September 21, 2009

tri training comes to fruition... a few tips on improving your lifestyle

This past Sunday marked an important moment in my life: I became a triathlete.

What started as a birthday present from Ryan (triathlon training and all the fancy gear) evolved into a health and fitness overhaul this summer. Nothing went untouched: it involved food, exercise, positive thinking, and even health care reform.

Over the course of the summer, Ryan and I have been making better and better decisions. We've eliminated so many negative things from our lifestyle, especially food-wise; we're eating more vegetables, whole grains, and organic goods than ever before, and we're exercising on a regular basis. And guess what?

We're happier and healthier for it. In our five-plus years together, I think this has been the best yet. We're enjoying this new healthy lifestyle and the benefits (more energy, looking better, feeling less stress, getting outside together) outweigh any of the drags (eating less queso, being sweaty more often).

But wait, there's more! I want YOU to feel this way too--and it doesn't mean you have to become a triathlete. You can take simple steps to improve your daily health. It starts with just making smarter choices. Go for an organic apple instead of a Pop Tart. Choose water over soda, or at least try sodas made with cane sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup. Pick one thing to change at a time (we began a year ago with food, and incorporated exercise in the last six months), and eventually you, too, can be considered a food snob and workout fiend. (Um, just kidding; nobody calls us that to our faces.)

It's like we've started our own health care plan, which is of course all the rage these days; I think we as Americans are finally starting to see, however reluctantly, that our sedentary and fast-food-filled lifestyles are detrimental to our overall health as a nation. And I also believe that our country as a whole has to reform their way of life--just like we've done this
summer--in order to live healthier.

I've also done a lot of reading about health care lately, and these two articles are a great starting point for understanding more about the political side of health care reform (Reid) and the food industry side of it (Pollan):
T.R. Reid on the five myths about global healthcare
Michael Pollan on food industry and health care

In any case, I think anyone who cares enough about food to be interested in a sustainable diet (i.e., if you're reading this blog) has it in 'em to make big changes. We may spend a little more on food, buying organics at every turn and shopping at the farmers' market, but it is absolutely a return investment on our health. And the same goes for exercise: it may be hard to start, but once you're in a rhythm it's harder to stop. It, too, is a return on your health.

I strongly believe in a lifestyle that sustains life (isn't that the point?). Since the beginning of this blog, I've seen a transformation in myself and can directly attribute it to eating better and, now, to lots of exercise.

So to live long and prosper, my friends, look no further than a balanced diet and plenty of exercise.