Sunday, November 30, 2008

Interested or Committed to Weight Loss?

A client of mine sent this to me today and I just had to share it. I hope you enjoy and are willing to discuss in the comments where your mind is today and what you will do the rest of this week to be in the committed group!

From The Wt. Loss Minute By Linda Spangle, RN, MA
Author: 100 Days of Weight Loss

"What is wrong with me?" Carol slammed her hand down on the table. "I'm so frustrated with myself! Every morning, I tell myself that today will be different. I'm going to stay on my diet the way I should, and NOT fall off by the middle of the afternoon."

"Have you been having trouble with this?" I asked. "You wouldn't believe it," she sighed. "I've done everything you've said. I plan out my meals, set out my exercise clothes, buy healthy foods, and write down what I eat.

"But every afternoon, it's like this monster comes over me and I lose my determination." Tears began sliding down her cheeks as she continued, "It feels too hard! I've had a lot of challenges and disappointment lately, and I always end up reaching for a glass of wine or a few cookies to help me cope. Then I get upset because I've messed up my diet again."

I handed her a box of tissues, then responded, "Carol, there's nothing wrong with you at all. What you're doing is extremely common and normal. I think the real issue is how you're coping with your life struggles."
Then I asked, "How badly do you want to lose weight? How important is it to you?" Carol wiped her eyes, then responded. "I want it VERY badly. I can't stand how I look and feel right now. I would give ANYTHING to be able to lose weight."

"Anything?' I asked. "Does that mean you're willing to give up having wine or cookies when you get upset or feel challenged?" Carol thought for a minute. "Are you saying I can't ever have a glass of wine after a bad day?"

"Not necessarily," I replied. "Being successful isn't about setting rigid rules or feeling deprived. It's about making choices based on what you truly want in your life."

It sounds great to say 'I really want to lose weight' but making this happen takes effort. If you tend to routinely fall off your diet plan, you may want to look at the difference between being interested and being committed.

When you're 'interested' in losing weight, you say all the right words, but it doesn't take much to get you off track. A hard day, another disappointment, and you're back to food being your best friend.

In contrast, when you're 'committed' to your weight-loss plan, you stick with it no matter what. You don't blame circumstances or other people for your slip ups. On days when you get worn down or don't "feel" like dieting, you stay on the plan anyway.
Here's a summary of the two directions.

If you're "interested" in losing weight...

* You stick with it only until something better comes along (such as doughnuts).
* How you feel determines your outcome. If you don't 'feel like it,' you stop your efforts.
* You need to see results. When the scale doesn't move, you lose your motivation.
* You blame everything else (people, travel, circumstances) for your struggles with staying on your diet.
* Whenever you face challenges in life, you give up and plan you'll start your diet again tomorrow.

If you're "committed" to losing weight...

* Nothing stops your efforts. You stick with your diet, "no matter what."
* Emotions don't control your actions. You stay on track even when you don't feel like it.
* Your motivation isn't linked to the scale. You assume that if you stay motivated and work hard, you'll eventually see results.
* You don't depend on other people for your success. You know it's up to you, not them.
* A bad day or a lot of challenges don't affect your efforts. You keep going in spite of it.

At this point, Carol nodded. "I thought I was really determined to lose weight, she said. "But I've been acting like I was onlyinterested in it. Starting today, I'm going to change my approach and live in ways that show I'm truly committed to my goals."

Folks, let's really brainstorm reasons why we don't make the committment switch and stay in the interested phase. I want to know what is that you think is really holding you back and how you are going to bust through it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Holiday Survival Guide - Week 4 - Moving Around a Holiday Party

At this point we have talked about some of the three most important elements of getting through the holiday season; planning, activity and healthy, yummy recipes. This week we are going to discuss how to move around a holiday party setting so as to come out the other side unscathed.

My first point is to plan. Remember in the beginning we talked about what parties were ones that you wouldn't give up. If this is one that is negotiable then maybe not going is the option. I know you might not like that, and your host may be a bit offended but hey, who is most important in all of this? If that is what it takes to make or break your weight loss and fitness goals then I say excuse yourself politely.

If you decided that this is a party that you must attend here are a few tips that you can use.
    1. Make sure that in the weeks and days leading up to the party, you are spot on with your plan. That means no extra bits of chocolate or eating the leftovers on the spoons. It also means getting in your exercise each and everyday. Now is not the time to slack off.

    2. Just as we wouldn't go shopping in a state of starvation, do not send yourself into the lions den without having had a good amount of food before you leave. I mean within 30 minutes grab yourself a can of tuna or other protein, put it on a piece of whole wheat bread and have a piece of fruit. This will set you up so you don't feel like you are starved when you arrive.

    3. Limit your alcohol. Do you really want to be drinking a days worth of calories in one or two beers or a couple of cocktails? If you must drink stay away from the fruity drinks as they pack a wallop of extra calories in the sugar content of the drink mixes. Alternate each glass of alcohol with a glass of water.

    4. Dress the part of success in that you want to go feel slim and trim. Put on a skirt that makes you feel pretty and sexy. You won't want to be busting out of the seams if you are wearing form fitting fashion.

    5. Enjoy the event. The event is not about the food.. The event is about getting together with family and friends. Some of whom we probably haven't seen in several months or maybe even a year. Take pictures of your children or recent vacation, think of the conversations that you want to have with people to help divert the focus away from the food.
By using some or all of these tips above you can participate in holiday parties, feel included in the group and still maintain your weight loss and fitness lifestyle.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Day In My Life

I get a lot of questions from people wondering what I eat and what I do for exercise or how do I get it all done. So I thought it might be fun to share what my day looks like as well as the foods I eat and workouts I do on a regular basis.

Day starts: 05:15 a.m.
Son off to school 06:30 a.m.
Work 08:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Workout at lunch 12:00 p.m. - 01:00 p.m.
Work 01:00 p.m. - 05:00 p.m.
Pickup son from practice 05:00 p.m.
WW meeting 05:45 p.m. - 08:00 p.m.
Home for dinner 08:00 p.m. - 09:00 p.m.
Prep for next day 09:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

This is a typical day for me. I have two WW meetings, one on Monday and the other on Thursday. Those days are very busy for me. My son dives so I have to get him from diving practice daily after work. He will also frequently accompany me to WW meetings or the gym if necessary. On Saturday mornings I have a WW meeting at 8am and a boot camp class that I teach at 10am so half my Saturday is used up as well. Sunday’s are used for laundry, grocery shopping, bill paying and food prepping for the next week.

I also have horses and dogs at home that need to be fed, pampered and played with. I have a husband as well, so I can’t waste much time and any amount of free time I have needs to be used wisely.

I tend to use one menu for my food for the week and then change it weekly. This is just easier for me as far as food preparation goes so I always know what to expect.

Here is the menu I’m following this week.

B – 1 lg. egg, 3 egg whites, 1 c spinach, ¼ c salsa, 1 t canola oil (scrambled) ½ c oatmeal
S – 1 sm. apple, 2 TB peanut butter
P/W – 1 scoop protein powder mixed with water, ½ sweet potato
L – ½ bag mixed greens, 1 pouch of seasoned tuna, and ½ c oatmeal mixed with ¼ c pumpkin
S – 1 scoop protein powder mixed with water, ½ oz almonds
D – 4 oz ground turkey, ½ c marinara sauce, ½ bag cauliflower
S – Scoop of casein protein powder mixed with sugar free Jell-O pudding.

This is about 1700 calories, 55 grams fat, 153 grams carbs and 163 grams protein

Currently, I’m completing two full body workouts and a lower and upper body split during the week. I do cardio the other days and swim one night of the week. Here is an example of the workout I completed today. I did three sets. Tonight I’ll do 30 minutes on my NordicTrack ski machine at home.

Superset One: Frog Thrusts
3 passes walking lunges 3 passeswith 20# DB
3x10 OH Presses 10 reps 25# DB
3x10 Lateral Raises 10 reps 15# DB

Superset Two: Step Up Jumps Single Leg Alt (split 15 sec one leg, switch) (use a step bench) completed3x10 Weighted Step Ups 10 reps 20# DB
3x10 Dumbbell Strt Leg Deadlifts 10 reps 115# BB
3x10 Bentover Rows 10 reps 65# BB

Superset Three: Straddle Jumps on Step Bench
3 passes Bearcrawls 3 passes
3x10 Chest Presses 10 reps 70# BB
3x30 sec Planks 3 sets of 30 seconds each alternating leg raises

Superset Four: Mountain Climbers
3x10 Pop Squats 10
3x10 Biceps Curl 10 reps 20# DB
3x10 OH Extensions 10 reps 25# DB

So there you have it, if you ever wondered what I do for a workout or what I eat, this is it. If you have questions please feel free to post them up, I’ll be happy to answer.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holiday Survival Guide - Week 3 - Eating Healthy and Yummy Foods

Holidays sometimes bring to us huge food challenges. Although we know that the holidays aren't about the food we have to be realistic in that we know we will be facing foods and needing to bring foods with us that are both healthy and yummy or let's face it, we probably just won't eat it. I mean there is more to life than chicken and broccoli, right?

The first thing I think that we have to acknowledge is that food can be both healthy and great tasting. It takes some practice to be good at cooking with different flavors and getting used to different textures but all of this is part of getting food to taste good.

Secondly, if you are Weight Watchers member and have access to E-tools you should be using them. There is a plethora of information on the site that allows you to search for recipes and input your own recipe to find a Points value and work changing ingredients to fit into your Points area. Many times just changing eggs to egg whites or whole milk to non-fat milk can significantly change the Points value and the taste is not sacrificed in the least.

So, what if you aren't a Weight Watchers member or you are but don't have access to E-tools. There are many sites on the internet, cook books either in the meeting room or the library that provide healthy recipes and all the nutritional information for you. If you aren't interested in those two options we can even purchase software that allows the nutritional information to be figured and you can start your own recipe collection for just a few dollars. MasterCook is a great one that I use and recommend.

Fresh fruits and veggies are great to keep around on trays during this time. Almonds and other nuts are a wonderful source of fat and cheeses and yogurts are a great way to get dairy and milks in too. Combining some of these together with some creativity can make for a great snack or mini meal while we are waiting for the BIG event.

Lastly, everything in moderation people, if you must have some of grandma's pie that is only made one time per year, have that piece and enjoy it. But forgo the mashed potatoes or count on exercising a bit more to make up for it.

I would love to get comments on what healthy and yummy recipe you are making for yourself this year to stay on plan and achieve your goals while still satisfying your taste buds.

Monday, November 17, 2008

So just what is protein?

If you are training and eating to lose weight, protein needs to be a staple in your diet. Why? Without getting all scientific or geeky on you, here is a simple explanation.

A protein is a long chain of amino acids. Proteins have different functions, some of which are; maintaining structures within our ligaments, aiding in digestion, the building and repair of muscles, and the production of antibodies and hemoglobin.

Protein is one of three essential macronutrients identified in dietary requirements. Since its primary function is the growth and repair of body tissue, it is required for just about every cell within out bodies.

Protein will also boost your metabolic rate, which in turn helps your body torch the fat. Some research as shown a boost in metabolism in as much as 30% for several areas after protein in consumed, whereas, a high carb meal might only produce upwards of 10%. This means a higher protein diet keeps our metabolism burning calories even after you have eaten.

Protein also helps to stave off hunger. Starting your day with a large egg and egg white veggie omelet will hold you over much longer than the fruity cereal that you may be wolfing down now. That is assuming you are even eating breakfast. The breakfast issue is itself an important topic, which we will address in a later post.

Protein after a workout means potentially less pain later. Drinking a protein shake immediately after workouts has been shown to be the best way to boost muscle protein synthesis at the most critical time of your training day, thereby optimizing the muscle building and growth processes. Conversely, if you don’t use the post workout window to feed the muscles properly, those fibers will actually breakdown rather than rebuild. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) may also be offset by a post-workout shake.

So, with all of the above information you can see the importance of protein in your diet, so let’s work on getting in some more during the next week.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Holiday Survival Guide – Week 2 – Exercise

You probably knew that you wouldn’t get through a 12-week series with me and not have me mention exercise, right? The reason that I’m putting it into the 2nd week and not towards the middle is because last week we talked about planning and I think that exercise should be planned into this season just as are all the parties, pageants and gatherings.

At a minimum if we can keep our exercise in place, then we are helping to burn a few extra calories or gain a few activity points. This will certainly help because I just know that extra unplanned goodies will be had.

Exercise doesn’t have to be done in one block, and during the holiday season big blocks of time usually aren’t readily available. So if we acknowledge that, we can then insert little pockets of extra movement throughout the day. This gets our exercise in and can actually benefit our metabolism by giving it several positive bumps during the day.

Here are a few things that you can do in 10-minute blocks throughout the day. Select three or more of these, and you have your activity in for the day. Everyone has 10 minutes, between commercial breaks at TV time, standing over a stove cooking dinner, breaks and lunches at work or waiting for a son or daughter to finish an after school practice.
  • Walk a half-mile or better yet push yourself and walk 1 mile.
  • Jog in place or do high knee raises.
  • Dance around the house to your favorite music. Get your kids involved and they will benefit too.
  • Jump Rope or fake jump rope if you don’t have one.
  • 5 minutes of squats, followed by 5 minutes of bicep curls (use some soup cans from the store).
  • Walk up and down stairs.
If you don’t want to do one of these for ten minutes combo up a few of them and make each of them be 2-3 minutes and you will be feeling better and energized in a relatively short period of time.

Our holidays are busy, but by incorporating a small amount movement we can stay on track and give a gift to ourselves.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sailing In Rough Waters

Achieving weight loss and fitness can be likened to sailing. Wikipedia offers this description:

“Sailing is the art of controlling a sailing vessel by changing the rigging, rudder and dagger or centre board. A sailor manages the force of the wind on the sails in order to change the direction and speed of a boat. Mastery of the skill requires experience in varying wind and sea conditions, as well as knowledge concerning sailboats.”

The vessel is analogous to our bodies and the sea and winds, to the ever changing environments, and challenges we face on a daily basis. We are the sailor, learning how to manage all these things as we move through life. Sailing can be a fun, yet frightening experience as one learns this skill.

Many times as we sail, the waters are calm and we are learning how to maneuver through life. As long as we are weighing and measuring and losing weight and things are going our way, we are quite happy. We sail parallel to our ultimate goal of reaching the coast line but we are content with the status quo. However, we soon become dissatisfied with our existing position and decide that we must grab the helm of the boat and sail directly toward our goals. Directly into the rough waters.

During this time, we have to decide what we really want and whether we willing to make the sacrifices that are necessary to get to our goal. It won’t be easy and certainly not as fun as just sailing along, but it will be worth it in the end.

Are you sailing along and discontent with your current state or is it time for you to sail into the rough waters?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Holiday Survival Guide - Week 1 - Planning

The holiday season is really only a few days long but it somehow gets extended to 90 days or more.  Nevertheless, it is fast approaching and I thought that a great way for us to approach this period is to break it down week by week.  Let's see if we can get through it with less stress, some weight loss or maintenance. We can even set ourselves up for making New Years Resolutions that don't involve losing the dreaded 5-7 lb gain that often follows the traditional Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas ham feasts, and New Year's drinking binge.  Join me over the next 12 weeks where we will look into everything from planning and moving around a work environment to goal setting.

You may be tired of hearing me say it but, plan, plan and then plan some more.  Plan for what you know is happening and even more importantly, plan for what might happen and of course, expect that there will be occurances that completely catch you off guard.  This is the time of the year when the unexpected happens all too often.  Remember, failing to plan is planning for failure.

So, how do I suggest you start? Decide what you really want out of this holiday season.  Do you want to maintain, lose or would you even accept a small gain in the scale.  Yep, you heard me right.  If you know that you are willing to accept a small gain in the scale then let's just put it out there right now.  Then, get your a calendar and start marking down those parties and events that you know you will NOT miss.  You know the ones with grandma and grandpa, church or school related events, and put them on the calendar now.  Start investigating what is going to be happening at these events as we will have to move through them.  We can't be having cookies and eggnog at them all and if we go without knowing what we are setting ourselves up for, crash will happen.

Once we have a schedule done, then we need to start mentally rehearsing how we will handle these occasions.  We have several options, from bringing some of our own lower point and lower calorie dishes, to avoiding the food entirely.  We will get into some of those other areas later in the series but for now keep your calendar handy so we can always know what we have in store for us.