Friday, October 30, 2009

Do You Know Where Your Children's Candy Is?

Have you staked claim to your children's Halloween candy score? Are you doing it "for their own good?"

Did you buy only candy you hate so you won't eat it? Or did you buy your favorites and secretly hope no one comes to the door to take it away?

Did you buy an extra bag..."just in case"...and did you already eat it?

Heck, did you buy your "Halloween" candy back in September and have to replenish the supply two or three times already.

I've been there, done that...well, except for the kids...I don't have kids so I couldn't even use them as an excuse for having candy on hand!

This year is different. I won't be in town for Halloween, so I didn't buy any candy for trick-or-treaters. Let's face it...we don't really have many in our neighborhood...maybe 3 last year...so what's the point.

However, I did buy candy for me. Not because it is Halloween...because I wanted some. I bought a really good dark chocolate coated treat. And I let myself eat it all.

You know what? I still have some left!

By giving myself permission to 1) buy it, 2) buy something I really like and 3) to actually eat it, all the "naughtiness" is gone! So I had a couple bites and really enjoyed it and put the rest away.

Will I eat the rest...oh, I'm sure I will...but the point isn't that I don't or won't eat chocolate...it is that I CAN and still be healthy.

This change in mindset has been the key to my weight loss success. I have declared that no food is off-limits, thereby taking away the power of the food to suck me down the sugar abyss. It no longer calls my name. Oh, I hear a whisper now and then, but like any "normal, thin person" (words I NEVER thought I would be able to say in reference to myself) I can enjoy some of my favorites now and then...without being a slave to it! Hurray!

You can choose to continue raiding your kid's stash...you can mete out their treats while you secretly eat your favorites...and you can feel bad about all that...or you can decide, like I did that you are going to give yourself permission to enjoy whatever foods you want...

Nope, this isn't a trick. The real treat is that you CAN have weight loss success...and enjoy your favorite foods--and still look your kids' in the eye!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Oh My Aching...Weight Loss Tips

Do you have any body parts that ache once in a while? How about most of the time? How about all the time?

Truth is, if you are extremely overweight you probably do. And if you don't (yet) then you will, unless you do something about it. Consider losing weight as a way to improve your health...and have fewer aches and pains.

So while you are working on your health and fitness, be sure you take care of your body.

I had 3 knee surgeries, so those are obviously issues for me. Knees are a common pain spot for overweight people. No wonder. There is a lot of pressure placed on these joints. Painful feet are also a common complaint. With painful knees and/or feet it can seem like a challenge to exercise, but there are options that won't stress your joints.

Of course swimming is one option...but a lot of people who are overweight are shy about appearing in public in a swimming suit. While I encourage you to go to a pool, I know not everyone will.

Why are swimming pools great places to exercise? The water is buoyant, so you feel lighter, there is less pressure on those aching joints. The water also provides resistance against your movement...so even if you can't swim, you can get a really good work out in a pool just by walking in the water. Check out your local pools...they may have classes in water aerobics, water walking, or swimming...and some will even have special classes for the obese. Pools with these special classes may offer them at times when the pool is closed to the regular public. If you can't find a program like that in your area and it sounds like something you'd be interested in, contact your pool manager and ask about the possibility.

But you don't have to get all wet to get gentle exercises in...isometric exercises are another option that is easy on the joints while building muscle. If you missed it, earlier this week I got some great tips from a personal trainer on isometric exercises

I also had problems with my back...hmmm, do I think that maybe the extra weight I was carrying in front might have had a little to do with that? I sure do...and do exercises to strengthen my abs may help, but they don't reduce the stomach. Yes, your abdomen is your back's back, so making it stronger will help your back, but you also want to stretch your back. The best tip for an aching back that makes you want to not exercise...keep moving! Even if you have to move while laying on your bed or sitting on the couch. Start wherever you are. Every little bit that you move will help.

Look, it is never too late to lose weight and gain health. You can't be too old. You can't be too heavy. You don't have to exercise like a fiend...it is small changes that yield big results over time.

While you are making these changes, take care of yourself. Take care of your feet. Stretch. Take warm showers and baths. Get massages once in a while. Your body is working hard just carrying you around...be kind to it. You want to prevent injury...that is one of the biggest reasons to take things slow if you haven't been working out in a while. Injuries will keep you out for a long time and can really set you back...so start small.

And on days when you just don't feel like exercising at all...just do 1 minute. If you are doing okay after that then do one more. Even if you only do a couple 1 minutes exercise "breaks" scattered throughout the day...if you are doing a few more minutes than you did before then you are taking steps in the right direction!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Weight Loss Success Tip: Stretch It Out

"Stretch It Out" is a great over all mantra for weight loss success. It can be applied to lots of different circumstances.

Muscles--stretch it out...okay, them out, but you get the idea. Stretching is really important. It is what enables us to remain flexible...or regain flexibility that we have lost. Gentle stretching works your muscles and lubricates your joints--and just plain feels good!

Meals--stretch it out...okay, again, them...instead of racing through our meals, we will have better digestion and feel more satisfied if we stretch the meal out over a longer period of time. Rather than cramming food down in 5 minutes, try to take 10. Then go for 15. This is an area I am still working on, but slowing down does help.

Food intake--stretch it out (finally an "it"!) over more mini meals. Dieters often think they are "saving calories" by skipping meals. Truth is, most people eat more if they skip meals. On the other hand, if you eat 4-6 mini-meals instead of the normal 3 meals, you can actually take in more calories and still lose weight! That's a nice bonus!

Pleasure--stretch it out--definitely! The more pleasure we experience in our lives...the more joy we have...the better we feel physically. When we feel better we enjoy life more...and when we are enjoying life we are less apt to try to fill the void with empty calories!

Treats--stretch it out--when you want to have a treat, because after all, there are no forbidden foods, take your time. Savor the flavors and textures. Let it melt on your tongue. The more thoroughly we enjoy these treats, the more satisfying they are and the smaller quantities we feel we "need"...enjoy them and don't beat yourself up about it!

Whether you are talking about food or muscles, "stretch it out" is a good phrase to remember. Take your time, enjoy life, and stretch it out...for your health and weight loss success!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Weight Loss Success Tip: No Fat No Stick Secret

Here's a hot cooking tip--

Prevent foods from sticking in the pan Chef Tal Ronnen suggests using salt! No fat, no cholesterol...but what do you expect from the vegan chef recently seen on the Oprah Winfrey Show--

OH WAIT! Chef Tal DOES use fat! Just vegan fats!

You can get some of Chef Tal's recipes by going to Oprah.com. He has created a 21 day cleanse to help get rid of the "gunk" (don't you love when I talk technical?) from your body.

Chef Tal has also written a cook book, The Conscious Chef, filled with ways that you can eat in a healthy way, using vegetable based foods that taste like chicken, pork and beef! If you are looking for a gift for yourself, your family, or your favorite foodies...this is the cookbook to get!

No, you don't have to become a vegan to lose weight...but eating "closer to the earth" is good for our bodies, and for the earth!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Playing on the Stairs for Health

I've talked in the past about how we can enjoy exercise, appreciating the experience and finding fun ways to move our bodies as part of our weight loss success plan...well, here is an example of a city helping her people to do just that...watch and enjoy!

video

Take a tip from these Swedes, feel the joy of being alive and play a little today...whether it is on the stairs or walking around the block...whether there is music in the air or just in your head!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Exercises Anyone Can Do for Health and Weight Loss Success

As you know, I do not believe in being a slave to the gym. That doesn't mean that we don't have to move our bodies in order to be healthy. It does mean that we can find quick and easy solutions to exercise that help us to be fit and lose weight.

If you think that you can't stand to exercise, or that exercise has to be time-consuming, or expensive, or requires a ton of special equipment...then it is time to change your mindset about exercising. Does 15 minutes a day in the comfort of your own home sound good? It does to me...and that is what I do...what has allowed me to drop 125lbs.

I have met some wonderful folks who can help you with exercises...I do believe that variety is great...and that no one exercise is perfect for every single person. That's why I will refer to various exercises and coaches. Find the one(s) that work for you...the best exercise for weight loss is the one that you will do!

Gena Livings is an awesome personal trainer whom I have met. She has a great mindset as well as body...I was talking to Gena recently about Isometric exercises...one of the reasons I like isometrics is because anyone can do them. They require little or no equipment. You can do lots of isometrics just by using your own body. They are easy on our joints. They are also easy to adapt to your physical condition...and as you get stronger they will grow with you.

Because of this, isometrics are good if you are on a financial budget--you don't have to go to the gym or buy a lot of equipment.

Isometrics are good if you don't want to exercise in public--again, no need to go to the gym...you can do these in the privacy of your own home...even if you live in a studio apartment.

Isometrics are also great if you aren't in the best physical condition...whether it is from an injury, surgery, lack of exercise or obesity...anyone can start with isometric exercises.

Isometrics use one of my basic tenets..."start where you are"...no matter where that is! You can always get better, as long as you start!

Anyway, I was talking to Gena and I told her I was looking for a great resource on isometric exercises to share with my readers. I was so excited when Gena created a special blog post on isometric exercises. She provides info on what isometric exercises are, and she gives specific exercises for arms, legs, back, abs...your entire body. Be sure to check out Gena's blog and put her exercises into practice...you will feel yourself getting stronger! And being physically stronger is a great step for your health and weight loss success!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Taylor Swift: "I Refuse To Diet"

Thank you Taylor Swift for being a great role model for so many people.

I know I'm not exactly your target audience, so I'm sure you will forgive me when I say that I first heard of you from the Oprah Show...I was very impressed with you during that show...how articulate you were, how you spoke to your young fans, how giving and caring you were...and your obvious talent!

Now I have read that you declared "I refuse to diet"...this is the mindset that I used to lose 125lbs. By allowing ourselves to eat our favorite foods, we can more fully enjoy our lives (after all, eating is a big part of life)...we don't feel deprived...we are looking at long-term health, not a short-term diet with it's short-term results.
"I eat healthily, but I refuse to use the term 'diet'...if I want a cheeseburger, it's going to happen."~Taylor Swift

By declaring that you are happy with how you look and that you are focusing on eating and exercising for your health, you are setting a great example for all of us...young and (*ahem*) not-so-young! I find it especially refreshing since we tend to think of people in the entertainment industry as really being concerned with their appearance.

"For me, working out is not so I can get skinny. It's so that I can keep up my endurance so I'm not panting on stage. Heavy breathing is the worst when you're in concert." ~Taylor Swift
This is such an important point that so many of us overlook. Okay, for most of us it isn't about our endurance on stage...but it is about our endurance in whatever we do...may be it is keeping up with our active children (or someone else's), getting from our office to another part of the company for meetings, carrying groceries, working in the garden, taking a walk in a park, playing frisbee with our dog... . We want to be sure we can do what we want to do in order to be the people we want to be. And to be able to do those things without 'panting'...

Rather than looking at exercise as drugery, a dreaded task that we have to do in order to achieve a certain weight or size, let's change our mindset, as Taylor has done. Choose to look at exercise as a way to help us be the best we can be so we can do what we want to do more easily. It doesn't take hours and hours of exercise to achieve this. I do a 15 minute routine every day. That gives me the basics...it helps me muscles, my breathing and my flexibility.
  • Eat in a healthy way.
  • Allow yourself your favorite foods.
  • Exercise so you can do what you want to do.
  • Focus on your health, not your size.
This is a great formula for weight loss success...it takes a shift in your mindset...you have to decide for yourself that you, too, refuse to diet...but when you do that you are on your way to a lifetime of health and weight loss success--and you certainly deserve it!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

When Clothes Are Too Big Because of Weight Loss Success

So what do you do when your clothes get too big because you have been successfully losing weight?

  • Do you hang on to them, "just in case?"
  • Do you throw them away? Burn them? Tear them into rags?
  • Or do you give them away?

A "Twitter friend" yesterday sent out a Tweet that she had given away 119 pieces of clothing that are now too big for her. That is so fantastic! She felt really great for her weight loss of course, but she also felt fantastic that because she has been losing weight some other people are benefiting also! She is a great weight loss inspiration--I love that she was willing to give away clothes and that she is willing to help inspire others to succeed and give as well. (Thanks, Stacy--you rock!)

I know it is tempting to hang on to your "big" clothes. We've all been through the ups and downs of yo-yo dieting. When you are dieting you really want to hang onto clothes because you have proven to yourself that you will gain weight back.

That is why it is important to NOT diet. Your weight loss success will be long-term if you refuse to diet, as opposed to the short-lived successes we achieve with diets.

So keep one of your "big" outfits. Just one. Save it for days when you are feeling fat even after you have lost weight. You will be amazed at how good you will feel when you put on that pair of pants that used to be tight...and wow!...there are inches between the pant and you now...or they are falling around your knees!

Use them as a tool to help you remember your success...and take the classic "after" photo of the new you in those old pants--holding out the waistband!

As for the rest of the clothes...divide them into 2 piles.
  1. Anything in good condition
  2. Everything else
Bless someone else with the clothes in the first pile. If you have some items that are in "like new" condition you can consider a consignment shop. Then any money you make from the sale of your old clothes can go to buying new clothes. Donate the rest. You'll feel really good about it.

The second pile--THROW AWAY!

OK, I'm not big into tossing things into the landfill if you can use it. But it is important you don't hang on to these things as clothes...so if you absolutely can't bear to just throw them away then cut (or rip) them up.

In the old days there would have been a "Rag Man" who would collect cotton and linen scraps. I don't think these guys exist any longer, but you can keep some pieces for rags instead of buying cleaning cloths or in place of paper towels.

Or if you are crafty, or a sewer, you might make some quilts or other projects out of them. Use them in a way to celebrate your weight loss success, so every time you look at that piece you bring joy and a sense of victory and accomplishment to mind. Or see if there is a quilting club in your town...you never know, they may be creating quilts for a cause and would be thrilled to receive your squares...

But don't hold onto them "just in case"...that part of your life is behind you. Look ahead to your new, healthy, energetic life.

Congratulations! You deserve it!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weight Loss Success While Visiting Family

My mother's 80th birthday is coming up, so I'll be heading to California for a visit.

My brother and I discussed having a party for her, but decided she would not really like that. She would rather the family visit. So we'll be there and enjoy a nice dinner out. Maybe I'll invite a few people over for cake and ice cream (my mom loves ice cream almost as much as I do...and she is a stick!)

I won't be there for long--just a couple of days, but in the "old days" even a short visit was enough to trigger stress and stress-eating. What is different now? How will I handle it so I don't go off the deep end and overeat?

The biggest difference of course is my mindset. One of the things that I do on a regular basis is affirmations. I affirm that I have a healthy body. I also affirm that I am a success. Pretty general, I know...but this really applies so well to weight loss. How?

How many times in the past have you beat yourself up for not sticking to a diet, or for overeating, or for not exercising? I lost count decades ago! By affirming that I am a success I install into my subconscious positive thoughts about my abilities--including my ability to stick with my health goals. This really helps stop the part of me that used to beat myself up. 1--it helps me remember the things I have done well, and reassures my mind that I can handle whatever comes my way.

The other mindset piece is that I let go of the restrictions of dieting. So I don't have to worry about whether or not I will be able to "resist" having a piece of cake or some ice cream. Heck I KNOW I will...so I am just going to enjoy it!

In the past, having a piece of cake would set me off on a binge and a cycle or regret and negativity. I would berate myself for being "weak" or not having "willpower." Well, it isn't about being weak or strong...it isn't about having willpower...it is about NOT dieting...it is about enjoying life and celebrating special occasions...and food is a part of celebrations.

I have found by giving myself permission to partake in the food aspect of celebrations the food no longer has the power over me. I have freed myself from the food demons by facing them and letting them free.

It is really ironic because I used to believe that if I didn't hold tight rein on them, I would blow up. Well, I tried to keep them clamped down, tightly squished into their little box...and I did "blow up" to 300 lbs. Now that I have given them a pardon, as it were, I have been able to drop 125lbs!

So my plan for the visit--enjoy my mom, enjoy the meals out, enjoy the cake and ice cream. Also, enjoy the fresh air, enjoy being with family, enjoy the different environment. And if I get stressed, I have a "tool kit" that will help me get through...that doesn't involve stuffing down the emotions!

With this plan and tool kit in place, I know I will have a fantastic visit. Will I gain a pound or two while I'm there? Maybe, maybe not. But if I do, I know it drop back off without my needed to starve myself to compensate.

You know what is really cool about this change in mindset? Not only do I achieve my weight loss goals, I am SO looking forward to the visit. I get to focus on what it means for her and that is really the best gift I can give her...and myself. So, happy birthday Mom!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Putting On Weight Like a Hibernating Bear?

It is natural for us to put on a few extra pounds every winter...and if you are one of the lucky ones who drops it every spring then there isn't a lot to worry about. After all, a couple of pounds won't hurt your health much and just might help keep you a bit warmer.

However, if you are like me and the weight only seems to move automatically in one direction, that is ON, then you have to really be aware of what is happening. Otherwise every year you just get a bit fatter and fatter. And because "a couple of pounds" is easy to ignore, it is quite possible to let the weight creep up to an unhealthy level in a few years.

If you aren't going into hibernation then there is no need to pack on extra pounds...so what can we do about it? I used to think it was inevitable that I gained **ahem** a "few" pounds every winter. I had to work on changing that thought process. With a new mindset I have been able to conquer that demon on my way to weight loss success!

The best thing is to start being aware NOW before the really cold weather sets in and the holidays are upon us. Make a plan today so that you are ready to tackle all the tricks and treats that are heading our weigh...er, way.

Because temperatures are warmer we tend to want to eat more to keep our body's furnace going. Rather than eating MORE, eat smaller amounts but MORE OFTEN. By eating 5 or 6 small meals every day you actually burn more calories than if you eat the same amount of food in 3 (or fewer) sittings.

It is especially important that we eat breakfast in the cooler months so that we get those furnaces started in the morning. Then with our mini-meals we keep the furnace stoked all day long.

Foods that are high in fat and sugar are readily available this time of year, but they are not giving us the nutrients we need to keep our bodies healthy and they pack in a lot of calories.

Being conscious about our eating will allow us to enjoy a special treat once in a while but keep us on track to eat mostly healthy foods. When you do partake in a treat, whether it be the Halloween candy, Thanksgiving pie or Christmas cookies, give yourself permission to have a serving. Put it on a plate or in a bowl. And then really pay attention to the food and enjoy the flavors and textures.

For more holiday eating tips, refer to past posts about planning for the holidays and losing weight during the holidays (see the blog labels in the right hand column as a reference.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Weight Loss Tip: Drink Water

Okay, I know you've heard this before...from me (Dec 2008, Oct 2008, and Aug 2008) and from loads of other folks...but it really is true.

Water does a lot of good for our bodies, including keeping our skin more supple and helping us to feel more full without feeling stuffed.

Not everyone finds drinking water to be an easy habit to adopt...it can be especially hard if you are used to drinking things with loads of flavor or sugar. If that is the case you can ease into drinking more water by trying some herbal teas. Let them steep for a long time so you get loads of flavor.

Amanda Wicker, a fellow Lovelander, a weight loss inspiration and success story (she has lost 130lbs) wrote recently that she had a hard time getting enough water and felt it was a chore. I thought it would be good to share her perspective on drinking water.
"I found that I had to change my mind-set about it. When I started thinking about water as the conductor to flush fat and toxins out of my body, I was actually excited to drink my daily water."
This is an important point--we must change our mindset in order to lose weight. If we continue to think about them in the same way, we will have the same results.

Amanda points out some more benefits to drinking water:
  • Helps control hunger and cravings
  • Enhances fat loss
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Helps us look younger
  • Flushes toxins from our bodies
  • Key to disease prevention
Amanda's tips to increase your water
  • Have a water bottle for home, car and work
  • Add a piece of fruit or mint to your water for a splash of flavor
  • Drink from a straw, it helps you drink more in a shorter amount of time
  • Drink a glass of water before each meal, it will curb hunger and increase hydration
  • Order water instead of soda at a restaurant
Amanda notes:
"We are literally exposed to hundreds of harmful substances daily. Our air, our foods and everything we touch has traces of harmful chemicals. Unfortunately, we can't keep toxins from getting into our bodies, but we can help our bodies get rid of them with water. Most of the degenerative diseases are the result of toxins building up in the body."
Tap water vs Bottled water

Water can be one of your best health and weight loss tools...but there is the ongoing debate over tap versus bottled water. Most tap water has a lot of chlorine in it...it will test "safe" but I don't like the way it smells or tastes. You might not even be aware of it--but that in itself may keep you from drinking enough water. Water should not have an odor or taste. Buying bottles of water can be expensive and it results in lots of little plastic bottles around which is not good for our environment. I recommend filtering your water rather than buying those expensive bottles...you get the same clean water without all the plastic.

So drink up! To your health and the health of our planet!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Will Yoga Make Me Skinny?

Does yoga help you become thin and lean? Or do people who tend to be lean gravitate towards yoga?

Interesting question.

I'm always fascinated by people who claim their type of exercise will help people have longer, leaner muscles. Since I have short extremities relative to my torso, that has appealed to me. I was always envious of the girls who had delicate builds, looked like they never worked out, and yet were extremely powerful.

I have known these types of girls and women...and they have done a variety of exercises. Some did yoga, some preferred pilates, some swam, and others lifted weights. So I don't believe there is any one "magic" exercise.

Can the exercises we do influence how our muscles appear? Sure, but most women do not need to worry about "bulking up" with just a 15-30 minute routine every day...so take one worry off your mind and focus on finding what you enjoy doing.

Try yoga. It has lots of health benefits besides exercise. There are lots of different types of yoga so be willing to look at a variety before you decide if you like it or not. If you are overweight then yoga can pose some challenges (is that a groan I hear???) but with proper guidance you may be able to participate and gain some strength, flexibility and balance while being gentle on your joints.

If you are significantly overweight then you may be able to modify some of the yoga routines and get some benefit. If getting up and down is difficult, work with someone who will help you adapt yoga to your current abilities...even if it means you start with limited positions and work on your bed or a couch.

What I like about yoga is the calmness, the meditative quality. But for me, yoga is best when I am with a group. I actually get too impatient with it by myself. Plus right now I don't want to take the time...I like my daily 15 minutes instead. But that's just me--it doesn't make it wrong or right.

Here is one theory behind why people who practice yoga tend to be thinner...a current study suggest that these folks are more in touch with their bodies and that carries over to eating.

Whether you decide you enjoy yoga or not, being in touch with our bodies is an important lesson that we all deserve to learn. I often talk about eating consciously...and that is what this is really all about. Eating consciously, really thinking about what we eat, when, why and how much we eat is a huge shift for most overweight people.

Will yoga help you to be eat more consciously? I don't believe the study really addresses that...there really is still the chicken or the egg question...are people who practice yoga more inclined to eat consciously because of yoga or are they drawn to yoga because they are already more in touch with their bodies?

What I found more valuable in the study is that it showed that people who are more conscious about their eating weigh less...have a lower BMI (body mass index.)

This makes sense and is what I talk about often...and was the biggest shift in my mindset that enabled me to successfully drop 125lbs. When you eat, focus on eating...work on changing your mindset...become aware of the food that is going into your mouth. Stop the habit of mindlessly eating...whether that is chewing gum, munching on carrots sticks or downing Oreos. Bring your awareness to what you are doing and you will be surprised at how you can easily eat less.

It starts with being aware. For a week, use a food journal to track what you eat and drink. Don't try to change your intake...just write it down so you really know what you are currently doing. That is the first step.

Will yoga make you thin? I doubt it. It didn't make me thin. But it does cause you to slow down, get some deep breaths in, stretch and builds muscles. None of those are bad things. So give it a try. But remember, it is what you are doing in your mind that is going to make the biggest difference. Combine mindful eating with moving more and you have the 3 Ms of weight loss success: mindset, movement and mouth. That's the real secret to achieving a healthy body, permanently!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Too Much Exercise Can Stop Weight Loss Success

I know this goes against conventional wisdom...but lots of "conventional wisdom" is not wise--as in, not true.

My own personal experience has proven to me that working out more does not necessarily result in weight loss...or even fat loss...but recently that theory has been supported by others so I wanted to share that with you.

I watched The Ellen DeGeneres Show the other day...I Tivo it, so don't ask me what day it actually aired! One of the guests was Jason Bateman. Jason is now 40 and was mentioning that he runs 6 miles a day and still isn't the weight he would like to be.

Hmmm. Is the answer to give up? Is the answer to run more? Is the answer different exercise?

Well, it is definitely not either of the first two! Exercise is great for our bodies and our minds, even when it doesn't appear to be getting us to our weight loss goals. And if you enjoy running, then run by all means. As for me, I don't enjoy running. Well, that is a massive understatement. I don't mind a short trot to the car or mail box...things like that...but actually running??? For exercise? Yuck. Double Yuck.

Whether you like running or not, the answer is NOT to increase the distance or time you are running.

Sometimes you can be getting too much exercise...or at least, too much of a particular type of exercise.

There are (at least) two different schools of thought about what is the best exercise for dropping fat. One group claims that cardio (or aerobic exercise) is the way to go. The other claims that strength training is the best way.

It really isn't an either or situation. Like most things, there is no one perfect answer for each and every body. But in general, a variety of exercise is the best for overall health. Some aerobic and some strengthening as well as stretching is going to be the best solution for long-term health and fitness...including weight loss success!

Brett Blumenthal wrote in her blog on Sept 24 a great article that supports that yes, you can overdo the cardio. I love the title "Ma'am, step away from the treadmill!"

In it, Brett supports my findings..."there is no need to do more than 30 minutes of cardio...when you workout" and she continues "If you are trying to lose weight, yet you aren't seeing results, it may be because of too much cardio."

What happened to me, and happens to a lot of people--especially overweight people who are trying to lose weight fast--is we get injured. This can happen from too much cardio and from not stretching properly before--AND AFTER--your cardio session. Especially if you are extremely overweight you need to be careful about your workouts. You will have faster success if you take it slow and build up your strength and energy rather than getting hurt because you pushed too hard. One injury, even a "minor" sprain can set you back for weeks and really derail your progress.

The other issue most of us run across is getting bored. So, if Jason enjoys running 6 miles a day and it feeds his spirit, awesome! But if you don't like it, or you are bored at the thought of running (or walking) over and over every day be sure to mix it up.

The best exercise for weight loss is a routine you can keep up. That means have FUN! Do something you enjoy. Add some variety to your workout. Yes, get some cardio and by all means get some weight training in...and some stretching.

You don't have to do it all every day. And you don't have to be an expert at it.

Start where YOU are. Do what YOU are capable of. Then increase it a little bit every week. The key is to move your body...be more active...and have fun while you are doing it and you will have weight loss success!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Stress Making You Fat?

I tend to eat when I feel stressed. I learned this "trick" early in life...not sure how or where since my mother tends to NOT eat when she is stressed. But I learned it somewhere...and I learned it very, very well.

Whenever I would feel stressed or anxious I would reach for food...and I don't mean carrot sticks! Comfort foods are rarely healthy and my favs were high-fat, high-sugar, high-carb items like ice cream, cookies, M&Ms and hot bread with gobs of butter.

Cramming these foods down led to a temporary sense of calm but it didn't last long. It was rapidly followed by a sugar crash and more anxiety.

Not only did the cause of my initial stress NOT go away, now it was compounded by my self-loathing. I was angry at myself for being "weak"...the sugar crash left me feeling depressed...and the resultant weight gain gave me yet another thing to be anxious about.

Was that enough to get me to break the cycle? Heck no! The fleeting pleasure was enough for me to go after it, again and again. Like any other drug addict, I had to eat more and more sugar to get the feeling...and more and more often.

Thus a vicious, fattening cycle began early in my life, and continued until my late forties.

Learning to deal with stress and anxiety in a healthier way is one of the keys to achieving weight loss success.

Some of the weight loss tools that I have used to drop 125lbs and teach others to use are meditation, affirmations and self-love. I have shared some of my weight loss tips for handling stress in earlier posts. I will continue to recommend and teach them and I am always looking for new tools for success. I know that learning is very important...and no single tool or weight loss tip will work for every single body.

Earlier this year I met a wonderful gentleman named Ron Matthews. Ron is a certified energy medicine practitioner and he has opened my eyes to this field. Very impressive stuff!

Ron has developed a course specifically about reducing the effects of stress and anxiety using energy medicine--the first course of its kind.

You've heard me talk about my good friend and mentor, Dr. Linda Larson (you can visit her site http://www.yourhealthandfitnesssource.com/)...well Dr. Linda and Ron have teemed up to offer a very special free teleseminar, teaching about stress & anxiety and how to tame it with energy medicine.

I'm very excited to attend this teleseminar and I hope you will join me! I'm looking forward to learning some healthy tips that will help me through the stresses that are just a part of life!

To learn more about this teleseminar--it is free and there is no obligation--go to http://thehealingpowerofbeinghuman.com

Let me know what you think about the teleseminar...what stikes you the most...how you are going to implement what you learned.

I've been talking to Ron about developing a special teleseminar specifically tailored for using energy medicine to assist in weight loss...and I would love to hear what you think about the stress and anxiety call and if you are interested in learning more about energy medicine.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Weight Loss Success Good for Knees

I have had 3 knee surgeries...yes, that means two on one knee, not that I have 3 knees. I knew that being obese was bad for my knees...the excess weight put a lot of pressure on these joints.

I didn't allow this to stop me from getting out there and doing things. Well, that's not really true. There were things I couldn't do...and certainly things that I couldn't do as easily as a person of "normal" weight...but I did go out and do a lot of things.

Well, a new study is looking into why some people are losing cartilage in their knees and it appears that having a high BMI (body mass index) may be a risk factor.

Obesity is already known to increase risk for heart problems and osteoarthritis...and it makes sense that because of the extra weight it might be a risk factor for decreasing the cartilage in our knees.

Dr. Frank Roemer of Boston University is the study's lead author and he notes regarding cartilage loss, "Weight loss is probably the most important factor to slow disease progression."

Once the knee cartilage is gone, then you are looking at wearing down the bone...that is very painful and can lead ultimately to needing knee replacement surgery. I don't know about you, but I'd like to avoid pain and surgery whenever possible. Not only that, most surgeons won't do a knee replacement operation on obese patients.

In addition to the cartilage loss, the overweight patients in the study were more prone to tearing the meniscus and other joint-related problems.

Weight loss success results in lowering your BMI...and the high BMI is the only demographic feature that consistently predicted the cartilage loss.

So if you were looking for yet another reason to drop excess weight, you can do it to save your knees.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Weight Loss Success Despite Jay Leno Barbs

Dec. 20, 2008 I wrote about a Loveland, Colorado woman who was publicly humiliated by Jay Leno...she had lost 75 pounds and was featured in a fitness ad. Jay showed the ad on his show and quipped that it looked like she had changed her shirt, not lost weight. Later Jay did apologize, but it really pointed out the insensitivity people have to those of us who have struggled with or are currently struggling with our weight.

Well, Susan Bock of Loveland, Colorado has now lost 150 pounds! She recently won an award from Anytime Fitness, the gym that she joined as their "Anytime Fitness member Success STory 2009". This is not a local award...which would have been great by itself...Susan was one of 4 members honored nationally...out of hundreds nominated around the country!

It is so fantastic that she did not allow the experience with Jay to stop her...instead she kept moving forward towards "the life I want to live"

This is a great attitude that is so essential for all of us to adopt. Rather than trying to please others or relying on feedback from other people or even trying to lose weight for other people...we must do it for ourselves. It has to be because we want health, we want the energy, we want to be able to do more and be our authentic, best selves. That is the secret to sticking with it and dropping significant amounts of weight and keeping it off.

Oh, and as an extra reward, while she was being feted at the national event a video message from Jay Leno himself came on screen and he congratulated her on her accomplishment.

Congratulations Susan on your weight loss success, the changes in your health as a result and for being a great example for all of us...to stick with it no matter what!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Why Using Food As Reward Can Foil Weight Loss Success

In yesterday's post I encourage you to create a list of ways you can reward yourself that do not revolve around food. Today I'll share why this is so important.

It is incredibly easy to set ourselves up for weight loss failure...the best way to prevent that is to set yourself up for weight loss success! That means we have to be aware of what we are doing...and hopefully why...so we can change the pattern.

I know that I have issues with food...pretty much anyone who is significantly overweight does, whether or not they realize it. Are you using food for anything other than nourishing your body? Do you eat when you are stressed? Or sad? Or happy?

Let's not create MORE emotional bonds with food...we already have plenty!

You probably already tend to reward yourself with food. Maybe it is relaxing in the evening with a drink or having a sweet treat. It is a common thing! It is frequently a way for parents to reward kids, so if you treat yourself this way it is probably because you learned it from your parents...who learned it from their parents!

Rewards are a way to feel good, right? Maybe they are part of a celebration. Perhaps it is because we feel we "deserve it"...that is all well and good, but let's break the pattern of using food for this purpose. If we don't, then every time we want to celebrate or pick ourselves up we will eat!

At first this change can be hard. You have to be aware that food has been a reward in the past and consciously choose something else. That means you can't run in "autopilot" mode...you actually have to THINK. But being in autopilot is what has gotten you to be overweight in the first place, so know what you are doing isn't working for your goals. Now decide that you deserve health and that being aware and making new choices are a part of reaching that goal!

It isn't about the size of the reward or the number of calories...it is about the habit and mindset. Choosing a smaller portion or a low-cal version of a food as a reward does not change the habit. In fact, you might feel like you aren't getting the full celebration and therefore want more later...rather than feeling like a reward it might feel like limitation or like you are on "a diet" which will backfire.

Even if it doesn't create a desire for full-flavored foods immediately, it still doesn't change the mental pattern of eating as a reward. It sets you up to always have the will power to choose a healthier food.

Instead of relying on will power or "diet versions", select a reward that has nothing to do with food and completely break the pattern. Change your mindset...how you think about food and what you associate with feeling good.

Again, you have to consciously choose a reward, and as you do this you will begin to rewire your brain. Over time you will reach for these non-food rewards more naturally.

That is why you want to have a written list that you can refer to. In the beginning, use your list constantly. You might even post it on the frig or in the cupboard or at your desk...as a gentle reminder. This little pause can be all it takes...to give your conscious brain time to kick in and say, wait a minute there is another way to feel good and treat myself!

Soon you'll be able to easily select a healthy zero-calorie reward without your list!

Monday, October 5, 2009

For Weight Loss Success Avoid Food As Reward

Using food as a reward can set you up for an unhealthy habit that foils weight loss success. Whether the reward is for a job well done, reaching a goal or just working hard it doesn't matter...you definitely want to celebrate your accomplishments but for weight loss success I suggest you avoid using food as the reward.

Instead of food, come up with a list of 5-10 (or more) things you can do to reward yourself. Let this list grow over time...if you can't come up with 5 things right away, write down at least three. They don't have to be big rewards. In fact, it is a good idea to have several small rewards and some medium and big rewards also.

Take some time with this. Write down what would feel like a reward to you...not what you "should" want, or what someone else wants. This is 100% about YOU.

Include a variety of ideas. Some may be things you buy. Other ideas may be places to go. Ways to surround yourself with pleasant things or beauty.

Maybe there is a CD you'd like to buy. That could be a good reward item.

Or perhaps you love fresh flowers--another reward you could give yourself.

Is there a beautiful park nearby that you enjoy visiting. Maybe to sit on a bench or stroll around the grounds? That could be a great reward...inexpensive (or free even)...surrounded by nature.

Or visit a gallery or museum if you love art.

Sit by a river or lake, spend time with your kids/grandkids/nieces & nephews, visit with a friend, go for a drive in the country, enjoy a bubble bath, read a book just for fun, enjoy a sunset, work on your favorite hobby. These can all be great rewards.

Often the best reward is the gift of time. We are so time crunched...maybe you have someone clean your house, or your car, so you have time to do something else.

Or pamper yourself as a reward. Get a massage, a facial, a pedicure...

It isn't that food can never be involved in the reward, but if it is have the food be secondary...a part of an event...and make sure you have plenty of other ways to reward yourself that do not involve food.

For example you might have a nice dinner out as a big reward...the reward is the event...not having to prepare the food is one part, being waited on is another, the conversation & companionship is another big part. Yes the food is part of the reward, but it is just one facet of the reward.

Tomorrow I'll talk about more of the psychology about why you don't want to rely on food as a reward.