Crystal Clear Views

by Crystal Medina Editorial Assistant

Dear Crystal:With spring time knocking on my door, I’m starting to be more mindful of what I eat. For me, overeating is a problem and as a single mother I just can’t find the time to exercise. I really do want to slim down and stay healthy. Do you have any tips to help me?

-Junk in the trunk

Dear Trunk:

Well, with the weather getting warmer, a lot of us are wondering how we are going to shed those winter pounds. First of all, remember that in order to stay healthy, we have to see losing weight as a lifestyle change and not as a temporary diet.

When we’re changing how we eat, one problem a lot of us face is the feeling of failure. If we eat something we’re not supposed to, we feel guilty and we just give up, convincing ourselves it is too hard. A better way of changing our diet is to stay positive. Just because you have eaten something “bad,” doesn’t mean all is lost. You can feel good about the fact that you have done so well up until then.

I have a little system of my own that might help you avoid junk food. When I was having a craving, I substituted it. If I was craving candy, I ate fruit. Sugar is sugar. I love potato chips! Now I can settle for trail mix with nuts and raisins, pretzels and crackers! They all taste great! Try to substitute water or 100% juices for pop and other sugary drinks. Remember, you can almost always bake or broil your meats instead of frying them in oil.

Also, try bringing your lunch to work. I always tend to eat healthier lunches if I make them at home.

What about when you overeat when you’re bored or sad? You know what I mean, carrot sticks, celery…crunchy is always comforting. Also, whatever I used to order extra (butter, sour cream, cheese, etc.), I don’t anymore. I’m sure you get my drift. I know I sound like a cheesy infomercial but I swear it worked for me. The fact of the matter is it worked because I was not in a diet mind set. Fad diets and temporary diets don’t work.

Exercise is also easier than you think. An exercise program can be informal. Basically, you can turn anything into exercise. If you can, instead of getting on the elevator, take the stairs. You might be able to use to the car, but it can be relaxing to walk to a store near you. At work, try to stretch out a little during the day. Enjoy the fresh air! The easiest might be just to remember what it is to be a kid again. Go out and play with your children, it’s healthy for all of you and they will love it! Walk through the zoo, swim at the beach, play ball. That’s one of the good things about Chicago in the summer time, sky’s the limit!

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