Saturday, February 27, 2010

General Affirmations for Weight Loss Success

There are lots of affirmations for weight loss...and yesterday I mentioned that affirmations are a great place to start changing your mindset, because it is usually our mindset that is what is keeping us from experiencing weight loss success.

I found these affirmations and wanted to share them with you...they aren't specific to weight loss...they are what Louise Hay calls "good, general" affirmations...if you practice these you are apt to find all areas of your life improving over time.

These affirmations are courtesy of Gillian Bowles, a certified teacher of Louise's Heal Your Life course--

I am worth loving
I do not have to earn love. I am loveable becasue I exist.
Others reflect the love I have for myself.

Affirmations were an integral component to my being able to drop 125 pounds without dieting. They work because they help you shift your mindset...I had to believe that I was actually capable of losing weight (I had lots of "evidence" that suggested otherwise) and I had to re-learn that I deserved healthy...I sure didn't feel I was worth it.

If you struggle with your weight, give some affirmations a try. They can't hurt...and what have you got to lose but some old negative ideas...and maybe a few extra pounds?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Believing in Yourself Critical to Weight loss Success on the Biggest Loser

One of the biggest weight loss challenges overweight people face is believing in themselves. This is at the core of my Refuse To Diet theory. We somehow have absorbed the message that we don't deserve to be slim and healthy...we aren't worthy of it.

This appeared even on the Biggest Loser Television show recently. When one of the other "contestants" was sent home, one of the remaining folks felt it was difficult to continue. He really struggled with feeling deserving of being there.

We can go on all sorts of diets and every exercise routine in the world...but if we do not believe we deserve the gift of health then we will not succeed. Not in the long-run. In order to achieve and maintain, permanent weight loss you must come to know in your heart that this is your birthright.

Diets don't work because they don't address these issues. They don't fail because we are isn't about is completely our mindset about our ability to lose weight and our deserving a healthy, slender body.

I loved how this beautiful "Loser" put it, he said that he realized he had always run from his feelings and it was time to start running towards...and through...them.

You probably don't have access to Bob or Jillian to help you face your emotional "issues" can get other help...and you can start working on improving your sense of worthiness right now, at home. Write down some positive affirmations about doesn't have to start with anything to do with your body...just about you as a human being. Now, practice saying those affirmations over and over all day long. Every time you feel negative, say the positive affirmation.

Before long, you will even begin to believe it...and that's when you know you are making progress...and that's when you will really start to see and feel the results!

I know that you deserve a healthy, energetic and slender body...and I know that you can achieve it! Go for it!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Avoiding Injury for Weight Loss Success

Yesterday I mentioned how important it is to keep not let injuries be an excuse for not exercising. I know I did that for a lot of years and it sure didn't help me to reach my weight loss goals...and watching these Olympians who have been injured get the help they need to keep going has really helped teach me a big lesson...about perseverance and about accepting help.

But truly, the best thing is to avoid getting hurt in the first place if at all possible.

Frankly, excess weight carries with it risks and challenges without adding injuries. And carrying extra pounds makes it easier to get injured in the first place.

The goal then is to get our bodies moving to the best of our abilities so we can experience weight loss success (which feels great, btw) and improve our overall health and fitness.

One of the best ways to prevent injury is to have some variety in your workouts. Not only is this a great tip for preventing injury, it is a great weight loss tip as well because by varying your routine you keep it more interesting. More interesting means you are more inclined to do it. More inclined to do it, means you will have faster and more consistent results.

Now that's a gold medal finish!

So while I have a routine I do most days, this morning I was part way through and just was not being inspired. So I stopped for a minute and asked myself what I wanted to do...and I realized I wanted to go for a walk. Now, it has been a cold winter here in Colorado and I am not normally a big cold weather and icy roads walker...but it felt so good. The air was crisp, the sky was blue...I got to visit with horses in the pasture. It was definitely the perfect exercise for me today.

Think about what would feel good to you...some days perhaps it will be to take a dip in the pool and feel that refreshing water. Other days maybe you too will feel the call of a walk...or a bike ride. Have a variety of "tricks up your sleeve" so you can experiment...some days doing yoga or T'ai Chi to a DVD may be the perfect ticket...other days it may be to dance to some music--even getting out a "Sweating to the Oldies" video with Richard Simmons.

The bigger variety in your workout routine, the more different muscles you will use. That will help build your overall health and fitness...and strengthen parts of your body that you didn't know could use it!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Weight Loss Tips Learned from the 21st Winter Olympics

Keep going.

Sounds simple, but it is a big tip that if followed will lead to your weight loss success.

It is one of the things that worked for me...of course it applies to all areas of our lives, but sometimes we fail to see how it applies to losing weight...or maybe it is just that we are hoping for a magic bullet. No, that couldn't be it, could it?

Look at the athletes in the Olympics...they have really inspired me, not just by their abilities, but because they really exemplify this idea of keep going, despite injuries, falls, and personal mishaps.

I know how challenging it is to keep going...I suffered my share of injuries over my life. And when injured it is hard to keep moving. Let's face it, if you are struggling with wanting to lose as much weight as I was just MOVING can be a challenge.

One important point...don't interpret "Keep going" to me, through the pain and despite all injuries! You WILL have to modify your activities if you are injured...think of the short-track speed skater JR Celski...incredibly this young man had a severe injury just a few months ago...and still is a medalist at the Vancouver Olympics.

He did it with a lot of help...and specialized workouts and therapy.

On the other hand, Lindsay Vonn, the awesome downhill skier who hurt her shin in a practice run just before the Olympics...she needed rest to heal. (Truth be told, that was in order for JR the first few days, just wasn't as publicized because that was last fall!)

We can all take a lesson from this...when injured work with a professional who will guide you as to just how long you need to rest. This might be a doctor, a physical therapist or a trainer. Then, start working out again...but modify your workout...workout different muscles, keep moving so that you don't suffer a further setback.

Bottom line...the lesson learned from the Olympics: don't let an injury become your current excuse to not work out! Adapt your routine. Consult with professionals--get the help you need. But keep on going all the way and you will cross the finish line to weight loss success!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Food was My Best Friend, Changing that Brought Weight Loss Success

For many, many years I felt like food was my best friend.

I knew I wasn't alone in this feeling...even athletes can feel this way too.

Monica Seles, the fantastic tennis player summed it up this way

For a long time, food was something I turned to as my best friend. I realized that people should be my best friends, not food.

These are wise words that we can all learn from. It isn't always easy to make the shift...but realizing it is a shift in our mindset first makes it much easier to accomplish. As long as we focus on the food as the problem we will struggle.

Start by recognizing that when we use food as a substitute for people or instead of expressing our emotions then it isn't about the food. Find people who can help you understand that if you want to have permanent weight loss success.

More wisdom from Seles:

At some point you have to say, "This is who I am: Now it's up to me to become what I want to be."

Figure out what you want to be and connect with people who can help you get there!

Seles' book, Getting a Grip: On My Body, My Mind, My Self is available in hardback now...paperback is due out in April 2010.

Get a grip on your own first getting into the right mindset for weight loss...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Olympic Fitness and Weight Loss Tip

I love watching the Olympics...and I love learning lessons from these incredible athletes.

One of the big weight loss tips I've gained from this, the 21st Winter Olympics, is that it is possible to be too strict...that over working or being to rigid can result in our downfall rather than getting a gold around our neck.

The gold medal we are going after is our health, and we aren't working for just one day or event that happens every four years (thank goodness!)...but there is the pressure that we put on ourselves to be "perfect."

Our version of the perfect 10 score (which is no longer used in the Olympics, so I'm showing my age here) is sticking to our diet without fail and working out every day super hard.

Let's learn from the athletes and apply it to our weight loss--sometimes taking a bit of a break can give us better results.

Many of the Nordic skiers who ended up with medals were ill earlier in the season. The illness didn't make them win, so don't run out and get sick in hopes that will make you more fit! But sometimes by taking a break away from the strict routine they gave their bodies and spirits a needed rest...just in time for them to excel in Vancouver.

If you find that you are bored with your routine, or you have reached a plateau in your results, then follow this weight loss tip: try something different. Try a different food, a different type of exercise...or even just give yourself a mini-vacation! Give you head a chance to think about something else for a while, and your body a chance to get used to where it is.

Rather than pushing harder because you are discouraged...give yourself a little break so you can come back again and win in the long run!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Weight Loss Success is a Dream of Olympic Proportion

If weight loss were an Olympic sport and there were only a limited number of medals given out then it would make sense why so many of Americans are overweight. Fortunately, we don't have to compete with anyone but ourselves to achieve our goal of weight loss success! And the medals are limitless--anyone can get the gold in this race of a life time.

The key to achieving success...when so many people have lost weight only to regain it, or not lost it your mindset. Start there and commit to making small changes and being consistent.

It takes consistency in your actions...from moving your body a little bit more (no, you don't have to work out 8 hours a day like Apolo Ohno), to eating more healthy foods (don't believe the commercials...just because a company pays to be an Olympic sponsor does not mean the athletes eat or drink the stuff on a regular basis!) and keeping your mind on the prize.

Be inspired by the Olympians to be your best and to get a little bit better every day. They may make it look easy, but they work very hard for their success. You don't have to work as hard...just take those little steps, one after another, moving you forward.

To learn more about my Refuse to Diet philosophy...and how the Olympics have inspired me, go to RefuseToDiet where I prove that Weight Loss Success Starts with Your Mind...Not Your Mouth...I give tips and tools on mindset, exercises for weight loss and healthy eating that is quick, easy and won't break the budget!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

5 Weight Loss Tips for the 21st Winter Olympics

I love watching the Olympics...winter and summer both...heck, I'd probably watch a spring and fall Olympics...ooh, guess they'd better call it the autumn Olympics...

Anyway, watching the opening ceremonies last night got me thinking...and a sore butt...

I'm visiting my mom, helping her recover from surgery (she's doing great and I'll be heading home soon) so I'm a bit out of my element and it really was an eye-opener.

Wow, was that show long! I have TIVO (and if you don't, you really ought to consider it) so I fast forward through all the commercials. On a typical hour-long show that saves me about 20 minutes! I cringe to think how much time we would have saved if we had been able to cruise through the commercials last night. Maybe my mom would have even been able to stay awake for it.

One of the frustrating things for me, besides the length and the number of commercials, was here I am in California...on the same time zone as the Olympics...and we are having to wait to watch them until "prime time." What is up with that? It meant the show wasn't over until midnight. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Especially when it was well over an hour into the show before the ceremonies even started.

OK, so what does this have to do with losing weight?

First, do what you can to NOT sit on your butt for 4 hours of television. The athletes certainly don't...if they want to achieve their goals they are out moving...some may be sitting for hours on sleds...but they are actively working their muscles while doing it.

Tivo is one option. Don't have Tivo and want to watch the Olympics? I understand...get up and move as much as you can. There are plenty of commercials which allow for you to get in some quick laps around the living room or do some isometric exercises.

Second, eat like an athlete...sort of...smaller quantities, but eat the same good healthy food that an athlete eats, a good balance of protein, complex carbs and fats. Be sure to eat lots of veggies and fruits.

Third, drink lots of clean, pure water. I know Coke and Budweiser are sponsors, but you don't need the empty calories. The athletes will be drinking more water than anything else...again, follow their model and keep hydrated...the best way to do that is with good ol' water!

Fourth, avoid eating unconsciously throughout the games. Don't have snacks out unless you are going to be okay with eating them...because you probably will. Figure out what you are going to eat...have some easy foods...or if you can prepare foods and watch the athletes at the same time, do that. Most experts will tell you not to eat in front of the television...but I don't find that to be very realistic, especially during the Olympics...heck, when are they NOT on? Instead make your goal to be mindful about your eating.

Fifth, if you have trouble keeping from eating while watching then figure out something else you can do with your hands. This can be a big challenge...keeping your hands busy and watching television at the same time...but experiment with a few things and see if they help you. I used to do a lot of embroidery and found that I could do that while I was watching television. I know others who knit. The other night I did some mending. But sewing is not the only thing you can do to keep your hands can even combine keeping your hands busy with exercising by using some light hand weights (or canned goods from the kitchen cupboard) some curls and other upper body work and you might just look more like the athletes you are watching!

Our Olympic challenge--to achieve our health goals...we may never be Olympians, but we can and will achieve an Olympic feat...we will achieve the healthy, energetic, slender bodies we deserve--as long as we focus on our goals and take steps every day to get closer and closer to them!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Traveling, Tech Troubles and Feeling Fat, Triple Whammy of Weight Loss Challenges

I'm visiting my mom right now. Visiting is technically accurate, but really only partially true. She had surgery on Monday and I wanted to be here to help her through it. I am glad I came and really appreciate that I have the ability to!

Traveling in general can be rough on our health and fitness goals...for me, visiting family is a bigger challenge than a business trip or simply going on vacation. They all have their challenges but being in my mom's home sets off lots of triggers for me. I love my mom, but there are tons of memories that come up and the stresses of being under someone else's roof that just does a number on my head and emotions. Top that off with the fact that she is aging and I'm having to face her increasingly fleeting memory and her dwindling is just a bit scary and I don't want to have to face it. Tempting to bury myself in a few gallons of ice cream. Doesn't really make it go away, but I can forget about it for a while...maybe...not really. It doesn't work any better now than it did when I was a kid...or any of the hundred + pounds in between!

Ironically, I have had major technology issues during this trip. Ironic because I am in San Jose, California...the Silicon Valley...home of so much of this fantastic technology. Fortunately my brother, much more of a tech-head than I, was able to get things sorted out...but I was left with little ability to be online for several days. That left me with fewer things to keep my hands busy...not a good thing to have when ice cream calls from the freezer!

To top all this off, I am feeling is an interesting concept, that of self-image. I look in the mirror and see this huge person, yet I put on my clothes and they only feel a little tighter than normal. Have I really put on weight in just a few days? Lord knows it is possible for me to do...but haven't I learned all about emotional eating and how to avoid it? I mean, after all, didn't I just write a book about it???

So, I decided to take a closer look and I noticed a couple things. First I noticed that my fingers are pudgier...hmmm...that does not happen from a few days of stress eating...then I noticed my legs...where my socks stop there is a marked indentation that normally isn't there. Ah ha, Dr. Watson, I have figured it out! I am bloated! OK, makes sense...flying...drinking less water than normal...stress...hurray! I'm not fat--it is just water!

What a great relief that was...I don't have to hide my head in shame...the weight loss without dieting expert has not somehow magically gained 100 pounds in a week...and fortunately I took the time to really look at my hands...they were for me the big give away.

The truth is, I have eaten more ice cream than normal this week. And I have also NOT eaten ice cream on numerous occasions when I felt like it...because I took a moment to interrupt the urge and recognize it was the siren call of emotional eating, not physical or even pleasurable eating...or even eating just because it was there.

I'm proud of myself for all the successes I've had this week...and I may (or may not) go home weighing a pound or two more than when I arrived...but I am reassured any weight gain I do experience will be minimal and temporary. I have reconnected with support folks who help me when I am stressed...I have my walking shoes ready to roll...all is good.

Why is all this important to you? Because if I can do it, then you can too! Learning to be gentle with ourselves and not always expect perfection is a very important factor for those of us who suffer from "good girl syndrome"....we must learn to allow ourselves to have flaws and weaknesses...ironically, by allowing for these weaknesses we actually suffer from them less!

If you are feeling fat, take a minute and check out your fingers, your legs...or whatever will help you to identify if this is real or just bloat...if you are having tech troubles, or some other challenge that is causing you some stress and making you want to eat, who can you call on to help you through it...and if you are traveling, then drink your water, walk, and cut yourself a little slack!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Healthy Ice Cream...Fact or Fantasy

I love ice cream. It seems the higher the fat content, the more I like it. Based on the Spanish study I mentioned yesterday it might be at least in part because fat boosts my serotonin levels...I don't know if it is the fat, but ice cream has always been my #1 comfort food, my drug of choice when attempting to escape my emotions.

I also just like ice cream. I like the flavors, the texture...

But I don't like what eating ice cream does to my waistline!

My current solution is to eat really good ice cream in small quantities. These days rather than eating a half gallon (or two) in a day, I am satisfied with a small dish. That means a pint lasts for 3 servings.

Low-fat ice cream doesn't make it in my book...and don't even think about the ones filled with artificial sweeteners. I know that those fake "sugars" increase my carb cravings. I'm much better off with high-fat, "real" ice cream.

I just read about a new alternative--ice cream from goat's milk. Goat's milk is lower in fat and the fat it does have is more easily broken down by our bodies. This might be a really good option. The brand I read about is called Laloo's...not available in my town, but if you have a health food store nearby, give it a try--and then let me know what you think!

When you decide you want ice cream, the healthiest choice is to go with the "real deal" and savor smaller portions. That does a couple things for you--gives you the satisfaction that the low-cal versions just don't provide; retrains you mind that you CAN have "real" food and lose weight; helps you in achieving weight loss goals by reducing the unconscious eating behavior or sitting down with a huge bowl or carton of cream and chowing down.

Verdict? Healthy ice cream is in how you think about it...not the ingredients in the carton.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Eat Fat to Lose Weight and Beat the Blues

Do you eat because you feel depressed?

Even having lost 125 pounds and fought off the demon of depression, I still have strong urges to grab a pint of comfort when stressed or my case the pint is usually Ben & Jerry's.

I know from personal experience that eating all that sugar only temporarily helps the feeling of depression.

Well a study done in Spain indicates we can actually eat foods to help prevent depression in the first place!

The famous "Mediterranean diet" appears to be the answer--eating an abundance of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats is olive oil, nuts and fish.

It may be the fats that have the biggest benefit--olive oil has oleic acid, and omega-3 fatty acids from fish give our serotonin levels a boost. Serotonin is the feel-good hormone, and is what many anti-depressants target.

This is another important reason why we shouldn't just eliminate or drastically cut back on all fats. Keeping some good, healthy fats in our diet is important for our moods, our mental abilities...and it also helps your insides stay regulated and your skin feeling smooth.

Eat healthy fats as part of your plan for losing or maintaining weight. It is a healthy part of any successful, permanent weight loss program.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Diet Drinks Destroy Kidneys: Don't Drink Them to Achieve Health and Weight Loss Goals

I've said it before, "diet" drinks are not the best choice for us when we are trying to lose weight or achieve health goals.

New evidence is showing that consuming diet drinks can damage your kidneys!

Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston conducted a study over 11 years involving more than 3000 women. They analyzed what beverages these women drank over the time. Turns out women who drank2 or more (just 2!) diet sodas a day (that's 24+ oz) have twice the chance of their kidney function decline at a more rapid rate when compared to women who drank less than one can a month.

With age our kidney function naturally decreases. Speeding up the decrease in function can increase our risk of kidney failure. When you kidneys fail you end up on dialysis...I've known a couple people in that situation and it is no fun! 3 days each and every week they are hooked up to a machine that does what our healthy kidneys do. They are lucky there are such machines, without the machines they would die...

Besides all that, it has been shown that the fake sweeteners that are in the diet sodas actually increase our hunger levels and cravings for carbs!

So do yourself a favor, ditch the diet drinks! You don't need them to achieve your healthy, energetic, slender body!