Basic Principles

When you’re reading a blog, I think it’s important to know where the author is coming from! Here are some things that will influence how I talk about health, weight loss, diet, fitness, and nutrition.

I truly believe you can be healthy at any size. The point of my blog is not to teach you how to lose weight. If you want to lose weight, fine — there’s (usually) nothing wrong with that. But as I’ve said before, I think BMI is kind of a joke. I think a lot of thin people eat crap or don’t work out because they think they “can.” I really don’t appreciate the way that the media has made obesity into this huge thing. Showing headless fatties on the evening news every night doesn’t fix things, nor does making people feel hopeless and helpless. Teaching people of all sizes how to take care of themselves does. So that’s what I try to do.

If you do want to lose weight or just change how your body looks (or “shape up,” as we’re all so fond of saying), just know that I don’t believe you can work on your ass until you get your head figured out. Plain and simple.

Health is a political issue. There are certainly people who cannot afford to eat healthy or who don’t have access to fruits and vegetables. That’s why we (we the fortunate, we the lucky, you, me…we)…we need to support programs that will change this. Getting fresh food to certain areas of the country — especially urban areas that are populated by minorities — is a real challenge. We need to support the lawmakers, companies, and programs that can help.

When I talk to people who want to lose weight, I stress what I call “positive nutrition.” This is the idea that what you put in your diet is more important than what you take out. Don’t just focus on what you don’t (or “can’t”) eat; appreciate the great things you do you eat! I wish I had been taught at a young age to appreciate healthy food; sometimes, when I’m eating something amazing, wholesome, and natural, it makes me so sad because I think, “What the hell took me so long?!”

I believe in whole foods. Not fake diet foods. Not faux healthy foods. Whole foods! My post on the diet scale of terror really shows how transitioning from fake and processed stuff to whole foods was one of my biggest “Getting It” moments and it’s a message that I hope everyone will take to heart.

I believe in good home cooking. I think learning to cook is an essential part of healthy living, and it’s one that we can all achieve. Check out my tips for beginner cooks if you need some inspiration!

I eat meat. I stopped for a while, and, like everyone who read “Skinny Bitch,” I dabbled in veganism, but, I’m sorry…I love bacon. You can call me a “bacon-tarian.” I don’t eat a ton of meat though, because when I do eat it, I try to buy the very best: organic, free-range, hormone-free, grass-fed, and local. Quality over quantity!

I eat fat. I love olive oil, nuts, nut butters, and avocado. But I also eat — gasp! — saturated fat. Animal fat. Fatty fat. It’s satisfying, healthy, and it tastes delicious. I cook with butter, bacon fat, and coconut oil. I put whole milk in my coffee and eat full-fat Greek yogurt. I hope if you use my recipes, you’ll use the real fats I include! They make life really good; the fact that they make losing/maintaining weight loss easier is just a bonus!

I maintain/lose through non-obsessive, sometimes inaccurate calorie counting. I’ve found that watching my food intake has the biggest effect on my weight, but I’m really satisfied eating healthy amounts of whole foods, good protein, and fat. I still have treats, but my post on taste treats versus calorie treats should explain how you can eat treats and still lose or maintain weight.

I think that avoiding strength training is one of the biggest mistakes women make when it comes to fitness. If you aren’t strength training, I don’t want to even talk about it. Seriously! Do not wait until you’ve lose weight either. If you don’t know where to start with weights, check out my post on the basics. I’m obsessed with the Core Fusion DVDs and really, finding a strength workout I loved was what finally got me to strength train regularly. So find a type of strength training you love, whether it’s a DVD, kettlebells, or plain old calisthenics.

I love cardio for how it makes me feel; I don’t do it to lose weight or so that I can eat more. I think the elliptical can turn you into a modern-day Sisyphus. You spend hours doing cardio, which makes you hungry, so you eat, but then you feel like you need to do more cardio because you feel guilty, and suddenly, exercise has become this huge stressful thing in your life and you don’t know why you aren’t losing weight. After training for a marathon and really not losing weight, I realized that walking is a great, non-hunger inducing form of cardio.

I think there’s a form of exercise for everyone. You wouldn’t swear off guys forever because of one bad breakup (even though you say you are going to every time) and you can’t swear off the gym because you feel self-conscious. Figure out what you don’t like and then find out what does work. It might take a couple tries, but so what? Don’t let “I hate running” or “I’m too intimidated to go into the weight room at the gym” become excuses that end your go at a healthier life. Spinning changed my life and I encourage everyone to lose their virspinity, but if you hate spinning, then you hate it! If you hate running, then don’t run!

I don’t believe in having a good body and no social life. I’ve done it. It was lame. So now I’m a little fatter and a lot happier. If spending 60 minutes a day on the elliptical gets you off, fine. If doing 30 minutes and then saying, “Fuck it, I want to go hang out with my friends,” works better…then please do that!

I believe that the best forms of cardio are sex and literally LOLing. The good news is, I often use the former to help you do the later.

I don’t really do “everything in moderation.” I don’t do veggies in moderation — I do them in abundance. I don’t do tequila in moderation; I either do it like I want to do it or I don’t do it at all. (One tequila shot? Come on.)

I love setting goals. Setting good goals each month and then using my Fitbook to stay on top of them been a huge part of my success. And doing short-term goals and challenges is actually kind of fun.

You have to be open to trying new things! Einstein once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting new results. So if something isn’t working, try something else. I’m a creature of habit but I also love trying new things…because I love finding new things to obsess over and make into new habits…until I get sick of them and want to try something new again. It’s a ridiculous cycle that leads to lots of product reviews.

I know that being healthy sometimes sucks. Believe me, I know. It takes effort. But I truly believe it’s doable, and that it’s worth it.

One area where I’m not all-or-nothing anymore is health. You don’t have to be perfect. My scale of dieting shows how long it took me and how many baby steps I had to take to get where I am today. And I’m still not perfect! So not to get all Special Olympics on you, but seriously…A for effort! I love educating myself and trying different things to learn what works best, and I hope you’ll do the same.

And I’ll say it here, and I’ll say it a lot. My number one rule when it comes to healthy living? Don’t be ridiculous. Don’t be ridiculous! Seriously…don’t be ridiculous. If someone had said those three words to me more often, I’m pretty sure I could have avoided 95 percent of my problems with my body.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Haley November 9, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Can I just say that I totally heart you?! I don’t know much about you aside from this page, but you rock =D.

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2 Siyam September 14, 2011 at 4:04 am

As a former dancer ( and Chicken Pot Pie enthusiast) I really appreciate your honesty when it comes to working out. You are freakin’ amazing! And I’m actually gonna try a spinning class at my school’s gym. Face down, ASS UP!! :)

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