stopped spending hours on the elliptical. I now focus on nourishing my body with real food and getting stronger. I eat egg yolks, meat, fat and plenty of vegetables. I lift heavy weights and I am not “bulky.” I am currently studying to become a Registered Nutritional Consulting Practitioner in the hopes of helping others reach their health and fitness goals. I have made many changes to my diet, but this change has by far been the most profound and impactful – and it’s here to stay.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you it is going to be easy right away. Because it won’t be. It will take time to get used to things and make adjustments. But it will become second nature if you want it to be. That’s the first step: commit to making the change.
Okay, are you committed? Great – here is what works for me:
1. Stock your fridge and pantry.
“If you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food.” It’s true. In order to eat amazing and nutritious food, it needs to be there. And at the same token, the not-so-good-food needs to be gone. Deryn has a great guide about stocking a plant-based pantry. I go grocery shopping 1-2 times per week. I stock up on lots of local, organic produce and properly raised meat, fish and poultry.
2. Plan and prepare.
I truly believe planning and preparing plays a major part in allowing me to eat healthy and workout. I make a meal plan and workout schedule every week so I have a good idea of my menu and my workouts. Of course sometimes things change, but having a solid foundation is vital. I always prepare food on the weekends so I am ready for the inevitable busy week. Check out how I food prep here and how I plan my workouts here. Do you use Deryn’s awesome weekly meal planner printable? Check it out here.
3. Keep it simple.
Cooking real and amazing food does not have to be complicated. I am not a gourmet chef or fancy baker at all. I plan my meals based on my favorite protein sources, healthy fats and starchy vegetables. I try to eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, B vitamins and vitamins, A, E, D and K. I carry a water bottle with me everywhere to make sure I am always hydrated. I try to walk wherever and whenever I can and do sit-ups and push-ups during commercials. Every little bit counts.
I think it is so important to educate yourself about your body and what works for you. There is so much information out there but I also think it is too easy to become misinformed – ahem, low calories, no fat. I have read some very helpful books like this one or this one and definitely this one. I try to learn from all different schools of thought – from plant-loving vegans to meat-obsessed paleo-ers. I’ve been a meat-eater, a Lean-Cuisine-eater, a late-night-pizza-eater, a flexitarian, a vegetarian, and a pescatarian. I don’t like diet labels but I call myself a real food eater and that is what works for me.
5. Do what you can.
It’s a process. I wish I could eat grass-fed beef, organic, non-GMO chicken, wild caught fish, organic fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds all the time and workout everyday. Heck, I wish I could have a farm and have a gym in my basement. But that is not financially possible or realistic for me right now so I do what I can. I try to buy local foods from trusted sources and get sweaty as often as possible. Start where you can, when you can and do the best you can.
Forget the calories. Forget the clock. Forget the low-fat. Forget hours on the elliptical. Nourish your body, eat more real foods and get sweaty. Eat fat and egg yolks and nut butter straight from the jar. Eat plenty of vegetables roasted in oil. Go for a walk around your neighborhood. Smile and embrace these beautiful changes. Listen when your body says it is hungry. Not because the clock tells you to eat. Listen when your body wants to move. Not because you ate a donut.
Love yourself because you are beautiful.
Amy shares her passion for nutrition, fitness, life and balancing it all. You’ll find healthy recipes, workouts, nutrition tips, healthy living tricks and life’s adventures. Amy loves running, CrossFit, yoga, traveling, cooking and eating bananas with nut butter. She strives to motivate others to embrace a healthier lifestyle.