I’d like to think that my whole “I’m independent and hella stubborn. I don’t care if what you’re telling me is for the best, I’m not going to do it until I make up my mind and decide for myself that that’s what I want” is endearing, (I know, damn independence!) but regardless of how other people feel about it, really, I am who I am. And recently, I realized how unhappy I currently am with my body and was inspirationally motivated to do something about it because true to my nature, I believe that I’m the only one who can make myself change. I have to be ready and willing to do it.
It started when my cousin told me about the way she’s started a work-out plan from her apartment. She introduced me to Linda Edler’s zumba work-out videos. I tried this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZP0GZNWxPA and fell in love. It’s so easy! You don’t even have to leave the house; you just need enough space to move about 4 good-sized steps in any direction. My roommate and I had been going to zumba classes twice a week on campus at the beginning of last school year, but after I sprained my ankle and was confined to a boot for 2 months, it was very difficult to get back on track. Besides, when its 20 degrees outside, who wants to leave the warmth and comfort of the room to go to the gym? Certainly not I! Enter the perfect solution: thanks to Linda’s videos we can create our own schedule that is flexible enough to work with all of our other commitments and we don’t even have to leave the room! Staying in shape never seemed so easy.
But exercise is only half of it. Eating right is also an integral part to achieving and maintaining both the health and body that you desire. And so I started paying much more attention to what, when, and how much I was eating. I wasn’t about to cut out all carbs and sweets; I definitely believe in moderation. However, many more fruits and vegetables were finding their way into my diet. And when it comes to eating healthy, I think one of the most important things to do is prevent it from getting boring! The more “fun” eating healthy it is, the less likely you are to splurge more than you’d like to or give up altogether. So I try to be creative and mix it up! And one of my favorite ways to do that is to make fruit smoothies. To me, smoothies are one of the most fun (and delicious!) ways to eat fruit. We all know about the typical, everyday strawberry or banana smoothies, but how about trying this:
- fresh or frozen strawberries
- fresh pineapple
- coconut milk (the kind that comes in the carton, but I guess if you’re into real coconuts, that’s cool, they just can be sort of frustrating)
- vanilla yogurt (I recommend Dannon Light & Fit)
- ice (I don’t know about you, but I like my smoothies cold. Ice cold.)
I gave that a whirl the other day, and although I initially wasn’t really sure how it would come out, it was delicious. The tartness of the strawberries (I used frozen) complimented the sweetness of the pineapple perfectly. Unfortunately, I cannot offer any exact measurements for anything (what can I say? I’m Sicilian! It’s just a pinch of this and a dash of that…) Anyway, this is just one of the many concoctions you can come up with when making a smoothie! There’s always different fruits, liquids (I usually use orange juice or milk, but there’s plenty of other things, like lemonade or iced tea), and yogurt flavors to mix and match to find your new signature drink.
My family discovered it last summer in Cancun. Also best tasting cold, we slice it into small sticks to eat it. Here is some more information on it https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pachyrhizus_erosus, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s healthy and therefore worth eating, or at least giving it a try. Many people don’t know about it, but I recommend it if you’re looking for a change of pace in the vegetable department. You can typically find them at both Pick N Save and any Wal-Mart that has a grocery department.
And finally, I recommend wraps. Eating wraps instead of sandwiches will minimize your carb intake without cutting sandwiches or bread completely out of your diet. Here are two of my favorite wrapped concoctions:
- tomato-basil wrap
- tuna salad (easily made at home with a can of tuna, some mayonnaise, and some onion, salt, and pepper if you so wish)
- red onion
- cheddar or colby-jack cheese
- may be served pressed if you have the option*
- spinach wrap
- chicken (pre-breaded chicken strips work well, otherwise cut fresh chicken and prepare it fajita-style)
- fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
- Italian dressing (I highly recommend the Olive Garden kind that is now sold in stores)
I hope this gives you some fun new ideas for starting or maintaining a healthier lifestyle. I’d love to hear about what you do to get active and eat right down in the comments. Sharing ideas is one of the best way to find new things to try! But as I said before, no one can make you exercise more or change your diet. It has to come from a place inside you. And I think that’s one of the best character traits to have: good intrinsic motivation.