Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Shape up, or Ship out

In today’s society there is an immense pressure to be thin. The urge to get a gym membership, count calories, and take up a vegan non-dairy organic diet is incredible in the face of peer pressure. But why do we have to go to these extremes to be healthy? Is it possible to just be satisfied with being healthy and fit? It’s not possible to be perfect, but who honestly has the time to be one of those obnoxiously health conscious people? I know I sure don’t… So here’s a few tips from me to you on how to manage without becoming obsessive.

Tip #1: Get out, and get active. I haven’t set foot in a gym since grade 10 (and only then because I was forced to for gym class), and I’m damn proud of it. Instead of working out in a closed environment I hit the pavement. I won’t “go for a run” because honestly I get bored, but when I do have to go places I usually walk instead of drive. Before I moved back to Kamloops for the summer, I had to rely entirely on my own feet to get me places, since I didn’t have a car, and I wasn’t willing to shell out $80 a month for a bus pass. Trust me, my ass never looked better!

Tip #2: Control your cravings. I love chocolate. A LOT. But I don’t allow myself to gorge on it, and it’s something I consider a treat, not a staple, in my kitchen. When you crave something it’s not healthy to deny yourself, because eventually you are going to give in, and the longer you hold off the worse the binge is going to be. Have just enough to satisfy yourself, and then stop.

Tip #3: Portion control. Just because an entire plate of pasta is there in front of you doesn’t mean you have to eat the entire thing. This is especially true of comfort foods that come in pre-portioned containers, like ice cream and chips. Don’t eat the ice cream out of the tub, put it into a bowl, because that will control how much of it you’re eating.

Tip #4: Stop eating after 8pm unless you’re going to be active late at night. When you eat a huge meal, and then spend the evening sitting around or sleeping you’re not burning off the calories you just ingested! Eat when you’re going to be active, because food is supposed to be fuel for your body.

Tip #5: Eat in, not out. Not only will this save you money, it will also be a lot healthier. Most of us can’t be bothered to make the deep-fried and fat-laden items on restaurant menus, so by default you’ll be making healthier choices. Unless your idea of a good meal is pizza pops…

Tip #6: Variety is key. Switch up the things you’re eating, because doing that tricks your body into thinking it’s eating less. If you eat the same meal for days on end (leftovers ugh), your body registers that as over-eating and stores the food energy instead of using it. Being a carb-a-holic like I am, I’ve found that switching up what carbs I’m eating helps as well. I don’t eat potatoes for days on end, I alternate between the pastas, rice, bread, etc.

Tip #7: Throw some metabolism boosters into the mix. Foods like garlic and onion are known to speed up your metabolism, which in turn burns calories faster, therefore making you not gain weight. Turns out these simple add ons are not only delicious, but nutritious as well!

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