Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Slow and Steady Wins the Race!

If you know me well, then you probably know I will yell at you if you take any unhealthy shortcut to lose weight. It angers me when I hear that people are eating less than 1,000 calories or cut out an entire food group from their diet. I also hate when I hear people setting up unrealistic goals like “I want to lose 15 pounds this month.” And don’t even get me started on people who take any sort of magic pill. I don’t care if you bought your pills at Trader Joes or Whole Foods, it’s a gimmick and deep down you and I know it. People always want the short cut, the easy answer and I’m sorry, it just doesn’t work that way! Do you want to know the secret to getting and staying healthy, two words: HARD WORK! To make lasting, real change you must eat right and exercise, there's just no way around it.

As someone who’s struggled with their weight, been up and down, and dieted only to later gain it back, I know how tempting it is to think that there is some easy answer out there to fix your weight loss woes. Right now, I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in my life (and I’ve maintained it for quite some time now). Whenever someone comments on my weight or how good I look, or how far I've come, I always say the same thing “I worked really hard to get here.” And it is nothing short of the truth. I changed my lifestyle to get where I am now. I workout consistently, I eat right most of the time, drink a lot of water, don’t smoke or do drugs, and I drink alcohol in moderation. You’re probably thinking I sound boring, or that this is too rigid, but in all honesty I have more fun now than I ever did before because I am confident and secure in who I am and I attribute a lot of that to getting healthy. A lot of people my age want to lose weight to look good on the outside, but to me it was and is so much more. I feel good about my changes because I know my lifestyle is going to carry me in the long run. I feel good that I will have a healthy pregnancy one day, can run and play with my kids one day, will be able to go on adventures without worrying whether my body can do it or not, and will be able to ward off so many preventable diseases. To me, that is what matters! You only get one body, and if you mistreat it or misuse it, you may not be able to undo the consequences.

So here it is, this is the best advice I can give you whether you need to lose 20 pounds, 5 pounds, or just want to maintain your already healthy weight – slow and steady wins the race! Don’t buy into any short cut or quick fix. Take care of your health for the long haul, not so that you can wear a bikini or board shorts this summer. And dig deep! Why are you trying to lose weight? What does it mean to you? Think beyond the vanity because beauty fades. I hope you will try and see all the benefits of being healthy that have nothing to do with having a six pack stomach or a muscular physique.

My other piece of advice is to be CONSISTENT! This is the true key to success in anything in life, but especially for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you know me well, you know I love sweets – cake, cookies, ice cream, donuts, you name it I LOVE IT! And, yes I eat them, I also eat pizza, and drink margaritas if I feel like it. I do these things, but I do them only once in a while and I have learned to stop beating myself up for doing it. Some people like to call these things “cheat foods” or “cheat meals” and I used to buy into that too, but now I just call this living! Everything in moderation folks! Don’t give up the foods you love, don’t avoid the social events you enjoy, or the friends and family that make you smile all for the sake of losing weight. Enjoy life and enjoy food! What’s important is not that you are strict seven days a week, but that you find a way to BALANCE your life so that you enjoy the foods you love, while still being healthy. How do you do this? Workout consistently every week, eat healthy at least 80% of the time, indulge a little here and there so you don’t go insane, and don't beat yourself up if you have a bad day! You can do this, lose weight, and be healthy!

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