Healthiest You Series: 4- Keep Upgrading

Before Collage

After Collage

Keep upgrading

  • Continually swap out more nutrient-dense foods for empty-calorie foods
  • Upgrade to higher quality foods, more fresh seasonal produce
  • Challenge your body with new physical feats

You will learn towards the beginning of your journey, that the 480 calories in your Ruffles cheddar and sour cream potato chips are not nearly as fueling as the same number of calories of salmon, whole grains, & a handful of nuts.

There are such things as empty-calorie foods, which don’t leave much satiety or fueling because they lack nutrients such as vitamins, dietary minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, or dietary fiber.  Swapping nutrient-dense food choices for empty-calorie food choices will give you more energy and you’ll just feel a lot better.

Once you’re eating nutrient-dense foods, work on swapping in more fresh foods and phasing out processed foods.  Or try swapping in organic produce, or eliminating gluten, or giving up caffeine, or stop smoking, etc.  There is no right or wrong- every person’s body handles foods differently, so just play around and experiment, but always upgrade.


This is the stage I have been in for a while now.  I’ve got the active lifestyle down and I’m always experimenting with new higher quality fuel choices for myself.  We’ve been eating more olives, hummus, brown rice, quinoa, millet, and organic greens.  The hubby has to eat a lot more protein than I do for his size and muscle-building, so he usually has a larger portion of meat for meals than I do, but we’ve gotten used to dinners where we can adjust the meat portions easily.  I have learned that for me personally, dairy and carbonation don’t make me feel well.  Always having food and water on me in my messenger bag is helpful in avoiding impulse stops at gas stations or food joints for a quick bite.  I’m by no means perfect- I love a good pub burger just like the next person- but making smart choices in other meals is something I am getting better at. 

Finding new ways to kick my own booty is really fun for me- perhaps I have workout ADD- I can’t do the same thing all the time.  I attend a couple different fitness classes, all night & day different from one another.  This morning the hubby & I started an intense 5 week boot camp through a local fitness joint (he’s done it before but it’s my first go around of it).  I love picking races & training for them- hope to do way more in 2013 than 2011-12 held for me.  Always keep upgrading means more than just food for me, it means my fitness feats as well.  Keep on moving and grooving- have fun with it!


We can upgrade everything right? More gigs, more leg room, more minutes, even upgrade our meal size.  It wasn’t until I realized how big I was that I then realized how much more I was eating compared to others.  Counting calories let’s be honest, blows, the long and the short of it.  It’s about knowing that if you eat what you want you won’t look the way you want.  But there is an answer, making the food you want in a healthier way. I mean yes, it does have its limitations, you can’t really dress down a doughnut but you can swap that pasta for a salad and the level D-grade meat in any major fast food joint for crap anything else.

Lets run the list of workouts I’ve tried this last year- weight lifting, spin, treadmill, trail running, spinning class, TRX class, yoga (sculpt, hot, flows), boot camps, insanity, P90X, road cycling, hiking, extreme walking (I know, right), and swimming laps.  There is actually no limit to the amount of things you can try to workout to change things up and keep it real.  If one doesn’t work for you, check out the gym schedule, if you are afraid to go alone, don’t be, everyone in that class was once in your shoes.  If that’s not enough, grab me, grab Sarah, hell Frank the pug will even go with you (not super helpful but he is a great conversationalist). I look at my before photos and see nothing but a life as being sad and depressed.  I’ll say it, I was depressed, I was sad, I did feel trapped with no way out. When I look at the smile in my after photos, that is genuine, not faked, not to put on a show, but a 100% real smile.

I’m 29 now, 29-years-old, I look back on the last 9 years of my life not as wasted, but as years I didn’t live to the fullest, years stuck in a tired, weak body that only wanted to eat and do nothing else.  It wasn’t until now that I know how great life can be when you max out your heart everyday and live every minute like it’s the last.  I beg you readers, don’t lock yourself away, don’t lock away your hopes and dreams because you don’t feel secure.  Because before you know it, you’ll be 29 or 39 or sheeet even 59 and wonder how much of your time was spent in a place you didn’t want to be.  3 words to live by “Do Epic Shit.”

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