Archive for July 16, 2009

Finding Time for the Burn–from Naked Apartments

 Check out my latest post at the Naked Apartment’s blog:

July 16th, 2009 by Amanda Goldfarb

 goldfarbpost2photoresize

New Yorkers have this “thing” with time.  We never seem to have enough so we obsess on how to make more of it. And when we find a spare minute here, another there, we still never seem to maximize our potential.  Five minutes of TV turns into an America’s Next Top Model marathon on VH1. We take classes on how to manage our time, all the while we could be using that class time to actually DO something.  So when we read that we should be exercising 30-60 minutes a day, we laugh. Who has the time for that? 

I used to be a five-day-a-week morning gym rat. I loved it. I felt that I somehow belonged to an elite workout club whose members were hardcore, 6 a.m. exercisers. We bounded through our day with that smug “look at me, I’ve already exercised!”  smile on our faces. 

Sadly, I am no longer a card-carrying member.  A move to another borough, a longer commute, and evening classes has thrown a wrench into my exercise schedule. I’m one of those, sigh, evening workout-ers. And because something always pops up after work, my workout schedule is a mess. Or actually non-existent. But I still need to work out. How can I make some time to get my daily exercise?

Here are 5 easy tips:

1. Wear a pedometer: A very basic exercise tool, this little gadget measures the amount of steps you take.  The goal is to take 10,000 steps, which is about 5 miles. Seems like a lot, right? You might be hitting this goal already, in which case, aim for 11, 000 steps. Lucky for us we live in the most walkable city on earth. Strap on those fit flops and get walking. (insert link: http://www.amazon.com/Omron-HJ-112-Digital-Pocket-Pedometer/dp/B0000U1OCI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=hpc&qid=1247019207&sr=8-1)

2. Use the stairs: I never understand why people don’t walk up the escalators when in the subway.  If you have an injury, debilitation, or heavy suitcase, you have an excuse. The rest of you: start climbing! And the people that take the elevator one floor…down? Again, start stepping.  Even if you start out with just one floor, something is better than nothing.

3. Work out at home: I know what you’re going to say: “I don’t have enough room in my apartment.”  Or, “When I get home the last thing I want to do is work out.”  Fair enough. Try this: during commercial breaks try different exercises. Triceps dips off of your coffee table during one break, pushups during the second, and crunches during the third. Repeat and you’ve watched one hour of television AND worked out for 30 minutes. Hooray for multi-tasking!

4. Schedule gym time: Exercise is just as important as a business meeting or happy hour.  Treat your gym time as an appointment and literally schedule it in your planner. Think of it as much needed alone time, where you can catch up on the latest podcast or listen to Totally 80s.

5. Get a buddy: I’m all about accountability partners. Why not find a friend that is in the same predicament as you (which is probably 90% of your friends) and schedule time to be active together.  Go for a walk, take a spin class, or play Wii fit for some healthy interactive competition.   Whatever it is, no more excuses, just move!

Amanda is currently studying at NYU for her Masters in Nutrition & Dietetics, and is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor with a degree from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York City. She is committed to inspiring people to live their best, most fulfilling lives possible, incorporating mainstream, holistic, and integrative approaches to health and wellness.  Check out her blog.

July 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm 1 comment

To Diet or Not to Diet

diets are meanI read an interesting article in the Styles section of the New York Times this morning, titled “Tossing Out the Diet and Embracing the Fat” by Mandy Katz. Katz shares a trend that is gaining movement in the dieting world—the practice of anti-dieting.  Proponents of anti-dieting have spent years and years on unsuccessful diets, only to end up at the weight they started at (or even heavier). They’re fed up with dieting! According to Katz:

This movement — a loose alliance of therapists, scientists and others — holds that all people, ‘even’ fat people, can eat whatever they want and, in the process, improve their physical and mental health and stabilize their weight. The aim is to behave as if you have reached your “goal weight” and to act on ambitions postponed while trying to become thin, everything from buying new clothes to changing careers. Regular exercise should be for fun, not for slimming.”

Anti-diets celebrate the body in every form and reject the uber-skinny body shape that women (and men) feel pressure to achieve.  Foods should not be labeled “good” or “bad,” and guilt is a dirty 5-letter word. Exercise should be enjoyable, with FITNESS as the goal, not weight loss.  In essence, the anti-diet movement seeks to liberate those that have been slaves to diets and meal plans, and allows them to say “fuck it” and truly savor life with no restrictions.

I was pleased to hear that women (and men) are starting to shun diets and a backlash to the multi-billion dollar diet industry is slowly being created.  People are finally understanding that DIETS. DON’T. WORK. Period. Exclamation point! I’ve spent most of my life on diets, feeling guilty for eating dessert, being self-conscious when I was younger because I was heavier than most of my friends, and experiencing an overall dislike for my body.  It was only when I decided in college that I was sick of being unhappy, and I wanted to be happy again, that I began to lose weight.  In the past couple of years, I’ve worked VERY hard to re-wire my brain to focus on acceptance, love, and eliminating the words “good” and “bad” when referring to food. It’s a daily struggle, but I’m getting there.

 A friend recently asked what I thought of her new 6-week diet plan she created for herself, consisting of grapefruit 3x a day and scarcely any carbs. I told her, right away, that it scared me-it was impractical, unsafe, and she was guaranteed to fail. It reminded me of the diets I used to put myself on. And ridiculous diets like those have given rise to this new non-diet movement-so hooray for that!

 I understand the absolute freedom it brings to say to Suzanne Somers and Dr Phil “Take your diet and shove it!” To be able to enjoy a cupcake because you want something sweet. Or to enjoy a salad on a hot summer day because you just want it—not because it’s low in calories. And studies show that people who are not on strict diets are just plain ol’ happier. I know I am (I’ve spent many years miserable, but very thin. I’d rather have a little extra padding and be happier!)

 On the flip side, however, there may be some issues raised with the non-diet diet.  It doesn’t give you license to throw caution into the wind, to eat whatever you want, whenever you want (although that may happen at first, as it did to me when I stopped truly dieting). Experts such as Dr. Walter Willet are concerned that the anti-diet approach will make people think they have the green light to eat in excess, giving rise to more weight issues in this country.  I know in my case, although I’ve made huge strides in my eating, I have implemented guidelines for myself to keep my weight in a healthy range, like no second helpings and not eating (or trying not to) after 8pm.  

So, I am support of the anti-diet, as long as a high level of health and wellness is maintained.  IF someone starts gaining lots of weight, feels poorly, and starts having digestion issues, for example, that is when a closer look should be taken at the non-diet approach. Really, what matters in the art of eating is noticing how you feel when you consume certain foods and finding what works well for your body. And just like me, that may include setting up certain guidelines to help you feel your best. It’s the only approach that works, I promise you. 

In the end, to diet or not to diet is a personal preference. More importantly, however, what matters in life is that you love yourself and savor each and every single delicious bite of your big juicy life.

July 16, 2009 at 2:23 pm 1 comment


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