With so much talk of beauty being centered on skincare, hair, makeup and fashion, it can be easy to forget that the main ingredient in the beauty recipe is actually your health. Fitness and nutrition play a key role in having a beautiful body and healthy skin, nails and hair.
Fitness, nutrition and overall health are such broad subjects that there are thousands of books available on each individual subject. That being said, this would be a pretty long blog if I were to attempt to cover every point. Besides, I don’t know much about cholesterol lowering foods or how to keep arthritis at bay by eating organic, but what I do know is how to stay thin the healthy way. And let’s face it that is all most of us are interested in any way!
In a woman’s quest to be/stay thin, diet and exercise are equally important. Let’s first tackle diet and then move onto exercise next time around.
All the Trimmings?
Everyone knows that pizza, candy bars, cokes and ice cream will make you fat. Unfortunately, there are many other culprits that are just as fattening but appear much more innocent. For instance, let’s look at Subway. “Eat Fresh!” Many people think that by going to Subway for lunch instead of Taco Bell, they are being healthy and skipping out on all the fat. Not so. A 6-inch turkey breast sandwich, plain and dry, is 280 calories. But does anyone really order their sandwich without cheese or some kind of sauce? Add cheese and mayo, and your sandwich skyrockets to 450 calories and 20 grams of fat. Surprisingly, a Burrito Supreme from Taco Bell weighs in at only 420 calories and 15 grams of fat. So is Subway really healthier than other fast food restaurants? Well, it just depends on what you order.
The same goes for dine-in restaurants. A lot of people trying to lose weight will go into a Chili’s and say, “Oh, I’ll just have a salad.” Little do they know that several of those salads actually contain more fat and calories than a Chili’s burger! The dressing, cheese, bacon bits, croutons, boiled eggs and “crispy” (a pretty word for “fried”) chicken strips on top all add up to be a very fattening meal.
Luckily, most restaurants and fast food joints have online nutrition information. Log on before you dine out or drive-through and plan out what you are going to have before you get there. If you simply must order your favorite restaurant meal regardless of the calorie/fat content, ask for a to-go box before you even start eating and pack half of it away for tomorrow. Most of those portions are much more than any one person needs to be consuming at one sitting anyway.
Contrary to popular belief, eating at home can actually be just as damaging to your waistline as eating out, but some simple changes to the cupboard is all it takes to cut out calories that you’ll never even miss.
Many items such as mayo, ranch, cheese, milk, sour cream and potato chips are available in lighter versions that taste exactly the same or close enough. If you are currently eating full fat items, try the light first, and once you are accustomed to it, go for the fat-free. Once on a sandwich, you really cannot tell that the cheese and mayo are fat free. The same goes for sour cream or cheese in a recipe. Once it is all mixed together, you cannot taste a difference.
Fill ‘er Up
Fiber-rich foods are excellent to have around because not only do they keep your digestive track in order; they bulk up in the stomach and make you feel fuller longer. Also eat lots of juicy fruits such as watermelon, oranges and grapes. The water they contain also fills up your stomach, leaving you more satisfied.
Sneaky Like a Snack
Hands-down, the best way to stay on track with your diet is to journal your food intake. It can be a pain at first to look up every single food item that you eat to see the calorie/fat content, but once you start, you’ll quickly memorize your usual items, and it becomes much easier. Counting calories also forces you to look at the serving size on the nutrition label and measure out your food. You look at a box of cereal and see 100 calories. Not bad, right? Well, take another look at the serving size. Those 100 calories is for a ¾ cup of cereal. Most cereal bowls will easily hold double that amount. Watch out for potato chips as well. Grabbing a handful or two of chips to go along with your lunch may not seem too awful, but look at the serving size. Most potato chips provide nutritional information based off of a measly 10 chips! If you count out 10 chips and put them on your plate, you’ll likely realize that you normally eat more than that amount.
There are many helpful online tools these days to help you on your weight loss journey. Counting calories can be simplified by going on to a restaurant’s website and finding the nutrition info link. For items in your house, simply look at the nutrition label on the back of the container. For items without labels such as fruits and veggies, or restaurants without websites, such as the local donut bakery, there are sites like calorieking.com that help you figure out how many calories are in your banana. To calculate calories in the dinner you are cooking, simply add up the calories/fat from each ingredient and then divide that number by how many portions are in your dish. For an easier alternative, get recipes off of sites like eatbetteramerica.com. Not only are the recipes delicious, but the calorie and fat content is included right there in the recipe.
It gets easier after the first week. You start to remember how many calories are in what, and you can eyeball your portions instead of precisely measuring everything. Once you get into the habit of writing down what you ate all day long and how many calories/fat grams you took in, you’ll be much less likely to want that cookie. After all, you will have to write it down and face the facts when you look up how many calories it was. It makes mindless eating (which gets us all) much less likely to occur. Try it for 3 weeks. If you aren’t hooked and aren’t beginning to lose weight and feel better about yourself, then quit. But I’m certain that it truly is the key to staying within the range of calories that you want to be in on a daily basis.
Check back next month for fitness tips and some awesome at-home workouts!
~ Courtney ~