It is no secret that these "fast foods" are less than healthful choices, especially when it comes to living the fitness lifestyle. But if you are reading this, you are more than likely already exercising. You are at least moderately fit. You are embracing the fitness lifestyle and thinking to yourself, "Tell me something I don't already know," right? Well, my goal is to help you help others. We are all, as health and fitness enthusiasts, responsible for spreading the good word.
How many friends and family members tell you they wish they were as disciplined as you when it comes to fitness? How many of them constantly marvel at your ability to resist temptation? You are totally "dialed in" so why not help the ones you love get right in there with you?
For starters, whenever I am about to bust out a bag of my favorite Pepperidge Farm Nantucket cookies, I think about how eating just two of these tasty delicacies equates to nearly thirty minutes on the treadmill! The same goes for just one-fourth of a pint of Haagen-Dazs. Yikes! And if you really like running, how about a "fast food" meal consisting of a double cheeseburger, large fries and large soda? You just bought yourself two-and-a-half hours on the treadmill at a 10 min. / mile pace (~1500 calories). Being a health professional does not excuse me from the temptations of all the fattening delicacies that line our grocery store shelves. It does, however, make me thoroughly aware of the saying "calories in must equal calories out in order to maintain energy balance and maintain weight", therefore allowing me to balance my lifestyle and diet and maintain my fit physique throughout the year.
This is a particularly stressful equation to keep balanced - especially with the summer drawing near. We are busy running around, resulting in less time at home and more dining out. We are trying to maintain all the hard-earned gains in muscle mass and fat loss we so vigilantly worked for during the winter months. But when we're hungry who doesn't get the urge to stop at that burger joint on the Garden State Parkway while heading for the shore? In today's society where we are perpetually enticed with McDonalds, Burger King and other processed, convenient and calorie-rich foods, how do we resist the temptations of these economically convenient but completely bad-for-you foods? Also, how do we help others reap the benefits of resisting, as well as acknowledge the benefits of embracing fitness with the same enthusiasm we do?
Tips To Assist You This Summer:
1. Play the "instead of" game! Why not have a grilled-chicken sandwich instead of the Big Mac? You'll feel better about yourself. Why not have frozen yogurt instead of ice cream? You'll be glad you did. I always play this game with clients, family and friends with much success. For added effect, you can always throw in how many extra calories and fat grams converted into time on a treadmill they are saving by doing so. Find out how long it takes to burn off your favorite foods,
2. Make exercise social! Many forms of activity allow for socialization. Drag one of your stubborn "I wish, I wish" friends along with you for a jog along the beach, a roller-blade extravaganza (ever check out the Central Park roller disco?), a long bike ride, or a hike in the great outdoors.
3. Enjoy the fresh fruits and vegetables of summer. This is a beautiful time of year to enjoy fresh produce, so stock up at your local farmers market or green market and live on the edge. (www.cenyc.org)
4. Have a fitness barbecue! Take advantage of your grill and get creative! Prepare healthful salads and invite all your family and friends over to experience the true sensations of how to eat healthfully. Don't forget to make extra to keep on hand for the week. Remember, preparation is key!
5. Be a role model! Always pack convenient, healthful snacks with you if you know you won't be returning home for a few hours and when attending others' barbecues and parties. You'll find that most people will be interested in what you're eating and whyâ€¦which is a huge motivational tool.
6. Do your homework! Know what fast-food pit stops you can make where they offer low-fat alternatives, and don't let your friends take you elsewhere. Take charge on those days out! Check out our huge articles database of over 4,000 articles, click here!
7. Join the slow food movement! The "Slow Food Movement" is an international movement consisting of over 60,000 members across five continents that began in Italy in the 80s as a reaction against fast food, microwave cooking and the eat-on-the-go lifestyle that has infiltrated America, as well as other countries. It emphasizes the pleasure of eating amongst family and friends, enjoying traditional recipes cooked with locally grown foods, and slowing down the pace of life. Why not give it a try this summer? (www.slowfood.com)
As you can see, it isn't hard to be motivating. As a nutritionist and personal trainer, the greatest benefit I can think of is helping others make changes and taking charge of their health. I find that many people are so unaware of what to eat, or how to "be healthy", that they get frustrated and end up making poor food choices.
Statistics show that this is resulting in increases in disease and obesity. My challenge to you this summer is to take your knowledge and your love of fitness and pass it along! Take the same careful planning and patience you devote to your workouts and nutritional planning and help someone else make the change.