After taking a yoga class a couple of weeks ago and listening to the daily reading about not harming, I immediately thought I need to stop eating animal products. I’ve always gravitated to a vegan diet naturally but I haven’t fully been fully vegan since 2010, which last for two years. I practiced the vegan diet for a little of week and at first felt great but a few days into it I began to question why I was doing this. I’ve been studying and trying to practice initiative eating, but this didn’t feel “initiative” to me. I was denying myself, a lot. I spent a road trip scrutinizing menus on where I could find something to eat and eventually found myself eating a plain lettuce salad and sandwich of iceberg lettuce and tomatoes at one point. I was hungry, a lot.
I thought back to the initiative eating principles of ending the mind set of “I can’t have this, or that”. I had been doing that the entire time. I was restricting on every level, which is what can lead into a down spiral of diet mentality and eating disorders. I do not want to tell myself I can’t have something, there is nothing appealing about eating a shredded iceberg lettuce sandwich. I want to eat something I want to eat. I decided at that moment, I don’t think a strict vegan/plant based diet is good for me.
I believe in the principles of eating vegan or plant based for the reasons of protecting our environment. Excessive meat eating is the worst thing for environment; deforestation of land for cattle raising, the amount of methane created by cattle increasing global warming, etc. If we are all eating in moderation and eating more plant based foods , than not, the environment will also benefit. The health benefits of plant based and vegan are also undeniable, a typical “bacon and eggs” diet of Americans will result in our nation’s biggest killer, heart disease. An initiative eating diet and eating in moderation though, can provide the same benefits. We can enjoy everything in moderation and exercise to care for our bodies to prevent heart disease. I still believe in eating a diet of MOSTLY fruits and vegetables. Much of initiative eating is eating what makes us feel good as well, eating a double cheeseburger with bacon and fries doesn’t make one feel great.
Thanks to Covid and partially thanks to the streets in my town not being the best for running, I’ve discovered YouTube workouts. There are a lot out there so I’ve listed my favorites, most are found on the channel “PopSugar”. Through Popsugar, I’ve discovered cardio kickboxing, HITT, Tabata, Barre and pilates. I recommend just browsing through PopSugar’s videos and try different types of classes. Here’s my list:
Cardio Barre Workout
This is my all time favorite workout on YouTube, it has everything I look for in a work out. It combines cardio, abs, legs, and an amazing stretch at the end. It’s face paced and the 40 minutes goes by fast.
45 Minute Cardio Pilates
This is a great face paced cardio and pilates workout. I love pilates for core and arm work. The light weights used in this are optional but add an extra element to the workout.
45 Minute HITT Workout with Jeanette Jenkins
This workout is great when you’re looking for something that really makes you sweat and feels like you burned a ton of calories. It has a great variety of exercises and isn’t boring at all. Jeanette Jenkins is a great trainer who is trained in many forms of exercise and combines many of them in this workout.
30 Minute Cardio and Ab Work Out
This class offers an amazing circuit style workout in 30 minutes. It blends some elements of yoga and has a 5 minute bonus abs at the end. It is a perfect workout when you don’t have much time and really want to get in a work out in.
I made a promise to myself to not be hard on my body anymore, to stop worrying about that number on the scale and just live. I read a few books on intiutive eating and decided to try my best to let my body tell me when I was hungry or when I wasn’t and eat what I want, not what sounds the most low calorie or healthy. In respect to this though, I know how I feel after eating heavy or fried foods and it’s not a feeling I like, so in honor “listening to my body”, I don’t eat much of these types of food because I don’t like the way they make me feel.
When eating intituitvely, you should also pay attention to how something tastes and how it makes you feel and that will guide your decisions on eating. For me, its been very therapeautic. I’ve tried new foods I wouldn’t have tried because I didn’t label them as “safe” foods. It’s been fun enjoying food. It is hard though to sometimes shake that “I ate too much” feeling or “that didn’t work well with my stomach”. Its hard to move on from that sometimes and let go. Part of this eating journey is knowing your body will work it out and listening to your body’s cues will move you back in the right direction and balance it out.
Exercise, movement, in whatever form is a way I accept my body. I want to keep my body strong and healthy so I can do the things I want to do and not feel overwhelmed. I also want my body to be in good shape to fight whatever infections or viruses that might come along. I had Covid last December and though I consider it to probably be the worse “flu” I’ve ever had, I got through it pretty easily and I think my dedication to fitness helped. My heart and lungs are strong and healthy, though I was exhausted I still made myself move around and make sure I was keeping my lungs as clear as possible by certain chest opening exercises.
Loving and accepting yourself and your body is hard work and is something we must work at every day, multiple times day. Don’t say negative things about your body, accept it for what it is. It brought you here. It was with you in all the good times and bad times, love it, cherish it and take care of it.
The Limoncello Life is meant to be a blog discussing the good, the bad, and the crazy of living in Naples, Italy. It is truly a unique place that definitely has it challenges for an expat. After four years now in Napoli, I feel a little more at home. It’s been a tough year and half because of Covid, but we have all experienced our unique challenges that the pandemic brought. Instead of focusing on the difficulties and challenges that Covid brought, I want to focus on a bright spot that came from Covid. I feel more at home now in Naples, Covid forced me to socialize (mainly through WhatsApp or video lessons) with local women since I was home with my kids during distance learning. I made local friends for the first time ever, which created a sense of home for me that I never experienced in my 13 years abroad (First 9 were in Switzerland).
For the moment, the kids and I are wrapping up our two month summer in the US before we head back to Italy. It’s been a great trip full of amazing memories, but as it comes to a close, I am ready to get “home”.
Stay tuned to The Limoncello Life to see how our life goes in Naples.
Welcome, to my blog, a place to to read about living a healthy lifestyle, sometimes not so healthy, positive body image and life, drinking wine, eating pizza and a little about my expat life with two kids in Southern Italy. So grab a glass of wine, a delicious slice of pizza and read about our version of “la dolce vita”!