Saturday, April 4, 2009

Magazines Health Tips: good for...!

Hold tight, I need to brew some coffee...

Okay. Coffee, check.

Let's talk about girl magazines. I admit, I read Glamour and Cosmo and all those crappy magazines (really, just those two).

For a while, I was pulled into the magazine "Lose 10 pounds--THIS MONTH!" type articles. And then...I wasn't. Because I realized my pattern. We read the promise, we skim the section and despite their best efforts, it's almost setting women up to fail. I actually got...2 workouts into something from Shape, once.

That's not to say that the health tips they provide aren't wonderful, and the "fat blasting beach moves!" aren't also legit--they are. But here's the problem: it's not a program.

If you want to add a new move to your routine, cool. If you typically eat at McDonalds and you see their "eat this not that" tip of the month (provided you like eating 710 calories), then excellent for you...and you will probably not identify with me at all on this one.

But I think the problem is not with the magazines, it's with our culture. (no...really??) These magazines are not health magazines (and even the ones that are, they're for the group of people looking for tips--not plans) but people treat the tips like they are. At least, my mind did. I never followed through on the Self get fit club, and I don't like to be on a bright pink website at work to go through Cosmo's beach body club. I guess I'm just a believer in a lifestyle change.

The golden answer to the weight loss conundrum is this:
1) Watch what you eat by knowing what you eat: keeping a food journal really is truly the key. Magazines do tout this one, but they don't tell you why. Or if they do, I really want to push it into everyone's brain.

I was guilty of "this is kind of...a cup...(when it's really 2)" and "i don't have to write down these five hershey's kisses" (which total to about 100 calories). These little cheats add up (trust me, it's depressing when you realize you're doing all that work and cheating yourself). And being honest with yourself, not fudging, and not trying to change that food diary in your first week of keeping it will keep you on track. I don't think you need to keep a food diary forever. I fall off the wagon now and then since I've been doing it for about a month--because I'm hyper aware. But to do something mentally, you have to have had a lot of practice at it to get it right in the first place.

2) Get your ass in gear. Food is 70% of your weight loss regiment. Sucks, I know. I'd rather eat whatever I wanted and work out to burn it off...but it doesn't work that way for whatever horrid reason. For some people, getting in gear is a 20 minute walk. For the fortunate/unfortuate like me, who already have a gym habit (or gym job)...we have to bump it up a notch. Try for something every day. Last night was my epic fail...I skipped the gym to clean my apartmetn until I realized I'd probably done at least 15 minutes of stair climbing doing my laundry 6 out of the 8 floors in my building. (it's still a cop out)

I'm not a big believer in the lists of things that burn calories that you "don't even know you burn." Because calculating your caloric needs already take that into account (I'll put up that formual later). You have to dedicate yourself to sheer physical activity once a day.

3) Balance it out. I am not a person who will ever be able to banish pizza from my life. And I'm not talking about substituting in lean cuisine pizzas. I love pizza, pasta, chocolate ice cream, cake, good desserts from restaurants, etc. I love it. And I'll never give it up. I am still struggling with where that line is for me. Where is the line between blowing it and indulging. I know I talked about it last entry, but it's still something I'm concerned about. It's about experience, I guess.

And that's all it is. At least, thats all I think it is. It's not about fast fatty flab busting moves, or eat this not that for one dish. It's about education and dedication. I sound so old fashioned. But it's true. It's also about professing your love for all that is bad in food and moving on.

On a fun note: Glamour asks their staff: "Which health habit are you proudest of?"
(it's it most proud?) Journey with me through their eye rolling answers.

1) "I meditate every morning. It helps me mentally prepare for my day."
Realist response: I meditate...while I'm hitting snooze. (Honestly, I wish I could get up and get myself together before I had to go to work)

2) "I don't drink coffee: instead, I drink 64 ounces of water a day."
Realist response: $#!#% you're either an alien, cheat by drinking diet coke, or you life is much much easier than mine. What a nut ball. I will never give up my coffee (Ps. they say that 1-2 cups a day helps boost metabolish. whether that's true or not, I don't really care. I'm going to continue to drink it.)

3) "I laugh a lot. Staying happy keeps the stress away!"
Realist response: this was a cop out answer. I bet she smokes, throws back a few cocktails every night, and uses laxatives. People like her provide me with a good laugh.

4) "I stopped ordering takeout. I like knowing exactly what I'm putting in my body."
Realist response: I'm actually about 80% with her on this one. But I believe in keeping your options open, because I'm a real person who has a real life that is usually not 100% in my control. Order from a place that will provide nutritional information or do your google research. We're all busy people. I'm one of the least busy I know and I still struggle to make dinner at home some nights. Take out knowledge is the trick.

5) "I wake up at 5 am to work out. It's challenging but rewarding!"
Realist response: Okay. You got me. The only thing here that bothers me is that "!" at the end. I get up early to go to the gym, too. It's the only time I have sometimes (this after I say I'm the least busy person I know--I know a lot of really really busy people who don't sleep). When people ask me when I work out, I do not add a "!" to the end of my answer. It's just assinine.

6) "I quit smoking. My life has improved in so many ways."
Realist response: Good for you. I'm proud of you, random staffer.

7) "I get my beauty sleep. I need eight hours every night so I can recharge."
Realist response: You either have a very very cushy job, a very rich boyfriend/husband, or absolutely no life...or all of the above. I wish you ill, as does everyone else in this world who has a life.

8) "I gave up fried foods a year ago and haven't eaten any since!"
Realist response: STOP WITH THE "!!!!" aaauuggh. People who do this stuff are so superior sometimes. Eat the fries. Just...don't go overboard, okay?

1 comment:

  1. I'm pretty good about getting nearly eight hours of sleep a night, thankyouverymuch, and:

    1. My job is not that cushy.
    2. I am single as can be.
    3. I have a life.