image by: Matthew Wittkopp
One of the keys to keeping calories in check is to read the food labels and writing down the details of everything you put into your mouth, Y'all
Country music - the music people love to make fun of, right? Drawn-out twangy voices, pitiful songs of hillbilly heartbreak, and ridiculous song titles – make country music unrelatable to almost anyone born north of the Mason-Dixon line.
Yes, I understand that there is a huge difference between the “pop” country music of today and “old school” country music. Today’s pop country is all about Christian conservatism, American flags, pick-up truck driving, good-ol’ boys with guns, and flashy women in flowing dresses…Boring.
The face of country music has changed and not for the best. No longer does the middle-aged male cowboy or the (slightly) homely woman dominate the charts; country music is now young, feminine, and very blonde. Not one of the great female singers of the past; Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, June Carter-Cash, etc. would get mainstream radio or television exposure because none of them are up to today’s standard of beauty, bless their little pea pickin’ hearts! The latest generation of country music singers all look like over done beauty pageant contestants. The make up and hair alone must take hours to put together!
Hair and makeup jokes aside, country music has fallen victim to our Yankee ways and curves are no longer acceptable. Thin, willowy bodies are now the norm...bye-bye biscuits and gravy! And the more exaggerated the appearance, the better. Why use one set of false eyelashes when two is soooo much better, right? Singer Carrie Underwood, 27, a pretty young thang with a big southern voice, embodies the change happening in the country music world.
Underwood, the American Idol season four winner gained more than 20 pounds while competing on the show. She says that gaining weight was not an uncommon occurrence among the contestants. “It was crazy. People may be surprised to find out that almost everyone puts on weight during the competition.” The main causes? Stress from the show; bad food choices; lack of exercise; and long days sitting around waiting to meet with vocal coaches and stylists.
However, once she won American Idol Underwood quickly learned that the extra twenty pounds would be detrimental to her career and she lost the weight. (I’m sure she was told to lose the weight, but that’s my opinion.) Underwood began her diet by cutting down on snack foods and eating more fruits, grains, vegetables and brown rice. An habitual snacker, Underwood knew she would need a way to keep track of what she ate to avoid sabotaging her new healthy, low-calorie diet. So she bought a spiral notebook and started keeping a food diary. She explains, “I discovered that writing down everything I ate made such a difference, because you never realize how much you're consuming unless you read it later in the day.”
A food diary is a good idea if tempting foods surround you and in the south they do!
The southern diet is notoriously unhealthy; butter, bacon, gravy, meat, cream, biscuits, pies, lard, and fried everything! So the key to keeping her calories in check was reading food labels and writing down the details of everything she put into her mouth -immediately. “I'm a big nighttime eater,” says Underwood. “When I can look at my diary and see how many calories I've consumed during the day, I'm able to avoid ‘food amnesia’ and figure out how much I can eat at night.”
Underwood also credits a consistent exercise program with aiding in her weight loss. She hired a personal trainer to help her figure out the best way to reach her goals. Underwood’s trainer helped her build a home gym and one that travels with her while on tour. They started with an elliptical machine for cardio, a balance ball for ab work, and free weights to tone her arms, legs, and shoulders. “We got really simple, basic stuff, because if it was anything more complicated, I knew I wouldn't have used it,” says Underwood. Her trainer spent a few weeks helping her develop a routine that she could do on her own.
She now works out 5-6 times a week and her routine is pretty much the same everyday. She typically works out in the morning, starting with the elliptical for 30 minutes and then 30 minutes of weight training to tone her body and build muscle. “My favorite thing is cardio,” she says. “It really helps the pounds melt off, and it gives me so much more energy. Now when I'm performing and running around the stage, it's no big deal, whereas before I was always gasping for breath. Working out has really paid off onstage.”
Though she may feel good about her weight, she says the pressure is there to maintain it. And knowing that she is a role model for young women she wants to make it clear that she does not obsess about the numbers on her scale. “I don't ever want to get neurotic about my weight. I feel healthy and I know I'm a good size for me,” she said. Bless her little heart!
Stacy Matson is a health enthusiast from Southern California and regularly blogs on Celebrity Health for A Healthier World, as well as contributing to the Best of the Best.
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