Even if you never watch TV, you’ll still see ads on your phone for everything from clothing to cookies, and both kinds of ads can leave you feeling bad about yourself. Of course, you want to look good, especially when it comes to your Quinceanera. But “looking good” is a lot more than the size label in your jeans—or your Quinceanera dress. It’s also not about looking like teeny tiny Arianna Grande or dancer Jennifer Lopez. It does have to do with making teeny tiny changes so you can be healthy, eat smart, and be the best you possible. So let’s talk about some simple—and practical—things you can do now as you prepare for your Quince that will serve you very well for the rest of your life.
1. Get Real About Your Size
Have you see the post in Women’s Health of the woman in 6 totally different sizes that all fit her just the same? She’s a counselor for teen and pre-teens and every day she hears things like girls asking if the boyfriend would have stayed if she were skinnier. That’s terribly sad, and we don’t want you falling into that trap.
The good news is that, when you shop for your Quinceanera gown, the “sample size” you try on will have nothing whatsoever to do with the real size of the dress once it’s altered. It probably won’t even have a size tag!
By the way, you can read that post about the pant sizes in two different places (and we highly recommend it!):
Women’s Health: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/life/pant-sizes
2. Ask your Folks to Help
A Latino diet is usually heavy on carbs, particularly beans and rice. Neither of those will make you heavy if you watch the portions and if you go easy on the corn and wheat in tortillas and tacos. (Have you ever thought to eat the filling alone without the wrapper? Try it!) But there are other foods that are better for you that you might need to ask your mom to buy at the store.
You can also ask for a little section of the fridge and kitchen that’s “yours” like the back corner of one shelf in the fridge and a basket of healthy treats somewhere in the kitchen like a cupboard or maybe even on top of the fridge.
3. Research What’s Right
It’s pretty much common sense to have an apple instead of a bag of chips, but there are a lot of quick foods that are good for you. If you know in advance what the better choice is, it’s easier to make it.
Here’s a terrific article on 18 healthy snacks—and a lot of them are portable for your purse or packable in an insulated lunch box: http://lindseyreviews.com/18-best-snacks-for-weight-loss/
4. Empty the Cupboard of Empty Calories
Again, we’re talking about your part of the cupboard—whatever you can control. You can’t insist that your mom not buy cookies and sweet cereal for your siblings, but you can ask her not to buy them for you.
You might already know, but “empty calories” refers to things that have calories but very little nutrition. Classic empty calorie foods are soda, chips of any kind, cookies, candy, cake and (sorry) french fries.
- Warning: Dont’ think that switching to diet soda and “low-cal” or “low-fat” snacks will solve the long term healthy weight issue. It’s been proven that the artificial sweeteners in diet soda can mess up your metabolism and over time can make you gain weight. Also, with the so-called low-cal and low-fat foods, there are things in there that your body won’t know how to use as food, so you’ll end up eating more. You might lose a few pounds right away, but in the long run, anything artificial will hurt your metabolism.
5. Restock with the Good Stuff
Once you’ve dumped your part of the cupboard—or at least put some blinders on so you don’t see what’s there that your kid brother can scarf down without gaining an ounce—you’ll need to have things on hand that are healthy.
Referring back to that article above (18-best-snacks-for-weight-loss) some things that you can keep in your purse or backpack are walnuts, Wheat Thins, kale chips and (believe it or not) Cheerios. Good stuff for your lunch and to keep in your section of the fridge include Greek yogurt, grapes, apples and cheese
6. Be Careful with Quick Fixes
Just because you choose “juice” instead of soda in the school cafeteria or on the run does not mean you’ve chosen more wisely. Learn to read labels and, again, get educated. For instance, some “healthy” teas and juices in have as many calories—and sometimes just as much sugar or worse, the dreaded high fructose corn syrup—as that can of soda you didn’t buy.
One thing that’s almost a sure bet is a small bottle of milk or a veggie drink like V8. Milk has protein, and while V8 can be a little salty, the calorie count is great for the quantity. Stay away from the fruit smoothies altogether if you want to watch calories, and read the labels on the veggie smoothies. Some have just as much fruit as greens, but some are really packed well with greens and just enough fruit to make them taste good. The true veggie smoothies are fabulous for both your taste buds and your waistline.
7. Fresh Veggies vs. Anything in a Bag
Did you know that nutritionists say to eat at least 10% of your daily food as fresh veggies? They’re also easy to pack when you’re planning to snack at places like the movies. Just take a baggie filled with baby carrots, celery sticks, and cherry tomatoes.
Not that into veggies, but you’ll eat them with a dip? Go for it—just make the dip something healthy like Greek yogurt veggie dip for just about anything and use fresh ground peanut butter on celery sticks.
You can also get a cream cheese blend with Greek yogurt mixed into the cream cheese. Add some flavoring like onion soup mix, and you’ve got a great dip that’s also got protein (the Greek yogurt/cream cheese mix has 4 grams of protein in a serving).
If you don’t like peanut butter or for some reason, peanuts tend to plump you up, then get almond butter.
8. Eat Just a Little Less
“If you want to grow thinner, diminish your dinner.” That’s an old quote by H.S. Leigh. But how do you do this? There are a bunch of ways:
- Use a salad plate: Instead of a dinner plate at home or at a buffet restaurant, instead put your dinner portions on a salad plate.
- Eat slower: You might think you’ll slow down the others or make them wait around for you to finish, but if you take a smaller portion of everything, it’ll work out evenly.
- Chew every bite—a lot: There are different “rules” out there, but the basic thing is to actually chew your food and not have just a couple of chomps then swallow and on to the next mouthful.
- Quit when you’re ¾ full: It takes a little practice, but once you get used to having a not-totally-full stomach, it can feel pretty good.
- Don’t wear stretchy clothes: Somebody recently did a study that wearing things like yoga clothes and loose clothes (like those comfy jammie pants) can actually result in eating as much as 1000 calories more per day. Now, that does not mean you can’t enjoy an evening in jammies in front of the TV or relaxing. Just don’t snack while wearing those loose pants!
- Old but True Saying: “Nothing Tastes as Good as Being Thin Feels.” Let’s get sensible and say “Nothing Tastes as Good as Being Healthy Feels. ” Any way you slice it, though, either remark is totally on the mark!
9. Learn to Go Against the Group (politely)
Just because everybody wants to go get a pizza doesn’t mean you can’t go. It just means you choose a side salad before you have the pizza and then have one slice only or just a couple of small squares.
Also, going back to the “chew well” theory, trust us: If you learn to “chew pizza really well” you’ll taste it and won’t need to scarf down a lot more!
10. Choose Home-Cooked Over Eating Out
If you do a search, you’ll find a lot of info on people who have lost a ton of weight just by not eating fast food at all. They actually eat more at home, but because it’s more nutritious and doesn’t have all the preservatives and junk in it, their homemade food doesn’t pack on the pounds.
You can get your friends to do this—with your folks’ help—by having that pizza party at home with a make-your-own-pizza theme. Then you can control the portions plus what goes on your half.
And if your friends want to have high fructose or diet soda, just make the party BYOB—bring your own beverage!
11. Learn to Read Labels
This sounds like a lot of hard work, but it does get easier. Just take the time to look at ingredients lists, and after a while, you’ll get a feel for it. Here are a few tips:
- Nothing with high fructose corn syrup (that eliminates most sodas plus a lot of other foods are sweetened with this stuff)
- Nothing with artificial sweeteners (bye-bye diet soda and low-cal junk food)
- Choose foods with more protein than fat
- Choose high fiber (when comparing bread, take the one with more grams of fiber per slice)
Tough but True Tip: If you eliminate high fructose corn syrup alone your metabolism will improve. Yes, that means you’ll “totally give up” a lot of stuff—for a little while. After you’ve skipped the high fructose for awhile, you won’t like the taste of things made with it.
You don’t have to starve yourself to maintain a healthy weight or spend every waking hour in the gym or running or whatever, and you don’t have to go vegan to be all-around healthy. Just follow these tips, and you’ll see a lot of improvement in how you feel overall.
For some great common sense advice on how to find the perfect Quince gown that flatters your shape and your skin tone and fits correctly, check this out: https://qbydavinci.com/blog/how-to-choose-the-perfect-quinceanera-dress-top-5-tips/