I know it’s sexist, but what can I say? I’m a sexist sort of person. If any of you were you like me, you spent a little time during you post-New Year’s Sunday flipping idly through the channels on television, trying in vain to escape the myriad infomercials and special programs and hot tips for the miracle weight loss programs of 2011, when I saw it: Anne of Green Gables on PBS. I’ve never been a fan of the movie version, but I adored the books when I was younger and I was trying to find them to read online when I ran past an interesting query: Who is the better heroine, Anne of Green Gables or Laura Ingalls Wilder?
I say neither. Yes, Anne is the darling of Prince Edward Island and her imagination opened up a vast new land for me. Yes, Laura is the plucky pioneer who helped tame the wild west. But c’mon, did no one read about the adventures of Caddie Woodlawn? The strong-minded tomboy of Wisconsin who ran wild with her brothers and saved the Indians? I think this debate is missing an important protagonist. Caddie was funny, she was strong, she was smart – she learned how to swim the river and she learned how to mend clocks, and she could box the ears off of any boy who dared to challenge her.
It’s been suggested to me that I like Caddie best because she was so violent. She wasn’t violent! That’s not it!
Let me know what you think and which heroine you support. Because otherwise it’s back to the inescapable infomercials. Losing weight and modifying your lifestyle so that you feel healthier and sexier is all well and good. But, ladies, if you’re going to go that route, do please use your common sense and don’t waste your money. Siphoning off pounds and maintaining your weight is the easiest thing to plan, but one of the most difficult things to execute and the last thing you need is to fall for some sort of fad diet. Use your common sense. You probably already know what you need – or need not – do.
I’m afraid I am one of those women with the detestable metabolism that does most of the work when it comes to keeping slim. But even I need to pay attention to my body – because I love Oreos. I love steak. I love Chipotle tacos – the crispy ones and, I love, I for sure, love beer (see Kona Brewing Company; we do it right in Hawaii, honey). Whole pintfuls of golden delicious empty calories. Dammit.
So here are four things I pay attention to, that might help you, too:
1. Hydration. Drink water when you wake up. Drink water before you go to bed. Especially drink water while you eat. Don’t be stupid and drink so much water that you suddenly get overhydrated and have to go to the emergency room. Oh, yeah, that’s happened (not to ME). Pick up a water bottle – you can get them super-cheap at the Daiso at Westlake Center, or you can get them super-pretty at Barnes and Noble or at Starbucks, or you can just continuously rinse out and use that Aquafina bottle you picked up from the office vending machine. But drink water, and especially drink water after you drink all those beers.
2. Fitness. So Ceci pointed out to me the other day that I seem to think everyone and everything wants to attack me. I never thought about it, but she’s right! Going into the ocean? Gotta be ready for a shark or giant squid attack. Strolling down a city street? Gotta be able to fight off serial killers and/or zombies. In order to lay the smackdown on somebody – or run away, as the case may be – it’s important to be in some kind of reasonable shape. You can find many really great non-gym, non-weight, you name it workouts at Self.com. Or feel free to join a gym! I love All-Star Fitness, where membership is a little expensive but classes are free, every cardiovascular machine has a television, and the cleanliness is top-notch. Best cardiovascular exercise, by the way: Hip hop class.
3. Hunger pangs. It’s not all about what you eat, and I’m not going to lecture you about what I’m sure you already know should be in your diet (although, if you have no clue, I find the Food Network to be both helpful and entertaining. Alton Brown especially rocks my socks). It’s also how often you eat throughout the day. If you’re eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner like you should, in the portions recommended, and you’re occasionally practicing how to kickbox your mugger, then you should still be getting hungry between those meals. Snacking is super-key. Try to avoid eating anything processed. Try hard, even when those Oreos are singing their siren song. If I’m actually hungry and it is between one of the three major mealtimes, I try to eat dried fruit, beef jerky, or crackers (wheat thins, triscuits, or pita chips) and some kind of dip (guacamole, babaghanoush, or hummus). Keep your blood sugar up and hunger levels down.
4. Number of times I threaten to murder someone. Here’s the thing: When my throat is whetted (with water or beer, you know), when I feel strong enough to put down an axe-toting zombie serial killer, if I’m eating generally okay – I don’t threaten to kill people as often. If I’m chatting with my friends or family and I start inventing gruesome and admittedly creative ways in which to murder them – and then I tell them about it – then I know that I’ve gotten a little cranky because I’m not taking care of myself. It’s about motivation. I tend to think of myself as a veritable wordsmith but even I know that the people who love me get a little tired of hearing of their imminent demise. It’s about sticking with it. If it takes a workout buddy, if it means paying for a fitness class that you love and know you’ll return to, if it takes one of your friends reminding you that he’s going to start ignoring you every time you say you’re going to push him down an escalator, then push him down again when the escalator brings his body back up the floor you’ve just thrown him off of – well, you gotta remember to keep it up. Try and remember how good you feel when you’re healthy – and sexy! – and don’t let it go. Because the alternative does tend to be unpleasant.