Dear me

The challenge? Thirty health-related posts in 30 days, using prompts prepared by the folks at WEGO Health.

Day 10: Dear 16-year-old-me. Write a letter to yourself at age 16. What would you tell yourself? What would you make your younger self aware of?

Dear teen self:

There’s so much I could tell you that I’m not sure where I should start. Let’s start with the obvious.

It’s important to start taking care of you now. Even though you hate PE, there are exercises out there that you can not only tolerate but actually enjoy. Start with Zumba, spinning and yoga — and move often. Walking is good, too … and someday, you might even think about taking up jogging. Don’t let that first 20-minute run of the C25K plan intimidate you.

My sophomore yearbook photo.

Eat some spinach once in a while. It tastes good — even cooked. Don’t gag. It’s true. Same thing goes for turnips. And salads are not the enemy. With a little meat, cheese, lots of additional veggies and some blue cheese dressing, they can be delicious … and filling. You can be satisfied eating rabbit food. Believe it.

When you go off to college, don’t make a habit of late-night Taco Bell runs and Papa John’s pizza and breadsticks. You’ll be better off if you don’t have ice cream every night at the dining hall, too. And, for heaven’s sake, lay off the breakfasts of PopTarts and Dr Pepper. You deserve better than that.

Carbs aren’t necessarily your friend. You might think biscuits and gravy are foods from the gods, but they’re not. Same goes for French fries. And just because you CAN get a bacon burger with a side of fries daily at the student union doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Again, you deserve better.

Don’t be so quick to scoff the first time you read “Atkins’ New Diet Revolution.” Giving up pasta, bread and potatoes might sound nuts, but the truth is you won’t miss ’em — and when you finally commit to a low-carb lifestyle, you lose more than 100 pounds.

Consequently, don’t abandon low-carb dieting two years after you start. It’s the diet that works best for you. Not only does it free you from constantly thinking about your next meal, it allows you to lose weight consistently, week after week.

Drink lots of water. Pop might taste great, but water is much better for you. Try flavoring it with lemon slices or even a little fresh mint.

Most importantly, try to love yourself, whatever your weight. Never forget you’re talented, smart and funny. (Of course, if you take the rest of my advice, you just might not have to top out at 306 pounds.)

Love,

Your older, (hopefully) wiser self

P.S. Massages rock. Doesn’t matter if the masseuse is male or female. Either way, it’s sixty minutes of pure bliss. Just be sure to drink a ton of water on massage day — not right before the appointment, though. You don’t want to have to interrupt massage bliss for a bathroom break.

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