All good things require a little bit of work. As much as I would love to be able to eat whatever I want and have no consequences, I know that physically, that’s not possible. So to counteract my love for food, I teach fitness classes. I mix fitness (teaching Les Mills classes) with pleasure (food), and I truly believe the two go hand in hand. You can’t be in great shape if you don’t feed your body the right nutrients to help it meet its full potential, and you need a little exercise to accompany the healthy eating to keep that heart pumping. There’s an intricate balance between the two for your body to be at its best. No, I’m not a personal trainer, nor am I a dietitian who knows what works and what doesn’t, and everyone’s bodies are totally different. But what works for me? I’ll tell you…
- Exercise: I’m one of those weird people who actually likes working out. Hence, the reason I teach fitness classes. Working out is different for everyone: walking the dog, going for a 10-mile run, taking a fitness class, cleaning the house. There are plenty of ways to stay active. Even just taking the stairs when able helps. I try to do it all. The key to getting quality exercise? Switch it up! Try new things and vary your workouts throughout the week. That way, you don’t get sick of a particular workout, and your body doesn’t get used to certain exercises, allowing it to keep burning the most calories! Here’s a little example: In college, I would run upwards of 10 miles almost every day (crazy, I know)…and I didn’t see ANY results. Why? Because my body was used to it. I would run the same pace, for the same mileage and I had no idea how I wasn’t in the best shape of my life. Now, I mix running with cardio classes, hot yoga, lifting, dog walking, and I feel sore in parts of my body I didn’t even know were possible. Mix it up and keep moving!
- Food tracking: Yes, that means counting calories. I have an extremely
obsessiveorganized personality, so for me, this works wonders. I use myfitnesspal but there are tons of sites out there to help you track your food intake. How does this help? You’re held accountable for what you’re putting into your body! I find that if I have to write it down, I feel much more guilty about taking an extra cookie (or six). And the great thing about myfitnesspal in particular is that you can subtract the calories burned from exercise from your daily total! Just set your goal weight or your current weight if you want to maintain it, and myfitnesspal helps set the amount of calories you should try to eat in a day to be stay on track.
- Measuring food: I eat cereal for breakfast quite a bit, and had never taken the time to measure out what 3/4 cup actually is. When I took that extra 5 seconds to grab a dry measuring cup and pour out my cereal, I was shocked. I had EASILY been eating 2-2.5 servings of cereal for breakfast. Who knew!? Not knowing the amount of food I was actually eating made my food tracking a bit off…It only takes a few times to get the hang of how big a serving is. After that, you’ll be able to eyeball your food much more accurately.
- Cheat days: Having a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean giving up all of the good stuff. Just moderating. Even though I love to plan meticulously, even I need a break at times. I give myself two cheat days each week where I don’t track food, and I try to have my fun, going-out nights on these days. During the week I pack lunches and try to steer clear of eating out and drinking too much wine (is there such thing as too much??), but I let myself splurge on the weekend. And this way, I don’t crave certain things and end up exploding and giving up on all that I’ve worked so hard for. Diets and giving up foods, unless it’s for your health, typically don’t work, because eventually, you’re going to give in and gorge yourself on the foods you’ve been missing. So just allow yourself to have them, but in moderation!
As I said before, what works for me won’t necessarily work for you, but a healthy lifestyle is attainable for everyone. And it doesn’t mean sacrificing the things that you love! It just means working a little harder for that molten lava cake 😉
What’s your favorite exercise? Or your favorite guilty pleasure? 🙂