This year I’ve resolved to become a regular exerciser and to cook at least three times a week.

Last year I was reading an article (I don’t quite remember what it was or where I found it) that asked, “How would your life change if health was your first priority?

For some reason that question struck a chord. My life would, in fact, look dramatically different.

I am definitely in the middle of the road when it comes to health: I always want to exercise but seldom do. When I cook I tend to cook “healthy” meals, but it’s mostly because I have to follow a recipe and get easily intimidated when there are too many ingredients or instructions that I don’t know how to follow. I sometimes take vitamins (my mom is vitamin obsessed), but usually I forget or don’t want to swallow another set of pills (I already take 6 pills a day).

In high school I was an avid tennis player. I was on a recreational soccer team with my best friend. I played goalie on the district Lacrosse team for half a season. In college I fluctuated between periods of high activity (regular workouts, yoga, tennis) and periods of very little activity other than walking between classes.  

After college I joined a gym and went semi-frequently. But since moving to New York, my activity level has decreased tremendously (though, like many New Yorkers, I do have a gym membership). Unfortunately, as Gretchen Rubin has astutely pointed out,

Just because you were in shape in high school or college doesn’t mean you’re in shape now

In the past three years, I’ve gained about 20 lbs. When I’ve asked my doctors about this, much to my dismay they have all had the same reply: as you get older, your metabolism slows down progressively every year. To keep your weight constant, you need to eat less and exercise more every year. In other words, welcome to your 30s, greenapril.

Yikes.

So this is my year to get in shape, girl! Or, more importantly, this is my year to get healthy!

This week’s goal: Track calories and eat healthy.

My Tools: My Plate, Self, and Eating Well

My Plate from LiveStrong counts your calories for you and has a database of thousands of both prepackaged and restaurant foods.

What I Say: I’ve been tracking my calories for about 4 days and I’ve found it easy (and a little bit addicting). It’s clear why people who track their calories lose more weight than people who don’t: tracking your calories makes your think about what you’re putting into your mouth!

Self’s Food and Diet pages provide informative articles, lots of delicious recipes, it’s own healthy living blogs, and a “diet club.”

What I Say: I haven’t tried the blogs or the diet club, but I read Self every month and can attest to their comittment to a healthy you. Their recipes are a bit complicated, but if you’re a carnivore, you’ll love their Chili Dusted Pork Chops with Strawberries and Grits.

Eating Well‘s mission is to provide the inspiration and information people need to make healthy eating a way of life.

What I Say: Every recipe I’ve tried is easy and delicious. Want health(ier) mac and cheese? You got it! Want to a full range of dinner options that are 500 calorie or less? Done.

Try these DELICIOUS recipes, tried and tested by greenapril:

Shrimp with Mango and Basil

Chili Dusted Pork Chops with Strawberries and Grits (mentioned above)

Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons and Parsley Brown Butter

Next week’s goal: Go to the gym!

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