How tough is this? No, not making reservations, making resolutions. How many people will make resolutions (and have reservations) about beginning to lose weight, or simply eating healthier? Warning: the two resolutions may not be the same!
Losing weight is a slow (laborious) and sometimes (no, always) tedious (and utterly miserable) process. I should know. I lost twenty pounds over a ten-month period (painful). I put the same twenty pounds back on over a one-month period (note that crying, no matter how frequent, won’t help you lose water weight). I lost the same twenty pounds over a twelve-month period (more gnashing of teeth). And I continue to fluctuate on the scale up and down, round and round (my waist, that is) by two or three pounds per week.
Take solace, my friends. This is normal, I’m told.
But, regardless, let’s take this a step at a time and perhaps implement some easy, painless guidelines that will really help you to eat healthier and at least start you thinking about what you’re putting in your mouth as part of your New Years’ resolution in the coming year.
First, invest in a physical. Ask your doctor what the normal weight range should be for your gender, age, height, and body type. Next, be sure you let him/her know that you’re going to start exercising (stay with me, here). But we’ll talk about body movement later. I don’t want to scare anybody off just yet. Most importantly, be sure you’re aware of any food allergies you might have before changing your diet! Remember; always consult your doctor before starting any new diet or physical exercise regimen.
Simple, yet healthy substitutions are the game plan. So hold onto your love handles, and I’ll hold onto mine and we’ll take this journey together.
Substitute or lighten up as follows (some of my favorites):
• Olive oil instead of butter
• Wheat bread instead of white
• Whole-wheat pasta instead of white pasta
• Brown rice instead of white rice
• Use olive oil spray or vegetable spray in the pan instead of pouring oil directly into the pan from the bottle
• Use olive oil spray in addition to balsamic vinegar, salt, garlic and pepper (and a touch of lemon) as a light dressing for salads or steamed vegetables
• Try steamed vegetables with olive oil spray and a bit of Bragg Liquid Aminos (this is an all natural, all purpose seasoning made from soy protein found in most health food stores. I suggest you buy the hand spray)
• Drink more water, or flavored water. Beware! Flavored waters are deceiving. Just because the liquid in the bottle is clear doesn’t mean there’s no sugar or high fructose corn syrup added—read labels!!!
• Limit red meat consumption
• Switch to a sugar substitute or give up sugar completely
• Snack on fruit or when you’re feeling hungry
• If you’re in the mood for something sweet, try Jell-O. Alone or with Cool Whip or any other low fat topping, Jell-O is surprisingly satisfying
• Also, try dehydrated fruit. NOT dried fruit with all the added sulfates and sugar, but simply DEHYDRATED. Again, be sure to read the label. The only ingredient here should be the fruit itself and nothing else. Some dependable brands to look for are:
CRISPY GREENS at: http://www.crispygreen.com
SENSIBLE FOODS at: http://sensiblefoods.com
JUST TOMATOES (they do fruit as well) at: http://www.justtomatoes.com/jtstore/pc/companyinfo-d12.htm
So we’ve covered some simple food substitutions and ways to lighten up your diet. Now for the nasty part – the sweaty complement to diet – exercise!
As far as body movement is concerned, an old favorite exercise of mine that requires nothing but your body and the ability to count are JUMPING JACKS, as demonstrated by our lovely model, Olive (see photo).
You remember them; the one thing you hated to do as a warm up at the beginning of gym class has, as far as I’m concerned, become the one fabulous way to exercise without having to go anywhere and without the burden and necessity of gym equipment (which means NO EXCUSES).
You can start out with 3 sets of 10 jumping jacks the first week. Wait about a minute between sets and “shake out” your arms and legs. After the first week, increase to 3 sets of 20, then 3 sets of 30, etc. You’ll be amazed at how this silly little exercise from years ago still works to shape you up and increase cardio endurance. Again…check with your doctor before starting any new physical exercise regimen. Take it slow at first and don’t overdo it!
Alright Olive, I think you’ve had enough for today!
The Big Tine
P.S. Watch for our next blog post – the first to post in the new year on January 2, 2011 – about SALT.
*All photographs courtesy of REMAGES.