Tuna, Tea and Salad

I’ve been on break from school now for nearly two weeks and I’ve spent a greaer portion of it worrying about holiday weight gain. For Christmas, I stressed about “tasting” the goodies I made for friends and family, but after making nearly 80 biscotti, 35 chocolate chip cookies and recently 30 or so sugar cookies, I’ve somehow managed to nibble only a few times. This reaffirms everything Women’s Health and Shape magazine have been stressing to their readers. They advocate tasting your favorite holiday treats, but only in moderation. I’ve also managed to keep from overdoing it by listening to my inner skinny goddess telling me I will be utterly miserable if I eat too much. So now that its almost a new year, I’ve had to make the necessary adjustments to my diet to ensure that I will ring in the new year in my skinny jeans.

Since my decision to return to a pescetarian (pescatarian) lifestyle has proven to be successful, I’ve also discovered a diet technique I seem to have been overlooking for months. If you do not buy it, you will not eat it. Whoa. Who knew, right?

My last trip to the grocery store was paired with a warning from my boyfriend to “not buy any chocolate” for him. I obeyed this polite request and found that it was easier to breeze past the candy aisle than I ever would have imagined. Now normally, thanks to my gender, my efforts to nurture those I care about usually consisted of or revolved around food. However this put the temptation right in front of me and my ability to pass up a fun size Snickers bar diminished. Since I was strongly urged to buy fruit instead, I’ve found that the cravings for caramel and chocolate goodness have subsided. Now instead of reaching for a Hershey Kiss, I opt for blueberries, which are packed with brain-boosting nutrients.

I also decided to clean up my snack cabinet by replacing my favorite cereal with bran and my tortilla chips with organic ones that list only four ingredients on the bag! They are a bit more expensive, but this keeps me from wolfing down the whole bag in one sitting.

The next upgrade I made was keeping salad in the house. Now that I have the option, I am more likely to fix a quick salad for dinner, rather than heat up a sodium-filled frozen etree. Pair that with tuna on toast, and you have the perfect meal. Tuna is really the superfood for my diet, because its not only quick and easy to prepare, but its also satisfying in a way that never leaves me feeling stuffed. Just make sure to pair it with wheat toast if you aren’t a fan of it straight out of the can! So my final addiction discovered over my break would be tea. I buy the Lipton Green Tea with honey and have at least a cup every two days or so to kick my sweet craving and avoid robbing the supply room at TCBY. It really helps and makes me feel so much better about myself.

Since today is the last day of 2009, I’d like to tell everyone that is trying to lose weight to keep it up. The results take time, but once you make the necessary modifications to your diet and lifestyle, you’ll be thrilled with the outcome. Also, when making resolutions for the new year, make sure to set small goals for yourself, rather than big ones. This will make your initial goal (whether it be to lose 20lbs or to exercise more) easier to obtain and will put less pressure on you. Sometimes big goals, like weight loss, can be difficult to reach if you try to bite off more than you can chew. Making small goals throughout the year is really the best way to go.

Happy New Year!

Orange Face McGee

Yesterday on my way to class, I stopped to look around at the students buzzing by. After realizing that I had been staring at a sea of Northface fleece and black tights with Ugg boots, I also realized how orange most of these young ladies were. Some of them were platinum blonde with black eyebrows, and others had dark brown hair. Some wore brown boots and others wore gray, but the one thing most of them had in common was the tangerine hue of their skin. This complexion conundrum can only be caused by one culprit: The tanning bed.

I would be a total hypocrite if I acted like I had never sunned in a lawn chair or enjoyed a few sessions in my former apartment complex’s tanning booth, but I realized the dangers and grew to respect my peaches and cream complexion. Although it is true that everyone looks better with a little color in their skin. After all a tan makes you look thinner and hides imperfections. However, the long-term effects that tanning produces is not AT ALL worth the risk.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin aging and cancer are delayed effects that show up many years after the exposure. This is one reason why so many continue to tan at a younger age. They see the immediate effects, tan, glowing skin, and fail to realize that in a few years, they’ll be sporting some serious crow’s-feet. Not only has tanning been proven to age skin more rapidly, but the risk of skin cancer is no longer up for debate. If you tan excessively in the natural sunlight or indoor tanning salons, you will increase your risk of developing skin cancer. With these risks alone, I cannot see the appeal. Is looking good in your twenties worth having a face like Steven Tyler in your thirties?

Now that we’ve established the negative long-term effects of tanning, let’s examine the immediate effects that indoor tanning can produce. Since tanning beds and booths produce the same results as tanning for five to six hours outside, burning becomes a higher risk. In fact, most tanning salons will “warn” customers that the first few sessions may cause burning. This is not only a pain, literally, but makes people look generally ridiculous. You always know who was just at the tanning salon because of their reddish-orange skin. Why anyone would think this looks natural is beyond my comprehension. Not only does it make you look like a lobster, and later a traffic cone, but you run the risk of having your moles cut out of your skin if you develop melanoma. According to dermatology.org, “The number of moles on your body is the strongest indicator for the risk of developing a malignant melanoma.”

So let’s go through the excess tanning checklist one more time:

  • skin cancer
  • death
  • orange or red skin
  • mole removal
  • constantly smelling like burnt flesh
  • looking like Freddy Krueger

    Sexy, right?

If any of these things sound good to you, please visit your local tanning salon and buy a monthly package. If these don’t sound good to you, explore your tanning options, like tanning creams, spray tans, and bronzers. They do work and keep you and your skin safe. Always wear sunscreen and try to protect yourself at all times from the sun’s harmful UV rays!