You’re a grown-ass woman, and it’s August, and you’re like, “k, time to sort this body out.” Maybe it’s a weight gain thing, or maybe you’re finding yourself huffing and puffing at the top of the stairs, or maybe you’ve been drinking for England all summer and you’ve decided it’s time to stop treating your body like a garbage can labelled “Pizza Only.” Whatever the cause, this time, you’re going to do it right. You’ve brought in reinforcements. In a fit of fitness ambition, you’ve downloaded a million exercise and diet tracking apps. (You did this wearing exercise clothes and told yourself it counted as “a short run.”) Now what?
A Note Off The Top: It’s Going To Be A Bit Rude.
There’s no gentle way to put this: your living habits are probably worse than you realized. After a few days entering in everything I ate and any time I moved, I realized I was doing a lot of dumb eating—not the occasional unhealthy snack I pictured, but rather my diet was the human equivalent of a salt lick. My diet was more sodium-dense than the Dead Sea. It was fattier than Albert. It was less green than my cat, who is orange, and not green at all. I’d also been tricking myself into believing I was one of those “3 x per week” workout people, which my app has quickly outed as a lie. Resist the urge to throw your phone into the sea screaming “YOU DON’T KNOW ME, PHONE,” because it does. It does know you. Take the information it gives you and use it to motivate yourself. You’ll be a 3 x per week workout person in no time! (Maybe!)
All Exercise Is Good Exercise
Did you walk to the corner store? That’s five minutes “light walking.” Ran up your stairs to stop the cat from knocking over a glass of water? Congratulations! “1 min stair climbing.” Laughing really hard with your friends probably counts for at least five minutes of crunches, and that big yawn you did when you woke up this morning counts as “light calisthenics, 3 mins.” There’s more exercise in your day than you realized already! So far none of the apps I’ve seen have any option for sex-as-exercise, which seems both rude and shortsighted—you’re going to transform a bunch of bodies into fighting shape and then not let them record the fruits of their labours?? For now I’m using “30 minutes, general dancing,” a term that may replace all other euphemisms in current rotation.
Move more = Eat more
The most practically useful part of these apps, for me, is that they really spell out for you how crucial exercise is if you want to eat the amount of food you like to eat in a day. Working out is like a magic “empty” button on your day’s caloric intake. Eat breakfast, go for a jog, and BAM, time to eat second breakfast. Yes, hello, we did it. While it can be depressing to find out that your 20 minutes of light home yoga burned 60 calories—approximately the amount of a small nectarine—figuring out that you can have a big slice of pizza on top of your regular dinner tonight simply because you biked around all day makes you feel like some kind of fitness wizard, simply for carrying on with your day as normal. Perfect.
Stuff I Learned That Probably Applies To You
You’re probably eating way too much sodium, not enough calcium, nowhere near enough iron, and if someone has any tips on what zinc is or where it comes from, hit me up because I finish most days at like, 10% of my required zinc. While lifting weights and stretching and stuff doesn’t burn a ton of calories, don’t let the apps’ focus (which is often weight loss, unfortunately) trick you into thinking they are not worth your time. Stretching and weight training are an important part of any workout regime, and the point is to be healthy, not thinner. Who cares about thinner? (Most of us, and we shouldn’t.)
On a loosely related note, the woman using her Nike+ app to draw giant dicks on maps is the best woman there is.
Good luck to you, my fitness friends. I have faith. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get to a dancing lesson.
Follow Monica on Twitter: @monicaheisey