Monday, August 31, 2009

Weight Loss Success Tip: Take a Deep Breath

One of the keys to having a healthy body is getting enough oxygen.

Fortunately, we breathe as a matter of course. We don't really have to think about it.

Or do we?

Most of us breathe very we don't want anyone to know that we are breathing!

When we get more oxygen in our body we can accelerate our weight loss--without dieting or any additional exercises. Why? Oxygen is part of the fueling system that our bodies need to function. Adding oxygen to our body is like stoking a fire. Fires need oxygen and do our bodies. We eat food which become the fuel, then we need the oxygen to keep the system moving.

Increase the oxygen in your body by taking deep breaths that come from the diaphragm. Your belly will expand and contract when you are breathing properly.

An easy way to start this practice is while lying on your bed. Place you hand on your abdomen and try to push it up to the ceiling.

Of course that is an exaggeration, but it will get you to start thinking about breathing from "down there" rather than what most of do--lift our shoulders think that deep breathing is about expanding our rib cage!

Remember, to have weight loss success--breathe deep

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Weight Loss Tip: How Sweet It Is

I was in Denver with a friend, starving...I didn't follow my own advice--I wasn't prepared with my bag of nuts or other healthy snack. Hey, it happens! That is real life!

So we stopped by a fast food restaurant...I rarely go to them, but have found that there are some choices that I don't mind eating once in a while.

We decided to share a sandwich and a drink...not being soda fans we ordered an iced tea. I had never ordered tea there before...the sign said "fresh brewed" I was anticipating a nice thirst quenching refreshing drink.

My first reaction was, I think they gave me the wrong size...I ordered a "medium" and got something back that was at least 32 ounces...I wonder how big a large is? Then I took a sip...

OMG! I was shocked! It was SO sweet. I don't know how anyone can drink that!

I learned my lesson...always ask if the tea is presweetened...don't assume that it isn't. (You know the saying about what happens when you assume don't you? Well it definitely made an a$$ out of me the other day!)

With all the information out there about the high calorie content of fast food meals, the increase in healthier choices like grilled chicken and salads without dressing, I never dreamt that they would pour all that sugar in the drink.

Neither of us could drink the tea. We had driven away to enjoy our meal and watch the sunset so I didn't get a chance to find out if they have an unsweetened version.

Down the drain the drink went. Not only would that drink NOT quench my thirst, if I had consumed it, it would have spiked my blood sugar and I would have felt AWFUL...better to dump it!

My weight loss tip--ask if the tea (or coffee or whatever) is presweetened. If it is 1) pass or 2) ask for a small quantity in a larger cup and then add lots of water!

You'll save a couple hundred calories on the drink, plus you won't spike your blood sugar as badly so you won't be inclined to binge later--end result is lots of calories saved!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sweet Weight Loss Success

I can't speak for the rest of the world, but in the States it is clear we eat way too much sugar.

Now, if you have been following me at all, you know that I don't believe in "forbidden foods"...I think blacklisting any food makes us want it more and will backfire on us. Well, maybe not any food...cuz if that were true we could make vegetables like brussel sprouts off limits and start craving them! HA! Sometimes reverse psychology doesn't work!

Back to sugar...the American Heart Association is now joining the frey encouraging Americans to cut back on their sugar consumption. Turns out the average American is downing 22 teaspoons of the stuff a day! Hey, I know Mary Poppins said a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, but are we needing that much medicine? Really!

If a teaspoon of sugar comes in at 16 calories a teaspoon, which is the number I remember...although a quick Google search gave me a chart at 15 calories a teaspoon...22 teaspoons a day =355 calories!

The AHA is suggesting women get no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day. If we follow that guideline we would save about 260 calories per day. The mathematical weight loss theory says that if we burn off or reduce our intake of 3500 calories we will drop a pound of fat...based on that, by REDUCING (not eliminating) sugar we can drop 1 pound every 2 weeks!

This is what I call "low lying fruit"...this sugar is empty nutritional value. It comes in the form of sodas, sweeteners we add to drinks like coffee & may be white sugar, brown sugar or high fructose corn comes in packaged foods as well as what we add to our own foods.

Note this sugar is not including the natural sugars found in fruits and use sweeter fruits to help satisfy your sweet tooth. If you really want a sweeter drink try Stevia a natural sweetener with no known side effects and zero calories...

And if you love soda, then go ahead, but be conscious about what you are drinking...enjoy it, don't guzzle it.

Start by cutting back one thing at a time. What will probably surprise you is that you will begin to want it less and less the more you cut back. Seems strange I know...but it is true!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New and Revolutionary Diets

I got a big smile on my face today as I read the paper...I've always enjoyed the comic strip "Hagar the Horrible" and his adventures with food and drink...

Today's strip deals with him going on a new and revolutionary diet...boy, does that sound familiar! In this case it is the "Banana Cream Pie Diet"...which brings back memories of the "ice cream diet" and a few other off-the-wall diets!

Hagar's sidekick, Lucky Eddie asks, "How long do you have to be on it?"

Hagar's response, "Until I discover it doesn't work for me...just like all the other 'New and Revolutionary' diets!"

You can get the full visual by seeing the do that, click this link It will show you today's strip...from the drop down menu select Aug 27, 2009

It is a good thing to bring a little joy into our day--teasing us about our desire to lose weight while following the often ridiculous fads--while pointing out that diets are temporary and do not work for permanent health and fitness results.

Have some fun today and remember to Refuse To Diet-- the best way to achieve long-term weight loss success!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Exercising with Mom--Better Than A Cheese Danish

Although we went for "walks" every day, they couldn't really be counted as exercise for me in the traditional sense...we walked so slowly for me that my heart rate certainly didn't rise and I could very, very easily talk.

"Better than a cheese danish" is a phrase we use at home when we are making a choice that may not be the absolute healthiest...that is how I look at these walks with my mom.

Better than sitting around watching the television! We were out moving, getting fresh air and visiting. All these are good things.

Sometimes it is easy to get into the "all or nothing" mentality...we either exercise to the max or not at all...we eat 100% healthy or we binge on junk food.

What was reinforced for me during this visit is the importance of taking little steps towards your goal every day.

My mom is almost 80...she'd like to put some weight on (a problem I have never shared with her) by increasing her activity we can build up her muscles, but having her eat just a couple bites more we can give her more having her snack on good raw nuts during the day we give her more energy, more fats, more protein...all of these little steps help move her towards her goal.

She isn't physically able to eat a lot more at any one sitting, any more than I would want to starve myself at a meal. But by taking one or two bites more (or less) we can affect our body. Pretty amazing.

We went to the pool a couple of times and met friends there. I showed them a couple simple isometric exercises--things that anyone in any physical condition can do. Sometimes they seem like they aren't doing anything, but it was interesting to hear these women comment on how they could feel it.

Mom isn't able to run a mile...she can't walk for an hour...but she can take 3 small walks during the day.

Similarly when I started I couldn't walk very far or fast either. At 300 pounds it hurt too much.

By doing what we can--starting wherever we are--we can and will increase our endurance and become stronger and more fit. Before you know it, you are doing things that a few months ago you only dreamt of doing. That's what these little strolls and trips to the pool with my mom reminded me about!

Thanks Mom! For everything!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Alli or Foe in Weight Loss Battle?

It is so tempting to want there to be a magic pill "out there" that will make us lose weight. I remember longing for such a pill for years...

Well, there are loads of pills and potions that claim to be the answer. One by one they are proven to be not effective at best...or downright dangerous!

I tried the liquid protein diet, which was later linked to deaths. I tried a certain shake named for a certain city...and the "all natural, safe" ingredients gave me the shakes, and did nothing for my weight loss goals.

Alli is the latest weight loss drug that is under investigation. If you don't know, alli is a non-prescription formula of Xenical. Both versions are being investigated because the FDA has received "more than 30 reports" of liver damage in patients who are taking one or the other of these drugs.

The investigation may just be starting...when it started is not clear...and the FDA "has not established a direct relationship between" these weight loss drugs and the liver damage.

I firmly believe that the only "magic" way to lose weight is to change your thinking. Relying on a pill only confirms your inability to do it yourself. Many of these drugs attempt to alter how your body processes foods, which can lead to all sorts of...err, interesting (?)...side effects. Even if you don't have liver damage, many cause distress in the digestive system, leakage (isn't that a pleasant way to let you know you might s&*t yourself?) as well as other issues.

If you can see beyond those issues, the pills & potions have other side effects that are potentially both psychological and physical...IF you actually lose weight using them (and that is a big if) then will you gain it back if you stop taking the drug? In other this something you have to take for the rest of your life? How will that make you feel? Will you feel like you were empowered and healthy? Or will you feel all the credit goes to the drug? How will this drug interact with you as you age? If you need to take other medications will there be any complications?

Let us take measures that empower us. If you need short-term help that's one may be that you can take something short term to help you psychologically get over the "hump"...but we just don't know enough about the safety of these drugs to say we can safely take them for the rest of our lives.

Your mind can be your biggest ally in winning the weight loss battle--it can guarantee that you have weight loss success. Right now, if you are struggling with your weight then your mind is serving as your foe. The good news is you can change your thinking! You can succeed at losing weight--without drugs--safely and naturally.

Maybe I am super sensitive to some of these drugs and that is why when I have tried them I had adverse reactions right away. I don't know...back then I thought it was a curse, but now I see that it was/is a blessing. Because by being forced to rely on myself I came up with the ONLY permanent solution.

It doesn't matter what trick or tool you use to lose weight...if you decide to follow a diet, take a pill, exercise all day long...if you don't change your thinking then you will not be able to keep the weight off. My goal was to be able to drop the weight and KEEP it off. I was tired of the yo-yo dieting...

It took me time to get to the point where I could change my thinking about my weight and my health...but now there are more and more people who believe it is possible to change your thinking and change your is not as foreign a concept as it was even just a few years ago! Even Oprah has had on her site recently information about using your mind to lose weight--and we know how much she has struggled with weight, following healthy diets only to fall off the wagon.

With all the support you have--from me as well as from lots of others--it makes it simpler for you to achieve this goal.

Stay as healthy as you can. Change your thinking. Refuse to diet and watch yourself lose weight! I'm here as proof it can be done. Keep in touch and let's turn the weight loss industry upside down!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back Home and In the Nutty Groove

I'm back home after visiting my mom for a few days.

I did really well while there, continued with my lemon in the morning, my 15 minute exercise routine and basically healthy eating.

One of the challenges I had was that my mom has gotten SO skinny she really needs to eat more...and it felt funny to push someone to eat! What is interesting is that I didn't have to modify WHAT I prepared or even HOW I prepared it much. The basic concept is good nutrition. Since she is diabetic--controlled by diet--she really needs to eat frequently and lots of complex carbs and good protein. She also has high cholesterol so it isn't like you can just load on lots of saturated fats. So we ate the same foods, I encouraged her to eat more nuts during the day as snacks, and to increase her portion size just a little bit.

I added a few more carbs than I would normally eat...good healthy whole grains...and a bit more EVOO...and she likes to have a dish of ice cream every night. Ahhh...that was the challenge for me! She chooses the light version because of her cholesterol...the nutritionist told her to have a few raw nuts before hand to get the protein in to help balance her blood sugar and that would be okay...frankly, I just didn't find the light version very satisfying! Anyway, we had "dessert" every night which I'm not used to.

I found ways to sneak more calories, good fats and protein into her meals by upping the amount of feta and nuts in her salads, adding walnuts to her oatmeal, things like that. These are tricks that help those of us who aren't super skinny, too. By getting good fats in our diet on a regular basis we will have fewer cravings, our skin will be softer & smoother and our bodies will be more lubricated overall and function better.

You don't need to add a lot...and try a variety of omega 3 fatty acids--get some flax seed, hemp oil, changing it up and having a variety you avoid boredom while you give your body things it really needs! You'll feel better and have more energy, too!

So I'm back home and getting back into my own groove, (not to be confused with a rut!) Have to run to the store and buy some more veggies to go with my nuts!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Are Oprah & Dr Oz Really Suing?

I'm an admitted skeptic when it comes to any "news reports" dealing with celebrities...but I'm hoping this one is true! I'm going off on a bit of a tangent here...I hope you will stick with me as I weave around weight loss a bit...

According to Yahoo News 2 days ago Oprah and Dr. Oz are suing companies who falsely claim that either big "O" is endorsing their product. You can read the story by clicking here.

I have been wondering for a long time how these people get away with it. Do they think that celebrities don't care about how their names are used? Do they think they are so small that no one will notice?

Referencing a show that was aired, a comment that was made on the show...that is one thing--as long as it is an accurate representation of what was said, or your own commentary sparked by the show for example. But to actually misrepresent your product in an attempt to mislead people into believing Oprah or Dr. Oz (or anyone else for that matter) endorsed it is so wrong.

Look, I'm no celebrity...but I have my philosophy about weight loss, eating right, and what it takes and doesn't take...and I don't want someone claiming that I've endorsed their product, service or choice if I haven't! That actually happened to me recently and it really ticked me off. Someone quoted me saying something that there is no way I would say...on a subject within nutrition that I know nothing about. And if it can happen to me, then I can just imagine the hay day (or is it hey day??? I've never known...I should look it up, but I'm on a roll here...) that unscrupulous people have with someone as visible as Oprah.

My theory is to treat people fairly. Be honest. What you do, who you are, and how you treat people will come back to/at you at some point. You might gain in the short term...but in the long run it will hurt you.

For those of you who have been reading my blog for a long time then you know I admire and reference Oprah and Dr. Oz from time to time. I don't always agree with them, but I do admire them. I know that Oprah cares about people and I believe from what I have read and seen of her over the years that she wants people to be healthy...I've seen her endorse a lot of things, but I have never heard her endorse any particular weight loss program, pill or diet other than Bob Greene's approach. Now, I haven't watched 100% of her shows, but that's what I've seen.

I've seen her mention other programs on the show. For example in her famous before/after shows many times the guest will reveal the name of the program they followed. Another example was when Kirstie Alley, Valerie Bertinelli, Marie Osmond and Star Jones were on (you may remember my comments on that!) they mentioned the programs they followed. I do not believe Oprah endorsed any of the programs that were followed--nor did she dismiss them--they were simply tools that those particular guests used to accomplish their goals.

So if she isn't going to endorse these programs that were successful for her guests, why would she endorse something that she hasn't brought up on the show or in her magazine? Or has she? If you know different let me know!

Here's the bottom line--there are a lot of weight loss programs and products out there. I've personally used many of them without success. That doesn't mean they don't work or can't help least for a while. I know what works for me is working on my mindset first and foremost. By doing that, the rest of it falls into place. That is what enabled me to drop 125 pounds--changing what is going on between my ears.

Will I ever be on Oprah? Maybe, maybe not...I did she on a reference to "Think Yourself Thin"--someone else's program--so perhaps we are on the same page, or at least the same book. But I'm not going to try to claim that Oprah has read MY book or agrees with MY philosophy or has used any of my tools. (Believe me, if she did I would be thrilled to be able to!!!)

I figure there are lots of programs and lots of people who want help to gain health. We don't need to lie about what we are doing. If people buy our system, either literally or figuratively, and it helps them then that's fantastic! If people don't want to buy it, that's okay too. I want to help people, but I know people have the best results when they make decisions based on their deepest desires, not what someone else thinks--even Oprah!

This is a very long way around to say--believe in yourself. Love yourself. Be true and honest in who you are. That is really what Refuse to Diet is all about. You must learn to love yourself and believe in yourself in order to successfully, permanently lose weight. You must be honest about what you eat and do...that means you must be conscious about your food have to look in the mirror and learn why you are eating, why you are holding onto the fat...when you can do that, then you will be able to see it drop away like I have.

It is all up to you. And it starts with love!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Diet Foods Suck

OK...I'm being blunt, but really most diet foods suck.


Because people think that if they eat/drink them they will lose weight.

Guess what! They don't work!

Some are benign, some are harmful...some are pure junk, some are not bad...but few, if any, actually help you lose weight in the long run.

They Don't Address the Real Issue

Diet foods typically will either contain fewer calories or less sugar or less fat...and "less" may not be much the labels, sometimes "less calories" is achieved by decreasing the portion size!

For most people who struggle with their weight the few calories saved by eating diet foods is not the answer. The real issue is our attitude about ourselves, our bodies, being fat...the real issue is in our minds.

Diet Foods Reinforce Unhealthy Eating Behaviors

One of the issues I have faced in my life is using food for emotional reasons rather than for feeding my body. I have stuffed down emotions rather than face them. Food as soother. Food as drug. I know I am not alone in this. I've heard other people also refer to food as their "drug of choice"...even Oprah says this.

One of the biggest changes we can make that will affect our weight is to develop other behaviors to deal with our emotions. Things other than eating. One of the challenges is to develop a HEALTHY response, not to just replace one unhealthy response with another one.

In other words, I don't want to start smoking when I am stressed rather than eating. OK, obvious example in order to make a point. Some other unhealthy habits to avoid...excessive shopping, over-exercising, excessive sex...any "addiction" that you substitute for eating is just that--a substitute. You may become slender by substituting a different addiction...or you may just end up having 2 addictions instead of one. A more permanent solution is to deal with WHY you are eating in the first place.

They Don't Allow Us To Change Our Habits

If we are used to grabbing food because we are bored, lonely, unhappy, stressed (the list goes on...and on) changing the food we grab from cookies to carrots may seem like a good choice. While I would say it is a better choice to choose carrots over the diet cookies on the market, it is still enabling us to maintain the unconscious eating habit...which when the emotions are really strong, or we get tired of munching on carrots, will come back to bite us in the fat behind!

Sometimes our eating is just habit. We're not even thinking about it. It isn't that we are particularly stressed out or unhappy...we just used to having the pretzels or candy or cookies or fruit or whatever it is...and if it is there we eat it.

So we save a few calories now, but don't change our habits. That means when/if we drop the weight we want, we probably will revert to eating foods we prefer...and BAM the weight flies back on!

They Don't Change Our Tastes

Diet foods don't taste the same as the "real" deal, but they generally still taste sweet or like chips or whatever food it is you crave. By indulging in these we never allow our tastes to change. We will continue to think cookies or chips are the best snack. Again, once the "diet" is over we will tend to revert to full calorie versions...and we gain weight back.

They Actually Get Us Wanting MORE Sweets

There is scientific evidence that artificial sweeteners actually increase our desire for more sweets. It is both psychological and physical response. You may feel more hunger and have increased cravings. Hmmm...not a good deal in my book!

We End Up Eating More

This is psychological, but it has been documented...when we see that something has 1/2 the fat or only 100 calories for example, we will tend to eat a larger quantity of the food. Often we will eat significantly more and actually end up consuming more fat and calories than if we had just eaten the original food in the first place.

For me one of the big issues was learning portion control--learning to feel satisfied BEFORE I felt stuffed! Diet foods don't help with that issue.

Ice Cream is my biggest treat. I love it. I also find that when I buy the 1/2 fat variety I want to eat much, much more. It just isn't as satisfying. It's not that it tastes actually tastes pretty good--at least some do. But it isn't the same. It doesn't have the same richness, the mouth feel...I am not as satisfied with the "diet" version.

I am better off with the full-flavored fully loaded calorie original. I can have a smaller portion and feel like I'm getting a real treat. Then I am encouraged to really savor all the flavors, the full experience. I don't feel like I'm being deprived or short-changed...

Bottom Line--Eat Real Food

Some "diet" foods are more chemical than food. I believe our health is best served by eating as "real" as we can...real food with real ingredients. If I can't pronounce it, I try not to eat it! The scientists may claim our bodies can't tell the difference (or maybe it is just the advertisers' claiming that!) but my experience says otherwise.

Choose real food for real health.
Develop new habits to replace emotional eating.
Get to know WHY you want to eat...and why you want to lose weight.

I know that it is possible...and that there is no "magic bullet", no elixir that melts pounds away, no temporary system that gives permanent results. The permanent fix is between your ears...and it isn't your mouth!

Our minds are so incredible and that is where the real solution resides.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Forget that I Look Different

Sometimes I forget how different I look now that I have lost 125 pounds. Because I have taken time to get used to the changes in my body and have accepted this body I forget that other people may not have had that opportunity!

Case in point--I am visiting my mom and we popped in to see a friend of hers whom I had not seen the last several visits. She didn't recognize me!

I had that happen in the past when I dropped a lot of weight very rapidly (which of course I didn't keep off!) but this was the first time I had the experience since starting my Refuse To Diet approach to health.

I used to be very aware that I was "extra-large"...I had to squeeze through spaces, go to specialty stores, struggle with seat belts, worry if I would be squished on a plane...I don't have these concerns any longer...

It was interesting to be reminded of these changes. It was good because it really helps me to remember to appreciate all the blessings in my life--including my improved health.

Sometimes because I have gotten used to the "new me" I forget to appreciate the progress I have made...

It is so easy to get wrapped up in daily activities that we forget to be grateful for the important stuff. Even though I know to express gratitude daily I'm human and sometimes forget! So I am extremely grateful for this gentle reminder of how fortunate I am...

I am grateful for:
  • My health--now and as I improve my health daily
  • The ability to choose my life--what a gift to know we are in control
  • My mother--that she is still with us and doing well
  • Her friends--since I live 1000 miles away it is so comforting to know there are people who see her daily who care about her
  • My family--immediate and extended, for love, support and accepting me with all my foibles!
  • Airplanes--they enable me to travel easily, for fun, business, and to see my family
  • The beauty on this planet--the mountains where I live, the ocean here, the colors, smells, everything
  • Dogs--have seen so many this week that just bring a big smile to my face
  • Otters & Sea Lions--more smiles
  • My body--my feet that support me, my eyes that reveal the beauty, my strong arms and legs, my hearing, taste, touch...what an incredible mechanism the human body is!

I could go on and on...and I am in my head but I won't bore you with all my gratitudes. I've had friends look at me strangely when I talk about being grateful for some of the "mundane" things in life...things we tend to take for granted. Maybe that is because I have experienced a hint of what life would be like without those things...

For example, at 300 pounds, my feet hurt all the time, my knees hurt, my back hurt...when you are in pain it is challenging to be grateful for your body! I had problems with my wrists some years ago that prevented me from doing lots of different things--I couldn't even hold a pencil or brush my teeth. By having these limitations in the past I am very aware of how good I have it now--even if I have pain from time to time! (And I'm grateful for non-narcotic pain meds, energy medicine, meditation, positive thinking, and even a glass of wine, for helping me when I do have pain--not necessarily in that order!)

Well...this has turned into a ramble...thanks for bearing with me!

What are you grateful for? Has something come up for you that helps you to remember how good you've got it--even if you are facing some challenges? Has someone been there to remind you about the progress you have made in your life?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

You Used To Be Fat?

I'm visiting my mom right now and one of things we do together is go to the pool in her community. There is a small group of women who informally gather and do some water exercises together. It is a really nice group, beautiful location...a lot of fun.

When I was visiting last year Mom mentioned that I used to teach water aerobics, so they asked me if I would teach them a few "new tricks" I did.

This visit, for some reason my mom said "You haven't commented on how much weight Laurie has lost"...and I reminded her that it really hasn't been that much since my last visit (the majority of my weight loss was prior to that visit.)

So one of the ladies asked how much weight I've lost. When I replied 125 pounds they were blown away. "I never would have guessed you were fat before," "Your mother is so slender," "You used to be fat?" were the sorts of comments that arose.

I know that some of the reaction was compounded because they knew I used to be a competitive swimmer and coach. It isn't expected that athletes are fat...we see the pictures of Olympic swimmers and they are all so trim. Well, of course I wasn't of that caliber...and I stopped swimming competitively at 18, so there was a lot of years between then and now to gain even more weight. And truth is, you don't have to be slim to teach swimming--or even water aerobics!

Still, the reaction surprised me at first. Then I remembered having that reaction when I met other people who had lost significant amounts of weight. It is as if we expect to see some telltale sign on their forehead "I USED TO BE FAT." I wonder where we get that notion.

Maybe it is because we think of fat as being part of the person...kind of like eye color! When a person loses a lot of weight they look like a different person--but they don't look like a formerly fat person!

When you lose weight gradually then your mind and body are able to keep in your skin tightens up, your walk adjusts, you become this new person. For most of us there is no physical evidence of our fat past. I actually find it hard to believe that I was that fat person too. It is like another lifetime ago.

I never had that mental experience when I was dieting. Then I would yo-yo 20+ pounds (then 50!) and so I never felt like a healthy person. I always identified as someone who struggled with weight and dieting. I always felt fat...even when I was on the bottom part of the yo-yo.

I believe that is the main reason I was still fat. I never believed I could be otherwise. The key to losing weight and keeping it off is changing your mindset. You have to believe you can do it--that you deserve health. Once you believe those two things then you truly can lose weight and not have to worry about counting calories!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Painful Excuses Not to Exercise

I met a fellow the other day who told me that he couldn't exercise because he has bad knees.

Hmmm. I remember being in lots of pain and not wanting to exercise. I remember having problems with my knees. I also remember that I couldn't do certain types of exercise.

Maybe that is what he meant, but I think he was really using his knees as an excuse not to move around at all.

Why do I say this? Because I've been there...and because this was a very, very large man. He could easily drop 150 pounds and not be skinny. I don't mean this as criticism...again, I've been there.

What I do know for sure is that by moving our bodies more and doing some of the other techniques I suggest in Refuse to Diet we can drop some pounds which will then take some of the pressure off our knees...and our backs, hips and lots of other body parts, too!

In my case I had torn cartilage in my knees. I had them operated on and that helped a lot, but still being 300 pounds is more than my knees were meant to handle. It is amazing to me what I can do now that I've dropped 125 pounds that I couldn't do before!

For folks like this gentleman, oh, call him "Joe"...for folks like Joe who really need to have knee replacement surgery, most doctors won't do the surgery if you are obese. At first this might not seem fair, but I do believe the doctors are looking out for you in 2 ways...
  1. surgery has inherent dangers and it is significantly more dangerous if you are obese
  2. they want you to have success, and you will have to go through physical therapy and rehab after the surgery...they want you to demonstrate that you will make that effort. Otherwise you will be worse off than you were before the surgery.
So do yourself a favor...if you are significantly overweight, apply some of the Refuse To Diet principles and start to improve your health. Don't focus on how much you want to drop totally, start where you are and work in small increments. Focus on what you can do right now. If you do that every day you will be amazed when you look back later at the progress you have made.

Whether you have to lose weight in order to have surgery, or you want to drop some pounds to help ease the aching in the feet, knees, hips, back...I know you can do it as long as you work on it with your mind step at a time!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Airports and Eating

Airports can be challenging places when you are wanting to maintain your health goals. Fortunately they are better than they used to be...

For me the biggest challenge is that I can't bring my own water any longer. Since I drink a lot of water, this is a big issue for me! But I can buy water in many of the stores. But the bottles tend to be pretty small. Today I walked all around to find the largest bottle--24 ounces. Most of them were only 16 ounces. I got some walking in and some water!

I do bring snacks that I know I like...even still I am tempted to buy treats. Something about traveling brings that out I guess!

I wonder if it is habit? Or just memories of traveling as a child and always being able to get treats? Or maybe I didn't get treats at airports and that is why I want them now. Who knows. It is an interesting phenomenon though.

In the old days you were fed on the you aren't and so it is tempting to stock up! Breaking out a picnic basket isn't so easy in an airline seat.

So my plan is to bring a healthy light sandwich, or some nuts and raisins. Then if I really want something from one of the stores too, I can do that. I hear a frozen yogurt calling my name? I don't have a frozen yogurt place near me at home, so maybe that is why it sounds so good right now.

I think it is also that there is something comforting about treats--and even though I have flying my entire life, it is still a disruptive event and so comfort foods are a good thing.

Well, I'll end now...we will be boarding soon.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Weight Loss Tip: Breathe Deep

We tend to forget to breathe deeply. The more tense we get the shallower we breathe. In this post, Dr. Linda helps you identify what type of breather you are...

Wellness Tips from Dr Linda: The Art of Breathing

Why is it important to breathe deeply? Well, for one thing you actually burn more calories when your body has ample oxygen running through it. Kind of like starting a fire or lighting a candle, the spark needs oxygen in order to become a roaring flame.

So pay attention to your breathing. Learn to breathe deeply. Take a few minutes to really get your body pumped with oxygen!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I Said I Was Ugly

Back in high school (that was a long time ago)...long before we knew about the Law of Attraction I remember when I would say I was ugly. My best friend said she didn't think I really believed it, because she could see that I was beautiful, and if I was really ugly it would show.


I believe what happened is that I repeated the negative affirmations of "I am ugly" and "I am fat" so often that it was a belief which became true...I became fat and later when "fat" wasn't ugly enough, I became obese. For me, being "ugly" was a statement that I was not lovable, that people wouldn't be attracted to me...

This meant my "job" later was to change that belief. I had to become aware when I made negative affirmations in order to change that pattern.

It is easier to change our thoughts before they become ingrained--if you catch yourself saying a negative affirmation like "I am ugly" or "I am so fat" then stop yourself now. Each time we catch ourselves and stop the negative affirmation it helps break the pattern and reduces the likelihood of it manifesting.

If you affirm "I am ugly", you will be given the opportunity to live that--no matter how beautiful you are physically from birth.

Perhaps like me you will become fat. Or perhaps you will become angry or bitter...ugly on the inside. Or perhaps you will become ill or have an accident or hurt yourself.

None of these are pleasant ideas...and of course our true beauty is on the inside, but that doesn't mean that we have to be ugly on the outside just to prove a point!

Let us all live our most beautiful, healthy lives...inside and out! This takes getting our mindset in the right place so that we are using this powerful tool for health and weight loss instead of illness and weight gain.

Repeat after me: I am healthy, I am happy, I am beautiful, I am willing to change my past beliefs about my body and myself!

Take small steps every day to change your mindset and you will have success! Be gentle with yourself while doing this. None of us gained weight overnight--even though sometimes it feels like it! It took time to develop those negative patterns. The good news is that by being aware, we can change them and create new, positive patterns!

Once more with feeling! I am healthy, I am happy, I am beautiful, I am willing to change my past beliefs about my body and myself!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Is More Better?

A lot of people contend that more is better...more stuff, more toys, more money, more fill in the blank.

On the other hand, just as many people (maybe "more" these days) contend that it isn't more that it is better, instead we should be happy with what we have.

I think it really depends on what we are talking about, and how we define "more"...

As an example, I was at a big sculpture show this weekend (well, two shows I guess there is another example of "more"!). In my non-scientific observation I would say there were fewer artists participating and fewer patrons. However I did see significant numbers of items being wrapped and carried out. In today's paper there was a preliminary statement that said they believed more pieces sold this year than in years' past. More pieces, but the average price per piece was less. So a bigger number of pieces but less total dollar revenue.

I think this can be viewed as good news...more people got to appreciate and purchase more pieces from more artists. The wealth was spread around.

In the past, many artists thought they had to go bigger and bigger (a different type of more) in order to get the big sale. This year, those that did the best had smaller pieces that were affordable by more buyers.

I realize that I may have seemed to have veered off the Refuse To Diet course a bit, but I like this analogy for health and weight loss.

For years, many health advocates were telling us "more, more, more"...more exercising, longer and harder. My philosophy is that "more" may be best when it is more frequent but shorter duration at a time...more small pieces instead of one big one.

This is part of my formula for weight loss success. Do small amounts of exercise that fit into your time budget...make it "affordable". More of us can successfully fit in 15 minutes at a time and keep that up, rather than an hour 4 times a week that some people propose. It is important that we take consistent action, rather than a big effort that we can't sustain over time!

Re-evaluate how you define "more" isn't necessary to have huge workouts to get results. You can get a lot of pleasure and health benefits from smaller routines that you do more often.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

So Happy I Forgot to Eat!

OK, that isn't a diet tip really...I mean we do have to eat...but yesterday I had so much fun and was so busy with all the "eye candy" that I never ate lunch! Suddenly it was 4pm and I was hungry!

I had a quick 1-1/2 hours before the return for the patrons' party (with free food & drink)...I knew I had the potential to over do it because I would be famished if I waited...but I also wanted to be able to enjoy the event. So I had a small, healthy snack that evened out my blood sugar and gave me some quick energy (raw nuts and cantaloupe) and I was ready to go.

This gave my brain what it needed, I was able to consume it quickly, and I was able to enjoy the treats at the party without eating everything in sight!

So, while I'm not going to recommend that you skip meals, there are days when time flies by and you just don't even realize it. When that happens make sure you give yourself some good quality protein for the long run and a complex carbohydrate for a quicker boost. Eat a little bit and then wait to see if you want more...give it a little time to sink in! was fun to see reactions of people I hadn't seen in a couple in "WOW, you've lost weight!" It was nice to have my weight loss success recognized and yet not be the center of the discussion for long...I was there for the art...but sometimes I actually forget that I was ever 125lbs heavier! It is a good reminder of how far I have come in achieving my health and fitness goals.

The Magic Pill for Losing Weight

Can prescription drugs help you lose weight?

I often wondered that. Many years ago I prayed hard for such a pill--but that is one thing I personally never tried. Certainly there are lots of them out there these days. But do they really work?

You can read Dr. Linda's perspective...this is one in a (at least) two part series on weight loss drugs.

I found it reaffirming that drugs are NOT the way to go.

If they are only going to help a person lose 5 pounds a year then the side affects are definitely not worth it.

Is there a "magic pill" for weight loss? I doubt it. I think the "magic" is our mindset. We can definitely use our minds and the power of positive thinking to drop fat--and a lot more than 5 pounds a year!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Weight Loss Tip: Get Gruntled

Sometimes we eat because we are bored or unhappy...or even if not unhappy, not filled with joy.

A friend of mine used to say he wasn't exactly disgruntled, but he was "far from being gruntled" is that feeling of gruntledness (I love making up words!) that we deserve to feed. And by feeding it, we are less apt to need to overeat.

With that in mind (in mind, body and spirit, actually!) I am heading to the Loveland Colorado sculpture shows this weekend!

I know that by feeding my spirit with great art, catching up with old friends, and meeting new artists I will be so filled with joy that I will be on an entirely different plane and I will not need to overeat.

Hey...that's not to say I won't have a food treat...I might choose to...but I won't be applying a food binge salve to my soul--cuz it won't need it!

Do things that feed your spirit and you will be less inclined to feel the urge to overeat in an attempt to fill the emptiness you feel that has nothing to do with physical hunger.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

No One Put a Gun to My Head

If we want to achieve health then we must decide to accept responsibility for our bodies, for the condition they are in right now.

Rather than blaming others--our parents, the media, friends, family, spouse, stress, our genes, our busy schedules--we must realize that the common denominator in our situations is US.

I chose to put every bit of food into my mouth. I chose to react by overeating. No one put a gun to my head and forced me to swallow! I imagine the same is true for chose what, when, how much and why you ate...

I'm not trying to lay a guilt trip on anyone, or make you feel bad. It isn't about being wrong or "bad"! Accepting responsibility doesn't mean beating yourself up over it. It is done, over, finito. Feeling bad about it now won't change anything.

When we accept responsibility it is so empowering. If you are responsible for where you are now then you are responsible for where you will be. That means you have the POWER! You are IN CONTROL! You are not a victim of anyone or anything!

Remember, we have the power to change our lives! One thought at a time! One belief at a time! One bite at a time!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Healthy Body Starts with Healthy Thoughts

If we want to live a healthy life, to have a healthy body, we must first think healthy thoughts.

I remember when I was first exposed to positive thoughts, affirmations and the power of our thinking. When someone would catch me as I said something negative (like I'm fat, or, what a bad day I was having) I would look at her and say, "Well, it is TRUE" may have been true...after all objectively I was fat...or it may have seemed true (the day just was, it wasn't "bad")...the point really was that it wasn't the words, but it was the feeling behind the words that was so important and that kept me stuck.

When I said "I'm fat" I wasn't been detached or objective, commenting on my body shape or physical structure, like I would if I said "I am 5 feet 6 inches tall"...instead there was judgment (a lot of judgment!) built in...I was saying I was "fat" but I felt like fat=ugly, fat=bad, fat=lazy, fat=unloveable, fat=....well, you get the picture!

And I judged the day, when in reality it wasn't bad. I may have had some experiences during the day that frustrated me, or where I because angry or I said the day was bad. But similar experiences on other days might not have triggered those it wasn't even the experience. This proved to me it is totally how I feel about it, and my feelings are based on thoughts and beliefs.

At first this "control" was a bit scary, but the good news is we can change our thoughts. When our thoughts change our feelings, our beliefs, our judgments change, freeing us to start totally fresh.

Two of the tools and teachers that have worked well for me in this process are
Of course being aware of a situation can be an important part of our ability to change it. We can't really lose our excess fat if we don't believe we are overweight...if we are happy with our body where it is.

The balance is to objectively recognize the situation and learn to love ourselves through it...we might start of judging, but we can change that! We change our thinking and then we change our lives...and our bodies!