Here I am in March of this year, soaking up the sun in Grand Cayman Island….feelin’ mighty fine in a great one piece suit by La Perla…….fast forward five months – add five pounds. Ugh. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I exercise and eat healthy, and got in my best shape ever a few years back when I discovered Zumba. But you know what?? It takes work and discipline to STAY fit, to keep weight off. The pounds can easily creep back on, even if you are exercising and/or eating “healthy”…….and when your clothes have lycra, they stretch out to accommodate extra pounds…..stretch and stretch and stretttccch….well, they can only stretch so far! As for me, I am already on the road to saying goodbye to those nasty five pounds, keeping in mind these five important rules:
- Make up your mind. It all starts in the brain. Do you really want to be in shape? Why? To be healthier? To look better? For your clothes to be more comfortable? Are you doing it for you?? It is essential to understand why this is important to you. If not, your brain will regularly get you distracted and off track, giving you excuses to go for that honey dipped donut.
- Limit ‘Happy Hour’ to 2-3 times per week. Even if you are drinking the lowest calorie drinks (wine, vodka with club soda), the calories add up very quickly if you have more than one (of course you will!) and if you drink every night….The added benefits: when you don’t drink, there is less tendency to indulge in high calorie foods, and you will have more energy to do other things…..
- Beware of salads! In the vast majority of restaurants, salads are way too big, and are loaded with high calorie goat cheese, candied nuts, avocado, creamy dressings….you say nuts and avocados have ‘good’ fats?? I say they make you good and fat. Consider a sandwich (eat half the bread) and a plain side salad.
- Be committed for life. To keep weight off requires ongoing effort. It does not mean you will never have a juicy cheeseburger or lobster mac’n cheese or Capital Grille’s coconut cream pie….Mmmm……it means that you will have them occasionally, not every week. Your everyday diet will be high in protein and fiber, low in fat and carbs, and – super important – portion controlled. Just because it’s fruit salad, doesn’t mean you eat a whole quart.
- Work up a sweat at least four times a week. For most people under 70, going for a walk is not good enough….try various classes and/or individual exercise routines until you find one (or more) you enjoy…..keep an open mind to trying something new (I am trying a ‘Body Combat’ class soon)……in addition to aerobic exercise, do weights at least twice a week. Weight training gives your body tone and definition in addition to kicking up your metabolism.
- Find healthy choices when traveling for business. I learned this the hard way – the pitfalls of business travel got the best of me in the past several months….away from the gym, eating (and drinking) more in restaurants. No more! When you do #1, it is not really difficult. Not only are there exercise opportunities away from home – there are plenty of healthy food choices if you look for them. There is not one airport where you cannot get a Chobani yogurt and a water bottle -no need for a bagel and a Coffee Coolatta……and should you find yourself sitting in first class – no need to eat and drink just because it’s free.
- Weigh yourself regularly. Need not be daily, but weekly or every other week is good….you will fluctuate a pound or two without cause for concern, but if you are consistently up two or three pounds, time to take control!
Same rules apply to men! Here is Peter, looking amazing at 56…..someone on Facebook recently commented on a shirtless photo of Bon Jovi, wondering if it was ‘real”…..I thought, why not, just because he is in his 50s, you think it’s impossible to look that good? I beg to differ!