Health & Fitness: Part Three!

For 2011, my fitness resolution involves continuing the good path I began carving out in 2010 and just committing to it a little bit more. That sounds like a cop-out resolution, I know, but bear in mind that I just started a new job. January has been about trying to find a equilibrium and reconcile the new job with the current lifestyle. How much time (and energy) do I have to devote to salsa and yoga? The answer so far is not as much as I'd like to, but I don't want to let my health fall by the wayside. So far I've signed up for weekly salsa and hatha yoga classes. I'm also contemplating a cha cha class on top of that and I've resolved to go out salsa dancing outside of classes at least once a week. Oh, and I'm going to try to eat healthier by cooking my own lunches instead of eating out and packing healthy snacks for work (fruit anyone?).

Oh, and yes, that is a photo of the boy and me at a salsa event. (What, you couldn't tell from the sweaty hair?)
Photo credit: Daudi

When I got the email from Melissa asking me to write a little piece about health and fitness, I was excited and flattered. When I sat down to write my piece, however, I had a mini panic attack when I ‘remembered’ health and fitness is anything but my strong point. Oops... Let me explain:

I’m allergic to the gym. (At least I think I am, I don’t know this for sure as I haven’t set foot in one. Ever). I enjoy running about as much as I enjoy trips to the dentist. I signed up to a soccer team briefly after seeing Bend It Like Beckham but the only sport I partake in these days is extreme shopping (definitely a sport, right?) I had a quick and slightly embarrassing love affair with Turbo Jam in 2008, but my living room hasn’t seen any more dance aerobic activity since.
On top of my fitness phobic tendencies, I have a massive love for food. I love cooking, baking and most of all, eating food. My biggest girl crush is Nigella Lawson. I own an ice cream maker which means making and consuming copious amounts of fat laden frosty treats is all too easy. Plus... I just really, really love French fries. Fortunately for me, and for the sake of this article, there are a few things in my life that I like to think help counteract all of the above.

1. I’m a vegetarian. I am by no means saying that adopting vegetarianism equates to 100% healthy eating - pizza and my oh so beloved French fries can be vegetarian after all. But being a vegetarian has forced me to be creative in what I eat and find tasty and healthy alternatives to meat. In the past three years that I’ve been strictly vegetarian I’ve thought more about food and what I was putting into my body than ever before.

2. I became BFF’s with my bike this summer. Finally, a mode of exercise that I actually enjoy -although just secretly, I thought Turbo Jam was really fun and amazing. I look and feel like less of an idiot riding a bike, though.

3. I walk a lot. I have a boyfriend that enjoys dragging me off the couch and away from Gossip Girl to make me go for walks with him. I also don’t use my car unless I have to, but in honesty, this might be less health related and more because sometimes I kind of buy shoes instead of petrol... ahem.

So there you have it. My workout routine is pretty simple because I don’t have one. My only fitness tip is take the stairs, not the elevator. I eat a lot of ice cream, but I eat a lot of vegetables too. I gave dance aerobics a whirl but walks and bike rides are more my thing.

I think the important thing is that for the most part, I have good body image. Of course there are things I wish were different about myself and clothes I wouldn’t dream of wearing because they don’t suit my body type. I could certainly be healthier and I could certainly be fitter. But really, as long as I’m wearing clothes that flatter me, riding my bike every day and eating the food I love (most of it healthy, some of it not, and definitely including the occasional French fry) - I’m happy.

Like most females, I feel that I need to be thin. Not 'thin' as in starve myself/deprive myself/endless dieting, but 'thin' as much as my body will let me. The thing with body image is that we are constantly bombarded with images of insanely beautiful people, that we feel the need to meet that ideal. Ironically, some of these beautiful people feel the pressure too, and consequently end up with eat disorders, drug habits, or plastic surgery. The difficulty here is trying to separate that fantasy world from reality. Let's face it, I'm never going to look like Jennifer Aniston or Gwenyth Paltrow no matter how hard I try. It's just not going to happen. My body type is not theirs. I'm more Cameron Diaz/Kate Hudson with Rhianna's thighs. I will never have Beyonce's hourglass figure, instead I look like a 15 year old boy (sexy, I know). And that's ok with me. As long as I'm healthy and feel good about myself, what more can I ask for? A tip to make yourself feel better, is knowing how to dress for your body (which I talked about here). Because of my body, I know its limitations. I can't wear Hunter boots because my calves are too big. In fact, I have a hard time finding knee high boots, period. I can't buy cropped pants at Zara because I can't get them over my calves. I have to find shorts that have wide leg holes because I have big thighs. I have to buy strapless dresses in a size too big and get them tailored, because I have a broad back. C'est la vie.

As for a workout routine....well, I don't. There are actually reasons why I don't, mostly because I'm super competitive (understatement) and normal people aren't, so I get bored.

I try to make up for my lack of exercise by taking the stairs wherever possible and power walking everywhere. I like going for walks when the weather is tolerable and I do play sports in the summer. But even that's hard for me because everyone wants to play "for fun". Don't people realize that winning IS fun?


  1. Thanks for including me in this round-up, Melissa! It's been very interesting reading what everyone has to say about health and fitness and body image.

    Erin's response is hilarious. She's so competitive!

  2. It's been nice reading that not everyone loves to work out at the gym. Sounds crazy but I usually am pretty hard on myself when I can't stay motivated to go to the gym. I think i'm going to try some dance classes (and maybe even buy a bike once the weather clears up!)

    Love this feature :)

  3. Loving this series, Melissa. Great job!

  4. I've been paying my gym for the past 2 years but I NEVER go. And I keep paying for it with the hopes that I'll go. I let the fact that I'm still paying for it keep me from trying new types of exercises. I guess my tip is to try new things right away when you get bored of your routine instead of forcing yourself to enjoy it like you used to.

    Love this series, Melissa!

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  6. Eleanor's entry is my favorite of this bunch. How cute is she on her bike!?

  7. Love this health & fitness series =] Everyone needs a bit of motivation sometimes.

  8. we can live healthy by our atmosphere should be neat and clean. we should clean regularly our locality. Then we can live healthy.
    how to live healthy


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