Tag Archives: everygirls guide to diet and fitness

The EveryGirl’s Guide to Diet & Exercise

I’m a big fan of all of the following:
  • Maria Menunos
  • practical weight loss
  • good television hosts
  • inspiration/encouragement/positivity
And so, when Maria came out with her recent book: The EveryGirls’ Guide to Diet and Fitness, I was actually in need of some fitness inspiration and snatched it right up!
Maria: Before & After 40-lb weight loss
Maria: before & after 40-lb weight loss
Let me begin by asking you “Did you know that the Maria that we see on TV today is 40 pounds slimmer than her former self?!  I was impressed to learn that she was formerly much rounder before she slimmed down on her own, but wait, it. gets. better! My biggest takeaway from her story was the fact that Maria was always happy – round or thin.  She was also successful – round or thin.  Her decision to change her lifestyle was for the purpose of better health and in the process, she found her muscles. But I was inspired to learn that Maria won a beauty pageant and a hosting award before she ever even counted a calorie!  And then, when she decided to change her lifestyle, she opted for small changes over a long haul and thus, has never had to look back!  Immensely interested, I read the bulk of her book during the course of my plane ride from NY to LA and the following are my cliff notes.  Take from it what you desire! My approach to this book, as is the case with many books that I read, is to simply walk away with a few concepts affirmed (because nothing is new anymore, it’s more about at which turn you heard it that it stuck) and resolved to incorporate into my life.  Take away as much or as little as you’d like from the the following solid advice from Maria’s book: The EveryGirl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness! the fifty year plan This is something that Maria and her partner use (I believe it was his invention) to gauge whether or not any behavior is sustainable.  Whether it’s leaving dishes unwashed or inhaling junk food or not moving, putting your behavior under the lens of a fifty-year projection will give you insight to make the judgement call on what type of behavior should be edited out or implemented.  So Maria encourages us to “get on the fifty year plan!”
log 1 week of food This is one of Maria’s keys to shaping up her diet anytime: in the beginning of her journey and whenever she wanted to achieve a new level of fitness.  She personally wears a FitBit wristband to log her activity and sleep and endorses the MyFitnessPal app as an effective tool for food journaling. From this, I was reminded of the effectiveness of MyFitnessPal when I used it and have committed to logging my food and exercise everyday.  It’s a free app and Maria even recommends this as a tool.
Chinese people love their hot water!
Chinese people love their hot water!
drink hot water
This is an interesting tip that actually reminds me of my parents and Chinese culture in general – the older generations love to drink boiled water (gwun soi).  Maria swears by the effectiveness of drinking hot water – she says that she and her partner dropped weight as soon as they incorporated this into their lifestyle.  I don’t know if there is science behind the benefits over drinking hot water – especially over cold water – but this is something that I haven’t and probably won’t do.
always be exercising This is great and is a step up from her first tip to “always be moving.”  I’ve heard another version of this before: “fidget.”  And I read somewhere that Jack LaLane used to do pushups while he was waiting for the elevator, etc.  And one of my fitness friends recommends habits such as doing calf raises while waiting in line at Starbucks. I have taken this to heart and have started to take the stairs in my building more, have swapped my Metrocard for a Citibike Membership, have opted for the “harder” route, in general, whether that meant taking the stairs, walking, standing, or calf-raising in line.  What I’ve found that it does for me is keep me in a constant state of motion, where a little bit of sweat is normal, where I’m more so in a state of activity rather than a state of rest – and so it’s easier to just keep moving.  I love this concept.  
bond over fitness
Maria talks about inviting pals over for a basketball game, having a meeting while hiking, and basically swapping activities in for our default form for socializing – eating and drinking – both of which are healthy lifestyle dangers!   I have long adopted this way of being.  As a spin instructor, I extend an open invitation to anyone I feel compelled to do so to.  I also love to do fun activities with friends – movies in the park, working out together, attending church together – and we’ve all got to eat! but even then, I love trying out themed places and healthy places and maintain a balanced mixture of activities with friends.     
try not to eat after 7pm 
Maria advocates this and I am far from this.  This is apparently something that she practices in her lifestyle and I agree that lighter eating at night is certainly the protocol, but if you are hungry, you’ve got to eat – just lightly.  She has a saying, “Sleep it off,” and I agree that many times, sleeping early can nip midnight snacking and hitting the sack can stave the munchies.  Ultimately, if you’re logging your food, however, the one and only rule is staying within your calorie limits, whether it’s 7pm or 11pm and I believe you can’t go wrong based on that.
This is ok - just earn it!
This is ok – just earn it!
earn your food I just did this when I worked out like a maniac yesterday and kept saying to my spin class “Earn your BBQ!”  It feels good to go into some planned overeating knowing that you worked out to create a calorie deficit and will work out the next day to address any difference still residing.  It comes down to science and calories-out must exceed calories-in to lose weight and must be equal to maintain weight.  Snacking counts, free samples count, and fortunately, exercise counts!  I love the feeling of chowing down on a healthy meal when I’m famished and sweaty after a workout!  I think it’s important to hold off on eating until you can get to a healthy meal and then eat up, cuz you “earned it!”
soup before meals
This is an easy habit that anyone can incorporate into their eating routine.  I personally love to load up on vegetables so am not holding myself to practicing this – I would rather chow down on extra salad or cooked veggies over soup and they both accomplish the same goal: filling up on low-calorie food items.
Below are Maria’s phases and steps that she realized she took – upon looking back at her gradual weight loss – to get to her current fabulous state.  She has broken it down and I think this is solid commonsense advice that you already know but may engage with because of her presentation.  Check it out!
PHASE 1
This woman's worked hard and accomplished a lot - and so can you!
This woman’s worked hard and accomplished a lot – and so can you!
  1. set a deadline
  2. weigh yourself
  3. buy a journal
  4. log a week’s worth of food
  5. review and assess
  6. cut back slowly
to avoid overeating:
  • talk a walk
  • drink hot water
  • sleep it off
  • munch on something better
PHASE 2
  1. weigh again
  2. go back to journaling
  3. fine-tune your diet
  4. exercise
  5. drink lots of water
  6. rejoice and reward
MAINTENANCE
  • eat mostly foods from the ground
  • eat only when hungry
  • eat only as much as you need in the moment