Alternative title: How I attempt to maintain an acceptable level of fitness and healthy eats without giving up the craft beer and foodie life.
The key to a well-rounded, happy, healthy life is balance. Balance, coupled with the mantra "everything in moderation."
Being a wannabe foodie and aspiring craft beer expert demands balance – especially when one is to be married in a few months and would like to feel her best in her wedding dress.
Sure, I work out and I generally eat pretty healthy – but I have no intention of abandoning my quest to taste as much fine craft beer as possible, and to seek out the best foodie experiences the country has to offer.
To that end, I've been working hard to focus on fitness and healthy eating, while still allowing myself to have the "fun" that inspired this blog. Here are a few ways I am committing to finding that balance.
*Please note that I am not a fitness expert or dietitian of any kind – I am just sharing some tips that help me maintain balance in my life.*
1. Follow an 80/20 rule
Following an 80/20 rule means that I strive to eat well 80% of the time, and allot the other 20% to my craft beer and foodie habit. Ali Maffucci, who runs the blog Inspiralized (which I turn to for plant-based meal ideas), suggests eating clean Sunday through Friday afternoon, with Friday night and Saturday set aside as the 20% assigned for fun eats and drinks.
Eating clean during the week requires prep and focusing on plant-based meals and snacks. I grocery shop on weekends and then prep a breakfast (usually an egg bake of some sort) to eat throughout the week, and put a plan in place for lunches, dinners, and snacks (usually nuts).
Lately I've been on a giant-salad-for-lunch kick and it's been working out pretty well. Loading up on veggies not only helps me reach the suggested daily serving, but keeps this volume eater happy and tricked into thinking she ate a lot (and I did... but it was veggies).
I keep this plan flexible. For example, if there's a brewery event or a cheese tasting that I want to check out during the week, I'll take it easy Friday night. Again, it's all about balance.
I am notoriously terrible at drinking water. I like water but unless it's right in front of me I will go an entire day without drinking it. I knew that had to change, for obvious health reasons. Also, being properly hydrated contributes to clearer skin and helps stave off bloat (which, unfortunately, can be caused by drinking beer and other alcoholic beverages).
So I got a 20-oz reusable water bottle that I refill at least twice while at work, once at the gym, and once at home. It's always at my side and I have felt like a new person since I realized I needed to HYDRATE a la Jerry Seinfeld. Adding flavor to water also makes it more enticing. I am not fancy/organized enough to slice lemons and limes for water, but I'll mix in a drop of lemon essential oil for flavor. Once, I used peppermint, and it was weird but refreshing?
(Note: if you use essential oils to flavor your water, make sure you're using a glass water bottle. The compounds in essential oils can sometimes cause plastic water bottles to erode. Also, less is more -- a drop will do in a 20-oz water bottle).
3. Run for beer (but also for yourself)
I learned the hard way that training for long-distance races doesn't mean you automatically lose weight. Especially when you're all about running for beer – which is, of course, a great endeavor but you must acknowledge it's likely not going to lead to weight loss.
I trained for the Hartford Half Marathon (held last October) and didn't lose a single pound. Instead, I used my long runs as excuses to eat and drink whatever I want, whenever, thinking I burned enough calories to still lose a bit of weight. Thankfully I didn't gain weight, but I was disappointed. I realized I still had to rein in my eating and drinking habits, despite long and tough training runs. Also, it would be helpful to do workouts that complement running, such as strength training, yoga, and spinning, to avoid falling into a fitness rut.
Though I absolutely still run for beer, I've since added strength and cross training to the mix so I'm don't fall into the same run-eatwhatever-drinkwhatever-repeat mindset I did while training for the half marathon. Now I look forward to a varied fitness regime that inspires me to balance my love for craft beer & foodie fun with a commitment to health!
I'm not the only one who feels this way, obviously. Craft beer race/festivals are gaining popularity every year, and now it seems beer yoga classes are the next big beer/fitness crossover! (Not to be confused with yoga followed by beer... people in Australia are actually taking classes in which they drink amid their downward dogs and tree poses).
What does your fitness regime look like? Do you run for beer? How do you maintain balance in your beer/foodie life?