Everything in Moderation
I've realized something about myself lately. I don't like extreme diets and extreme weight loss techniques. I don't like restriction. I believe in Everything in Moderation. Now, I've always believed this but being in the fitness world it is hard not to listen to all the different theories out there. Forget about the fitness world, everyone is bombarded daily with different messages about how to get fit, lose weight and be "in shape". There are magical diets, pills, machines and theories that can make you "drop 20 in 20" (to quote some diet fad there I'm sure). While I have never been obese or really struggling with weight, there have been times in my life where I have weighed more than I should for my height. The situations were always slightly different but what it always came down to was I wasn't taking care of my body. I've realized over the years that my weight fluctuates very easily. I gain weight and muscle pretty quickly but losing weight is always a bitter harder. In order to maintain a healthy weight I need to move daily, get enough sleep and prep my meals in advance so I don't go for the easy option.
My freshman year of college I gained A LOT of weight due to the late nights and easy access to beer, pizza and any other food I ever wanted. It was my first time really living away from home and I took advantage of it. I was a picky eater at the time so veggies and fruits weren't my first choices in the dining hall. With an unlimited meal plan required by Tufts for freshman, I would hop into the dining hall between classes to grab a cookie to go. It was also my first time lifting for a varsity sport. Between not eating properly and not knowing how to lift properly, I got big. Probably the biggest I ever have been. I don't actually know what I weighed at this time but by looking back on pictures I can tell I didn't look healthy. At the time though I didn't realize it. I was happy indulging in all the new things around me. I went home for the summer and spent the summer lifeguarding with a lot of downtime. Between constantly swimming and having home-cooked meals, I slowly lost the weight. When fall of my sophomore year came around, I was determined to kick some major ass on the lacrosse field so my friends and I hit the gym hard. We ran extra and played wall ball all the time. By christmas time, I had lost most of the weight that I gained freshman year without even realizing it. I only started realizing it when my family members started commenting on how good I looked.
My second weight gain of college was my junior year. I went abroad to Australia and definitely indulged while there. I think the only reason I didn't gain a ton of weight was because I started eating some fruits and vegetables and I had a bunch of down time in beautiful weather so I would go on runs along the water just because. It also didn't hurt that I was in a bathing suit 24/7 so I was a little conscious of how I looked. I definitely gained some weight while studying abroad but the real weight gain came when I got back. Within a month of being back at Tufts I became very sick (a whole other story) and was sidelined from lacrosse and pretty much all physical activity. I pretty much laid in bed and tried to go to class for my entire spring semester-- 4 whole months. It was torture to say the least. I gained weight just from not moving around as much as I normally did. After slowing integrating biking and the elliptical back into my routine, I eventually added yoga to my routine for the first time. At the same time, I started weight watchers. I loved weight watchers because while it was a diet I learned so much from it. I started realizing my biggest issue was with portion size. I never knew what a proper portion size and had been eating way to much of certain foods for years. I also realized I seriously needed to kick up the intake of fruits and vegetables. My the fall of my senior year I was at the lowest weight since high school probably and I felt GREAT.
Since then, my weight has fluctuated depending on how stressed I was, what time of year and how I was taking care of my body. Still, I have never reached some of my heaviest weights (not that I know of) which I think is a good thing. I've learned so much about nutrition since my freshman year of college and if I apply it I do well. I'm human I don't always follow the best nutrition plan. I like pizza and beer as much as the next person. But if I've learned anything it's Everything in Moderation. There is no use depriving yourself of your favorite food only to devour it after two weeks of restriction. Why binge eat chocolate or chips and salsa when you can have a small serving once or twice a week and feel satisfied?
So here are my best tips to keep Everything in Moderation:
1- Move daily-- even if it is a walk around the block with your dog. Get your blood flowing and muscles moving.
2- Indulge once a day in a "bad" food but keep it down to a small portion size
3- Eat a fruit and/or veggie with every meal
4- Try out lots of different kinds of exercise so you don't get bored (yoga, boxing, running, swimming, dancing, etc)
5: Most importantly, Listen to Your Body!