When I was a rookie reporter, I had an editor who delighted in making passive-aggressive jabs at me. One day I was heating up leftover pizza for lunch, keep in mind this was pre-New York when frozen pizza was acceptable to me.
“You’re going to eat pizza for lunch?” she said in that judgey tone. “You’re young, but someday your waist is going to expand when you eat like that. Will you call me that day and tell me when it happens?”
Bitch! I thought carrying my lunch back to my desk. I was 23 at the time. I also have a naturally slender body type and have always been reasonably active. I never spent much time worrying about my weight. I never had to unbutton my pants after a big meal or keep “fat pants” around for bad days.
I know this isn’t the case for everyone. I know that some people struggle with weight issues the way I struggle with skin issues. If my strategy doesn’t work for you, do what does work for you. I’m just here to tell you my story.
My editor was right. I don’t remember what age exactly, and I certainly didn’t call her smug ass to tell her, but a time did come in which I noticed a change in my waistline. For example, if I had a week of mainly salads for lunch and put in some good runs or boot camp classes, I could run my hand over a flat belly. If I drank beer that week and skipped the gym, well, slightly different story.
If I want that flat belly in a hurry, I know what I need to do. It takes effort and discipline, but I can do it without resorting to starving myself or two-a-day workouts. But I’m not going to be a slave to the gym or salads. I aim for four to five workouts per week. This week, however, I didn’t feel like working out much, so I didn’t. My week looked like this:
Sunday: Pound class at the gym (45 minutes)
Tuesday: Made rice & veggie soup
Wednesday: Hung out with Carlos
Thursday: Dermatologist appointment followed by a huge pizza and wine dinner
Friday: Kangoo at the gym (45 minutes)
I look at that and see a really healthy week, even if I didn’t get my government-recommended 150 minutes of physical activity this week. I could have gone to the gym on Tuesday, but I didn’t want to, so I stayed home and made a super healthy and delicious meal. On Wednesday, I wanted to hang out with my friend Carlos. Hearing him say, “Baby, I would never leave you because you’re my Candace,” always makes me feel like a million bucks. I’ll take the good vibes over the flat belly any day.
Usually on Friday nights I want to come home, change into my yoga pants, even if I have no intention to go to a yoga class, and veg out. But today I felt like going to Kangoo at my gym. And since I was in the right mindset, I could give it 100 percent and feel good about it. Had I tried to go when I wasn’t feeling it on Tuesday, I probably wouldn’t have worked as hard as I did today.
I tell you all this because Bougie James sent me a link to his friend Kelsey’s no-diet project. I love the concept! If you feel like having a cupcake, have a cupcake. My rule is to make it a good one though. I don’t go to the corner deli for one that’s not worthy of room in my belly. I go to Molly’s or Sprinkles for the good stuff. I also love a good latte, but now I go maybe once a week. I get it with whole milk and a dash of cinnamon on top instead of sugary syrups. I feel satisfied with my splurges and don’t need to go every day.
If you find me a little too Gwyneth Paltrow* for your liking I recommend Kelsey’s story. She’s a real woman with real struggles and her own approach.
*My goal is not to be as out-of-touch as Gwyneth Paltrow, so if you find me like her, please nicely tell me, so I can make changes. But warning, I might cry.