a.) I don’t eat all of those baked goods.
b.) When I do, I consider them a treat. They aren’t something I indulge in every day.
I actually get that question a lot — “Why are you so skinny?” And this is something I’ve been wanting to address for a while.
Like most people, I look in the mirror and see something else. Why is my stomach jutting out like that? When did that line of cellulite appear? Are those love handles? Since when do my thighs jiggle like that? Then I look at everyone else and think their body is better. It’s a ruthless cycle, and most people are stuck in it.
But I’ve found healthy ways to deal with this, and it all boils down to eating right, exercising, and thinking positively about my body.
My new love affair with food has led me to browse through dozens of cookbooks. I usually stay away from titles like “Southern Comforts”, and gravitate towards ones like “Hearty and Healthy Meals”. The Healthy meal cookbooks usually have excerpts in the front on how to eat well, and not starve. They also almost always come with dessert sections, emphasizing that you don’t need to take away dessert in order to be healthy. You just don’t need it every day.
Okay, alright, so how do I really stay skinny? Here are the rules I follow and the things I do every day to maintain an average weight for my height and age. (Yes, I am completely average!)
- Never skip meals. Actually, I like to call my eating style “grazing.” I never have huge meals throughout the day. I eat a bowl of cereal in the morning with skim milk. Then I eat a mid-morning snack. Then for lunch I usually have a sandwich with either 1 slice of deli meat, 1 slice of cheese, and a handful of spinach or the occasional Friday PB + J. I also pack a midafternoon snack, and for dinner I eat small portions. If I get hungry at night–I’ll usually grab some crackers or fruit for a night time snack. If I do things right, I’m never famished at any point throughout the day. If I find myself getting hungry–usually around 3 or 4–instead of going to the vending machine, I’ll try to fill myself up on water.
- Pack your lunch. I see so many people both waste their money and their diets by buying lunch at work. Pack it. I look at the serving size for crackers and pack myself that many. That way I stay on track and avoid the lines and the calories of that tuna melt you’re craving at 12:30.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. You don’t have to like every single vegetable in order to get your daily dose. I don’t like cantaloupe or blueberries, but I love kiwi and grapes. I hate green beans, but love peas. You get the picture. Don’t live off of ramen noodles or quick fixes. These things will fill you up more than you think plus they are so good for you–so snack on them instead!
- Stay away from fast food. I love Wendy’s too, but do yourself a favor and don’t eat there. It’s tragic for both your arteries and your thighs.
- Don’t drink soda. I don’t know what else to say about that. Did you ever think soda was good for you?
- Exercise. This might seem obvious, but a lot of people think that they’ll get a great looking body just by cutting back their calories. Although you will be skinnier and weigh less, it won’t help all that much with all of your jiggly parts. And by exercise, I don’t mean run 10 miles and lift weights for an hour. To be honest, I do those silly workout videos, and I love them. Most cable providers have them for free on demand. If you find one you really like, buy it! I do a Jillian Michael routine for 30 minutes every day. Sometimes I skip a day or two here and there (tired, sick, or a jam-packed day). But most of the time, you can set aside 30 minutes. You’ll feel so energized afterwards! I never used to work out until this year, and I see a definite improvement in both the way I feel and the way I see myself in the mirror. Plus, exercise is crucial to a healthy heart. Heart disease is the #1 killer in America, afterall.
- Treat yourself. No need to stick to carrots and celery day after day. If you eat right and exercise, there’s no reason you should feel guilty for eating a piece of cake at that family gathering.
- Decrease your salt intake. Having too much salt will cause you to feel bloated. It’s also terrible for you. Clogs the arteries. Raises cholesterol, etc. When cooking, always reach for the low-sodium or reduced-sodium products. Avoid shaking a bunch of salt on your food or adding it to your pasta, etc. Your heart will thank you later for this.
- Read the labels. You’d be surprised.
- Eat lean ground turkey instead of ground beef. I don’t often eat beef–If I cook sirloin or things like that, I always cut off as much fat as I can. And when a recipe calls for ground beef, I always replace it with ground turkey. A lot of substitutions like this can be made with food.
- Don’t sacrifice real sugar for Splenda. There really is no need, and I’m a little weary on Splenda still and the affects it might have later in life. We already know that a large amount of sugar is bad for you–as are many other things, such as butter–just eat them in moderation.
- Don’t buy cookies. Or any other junk food that you think you might pig out on. If you don’t have the junk food in the house, you won’t eat it. It’s as simple as that.
- Do buy a healthy cookbook. Do some research on it. Go to the library and take out some cookbooks so you can build up a solid recipe box/folder/notebook. If you have the directions to cook healthy things, then that’s what you’ll cook!
- Eat whole wheat/whole grain products. When my mom went on the South Beach Diet, she revolutionized the way the entire family ate. At first, we missed our enriched flour pasta and white bread, but whole wheat is better for you and keeps you feeling full after you eat it. White grains mostly turn into sugar after you digest it, and thus, go straight to the thighs.
- Go outside. Sunshine makes you happy. Happy makes you more active. More active makes you think less about food/crave it. So go take a walk or sit outside with your favorite book. But don’t forget to apply sunscreen if you’ll be out there for a while!
- Tell someone they look fabulous. It will make you feel good for making someone else happy, and they’re going to tell you that you look good too!
I think that’s pretty much it.
And remember, you don’t have to weigh 110 lbs. In fact, I encourage you not to weigh that much. No matter your weight, I think it’s important to follow a healthy diet and eat the right things. You’ll feel so much better–and that in turn will make you feel better about yourself.
And then treat yourself to a fabulous dessert once in a while!