I am a regular mom. I am not a doctor. I am not a personal trainer. I am not even naturally thin or athletic. But I do know a few things about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I have spent over half of my life taking physical fitness tests and getting my waist measured as an active duty Airman.
I have to admit, a healthy lifestyle does not come easily or naturally for me. I love food. As the saying goes, I live to eat; I don’t eat to live. And San Antonio is a particularly difficult and delicious city to live in because there are so many diverse types of foods to try. It is nearly impossible to live in San Antonio and ignore all the temptations. (Have you seen the ACMB listicles on where to find the best donuts, coffee, burgers, raspas, etc. around town? I wrote A LOT of them!) And if I’m being honest with myself, half of my Instagram feed is filled with fitness models while the other half is filled with donuts, cookies, ice cream, coffee, and local taco joints.
My love of food has been ingrained in me. Growing up, holidays and family gatherings were centered on food traditions, and we took care of people and showed appreciation by feeding them. This has resulted in me being the kind of mom that asks my kids if they’re done with their nuggets and fries because I “don’t want to let them go to waste.”
So how have I balanced 18 years of maintaining a healthy weight with my love of food? Here are some of my best healthy lifestyle hacks:
I do what I like. If it’s not a workout I enjoy, I don’t do it. There are so many different ways to work out; I don’t feel like I have to do it a certain way. But the main thing is, I’m active four to five days a week. If I’m on a budget or want to try something new, I check to see if I can try a free session. Many fitness studios offer a complimentary class or host a free community event. Check out the links below! A lot of San Antonio social media influencers have discount codes as well. And don’t forget to check out Fit City SA, as well as all the free classes the San Antonio Parks have to offer.
EnergyX Fitness (free community classes)
I eat what I like. I know oatmeal is good for me, but I don’t like eating it. I went through this phase of bringing oatmeal to work every day, and almost every morning, I would avoid it. I finally gave up. I ended up bringing a Greek yogurt with granola and enjoy it much more. I try different granola to mix it up. The same with fish. I know I should like eating fish, but I just don’t. So, I don’t torture myself. When I pack my lunch, I usually include frozen peas, green beans, or broccoli to get in more veggies. They thaw out by the time I heat up my lunch. I tried other vegetables and pre-washed salad mixes but I just didn’t enjoy them, so I stopped trying to force it.
I hold myself accountable. I am a bottomless pit and could probably polish off a sleeve of Oreos or bag of hot Cheetos without even noticing. If I’m not hungry, I “could eat.” Sometimes I don’t know when to stop. When I’m trying to lose weight, I use an app to log all my foods. I track my calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrates (or macronutrients) and can easily find most foods and brands. It gives me a better idea of how much I should be eating. I also bought a food scale. Portions listed on packaging were shockingly smaller than what I was typically eating.
I drink water. If I’m having a hard time drinking water, I add some sugar-free flavoring. My favorite is half iced-tea, half lemonade. It also satisfies my after-meal sweet tooth. (Most times.)
I avoid triggers or reinvent them. Bagels were one food I felt like I couldn’t have if I was trying to lose weight. When they felt off limits, they tempted me even more. I found a recipe by Skinny Taste that satisfies my urge for bagels without feeling like I spent all my calories and carbohydrates on one thing. I also have a sweet tooth and love sugary cereal and cookies. I compromise with a protein shake with just a handful of cereal or crushed-up cookie on top, and it tastes like a treat.
I feed my mind. I noticed that my Instagram feed was not helping my healthy living efforts. It was more like torture. I didn’t want to unfollow all my favorite baking blogs, so I diversified. I started following Instagram and Pinterest accounts with enticing healthy foods and recipes for balance.
How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle?