Combining work and fitness

It’s hard to maintain a “perfectly” fit lifestyle, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Sure, we all love the feeling we get from eating healthy, accomplishing a great work out, seeing the number go down on the scale, the body fat percentage diminishing, and the clothes fitting looser or better.  But there are also those days when you are just so busy or tired that anything will do. Your guard is down, and you are tempted to just grab the quickest thing to eat, skip a work out in exchange for some sleep, or think “f*$% it, I just need a break!”. I CERTAINLY had those days this week. I am just coming up for air after pulling 22 hour work days for three days straight, and not only have I been working, but I have been working with FOOD! I have been making everything from chocolate chip cookies, bread pudding, creme brulees, mashed potatoes, beef stew, rice, beans, egss, bacon, sausage, pastries.. you name it! We all know that none of these foods are FD approved, or approved in any diet for that matter. Was I perfect this week?  Not a chance – even though I didn’t sit down and eat one of these meals, I still had to taste the dishes for accuracy, flavor, consistency etc. and a lot of calories ended up in my system. I did end up eating too many carbs and too much fat for my and what my body normally is used to, and the result is: less defined abs, puffy figure, bloat, and all around feeling LOUSY.   But something great came out of this experience; yesterday afternoon as we had just finished making three meals a day for two different parties (doesn’t sound a lot, but there were only two of us, and each meal had several courses), the old me would be like “Screw it, I deserve a pizza and some ice cream” – but the ONLY thing I wanted was healthy food! I was screaming for a nice green salad, some steamed salmon and more vegetables!!  That’s how I know that this lifestyle of health and fitness has really “gotten to me”. My taste buds no longer wanted fried, sweet, or FAST – I want to feel great, I want to continue feeling at the top of the world and be happy with my body.  At the same time I’m not beating myself up about what I did this week, because unless you have tried working the way I work – lugging heavy crates around, sleeping 1 1/2 hours a night, running around and doing errands, tasting, sauteeing, baking and dealing with demanding customers – well, don’t judge or think “I would have done it differently”. I regard myself as being an extremely disciplined, strong and determined individual that can handle pretty much anything.  But in these situations, you are mentally and physically EXHAUSTED and just want to get through the day. I am not complaining – in fact I’m so grateful that my business is growing and that we were able to get both of these gigs. What I am trying to explain and continually trying to work on is HOW CAN I COMBINE my passions?? I LOVE food and wine – and I LOVE fitness. I need to find a way where I can be great at both – without compromise. Am I ever going to stop enjoying wine? Definitely not. It is a  big part of my life because I find the product of wine to be immensely fascinating; it is a lesson in history, geography, science, culture, chemistry and business all combined into one. You can never know EVERYTHING and that is why it’s so intriguing – it’s a living organism in a bottle that keeps changing, and new and exciting releases are coming into the market each and every day. Food is the same way – there are so many ways to combine flavors and cooking techniques, I discover new dishes every day and keep working to improve my skills. Food makes people happy (unless you have an abnormal relationship with it!) and is a natural gathering point, a social tool that is very common to use in almost all situations and events of life.

So how did I decide that fitness and healthy eating would somehow fit into all of this? Well, a girl always likes a challenge! There is nothing that beats the feeling of being in SHAPE – not even the greatest tasting wheel of cheese! This is what I’ve discovered this past year in my experience of both growing my business and also growing physically (literally!) – I’ve gotten stronger and healthier and not only do I look better, but as a result of inviting fitness into my life, I am mentally more ready to deal with obstacles coming my way and I feel all around stronger as a human being. I think for me, THAT is the most important result I’ve achieved. Beauty will always fade with age, and although I take pride in my looks, I feel that my personality is even more important. How I choose to handle situations, other people and new challenges coming my way. I can react to them, sure – but it’s how I choose to behave that is the ultimate proof of a great character.  Things that used to overwhelm me before, I now take on without thinking, and I have become even more confident than before. When I accomplish one goal, it’s time to set another!

Working in the food and wine industry will always be a challenge for me. I will never leave my new lifestyle of eating foods that will benefit my body and working out daily. I need to perfect my decisions to how I react to situations coming up.  When I see a beautiful cake or a delicious antipasti platter I no longer want to dive in head first – I stop to think: “will this get me closer to my goal?” and already know what the answer is. It doesn’t mean I can’t taste and still get the same experience as people who eat the whole plate.

Staying focused 100% of the time is not easy when fitness is not your job. We have other priorities, other more pressing matters and life problems that interfere with living a perfectly healthy lifestyle. That doesn’t mean we can’t continue to better ourselves, and to keep reminding ourselves why we do what we do.  That feeling of accomplishment, that satisfaction of improvement that we get daily… now THAT feeling is worth holding on to. Keep working at it, folks – I know I will!!

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