Heath & Fitness: Part Two!

Sure, we all love to see glossy editorial spreads of it-girl on a yacht in a Gucci dress and Prada shoes, but it’s also nice to have an alternative! Style bloggers are real girls (and guys) in realistic sizes who send out the positive message that you don’t have to be size 2 to look and feel great. I’m proud to be a part of this positivity.

On that note, I believe that health & fitness is more than just achieving that ideal dress size. It’s about being more conscientious of the food you consume and exercising not only for weight loss but for overall health. To kick start the year, I’ve found a few Iphone apps to help me with my goals. I highly recommend:

Nike Training Club (Free) An app that acts as your personal trainer! You can start the program at the gym or at home with minimal number of equipments. The handy countdown timer and encouraging voice will guide you through 15, 30, and 45 minute workout combos.

My Fitness Pal (Free, Pro edition $2.99) More than a calorie counter, it provides a nutrition summary to help you develop healthy eating habits. The large food database means you never have to guestimate how many calories are in your favourite dessert again.

I stared at the pile of clothing on my bed last week; a mound of dresses, tops, jeans, etc. All of which were not dirty laundry. Quite the contrary actually, the clothing that lay in front of me was all clean. What just occurred was one of my usual routines of try on, toss aside, repeat, repeat, repeat. Looking at my reflection with possible outfit number 13 on, I thought to myself, “Alicia, do you really have nothing to wear or is it how you feel in your clothing?” Reality set in. "So what if I’d gained 5 lbs LAST winter that I swore I’d work off?", I thought. But, there I was, over a year later and I looked…the same. The extra warmth hadn’t magically fallen off like I’d secretly hoped it would.

Instead of feeling guilty about it for another year, I have made some new (hopefully realistic) fitness goals. I call it, “Tone Up or Shut Up.” I have to either get into a steady workout regime, or stop complaining to myself that I don’t look my best.

As someone with curves who admittedly hates the gym (more about that here) I’ve had to find other ways to work up a sweat. I find that classes give me a better workout than the gym ever did, my favourites being kickboxing and yoga. The key for me is to mix up my workout routine. I recommend throwing in something a little different once a week like snowshoeing, aqua aerobics, hiking, or maybe even a dance lesson.

The important things I’ve learned lately are:

1) I DO have time to work out. I just had to shift a few things around and learn to say NO to plans and find a little extra ME time!

2) I have to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Sometimes I swear I have insomnia, but now force myself to turn off my laptop by 10 pm each night.

3) I can avoid dieting if I eat in moderation.

4) I have a bigger support system than I thought. My girlfriends have traded in our coffee dates to join me in workouts, so I can see them AND get some exercise!

5) The beginning is the hardest part, but if I can have a workout routine, then ANYONE can!!! And when in doubt, do as Melissa did and turn to others for advice and inspiration.

Hope that helps, and good luck with all of your fitness goals xoxo

I’m one of those girls who has always been naturally skinny. Growing up I was always the smallest in the class, I weighed 50 lbs for years, and my Mom fed me Homo Milk every day to try to make me grow. She actually joked that she would throw me a party when I finally reached 100 lbs, that’s how underweight I was!

I was lucky, growing up, that body image was never a big issue for me. Sure there were things about my body that I wanted to change, but I never struggled with weight, other than being under weight. Fitness was never a big part of my life either, for that matter. Since I wasn't concerned about keeping my weight in check, I just didn't bother with exercise.

This all changed, however, when in 2009 I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer. Sure it wasn't my diet or lack of exercise that got me sick, but it really did inspire me to start thinking about my body and what I was doing with it.

In seeing as how I am part of a big Italian family, food is obviously number one in our lives. A no carb diet, for me, is not an option. So when it comes to food, I always make sure that I surround myself with healthy options and portion control. Sure it's fun to indulge in a huge plate of pasta with some salami and cheese on the side, but if you did that every day it would kill you. Trust me, when we were in Italy, we tried. For me, I find it easy to keep my diet in check because I am naturally drawn to healthy foods and find I crave them when I'm in a situation where I don't have access to them (damn you Super Bowl Sunday and all your chips and dip! *Shakes Fist*). What I struggle more with is exercise.

Don’t let my body fool you, I may be skinny, but I can’t run up stairs to save my life. Yes, that’s right; I have the stamina of an 80 year old cat. Exercise has always been my down fall. I find the gym uncomfortable, I have no motivation to go, and I much prefer lying on the couch. I do try to keep active at home, however, in the small way that I can. You would actually be surprised how many calories you can burn by doing the dishes, or ironing that pile of clothes that has been glaring at you all week. But as much good as it is to have a clean house, I started to realize that I couldn't use that as my daily exercise routine for the rest of my life. I needed something else to keep me active. So finally, after months of talking about it, I signed up and started doing yoga.

I wasn’t sure how it would work out, in the grand scheme of things, and if I would actually enjoy it (given the fact that I hate exercising), but it definitely surprised me. Not only did I find it working almost every muscle in my body, but I found it to be an amazing way to relax and unwind my body after a long day at work. I’ve only just started to go, but I can already feel the effects it has on me. I’ve even started to do some yoga at home on the days I don’t make it into the studio, which has worked out well, as long as I stay away from any unsupervised back bends...

While my journey towards health and fitness has only been a short one, I’m proud of the steps I’ve taken towards making my life a healthier one. I’ve clearly learned that just because you’re skinny and have a bionic thyroid doesn’t mean you’re healthy. While I am lucky that weight has never been an issue for me, I still realize the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle, because the older you get, the harder it gets. Eating right and working your heart are just as important as looking good in your favourite floral skirt!
Why am I doing a feature on health and fitness? Find out why here! Did you miss part one? Well that's just silly! If you're someone who doesn't love the gym, you'll definitely relate to the first three women!