If you’re intelligent enough to be reading this newspaper, you probably already know that there’s a proven formula to weight loss and physical fitness – and you probably don’t care to take any advice from me on the matter.
It’s not rocket science. It pretty much involves what you put into your mouth and what you do for exercise. We all know this.
Many of us chubby Americans complain about how our jeans don’t fit or we don’t look like a supermodel in a swimsuit, but we don’t DO anything about it.
I’ve taken Ketones, drank Plexus shakes and done the Advocare cleanse, but none of that matters if I’m eating cheeseburgers or chicken fried steak three times a week. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how much money I’ve spent on pills and powders and “quick fixes.”
I’m going to challenge myself to get healthier over the month of July, and I hope that some of you will join me. I know, I know, it should be a “lifestyle change” rather than just a month of eating well and exercising, but I’m hoping to set a short-term goal that I can accomplish. If I announce that I’m going to lose X number of pounds in 30 days, and fail, I’ll go right back to where I started. I’d like to take it one day at a time, and forgive myself if I have a bad day but try to remain disciplined over a short period of time. I’m hoping that by the end of the month a habit will have formed and it will be difficult to go back to my sluggish ways.
As of this writing, I weigh 179 pounds, which according to a Body Mass Index calculator is “slightly overweight” for someone of my height and gender. That’s not bad; it’s not “morbidly obese” but it’s not great, and there’s really no excuse for it.
Here are the non-physician-approved tenets of my plan.
1. First things first. Make a decision to be committed to your health for 30 days. Let any other occupants of your home know that foods with zero nutritious value will be diminished from the pantry and refrigerator. Do we really need a bowl of last year’s Halloween candy and 14 boxes of Girl Scout cookies? We do not.
2. Exercise for 30 minutes a day, three times a week. Even if it’s taking a walk around the block after work at night, just move your body off the couch and away from the snacks. Be realistic. If you are even a little bit overweight and you haven’t exercised seriously since the 1980s, you’re not going to keep up a regimen of running three miles every morning at 5 a.m. You’re going to do it once and then run all the way to Dunkin’ Donuts.
3. Get with some friends to hold you accountable. Check in with them. Watch those fitness videos on Facebook that give you good ideas for home workouts that don’t require any equipment. I guarantee you we all know someone who is a personal trainer or is committed to physical fitness. Find a friend who cares about you and your health, and make a commitment to touch base with them regularly.
4. Drink water all day long. Don’t drink alcohol or soda. Don’t eat fast food. Aside from the health benefits, do you know how much money you’d save if you pack a sandwich or salad for lunch each day rather than hitting up the drive-through?
5. Eat fruits and vegetables. Keep healthy snacks at work so you’re not famished when you get home at night. Focus on nutrition rather than eating to get full. I’ve found that as I get older, my body reacts drastically to a lack of sleep or eating bad food. I get toothaches and nosebleeds and weird things happen when I’m not taking care of myself.
6. Talk to a doctor about what vitamins or medications you should or shouldn’t be taking. Several years ago I opted to remove all prescription medications from my medicine cabinet. I’m not depressed; I don’t need anti-depressants. I’m not ADHD (although it could be argued that I get a little spazzy when I’m stressed); I don’t need Adderall. And while I do get anxious in certain situations, anti-anxiety medication just makes me sleepy and slows down my brain function; I don’t need Xanax. Don’t take stuff you don’t need.
Again, these are things we’ve been told our entire lives. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. What I am doing is putting myself out there in hopes that it will keep me disciplined for a few weeks. It would be embarrassing to report back at the end of July that I’ve accomplished nothing.
I’m not going to join CrossFit or become gluten free, but I do think I can make some changes to my eating habits and exercise regimen. I recently subscribed to one of those meal planning services – they deliver a box of ingredients with recipe cards each week. I made pork chops with rice and carrots on Saturday night, and it was delicious and filling. It also only took about 30 minutes to prepare, and for someone who is not known for her cooking skills, it’s a way better option than picking up from the restaurant around the corner.
I think I can make a few little life changes that will make me feel stronger and healthier. I’m ready for action.
Who’s with me?
April Towery is the managing editor of The Sealy News. She can be reached at 979-885-3562 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.