It’s a new year, and none of my pants fit. You can still see the story of 2017 writ large on my hips and thighs: I stress-ate and binged-watched Netflix my way through the inauguration, a move to a new apartment, the loss of a father figure, seeing two of my four kids through both high school and college admissions tests and being part of giving birth to The Glow Up. Eight months later, I am a full 3 inches bigger everywhere—and no, that does not mean getting taller.
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What does 3 inches mean in pounds? I have no idea. I stopped weighing myself 14 years ago, after the birth of my last child. Now, I measure myself by how well my body feels and whether I feel sexy in my clothes or not. To look at me, 3 inches may not seem like much of an issue; but the true costs of letting go instead of building up are little aches and pains in my feet and my lower back, bad posture, irritability and fatigue.
Let’s start from zero. I vowed to do two things at the top of the year: Walk more and drink more water. Those are the two best and simplest things anyone of any age can do at any time. And they cost you absolutely zero.
There are a lot of things that motivate me to take a walk—even on a ridiculously cold day like today. It clears my head. The street-style aspect of getting dressed and looking good—even if I’m in sweats—feels like a little runway moment. I’m famous for walking the runway, and I can tell you: If you want your walk to pay off, you’ve got to do it right. When you strap on your shoes, choose something with a lot of cushioning in the heel and adequate arch support. I like Asics Gel Nimbus for stroll or a marathon; one can lead to the other if you make it a point to go a little further each time you decide to go for a walk or a run.
When you walk, hold your head up—I can’t stress enough the importance of looking forward, throwing your shoulders back and holding your stomach in tight while you’re out for a stroll. Increased screen time has us all hunched over like trolls for too much of the day, necks craned forward and shoulders sloped while we morph into our machines for hours on end, firing off phone calls and emails. It’s a lot of stress on the joints and the spine, not to mention the fact that this hunched posture tells the core muscles that support and strengthen the abdomen and lower back to relax and let go.
Water is the body’s first line of defense when it comes to proper functioning. Adult female bodies are 6o percent water and the brain itself averages a 73 percent composition of water, so it stands to reason that water is key to its proper functioning. Drinking water lowers the sodium content in your bloodstream, which works to reduce both diabetes and hypertension, the two biggest BFFs of heart disease. And heart disease can affect you no matter what you weigh, so it’s good to remember that drinking water and walking are the enemies of hypertension and bad cholesterol.