Staying Fit in the City of Food

Posted on January 23, 2014


By Lindsay Graeber


With a new year upon us, many people are making resolutions that revolve around health, fitness, and weight loss. Along with the expected difficulties that coincide with these pursuits, in Memphis we also have the constant and overwhelming temptation of amazing restaurants.

Despite my occupation as a Pilates instructor and my dedication to leading a healthy lifestyle, I admit that my favorite aspect of Memphis is the food. Amazing restaurants that target every price range are located from downtown to East Memphis. However, as with most eateries in the South, light dishes are typically absent from the menus. From the famous barbecue, to Downtown Dining Week, to lists such as the Commercial Appeal’s “100 Meals to Eat in Memphis Before You Die,” Memphians are surrounded by messages that illustrate the importance of food to our culture. In a metropolis with such tasty, high-calorie food, how can anyone attempt to lose weight or even try to stay healthy? After all, many experts agree that 70-80% of weight loss and maintenance occurs in the kitchen rather than the gym.

But, that leaves 20-30% of weight loss that you can control with exercise alone (not to mention the enormous health benefits of adding exercise to your life!).  I firmly believe that one good habit leads to another, and the most important routine to start is to move each day. By adding movement to your day, whether it’s with a structured workout session at the gym, a group class at a local studio, or just getting off the couch and walking your dog, you’re increasing your overall fitness level and developing healthy habits.
The more active you are, the more you will begin to appreciate your body for what it can do. I constantly encourage my clients to maintain the mind-body connection they feel during a class throughout the week. Pilates or any fitness regimen should be a lifestyle rather than simply a workout.  The more aware you are of your body, the more conscientious you will become of the food you put into it. The most important aspect of any workout routine is that you find something you enjoy and want to continue. If you dread going to the gym and running on a treadmill, don’t do it! There are so many options in Memphis, don’t turn exercise into a chore by doing something you hate.  Grab a friend and run on Mud Island, sign up for a new class at one of the many studios around town, or take a walk with a coworker on your lunch break. Small changes lead to big ones, and before you know it, you’ll be leading a healthy lifestyle. By increasing your daily fitness level, enjoying the occasional three-course meal for Downtown Dining Week won’t even make a difference.

Lindsey Graeber is a Pilates instructor certified through Power Pilates and trained in Atlanta and Nashville. She teaches mat classes at The Pilates Place, located upstairs in Mednikow Plaza, and at Rhodes College. For more information and to sign up for classes, visit or email

Posted in: Health