Photography and Text by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2019
Balance Your Life
Back to reality after a week or two of birthday fun; time to get back on my healthy diet regimen. It was not until I turned 32 did I take stock in how I was mistreating my body. I have done a complete 180 since then. Partying is all well and good in the moment, until its Tuesday and you’re feeling the downward spiral of reality and anxiety. I used to get sick at least four times a year, and would stay up most of the weekend having what I thought was fun for my life in that moment.
There came a time I realized it was not fun anymore. If your weekend hangover is delayed until Tuesday you may have an issue. I was going through a laundry list of things at that time; A shitty boyfriend that I do not wish upon anyone, finding out who my REAL friends were in the most undignified fashion, and sick family. At that time I did not know how to deal with those emotions other than not sitting around thinking about it. Today, I am a completely different person. I try my hardest to not drink while going through something negative. I have failed at that here and there, but as long as I know it is not the way to handle it that is all that matters.
Meal planning is a big part of my life. To me cooking is therapy, and plating is a creative art form. If I cook for you, it is going to look like you are eating at a five star restaurant. Stephen Starr had run a home cooks challenge a few years back. They featured my sweet potato hash with Greek yogurt crème brûlée on their Instagram page. I also practice intermittent fasting, meaning I drink a cup of coffee in the morning plus one liter of water, or decaf herbal tea until around 1pm.
Then I eat my first meal, which usually is my largest of the day. I do not believe in cutting out carbs from your diet. That is a great way to set yourself up for failure. I’ll prepare a portion of lean protein with vegetables outweighing the meat, and some form of starch. Sweet potatoes are my favorite, also quinoa, potatoes, and rice. I make plant based protein smoothies mixed with different fruits, green veggies, nut butters, and almond milk, sweetening it with honey. I make sure to SEASON all of my meats and veggies. Flavor is usually what people lack when cooking for themselves.
Through the rest of my day I try to get down one more liter of water. I think a gallon is way too much for me. It always makes me feel bloated and cranky. Drinking a glass of water before you eat also decreases the amount of food you intake. Chewing your food properly before swallowing helps you digest correctly. Being in my thirties heartburn is a real thing I did not know existed in my twenties. In the evening dinner is the smaller meal for me. I will also have fruit, nuts, or granola bars as snacks. I try to stop eating by 8pm.
The only time you will see me with junk food in my house is when I have PMS. Then nothing is stopping me from eating all the cheese, chocolate, chips, and pasta in sight. I pick two days a week to eat whatever I want. Depriving yourself of something you want to eat makes being healthy feel like a chore.
Now, I realize this is not many people’s cup of tea, or good use of their time anymore in an age of meal kits and fresh food delivery. I always find it baffling when my friends say they cannot cook. That basic human survival skill we are skipping teaching our children in the day of convenience.
How do we make healthy meals a family activity again? We move through life so fast that slowing down to eat together rarely happens. Nothing makes me feel better than seeing the look on friends faces when they eat my food. Some of my fondest memories were cooking with my mom, grandmothers, and aunts. I always tell people if they need help getting a jump start on basic meal planning I am here to help. That goes for anyone reading this wanting to change, but not sure where to start. I am no personal trainer or nutritionist but, I look better at 35 than I did at 25.
Summer is coming and so are sundresses and bikinis. If you would like the recipes of the food photos I have attached here please visit my Instagram page. If you want a healthy mind, body, and spirit a good diet is the best place to start. You can work out all you want, but you truly are what you eat. I know I am ready to shed the winter layers and lay in the sun; Are you?
About The Author: Katie Kerl. Born 1984. Raised in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. Education: Drexel University studied Behavioral Psychology. Occupation: commercial/ residential design Philadelphia resident since 2011 . Hobbies include: Foodie, whiskey drinker, fitness , cooking , tattoos & house music lover. Instagram: @kerl_up_with_kate. Email: Kate.Kerl32@gmail.com. To access additional articles by Katie Kerl, click here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/katie-kerl-take-me-to-the-disco/