In case you didn’t know, fit folks are often just as weak as unfit folks. The big difference is that, although we lapse, we don’t really relapse, as in stay lapsed permanently. Here are the strategies I use that allow me to enjoy food, life and stay fit.
- I exercise regularly…except for that one week when I don’t. Weight-loss starts in the kitchen, not on the gym floor ( if you never use the kitchen, well, there is your first problem). Weight maintenance is mainly a physical endeavor. I workout consistently with a flexible routine that changes about every 2 weeks. I take a week off when I feel burnt out and instead increase my daily physical activity by a bit. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” also applies to the gym!
- I have a basic diet plan First of all, I don’t diet: I eat well but like my gym routine, I stick to the same clean and nutrient-rich style during the week and relish my cheat day on the weekend. If I’m competing my cheat day becomes a cheat meal and as my competition grows closer that cheat meal becomes a cheat snack. This is for the same reason I like the window seat on an airplane and like to know where all the exits are: I need to know I can have some release. Willpower is elastic and most cannot stay tense all the time or a binge is sure to happen. Know thyself.
- I don’t own my snacks Almost everyone has trigger foods. Mine are breads, cheeses ( cheese hates me but I still love it) and basically, like every human, anything sweet or crunchy. My trick is: I don’t keep those things in the house! If I want it it is for a clandestine meeting not a long-term relationship . Meaning, only buy a single serving at a time. Make your snacking an expensive habit and you will be less likely to maintain it. *Pay attention to how often you shop for these things though.
- I eat expensive ice-cream There is one flavor of ice-cream that I will travel blocks in the heat for and it costs $6 a cup. I don’t waste my taste-buds and calories on any other flavors and can only justify this purchase a maximum of once per month in the Summer or as a treat after a race. The same goes for all snacks. They have to be worth the effort they will take in the gym and the denial of other goodies. Prioritize your choices!
- I (try to) get enough sunshine, sleep and water Believe it or not all of those have an effect on your appetite. An imbalance in either will cause your satiety hormones to misfire or not at all. Think 8, 8 and 20. Eight cups of water ( 64 oz), 8 hours of sleep (okay I sometimes get 7ish), and 20 mins of early morning or late afternoon sun for vitamin D production.
- I forgive myself for not being a teenager Look, most of us can’t get away with eating and living the way we did as teens without repercussions. Sure, you might not gain weight but newsflash, bad health is cumulative. Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, gall and kidney stones, heart issues, hormone imbalances and cancer are just some of the issues that start to rear their heads as we age. Luckily, all of those afflictions are lifestyle and diet related and so can be managed. I eat often but I eat smaller, healthier portions ( watch the salt, sugar content) and add an extra day of weight lifting to boost my muscle tone. Both of these strategies have been shown to fight off the metabolic slowdown that happens to all of us. After I do all of that, I breathe deeply and appreciate my body as it is now. It has done a lot for me and it is the only one I have. I’d hate to miss out on loving it As-Is.