Ask Stella

Where Do I Start?
Question: " Dear Ms.Juarez, You may remember me , the 13 year old girl who wanted to lift weights. Well I have started a weight lifting class at my gym 3 days a week for an hour and I am loving it !  I am trying to eat healthy but I just can't. I try REALLY hard, I printed off the motivational tips from your about website and nothing seems to be working. My mom is more than willing to help by cooking healthy ( she is a nutrition guru herself) and I just don't know how to start.

Should I try too drop all the bad habits like ( muffins, chocolate, fatty fast food) or just start eating more veggies? I am very confused. My goal is to get a body that is firm and I wouldn't mind losing a few pounds in the process.  Thanks again,  Christina

Answer:  Christina,  Yes, I remember you! I'm glad you took it upon yourself to implement some of the suggestions I had and look over some articles. Congratulations on beginning a weightlifting class! Since I'm a person who had to struggle to get a B in aerobics (which always screwed up my G.P.A. - hated that!), I can't begin but wonder what could have been if my aerobics teacher had suggested weights- maybe I'd be the strongest woman in the world by now,lol.  I love lifting- it has become one of the highlights of my day.  It will be the key to creating the shape you want as you progress in life and you will discover it has a lot of rewarding challenges aside from the firm body that you want.

Maybe it would be wise to take a step back and stop worrying about getting EVERYTHING done all at once. I know you are probably antsy to experience the rewards and see changes so inside your head you keep trying to get yourself psyched up to change everything all at once (diet, starting to workout, eat more veggies, stop eating every bit of junk).  While I find people who are able to get fit "cold-turkey" style remarkable, I know that for most people, it really just doesn't work out that way.  Now, I'm not suggesting that you excuse yourself from trying or that once you achieve a goal, you should rest on the accomplishment.  What I'm saying is that doing something that YOU are willing to live with, particularly since you are just started out and have so much time ahead of you to figure this out.

The way I see it, you've already taken a few very important steps that you should feel good about.  First, you were proactive enough to write me, you joined a weights class that you attend three times a week. Now you seem to "get it" that your diet is a key component to your progress.

You mentioned muffins, junk food, and chocolate.  Yes, you are going to have to give them up most of the time but you can do this in stages.  For example, for the next two weeks try to only have that chocolate once a week and eat only half the muffin. At a fast food place,  try to have a chicken salad with light dressing or grilled chicken sandwich with a side salad & iced tea (instead of fries and soda). Anything that is closer to food in its natural state or at a bare minimum isn't fried is a better choice.  Most restaurants have a brochure with the nutritional information in them, just ask the manager. You might be shocked at the numbers you see.

After you've done this for awhile, try NOT going to a fast food place but eating something at home. Print the sampler PDF of the Stella's Kitchen cookbook and ask your mom if you can help make something for dinner that sounds good to you.  Make extra so you can have some for another meal.  If you crave sweets, try a glass of Crystal Light or some sugar free jello.  Oh, lastly, it's impossible to eat too many vegetables. Enjoy dark leafy greens (iceberg lettuce has almost no nutritional value), broccoli, asparagus, celery sticks etc to your hearts content.

Here is a link to a recent article I wrote for that I think might help you understand what I am trying to explain. "Baby Steps to Success"  This article should reinforce some of these ideas I'm talking about.  I think you have great potential and I'm proud of you for caring about your health at such a young age. Keep me posted on your progress and let me know how you like the weights class.

~ Stella