Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Health and Whimsy: My favorite health and fitness magazines.

Hello ladies,

Reading health and fitness magazines each month encourages me to maintain focus on my goals. Having titles like Women's Health, Shape, Fitness, Health and Self on my magazine rack is a visual reminder to continue positive momentum throughout the year. While each publication has beneficial features, I will outline my favorites.

Women's Health is my top pick. With its newsy and informative content, I am guaranteed to learn something about nutrition in every issue. I appreciate the well written articles and the amount of research required to put together a magazine filled with health and nutrition facts. The motivational tips are presented in an accessible style that doesn't underestimate the reader's intelligence. 

I am excited for the direction Shape is taking in 2012. The magazine brought on a new weight loss diarist, Yasmin Rammohan, who has an affirming self view and wants to incorporate diet and exercise as part of her positive lifestyle changes. I think her attitude is a fantastic start and I'm looking forward to reading about her progress each month. I am enjoying the Workout of the Month feature with travel friendly, tear out sheets in lightweight cardboard. I appreciate the suggestions Shape offers for healthy substitutions for traditional menu favorites.

Fitness consistently shows a variety of moves to keep your workout routine interesting. The visuals of portion controlled meals are useful to put serving suggestions and restaurant menu items into proper perspective. I appreciate that Fitness is devoted to featuring healthy, non-models of various sizes.

If you want to learn about creating a balanced diet and the benefits of specific foods, Health can get you started. There are articles each month about the links between nutrition and disease prevention. This magazine is a great resource to understand how the foods we choose affect our overall wellness.

Self magazine is a fusion of health and fitness with trends in beauty and fashion. A fun read with a lighthearted approach to self care, this publication will entertain you with celebrity interviews and destination fashion shoots. 

While all five publications offer useful tips on diet and exercise, I would most recommend Women's Health and Health for information on nutrition and meal planning. Shape and Fitness showcase updated workout moves to add to your routine to keep it fresh and effective. Self  blends wellness with style.

I'll give Oxygen an honorable mention. I appreciate the articles on eating a clean diet. The magazine has a strong training focus and is well suited for ladies who are interested in weight lifting for competition or are devoted to strength training. I will likely pick up the occasional copy at the bookstore.

If you choose to purchase or subscribe to any of these magazines, don't be taken in by the advertisements for diet pills, weight loss vitamins or shakes. These publications are for profit; Their content doesn't mirror their advertising. You will find thoughtful articles about sensible meal plans side by side with ads for protein powders promoting fast weight loss. I understand they need to stay in business and limit my interest to the articles and features.

Occasionally, I have trouble with the format of success stories. The momentum of these articles shows women who report vast changes in their self confidence and lifestyles before and after weight loss. There are unflattering descriptions about their weight gain such as how they ballooned or packed on pounds. 

I think the editors need to do a better job presenting success stories with respect to women's bodies of all shapes and sizes. I can still appreciate the tips in these articles and the work these women have done to succeed in their goals. I would prefer the focus of the stories to be more positive start to finish. The message that weight loss will change your life dramatically is incomplete at best. A focus on health and fitness needs to be accompanied with ongoing attention to self esteem and self care.

When I began Health and Whimsy, I was mindful that I wanted to let my confidence and good feeling show each week. I don't feel any need to put myself down for past choices or exalt myself for my current behavior. I'm simply living my life and I am happy with who I am today.

This past week had been positive for me. I am down another pound, with 24 pounds lost since since September 1st. While I am enjoying the muscle toning workouts from #P90X, I am planning to get out power walking this week and take part in the lovely, unseasonably warm January. I am going to mix in the DVDs with walking.

To adhere to my resolution about reducing the amount of cheese I consume, I decided not to buy any until after March 1st. There is enough cheese in my fridge to enjoy over the next few weeks if I am careful. I already began switching out servings with soy cheese. As much as I prefer whole foods over processed (and the majority of soy products are considered processed or functional foods), dairy cheese consumption isn't the best for weight loss/maintenance or heart health.

Do you read health and fitness magazines? Which are your favorites? How are you doing with your New Year's Resolutions?

Health and Whimsy is intended to be a journal of my personal experience. Be sure to consult your doctor before making any changes to your health regimen. 

Happy painting, ladies!


  1. I used to read Shape and Women's Health and my former roommate used to have Health subscription. Among us, we had 3 titles to read, which was abundant considering how little did we exercise :)

    Now, I don't read any of them anymore as I find using the exercises in those magazines to work out to be quite ineffective. Instead, I opt to buy DVDs and work out with them. Having a person to coach me through is a lot better.

    1. Dao: I prefer DVDs or classes because it forces me to move through the exercises faster. I like being able to read the descriptions in the magazines though. I've learned tips about form. My favorite thing about fitness magazines are the nutrition segments.

      I had a friend who loved setting up routines for herself using what she learned in books and magazines. She even set up an obstacle course in her backyard. Pretty amazing! Oh, to be that self motivated! :)

  2. Thanks for this post, I find that the more articles I read about fitness/health/self-esteem the more likely I am to keep up with my own goals.

    When I started changing my habits I knew I needed to work on my confidence and I didn't want to lose weight at the expense of my self-esteem. I agree completely agree with your point on the before and after articles. It's true that I may have been over indulgent in the past but I didn't know the things I know now about eating healthy and exercise. And although I do want to lose weight, I'm not going to think of myself as a hog in order to motivate myself.

    1. I feel like there are a lot of other situations for why people gain weight other than overeating. For myself, if I don't stick to an exercise plan the numbers of the scale go up even though I eat much healthier than many people I know (who weigh less). I would love to see different perspectives in success stories.

      Your have a really self-empowering way of viewing changing habits. I'm sure that will help you succeed in whatever you do.

      Thanks for sharing!

  3. Your doing so well. I gained 8 pounds over the holidays. I can feel every one of them. Also eating all those sweets & salty food don't made me feel good. I've cut back on both. I can't give them up completely. That will make me go back to where I was before. I've lost 6lbs this week. Also helped by having a stomach virus! Not feeling good yet but at least I lost weight! Instead of having 2 cookies I've had one with my tea. Portion control is very important. Just cutting my meals in half has helped me lose weight. I read Self magazine & Oxygen. I used to read a few others but I gave them up. They weren't relateable for me. I can't do the exercises & I just found a lot of information online. Keep up the wonderful work sweetie.

    1. Oh, Lucy! I'm sorry you weren't feeling well recently. I hope you are better soon. Oxygen does have some great tips on healthy snacks and meal plans. Have you read Health before? It sounds like you are refocusing after the holidays and have everything in check. Good for you. :)


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