There are so many diets out there today convincing women to reduce red meat, increase fish intake, don't eat more than an ounce of this and be sure to eat this once a day! There are commercials that show Jane Dumb who lost 55 lbs in three months on the Slim Fast diet because she shrunk her stomach, deprived herself of a healthy work out and became moody in the process. Do you ever hear the testimony of those who live with her? There are also exercise tapes of that celebrity who has "skinny" genes telling women to cut the fat by doing an aerobic workout at least 1 hr./day, everyday—for the rest of their life.
Losing The Weight
The reason for so many "sure-fire ways" to lose the unforgiving pouch we women carry is because we have a desire for perfection. Perfection that glamour magazines, TV ads and plastic surgeons portray to our drooling significant others as what is desirable. It's unfortunate that society has stooped to lifting, inserting, tucking, sucking the life out of good health! There are easy ways to obtain a regular personally acceptable weight for women of today. It won't cost you the price of meals, a library of videos or cases of premixed shakes. It will cost you dedication and a will to change your life!
I'm not a bodybuilder, a personal trainer, or an Olympic athlete. Nor am I anorexic, depressed or a natural "skinny" gene woman. I am your average girl interested in a sport that motivates me to stay in shape. I am a professional and competitive Polynesian Dancer of 30 years. (Yes, I am that old) I have danced on stages from California to New York, from Hawaii to Japan. I hold solo and group Tahitian dancing titles from competitions in San Jose and Merced California.
It is a hobby that I am fortunate to get paid for. (My "real" job is shuffling paper behind a desk as a Hospital Administrator at UCI Medical Center) Most bodybuilders carry a passion for competing whereas my passion is held within the dance. It is a part of my heritage and is best described as who I am and what I represent. Also like bodybuilders, I don't wear much on stage. Usually no more than a coconut bra and grass skirt, so I want to look my best.
In Polynesian Dancing strength comes from your quads! In order to move those hips in a vigorous fashion one must bend the knees and shift weight in a circular motion. (This is called an omi) However, as a dancer I can say that no one wants to move more than her hips on stage—keeping the tummy firm and toned is highly desired! Otherwise your tummy will shake to mimic St. Nick. Another body part certain to attract attention if ignored during training is the triceps! As a woman this is a problem area regardless, but as a dancer there is nothing more disgusting than having your tri's shake as much as the uli-uli's (feather gourds) during a Hawaiian routine. If a woman's lower back area houses too many rolls it will show each time she sways with a side-side hip movement. Ewe! But the most important muscle that makes one an exceptional dancer is a healthy heart. Cardio exercise is essential if you are going to give 110% during an hour show with eight costume changes back to back.
As a child stage appearance isn't important, you can get away with looking like a cute potbelly Poly girl. But as an adult, people want to see a shapely, dark skinned, long haired, coconut wearing fantasy. So, over the years I have learned that with age comes more responsibility towards your health and diet. I never used to train in a gym for healthy reasons. In my early to mid 20's I frequented the gym to meet men—you only live once. Now that gravity and age are more apparent with each glimpse in the mirror, I train for my present health as well as my future. It is a way of life that I have adjusted to and I'll tell you, it takes some serious getting used to.
For those who are not bodybuilders and don't want muscle gain but want a toned physique, I suggest starting out clean at a brand new gym (if you aren't currently training) or a different branch of your current gym, reestablish your weight loss/toning goals, measure your body fat, weigh yourself (as much as you hate to) and make a training regiment for yourself. Something fun, not mundane—mix it up!
- Do a hip hop or boot camp class on Monday to get your blood flowing followed by your favorite ab routine.
- Tuesday train weights on two muscles (biceps and shoulders) and finish with a 30 minutes cardio cool-down.
- On Wednesday check out the kick boxing class or walk the tread mill for 50 minutes, your choice! Be sure to give 10 minutes to your calves.
- Thursdays are tough because the weekend in coming and you've got that night out with your favorite beau! So buckle down and train those lovely legs, concentrating on your glutes!
- Even though everyone is getting ready for the weekend, hit the gym first and train two muscles (back and triceps) Do some serious abs so you can show your mid-drift if you go out later!
- Saturday morning get your work out done early! Train that chest and 50 minutes of cardio on the stair master for those glutes!
- Sunday—REST your body! Enjoy the day and relax.
- Next week start with 50 minutes cardio and a serious ab session on Monday.
The point is you don't have to do the same work out every week. Keep it simple and fun so you don't get bored and burn out without reaching your goal. Try new classes, new machines, new techniques! Master them and increase your skill level in the class, the weight on the machine or reps of the newest ab crunch.
What I'm telling you is common sense. Every woman's body will react differently to a healthy diet. However the key is this, know your body! Know what foods give you energy and what foods slow you down. If chicken breasts and broccoli only give you gas, then try halibut and green beans. If an egg-white omelet in the morning makes you sluggish and tired, try oatmeal. Don't settle on one diet as the only way to lose weight. Cut your sugars, increase your water intake, cut back on carbs after lunch, and eat 5 times a day to increase your metabolism. These are the same things that any fitness magazine will tell you—SO DO IT!
As for me I tend to eat clean during the week and on Sunday—I cheat! If I've stuck to eating clean all week, I reward myself on Sunday. This keeps me sane, for the most part. I don't go out and gorge myself with sweets and greasy, fatty foods—but I will enjoy some! It's a matter of moderation, not too much to where you don't want to jump into the gym on Monday but enough to curb those cravings. I figure I've worked hard all week and I feel great, give me some French toast for breakfast, or a pastrami sandwich for lunch or maybe some pasta with rich alfredo sauce for dinner—but not all three! See what I mean? Moderation! Watching your food intake is difficult with our fast paced world today. I think most woman with a family know that finding time to make nutritious meals is the hardest part about eating clean. IT IS! But you must find that determination to make the time. Don't rely on fast food.
Remember I'm not a bodybuilder, a personal trainer or an Olympic athlete; I'm a professional and competitive Polynesian Dancer. I care about my appearance and want to be healthy when I'm 60-years-old, so I do what's necessary now. Dancing motivates me to stay in shape but it's my actions that keep me where I want to be. I don't use any supplements, diet shakes or aerobic videos—and I don't have those "skinny" genes! I'm not a playboy look-a-like relying on surgery to gain a shapely figure and I don't believe in an all-knowing guru diet. I'm an average Poly girl who wants to live a healthier life just like you. I use common sense, my passion for dancing and trial and error to stay in shape and you can too. It's all a matter of how determined you are.