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!