We all understand how when it comes to alcohol, we can't drink the same. It's common to hear people say things like: "I don't drink brown liquor" or "I don't drink 'FuFu' drinks - they have too much sugar." In fact one of the first signs of aging is our diminishing ability to recover from alcohol. People say it all the time-- "I just can't drink like I used to."
Well, newsflash: You can't eat like you used to either. The hard truth is that as we age we have to adjust our diet. The old saying goes: "You can't outwork a bad diet." It's the truth because just like we don't recover from drinking the way we used to, we also don't recover from "cheat eating" the way we used to.
It's interesting that we understand alcohol but we don't understand food. The same metabolism that processes alcohol process food. The same way we can't drink like all of our friends we can't eat like them either. I say this because it's rare to see two friends out drinking the same cocktail, everyone has their thing when it come to cocktails. They know what works from them - what gives them the feeling they want with as little after effect (hangover) as possible. We need to think the same about food - especially starchy carbohydrates and sugar. Foods like bread, pasta, tortillas are starchy carbs and when you eat them they turn to glucose (sugar) in your blood. Everyone has a different tolerance for these foods just like alcohol. The test is: are you tired after eating it? If so eat less or experiment with other foods. There is no one diet for everyone -- we must learn our body and then master it.
So what should we do? Throw our hands in the air and give up? Relegate ourselves to believing that because we are older or have gone through childbirth or both, we should just be soft and give up on having the bodies our youth? NO. FREAKING. WAY.
But just as it took hard work to get you everything else worth having in life, fitness is no different. It's worth more than anything else you can work hard for in this life, except a good relationship (all we really need is love and fitness). Notice after "hard work" I left out the word "sacrifice."
To quote from one of my favorite trainers, Kerena of Tone it Up: "Being healthy is all about balance, not sacrifice."
Here's the thing: To lose weight, you have to give up giving in ALL THE TIME. But you can give in sometimes. And once you reach your goal weight, you can give in to your cravings on a pretty normal basis just not everyday. The first step is finding out how many calories you need each day to achieve to your goal weight. There are numerous calorie trackers on the internet. My favorite is MyPlate on the www.livestrong.com website.
Next you need to track your calories for 21 days minimum. It sounds like a lot - but we need to understand our bodies better to really reach our goals. Also keep track of how you feel after each meal. Eating is not supposed to make you hungry. If you feel sleepy after a meal it's because you ate too much or you ate the wrong thing. This comes back to what I was saying earlier about how we understand alcohol but we don' t understand food.
We will talk about exercise next -because working out is a key component in achieving your goals, but we should all focus on starting with what calories we consume on a daily basis and use exercise to sharpen that focus and start to really make gains (or losses!)