Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Eating Chocolate as Part of Weight Loss

Yes, chocolate can have a place in your weight loss plan.

First, as you have heard me say repeatedly, I do not believe any foods should be off-limits completely. That is just no fun! Not only that, it can lead to feeling deprived which then tends to prompt us to binge.

We don't want to be in that cycle. We want to be in a healthy cycle where we feel good about ourselves and the progress we are making towards achieving our ideal health goals.

So incorporating some of your favorite foods, in small portions can actually help you lose weight in the long run!

Now--don't let that lead you to believe you can just eat bon-bons all day long! Nor does it mean that we should eat large quantities of the "healthy chocolate" that you see advertised.

It is important that we change our thinking--not just what we eat. I have done that before and it has always backfired! If you swap eating a dozen chocolate chip cookies for a bag of low-cal cookies you are not really changing the thought process or the behavior! I contend that even if what you swap for is carrot sticks you are still not changing the thinking. Because if you still stuff yourself, at some point you will decide the carrot sticks just aren't cutting it and look out baby--then a super-binge is on the way!

When we change our thinking about food and our bodies and begin to really love ourselves we want to truly take care of these wonderful bodies we have. One of the ways we take care of them is to fuel them properly rather than stuffing them with food because something is "eating us" emotionally! Instead we learn other ways to deal with issues and no longer feel the need to self-medicate with food.

But fueling properly doesn't mean you never get to have a treat...and chocolate is a great treat AND can actually have some health benefits.

Be sure to eat dark chocolate for maximum heart benefits. And take small pieces--you only need 1/4 oz to achieve the benefits--that means a standard size chocolate bar will pretty much last you a week.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sugar Cravings: Twinkies and Depression

Continuing on with Dr. Oz's thoughts on what causes sugar cravings...if you missed yesterday's post "Feed Me Now or I Will Kill You" be sure to check it out if you get, um, grumpy before meal time!

You know what it is like...you want something sweet, but you aren't really sure what you want...so you find yourself going through the cupboards for something sweet. Dr. Oz refers to this as "I'd really like a Twinkie".

He points out that, although there isn't a lot of evidence yet, that holistic doctors claim this could be due to too much yeast in the gut. One treatment is to take probiotics (which are the "good guys" of bacteria...think of them as wearing tiny white hats!) So while the evidence may not be there the probiotics have worked enough for Dr. Oz to suggest them.

Dr. Oz then moves on to the period cravings...when it is time for our period we will have low levels of serotonin and so we feel more depressed than usual.

To break the period sugar cravings eat dark chocolate--about 1 ounce. That small amount of chocolate will provide a natural antidepressant as well as some carbs.

Finally Dr. Oz points out that frequently we think we want to eat something...even when we aren't really hungry...because we have neglected other needs...including exercise, sleep, sex or water.

So...try taking a walk or a nap... or a "nap" (wink wink) and drink lots of water!

I will again recommend Dr John Gray's Mars Venus Wellness Solution. I found my moods were much more stable throughout my cycle...that and consistently exercising really helps keep my hormones balanced.

But taking a "nap" sounds good, too!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sugar Cravings: Feed Me Now or I Will Kill You

Dr. Mehmet Oz is a regular on the Oprah Show and writes articles that appear on her website. He wrote recently about sugar cravings and his suggestions for dealing with them. You can see the article on the Oprah site.

He identifies 3 basic categories of sugar cravings, what may be the cause and his suggestions to counteract them.

In today's post we'll review the first one...

"Feed me now, or I'll kill you." Hmm...I can relate to this one! This is typically due to low blood sugar. One of the typical responses is to eat sugar...this helps short-term but then as you plunge down the sugar abyss it just gets worse.

To break the low blood sugar curse Dr. Oz suggests sucking on a Tic Tac or two to stop the major craving, then eat more protein (and reduce sweets) to keep your blood sugar more even. Eating many small meals throughout the day rather than 3 main meals can really help.

I knew a guy who said he had PMS...3 times a day..."Pre Meal Syndrome"...if you suffer from this, get grumpy or irritable or fatigued, then definitely try the mini-meal approach. It has really helped me a lot!

A book that helped me break the sugar blues is The Perricone Prescription by dermatologist Nicholas Perricone. By eating more frequently and learning about even healthy foods that are higher in sugar content I was able to make better choices that helped my skin and my body.

For me, this worked temporarily but it was just too much work...so I couldn't keep it up.

I later did find Dr. John Gray's Mars Venus Wellness Solution and that helped my cravings and it was super easy!

Next post we'll talk about the other two causes of sugar cravings according to Dr. Oz.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Obesity Society: Obstacles to Weight Loss

I didn't know there was such a group, but apparently there is indeed an "Obesity Society". They met in Phoenix in February and during the conference researchers from the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University in Philadelphia presented the results of a study about the obstacles we face in our efforts to lose weight.

One of the conclusions they came up with is that obese women may have more obstacles than women who are simply overweight. Gee, ya think?

This study appears to have been focused upon activity levels and it included overweight and obese women as well as "normal" and underweight women. The trial period was followed up a year later.

What the study boiled down to was that we set up the obstacles in our own minds, more than there being some outside influence preventing us from losing weight. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

When we set up these barriers for ourselves they may actually undermine our efforts--even when we are filled with the best intentions.

Some of the examples that were given for obese women to NOT exercise were
  • Feeling self-conscious about how they looked while exercising
  • Feeling like they lacked self-discipline
  • Hating to fail so they didn't even try
  • Minor aches and pains
  • Felt like they were too overweight to exercise
The study showed that if women had these issues during the trial they were less likely to be active at the follow up a year later than the more slender members of the study.

So what can you do to avoid this trap?
  • Start of slowly so that you minimize aches and pains...let's get real...when we are obese we have minor aches and pains all the time! Realize that one of the best ways to get rid of these is to drop the excess pounds.
  • Talk to your doctor to be sure there is no reason that you cannot exercise at least moderately.
  • Start with 15 minutes a day so you set yourself up to succeed! If 15 minutes is too much all at once then start with 5...the key is to start!
  • Tell yourself (affirm) that you have self-discipline and that you are open to being more active. You have to change your mindset about your activity level--what you are capable of and willing to do.
  • Exercise at a place where there are other larger sized women if you are self-conscious. Or move around your own home or apartment.
  • Get support! It could be a friend...or it could be here on this blog!
I am here to tell you that you CAN do it! If I can then YOU can! And you will be amazed at how much easier it is to move around once you just start...and as you lose weight and gain strength it gets easier and more fun, too!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Setbacks, Imperfections and Challenges

We are human and therefore aren’t “perfect” (as much as we might like to be.) This is true in all of our behaviors—including our health and fitness goals.

Even with the best intentions, it is easy to stray from our chosen path if we don’t pay attention and be present.

One of my personal challenges is allowing myself to get so busy that I don’t take ample breaks…or I will work until late in the evening. I will “forget” to meditate or to eat…or even just to get up and move.

In the very short-term, these added moments seem like they move me forward. Truth is, they ultimately set me back—either by causing greater fatigue, disharmony and even weight gain.

Rather than beat myself up over it, my goal is to be loving and gentle and guide myself firmly and lovingly back to the path that I know works for me.

This gives me the opportunity to recognize how my body feels and to evaluate that. Have I been paying attention? I also have the chance to reflect on my behaviors…I have I picked up some new “bad” habits…or perhaps slipped into an old familiar pattern that is not in my best health interests?

The reason to look at any less healthy choices I have been making is so I can stop or modify them and replace them with healthier ones—not to flog myself for my “mistakes”. Those actions were in the past (even if it was just yesterday, or even just an hour ago!)

It is up to me to see how I can do better NOW and in the future.

I choose to proclaim what I have done RIGHT and focus on continuing those behaviors and improving those positive skills!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Avoiding Recessionary Butt Syndrome

Yesterday I promised I would share some of my favorite stress-busting ideas to avoid Recessionary Butt Syndrome...instead of reaching for the ice cream I go for one of these and I not only don't take in a bunch of calories I don't need I feel good about myself afterward, too!

Keep hydrated! Seems crazy, but when I get stressed I sometimes forget to drink my water. Then I will get cranky and headachey. That just increases my stress...so the first thing I do when I start to feel peevish is take a BIG glass of water and chug it.

Practice positive affirmations and/or meditation. Put good thoughts into your brain and calm yourself. When I am stressed I find it especially helpful to have a guided meditation or affirmations so that I'm not having to "remember" what to do.

Go for a quick walk around the block. This will actually reduce your stress level AND you won't feel like beating yourself up for "falling of the diet wagon"! This doesn't take a lot of time and you don't have to get on special exercise clothes...just get out and move a bit!

Take deep breaths. Breathe from your belly...nice slow breaths in and out, a full cycle should take at least 10 seconds. The breathing is calming and also brings more oxygen into your body (and brain) and oxygen is necessary for metabolizing food efficiently--so by breathing deeply you can actually burn more calories while you are reducing your stress!

Be aware of what is going right in your life. Write it down in a journal or notebook so that you can refer to it and add to it. Every day jot at least 5 things down that went well...this will help train you to look for the good things in the day. Take some time to reflect on these things and appreciate them and be grateful for the good moments, events and people you have surrounding you. I call this my gratitude journal and I feel happy just thinking about it.

Turn off the news! Give yourself permission to NOT watch all the negativity.

Instead, talk with a friend and have a good laugh! Or watch a funny movie or a favorite comedy...one friend of mine loves to watch old Abbott & Costello movies for a lift!

Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake. It is easy to slide into the chemical "lift" or "relax" habit that caffeine and alcohol provide. These actually both add stress to your body and you will be better off not increasing quantities of either of these drugs.

Keep up with your exercise routine. Remember, you don't have to work out for hours...but whatever level you are at, be sure to keep with it. You will feel better about yourself if you do...and it will keep you burning calories, so if you do have a little comfort food you'll be able to handle it better.

Do something you enjoy every day. Even if it is just for 15 minutes. It could be as simple as smelling a flower or watching the sunset or listening to music.

I'd love to hear some of your stress buster ideas too!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Does This Recession Make My Butt Look Fat?

Not that we didn't have plenty of obesity in this country when the economy was doing better...it is well-known that when the economy goes downhill, our collective weight rises.

Why is that and what can we do about it?

There are two big factors at play that cause recession weight gain.

1. Stress (fear, anxiety...) When we are concerned about losing our jobs, our money, our homes, one thing we can do that is relatively inexpensive is eat.

Our feeling like we do not have control over what is going on around us leads us to take control in other areas...and for many people that means to eat.

Food is a major way in which we were comforted as kids...everyone has a favortie comfort food...mine happens to be ice cream...it is a knee-jerk reaction to reach for the cream when I feel stressed (or sad or a myriad of other emotions.)

2. Costs. Simple carbohydrates are filling and cheap. So we eat lots of breads, pastas, sugary baked goods and potatoes. While these foods are not off our food plan forever, they are higher in sugars and they will actually make you want to eat more of them and other carbohydrates. So in the end (bad pun, I know) it doesn't really save money...especially not if you consider having to buy larger clothes or the affect on your health.

I remember the dreaded "Freshman 15" when I went to college. Especially amongst the girls, it seemed like an epidemic...freshman year everyone seemed to gain at least 15 pounds.

This was for a lot of the same reasons.

When we are uncomfortable in a situation we will eat for emotional reasons rather than what our body needs for health.

So what can we do to insure we don't add pounds during these times? Tomorrow I will share some stress busters that I use on a regular basis!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think

Author Brian Wansink is a Stanford Ph.D. food psychologist and the director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab. He has been seen on Oprah and numerous other shows discussing the ways companies and our families influence our eating patterns.

Dr. Wansink has spent a lifetime studying what we don’t notice: the hidden cues that determine how much and why people eat. Being aware of how much we really are consuming is a key facet to successfully losing weight--and keeping it off!

This book, published in 2007, helps us become aware of outside influences that sabotage our efforts and why willpower is not enough.

Some of the questions the book asks include:
  • How does packaging influence how much we eat?
  • Which movies make us eat faster?
  • How does music or the color of the room influence how much we eat?
  • How can we recognize the “hidden persuaders” used by restaurants and supermarkets to get us to mindlessly eat?
  • What are the real reasons most diets are doomed to fail?
  • How can we use the “mindless margin” to lose–instead of gain–ten to twenty pounds in the coming year?
  • Does food with a brand name really taste better?
  • Do you hate brussels sprouts because your mother did?
  • Does the size of your plate determine how hungry you feel?
  • How much would you eat if your soup bowl secretly refilled itself?
  • What does your favorite comfort food really say about you?
  • Why do you overeat so much at healthy restaurants?


“[Mindless Eating] does more than just chastise those of us guilty of stuffing our faces. It also examines the effectiveness of such popular diets as South Beach or Atkins, and offers useful tips to consciously eat nutritiously.”—Boston Herald

"Entertaining... Isn't so much a diet book as a how-to on better facilitating the interaction between the feed-me messages of our stomachs and the controls in our heads."—Publishers Weekly

Mindless Eating will change the way you look at food, and it will give you the facts you need to easily make smarter, healthier, more mindful and enjoyable choices wherever you decide to eat--at home, school, work, a restaurant or even a vending machine!

If you want to read Dr. Wansink's blog, click here!

Weight Loss Proof: Look Beyond the Scale

Amanda Wicker is a weight-loss success story having dropped 130 pounds using diet and exercise. While I put much more emphasis on change your thought patterns to achieve in permanent weight loss, I agree with the points she brought up this month about looking at other measures of success beyond the scale.

Amanda admits that she has at times given the number on the scale too much power--a very common occurrence! I once was as addicted to the number on the scale as I was to food--often getting on it 3 or more times in a day. And that doesn't count the times I got on and off, moving the scale a few inches trying to find the "sweet spot" on the bathroom floor!

If you are going to weigh yourself, do so no more frequently than once a week. Anything more often doesn't accurately reflect "real" weight loss and can be demoralizing or lead us to false conclusions about what does or does not work for us.

So if you have reached a plateau or not...be sure to use gauges other than the number on the scale to bolster you during your weight loss journey--and for the rest of your life!

Some suggestions from Amanda are:
  • Make a list of non-scale victories...I fit into my skinny jeans; I exercised 2 days in a row; I passed up the sweets at the office and didn't miss them; I drank more than my minimum in water today; I went for a walk when I was having a desire to eat that was totally emotional--and it helped! You can keep this in your food journal or a separate document. When you write these victories down say them aloud and express gratitude for that win!
  • Use a tape measure and take your measurements once a month. Keep a record so you see the progress. Include the basic chest/bust, waist and hips...but also measure thighs, calves, upper arms, neck. One of my big surprises is the necklaces that I can wear now that I thought were tiny before! (Hey--there's another non-scale victory!)
  • Track your body fat percentage. This is a better indicator of fat dropped which is what we really want to achieve...muscle does weigh more than fat.
  • Check to see if you clothes fit better or if you could go to a smaller size.
  • Are you able to exercise longer, harder with less effort?

I'll add to that, check in with yourself and see how you feel...physically, mentally and emotionally...are you feeling stronger, more in control, better about yourself and the choices you are making, empowered to live better...when you are improving your feelings you will be improving your body size, too!

Above all, keep up the good work! You are doing great! Certainly don't give away your power to change your life--not to another person and certainly not to a box called "the scale"!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Getting Enough Fluids In During Cooler Weather

I've had several people lately tell me they have trouble drinking enough water when the weather is cold...as we come into Spring that problem seems to resolve itself.

It is very common that warm weather makes drinking water easier for most people.

But what do we do if Spring turns cold?

To make it easier to get in ample water during the cooler weather I suggest drinking room temperature water...or warm it up slightly and add a splash of lemon.

Also try decaffeinated green tea or herbal teas (no sugar)...many have great antioxidants! That way you get a double-whammy of health!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mega-Doses of Love

This is a continuation of Make Love Not War post from Mar 13...the idea being that we tend to fight and criticize ourselves...today we talk specifically how to change that so we can be our healthiest selves possible (and that includes achieving our weight loss goals!)

The way to combat negative thoughts is with mega-doses of love.

First, be aware of the negative thought and break the habit. Tony Robbins calls it pattern interrupt--do something to help reinforce a change. A rubber band around the wrist that you snap whenever you notice a negative thought can give a small uncomfortable sensation ("negative association") that will help remind you to not be negative.

Be sure to follow that up with a positive thought or affirmation and a gentle loving sensation ("positive reinforcement") which could be as simple as rubbing the same wrist gently.

In order for this to work you need to have at least one thing you can say positive about yourself--

My challenge for you today is to find one thing about yourself that you love (or at least like--more than one is great, but get at least one). Think of something you are grateful for that you do or quality you have. If you absolutely cannot think of anything you already are or do, then where is it that you want to go? And have your positive be about that...for example, "I am open to the possibility of attaining health". There are a lot of people who are not open to it--so that is a wonderful attribut.

Practice your pattern interrupt...it can be with the rubberband or just with words. T Harv Eker uses the rubberband technique but also suggest saying "cancel, cancel" whenever a negative thought comes into your head, and immediately replacing it with a positive one.

A good thing to keep in mind is that negative association works best when combined with positive reinforcement. In other words, don't just do the uncomfortable...reward yourself.

Think of when you trained a puppy or a child...did they learn best if you only scolded them? Or did they do better, more quickly if you had a brief NO followed by positive direction delivered with love? You too learn best when treated with love...and you deserve to be treated with love!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Make Love Not War

"Make love not war" was a very popular slogan during the 60s...I still like the philosophy and I see that it is something that I can apply most to myself.

How many different negative thoughts do you have about yourself in a day?

How often do you catch yourself repeating the same negative thought?

Whether we want to admit it or not, these thoughts are affirmations...we are "making firm" the thoughts by repeating them over and over. So by repeating or affirming these negatives we are making them bigger, truer and more powerful in our lives every day.

Let's stop that! We deserve to get better and better and build ourselves up rather than tear ourselves down.

That doesn't mean you will be positive 100% of the time. We all have negative thoughts and self-doubts from time to time.

What is important is for us to move away from the negative and move toward the positive.

We have ample opportunity for negative thoughts to dominate our minds if we allow them too...because we hear or read about standards for beauty and health...because we compare ourselves to others...

Whether your negative thoughts are about not being able to stick to your healthy eating goals, or how big your hips are, or thin your lips are, or that you are lazy... unlovable... unworthy... ugly... these negative thoughts do not serve you.

And they are usually not accurate! I am here to tell you that you are worthy. You are lovable. You are beautiful. I know this to be true...even if you do not yet know it.

From my personal experience I can tell you that all these negative thoughts lead to a lot of emotional eating...because food can make us feel good--at least temporarily. So if for no other reason, you deserve to stop the negative thinking. In fact you must stop it in order to achieve permanent, healthy weight-loss.

The good news is that you can change your thinking and you can come to believe what I already know is the truth about you--and me--about each and every one of us!

In my next post I'll give you specific ways to help begin those changes.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Benefits to Exercise: Weight Loss and Beyond

Benefits to exercise include stronger muscles--and it is true that muscle weighs more than fat...and bigger muscles burn more calories than weak muscles!

Other benefits are stronger bones, if you are doing weight-bearing exercises.

People who exercise regular sleep better at night, have better endurance and more energy during the day.

And even though it may seem counter-intuitive, exercising regularly can actually reduce your appetite!

So what if you are exercising and not losing weight? What is going on with that?

It is possible to increase your activity level and not see a corresponding drop on the scale. And this can be very discouraging if you think that exercise is the answer to dropping pounds.

First realize that exercise all by itself may not be enough to bring about weight loss.

That doesn't mean you should stop exercising! There are lots of benefits to exercise that go beyond the scale as mentioned above.

It may be that you are at an exercise plateau...you may have to vary the routine, try a new exercise for a while just to break it up. Or increase the intensity...your body may have gotten used to the level you were at. Can you easily hold a conversation while working out? Then you need to bring it up a notch.

Be sure you are breathing. And that's not meant to be funny. Sometimes we hold our breath when working out and that is not good.

Take lots of deep breaths through your nose while you exercise. Use your diaphragm. Increase the oxygen to your body's furnace and it will start to burn hotter.

If you still aren't losing weight (and you really, objectively have fat to lose) be sure that you are really open to the possibility of losing weight and gaining health. Go back to mindset! It truly is where it all begins!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Shop Around Before Joining a Gym

More on this series about exercising for weight loss

If you are considering joining a gym be sure to shop around. Things to look for include

  • Do they offer a variety of memberships that fit your financial and time budget? For example, some offer part-time memberships where you can go 3 times a week and save money.
  • Am I comfortable with the people who are working out when I am most likely to be there? Some gyms cater to all women, and most gyms have a different client base at different hours of the day.
  • Check out the locker rooms and showers--are they clean? Even if you don't want to dress there, it will help give you an idea about the cleanliness of the other facilities.
  • Does the gym offer training on the equipment--if they don't, unless you are an expert already, don't spend another minute there!
  • Does the gym offer classes that sound interesting to me--aerobics, spinning, yoga? Is there an extra fee to attend classes?
  • Does the gym have personal trainers that I can tap into? Is there an extra fee?
  • Does the gym offer child care if you need it?
  • Does this feel like a supportive environment?
  • Is the gym location convenient from home or the office?
  • Look at what your City or Town has to offer--sometimes they have a gym or "recreation center" that will provide the services you want, for less money.
The most important thing is to move, to have fun and keep with it! Make a small commitment at first...build that into a habit and then grow that. These small changes will yield big results!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Exercising without a Gym

For those of you who absolutely do not want to work out at a gym, you still have plenty of options.

If you want to have companionship it will be up to you to seek it or invite it in...that could be friends, a loved one or a personal trainer who comes to your home.

Take time every day to stretch. Gentle stretches are key to good health.

And breath deeply--get some more oxygen into your body. This will help "stoke your furnace" and will assist in weight loss.

And listen to your body. If you hurt, slow down. If you are so out of breath you can't talk, drop the intensity down a notch. If you can sing and shout to the music, step it up!

If you are new to exercising then I encourage you to get a DVD to follow (I like the "Bounce and Shake" program available on this site).

If you want to try a few things out, see if your library has any tapes or DVDs that you can borrow.

If you like movement and have decent coordination, try some aerobics.

Prefer quiet and gentle movement, check out something in the yoga or Tai Chi area.

Set aside a time to exercise...since you will be accountable to yourself, write your commitment down--you'll be more apt to keep it!

If you are on a tight budget and are not sure what else to do, just move more. Get some shoes with good support for walking and start there.

A lot of shopping malls have walking programs...you can join others for free and walk indoors in a safe environment.

Even if you don't want to go outside because of weather or you are shy, you can walk inside your house or apartment.

Or put on some tunes and dance!

The most important thing is to move, to have fun and keep with it! Make a small commitment at first...build that into a habit and then grow that. These small changes will yield big results!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Should I Join a Gym to Lose Weight?

Continuing our discussion about the best exercise for weight loss...

Now that you have answered the questions to assess your preferences, let's talk about options.

If you are comfortable working out in public you might consider joining a gym. If you are not comfortable working out in public "no way, no how"...will talk about some other options tomorrow.

Some advantages to joining a gym:
  • you will meet other people and have a social connection as well as get exercise
  • you will get encouragement and support from people you meet
  • a degree of public accountability
  • they provide the equipment (and they should provide instruction)
  • accessibility--some gyms are open 24/7! So you can workout on your schedule
  • there may be classes to help provide variety to your workout
  • if you don't know what activity you enjoy, a gym can be a place to experiment and figure it out!
  • sometimes paying for something makes us more likely to stick with it!
  • a lot of gyms have saunas, whirl pools and swimming pools--things you probably don't have access to otherwise
If you like variety and are social a gym might be a great fit for you. But just because you are not social, don't discount a gym.

Gyms can provide structure if that is what you want, but they also allow you to workout on your own...to your flexible schedule.

If you like having music, some gyms pipe it in...others only have music during a class...so you can have quiet or your own tunes if you prefer.

Remember, you can always try a gym out...it isn't a lifetime commitment! You can change gyms if this one doesn't work for you...or if you find that you prefer to work out solo!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Questions to Ask Yourself About the Best Exercise to Lose Weight

Following up on yesterday's post about what is the best exercise for losing weight--

Ask yourself a few questions to help determine the best exercise for you. Really think about the questions and honestly answer them. There is no right or wrong answer...so it is important that you truly reflect on what is true for you. Don't let any answer keep you from exercising. There are ways for everyone to exercise--even if you have little or no money, time.

Do I prefer a formal or organized program? This could be a class, a DVD you follow or an appointment you make with a trainer or friend.

Or do I prefer an informal program like walking around my neighborhood...one that has more flexibility in scheduling or is self-directed. Challenge here is will you stick with it?

Do I like to exercise with other people? Do I like the social aspect? The camaraderie?

Or do I prefer to exercise alone? Do I like to listen to my music or inspirational CD, or just be quiet while I exercise?

Am I comfortable working out in public? Is "public" okay if it is a gym, but not in a park (or vice-verse)? Is "public" okay if it is a controlled group, like all members of the same sex or all people who are overweight?

Do I stick with tasks better if I make a public commitment? Accountability to others can be a big motivator for a lot of people.

Or am I good at sticking with commitments to myself and that is enough? If you think you are...how many times have you committed to losing weight or exercising and "fallen off the wagon" in the past? Is it possible that support and/or accountability are things that will help you?

Do I want to learn something new, or is there something in the past that worked for me that I'd like to get back to?

Do I like loud and/or really active movement, or do I prefer quiet and stretching type movement.

How much time do I have to commit to exercising every day? Does that include dressing for exercise and the time to get to my exercise destination...gym/hiking trail/friend's house...?

How much financial investment can I commit to for exercise? To buy proper attire so I am comfortable and safe, any memberships or instruction--whether in person training or DVDs or CDs, any tools like weights or an iPod.

Are there types of exercise that I just can't stand? The obvious response to that is don't go there then!

However, if you say you hate all exercise I'm here to tell you that you have to get over that! Or as Dr. Phil would say "and how is that working for you?"

Thursday, March 5, 2009

What Exercise is Best for Weight Loss?

The best exercise is one that you will actually do!

OK, that doesn't really answer the question...so here goes...

The simple truth is there is no one "best" exercise for everyone. Because we all have different body types, lifestyles, abilities, preferences and time available no one can honestly give you a pat answer.

I can tell you what works for me. I can tell you things that have worked for me in the past. And I can tell you things that have not worked for me in the past.

That is true for most people who offer advice on exercise...including a lot of professionals!

You are the best person to determine what will be the best for you...and there are some questions you can ask yourself to help determine your preferences if you don't already know.

Tomorrow I'll go into more details about the questions...until then, think about this--

What kind of activity do you enjoy? What about exercise do you not enjoy? Are you solitary or social? How do you best stick to commitments? What kind of time and financial budget do you have for exercising?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Celebrate Weight Loss Successes

I never really liked trying on clothes before...now I realize that was because it was hard work and uncomfortable when I weighed 100+ pounds more!

I am having fun trying on clothes that I had put away because they were too small--and now I'm finding they are too big!

Woo-hoo! Yay me!!!

Be sure to celebrate your weight loss successes! Find a supportive friend or support system and brag about what you are doing right, rather than beating yourself up for what you have done wrong. It is about changing your mindset...you will begin to notice more and more what you are doing right and that will reinforce those behaviors and you will be more apt to continue to make those good choices (and changes)!

There is SO much to celebrate in this life!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Weight Loss Tip: Flush those Pipes

Start every day with a bit of flushing...

No, I don't mean THAT kind of flushing...I shouldn't have to tell you to do that!

I mean flush your personal pipes...

How? By drinking a large (at least 8 oz) glass of water first thing.

I keep mine by my bed at night so I can drink it before I even leave the sheets.

If you cannot take the water plain add a little lemon juice. That is one of my favorites.

Tastes much better than the apple cider vinegar that was touted in the 70s!!!

Keep your body flushed all day by drinking water on a regular basis. Drink before you feel thirsty. A lot of times we think we are hungry and therefore eat, when we are really thirsty--food does contain a lot of water--so drink water first and see if that helps!

If you don't have a good, refillable water bottle--get one! They don't cost a lot and are much better for the environment than those throw aways.

Get a filtration system of some kind (I use a Brita...it is pretty inexpensive and does a good job) and drink, drink, drink!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Loving Self Start to Weight Loss

Being fat can make it seem hard to believe that we are loveable.

Through the media we are led to believe it is ugly, horrible, that we are lazy, slobs, and that we are not worthy of love from anyone...except maybe our pets.

Being fat is not a crime--and it does not preclude us from being loved and giving love.

Many of us focus on being loving to others which is giving away love--
  • as a way to make us feel good about ourselves
  • because we were taught that it is better to give than to receive (or some other similar message)
  • in the hopes that if we love someone enough they will love us back in the way we need
  • because we do not believe we are worth loving
  • to create an image that we believe others will find loveable (an image, not necessarily a reality)
In order to achieve our health goals including, but not limited to weight, we must change this focus to being loving to ourselves first--
  • as a way to feel good about ourselves
  • to fill our "tank" so we are overflowing with love which we then give to others
  • and thereby learn and believe that we are worthy of being loved
  • to learn in what healthy ways we want to be loved
  • to model for others how they should behave towards us and how they too can be authentic (real instead of image)
To be loved by others we must first treat ourselves lovingly. If we do not care for and about ourselves, than why should anyone else.

By loving ourselves we gain a sense of peace and possibility.

This is what helps us to move forward with our lives in the fullest possible health!

If you need assistance in this, start with affirmations...and I strongly endorse Louise Hay's movie and book "You Can Heal Your Life"...get the extended version of the movie for lots of affirmation tools!