Feel Good, Look Good, Inside and Out

[Image from Internet]

[Image from Internet]

Gigi Balsamico, Staff Writer

We have a crisis going on in our country, in our city…in our school. It’s an epidemic caused by unbelievable high expectations set by the magazines and the TV ads we see each and every day: the body image crisis.

Everyone has the bar set so high, it’s unattainable! What’s right? What’s wrong? Eat this, don’t eat that, do this, not that, buy this, or this, or have a free trial for this, sign up for a membership here, don’t sign up there. With all these crazy fad diets, gym memberships, protein shakes, and diet pills (not to mention the more extreme performance-enhancing supplements or injections), it’s no wonder we are left at the end of this whirlwind, wondering, What should I do?

On January 1st this year, I started a challenge called the Feel Good Look Good challenge, and each day I took a picture in the mirror right before a workout. It’s a 365 day challenge, so right now I’m almost a third of the way into it. It’s very simple. All I do is eat portion-controlled meals under 500 calories and two snacks during the day. Most of my friends see me snacking on carrots, roasted chickpeas, grapes, strawberries, pineapple, or celery sticks. These snacks keep me from binge-eating during the day. I also increased my exercise intensity everyday.

I realized that I was never going to be perfect, and that’s why this is called the Feel Good Look Good challenge. It’s about looking good, sure, but notice that’s the second part of the challenge. First, is the part about FEELING good. If you feel confident and sure about yourself, then that is all that matters! I learned and accepted that I would never look like the girl in the magazine because, newsflash- even the girl in the magazine doesn’t look like the girl in the magazine! Things like Photoshop have made us feel like we are never pretty enough or skinny enough.

It shouldn’t be about other people, it shouldn’t be about having the “best” diet program, or the most expensive gym membership, or the most “effective” workout/weight loss shakes or supplements. You don’t need any of that! You need control over your life. And sure, there are programs like the Beach Body programs with cool workout plans, and the Shakeology meal replacement shakes, but sometimes that’s not affordable! This is especially true of teenagers like us. We don’t have $200 to throw towards a program we don’t know will work or help us.

I’m here to tell you that you don’t need that. We have a gym here at school! You could sign up for a joint membership to a gym with your best friend and split the cost, carpool, and have a workout buddy! Take someone on the journey with you to feel good and look good!

As of April 1st, I am running a challenge through my Feel Good Look Good program called the #FGLG100Challenge . The challenge is to do 100 sit-ups, 100 push-ups, and 100 jumping jacks each day. Don’t panic! You do 20 of each when you wake up, three more intervals throughout your day, and the final interval 30 minutes before you go to bed, in order to keep your body burning calories as you sleep. I encourage you to join this challenge and post a picture on your Instagram with the #FGLG100Challenge each day from today all the way to July 9th!

This is a great way to get (and stay) fit for the summer months. Remember that you can do this! You can easily lose weight by making small changes each day. Replace milk, iced tea, soda, Gatorade, and other drinks with water to save a whooping 450 (average) calories a day!

Replace unhealthy snacks like Girl Scout Cookies, Oreos, chips, chocolate bars, cereal bars and cookies with healthy snacks like carrots with hummus, celery with peanut butter, apples with peanut butter or almond butter, grapes, strawberries, pineapple, watermelon…the list goes on and on!

Eat as many of your favorite fruits and veggies as you please throughout the day. For dinner, steam up asparagus or broccoli or kale with your dinner. If you participate in Meatless Monday, you’re cutting out an average of 500 calories a day!

If you sub your breakfast of a sausage, egg, and cheese bagel from school with a huge bowl of fruit, you’re saving about 220 calories, just from breakfast alone!

Ditch the fries at lunch and pack your own sweet potato fries, baked instead of fried, or replace with a giant salad bowl filled with your favorite veggies and toppers (ditch the cheese on the salad for a 60 calorie saving per 1 1/2 cup of salad) along with a few tablespoons of your favorite dressing…and I’m not talking about ranch!