Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Regarding Health (Eating Well & Exercising)


I couldn't sleep on Friday night. I was essentially tossing and turning in bed. Anyway, this post came into my mind, and I decided to write it. This is long. :(

I decided that I would write a little about health today. When I hit 30, I noticed my body changing. I have always had a healthy appetite and was never one of those girls who ate two bites of a salad, and said they were full. I realized though that I had to change what I was doing because my body was evolving.

I also don't think everyone has to be stick thin to be healthy or attractive but rather just carry a good healthy weight (I'm talking to you, Rush Limbaugh). Personally, I have a booty, and I like it (and so does Husband J). Maybe it's a Black girl thing (much of my experience has shown me that often it is), but if I had to choose between being rail thin and having an ass, I'd choose the ass (Hysterical considering I carry all of my weight in my thighs and butt!). Super skinny doesn't equal healthy to me (there are some VERY unhealthy skinny people out there), but if one can prevent major weight gain and incorporate physical activity throughout your life, all the better.

I'm not going to tell you about eating a certain kind of diet, etc. I am no dietician or health guru, but I have managed to make it into my 30's and managed to live relatively healthfully in a way that I think is sane. I've never counted calories. I've never been on a diet. I don't exercise like a madwoman. Yet as you can see from this blog I love food and eating. Much of what I am going to say here aren't diet and exercise tips. I kinda think of these personal guidelines below as my own version of common sense healthful living. I also may get a little uppity, so feel free to cuss me out in the comments section. :)


A few caveats before I begin:

1. I have good genes - Both of my parents look pretty darn good for their ages and have gifted me with some good DNA that I think helps. Everybody has a different metabolism, body shape and genetic makeup, which is why I am not going to tell you what to eat (for the most part). I also have a body that builds muscle quickly and easily.

2. I am weirdo who craves veggies and other healthy food. Not everyone is me, but I love a good salad or stir fried veggies. Part of the reason I feel I've been able to stay at a good weight is because I've been a pretty good eater. If I don't eat vegetables or drink water, my body rebels in the form of break outs on my face or spending a little too much time in the bathroom (Ahem! I will stop there, but you get the point, right?). Eating well regulates my body looking and feeling good.

So here it goes.....

EATING

1. If you don't want to eat it, don't keep it in the house. If you don't want to eat the cookies, don't buy them. There was leftover cheesecake in our fridge from our dinner party a few weeks ago, and I ate it ALL. It was sitting there in the fridge, and I hate wasting food. I can't NOT eat sweets and other junk food, if they are around. I know this is not easy for everyone as we have families and spouses/partners who like certain types of food, but I find if I don't buy those Whole Foods Brownie Bites, I go along without thinking about them. Out of sight, out of mind.

Sometimes these are the only sweets in our apartment. Once the 8 cookies are gone..too bad. That's why I ration them well. :)


I am also lucky that I don't bake very well. That's helped! :)

2. I don't believe in low fat. Food should taste good. Most low fat anything tastes like garbage to me. I'd rather have full three cheese macaroni and cheese, an amazing cupcake or something super rich once in awhile than have low fat cookies every day or every week.

Also I strongly believe that some dishes and foods require butter or whatever fattening ingredient to give it the right consistency and taste. If you take that agent out of the recipe, then you have to replace it with something. What takes its place? Chemicals. Sometimes I read the ingredient list of low fat stuff, and I'm like "What the heck is in this?"

I'd rather just rather enjoy FATTY goodness in moderation.

3. Do I really need to eat that much? Portion control is something that I struggle with, but I am slowly learning to monitor. In the past I have matched Husband J bite for bite, but I know that I can't do that anymore. Even if you are eating pretty healthfully, HOW MUCH you are eating does affect your caloric intake. When I make a dinner at home, I'm often less apt to go for seconds these days because most times I really don't need to. This doesn't mean that I am a saint in this regard. I have my days. It's just something that I am more mindful of now.

4. I try not to take in calories through liquids. One time someone told me that water has no taste. ERRRR?? I was pretty surprised 'cause I think Dasani tastes different from Poland Spring, which tastes different from both Evian and Fiji. They have pretty distinct tastes. Usually it's just me and the Brita with Pellegrino as a treat. Again, I'm no saint. We keep some ginger ale around, but that's to go with the Maker's Mark (cough!), and last summer I was addicted to those Pellegrino Limonata sodas. We have wine in the house, but I'm learning to limit that as it does have calories too. :) I find if I don't drink enough water, I break out and feel like garbage. Starbucks is usually once per week because I get wired really, really easily from caffeine.

Plus, I am a cheap-o at times, and water is free both at work (if your office has a water cooler) and at home.

5. Cook!

EXERCISING

I. HATE. EXERCISE. Ugh! I don't enjoy, but I do it. You wanna know why?

a) I am vain. Yup, I am one vain @#$%, and I like to look in the mirror and like what I see. Exercising makes me look good, so I do it.

b) I have a partner who is an exercise freak. Since high school, Husband J has been into fitness and working out. He used to have super big muscles, which is harder to maintain at his age (hee hee!). Even after working a 12 hour day, he will go to the gym after work. He needs it to relieve stress. Also I love my man, but he is short. Husband J knows that being overweight and short as a man is usually not a good look.

I know that it's important for him to have a wife who takes care of herself by keeping fit, and I want to look good for him. Therefore, exercise has to be a part of the weekly plan.

Okay So.....

1. Don't be cute at the gym/at home/outside during your workout. Do the hard stuff! [UPPITY ALERT!!!] I think most of the people who read my blog tend to be women, and I am a woman, so I going to address this issue that way. LADIES, push yourselves! You can do it! I sometimes fee like women are scared to push themselves at the gym, especially when it comes to weight training. I know it looks great, and it's easier to do the modified/"lady" push up, but do a real one. Use the weight machines, but don't sit there for 5 minutes dilly-dallying (sorry but I hate when people, especially women, do that at the gym).

I love weight training because at this age, it keeps me toned. You will NOT look like this if you weight train.:


Her body is amazing, but I don't desire to look like her. I have a friend who is a fitness model, and the amount of exercise and strict dieting required to maintain what she does is no joke. Most of us are never going to want to do that.

Ask the trainers for help if you are at a gym. That's what they are paid to do (Also if it's like my gym, they're actually pretty attractive. Just sayin'....). Certain areas of the gym or certain machines are just not reserved for men. Don't let the men in the gym intimidate you either.

For example, I love this machine pictured below 'cause it tones my arms. I barely see women using it at my gym.


An assisted pull up and dip machine.


I could never do a pull up without a little bit of help, but I sure do love the feeling of accomplishment when I've finished some sets of pull ups and dips.

By the way, I hate cardio, but again, I do it 'cause it's good for me. Sigh....

2. A little bit of something is better than nothing, but make it count. Most days, I just don't want to do anything at all, but if I pop Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred in the DVD player, I kinda feel like a rock star for doing something. It's a great total workout and only last for 20 minutes. If you can find a fast means of working out this way on the days you don't want to move, it will help. That being said, I do believe that whatever quickie session you choose to do should challenge you (see #1). My gym has 1/2 hour classes, or you can run/walk for 20 minutes, or just do basic calisthenics in your living room. Either way...move!

3. Mix it up or put in your schedule. I get bored exercising, and I don't want to make up my own exercise routines. I just want someone to tell me what to do. :( Usually that means that I take a class or video. I've got three different Jillian Michael's videos I rotate, and now I (Gasp!) like to run on the treadmill. Plus, I know I can take spinning or other classes if I can motivate in the nasty weather. If I don't have variety, I will not exercise. Are you like me?

4. Sneak in exercise when you can. I know that living in a walkable urban place helps me to sneak in exercise. Walking instead of taking the subway or taking the stairs instead of the escalator helps me feel like I am moving (There are some crazy sets of stairs in the subways!) I know many people don't live in a place where this is an option, but are there other parts of your life where you can still find a way to keep active?

Okay. That's it. None of this is rocket science, and I am sure you know most of this already, but I thought I would share some of my experiences.

What's been the best way for you to keep track with eating healthy and staying physically fit? Feel free to call me out on anything I've written. :)


12 comments:

Layla said...

You're not uppity, and it all makes sense. :) And I agree, it's easy to do this....the motivation to move is what's difficult to find at times. But I'm a vain @!#&$ too, so that usually helps. Speaking of, I need to get to the gym. ;)

Josie said...

Love this post! I feel like I could have written a lot of it. :) I totally agree that it's not only about eating healthy but how much you're eating. I think portion control is where I'm worst... Oh and I also love to bake... ha ha.

Thanks for the excellent post. :)

Cathleya said...

I can vouch that Terri has an amaaaaazing body! I think I always comment on it when I see her :)

Love your tips. I especially identify with the "don't eat low fat" food. Xanthan gum as a thickening agent? Frickin gross.

I am not one to contribute to this really...I'm very overweight but have just ticked off a month of my lifestyle change (counting calories, high intensity boot camp 3 times a week and 2 days of hiking). I feel great---down 6 pounds! I'm happy to be doing it the healthy way and I make sure to enjoy my "cheat" day once a week where I eat whatever I want. :) Turning 30 this year is a real wake up call for me... I remember the summer after my freshman year in college, I wanted to lose my freshman 15 so I walked on the treadmill 1 hour a day. I dropped it all in 2 months!

ONE MILE! WALK! Hilarious. Ohhhh to have a young body.

kelsey@mintedlife said...

You are so right!! All of this is such good advice. Also, my hubby is a HUGE workout fanatic too, so it makes me feel bad if I'm lazy, which is actually a really good thing.

lavenderpug said...

for me, most of it is about portion control. and i should probably drink less wine.

quarterlifeconfused said...

I love what you said about weight training and pushing yourself at the gym! It drives me crazy to hear women say they don't weight train because they don't want to bulk up -- that is so silly. I struggle to push myself at the gym sometimes but it helps me to sign up for events so I have goals in mind -- like a 10k or this 50 floor stairclimb I'm doing in April!

Portion control is by far and away my biggest struggle food-wise but today is my 27th birthday and I promised my self to do things right this year!

Tiffany said...

Love this! I've been on a diet almost my whole life. I'm definitely going to take this to heart, I needed to hear it! Yay motivation!

nellie said...

Great post, Terri!

My weakness is sweet snacks. I need snacks. I guess it doesn't help being preggers. But I'm super motivated to get into pre-baby (edit: pre-wedding) shape post-pregnancy. The three weddings I have to attend this summer will be a great motivator.

Thanks for all the tips!

OrneryBaker said...

man, as soon as i turned 25 (i'm 26 now), i've noticed that my iron clad metabolism has rapidly told me to go eff myself hahaha. i'm going to the gym now 1-2 times a week, and i run on the treadmill and attempt crunches. it's really helping me feel better! i've always been a big fan of veggies and whole grains...all a matter of portion control. i can't write about food if i'm a goodyear blimp!

arunnerslife said...

This is such a wonderfully healthy attitude towards fitness, food and general health!!! I loved reading this!! And that dip machine is awesome!

Diana said...

From one real woman to another...I love this post! I love to mix it up at the gym or for my work out. I put my music on and dance before I get on the exercise machine. I remember in college all the guys were in the weight machine room and no ladies, but I wanted to use the machines, so I did! I haven't been too much into working out lately, but I make sure to eat OK and eat my veggies!! Great post!

Katie said...

Love this post!

NUMBER ONE regarding food - YES! That is the motto I live my life by: if I don't want to eat it, I don't buy it. People give me the strangest looks when they hear that I don't buy loaves of bread and I never buy pre-packaged cookies or baked goods. We have found that by buying the sandwich thins or bagel thins for our sandwiches, our bread needs are fulfilled, and there is no temptation to eat more (I mean, come on: who doesn't like to sneak a slice of bread every now and then?). And don't get me started on candy. I used to buy those enormous 5lb bags of M&M's; I'd dip my hand in to grab a few every time I passed the kitchen...thinking it was harmless. A little more than a week later, I had finished off the bag. Oh my good sweet gracious. Not good! Hence: candy is not allowed in my house, or I have to figure out a way to portion control myself!

 

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