I'm not gonna lie. This is, by far, the most inspiring and knowledgeable Thin Girl I have yet to feature. Meet Kate Mulhauser. She's a kick-ass technical design student at the one and only, College-Conservatory of Music. And she's worth her weight in gold (and then some.) Blogoworld, love her like I do. Fall in love with her genuinely happy photos and her hilariously real adventures. Hook on to her spirit, her laughter, her desire to follow interests that spark her heart. She inspires me. She will inspire you (and evenually, you'll see a photo of her eating a Hagrid Cookie, which was the best photo I've seen all day.) :)
Allyson's timing to get me to write this couldn't have been more perfect; I am writing this as I watch the Winter Olympics. There is nothing more inspiring than being amazed at what these people are capable of when they put their minds and bodies to it! My favorite sport to watch has to be short track speed skating. While watching the Olympics back in 2002, I turned to Mom and asked, "Can I do that?" A year later, I started skating, which is my general motivation to stay in shape. It requires physical strength and endurance, not to mention that you're wearing a full-body, skin-tight suit.
I have never been overweight (Mom is very health-conscious, but more on that later), but I did have some pudge. I think that it was through speed skating that I became accepting of my body. There's something about being with other skaters, also in skin suits, and realizing that nobody really cares how you look, and that it's all in how fast you're able to skate. That said, the faster skaters tend to be slimmer because of how fit they are, which is what made me think, "I don't need to lose weight. My size is fine. I just need to get better muscle tone, and then I'll be less flabby."
Now, I generally hate exercising. How was I supposed to get better muscle tone if I don't exercise? Other than skating, the only exercise I get is through walking everywhere. Walking is amazing. There's a reason why you don't find many overweight New Yorkers. It works your leg muscles, especially your calves if you're walking really fast. Stairs are also great. My high school was 10 stories high, and there's a reason why the sports teams did sprints up the stairs for practice.
But back to my question: how to get better muscle tone if I don't like to exercise? The first step is to eat right to avoid putting on extra fat. Muscles eat fat for energy, but they can only consume so much. As I mentioned earlier, Mom is a health nut. Growing up, she made sure that I took my vitamins, and more importantly, taught me how to eat right. Vitamins are great, but they're even better when found naturally in foods, rather than laboratory copies of the real thing. Try to have at least one serving of vegetables at lunch and dinner. Fruit is also great. Lately I've been eating some blueberries at breakfast, along with my bowl of honey nut cheerios (Or some other cereal that is healthy, but slightly sweet. I also enjoy corn chex. Sugary cereals have always been a treat for when I'm at a hotel's buffet bar or at a friend's house. They taste good, but aren't that filling or nutritious.) Juice has its purpose, but you really only need a small glass a day, or else you sugar overdose. Mom also taught me about portion control: eat until you're full; you can always save leftovers for lunch, or even dinner, tomorrow.
The second step to my question? Actually exercise. This is the part I struggle with. Why? Because it's hard to motivate myself to do something physical when I'm on my feet and lifting props furniture all week long. Most of the time, I just want to collapse on the couch (it's far to comfortable for my own good!) and play Mario Kart. And for as much as I talked about skating, there is no speed skating club here in Cincinnati, so the only ice time I get is a grand total of 4 hours over winter break when I go home. As for exercise in Cincinnati, I live at the bottom of a 2-block-long steep hill that I walk up and down at least 3 times a week, but that's not enough to actually keep me in shape. The past couple years, I've been getting gradually more anxious, fidgety, ADD, and slightly depressed due to feeling trapped. Last quarter, I realized what has been missing in my life that I have always had before: a gym class; ie regular exercise. To fix that, I started taking kickboxing classes once a week at the rec center. There's something about setting a time at certain points of the week to set aside to force me to exercise that works. I'm already feeling more relaxed and am getting back to the toned self I was senior year of high school when I had kickboxing gym class 5 days a week, and it feels great!
So, after all those stories and tips, I'll sum everything up:
What advice would I give to anyone losing weight? What is the one habit I swear by?
1) Eat right: eat nutritional and filling food, but don't overeat. For that matter, don't under-eat either. Eat what your body needs. For example, I wasn't intaking enough calories senior year to keep up with the energy spent in kickboxing, and instead spent the nights frustrated that I was getting dizzy while skating around the rink.
2) Get exercise: set a time (or times) during the week when, no matter how tired you feel, how much work you have to get done (and we all know how many hours are required of us in CCM theatre), you can work out. Do a physical activity that's enjoyable. Don't like running? Find some other aerobic activity. It'll strength your heart, increasing your endurance and general health. I personally enjoy kickboxing classes because it's aerobic, but it also works my muscles.
My next fitness goal is to be able to stay in shape so that next winter, I can make the most of my 4 hours of ice time. I want to be able to keep up with a pack - I'm tired of being better than the beginners, but not good enough to keep up with the advanced skaters. If you want to know what a pack is, watch the short track Olympic races! Maybe you'll get inspired too!