One of the great things about writing this blog is that it opens up a dialogue. I would venture to say that most of us, at some point in our lives, have broken a sweat trying to jump, lunge, and squeeze our way into a pair of jeans. Or walked past a mirror and said to yourself, “I don’t remember inviting a Teletubby over for coffee and why is it wearing my…Oh, dear Lord, that’s me!” My point–most people can relate to being somewhat displeased with their physique or wanting to improve it in some way. So in addition to a staggering outpouring of support, (THANK YOU!), I also receive quite a bit of advice. And I appreciate that, truly. But there have been a few instances in which I’ve had to…um…filter out the helpful from the not-so-helpful. To be blunt, some advice is better left unheeded. In the spirit of transparency, I’ve decided to share a few of those lovely tidbits with my wonderful readers.
“JUST DON’T EAT”: …*(blank stare)*…*(crickets)*…*(tap, tap, is this on?)* Exactly. This piece of advice really warrants no response and, in my case, is met with a sudden urge to punch the the person offering said advice directly in the sternum. But I have to say, here in LA, the “just don’t eat” mantra is one of the most popular approaches to weight loss. And I have seen first hand the effectiveness of this methodology. You will, in fact, lose weight. You’ll also lose your hair, some teeth, your youth, and your will to live, but hey…you’ll be skinny! It’s also fair to say that this practice is typically coupled with the use of some sort of narcotic, prescriptive medication or FDA-UNAPPROVED appetite suppressant. Needless to say, this is absolute idiocy. Pass.
“IF YOUR STOP WORKING OUT, YOU’LL LOSE WEIGHT”: True. It is indeed a fact that if I stopped working out, I would lose pounds simply because my muscles would shrink. Muscle weighs more than fat, so undoubtedly, I would see a decrease in the number on the scale. I would also see a decrease in whatever muscle tone I do have and subsequently an increase in my RJF–residual jiggle factor in case you’ve forgotten–and who the hell wants to have a body with the same consistency as memory foam? If your significant other lightly and lovingly smacks you on the hind parts and their hand leaves an imprint, that’s a sure sign that you need to tone up. Play-dough booty isn’t turning anybody on. Bleck!
I find that this type advice most often comes from the “fat-skinny girl”. This is the girl whose genetics allow her to maintain a slim figure without any exercise. Lucky girl, right? Well she won’t feel so lucky when she turns 40, breaks wind and feels her butt cheeks flutter because they’re all flab. And I’m directing this at the ladies since we’re the ones who seem to have an aversion to building muscle. MUSCLE IS YOUR FRIEND! You burn more calories when resting and your body will stay firmer as you age. I’m not saying go all body-builder with it, but do pilates, yoga, hell, buy a shake weight–something. Trust me, you don’t want to reach out to wave ‘hello’ to a friend one day and smack yourself in the face with your own saggy tricep. It’s not hot. So while it’s true that I would lose some weight if I curbed my workouts, it’s not the kind of weight I’m looking to lose. Pass.
“TRY THE MASTER CLEANSE-ATKINS-CABBAGE SOUP-HILTON HEAD-SOUTH BEACH-MONO DIET”: Just…no. Diets are a joke. Unless of course you plan to stay on it for the rest of your life. Then go for it. Believe me, I’ve tried more diets than I’d like to admit. Each time, I’ve yielded the same result. Lose weight while you’re on it, gain it right back when you go off it. When I did Atkins for the first time, I was floored. I lost 15lbs in a month. I had never seen results like that. Once I went back to eating carbs, though, I ballooned like the blueberry girl in “Willie Wonka”. All those cute new clothes I had bought–straight to Goodwill. I know it’s cliche, but the key is to make SUSTAINABLE lifestyle changes. That’s why my blog isn’t about quick fixes so much as it is about making those small but significant choices that will, over time, become new habits. So fad diets? Pass.
With all this said, here are a few simple tips that I find are helpful. Give them a try and let me know what you think.
1) Drink a full glass of water before you eat anything. Two if you can. This includes first thing in the morning. That intense hunger that most people feel when they wake up is partly dehydration. After all, you’ve been without water for the past 8 or so hours. Your body is just as thirsty as it is hungry. As far as your other meals are concerned, that water will take up some of the space in your stomach so you won’t feel as hungry during the meal and won’t eat quite so much.
2.) Throw in veggies wherever you can. Most of us don’t quiver with anticipation at the prospect of eating a plate of steamed vegetable, but the truth is we need them. The other truth is, they fill you up without adding a lot of calories to your meal. I throw spinach in just about everything–omelettes, smoothies, wraps/sandwiches. Adding veggies to your breakfast, even if its just sliced cucumber or bell peppers, is also a great way to get in a quick serving of your recommended 5-a-day.
3.) Switch up your cadrio routine. We all know about the dreaded plateau. But beyond that, pounding it out on the treadmill day in and day out can just get downright boring, no matter how extensive your Itunes library. Take advantage of the classes at your gym like Zumba or Step aerobics. Who cares if you’re rhythmically challenged and might end up looking like a doofus. Laugh it off and keep moving. You’ll have more fun than you think. Or hit the club and dance for 10 songs straight no matter what they are. You’re bound to get in at least a half hour of fat-burning exercise.
At the end of the day, exercise and nutrition advice is like anything else, you take what works for you and leave the rest. I encourage everyone to follow practices that will not only get you the body you’ve been dreaming of, but also contribute to your overall health and wellness. Take care of yourselves and just ignore the well-meaning morons. Happy Living!