Size Doesn’t Matter
Instead of gaining and losing weight on crash diets, the key to your dream body may be self-awareness.
By Rachael Seamands, IUPUI
Spring break is just around the corner, and summer time is not far behind, which means it’s almost time for you to start showing off the body that it’s taken all winter to keep in check.
Four months without fast food is going to look amazing in a new crop top, and going without sugar all winter is really going to pay off!
Assuming, though, that your diet may not have been so strict during the colder months, or, really, any month ever for that matter, you may find yourself now employing some of the more popular end-of-winter Google searches, specifically “how to lose weight fast” and “how to lose weight without changing your diet.”
In the past few years, anyone following the remarkable “revenge body” journey of Khloe Kardashian, or other celebrities like Christina Aguilera, has heard of the dietary supplement Garcinia Cambogia. While many of these stars will insist that their newly-perfect bodies are products of intensive fitness regimes and a “safely” altered diet, the idea of taking a tiny pill that is available online sounds much more appealing.
Garcinia Cambogia, according “Women’s Health Magazine,” has failed independent lab examinations though, which means the creation is unsanctioned under FDA regulation. In other words, manufacturers of the supplement are able to put into the pill as much, or as little of the tropical fruit as they want. Therefore, while taking a pill three times a day to achieve remarkable weight loss might sound glamorous, the dangers of consuming the misunderstood supplement outweigh its putative benefits. But, if the specious benefits of the Karashian wonder drug prove unenticing, have no fear—a litany of other dietary supplements are available to take its place, some of which are even backed by positive reviews.
However, though pill-popping may bring about short-term weight loss, it fails to remedy your poor eating habits, and so is ultimately a far less sustainable method of getting healthy than instituting gradual, reasonable changes.
The key to a healthy weight loss regime is doing everything in moderation, which means neither eating nor doing too much or too little. For example, while chocolate is generally a no-no due to its high caloric content, the International Cocoa Organization tells readers about the various health benefits associated with cocoa, which is found in chocolate, including the prevention of cardiovascular disease and a decrease in risk of cancer.
While avoiding heart disease and cancer is always a smart move, consuming too much chocolate is not. What’s more, artificially sweetened cocoa, such as milk chocolate or candied chocolate, does not present the same health benefits.
Eating fruits that are high in natural sugars, such as cherries, mangos, grapes and tangerines, is also okay in moderate amounts, but consuming the same fruits in bulk is another story. If you are looking for fruits with lower levels of sucrose, look to raspberries, strawberries and avocados.
Another essential area to consider when heading toward a healthier lifestyle is a fitness routine. When putting together an exercise regiment, it is critical that dieters avoid jumping into an arduous schedule from day one. If it has been a while since your last workout, and the idea of fifty push-ups has you breaking preemptively into the sweats, a better idea might be to opt for a fast-paced walk around the neighborhood.
Any routine aimed at getting the blood pumping is a good first step toward a healthier lifestyle. Once your body gets accustomed to the exertion, you can add more exercises, such as sit-ups or squats; the key is to build strength slowly but surely.
If you struggle with commitment (we all do), find a friend to join you on your health-kick; they’re out there, and they’re staring at a pint of ice cream, too. The added motivation of a partner can keep your plan on schedule, as well as provide an excuse to socialize with friends.
The concept of losing a certain amount of weight before swimsuit season can be daunting, and taking daily steps toward the goal often sounds tedious. Let’s face it: Until results start to show, remembering why you are working out in the first place will be difficult.
In order to get over this hump, living mindfully is essential. Being mindful means being aware of every choice you make. While choosing what to eat for breakfast, remember a Frappuccino won’t be nearly as filling as a large glass of water and light yogurt mixed with granola; plus, your scale will thank you the following day.
That being said, you should avoid measuring your progress by tracking numbers on a scale. Being mindful also means listening to your inner voice and reminding yourself what your motivation is. Maybe you stopped eating fried food so you could finally get that elusive dream body, or maybe you enrolled in a cycling class because you want to start making exercise a fixed part of your schedule. Either way, being mindful is essential to your success.
Making the choice to be present has benefits beyond your physical health as well, as mindfulness can help you parse out what is important in life. If you have a strong idea of what makes you happy, every choice you make can move you toward that fulfillment. This doesn’t mean, however, that every choice you make has to be a constructive one; it’s only natural to fall off the wagon now and again.
But, by just thinking about being mindful, your sense of self-awareness grows, and in the long run, will benefit you a lot more than dropping a size.