Real Girl Beauty

For every girl who's imagined herself as Lucky Magazine's "Lucky Girl." Or who's conquered her addiction to the bitchier-than-thou forums. Or who reacts every day to her Daily Candy email with the same: "Who can afford that?" Here are some heartfelt health and beauty tips from one Real Girl to another.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

What You Want: Part I

(Recent and frustrating problems with my home internet connection are now hopefully resolved. I'd tell you about it except for its boringness and the extreme amounts of potty-mouth language I would have to use...)

The next two RGB entries will be about you and your questions. Because I love you and your questions. You are nice people. And if you look your best, then I get to see prettier people. See how selfish I am?

The bulk of questions Real Girl receives fall into three categories.
1. OH MY GOD wrinkles! What can I do to diminish/prevent/abolish them with the fiery power of Satan?
2. My hair needs your help. Pleeeeeeeeeease.
3. You look so trim—what are your diet secrets?

The first two questions I’ve devoted much time and energy to—as you’ve seen and as you will see more of very soon. The last question, however? I’ve been avoiding for months. Why? Because…well…shouldn’t diet tips be left to experts? Who the heck am I to advise people how to lose weight. But the questions…they keep coming. And long-time readers will remember that I used to post a health-related entry now and again (before being taken over heart and mind by ohhhhhh the beauty products and only the beauty products)…So let’s see what I can do.

First of all, I don’t know how you can tell what my figure looks like from a head shot. I did post a slightly more revealing photo a while back, but I promise you I am not skeletal skinny. And ew, that’s not attractive. So let’s not go overboard on our weight loss here, okay? Keep it real, folks.

Secondly, my biggest and best secret isn’t some crazy fad or diet-of-the-moment. It’s this book: Superfoods: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life. Although not a diet book in the traditional weight-loss sense, I can’t tell you how good this book is for promoting health and energy. But more? It’s geared toward giving your body the best nutrients to age as gracefully as possible. By including these foods in your diet, you can fight wrinkles—and the other annoyances of getting’ older—from the inside out.

I’m going to cheat a little and tell you the fourteen superfoods, but I urge you to get the book to find out what the alternative foods are (for instance, I hate beans, but green beans count, and mmmm love those), how much you should be eating of each food, and what nutrients they offer. I will fully confess that I am totally not stringent on making my diet all about only healthy food. But when I choose to eat a pint of ice cream for dinner every once in a while? Superfoods make me feel way less guilty.

1. Beans
2. Blueberries
3. Broccoli
4. Oats
5. Oranges
6. Pumpkin
7. Salmon
8. Soy
9. Spinach
10. Tea—green or black
11. Tomatoes
12. Turkey
13. Walnuts
14. Yogurt

How you incorporate superfoods into your diet must be up to you, but I’ll let you know what I do. For breakfast, I have my energy-licious Spiru-tein soy protein shake (I'm into banana right now), always with frozen blueberries added in. I can only say it is friggin’ yummy.

I guess my other biggest weight-loss strategy is to have a large lunch and a small dinner. For lunch, I like to have a big salad, preferably from Café Metro. I love Café Metro because of their awesome all you can eat salad for less than $7. And let me tell you, I so take advantage of it. “Big salad” does little to evoke the bigness—and the fillingness—of this lunch. In this salad I include: baby spinach, grilled chicken, avocado, artichoke hearts, mozzarella cheese, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, grape tomatoes (so good), almonds, sunflower seeds, croutons, sweet corn, and scallions. Sometimes? (And lately more than sometimes?) I also have a giant Rice Krispie treat too. This is one reason why I currently have about 6 lbs to lose. Sigh. The Whole Foods salad bar rocks, too. Oh, and I so don‘t go easy on the dressing, so I try to keep it low-fat.

I then usually have a small dinner of fruit, soup, or—and this is a fave!—blueberry yogurt that I make by combining yummy Stonyfield Farm Nonfat French Vanilla Yogurt with dozens of frozen blueberries and leaving the mixture in the fridge over night. When you’re ready to eat, just stir and enjoy fresher and sweeter blueberry taste than you’d find in any pre-packaged yogurt. (If you use plain yogurt rather than French Vanilla, you might want to keep some Splenda nearby.)

To sum up: lots of vegetables, big lunch, small dinner. But also key? The whole thing goes down the drain on the weekends. From Friday night to Sunday night, I eat anything I damn well please, including raspberry cheese croissants from Au Bon Pain each morning. MMMM. Because who can stick to a diet without cheating? I love cheating.

All this seems easy to write and read, but I’m lucky that I truly love and crave my healthy salads, shakes, fruit, yogurt, etc. I refuse to sacrifice taste. But if nothing else, I fall back on my small dinner strategy to lose those extra pounds. Once I’m into the routine, it sails by swimmingly. I don’t crave more food after dinner and I’m not dying of hunger the next morning. The hard part—and it is, indeed, hard—is getting my body used to the small dinner routine. For instance, with Thanksgiving and the holidays here, I’ve been having rather large dinners for the past few weeks. Hence my need to lose the 6 lbs. But getting myself back to my small dinner routine has been excruciating. Because at night, I’ve been used to more food—and so I’ve been getting hungrier. The only thing to do is to force myself to have a small dinner and ignore the hunger, and then by the next night and the night after that, etc., my body’s used to it, and all is hunky dory. But if I start up with big dinners again? The pants become snug. Also? I’m going to have to start ignoring those huge, fluffy-looking Rice Krispie treats right by the salad bar at Café Metro. Damn you, tasty treats.

I hope you’ll get the Superfoods book. Everyone I’ve recommended it to has raved about their increased health and energy. And in a couple of decades, your younger-than-their-years heart, skin, and health will thank you.

But come on, please share your diet—both health and weight loss—secrets! I’m dying to hear them!

With love from your,
Real Girl

P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY REAL MOM!! On December 5, Real Mom has a birthday that’s very close to a major milestone. (Celebrating? Included a night of karaoke until 2AM involving two random 23-year-old guys dedicating their every song to my inebriated mother. Also? They gave her roses.) To show you all how younger-than-her-years she’s looking these days, I present a Thanksgiving pic of three generations of real girls.