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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

EYE-CANDY: Two words... Tracy Anderson

Ok, friends. So its about time we start talking about our health and exercise. I unfortunately am a victim of college weight, and I suspect some of you are too.The boyfriend likes to make fun of my chubby child beginnings, however it is from that era of my life that I learned that exercise and nutrition are important parts of keeping ourselves happy, healthy and sane. So after being a fat 11 year old, I of course grew out of it overnight into a skinner self by the 8th grade. I was and have been a dancer my whole life and had known the healthier way to eat and live so I maintained my skinny self throughout high-school and beyond to college... until one tragic day it dawned on me. Dun dun dunnnnnn.... I had gained 10 lbs in just one year in my last year of college. 10 lbs may sound miniscule, of course no where near the 20, 40, 60 lbs that people exclaim they've gained when they finally decide to get healthy. But, I thought I was a healthy person? How did this happen so quickly? And if 10 lbs was so easy, what about the years to follow? Would it be 5 years before I noticed that I gained 50 lbs and lost every sense of femininity and health that I have had all these years? No way, Jose. Not up in here! So I started dieting, jumping back into my brown rice and spinach train. I stopped eating meat so much for the various health reasons. (What reasons? Read Skinny Bitch, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. Also, watch the documentary Food Inc.) Although I treat it like a dessert: just a bite here and when the mood strikes me there. Brenda and I were spinning a few times a week... but then the ice cream kept calling, and the Marco's pizza was stalking me at every corner.  fell back down and kept putting off my health. But there was Jose's friend, the voice, again saying "NO!" So I got serious.

I am a subscriber of, Gwenyth Paltrow's website with everything rangin g from healthy eating tips, things to do and life lessons to her business partner and tiny blonde thing, Tracy Anderson. She is a trainer to the stars, responsible for bodies like Gwenyths, Courtney Cox, Kim Kardashian, Emily Blunt... list goes on forever. But its not her celebrity clientele that attracted me, no. It was her exercise philosophy about women needing to do different types of workouts to achieve lean, tight, feminine bodies. Not bulky body builder, stuff. If thats what you're into, then great, but then Tracy isn't for you. If you wan't a dancer's body, long, lean, and 'teeny tiny' (as Tracy likes to say) then this is the workout regimen for you. She has a set of DVDs that you can buy from her website, tailored for specific body types but its a bit pricey for a poor college student so I opted for her book: Tracy Anderson's 30 day method: The weight-loss kickstart that makes perfection possible. Now if you're interested, go to your bookstore and look it up; read a few pages and see if its for you. Or look around online because there are tons of people that have done it, explained it, and shared their experiences. Basically, her workouts are low weight, high repetition of often over-looked or ignored muscle groups coupled with clean eating and dance cardio. The workouts change every 10 days and the entire day of actual working out probably rounds out to 2 hours. (Its a lot; this 30 day thing was like a part time job so thank God I wasn't in school or I wouldnt have survived past day 3.) The cardio is not my favorite, probably since I'm a dancer and get bored with it easily, but it certainly makes you pour sweat and get a great heart-rate going.

Anywho, the diet? Hard. Its pretty much common sense, things we've heard before: TONS of vegetables, fruits, lean protein, little to no fat and scarce carbs coming mostly from vegetables. You get some yogurt and cheese, and she even includes this delectable alternative for chocolate pudding: choco-chestnut pudding made with dates and it is SO unbelievably good that I find myself craving all of the time. Old pudding? Im done with you. Its over. Now, I followed her diet plan ounce by ounce for about 10 days. Then I decided this shit is NOT cheap, and I wanted to stick to the vegetables and recipe ingredients that I already had so I just decided to recycle and reuse her recipes, freeze left overs and only look for new recipes when I got tired of the old ones. This was especially necessary for me since I live in a Cuban Household where whole wheat is NOT welcome, and steak rules. Ew. ( I mean, delicious, but imagine what's happening in our intestines from that shit?) So I couldn't justify having our weekly groceries be vegetables only, when I know my parents won't eat them and they'll just go bad.

So its day 20, I refuse to measure myself and I do not think weight is a relevant way to measure fat loss. (It has to do with self-confidence and encouragement. If I don't see the numbers changing Im afraid I'll give up, and I certainly cannot let that happen. So I am going through this journey with my overall feeling of health and self-image as my measuring tool.) This adventure was mainly to prove to myself that I can set out and complete something. I may not have been an A+ student, because if I had I know I would have lost 15 lbs by now, but I have improved my eating and lifestyle habits SIGNIFICANTLY. I find that I get full after eating 1/4 of what I used to eat before, carbs make me feel sick, cheese and dairy don't haunt me anymore and vegetable soup is my best friend. I want to continue eating this way for the rest of my life. TA recommends her diet plan to be followed 80/20 to maintain the weight loss and to continue with at least 1-1/2 hours of working out a day. (Im sure if you skip a day or two here or there you'll be fine. BUT a warning, go back to your old ways and I guarantee you'll find in 2 weeks your saggy ass has come begging for residence again.)

I hope to get better at the diet as soon as I move out of this unhealthy food hell, and hope to gain back my tighter and tinier bod by the time school rolls around on the 15 of August, but for now, I notice much smaller tummy rolls and my thighs/hips/ass screaming as they shrink back down. I feel great and vow to continue the TA way for as long as I am able.

Look up the Tracy Anderson Method. There are countless blogs and articles of people going about it day by day. Perhaps if I start her 90 day DVD program Metamorphosis I will journal my progress here.

This summer I made a promise to myself to change my lifestyle for the better and kick my ass for everything I had punished my health with the last 22 years. What did you do this summer?


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