I'll have a lemon (no soda)

Tuesday, May 21, 2002


When life gives you lemons, put them in your water.

That should be my motto.

You see, last week I went to the doctor for a routine check-up and was told that I need to lose 40 pounds.

"Forty pounds!" I cried in disbelief. "You have to be kidding."

He wasn't.

In fact if I gained 10 more pounds I would be considered obese for my height, he said.

I can't help it if I'm only 5 feet tall. Maybe if I could grow 6 inches I wouldn't have to lose weight.

But since I haven't grown a centimeter since eighth grade, I don't think that's going to happen soon.

The only good thing about my doctor telling me this now is that I've joined the Fit to Print team for Shape Up Cape and have been exercising regularly for the first time in years.

For the past week I have tried to do 30 minutes of kickboxing, 30 minutes of aerobics and 10 minutes of strength training each day. A few days I decided to take a break and walk instead, but for the most part I've stuck to my regimen pretty well.

I've also decided there's no point in exercising if I'm not going to change my eating habits, so I've modified my nearly all-sugar diet to include more salads and less candy.

I also decided to cut out soda.

I admit it. My name is Heather and I'm a drive-through-soda junkie.

I used to drive through local gas stations one or two times a day to get my 32 ounce Sprite fix.

But no more.

My doctor told me that 3,500 calories equals one pound of fat -- a fact which, quite frankly, grosses me out when I think about the amount of useless calories I consume in my Sprites.

He told me to think about it this way: If I cut out 500 calories a day then I am essentially cutting out 1 pound of fat per week.

Each 32-ounce soda has about 373 calories. If I cut out that drink, plus the two regular-size sodas I usually drink each day, that's a total of 653 calories a day and 4,573 each week.

I decided to give this calorie crunch effort a try and have been enjoying ice-cold water with lemons instead.

It took a little getting used to since I hate drinking water, but it's not so bad after a while. The lemons help a lot.

Another thing I'm trying to get used to is eating at home.

I used to eat out -- and by eat out I mean drive through a fast-food joint -- about five or six times a week.

You can imagine how all of that eating out would leave me stocked up on fat and calories and low on cash. In my efforts to not only shape up, but save up, I've decided to quit eating out.

I know local fast-food chains will mourn my decision because of the lost revenue, but I'm sure they'll manage, just as I will.

I've also tried to stop snacking after 7 p.m.

This could be my downfall.

I love to snack -- especially on candy and other sugary goodies like cookies and other desserts -- while I'm watching TV at night.

The first day I tried this I thought I was going to die.

By 8 o'clock I was starving, but I was determined to make it through one night without snacking.

The next morning when I woke I felt good knowing I had conquered my hunger.

That night wasn't as good.

I couldn't help myself. I splurged and enjoyed some -- OK, a lot of -- Jelly Belly's around 8:30 p.m.

My hope with all of these lifestyle changes is that by the end of September, when Shape Up Cape is over, I will have lost a good portion of my weight and have gotten myself into a healthy trend of exercise and diet that I can benefit from for the rest of my life.

Heather Kronmueller is a staff writer for the Southeast Missourian.

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