What’s Your Secret Judith?

September 4th, 2012 No Comments

“I eat 20 gallons of chocolate frosting per day, I never exercise, and I rub bacon grease on my face before bed every night.” – Judith, Cleveland

I wish I could eat like Judith and maintain a svelte 1950s physique.  Women from that era always had the look of a Pan Am flight attendant—thin, put together, unusually chipper and awake.  What happened to classic womanhood?

I’ll tell you what happened: NutraSweet.  Yes, I said it, diet products!  They have proliferated like a cancer and now we just think we can get away with a few Diet Cokes and a couple of Curves circuits.  The truth is, this is not going to cut it ladies—literally.  I too am a victim of Eat-Too-Much-Bread-And-Pretend-to-Cut-Back-ittis.  I’m a slave to the carbs just like any other whole grain American gal.  I often watch Anthony  Bourdain’s “No Reservations” and tear through my cabinets to find a sort-of-similar substitute.  It may be Ramon Noodles, but any second-class-fourth-cousin to my real craving will do just fine!

Now that we are in full blown beach season it’s time to get serious.  The mission is simple: eat better, eat less, exercise more, sleep more, drink less, drink more water, cut out coffee, and be on you BEST behavior.  Hhhmmm it’s just food, right?  It’s just sustenance that we all need to stay alive—right, got it.

What about all the other summer related pastimes, the ones that don’t involve bikini and beach day induced anorexia?  What about: graduation parties, crab feasts, weddings, wedding showers, baby showers, birthdays, vacations, dinners, funerals, holidays (Don’t forget July 12th is Pecan Pie Day!), christenings, Sunday brunch, festivals, fundraisers…should I keep going?

In short, dieting is tough.  No matter what your body type, age or athletic prowess, it is a huge challenge.  Everyone has different goals and a plan or idea of how to achieve them.  Without sounding too scripted, it is really about creating a lifestyle change.  It is important to develop habits that are easy to stick with and a routine that works for you.  There is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ diet and exercise plan.  The people who tout fad diets are fake and plastic and may be named Tony Horton.

For women, diet and exercise is especially difficult.  Hormones, pregnancy and age can really stack the odds against us.  Somewhere down the line there was a tradeoff: women got more brain cells and in turn more fat cells too.  Use your enlarged mental capacity to form a realistic plan of attack.  Pick a total number of calories that you want to consume in a day.  Use this number to guide your choices throughout the day.  For example, if your number is 1400 calories, pretend that you are shopping with $1400 dollars.  Cut out calories that don’t really matter you, so that you can make room for the foods that do.  If you were out shopping for clothes, would you rather buy a designer dress for $300 or three pairs of good jeans for the same price?  Food choices are really no different: Would you rather eat a slice of cake for 300 calories or a bowl of soup?  If you don’t have enough ‘money’ (calories) to buy both, you just choose between the two.  At first it’s important to just start thinking about how much you are consuming throughout the day.  After a few weeks you can delve into exactly what you are eating and how you could make simple changes.

Women are always concerned with doing everything 100% all of the time.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  We are extremely productive, but easily disappointed with our performance (we are always worried that we could have done more, done it better or done it faster).  We’re not superhuman even though we would like to think so.  When you obsess about your weight and figure this summer, don’t forget that you can only do your best each and every day.  Sometimes your best is no soda for the day, other times your best is jogging a mile, but being aware of your health is all that really matters.

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