Friday, February 27, 2009

Food Addiction: Cured or In Recovery?

Hi. My name is Laurie. I'm an ice cream-aholic.

Food has always been my 'drug of choice'. Specifically ice cream. Even more specifically, chocolate ice cream...or just about any ice cream with chocolate in it.

The higher the fat content the better.

I could literally eat several quarts at a sitting.

Of course I would then wonder why I had a headache!!!

It is a wonder I'm not diabetic or have cholesterol through the roof.

That has all changed now...I actually bought a pint (one!) of ice cream on Sunday because it sounded good. Then I forgot I even had it in the house!

On Wednesday night I decided to have some. I voluntarily stopped part way through because I was done! It no longer was satisfying or tasting good, so I put it back...

If you notice I said I put it back, that means that I was eating right out of the container, I had not dished it out. That had been my method of portion control before. Dish some out. And go back for more. Again. and Again. Or not--sometimes I just ate right out of the quart container.

I am excited at the prospect that I have a normal relationship with food!

I know that it is important to keep my awareness up and not slip into bad habits--but this is a very good day...

Maybe I'll celebrate! Rocky Road, anyone (I'm joking!)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Weight Loss Success Calories NOT Key

It is not the number of calories you eat versus expend that is the most important measure of success for losing weight.

While reducing calories taken in and/or increasing the number of calories you burn is part of the equation--it is not the be-all to end-all.

This is my story--and I'm sticking to it--despite a federal study that claims otherwise.

This study followed people for 2 years (which for a dieter is an eternity) and found that whether the diet was low-fat or low-carb or high-protein did not wasn't the kind of diet that had the effect. The participants who had the greatest success, no matter what type of diet they were on reduced their caloric intake--and stuck with it.

Ah-ha! That is the key then, the sticking to it part!

Even in this study they note that the participants had trouble sticking to the plan--and weight lost was modest for most!!!

I've heard the calories in vs calories out theory since I was in high school. As a competitive athlete who worked out several hours a day and who did not eat a lot of food--and yet was still considered overweight--it just didn't make sense.

I knew in my heart there was more to it than simple math or physics!

Eating, body image and weight loss are emotional issues. And, defying all logic, it is quite possible for us to "hold on to" fat even if follow the mathematical equation.

This is why programs that include some sort of counseling or peer support have much greater results than diets that are simply following some eating rules.

With support, it is much easier to make the permanent life-style changes that are required to have permanent weight-loss results.

And to make the changes in our behavior we have to change what is going on in our heads first.

Bottom line, get your head 'in the game', decide that you are worth it, decide that you can achieve it, get some support, and every day take the action steps to get you to your health goals.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Place Emphasis on Wellness

I chuckled to myself today as I read the newspaper--there was an article titled "Focus on the Whole--Medical experts: Emphasis should be placed on wellness, not sickness"

This is NEWS???? Not to me!

This is one of the most important aspects of overall health--including losing weight. We have to pay attention to our overall health, not just a "diet"...when we do just focus on a "diet" the results will be, at best, short-term.

Only by paying attention to our entire life--our mind, body and spirit--can we have permanent, healthy results.

According to this article, good health care is preventive, predictive and personalized...this is true of how you lose weight permanently. What works for me, might not work for you...every one of us is different.

"Health is more than the absence of disease," says Dr. Ralph Snyderman--he is heading a meeting of the prestigious Institute of Medicine, which is attempting to get health-promotion on Congress' radar.

Dr. Tracy Gaudet is an OB/Gyn heading integrative medicine at Duke University, "The doctor says, 'Lose weight, exercise, see you in a year.' We know that doesn't work."

Bottom line, you have to take control of your health--it is up to you to decide that it is a priority. Consult with your health care practitioner--but as a partner...they are the supporting role, you are the star!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Thank You Academy, or And the Winner Is...

Did you enjoy the Academy Awards last night? I did...I almost didn't watch but heard that they were changing up the format and so I decided to check it out. Glad I did.

Why? Well, besides learning a bit more about the movies (I don't get to see movies much these days!) I got a couple "social ah ha" moments out of it...

What do I mean by a "social ah ha"? For me, it is the light bulb moment that is more than just a personal revelation (or ah ha), but one that gives me insight into what is going on in the world today. Or at least the USA.

This is going to be a longer than usual post...but it struck me deeply...
  • Dreams--have them and use them for success.
  • Be true to yourself. Be authentic.
  • Be grateful for everything in your life. You never know what/who is going to inspire you to greatness.
  • We are craving intimacy, closer contact.
  • We are looking for reassurance that all is well in the world and that is reflected in our fondness for nostalgia.
All the people who were up for awards (the known and the less known) had a dream. And they stuck with that dream and acted upon it.

I even enjoyed the variety of styles of dress among the men and women--especially when it was obvious that it was a fit specifically for them. Think of Mickey Rourke and Penelope Cruz. Very different and each unique and well suited for them.

I loved when Andrew Stanton (winner for Best Animated Feature) "Creative seeds are sown in the oddest of places" as he was thanking his high school drama teacher for casting him in Hello Dolly.

The change in the stage format was a much more intimate approach than years past. It brought the audience closer to the host. It made it easier for him to communicate with the audience. And it brought the live audience closer to the television audience. And the groups of presenters for the acting awards spoke directly to the nominees. There was a deep, personal connection that struck a chord with the nominees and allowed us at home to feel like we knew both the presenter and the nominee a little bit better. Much different from showing a clip of the movie. Focus was on the person, not the movie.

The entire show was a throw-back to the 30s & 40s. From the song and dance numbers to the crystal curtain. It was nostalgic, reassuring, opulent.

What does this have to do with health, wellness and Refuse to Diet?
  • Set your dream (goal) regarding your health and weight--and stick to it. Live it every day and you will achieve it.
  • No one diet, exercise or fitness program works for everyone. Know yourself and choose a plan that will work for YOU, your lifestyle and your goals. And don't try to look like anyone else...instead be the best YOU that you can.
  • We all have so much to be grateful for. Sometimes things that seem small or like a long time ago can be the catalyst we need for change. Sometimes things that even seem like negatives...look for the positive. And when you realize you were inspired by someone--let them know it!
  • Make an effort to connect with at least one other human being--directly. That real connection can make all the difference in how you feel. Focus on people--not food.
  • In times of uncertainty we look for things that give us comfort. That can be food--which might sabotage our health goals. What other ways can you give yourself a sense of security? Remember to celebrate your wins, recognize and reward your achievements
Oh--and the maybe obvious point is about the change in format in general--sometimes we have to change things up. Variety. Spice. Keeping things interesting and continuing success.

So be open to new ideas. Try some new things out. Change up your exercise routine...especially if you are getting bored. Boredom is a motivation killer!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

15 Minutes to Health

Take 15 minutes every day to take care of yourself by getting a little exercise.

Yup. I said 15 minutes.

You don't have to dedicate hours every day. Hey, if you have the time, energy and desire to spend hours exercising every day that's great. I sure don't.

Will I have six-pack abs or "buns of steel" by exercising 15 minutes a day? No.

But will my health be better? Definitely yes!

I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist or a exercise coach...but I can tell you what has worked for me--someone who struggled for YEARS...who exercised for hours...who starved herself...and who had NO success with that route!

Now I typically spend about 30 minutes--including a warm up stretch and cool down. Not bad.

I started with 15 minutes. And I was in so much, um, "discomfort" that I did a lot of that sitting down! It was by taking this small step that I have been able to achieve dramatic results! 120lbs dropped to date. Improved energy. Better moods. It is all good!

So whatever condition you are in--start there--but START!

Listen, if your health isn't worth 15 minutes a day then you aren't serious about improving your life...go ahead and wait for the magic pill...and while you wait you'll be getting older and probably heavier, too.

Remember: the only one who can move your body is YOU.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gratitude for Support in Weight Loss Goals

One of the best things we can do for ourselves to achieve our health goals is to have a support system. And when you receive compliments and support to be grateful for it and let the person know how much you appreciate it (if you can...)

So today I want to thank Shannon Grissom today for her support. She was enthusiastic about my weight loss and the book that I am writing to help other middle-aged women who have been taught to believe that it is too hard to lose weight...and provide them with inspiration.

It warmed my heart to read on Twitter today
You story is inspiring! You go Laurie! The world needs you and your book Laurie. Great news!
So thanks Shannon!

BTW, Shannon is an artist with a great site about her art, television and more--and a great blog on creativity! Be sure to check them both out!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Focus on the Positive Changes Not What is Left to Be Done

I am feeling positively wonderful...

Interesting thing how ones outlook or attitude can affect your entire day...and choosing different ways of looking at something can make all the difference.

For example, you know that I've lost over 100 pounds (over 120 now)--what you may not know is that I still would like to drop a few more.

In the past, I would have allowed the "fact" that I have not accomplished my goal to diminish my ability to celebrate and embrace the success to date. Maybe I haven't lost 100 pounds before, but I have lost 50 pounds before--and not respected that achievement or myself enough and instead of maintaining that loss I actually put it all back on AND MORE!

So as I look in the mirrow while exercising I notice and love my body--even with some extra fat jiggling around. I am not perfect. May never have the perfect body--however, I am PROUD of what I have done. I am enjoying seeing the changes in my body.

Instead of focusing on the remaining fat, I am choosing to focus on my emerging muscles that I can see and feel . I am focusing on their growing strength and that they are coming out of hiding from beneath layers of fat.

I am choosing to focus on noticing my bones--seeing my skeletal structure. How strong my bones are! How loyal have they been as they carried my body around.

I am choosing to notice how my arms and legs, and even my fingers and toes, are appearing to grow longer. The truth is they are less round than they were before--the shortness was an illusion that I am shattering.

What an exciting discovery this "new" body is!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lose Weight by Law of Attraction

I have now shed 120 pounds--and it all started with the Law of Attraction.

Huh? Shed through attraction...that doesn't make sense, does it?

Actually it does. This is my story.

A few short years ago I was over 120 pounds heavier than I am today.

I made a conscious decision to change my life by changing my mind--by changing my thinking.

I didn't focus on foods to eat or not, exercises to do or not. I focused on my attitude about myself, about food, about my body, about my ability to be healthy. This is what made the difference.

I began to attract teachers and tools that helped me to facilitate my weight loss. From learning to listen to my own body, to affirmations that help me accept and appreciate what I had, to being open to the possibility that I actually could become a healthy weight.

I learned that it was more about my mind than the foods going into my mouth.

For years I had followed diet and exercise plans without success. It wasn't until I actually mentally and emotionally let go of the fat that I had attracted in the first place that I was able to drop the pounds.

I accepted responsibility for my physical condition. I acknowledged that on many levels my weight had protected me. I also let myself know that while I was grateful for that protection, I no longer needed it--I now had other, better, more healthy ways to protect myself and so it was free to leave me. I would be be safe.

That's my story (and I'm sticking to it!) So don't tell me the Law of Attraction doesn't work.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Not Everyone Can Be Skinny!

Heck, some of us don't want to be "skinny"...we just want to as healthy as possible for us!

I've said it before, I will never be a Miss America-type beauty. I don't have the bone and muscle structure for it. That's okay. I'm grateful for my strong has carried me around for a lot of years now...this was part of the huge shift in my mindset that allowed me to lose 120 pounds...loving my body as it is, not hating it for what it never can be...

Reading the paper today I was reminded about my own exercise philosophy--MOVE MORE...using the one jumping jack theory!

It doesn't have to be a lot. This sentiment is echoed by Dr. Tedd Mitchell in his new book Move Yourself: The Cooper clinic Medical Director's Guide to All the Healing Benefits of Exercise (Even a Little!) Whew! That's a mouthful!

In a nutshell--science shows that even small amounts of moving your body yield big results--in health, quality and length of life. The catch? Moving consistently (not the same movements mind you, just moving more.)

Dr. Mitchell's book gives specific guidelines based on 4 decades of research.

I love this "Genetically speaking, not everyone can be skinny, but everybody can be fit." Hurray! We do not have to be the round peg trying to fit in the square hole! Just be the best round peg you can.

Another favorite, "It's been said that your health can be judged by which you take two at a time--pills or stairs."

I vote for stairs!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Weight Loss: Family Help or Hinder

Weight and family are a tough combo. Whether your family taught you unhealthy habits or contributed to your "fat genes", your family can and will have a huge impact on your weight loss goals--IF YOU LET THEM! This can be a help. Or a hindrance. It is really UP TO YOU!

Your experience with your family will be different from mine...and even different from that of your siblings (if you have them.) Even though we theoretically grew up in the same family, my brother's experiences were decidedly different from mine and so we have different experiences today when visiting.

The bottom line for any family visit is to remember that your family loves you. It doesn't always feel that way...and sure there are some families out there that are so dysfunctional that love is not part of the equation...but if you are visiting them I'm going to presume there is love involved!

Sometimes that love is expressed as unconditional support for your goals. Some families will bend over backwards to help you to eat healthy and move your body and happily join you on the adventure. Other families will be supportive but not be willing to change any of their routines. And then some families will be downright combative about any change--even if it is for your health.

How your family chooses to help may be wildly different as well. Sometimes in an effort to "help" my mother would comment on every bite that went into my mouth. We talked about that years ago--she understands that for me that was not helpful and I asked her for specific things that she could do to help me instead. That way she didn't feel judged too harshly and she felt like she was helping me, which truly was her intention all along.

Keep in mind, if you have been one way your entire life, then your family is used to dealing with that version of you. If you are making changes then it will take some education so they know what you expect--don't think they will KNOW how you want to be treated and what you need. They cannot read your mind...even though we think they should be able to!

The biggest thing to remember is that your results are strictly up to you. No blaming the families help or lack of help.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Weight Loss Tips: Business Trips and Booze

Alcohol on business trips can be the biggest trip up...set your limit BEFORE you get to the restaurant or bar. Make it a business decision and then stick to it, like you would any business decision.

Know what you like to drink BESIDES alcohol, so you don't have to think about it.

If you are out with a client or co-worker with whom you have partied heartily on previous trips, they may be surprised at the change. But don't build it up in your mind to be more than it probably is.

Be fun, be jovial and let others drink as much as they want...

No matter what, be confident in your order. Don't apologize or make excuses for your order. If you don't make a big deal out of it, chances are good no one else will either.

Remember you are doing this for YOU and your health. And don't let anyone bully you into drinking beyond the limit you established for yourself. Keep in your own mind (even though you are not announcing this to your colleagues) that by keeping your health promises you are demonstrating personal strength, power, control and integrity. These are all excellent business skills!

My plan is to have one drink with dinner. I don't have cocktails before hand...I find that even one drink without food loosens my resolve and makes it much harder to stick to my health goals.

Rather than fighting with myself, I know that I want to have a nice glass of wine with my meal and really enjoy that, so if I'll be at the bar before I'll have a seltzer or mineral water with lime.

I have friends who love iced tea or coffee so they choose that. For these purposes, don't worry about the sugar...unless you are diabetic...but that's a whole different subject... the sugar is less of a demon for the night than the alcohol which is sugar AND relaxer!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Weight Loss Challenges: Visiting Family

Your family, the in-laws, or friends who you consider family can be trips that are both the easiest to stick to health goals and the most difficult. Sometimes at the same time.

With anyone that close, there are triggers that are going to come up. It could be favorite foods that aren't so healthy for you or behaviors that hit you emotionally that you want to hide from (or "stuff" down with food!)

This is a great opportunity for you to practice listening to your body. If you have always been a big eater in your family, it may be hard for them to accept that you really don't want seconds, or that favorite treat that Mom made special just for your visit.

With some families you may be able to elicit support from one family member or another. In other families asking for help may bring out some apparent sabotage. You will probably have a good idea which category your family will fall into, but sometimes our efforts will bring out the best in other people, so don't be afraid to ask for what you need--if nothing else it is good practice!

When planning your visit to your family, let them know of your dietary changes--especially if someone is going to be doing a lot of cooking for your visit. Rather than wait for your arrival and then telling your Italian Mom you can't eat the lasgna and tiramisu, tell her ahead that you are eating lots of vegetables and could she stock up on salad stuff...or if you can, plan on stopping at the store shortly after arrival.

Here's my plan (which I announce several days ahead)--arrive at the house, check out the refrigerator and make a shopping list, head to the grocery store within a couple hours of arrival.

At the store I buy lots of fruits & vegetables that are easy to eat for snacks that I really like--grape tomatoes, blueberries, apples--lettuce and salad fixings, yogurt for breakfast and some string cheese for snacks. If I'm here for a long visit, I'll buy nuts...for short visits I'll have brought it along from home. And I buy lots of water! Lots and lots of water!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Weight Loss Challenges: Traveling

Every trip has its own challenges for sticking with health goals.

Whether it is a short, one day trip or one that lasts for several weeks.

Family visits offer a set of challenges different from, say a trip to Disneyland--a happy place fraught with plenty of challenges all its own.Business trips are yet another animal.

No matter where you are going or for how long, the best way to maintain your goals is to plan, plan, plan.

Remember one of the biggest reasons we overeat is stress. And traveling, even when it is purely for pleasure is stressful. There is the packing and the getting there--by car, by cart! Then there is the stress of being in some place that is just not home. And if you are traveling with someone(s) as much as you love them, there is that additional stress--especially if you are the main packer and planner and shepherd!

So, don't demand perfection of yourself! That is just another stress that you can better live without! Have some fun and relax a little with your discipline. Otherwise you risk your inner child having a tantrum when you get back home and doing far more damage than you would have otherwise!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Are Your Veggies Healthy?

Now look at how are the vegetables prepared--

Are you eating your potatoes in the form of french fries? You pretty much lost all the good potato count that as a simple carbohydrate.

Are you eating your potato baked? Terrific. Oh, but you added 1/2 cup sour cream or several tablespoons of butter. You have now made a healthy food one laden with fat. Again, pretty much lost all the good value.

Are you having a big salad? Congrats! Dousing it with salad dressing--oops....

The point is, remember what you are adding to your vegetables. Make the additions healthy choices. Want some fat...use olive oil, flax oil or other oils that are actually good for you.

Instead of tons of butter and sour cream for your potatoes (russet, gold, red or sweet) try herbs, olive oil, flax oil, a little soy sauce, or something I have come to love is "Liquid Aminos". I spray a little on and it really adds a great zest to my potato.