Someone asked me recently how I manage to stay in shape. I assume the question arose because I don’t have a lot of free time. I have four sons with after-school activities, I work full time, and I manage a house (kind of.) The bottom line is this: we are all busy, and it is hard to find time to take care of yourself if you don’t make the effort. So how does one make the effort?
The following is a list of easy dos and don’ts that can help get you on the right track:
1. DON’T think it’s going to be easy. If anyone tells you it is, they are lying.
2. DO ignore your excuses not to exercise. “I feel ugly,” “I have an ingrown hair in my armpit,” and “I want to eat at Bob Evans,” are not good excuses, nor are any of the other excuses you might tell yourself.
3. DON’T do a cleanse. Have you ever noticed that people who do cleanses to lose weight often end up repeating them? If the cleanses really worked, they wouldn’t need to. (Also, I personally can’t think of anything more disgusting than cayenne pepper and lemon juice.)
4. DON’T eat birthday cake at every birthday party. Not including parties for my own family members, we have a minimum of two parties per month per child. If I ate cake at every party, I would be as big as a bounce house. And just as squishy.
5. DON’T rely on a product to help with your weight loss, because someday it might not be there. Does anyone remember Dr. Phil bars? I do, and guess what? They’re off the market.
6. DO weigh and measure your food at least once. When I discovered the actual serving size of grilled chicken vs. what I was eating, it turned out that they were two very different things. Portion size is very important. And for the record, a half-cup serving of ice cream is the size of a pudding cup… the injustice.
7. DO eat real food and DON’T give up anything you love. I tried this once. I used Lent as an excuse to give up complex carbs. It lasted about two weeks and ended very badly, with an entire loaf of French bread chased by a dozen chocolate muffins.
8. DON’T drink… at least not a lot. Time and time again I have told myself that I just need a glass of wine to relax, but it dulls my inhibitions. Then I end up wanting a cookie to go with that wine, and then I forget about the cookie and eat chocolates, and then I forget about those until I find all of the wrappers in the couch the next morning. Leave the drinking for celebrating, or for when your boss treats you like an idiot.
9. DON’T eat and watch television. And for the love of God, if sweets are your weakness, do not watch Cupcake Wars, Cake Boss, or Ace of Cakes.
10. DON’T finish your kids’ food. Yes, it does seem like a waste to put all that macaroni and cheese down the garbage disposal, but it is more of a waste to put it on the back of your ass.
11. DO drink coffee. I mean black coffee. Not Mochachinofrappelattes. Black coffee has caffeine—which is your best friend—and zero calories.
12. DON’T fall back on the “men find _______ women sexy” scheme. Who cares what men find attractive? Seriously. My husband finds Japanese women hot as hell, and I look nothing like that, and that’s okay. Plus-size women claim that men love curves, skinny women swear that men like twigs—my point is, we don’t let men decide what cars we drive, why should their opinions determine what our bodies should look like?
13. DO it for yourself. Not for your spouse or your family, but just for you.
Your body will take care of you if you take care of it. Keep taking care of your body day after day, and when you are old, you can then be a chubby, huggable great-grandparent. Can you imagine Betty White with a six-pack? That would be ridiculous. She put in her time, and she is perfect just the way she is.