Sunday, February 21, 2010

Getting started....

It seems like people have been encouraging me start a blog about all the healthy crap I do for a long time. And to those friends, I say, "Blogging? That is so 2002. Tweets are where it's at."

But as it turns out, a "Tweet" is really not enough space for a recipe. Or a story about soy vs meat. Or a little anecdote about the little old man who passed me in Mile 12 of a Half-Marathon. It's really more of a space to say, "Wow- great squash casserole, too bad I don't have enough characters to tell you about it!"

So here I am, fighting the evolution of technology, regressing to the roots from whence MySpace and Facebook and yes, even Twitter, once began. And actually, it's good to be home.

So who am I? Well, I'm a girl. A girl who is quickly leaving her 20's, bound for those 30's everyone keeps raving about. I'm not so sure what's so great about them; I'm not married, I don't have kids, I rent my apartment, I'm more or less exactly where I was 5 years ago.

Except for the part where somewhere in those last five years, I became something of a health nut.

I started reading about what we put in our bodies, and how little exercise we get. I opened my eyes, and I started looking around. With a slice of pizza in one hand and a delicious McDonald's Shamrock Shake in the other, I asked (in between chews and slurps), "Why is this country so FAT?" Other places simply don't have the obesity problem we have. And I wanted to know why.

So I put down the pizza. I put down the Shamrock Shake. Then I picked it back up and finished it, because Shamrock Shakes are deeeeeeeelicious. But once it was gone, I totally threw the container away, and said "No more! I'm done with junk food!"

Two weeks later, I was back to cookies and fast food. "Eating healthy is HARD!" I cried, to no one in particular.

No, it was a few more years before I was able to really put myself on the healthy track. Because the fact of the matter is, most of us have spent our whole lives enjoying donuts and sodas and McNuggets. Our bodies know them, our bodies crave them. There is something so familiar and comforting about these foods, they blanket us... no, seriously. They REALLY blanket us. Because as tasty as they may be, they are full of chemicals and preservatives and syrups that our bodies turn into a nice, warm blanket of fat. It's the truth; a sad truth, because things that taste good should be good for us.

The awesome news is, there are plenty of natural foods out there that DO taste good. I know, I've tasted them. And I'm all too willing to share my journey with you, in the hopes that you can take away what's useful to you, and scrap what isn't. As I push into my 30's, I think about that family I don't have yet, and I wonder, "What kind of example would I like to set for them?" Maybe you have a family, or want one. Thik of your eating/exercising habits- are they a legacy you'd like to pass on?

And hey, maybe you'd rather sell your uterus than have a kid. I can understand that. But do you have a list of things you'd like to do before the big grave party? Are you doing enough to ensure that, assuming there is no plane crash and no piano drops from the 56th story, you can enjoy that hike through the Grand Canyon tomorrow?

Overhauling your entire diet and exercise regimen in one fell swoop is a really easy way to fail. You're not Superman and you're not Wonder Woman. Wait, are they relevant enough? It doesn't matter, the point is that taking on the world all at once is impossible, but making small changes is not. You start with one thing, maybe biking a couple time a week, or even taking the dog for a walk. Just stand up while you're typing instead of sitting, I don't care!!! I'm challenging you to pick one thing to do differently, or eat differently. Add a vegetable to a meal. Have one sweet a day instead of four. Just one thing.

And see if you feel differently. Give it a week, and then say "Oh, that wasn't so bad. I didn't mind taking the stairs instead of the elevator too much." Congratulate yourself on whatever small change you made.

And then... find another one. Just like the calories from the fast food we love so much, the small changes ALSO add up. In a great way. In an empowering way. In a way that helps ensure we make the most of the small amount of time we get on this beautiful planet. All I ask is that you give it a try.

until later...

I believe we form our own lives, that we create our own reality, and that everything works out for the best. I know I drive some people crazy with what seems to be ridiculous optimism, but it has always worked out for me. ~Jim Henson


  1. Jen,
    I too am on this journey. Looking forward to following your blog :) Have you read Michael Pollan? I read In Defense of Food and it changed my whole manner of eating.

  2. Holy cow, my friend Jane *just* recommended this to me on Facebook. Clearly, I need to read it!

  3. Looking forward to more! Gave up the big bad McD's in April of last year and glad of it. Time to commit to something else now...

  4. Jen - You (and others) might in interested in the fact that Michael Pollan will be at MSU on April 12th for a lecture at Cobb Hall 7:00pm. Tickets are $20.