Friday, February 4, 2011

On eating healthy and doing yoga

The other night, I put on a pair of jeans that I hadn't worn in a while, mostly all because they're my tightest pair. And man was I in for a pleasant surprise: they were actually LOOSE on me! Internets, that hasn't happened since my second year of law school, otherwise known as the Dark Period. REJOICE!

How did I do it, you ask? What's that, you want to hear another story about how a complete stranger shed a few pounds and now feels ten times healthier? Why I'm glad you asked....

First of all, you should know that the goal wasn't to lose a bunch of weight and look like a waif. I'm a curvy gal and I like it that way; the goal was for my clothes to fit a little better in the tummy and thigh area. The second thing you should know is that I really didn't try very hard. I just changed a few things about my lifestyle and diet, and viola... several pounds were shed within 10 days. (I don't own a scale, so I can't tell you how many.)

The first thing I did was get back into yoga. It may seem like an easy workout, but it's not. The amount of strength it takes to keep certain poses, the amount of energy you exert while stretching and bending is actually astounding. Add some extra crunches and leg lifts to the workout, and trust me.... it's an exhausting hour. Try it if you don't believe me!

The main thing I did was change my diet. My biggest problem with food is that I only cook for myself*, and so I only buy things I can keep in the freezer or cupboard. I cook fresh, from-scratch meals so rarely lately that when I do, it's usually something really delicious and really bad for you. Like this:

Baked ziti alla vodka sauce. Oh. Em. Gee. 

My happy medium has been to eat smaller, healthier meals throughout the day instead of a giant lunch and big dinner. I usually have 2 Nutrigrain waffles on my way out the door in the morning, which never fills me up. I sometimes make myself a bowl of oatmeal at work around 10 or 11, which fills me up until about 1 or 2. Instead of going out for lunch, I've been making myself turkey and goat cheese sandwiches on high-fiber bread with a few dollops of low-fat salad dressing.

I use this one. It tastes sooo good with turkey!

I've always had that 4:00pm snack time craving, but instead of chips or candy, I have yogurt. Target carries a brand of food called Archer Farms, and their low-fat yogurt is TO DIE FOR. It's thick and creamy and comes in flavors like strawberry cheesecake, honey almond, and cherry pomegranate. (Note: most non-fat yogurt has aspartame in it instead of sugar, which is really bad for you. My advice? Buy low-fat. It's the difference between a few grams of fat and possibly getting cancer.)

A healthy dinner is hit or miss for me, which is why I've been trying extra hard to eat healthy during the day. If I'm making food for just myself, I usually default to things like Trader Joe's frozen falafel with Tzaziki sauce, risotto with mushrooms, soup, simple pasta dishes, bean and rice burritos, salads, etc. If I'm cooking for me and the Rad Boyfriend, I usually let him pick the dish... and it's never tofu and broccoli.

As for snacks.... well... I won't lie. This is the one area where I let myself eat whatever I want. I do, however, have a strict snack policy: only one sweet thing and one really-bad-for-you salty thing allowed in the house at one time. Usually it's brownies and potato chips (hey, I'm only human) but I try hard to stop at one brownie or one handful of chips. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I also keep lots of tea and ginger ale in the house when I really need to satisfy a sweet craving. Popsicles and pudding are also great alternatives to brownies and cake.

You'll notice that there isn't much dairy in my diet. That's mostly because I'm lactose intolerant, but also because dairy generally has a lot of fat. Have you ever looked at the nutritional facts for Brie cheese or a frozen pizza? It makes me wonder how the French stay so healthy.

So there you have it. Yoga once or twice a week plus oatmeal and high-fiber meals many times per day, minus greasy pizza. I'll let you know if this regime still works when I'm 35, but so far, so good!

*Rad boyfriend and I don't live together. Not yet, anyway.... ;-) Stay tuned for further news in that department.

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