Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How Do I Celebrate New Year's Eve and Be Healthy?

No matter how or where you like to celebrate you CAN do it in a more healthy way.

Saying that does not mean that you should deprive yourself and not have any fun at all!

Figure out ahead of time what your biggest challenge is--is it the buffet table filled with breads and cheeses, or the dessert tray laden with high fat, high sugar confections? Or is it the alcohol?

"Know thy enemy" and plan accordingly. Whether you are at a buffet, a friend's party or a sit down restaurant you can succeed. Success starts at home! Eat during the day (don't try to "save up"--you'll be starving and eat way more if you do!) with an emphasis on light foods, lean protein, lots of vegetables and drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated!

Then at the party or restaurant, allow yourself a modest amount of your favorite treat--if your friend Sue makes the best dish for New Years and you have been waiting all year for it, then have some! Then be sure to find other things that you enjoy to fill you up. If possible, choose things that are light and have little or no sauce--lean protein like shrimp is great (emphasis on the lemon rather than dipping sauces) and feels special. Take extra vegetables and less bread or potatoes.

If you are at a buffet-- check out what others are enjoying. Survey the scene before committing. That way you can get what you like the best without piling your plate to the ceiling. Then once you have filled your plate-- move away from the table! If you hang out by the food, you will eat more than if you have to walk across the room for seconds! If the food is in easy reach, it is easy to eat unconsciously, even if you have set the best intentions.

And drink your water! Cocktails have a lot of calories AND they lower our inhibitions about overeating--a double whammy. Make at least every other drink water--if plain water doesn't feel celebratory, make it sparkling mineral water.

Be more active than usual! If you normally watch the ball drop on the television from the comfort of your couch, try dancing along with the participants to burn up some calories...and make your own healthy snacks--just remember to include a couple bites of special treats!

And if you do overindulge--go easy on yourself! You are a wonderful human being. Beating yourself up won't burn off calories or start the party over.

By doing these things you will feel great not only on New Year's Eve, but on New Year's Day, too!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Affirmation for Health

My body easily and naturally returns to it's state of ideal health

I am directed to eat, drink and exercise in ways that are best for my body and temperment

Things that are not healthy for me no longer have any appeal or interest

Thank you for these blessings.

If you are not feeling ready for this affirmation, be sure to go back to basics! Refer to my earlier post about using the mind as your ally in achieving ideal health.

Monday, December 29, 2008

My Reward Yesterday

Yesterday I got a great reward for keeping up with my exercising and eating healthy choices.

We went for a walk at our favorite spot--and I was able to complete our normal walk so much more easily and quickly than ever before! Hurray!!!

While on the walk we met some other people who were very friendly, saw beautiful scenery and even got to love on a big dog! It was a wonderful time.

Next time, we'll be able to go further than we've gone before!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

How are You Doing Over the Holidays?

How have you been doing over the holidays?

Have you been enjoying the people in your life?

Have you been enjoying the food of the season?

Are you feeling positive about the year ahead?

I've noticed that I am enjoying the food--much of it very healthy, but also some wonderful holiday treats--and really enjoying it while eating significantly less!

I have been continuing my gentle exercising routine, too.

This is one of the best post-Christmas experiences I have had. A good place to repeat every year!

Let's all keep the positive attitude up and our health goals will naturally follow!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Have a wonderful day today!

Wishing us all peace on earth.

Peace on earth starts with each one of us...being at peace with ourselves.

Enjoy the day, however you celebrate!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dealing with the Sugar Blues

Yesterday we talked about avoiding overeating from the sugar high...what about the opposite? Eating driven by the sugar blues?

When I eat more than just a little refined carbohydrates...especially if I do it for a couple of days...I find that I wake up a bit more groggy and grumpy. My mood is a bit lower and so is my energy level.

I know that if I grab an extra cup of coffee, or a sugary treat I will get a temporary boost and almost immediately feel good. I also know that it doesn't last and to maintain that, I would have to keep ingesting sugar and caffeine all day long.

Since I have consciously chosen to treat my body better and to improve my health, the sugar/caffeine route is not an acceptable alternative.

I will allow myself my usual cup of coffee, but I start my day with a lemon cleanse. I use products by Dr. John Gray, but if you prefer, get some lemon juice (or squeeze your own) and put it into a glass of water--at least 8oz of good filtered water. Drink that when you first wake up.

Then I move to my exercise routine. I will be gentle with myself...taking a bit more time to warm up than usual, but I keep the routine up for longer. I want to be sure I can feel my body warming up from the inside, so I know my internal furnace is "cooking"...

Now I will have my coffee (I use 1/2 decaf), no sugar. I enjoy the quiet time, read a little or listen to something that is positive and uplifting.

After that I am ready for some good protein and complex carbohydrates and another big glass of water!

Starting my day this way helps me to break the sugar cycle. If I feel a slump later because I really over did it the day before I have a small snack of protein and complex carbs...this is the perfect time to have a few nuts!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sugar Side Effects

If you have, like me, had a bit more sugar in the past few days than you have been having for a while, you may have also noticed some of the side effects from consuming sugar.

I find that refined carbohydrates have a tendency to cause me to bloat and they also affect my moods. After the sugar "high" there is a dip...some call it "the sugar blues".

There are 2 times that are the most dangerous for me...when I eat (or drink) sugar and it starts to hit my bloodstream (the high) and when it has run through and left me depleted. During the high, I feel great, so powerful, strong and happy, so I might be less conscious about my food choices. During the low I want those feelings back.

This is the real roller coaster that causes so many of us to have issues with our weight. So how do we overcome it?

Some people will tell you that you must not ever have a single bite of the confectionary world...I don't think that is very realistic for most of us. You know I talk about there being no forbidden foods. That is especially true at the holidays!

The best way I have found to control the tendency to overeat from the high is to allocate a finite portion before I have a single bite. Whether it is a slice or pie or cake, cookies or fudge, put your serving on a plate, then put the rest away. If you are somewhere that you can't put it away (like at a friend's house or a buffet) then move your body as far away from the sugary stuff as possible.

After you have enjoyed the treat...brush your teeth! If you are away from the house, try a breath strip or mouthwash spray. This takes the sweet taste away from your mouth so you are not constantly reminded of it. It also subconsciously makes you want to eat less...brushing your teeth is generally a signal that you are done eating.

Check in tomorrow for my thoughts on handling the sugar blues.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sugar Plums Danced Into My Mouth What Do I Do?

Well, they weren't sugar plums...but we received a package of wonderful homemade cookies as a holiday gift. And of course I ate some.

So what do I do now? Do I beat myself up and ask why I ate the cookies? Or do I congratulate myself because I didn't eat the entire box?

I vote I congratulate myself. I enjoyed every mouthful (there are still some left, by the way...that alone is a huge accomplishment for a recovering compulsive overeater!)

I've done a great job at eating holiday treats in moderation, eating lots of vegetables, keeping up with my exercise and drinking lots of water and herbal tea. I will continue to do these things and really enjoy the holidays!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Jay Leno Apologizes to Loveland Woman

Following up on yesterday's post about Jay Leno's insensitivity to a local woman who has lost 80 pounds through hard work--mostly lost of exercise following the format of The Biggest Loser television show--

After receiving a complaint from the owner of the gym where she is a regular, Jay Leno himself called Susan and apologized. She also received flowers from Leno and an offer to fly her to his show, when she reaches her goal weight.

Susan is choosing to use this promise as additional motivation for her to reach her goal--staying healthy for life! She hopes to one day ride a horse, hike in the mountains and travel. These may not seem like difficult goals to achieve, but when you are obese any of these can be a challenge!

I applaud Susan for her success to date, her future success, her positive attitude and her determination. She is a great inspiration to me to also continue with my own "health for life" goals!

You rock, Susan! Keep it up!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Jay Leno Taken to Task for Disrepecting Weight Loss Success Story

She's lost 80 pounds through determination, positive attitude, changing her mindset and hard work. But that didn't get her any respect from comedian Jay Leno.

Susan, of Loveland, Colorado (the town where I live) started at over 400 pounds and in less than 8 months has dropped 80 pounds through weight training and exercise routine at a local gym. Instead of admiring her discipline and dedication, Leno in a recent "Headlines" section of the Tonight Show, commented that it looked like all she had done was change her shirt.

It is hard enough to decide to change your life--and being overweight is an emotionally charged issue. We've been made fun of, ridiculed, disregarded more times than we can count...but for most of us it is not on national television!

I've lost over 100 pounds through my own efforts...a different path from Susan's, but one that is working for me. And I do know that when I lost my first 50 pounds it was hard for other people to see the difference. When you start off as obese as I was, all most people see is a big person. And at 250 pounds I was still a big person. People who know you well, see the difference. Professionals in fitness see the difference. But most people just don't. So given that personal experience I'm going to cut Jay a little slack...and guess that he really couldn't see the difference. But does that mean he should make fun of her? Absolutely not.

To her credit, Susan is determined to use this as a positive--a "kick in the back seat" to keep her going. Rather than feeling humiliated and deciding to just hide under the covers, Susan is an awesome role model for how important our attitude about any situation is. It is our mindset that determines our success or failure--not what someone else says or does not say about our progress.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Puffiness, Bloat and Feeling Fat

Yesterday I mentioned that I noticed a few more fine lines on my face because I have less fat to fill out the skin...

I used to wonder when I would hear people say "I feel fat--I weighed 2 pounds more this morning and my clothes are tight"....I just couldn't fathom being able to actually feel 2 pounds!!!

But I am noticing that I am more sensitive to any puffiness or bloating that may occur. This could be from eating a bit more salt than normal, not getting enough sleep, or having an allergy to something in the environment. Because my body is less "swollen" in general (in other words, I'm not as fat as I was) the difference is more noticeable to me now.

I suppose this is really a mathematical thing (math? me? wow...I was an art major after all!)

But let's think about that for a sec...when I weighed roughly 300 pounds, if I swelled up an extra 3 pounds, that was only 1% of my total body weight. Now if I swell up that same 3 pounds it is more than 2% of my total body weight. So the affect is twice as wonder I feel it more now.

This feeling/sensitivity is a good thing. It alerts me to when I have eaten something that my body doesn't particularly like, or that I'm not taking care of my body. It will also be a tool in my weight loss belt to keep me from getting out of control with food and gain weight back.

I love the idea that I will notice a 2 or 3 pound shift and it will make me uncomfortable enough that I will make an extra effort to pay attention and make the little changes that I might need to make in order to get back on track. How much better to have that alarm bell go off at 3 pounds than 30!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Changing Face of Laurie

One of the things that I've noticed is how much my face is changing as I am on this weight loss journey...I guess 100+ pounds does make a difference.

I knew that my face would be thinner of course. What I wasn't expecting was that I would notice more wrinkles. Hey they are really fine lines and they aren't serious, but it is something that happens. As there is less fat in the face to "puff out" the skin, some of those lines are more visible.

It is a small price to pay!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It is Too Cold to Exercise Outdoors

What do you do when it is too cold to exercise outdoors?

Everything is relative, so for you "too cold" may be quite warm for someone else...the actual temperature is not the point!

If you feel that it is too cold for you to be exercising outdoors, no matter what the thermometer says, you can modify your routine and safely move your body indoors. Or take the opportunity to "mix it up" and do something completely different!

  • Walk around your house...vary your path to prevent wearing a path in the floor! Be sure to stretch, just because you are indoors does not mean that you don't have to warm up those muscles and tendons! Change your pace, include stairs if you've got 'em.
  • Put on some music and dance, dance, dance! It is a great way to get your heart rate up and move your body. And if you pick a favorite it will put a big smile on your face, too!
  • Put on an exercise DVD and follow along.
  • Practice yoga, breathing exercises or other slower paced movement programs that you might not be able / willing to do outdoors.
Have fun and move!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Don't Have Time to Exercise

This is a hectic time of the year...wait that infers that there are times when it is not hectic, doesn't it?

Well, whether you are more busy than usual at this time, or just as busy, now is the time to remember to take care of yourself. That includes exercising.

"But I don't have time to exercise" I hear the voices coming from behind my screen as I type this (and typing on the keyboard does not count as exercise!) This is when my Jumping Jack theory works perfectly!

You have time for one (as in uno, ein) jumping jack, right? Commit to doing that. There's no need for taking the time to get on fancy exercise gear for one jumping jack...just get up and do it.

Why does this work?

Because it is easy. It is possible. You know you can do it--so you do it. You are moving your body more than you would otherwise...even if it is for only one jumping jack.

And because many of you will end up doing more than one...maybe 2 or 3 or 20. You might do them all at once, or maybe one each at several different times during the doesn't really matter.

So have fun...and do a jumping jack!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Remember to Drink Water

During the summer it is pretty easy for me to drink a lot of water. In the winter it is more challenging. We tend to spend more time indoors and less time being physically active outdoors. Since we're not hot and sweaty, a big glass of refreshing water may not be the first thing that comes to mind!

However, it is just as important during the winter months to keep hydrated, and good, pure water is the absolute best way to do that.

Not only is water crucial for our bodies to function at their peak, keeping hydrated helps our brains operate efficiently and clearly, and it also helps our skin to look its best. If that isn't enough, drinking ample water helps us feel fuller so we don't overeat! Especially helpful with all the holiday treats that are around this time of year!

Tips on getting your winter water allocation--
  • Have a water glass or bottle on your desk
  • Drink water at room temperature so you don't chill your body
  • Add a small amount of pure fruit juice to a glass once in a while for variety--try a little apple juice and pretend you are having cider! (with a lot fewer calories!)
  • Drink herbal tea (no caffeine)'ll count for your water intake, comes in lots of flavors and is zero calories. If you want to sweeten it, get Stevia.
  • Invest in a water filter so that you have plenty of clean, pure water available all the time. Use this filtered water for drinking straight and also for your tea.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oprah's Weight A Familiar Story

I love Oprah...not that I know her personally, but most of us feel like we know her since we have watched her on television and read her magazine for years.

Oprah has had many of the same weight struggles that I have had, with her own variations, of course. I am grateful that my struggles have not been in the eyes of over 2 million people!

I can relate when she says she is embarrassed by her recent weight does feel embarrassing to have made huge health gains, only to see them slip away. Been there, done that. More than once.

As embarrassing as it may feel, we should all take note that this is a lifetime journey, not a "once done never gotta worry about it again" event.

Sometimes a health issue, like thyroid in Oprah's case, is the cause. Other times an emotional upheaval disrupts our lives and we eat as a protective mechanism. That's what I did when I was going through my divorce.

The best thing we can do is get back on the health wagon as soon as possible. Keeping a positive attitude about it is crucial. Beating ourselves up over our past "failures" doesn't serve us. Let us learn from the experience and move forward.

So for all my friends out there,including my own self and those, like Oprah whom I have not actually met--let us love ourselves as we are, knowing that we are getting healthier and happier every day, and that it is our health rather than a number on the scale or dress size that is the important thing!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Size is Relative, Beauty Comes in All Sizes

Look, I'm never going to be a size 2--and that's okay. My bone structure and muscle mass does not lend itself to that size.

Right now I'm a size 16. My ideal body is a healthy size 12. Over time with my positive attitude and the changes I have made and continue to make to my lifestyle I will get there. But that isn't really my point.

My point is that we are all made differently. I happen to come from sturdy stock...I don't think there were any lithe royalty in my lineage. My ancestors were farmers and the like. And a lot of them were poor. So my build was very useful. I am strong..."strong like booll"...oh how I wish accents worked in blogs....anyway, my body strength I'm sure came in handy. Maybe we didn't have a bull (or cow or horse) and had to pull the plows ourselves. I could have done that.

We can learn to appreciate our differences. I used to be envious of the delicate boned beauty pageant types, or people like my best friend who had long legs that seemed to reach her arm pits. This did nothing to help me. All it did was diminish my own sense of worth. It was no more beneficial than it would be to be jealous that someone had green eyes or blonder hair.

By appreciating our differences we can better love ourselves. There are things that tall leggy gals can do that I can't (like be a Rockette, for one!) and there are things that I can do that the showgirls can't. Guess that makes us even. Not the same, but even.

One of the greatest lessons I got on beauty in all its varieties was when I was working at the swimming pool as a very fat lifeguard (I was fat, but I was strong and fast in the water!) I saw people of every size, shape, color and shade. And I learned to see how beautiful they all were.

It took me a while to learn to see the beauty in me...but once I did, amazingly, that is when I started to drop my fat shell!

Now I'm learning to be the best that I can be. Not the skinniest. The best. That may mean that by some people's standards I will always be "large"...that's okay...if I were a latte, I guess I would be a venti!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Am I Fat Because of My Genes?

Yet another study has come out blaming our being fat on genetics.

I used to take some comfort in these studies. It took away some of the pressure and responsibility--it allowed me to continue to be obese. After all, it must be in my genes!

Never mind that no one had ever done a genetic test on me--I didn't actually know whether or not I carried this or that gene. I simply chose to presume I did.

Why? It allowed me to be a victim, to not take responsibility for my own body and my own health.

OK, so even if I have the gene that gives me a greater chance at being does not guarantee that I will be fat. The gene itself living in my DNA does not make me fat...any more than having the cancer gene means we will develop cancer. We may have a greater chance of developing these conditions because of the gene, but it is not a foregone conclusion.

In all things, we still have CHOICE! Hurray for that!!!

Choice takes us out of the victim role and EMPOWERS us in our lives.

I have learned that a positive attitude combined with portion control and moderate exercise allow me to be a healthy, happy individual. One who has lost 100 pounds, to boot!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Social Networks and Obesity and Health

We've all heard the phrase "birds of a feather flock together"...well this is an old-fashioned way to talk about social networking. Today we call it Law of Attraction!

Social networks typically mean a group of people who gather together...who spen time in each others' company...for the purpose of having fun--socializing.

When we do this, typically we seek out people with whom we have something in common...

What does this have to do with obesity and health? All too often, we will associate with others who are of similar size and/or have similar health habits. If you love junk food, you might not have much in common with a person who is a total health food nut. Of if you don't exercise, your path might cross that of a fitness buff.

Our task is to broaden our scope of friends as we narrow our girth! Surround yourself with people who are generally happy and healthy and it will increase your chances of being happy and healthy, too.

Scientists have actually documented this phenomenon and claim that these habits are actually "contagious" if you don't want to "catch" unhealthy habits, minimize your time around people who participate in them and increase your time with people who have healthy habits.

If you are having trouble locating people in your area to support your healthy lifestyle, go ahead and check out some of the social networking trends online--like this blog, and places like Facebook, and forums. Finds groups of like-minded people who will support you in your goals!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ellie Krieger: Enjoying Favorite Foods at the Holidays

Ellie Krieger is a dietitian as well as star of the Food Network. She recently shared some of her tips on enjoying the holidays with neither guilt nor packing on extra pounds!

Ellie agrees with me that there are no forbidden foods and that taking small servings of favorites is an important part of enjoying the holidays. Some of her favorites--her grandmother's butter cookies (yes, made with real butter), potato latkes and mashed potatoes with gravy!
My strategy is to enjoy these specialties in small amounts. SO if I want butter cookies, I'm not going to have a dozen. I'm going to sit down with two cookies and a cup of coffee or a homemade skinny latte and savor them.
Whether your favorite treat is butter cookies, gingerbread men or chocolate covered cherries, take this tip from Ellie and really savor them. Remember you CAN have one or two and that thought alone helps get rid of some of the stress (and you'll recall, stress can make us eat it kind of defeats the purpose if you worry about it, right?)

And Happy Healthy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Weight loss -- Stay motivated and on track

I love reading about the success other people are having at achieving their health and fitness goals. It helps me to stay motivated and remember that it is possible!

I especially like the section in the middle where he talks about ATTITUDE! Choosing to see exercise as a gift rather than a chore. Great stuff!

Weight loss and perfection don't mix: Stay motivated and on track -

Posted using ShareThis

I also found this article really encouraging because even though this guy didn't have a lot of pounds to lose (compared to when I started) he was not in good physical condition. And look at him now!

Remember it is the little changes we make every day that make the difference!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Depression Makes Us Fat

A study came out recently that shows that people who are depressed tend to be fatter than their happier counterparts.

Some of that may be because when depressed many of choose to self-medicate by eating. In other words we stuff down our feelings with food, much like an alcoholic drowns theirs with booze.

However, this is not the only reason. One of the main culprits is cortisol, a stress hormone we have discussed on earlier posts. Depression triggers high levels of cortisol which leads to creating and storing "visceral fat". Visceral fat is the stuff that collects around your internal organs and is more dangerous to our overall health than say the fat on our thighs.

Going on anti-depressant drugs is not necessarily the answer either. I'm not a big in promoting pills to solve our problems, but if you are having issues with depression, consult with your physician, especially if this is having a huge impact on your life.

For many of us, there are lots of good, natural ways to deal with depression. Ironically, two of the best are eating healthy foods rich in antioxidants and low in sugars and fats (which help us lose weight) and getting exercise (which also helps us lose weight.) Another way to lift depression is to hang out with positive people!

So find people who lift your spirits, move more and eat healthy foods and your less likely to be depressed and much more likely to improve your waistline!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Creating Your Vision Board

You have your poster board and a pile of magazines...have a pair of scissors and a glue stick handy and you are set to start!

Look through the magazines that you gathered and cut out pictures and words that symbolize to you the body and health you are going to achieve.

Find some pictures of bodies or lifestyle. For example, you may cut out a picture of a slender person doing yoga because of their body shape and flexibility. Or perhaps you see a picture of a person walking and that appeals to you, so you cut that out--or maybe it is a picture of someone playing with his/her children. Find the picture or pictures that speak to you and the life you want.

Also look for pictures of foods to reinforce bringing healthy food choices into your life. Perhaps that is a gorgeous salad or bowl of vegetables, or lean meat. If portion control is your biggest issue than maybe look for a picture of smaller servings -- as long as that doesn't feel like limitation! Whatever you choose, make sure they are photos that look delicious to you -- so if you absolutely hate brussel sprouts, do not include a picture of them in your vision board!

You might even cut out words that feel good to you. Words like "total wellness" or "health" or "fitness". I have on my board "Breathing Space" because I know how important breathing is...and when I was 100 pounds heavier, it was hard to breath! So now I have created a space in my own body where I can breath easily! I also have "Simply the Best" because that is what I want for myself -- for my body and my entire life. The message here is not to tell you what words to use, it is to support you in selecting words that are powerful and meaningful for you, even if they are not meaningful for anyone else.

The key point to remember in everything that you choose to put on your board is to put only things/words that you want to INCLUDE in your life. These are all the positives you WANT. If you see something that you do not want in your life, be sure to leave that item off your board.

Once you have all your clippings, arrange them on your poster board in a way that is pleasing to you. Don't worry about being "artistic", it will be beautiful because it is your vision. Glue them down and your board is ready to be posted!

You can choose to put the poster in a frame, or just pin it up as it is, that is up to you. The most important part is that the images speak to you and you can easily see it.

Look at your poster many times during the day. Take deep breaths while you look at it. Allow those images to fill your heart. Feel how good it feels to see that healthy body, the delicious food, the physical activity that you enjoy. Know that this is your life, and be grateful for your healthy body, the good food and activities that help maintain that body, for the energy and vitality that you feel.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I Believe I CAN Lose Weight

So the next step is the belief that I can lose weight. That is a great place to start. Let's see how we can further bolster that belief so that it becomes part of our inner core -- an unshakable KNOWING -- a strong vision of our life, of our very being!

We've discussed affirmations before, and they are an incredibly awesome tool. Definitely keep them up.

Today let's work on a tool to help visualize our new bodies and life. This may take a little time, so don't feel pressured to get it all done today.

If you watched The Secret, then you are familiar with a Vision Board. Some people call them Dream Boards. I like "Vision" better because for me "dream" has more of a sense of fantasy and I am visioning my future into reality. You can call it whatever feels better to you.

This vision board is going to be highly focused on just some key elements of your life, those related to your health and fitness...

Find or buy yourself a piece of poster board...make it a size that you can hang up where you will see it the most. In other words, if you are at your computer most of the day, make it so you can put it close by and look at it frequently. Since this is a focused board, rather than one that covers all elements of your life (like dream home, life partner, etc) it doesn't have to be very big. 18x24 is probably going to be just fine.

If you like, you can create more than one board...say one to have at the office and one for home.

Next, collect magazines that you can freely cut things out of. If you don't have any magazines, talk to friends, your doctor, the local library--just be sure that they are giving you things they do not expect back! If they want them back in one piece, then be sure to photocopy anything that you want to include in your board.

Come back tomorrow for some tips on things to include in your vision board!

Friday, December 5, 2008

I Have the Proof, Now What?

Once you have gathered the social proof that it is indeed possible for people to lose weight, now it is time to believe that YOU can, too!

Do you believe there is something unique about you that makes you so different that you cannot possibly lose weight, even though all these other people can and have?

It is very unlikely that you are strikingly different from me in any way that is relevant to weight loss. Oh, we'll have differences in skin color, height and physical conditioning...but we can all start from where we are today! That's what I did.

Do you believe that they are special and that is why they have had success and you have not?

I can tell you that I am not special or unique or more disciplined than you. I certainly didn't have success my first time around. I have been a work in progress for most of my 50 years!

What did make the difference for me was making the decision that I actually could lose weight and be healthy and not feel deprived at the same time!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Find Proof and Believe it is Possible to Lose Weight

The first place to start in changing your belief about your ability to lose weight is to begin to believe that maybe, just maybe it is possible for anyone to lose weight.

How do you get to believe that it is possible? Start by gathering proof!

I can help with that, because I am proof that it is possible. I have lost over 100 pounds...75 of those pounds in little over a year!

In September, I met through the internet a woman who has lost 130 pounds--she is proof it is possible.

In October I was at a conference and I met 2 other women who have each lost 100 pounds, so they are more proof it is possible.

And those are the people who have lost 100 pounds and more! I have personally met dozens of people who have lost 5, 10, 20, 30 or 40 pounds. They are even more proof that it is possible.

Take those pieces of evidence and add your own...focus on the success stories rather than the failures. Look at the magazines that are supportive -- you know the ones with the lady on the cover who has dropped half her weight! Read blogs, go to forums and even watch shows like The Biggest Loser for more social proof that it is indeed possible.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Why Can't I Lose Weight?

Do you find yourself wondering if you can possibly lose weight?

Have you tried and failed in the past?

Have you allowed that result to lead you to believe that it is impossible for you to succeed with your weight loss goals?

If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions, it is critical that you work on your mindset first and foremost! I have found that what I tell myself about my weight, body, and ability to lose weight has a greater impact on my result than any diet or exercise routine.

I have stuck to meager diets and exercised strenuously and not had the results I wanted -- and I reinforced that by telling myself (and others) that I just couldn't seem to lose weight.

My success at dropping over 100 pounds started with a change in my attitude!!!

ANYONE can lose weight (presuming they have excess pounds to lose, of course!) The first task is to stop telling yourself these lies!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Warm Rich No Calorie Drinks

December has begun! It is a gorgeous time of year and full of festivities.

That can make it a challenge to maintain our weight loss and fitness goals...

One of my personal challenges comes if I get cold. When I am cold I want to have a cup of hot cocoa or something rich, warm and inviting to warm me from the inside. At these times, plain old tea doesn't seem to cut it.

I have discovered is the wonderful variety of teas out there and by making a very strong cup (letting it steep longer than normal) of one of the spice varieties seems to help. Then I add just a little bit of Stevia, a natural zero calorie sweetener and voila! I have a rich, warm, inviting no calorie treat. I mentioned Stevia before when making my low-cal apple treats, which is another great warm up treat for winter!

If that doesn't satisfy me I might add some non-fat or 1% organic milk to get even more of the rich flavor.

Experiment with different teas to find the one(s) you like best. I get a variety and have started blending my own. I really enjoy a rooiboos tea base combined with a spicey blend. And remember to keep the Stevia to just a is much sweeter than sugar. Start with a tiny tiny bit and if you need to add more you can.

I buy Stevia in the packets (so I can take it with me!) and one packet lasts me many cups of tea! Usually I find that it lasts me for 2 days worth of tea!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holiday Eating Tip Keep Your Blood Sugar in Check

By keeping your blood sugar levels as stable as possible, you will prevent the highs and lows that result in feeling hungry and lead to overeating.

So how do you do that? One of the big keys is to avoid refined carbs. Some of these carbs are obvious, like the rolls that come with dinner and the desserts after. Others are sneakier -- most gravies are made with refined white flour!

I'm not suggesting you should not have a taste of gravy...just be watchful and use a small dollop, not a large ladle full! Enjoy small portions of refined carbohydrates and be sure to balance them with some protein to help keep your sugar levels even.

Instead of unconsciously filling up on breads, fill your plate with the lean protein and veggies (especially those without a lot of sauce or dressing) and healthy fats like nuts, olives and avocados.

And if your family is like mine and frequently wants to "save dessert for later", have a few raw nuts before eating the pie/cake or ice cream. Again, that helps keep you on an even keel and reduces the risk of sugar induced overindulgence!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holiday Eating Tip Avoid Partially Hydrogenated Oils

Watch out for the partially hydrogenated oils! During the holidays these buggers can be hiding out in a variety of places, including pastry wrapped around appetizers and in pies and cakes.

When you see baked goods that are not home made, the chances are good they have some of these nasty oils because it is easier and cheaper for the commercial bakers to use them.

You have the most control over the ingredients if you are the one providing the treat. When buying goodies for yourself, parties, the office or to give as gifts, if you do not have the time or desire to bake yourself, check with the local bakery--whether in the grocery store or a separate specialty shop. Ask them if they use any partially hydrogenated oils. Or if you buy a packaged type at the grocery store, read the ingredients list and pass if they are present.

If you are someone else's party--whether their home or office--it is better to be safe and presume the goodies are store bought and may contain partially hydrogenated oils.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Taking Action

You have defined your goals, set your intentions and made plans to support them. And for some of us, we have been given the opportunity to see how we can refine those plans and make them even better.

So what is left to do? ACT upon them.

  • Move more.
  • Contact your chosen support personnel.
  • Go to the grocery store and buy raw nuts and veggies.
  • Move some more.
  • Cut up the veggies to have on hand for noshing.
  • Put a small baggie of raw nuts in your purse or briefcase.
  • Move again.
  • Call your support people and USE them!
  • Talk about your feelings rather than shove down with food
  • And did I remind you to move?
And remember to take one day at a time...heck, take it one bite and one step at a time.

And please, take the time to breath in the sights, sounds and smells around you this season. Appreciate the people around you. Enjoy the next month and know that you didn't miss out on anything! That way you can start the new year with joy in your heart, pride at your accomplishments and a heart filled with happy memories!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Are You Happy After Thanksgiving?

How did you do on Thanksgiving regarding your health goals?

Did you follow through on your plan?

Did you move more?

Did you enjoy some of your favorite foods in moderation?

Or perhaps did you overindulge a bit -- or a lot?

In other words, are you happy with how your Thanksgiving went? Are you happy with the decisions that you made?


If you are not, dust yourself off (gently) and reset those day does not ruin your program UNLESS YOU CHOOSE TO LET IT! So if you made some less than perfect decisions, follow them up with better ones!

Take a few minutes today to reflect back on what you could have done differently yesterday that would have allowed you to feel better today. Don't beat yourself up, this is observation time, not a day of judgment.

Now, include those insights you have gathered into your plans for the remainder of the holiday season--and let's talk tomorrow about taking action!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is a day to be grateful for the many blessings that we have in our lives.

Enjoy the day. Savor the flavorful food, stories and love.

  • I am grateful for the wonderful people I have in my life, for my health and for the beauty that surrounds me.
  • I am grateful I wake with a smile on my face, for hot coffee on a cold morning, for safe travels and healthy food to fill my belly.
  • I am grateful for my loving partner, my friendly neighbors, for warm sun and the moisture that the snow brings.
  • I am grateful for the peace in my heart, for the optimism I feel in the country and for equality for all of God's children.
Share the love, folks! Extra helpings of hugs and well wishes all around!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Planning for Holiday Meals with Friends and Family

We've been talking about plans to support your health goals over the holidays. What can you do when you are invited to someone's house and you really have decided you are going to drop pounds over the holidays?

Yesterday we discussed what you can do at home right before the event, but your plan can start much before then.

First, you can let you host or hostess know that you are watching your calories/fat/carbs whatever, and can (s)he tell you what the menu will be ahead of time so you can plan accordingly?

This one can be tough...One of the best ways to use this information is to let your hostess know you will be planning your other meals so that you can thoroughly enjoy what she is preparing.

You really cannot expect the host to change the menu at the last minute to accommodate your dietary constraints. And if they do accommodate you then it might be awkward to have dessert if you told her that you were watching be consistent with your requests and your actions.

Ask if you can bring a dish to help with the meal. Many hostesses will love to have someone take on a task! One of my favorite things to bring is a vegetable pot--a bunch of great veggies all cooked together with seasonings. Cut up veggies and put in an oven safe pot with a lid. Add a little water and your favorite seasonings (I like Herbs de Provence). Cook with the lid on so the veggies steam. Healthy, delicious, light--and easy.

Another great tip is to bring a hostess gift. Many people bring wine or can bring a basket of fruit or special sparkling water. While there is no guarantee that the hostess will open the gift during the evening, she might and then you will know that there is something you can enjoy, too.

Or ask if you can bring some sparkling water! Reducing alcohol is a great way to keep to your health goals. Not only does alcohol have a lot of calories and sugar, it also reduces our inhibitions and so we tend to eat more than if we didn't drink!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Holiday Eating Tips for Weight Loss Goals

So you have set your intentions and figured out what kind of support you want from friends and family...and asked for it. Awesome!

What are some other things you can do to ensure your success over the holidays?

Do not go to events hungry! It seems counter-intuitive, but eat something before going to a party. Most dinners do not start at the time of the invitation. You'll have time before for hors d'ouevres and drinks which can really add to the calorie load. The temptation is to starve all day so that you can eat whatever you want at the party. This always leads to eating way more.

I suggest a handful of raw nuts (most of the nuts you will find at parties will be roasted...enjoy them in moderation, but buy raw nuts to have on hand at home!) Raw nuts help suppress appetite and have lots of the healthy fats which help you feel satisfied.

Other foods to have to munch on before you go to a party are raw vegetables. Leafy salad is not a big winner in my book at this time of year...I like finger foods. They are easier and feel more like a treat! I buy some of my favorite veggies like red peppers, sugar snap peas, grape tomatoes and english cucumbers. Normally I would put them in a wonderful salad, but for this purpose I cut them up and have them ready for noshing as is.

Add a little protein and fat (the good kind) by having a tablespoon of hummus, peanut butter or yogurt (try plain mixed with mustard for a tangy dip) and you have a healthy snack that will keep you going until the main meal!

And please remember, the holidays only come once a year... enjoy some of your favorite foods...if you are going to be upset that you didn't have Grammie's special pie you will be more apt to "fall off the wagon" later and do more damage to your health goals than if you just had a small piece and savored it!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Planning for the Holidays

It is important to have some plans in place that support your intention. Let's face it, intentions and affirmations all by themselves are not what it have to plan and take action. Remember the saying "the path to Hell is paved with good intentions"? Well that is true about intentions for our health...just replace Hell with Ill-Health and you get the picture!

I suggest you enlist the support of a few close friends and family members. Do not broadcast to the entire clan-- either on the work or home fronts --that you are on a diet or health journey or that you intend to maintain or lose weight over the holidays. Not everyone will be supportive of your goal. Others may be supportive but will try to help in their way, which may not be the best way for YOU.

Carefully choose your allies. Typically the best people to select are folks who are also health conscious, no matter what their weight is.

Set up the ground rules! Don't just ask people for support--tell them how you want to be supported.
  • Do you want someone to point out to you that what you are about to eat has 200 calories a bite?
  • Do you want a walking buddy so that you know you will keep your body moving when it would be easy to let that slide?
  • Do you want a person to be able to call when you are feeling "called" to eat?
  • Do you want someone who will listen to you express your feelings/stress/anxiety so that you don't stuff them down with food?
  • Do you want a friend to go to social gatherings with so that you know you have at least one person you can talk to rather than grab more food or drink?
Think about what you want in a support person. Then choose your person based on the type of support you want and if you believe that person can provide it for you. In other words, if you need someone to listen to you express your feelings, and your feelings are triggered most by your mother, then she might not be the best support buddy for that purpose.

You can have more than one support person--in fact I encourage it. Maybe Mom can't be your emotional support, but maybe she can help by preparing a favorite dish that is a healthy choice. Or maybe she is a great choice for going for walks after every meal!

Sometimes you don't have to let a person know you have selected them...for example, if you are going to be visiting family for the holidays and you decide you want to move your body more, you could enlist a sibling as a walking buddy. Or you could say "wow, I could really use a short stroll around the block after that delicious meal...anyone want to join me?" OR use the opportunity to have a little one-on-one time and select a different person and say, "Sis, we haven't gotten much time to catch up, how about just you and me go for a spin around the block and chat?" That way you get your body moving and you have a chance to visit with some of your favorite people away from the crowd!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Setting the Intention for the Holidays

Once you have clarified for yourself what your goal is, it is time to set that intention. The intention is worded as an affirmation and they work best in the positive, present tense.

Rather than saying "I will not gain weight over the holidays" try something like
"I have a wonderful holiday season, enjoying the company of friends and family, and I maintain my current weight while taking pleasure in many special events and favorite holiday foods."
Notice the key points: present tense, a visual and emotional connection with things other than and including food, and a positive statement about weight. If you like that one, use it as is...or take it and modify it to better fit your personality and holiday.

You can take the same affirmation and make it for one about losing weight very easily:
"I have a wonderful holiday season, enjoying the company of friends and family, and I shed excess fat while taking pleasure in many special events and favorite holiday foods."
Another example could include other visual aides:
"What a wonderful holiday I am having! I see old friends and family. The parties are fantastic--I look and feel marvelous. I enjoy sampling great holiday treats. I make my health my priority and I am having fun, I eat in moderation and I move my body. This is a great holiday and I am giving myself the BEST present -- my improved health!"
Tomorrow's post will cover some of the plans you can make to help support your intention! So go ahead, take some time TODAY and set your intention. Then come back tomorrow!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What is Your Weight Goal for the Holidays?

Yesterday I asked the question, can we actually get through the holidays without gaining weight. Of course, the answer is yes--as long as we make the decision to do so.

So first, be clear in your own mind what your intention you want to LOSE weight during the holidays or do you want to NOT GAIN weight during the holidays.

If your primary goal is on Jan. 1, 2009 to be at most the weight you are now then that is important to know. That intent is quite different from wanting on Jan. 1, 2009 to have the scale read a smaller number than it does today.

Neither goal is wrong/right/good/bad/better or worse. They just are. No judgment. And only you can decide what you truly want.

I suggest you take a few minutes and sit with the thought quietly. Let your inner voice guide you on this one.

Part of the answer will come from your lifestyle and the traditions that you have and where you are on your journey. If having a goal to actually drop pounds over the holidays will be stressful or bring a sense of deprivation then perhaps a better goal for you is to maintain your existing weight.

Come back tomorrow for the intention setting exercise!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Surviving the Holidays Without Gaining Weight

Is it possible to get through the holidays without gaining weight?

Not only is it possible to "get through" them, we can actually ENJOY the holidays and not blow up like a balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!

How do we do that?
  • One key component is setting the intention that you can and will do that.
  • A second is to make the plan that will support the intention.
  • Third is to follow through by acting on the plan.

Maybe you are asking yourself "why on earth did I start a diet right before the holidays?"

Or maybe you have been on your health journey for a while and this is the first major challenge you are facing.

Or perhaps you have been on the path for a long time and know that you could use some extra support during the dark days of winter and many eating opportunities ahead.

No matter where you are on your road to health, take a minute to congratulate yourself for making the decision to improve your life. That is HUGE!

It is possible to have success even at this time of year. Check in tomorrow when I talk about setting the intention!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Are Fats Good or Bad? What About Carbs? I'm so Confused

Yesterday I mentioned a book that helps dispel some of the myths or misinformation we have about food. Does that make it "mythinformation"?

Michael Pollan has written another such book, In Defense of Food. He makes a good point that we tend to demonize a food group (it used to be all fats were considered bad, for example) and glorify others. This goes on for a while and then we learn that--whoa! Hold your horses!!! Some fats are good for you and actually help you lose weight!

Since fats were no longer total evil, we then turned on all carbs. That turns out not to be correct either.

Really the best thing to do is to eat a balanced diet and eat as close to nature as we can and to eat in moderation.

Not only does this prescription help us with our waistlines, it will help the planet too. Less refined foods and less packaging results in less waste.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Are Eggs Bad for Me?

Eggs got a bad wrap when I was in school. Blamed for high cholesterol levels in people because they have a lot of cholesterol in them...

Turns out there is no correlation between eating eggs and having an increased risk at heart attack.

Remember my "rule"-- there are NO forbidden foods! So eat your eggs--they have a lot of good nutrients and are high in protein. Calorie for calorie they are a great food for anyone wanting to drop some pounds.

You can read more about eggs and other foods in Barry Glassner's book The Gospel of Food.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dr. Oz says Measure Your Waist Not Your Weight

Seems we are all obsessed with the number on the scale.

I'll confess I do like seeing that number get smaller.

I'll also confess that I have in the past been addicted to watching the number on the scale. And that did not serve me. I actually got on the scale 3 times (or more) every day.

Dr. Oz suggsts that rather than focusing on the scale, focus on your waist measurement.
A person's waist in inches should not be greater than his height in inches divided by two.

When I was a teenager, the rule of thumb was if you (as a girl) were 5 feet tall you should weigh 100 pounds and add 5 pounds for every inch over 5 feet. That was pretty unrealistic for me--at 5' 6" tall I should by that theory weigh 130 pounds. That may sound easy for some, but I only came close to that (140) by starving myself and working out 1-2 hours every day.

By Dr. Oz's formula at 5 feet (60 inches) your waist should be no larger than 30 inches around. Much more attainable. My waist, even at 140 pounds was about 26 inches, so I would have passed his test.

I haven't quite gotten to the 33 inch mark goal yet, but I totally believe that it is attainable!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dr. Oz came to Town

Dr. Mehmet Oz came to Loveland, Colorado last week.

We have come to know him for his knowledge and his affable manner--showcased on the Oprah Winfrey show.

A lot of what he said was pretty basic--if you watched him on Oprah or read his book "You on a Diet" you will be familiar with his message.

A couple points especially bear repeating: remember you are in control of your health and health care. "Health care is personal", that includes taking responsibility for how you eat, exercise, asking questions of your doctor and getting second opinions! You are your best health advocate--don't leave it to someone else to take care of--"If you don't do it, no one is going to."

Dr. Oz suggests making transitions from your old habits to new, healthier ones over a period of at least two weeks. Good advice--that helps it seem like a progression rather than a "diet" or hardship! If it takes longer than 2 weeks, that's okay. Don't try to make all the changes at once--that just adds stress to your life.

What else--read labels and avoid if any of these are in the first 5 ingredients: sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, enriched flour, trans fats or saturated fats.

Keep water and a handful of nuts handy. Get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

And remember to breathe!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How to Shed off those Extra Pounds: Useful Tips and Information ...

This article has lots of good pointers and weight loss tips!

There are also ads and links for various diet programs which I am not endorsing...

How to Shed off those Extra Pounds: Useful Tips and Information ...

Posted using ShareThis

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Why Don't My Affirmations Work?

Dr. Linda and I are on the same wave length this week. Isn't that funny how that works. (That is called Law of Attraction in case you didn't know!)

I've been really aware of how my mental attitude and my ideas about my own health seem to directly manifest in my body. Check out her blog post and get her take on that concept.

If you find yourself saying "I can't go work out", or "My body hurts", or "I'm too fat to exercise", or "Eating right is too hard" then those things will be true for you. Immediately! Do you realize that those are all affirmations? They are just negative ones!!!

So if you have been practicing positive affirmations and you do those a couple times a day but the rest of the time you are saying (in your mind or out loud) negative affirmations you will be defeating the positive ones. This is the main reason your positive affirmations are not working!

Start to be aware of when you have a negative thought (or affirmation) and stop yourself. Louise Hay in the wonderful film "You Can Heal Your Life" says we should ask ourselves this question:
Do I want to experience that thought in my life?

If the answer is no! then you should stop right then and work out how to turn that negative thought into a positive affirmation.

You mind is an awesome tool in your toolbox for health and weight loss -- if you let it be!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Power of the Mind in Losing Weight

Our mind is our biggest ally or enemy when it comes to maintaining our health including losing weight.

I'm not talking about willpower. As you read yesterday, willpower is not the answer.

Mindset is a different animal. What you tell yourself, especially if you tell yourself it over and over, will come about.

I'm convinced one of the reasons I got fat (besides being out of balance chemically) was that I said to myself and others repeatedly that I was fat. Even when I was not fat, or maybe just a little fat.

I was convinced I was so fat that no one would love me. I think I gained more weight just to try to "prove" my point!

Dr. Linda brings up in her blog
that our subconscious doesn't know if what you are telling it is true or not, but it will work to make it true.

So start by saying affirmations about your health, your journey to a slender body, your willingness to be attractive...if you can say "I'm beautiful" or slender or loved that is awesome! But if you can't bring yourself to say those words without hearing "no I'm not!" in the background then practice what you can say positive about yourself. I've talked about affirmations before and how to use them to help achieve your goals...always a good thing to remember!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Willpower is not the Answer

If willpower were the answer, I would never have gotten to be over 100 pounds overweight. Or at least if I had, it wouldn't have hung around for so long.

I had lots of willpower...I stuck to lots of diets, did lots of exercising.

Willpower alone is not enough.

"It's not that some people have willpower and some don't. It's that some people are ready to change and others are not." James Gordon, M.D.

If and when you are ready to change, there is help! You do have to make the decision that you want to change and get the help.

I'm here to tell you that losing weight and keeping it off is possible! And it won't take willpower when you have the right support--emotionally and chemically!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Affirmations for Weight Loss

I received this affirmation from a friend of mine who got it from The Best Affirmations Workbook.

Affirmations have been a great tool for me in my weight loss and health journey so I am happy to add this to my repertoire. It combines health and wealth. Cool!

I am a fat burning machine!
I grow more graceful and attractive every day!
Money flows effortlessly to me from both known and unknown sources!
Every day I find checks in my mailbox!
I always say yes to an opportunity.
I attract the most wonderful customers, and they refer their best contacts to my business!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Before and After Photos

People have been asking for me to put up "Before" and "After" photos.
Truth is, I don't have a lot of photos. Maybe you can relate. I never really wanted to face what I looked like. I guess I thought if I never saw photos of myself maybe I really wasn't that big after all. Hmmm. That would be WRONG!

I'm not going to claim that never looking at photos of myself allowed me to get so big, but gosh, I don't think it helped. The truth was it was extremely painful to look at the pictures because I felt so out of control. I honestly felt like there was nothing I could do to lose weight--after all I had tried "everything"! So I chose to ignore it and hoped it would go away.

A lot of the "before" photos focus in on my face only, so I had to look for one that showed my entire body. And believe it or, this one looks GOOD! I actually was very proud of myself as I had lost 25 pounds when this first photo was taken! I was wearing size 3X clothes at the time.

This "after" picture I took just a couple days ago--when I reached the 100 pounds down milestone! Currently a size 16!

I still have some more fat to lose, but I am so happy with my progress and results! The best part is that it has all been so easy. I really don't have to think about it!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cookies, the Good the Bad and the Ugly

Well, maybe there aren't any ugly cookies, but I couldn't resist!

Why am I talking about cookies, when this blog is about achieving health (and weight) goals? Well, if you remember I have said with my program I have no forbidden foods. That includes cookies.

One of my wonderful neighbors came by the house today selling cookie dough as a fundraiser for his grandson's pre-school. The child was sick and therefore could not assist Grandpa, but will be helping with the delivery of the buckets. Hmmmm. Since each bucket weighs in at 3 pounds I'm not sure just how much help the little guy will be, but at least he will be present!

My neighbor said, "I know you are on a diet, so if you don't want any that's okay". It was really sweet that he wanted me to know that he was aware that I've lost a lot of weight and that I should not feel obligated to participate. I did have to tell him that I refuse to diet! People just don't seem to understand that--how is it possible to lose weight without dieting? Well, I'm proof that it is possible!

Know what else? I was glad that he didn't assume and make the decision for me! Since most people think if you are losing weight you never eat treats, he could easily have made that assumption!

We did buy one bucket. I figure it will last us about a year!

I know that I won't go crazy...because I have evidence to prove that now. So this is the first time I have ever bought one of these food fund-raisers and not had a level of fear associated with the purchase!

Sometimes a freshly baked cookie is just what the doctor ordered (well, maybe not Dr. Linda!)

We'll chat another time about some really healthy cookies that I make that are part of the Mars Venus Wellness Solution. They are so rich and mother said
They taste so sinful I cannot get it into my head they are legal.

Oh, if only all of life's problems were so simple!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Feeling Good and Grateful

I am just feeling so good!

I'll confess that I'm not thrilled with how early it is getting dark these days, but other than that life is pretty darned good!

Walking in the morning is more enjoyable when it isn't dark and it has gotten a few degrees warmer. Maybe that helps balance out the dark afternoons (Hey--4pm is still afternoon and it is getting dark here by then!)

This time of year can be a challenge for me--or has been historically. Since I started the Mars Venus Wellness Solution 13 months ago I have been through an entire year. SO, I expect that this late fall/winter will not be the issue for me that it has been in some years past.

I am shocked and amazed at how different I am about food. I literally still have HALF A BAG OF HALLOWEEN CANDY in the house! It is not "calling my name" at all! I am so happy. It means that the rest of the household does not have to suffer just because I don't have control--because NOW I DO!!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Starting My Day

This morning I woke up to the most beautiful sunrise. Wow! It was the perfect complement to my morning lemon drink.

Part of the Mars Venus Wellness Solution is to start each morning with a glass of "Lemon Cleanse". I really enjoy it. I like the taste and I like how I feel when I drink it. It feels very light.

I used to be a huge coffee drinker. Hmmm. Well, actually I was pretty big, but what I meant to say is that I was an avid coffee drinker. Before I started John's program I used to drink pretty much a pot myself. There were times in my life where one pot would have been nothing!

Now I have coffee when I want it--as part of an experience as opposed to a habit. For example, it is Saturday morning...I'm going to enjoy a large mug of coffee this morning because I like the flavor of it. I like that I am in control of even my coffee intake! I no longer need that daily jolt of caffeine to get me going.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Making Exercise Fun

What can we do to make our exercise fun? How do we mix it up to prevent getting bored?

Across the street from my house is a pasture that during the winter is home to about 30 head of horses. I love watching them play. I always get a big smile across my face when I see them.

The other morning I walked over with some small apples I had leftover from visiting my brother. I had used the bigger ones and made myself a treat and decided the tiny ones were too small to make the effort worthwhile.

Of course they loved the treats! The horses got loving, great rubs and some nice eats. And I got to enjoy feeling their soft lips and warm, furry bodies. What a marvelous energy exchange.

I'm not saying that feeding the horses is great "exercise"! What was great was that I got out in nature, got some energy and moved my body in a different way, in addition to walking to the part of the pasture where the horses were. Yes, I walk on a regular basis and no, this was not a long walk, but it was different, fun and I feel happy and energized as a result!

Sometimes that is all we have to do to keep ourselves on our path to health! After all, if we aren't having fun, we won't do it!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Phone Coaching Assists Weight Loss

Thanks to Lynda Lippin, the Fitness Diva for this information.

In a new study published in the November/December issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion, researchers at Brigham Young University, headed by Dr. Larry Tucker, found that phone coaching has a an extremely positive effect on weight loss. In a 17 week study that contrasted men and women who were given 11 sessions of personalized weight loss phone coaching against a group who received no such support, the phone coached group shed an average of seven pounds in contrast to an average of four pounds in the uncoached adults.

Says Dr. Tucker, "Tucker: People tend to do better when they have a support system and when they have someone they report to each week. The weight loss coach can help people work through weight loss issues, barriers and problems. Compared to no coaching, phone coaching tends to show a benefit."

I couldn't agree more! My coaching with Dr. Linda (not the Fitness Diva, different fitness ladies!) has helped me immensely. I recommend finding someone who fits with your needs and who can support you in nutrition, attitude and exercise.

This is especially helpful if you live alone or in an area where it may be difficult to get support--or if you have family and friends who just "don't get" what you are trying to accomplish in your life!

I tried some of the groups in past (like Weight Watchers) and they didn't work for me. If they support you, that is awesome. But if not, give Dr. Linda a try, I think she is awesome!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fat Burning Exercises

I've mentioned before how important it is to mix up exercising see Refuse to Diet: Walking for Weight Loss, Part 2: Variety is Key. I believe that mixing it up is crucial to prevent boredom and to affect all your muscles and not require spending hours and hours working out.

That being said, I still find that I have a routine that I get into (I don't like to call it a "rut") and sometimes I don't remember exactly why I'm doing a specific thing. That is why I like to go back to the basics from time to time.

I did that this morning. I have been following Dr. John Gray's program with great dedication for over a year now and have had FANTASTIC results. However, I have not been watching the DVD daily. I do the "bounce and shake" and follow the philosophy and achieving fat burning through my exercising, even though I was not doing exactly what was on the vid.

That's okay, but this morning I decided I wanted to watch the program and bounce along with John.

I was struck by several things.
1. It is so much easier to follow now than it was in the beginning (hurray that means I've made progress!0
2. My arms still get tired at times (if your arms get tired it is okay to adjust the motions--you want to avoid "feeling the burn")
3. I had forgotten how many of the motions are specifically designed to stimulate various hormones to assist in burning fat and balancing our chemistry!
4. The time actually went by more quickly when I was watching the DVD!

So if you haven't already gotten the Isoflex Exercises DVD and you are looking for some gentle ways to burn fat, check it out. I started this when I weighed over 250 pounds and was having lots of back, hip and knee problems, so if I can do it and have success, I know anyone can!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Buying Bras

OK, this is for the women out there--I am not a clothes shopper. I don't particularly enjoy the experience. Maybe that is because I have been fat most of my life and so it isn't really a fun experience to sweat and try on clothes that always seem to be too tight.

Well, I had to buy clothes recently as I was going to a conference. While I was in the store they made an announcement that they were having fittings for bras. Well, I was wearing the same bra that I had been wearing 100 pounds ago. Thinking just maybe it was time for me to have a new bra I headed over.

I intellectually knew that having new "foundation garments" would make a big difference, but I really wasn't prepared for the visual change. Heck I wasn't sagging any more! In fact "the girls" were upright and "perky" as I've heard Oprah say!

So do yourself a favor and buy a couple new bras--whether you have lost a lot of weight or just haven't bought a new bra in a while, get a bra that fits and it will uplift your spirits, as well as "the girls"!

Not sure how to pick one out--hate to go to the stores. Check out this link and get the right bra for you, shipped right to your door! Find your perfect bra with's BraFinder!

Monday, November 3, 2008

"You've Lost a Lot of Weight"

I saw someone today whom I had not seen in some time. He did a bit of a double take when he saw me. "You've lost a lot of weight", he said.

I smiled and said "Yes, I have!"

It felt really good to have someone acknowledge my results. I know that sometimes we don't know what to say when we see someone who has had a big change in their appearance, but for most of us who were/are obese it feels good to have our efforts recognized.

This happens to be a wonderfully kind man who I've known for several years. It was obvious in his eyes that he was pleased for me. That was part of what made it feel so good. He also followed it up with thoughtful questions about what I was doing and how I was feeling (my energy level, etc) and I could tell he really cared.

I liked the way he said it, noticing the change first, and asking about the process rather than focusing on my appearance.

Based on this experience, I would suggest that if you notice someone has dropped a lot of weight and you want to give a positive comment--go ahead.

I'd be interested to hear if other people would disagree with that.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

So How Come I Still Feel Fat?

I've lost 100 pounds (Hooray for me!), so how come I still feel fat? And why did I not dance up and down and celebrate and boast about my success? Instead I allowed myself to wallow in feeling fat.

Being with my family recently really made me think about that. I don't know that I have ALL the answers but I have come up with a couple.

First is mental image of self vs PHOTOS! I was feeling really good, trim, etc. Heck I know that I am not at my ideal weight yet--but I am well on my way. But I saw some pictures of myself and I was surprised at my reaction. Instead of seeing my progress I really saw how "big" I still am.

In my mind's eye, I look trimmer than I do in photos. And that has always been the case. I looked at the photos and thought, wow, how can 100 pound weight loss not be more significant in appearance?

Goes to show I still have a lot of work to do on my self image. Looking at myself in the mirror is not the same as seeing a photo. Is it that the camera actually adds 10 pounds? Or is it that because it is a static image and so you don't see the "life" or movement? It is easier to look at a photo critically (or objectively) perhaps than when looking in the mirror. In the mirror it is easier to gloss over some areas and move to some favorites.

Just a theory.

By the way, I decided to look at some photos from about 75 pounds ago...when I compare those to my current photos I can see a huge difference.

Weight loss tool note: when looking at photos, have a progression so you keep the positive attitude.

And maybe, just maybe I'll be willing to put up some photos!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Was Halloween a Trick or Treat?

We have kids in the neighborhood this year. Only a couple. So we wanted to have a little candy for them--we asked if they were going trick or treating. They said yes, so we bought one bag. One small bag.

We also asked that they come by early so we would be sure to give them their treats and then shut down for the night.

One neighborhood kid came by and (separately) a complete stranger. We were generous in our giving and we still have 1/2 a bag left. And I didn't have a single piece. Hooray! And it is the next day and I honestly don't want any. This is amazing!

So for me, Halloween was a treat. I stayed in and watched a movie. Had a quiet night. My neighbor got her candy and I got to support her in having fun. And I don't have a house full of candy.

If I lived in my old neighborhood, where there are lots of kids, I would have bought more candy and given more away...but this was really nice.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Plan to Emotional Challenges

Following up on yesterday's post about "Falling Off the Wagon" and facing emotional challenges when losing weight--

I recommend coming up with a plan of things to do when feeling emotionally challenged. When I feel stressed/angered/sad/happy (whatever your emotional trigger(s) is/are) I will ______ . Create a list of options for yourself. The list can include lots of options. I suggest some really quick items that you can use anywhere, and some longer/bigger choices.

For example you list could be something like this....
...I will:
count to ten before grabbing a food or drink item
drink a glass of water
take a walk around the block (or the building, to the mailbox, whatever)
scream into my pillow
take a 5 minute break from what I am doing
look at a picture of one of my favorite places
close my eyes and focus on my breathing for one minute
gently pinch myself
think of a laughing baby
pet my dog/cat
watch a short inspirational video on my computer or television (be sure to have one or two ready on your desktop if you want to use this option)
do 10 jumping jacks
stretch my body
repeat a positive affirmation (again, be sure to have some ready)
write or speak about 5 things/people I am grateful for---and be specific
splash water on my face
smell a rose (or other flower)
send a quick email to someone I care about letting them know I thought of them

These are a few things that come to MY mind...your list will be different, but feel free to borrow from my list!

By making one of these choices you are creating a "pattern interrupt". By interrupting your old patterns for 30 days you literally make new neural pathways in the brain and make new, healthier patterns!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Falling Off the Wagon

I recently got an email from someone on the Mars/Venus Solution and she mentioned that she was on a business trip and "fell off the wagon." I know this is a common way to looking at our eating behaviors--I've said it often enough myself.

When you feel this way, be sure to be gentle with yourself about "falling off the wagon" can happen. Remember, we are making life changes, this is NOT a diet. Therefore there really isn't any falling off the wagon! How liberating is that?

For many of us, losing weight is a multi-dimensional challenge. I believe that people may become overweight because they simply like to eat more calories than they can burn off. I also believe that those of us who have become obese or extremely overweight get that way in large part because of the emotional triggers and habits we have developed. In other words, we are using food as a way to self-medicate. For me, ice cream was my drug of choice.

I don't know if any of this will resonate with you--I used food (in particular, but not limited to ice cream) as a way to numb out the world. It was a way that I could not feel what was going on, but not endanger others by driving while intoxicated, and not participate in any illegal behavior. For someone who likes control, overeating was a way to exert some control over my life when I was feeling completely out of control.

Therefore the challenge comes in changing my behavior to better suit my health goals.

The Venus Solution helps with that because by balancing my brain chemistry, the cravings are gone--or when not completely gone--they are manageable because I can now recognize that they are emotionally triggered and their strength/power is greatly diminished.

It is not that I never want to eat foods that are fattening and/or "comfort foods". It is that I am better able to be in the driver's seat rather than just being pulled this way and that.

This has made all the difference for me.

Did this happen immediately, day 1? No. It did happen pretty quickly however.

It is also important to acknowledge that changing habits takes time. So let the Venus Solution assist you so that you don't have to struggle and at the same time, be aware of your feelings and the food that you take in. The awareness, now supported by balanced brain chemistry, will allow you to change your habits of eating for emotional reasons and thereby break the cycle.

Come back tomorrow and we'll talk about a plan of action for when we are feeling emotionally challenged!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What do you say when Someone has Lost a lot of Weight?

There are lots of people who don't know what to say when they see me. Losing 100 pounds is not a "little" weight--so it is doubtful that they haven't noticed.

I've been thinking about this a lot. To be honest, I don't think there is any one single answer that is right for everyone.

Most of us are thrilled with our results and will be glad that you notice.

That being said, we don't necessarily want the focus to be on our appearance. Yes, improving my appearance is part of losing weight, but that wasn't my primary goal.

Even still, "You look great" is probably a very acceptable reaction. Or try something like "You look like you have lost a lot of weight--you look great", or you could follow it up with "how did you do it?", or another question if you are interested.

Please, don't feel like you HAVE to ask a lot of questions. If you want to know more about my journey then ask, but otherwise, don't. I'll be happy to talk to you about what I've been doing but I am very sensitive about boring people!

I would love to hear someone else's point of view on you want people to comment on your weight loss? What comments and/or questions do you like to get? Are there any that you do not want to hear?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Coffee on the Road

I love coffee. I used to drink a lot of coffee. Now I drink it from time to time, so when I have coffee I want it to be really good.

I was at a conference a few days ago and having dinner with some colleagues. After dinner we were going to have coffee so I decided to order a cappuccino as a nice treat. This was in a resort so I thought it would be a good cup. Boy was I wrong!

Rather than drinking it I returned it. That may not sound like a big deal to you, but for me it truly was! In the past I might have finished the coffee (not wanting to make a scene or hurt anyone's feelings--how ridiculous is that????) or just let it go cold and not drink it but pay for it (even more ridiculous!) So I am proud of myself for returning the coffee, politely but firmly.

I have had some really good coffees while on the road--mostly from big chains like Saxby's and Starbucks. I was really disappointed that I had an opportunity to have a coffee from a place that was not a chain and it turned out to be so bad.

Oh well, there will be a chance for more really good coffee elsewhere!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Walking at the Beach

I love the is one of the few things I really miss living in my beautiful land-locked Colorado.

Walking at the beach is one of the best things ever. I love feeling the sand underfoot and the water as it laps at my toes.

Something about walking in the surf and moving through the water and on the sand that I forget that I'm actually getting exercise!

The combination of moving and fresh air, along with the rhythmic sounds of the surf bring me such a sense of peace.

Why am I talking about all of this? Because I am realizing how important it is to really appreciate the things that bring me pleasure.

Let's face it, food was something that brought me a lot of pleasure (and a lot of pain and confusion and....) so it is critical that I have other pleasures in my life. These are things that I can do when I get a craving or an emotional pull to eat, when my intellect is saying, no I don't want to eat, but the little kid in me is not sure what else to do!

Another thing I have to face is that I have been working very, very, very hard and not recognizing or allowing myself a lot of time for pleasures. Therefore I am reminding myself that balance in life is crucial and I deserve to have fun and enjoy my life. Heck, if I don't enjoy my life then there isn't much point, is there?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Do I Have to Avoid Alcohol to Lose Weight?

Alcohol is not all bad. Like most things should be used in moderation...especially if you want to drop some fat.

Alcohol is a sugar and the fat you get from it will be stored around your abdomen. That's where the phrase "beer belly" came from! There is also evidence that indicates that if you are already overweight, drinking alcohol will make it easier for you to gain additional weight.

I don't know if that is because of the alcohol itself or because when we drink our inhibitions drop and we become more relaxed and it is easy to eat more.

What about the health benefits to drinking wine or even beer? You've heard that having a glass of wine or beer may reduce your chance of getting heart disease. If you don't have wine, how else can you get those benefits?

The best way is to eat foods that have those same compounds--blueberries, apples, onions, grapefruit, black tea, peanuts and 100% red grape juice (no added sugar, of course) all will do you as well as the glass of wine. These other foods provide you with other vitamins and nutritional components that wine or beer won't, so you are ahead of the game! You can cut your risk of heart disease even more by including fish, garlic, nuts and a little dark chocolate in your diet.

I haven't given up alcohol entirely. I enjoy a glass of wine or a beer upon occasion, but it isn't very often these days. Certainly not often enough to gain any heart health benefit in the sense we've been talking about. In the bigger picture though, because I have lost so much fat, my heart health is much better, and my risk for heart disease is much lower.

Bottom line, I suggest you limit alcohol because it is mostly empty calories. But remember, I don't believe in forbidden foods--that goes for drinks, too! When you do chose to imbibe, make it really count! Drink your favorite beverage and really savor it. Sip it. Enjoy the social environment. Enjoy the flavor of the drink.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Traveling and Exercising

While driving vast distances, it is a challenge to get any exercise at all. I find it a perfect chance to practice isometric exercises. Whether you are the driver or passenger, you can clench muscles of any group. Start with you buttocks, holding them about 10 seconds, repeat about 10 times. Then move to another muscle group.

By doing this I have strengthened my abdomen, my leg muscles and my biceps.

At each stop we stretched a bit...but with little time we didn't get much "real" exercise in.

We did out 15 minute "bounce and shake" work out every morning. That fits right in to the traveling schedule.

Once we reached our destination we tried to get in walks when possible. Since our first stop was a conference where we started our days early and ended late, we frequently didn't get much of a walk in--from the conference room to our room and back a few times and that was it.

Our next stop did allow for a nice walk and we have been able to have a walk every day since then. Felt really good to get some extra stretching in after days in the car and days in a conference room!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Visiting Family and Maintaining Health Goals

For me, visiting family is a wonderful and stressful time. I love my family, but at the same time a lot of the triggers I have about food involve my family. So visiting family and maintaining my health goads is not always easy.

It helps that they are very proud of the success I have had with my health goals. I've now dropped 100 pounds and am smaller around than I have been in almost 20 years. Woo Hoo!

There is ice cream here in the house--normally my biggest weakness--and plenty of wine, chocolate and other goodies. None of them are appealing to me, which is incredible. The emotional pull is still there. Again, like at the truck stop, I have stopped and listened to how I am feeling about the food and determining if I really want it.

My mother's 79th birthday is coming up and I am sure that I will partake in some birthday treats. And there may be more treats than that. And that is OKAY!!! It is important to celebrate and enjoy life. I don't believe that never having a treat is being in control of it--that is avoidance.

So far I not had any treats. I have been feeling really great and I have even been feeling slender. However, I feel fat today. I am looking at myself and instead of seeing the successful changes I am seeing the fat person. Amazing how the brain works! It is a challenge to remind myself that my clothes are many sizes smaller and that I am doing fantastic.

The good news is that the cravings are not coming back! There have been a few emotional pulls, but because I feel so balanced chemically they have been pretty easy to recognize and not be controlled by them.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Road Trip Challenges and Tips

Road trips can be killer on any healthy routine. Sitting still for long periods of time combined with boredom and numerous opportunities to feast on junk food make for a challenge.

I'm on a road trip right now and have made some really good choices (hurray!) and I'll share with you some tips that really have helped me to keep my intention to be healthy.

First I prepared ahead. That is really the biggest key!

Because I am traveling with only one other person and we have ample room in the vehicle and we both are determined to be healthy, we packed a cooler. Cooked chicken, a variety of vegetables and sliced apples filled that cooler. Healthy and still easy to eat--real "fast food". A traditional salad takes too much time to eat--not exactly something you can chow down while driving! Fresh cherry tomatoes, green beans and other favorite vegies gave us all the same nutrients and were easy to eat on the road.

One other thing we had in the cooler were some very special cookies that we make from our Venus shake. They have to be kept cold. Delicious, rich chocolate cookies. Yummy! Tastes like you are eating something bad for you (or "sinful" as my mother would say) but they are completely balanced and make a meal.

In addition to the cooler we had raw almonds, pine nuts and plenty of water.

So we did eat while we drove, but we are also eating consciously while on the trip as opposed to the "old days" (like last year!) when we would have snacks that were less healthful.

I believe that one of the challenges too is breaking a habit--of eating to keep oneself awake and to combat boredom. Rather than constantly snacking on even healthy foods, we filled our time with books on tape. We purposefully chose books that would stimulate conversation so we were active participants. This really has helped pass the time and I've had little desire for the junk food filled road trips of the past.

That's not to say that there is zero temptation! At least I can recognize it as a habit rather than a real desire or need for a food, but there were times when going through the truck stop aisles to find the restroom I was tempted by a package of this or that. What was truly awesome was that I wasn't hungry or even having the munchies, but I still felt myself drawn to this junk.

Fortunately because I have determined I am going to be healthy and at the same time have given myself permission to have ANYthing that I really, really want, I had the freedom to assess how I was feeling. Did I really want that candy/snack food/ice cream? So far the answer has always been "no" I really didn't want it. That process of thinking about it, searching how I felt about the food and being in control feels AWESOME!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hang Around with Like Minded People

If you hang around with people who think exercise is reaching for a doughnut or doing the 12 oz curl after work, you might want to reconsider who you hang out with.

Does that mean you have to change all your friends? Of course not.

If you have a strong desire to change you life and you can be around others who don't support that, then good for you. For me, I find it much easier to make healthy choices when I surround myself with people who are also interested in being healthier--and do more than just talk about it.

It doesn't mean you can't see your friend Sue or buddy Bob ever again. I'm suggesting that you cultivate some additional, new relationships. When you are out walking, say hello to others. If you see them regularly, you could suggest you walk together for a bit.

Or it may be that there is someone you work with or who lives down the street who has also been talking about wanting to be more healthy. See if he or she would be interested in being a walking partner, or how you can support one another in a different way. That support might be in sharing tips you learned, a great recipe you tried, a great place you went to for a walk over the weekend.

Don't be surprised if, as your body starts to change along with your new habits, people don't start approaching you and asking what you are doing. These just might be some great new support buddies!