First off stop thinking that! Not many people have the shape they want, and everyone has one body part they wished was smaller. Step one: Do not refer to yourself as fat. And don’t ask anyone, what my sister asked me in 1995: “Am I fat?”
At the time, I replied,” No, maybe a little chunky but not fat.” Do you think she ever forgot that? Sure I could’ve handled it better, but I was 19 and dumb. Lose the entire fat thinking. It’s not about being a size 8 or 6, it’s about being healthy. I’m not suggesting you look in the mirror and say, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough…” Instead, switch your thinking to, “I’m going to be healthier!” This is the first step to actually being healthy. Once you decide to be one of those “healthy people” it will be easier to say yes to the gym and no to super-sized fries.
Healthy people do eat fries, they just eat a smaller portion. This brings us to step two: portion control is king. I recommend checking out this article from the Mayo Clinic. The website provides pictures and commentary. The biggest take away: eat more vegetables and less of everything else.
Eating healthy is not easy and that’s step three: plan your meals. Since you are now a healthy person, fill your fridge and pantry accordingly. If you know at 3pm you’re starving, have some almonds and celery handy. Take a minute before you grocery shop or visit a restaurant and think about a few things:
• What am I going to cook for dinner the next five nights?
• Do I have almonds, cheese, fruit, lean meat?
• Do I have fresh or frozen veggies at home?
• I’m going to order/cook grilled fish, chicken, tofu...
• I’m going to order/cook steamed veggies.
Making good eating decisions, is easy—following through is hard. That’s why you should reward yourself. Take one day a week and eat that cookie, have the ice cream, order dessert… As much as I love the combo of chocolate and peanut butter, each of my meals doesn’t end with a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
Step four: be an informed eater, and read the label/nutritional information! A while back I did an article about Cosi, Panera, Corner Bakery and the amazing amounts of fat and salt in their salads and sandwiches. If you don’t read the label, you are eating blindly. I’m not suggesting you google malodextrin, but look at what’s in your food. Some crazy dieters recommend only eating food with five or fewer ingredients, that’s difficult in this 100 calorie pack world we live in. Instead, compare labels and buy brands with lower sodium and fat. And remember, fiber keeps you full.
Sometimes, low salt means low flavor. That brings us to step five: spice it up! If you are cooking, instead of adding salt use other flavors. Garlic powder, onion powder, lemon, and celery seed are all excellent ways of adding a salty flavor without actually adding salt. Using spices also helps keep the fat content down. With the right amount of flavors, you can cut down on the use of oil and butter. You can also substitute apple sauce and pumpkin for butter and oil in recipes. My family says they can taste the difference between apple sauce and butter, but when I use less butter, no one notices (but that’s our little secret).
Now where’s the fitness advice? Well step six: workout hard! If you have 90 minutes a day free to workout, tell me how you do it. Most of us get 30-60 minutes. Make the most out of your workout by adding some high intensity exercise, like sprinting, jumping, or biking really fast. The most common question I get is, “What’s more important, weight training or cardio?” The answer is tricky, but for most people, weight training is more important. And I suggest you combine the two. When you are pumping iron, make every fourth exercise running, biking, jumping rope… and then go back to the weight training. If this sounds confusing, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can explain in greater detail.
Now get back to work, grab a glass of water, and remember—you are a healthy person!