Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cruising for Weight Loss

If you want to improve your health, whether that is by losing weight or healing an illness or injury, and you like to cruise, then consider the

January 28 – February 4, 2011

The cruise is a private charter by Hay House...the publisher of many of my favorite books, CDs and DVDs...(if you want to see just some of their offerings that I recommend, click here)

Explore the beautiful Caribbean with these Ports of Call: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Half Moon Cay, Bahamas, Philipsburg, St. Maarten, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Spend a week with your favorite authors who inspire, motivate, and challenge you to reach your greatest potential! Choose from five extraordinary workshop programs throughout seven incredible days at sea.

My friends at Hay House are offering my readers 20% off registration! Cabins are limited so click here to register!

Speakers include:
  • Dr. Wayne Dyer
  • Gregg Braden
  • Sonia Choquette
  • John Holland
  • Denise Linn
  • Caroline Myss
  • Cheryl Richardson
  • Brian Weiss, M.D.
  • Reid Tracy
  • Lisa Fugard
  • Margarete Nielsen

For more information about the cruise, click here...but to get your 20% off, be sure to to put
Priority Number 156 on the registration form...or call call 888-259-9191 ext.1239 Ericka or ext.1262 Adam and mention Priority Number 156

*Please note: this offer is valid for new bookings only and cannot be combined with any other discounted offer. The discount is applicable to those attending the seminar programs only. Offer applies to the first two passengers in the cabin and is not applicable to third or fourth passengers sharing cabin. $650 cancellation fee applies through 11/11/2010. No refunds from 11/12/2010 through date of sailing.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Losing Weight is Not a Math Equation

Lots of so-called "experts" will tell anyone who is trying to lose weight that it is simply a matter of consuming fewer calories than you expend. These "experts" make it sound like weight loss is a math equation.

Having dieted most of my life and calculated calories, fat grams, carbs and just about anything else one can calculate, I can tell you that weight loss success is definitely NOT a simple math equation.

The math equation myth prevails despite evidence by millions of people like me. We are accused of cheating. We are accused of being lazy. We are told we just aren't counting everything that we are eating. We are accused of lying.

The math equation myth goes hand in hand with the diet myth. Neither is right, it isn't simply math and diets don't work either. Neither take into account human beings and our infinite variety.

In my book, Refuse to Diet: Weight Loss Success Starts with Your Mind...Not Your Mouth I explain more about some of the diet myths and why they are fact, not fiction...but still countless people just don't believe that there is any other explanation, they WANT to believe that is just math.

Except for those of us caught up in the math equation nightmare, of course.

What I find ironic is that many of the "experts" who claim you just have to expend more calories (work out more) or consume fewer calories (eat less, or eat lower calorie foods) will be the very same people who will then say on national television that we hold onto weight when we are stressed!

Hello??? Which is it, folks? Don't try to tell me that it is math and then excuse 1 person because of stress. Math is math. Math is not biased. Math doesn't give a *&#$ about your stress level. This is why mathematicians love math. This is why the rest of us do not.

Are there extenuating circumstances that can cause you to either gain weight or not lose weight despite your efforts to exercise and eat fewer calories? You betcha!

OK, there's the infamous aforementioned stress for one. Weather can actually also affect your weight loss. Whether or not you drink ample water will affect the number on the scale...and water has zero calories so that would not figure into any math equation. Some medical conditions and medications will affect your weight. Traveling, eating different foods, or eating more salt than normal...these can all affect your weight temporarily. And of course when you are building muscle while you lose fat (a good combination to go after) there will be times when your pounds will go up, even though your fat content will be dropping. Beyond all that, the source of calories is an important factor on whether or not you lose weight...and especially if you can keep it off.

These are just some of the weight loss challenges we face that dispute the math-equation theory.

I say none of this to discourage your from improving your health.

I say it to free you from the tyranny of the scale! There are no health benefits to staying obese. There are tons of health benefits for improving your health by improving your eating and moving your body more--even if you don't drop a single pound!

To lose weight successfully, permanently, you must work on your mindset. You must believe that it is possible and that you are worth it...and the number on the scale has no bearing on your value as a human being!

You must eat food that nourishes and fuels you body. The same number of calories consumed can have a different impact on your health and your weight depending on where those come from. You can eat zero fat and not lose weight...because your body needs some fat in order to lose fat. You can count calories every day but if the calories don't count you won't be healthy or have a sustained weight loss.

If you are struggling with losing weight I suggest you start with your mindset. Once you have that straight then weight loss happens naturally. If you find that you aren't dropping weight and you have made sure there is not a medical reason for it (for example, did you know that diabetes medication almost always makes a person GAIN weight?) and you truly have excess fat to drop, then
  • Reduce your stress
  • Reduce your salt intake
  • Increase your pure water intake
  • Be sure the calories you are eating are the right ones
and most important, put away the scale! Stop focusing on the number you don't want. Instead focus on the steps you are taking to improve your health...and they WILL follow!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

InexpensiveTools for Health and Weight Loss Success

We all can use some toys, *ahem*, tools to help us in our quest for health and weight loss...but knowing what products are worth it, are safe, give you results can be a challenge...and then there's the cost. of my favorite stores, Gaiam, is offering a sale and I wanted to give you a heads up! (Don't you just love a sale???)

If you aren't familiar with Gaiam, here are some of the reasons I love them:
Loads of cool Fitness Products from clothes & shoes to exercise equipment
Oodles of Health Products whether you are looking for pain relief, massage, alternative therapies
Variety of product types--videos, books, hard-to-find products
Environmentally conscious Green Products (recycled or natural elements= low impact on the earth)
Now through next Monday (July 26) Gaiam is having a sale on a variety of items that will help you reach your health and fitness and weight loss success's some of my favorites:

Yoga kit for beginners...includes a mat, block, strap and workout DVD by yoga guru Rodney Yee. This mat is different because it is marked to help you know where to put your feet and hands during poses...awesome for beginners when you can't have a teacher right there correcting your position! Fitting with the Refuse to Diet theory, these workouts are geared to be 20 minutes in length so ANYONE can fit it in to their schedule. Sale price for the kit is $12.98 (that's about what I paid for my basic yoga years ago!) A small price to pay for a great tool that can help you get in some great exercise and vary your routine...which is one of the best ways to meet your fitness and weight loss goals.

"CorePlus Reformer" this piece of equipment simulates the workout you'd get with a Pilates reformer...developed in conjunction with Pilates pro Mari Winsor (Winsor Pilates anyone?) you get the reformer and instructional DVD...note, they're telling me inventory is limited on this one, so hurry if you want the benefits of a Pilates workout in your own home...for under $30!!! Small and easy to pack you can take this with you on vacation or business trips.

Adjustable Yoga Sandals help stabilize and align your body and also stretch your feet and toes (if you have any toes that touch or cross over this can help but note it may take a little getting used to!) This is another Limited Inventory item and at only $32 I can see why!

Deep Penetrating Light Therapy OK, this is a bit pricier...but if you have health issues like depression, muscle or joint pain this RED and infrared light therapy machine may be the ticket...the light goes deep into the tissue and stimulates endorphins (those feel good chemicals) which helps block pain. The light also stimulates cell regeneration which can reduce wrinkles...less pain AND fewer wrinkles? Sounds good to me. Normally $369 but use the code "JULYSAVINGS" and get $30 off! BTW...this is FDA approved...and can be used on your face, arms, legs...we all want to look as youthful as possible and if aches and pains are keeping you from moving your body (pain is one of my biggest weight loss challenges!) this could be just the ticket.

Wooden Drying Rack I debated whether to include this...after all it really won't help you lose weight...but I love mine and you can save $10 so I thought what the saves energy and space...I get to dry clothes in a compact space and not have them shrink...AND they don't wear out as fast as when you put them in the drier so I save money that way too. Remember to use the code "JULYSAVINGS" when checking out

Not sure what you want, go to Gaiam and look to see what other deals they'll see my BalanceBall Chair on the cover (among other things) but remember, this sale ends MONDAY!

Did I tell you, be sure to use the code "JULYSAVINGS" at checkout? That way you get the best deal so don't forget...and share the savings by telling a friend...maybe a new workout buddy? Then come back and tell us what you got and how you like it...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Aging, Weight Loss and Mental Sharpness

Yesterday I talked about how important getting sufficient protein every day is to our health, our appearance and for weight loss success.

Today I'm going to talk, quite unscientifically, about something that I've observed that I believe is at least partially attributable to NOT getting enough protein on a regular basis.

First, imagine you get up and you wait hours before eating. Maybe you have a cup of coffee or tea. Then perhaps you have some cereal or toast...or something sweeter perhaps. How are feeling about 10:30 or11am? Probably feeling a bit sluggish and a bit foggy mentally. You may even feel that earlier in the day.

What do you do at that point? If you are like most folks you grab some sugar and maybe some (more) caffeine thinking that will solve the problem. And your blood sugar spikes and you do get some energy. Temporarily.

Problem is you are only addressing symptoms, not the real cause.

The cause is that you haven't really fueled your body with the most important thing it needs--protein!

This might not be a big problem if you do this once in a while...but over time what happens is your body loses lean body mass as we talked about yesterday.

I contend that this affects our brain as much as it does the rest of our body. We lose our mental abilities...we become more and more foggy.

My evidence? Well, not a scientific study to be sure, but I have seen it in my own family. Right now I am seeing the results in my mother who is 80 years old...(I wish I could say 80 years "young"...but can't.)

While I recognize we are blessed that she is pretty healthy and doesn't suffer from Alzheimer's or Dementia...I also see this once super-intelligent woman reduced to being in a fog much of the time. What concerns me even more is that on the one hand she recognizes this reduction in her abilities and yet she is not willing or able to help herself do anything about it.

My mother has only rarely been overweight in her life. And when she deemed herself to be "fat" she rigidly dieted. For her it was a "simple" matter of pushing herself away from the table while still hungry. (I inherited neither her metabolism nor her diet discipline.)

Well, my mother has dropped lots of weight over the last couple of years.

The science is that typically for every decade past our 40th year we lose 8% of our lean body mass. That would mean my mom would have 32% less lean body mass than she used if her entire 40 year old 140 pound body was lean body mass (which of course, it wouldn't have been) and we took away 32% of that she would be about 120 pounds today...all things being equal.

Mom is currently about 110 pounds...when a healthy weight for her would be closer to 130-140. It seems as her body gets smaller and smaller so does her mental capacity. So, the notion that one can "never be too thin" is pure fiction...dangerous fiction at that!

My conclusion, as unscientific as it may be, is that she has definitely lost too much weight, especially lean body mass, and that this loss has affected her mental ability...and therefore I for one am going to be doubly sure to eat sufficient protein multiple times a day every day.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Anti-Aging and Weight Loss Success Secret Weapon

One of the biggest secrets to losing weight successfully and for looking younger is quite simple...protein.

We hear all the time that Americans eat too much protein. But that may not be really accurate.

While it is true we don't need a lot of protein at any one sitting, we DO need to eat protein regularly...several times every day. Research from the University of Texas backs this up and states that the most important factor for maintaining our lean body mass is eating protein regularly through out the day. You see, our bodies don't store least not as protein. If we eat too much protein it is converted and stored as--fat! That means saving it all up for dinner won't cut it in terms of looking youthful or being healthy.

The trick is, if we don't eat enough protein then our body will actually start to "eat" our own lean body mass...we will tear down our "less important" tissues in an effort to protect our most vital organs (like our heart.)

What exactly is lean body mass? It is most of the parts of our body that we love (read "not our fat")...including our bones, skin, muscles and parts of our essential organs. And once we get over the 40 year hump we start to lose that lean body mass. Figures indicate on average we lose 8 % every decade.

Less lean body mass could mean that our metabolism slows down (ever heard that it is harder to lose weight once you hit 40?) This is because muscles burn more calories than fat. So, that is enough all by itself to make me want to be sure I get enough protein in every day.

But that's not all...losing lean body mass affects our bones, making us more susceptible to breaks, our skin becomes more easily damaged and all of our organs are adversely affected. Think about it...pretty much all the signs of aging could be linked to loss of lean body mass!

So whether you are trying to drop excess fat or keep your body looking younger, one of the most important things you can do for yourself is to eat small servings of protein several times a day.

Don't think this means you have to be eating meat three times a day...mix it up with wild salmon (avoid "Atlantic" salmon as that means it is farm-raised and less healthy) or other fish, nuts and seeds, chicken and other poultry, dairy, eggs, and off course beans and legumes.

Add nuts and seeds to your morning yogurt or oatmeal, or a little Feta and Quinoa to a salad and you've got meals with protein that won't raise your cholesterol either!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Diet Pill Safe and Effective for Weight Loss Success?

The Associated Press released an announcement that an experimental diet pill has helped people lose weight--about half the people who tried it lost "some" weight and were able to keep it off for a year. This new pill theoretically does not cause the heart problems that earlier pills such as fen-phen did, even though it acts on the same pathways.

Most diet pills are either not safe at all or can only be taken safely short-term. Is this one really any different?

Before people get too excited about this pill, realize it is still in the experimental phase and it helped people lose "at least 5 percent of their body weight over a year"...

Let's look at that and see if that really amounts to weight loss success.

If you weight 300 pounds and lose 5% of your body weight that is 15 pounds. That's right a whopping 15 pounds!

Until they PROVE that there are no side irreversible heart damage, problems with digestion and bowel leakage, problems that have shown up AFTER clinical trials were done and diet pills deemed safe in the past...then I'd say this is not worth the risk in my book!

The bigger question really is, do diet pills address the REAL problem? I know when I was 300 pounds I longed for a pill that would magically melt the fat away...allowing me to not have to face my feelings or why I was over eating or retaining weight in the first place.

It may not be the fastest route in the short-term, but by learning to deal with my emotions I have a much healthier body and I dropped a lot of weight (over 125 pounds) in a bout a year...and that turned out to be a lot faster than ANY diet or pill ever would have done!

Bottom line...for true weight loss success, start with your mind...not with a diet or a pill.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Treat Depression for Weight Loss Success

If you've ever been depressed then you probably have seen your weight change dramatically as a result.

For some people, like my mother, weight plummets with depression as the person stops eating.

For others, like me, weight sky-rockets as we increase stress and emotional eating...attempting to drown our sorrows in Ben & Jerry's or increase our serotonin levels with simple carbohydrates.

I'm not going to recommend or dissuade anyone from taking anti-depressants...that is certainly something that you (with the help of a psychiatrist...not just a therapist) must decide for yourself. Especially for the severely depressed, they can help.

That being said, I've never met a doctor who believes the pills are magic all by themselves...there are things you can do to help yourself, either in conjunction with taking the pills or instead of.

A lot of people will suggest that you DO things. This is not a bad idea...but it is secondary.

First you have to BE have to decide that you are the kind of person who does something, who will (and can) handle the emotions. You must decide that you are done with hiding behind food and that you are willing to tackle what comes up.

This can be a scary feels much safer to just go for a walk. The problem is that if we don't tackle the mindset stuff we won't be able to maintain the walks!

First BE. Then DO. Then you will HAVE.

So do the things that you have to do in order to get your mindset going in the right direction (okay, I know that is a "do" word...but it is about mindset, not just action)...first decide that you are worthy of a healthy/slender body and that you deserve to have a healthy mind as well. Then write down your feelings, talk / shout / cry them out...Third, learn to meditate (refer to this week's post on pain management for some tips on for physical and emotional pain)...4th, visualize your body as the healthy person you are becoming...slender, energetic, vibrant, healthy....and 5th, come up with some alternative plans for when emotions come up--things that will work for you instead of eating--keep that list available as you are breaking old habits.

NOW you can do all those things and go for walks and feed your body healthy foods...this will also help boost your serotonin levels and help you feel even better. That's a GOOD cycle!

Before you know it, you will start having results! And you definitely deserve them!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Do Instability Shoes Yield Weight Loss Success?

These shoes that keep your body off-balance are really popular...even my 80 year old mother wanted a pair. If you are thinking about them, be sure to try them on and walk around in the store a long time before you plop down some significant change to purchase a pair.

Fortunately I was able to go shopping with Mom...and watching her walk in them was mildly amusing...but more than that it was really concerning me since she looked like she was going to break at the ankles! I was relieved when she decided she didn't like them so I didn't have to tell her not to buy them.

Before you decide right off the bat that you don't want them, be aware that these shoes come in a variety of makes and price points.

Some shoes are made for running, but most of these are strictly walking shoes.

The idea behind them is that by making your walking less stable you are using more muscles which then increases the tone of those muscles and makes your legs overall more fit. Of course, when we have more muscles we also burn more calories.

But do they work?

Yes. No. Maybe. Who really knows?

I bought myself a pair and I love them...they are super comfortable and if nothing else I psychologically think I'm getting more/better exercise. That's not a bad thing. I know that I am getting more fit and that I'm able to walk further, faster. Is that because of the shoes or just because I am walking more?

Hmmm...can't say...but I will say that because the shoes are comfortable I am much more willing to go for a walk!

Have they made me drop weight? Well...again, don't know...but when I'm walking more I also tend to eat better.

Bottom line: try them out and if the shoe fits--go for it! I figure anything that helps us be comfortable helps our mindset be positive and that all encourages us to move our bodies more, which in turn helps us reach our health and fitness goals--including weight loss success!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pain Management and Weight Loss Success

Recently I wrote about pain and how I had been letting my physical pain keep me from working out as much as I normally would.

Maybe I'm naive but I was surprised that this concept would stir up any sort of controversy! But, I got messages from people who think maybe my pain isn't real or that I'm dismissing people who are in chronic pain.

Since that is certainly not the case, I thought I'd follow up with some information I read this weekend about ways to reduce your pain...because I DO know that being in pain can seriously hinder our ability and willingness to move our bodies...and even to eat right. When we are in pain (physical or emotional) we seek comfort and sometimes food gives us that comfort, albeit temporary, and we can then ADD to our pain by increasing our physical weight.

This comes from Doctors Oz and Roizen...the title is "Mindfulness meditation conquers stubborn pain" (Click the title if you want to see the entire article)
people who meditated for just 20 minutes a day saw their pain tolerance rise

Meditation doesn't work because your pain is "all in your head." Chronic pain is all too real...When pain won't quit, stress and worry kick in, boosting levels of stress hormones, which tricks your brain into thinking the pain is worse than it is.

De-stressing with meditation or similar mind/body techniques dials back stress hormones which in turn diminishes pain.

meditation eased pain by helping your brain to stop anticipating it...Less stress and less pain also can mean better sleep, more motivation to exercise and even less depression, all of which also make you relax more and hurt less.

So how do you do it? Here are 3 different methods to try from the good doctors:

First, find a quiet place where you can sit or lie down for 10-15 minutes

Mindfulness meditation:
  • Close your eyes to help you stay focused
  • Breathe in and out slowly & naturally
  • Acknowledge your thoughts, feelings and the physical sensations in your body but don't get wrapped up in them
  • Keep gently returning your focus to your breathing
  • After 10 minutes begin to notice your surroundings as you breathe calmly
  • Then plan to go about your day with this feeling of calm awareness
Guided Imagery:
This technique works by distracting you and helps ease pain similarly to meditation.
  • Shut your eyes and imagine an idyllic "happy place"
  • Use all of your sense to put yourself in that place
  • Remember scents, colors, the air, mood, anything that makes it come alive
  • Stay there, relax and enjoy

Progressive Muscle Relaxation:
  • Breathe slowly from your abdomen
  • Isolate and tighten each muscle group without straining for 7-10 seconds
  • Release the muscles abruptly
  • Rest 15-20 seconds
  • Start with your fists
  • Move to your forearms, biceps, face, neck, shoulders, upper back, chest, stomach, lower back, buttocks, thighs, lower legs, feet.
Hope that helps...practice mindful meditation and reduce your pain...if that weren't good enough all by itself, it will help with your weight loss success!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dancing the Night and Fat Away

Last night the Celtic Rock group, The Elders, played in town. It was a fantastic night for the event...nice and cool which gave extra incentive to get up and dance!

I feel really fortunate to live in a town that provides fun entertainment during the summer for free. And at concerts like this where we are encouraged to dance we get entertained by the musicians and people watching and if we loosen our inhibitions just a little bit we can burn off a few calories at the same time without going to the gym!

Moving our bodies can be a lot of fun...and if you aren't able to get up and dance, then do what you can. Clapping and swaying to the music, stomping feet and waving arms in the arm all count as moving your body--especially compared to sitting like a log in front of the television.

And you also get at least a short walk in from the car to wherever you are seated...

Make events like this special. One family had a little table with candles and flowers...others at the top of the rise had pop-up rain/sun shelters...bring the kids and wear comfortable clothes.

One word of caution--at this event they were selling ice cream...and I'm sure most venues will have some great treat. You don't have to NOT have it...just make it a conscious choice and realize that you probably won't be dancing it off, even if you dance all night long. My friends bought some and shared it...that worked out really well. They all got some of the great treat, but no one got weighed down. One good thing about treats at these sorts of events...they come with portion control!

Enjoy the events, dance and get your oxygen pumping and muscles moving...and you'll go to sleep with a smile on your face...and maybe wake up with a little less fat on your body!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

For Weight Loss Success Love Yourself Enough to Eat Healthy

I know that it SEEMS like we eat comfort food because we love ourselves and want to pamper ourselves...and maybe SOMETIMES that is true.

I contend that more often our comfort food and grabbing "convenience" foods in order to save time is really because we are not loving ourselves enough to make healthy choices.

We wouldn't knowingly poison our kids or our pets, yet we are willing to poison ourselves with food that we know will make us sick.

Eating healthy does not have to take a lot of time, or cost a lot of money--and one of the best things is you don't have to be fanatical about don't have to be perfect! *Whew!*

The healthier I eat, the lower my grocery bill! And making fresh, healthy meals can be quite quick, if you stick to a few dishes and keep the number of ingredients down. I don't try to make the dinner of Ozzie and Harriet...I have too much going on to have a salad and a vegetable and, the list went on and on. So I make maybe 3 things.

Often I make enough of one or two dishes to last several days...I call that "Planned Overs"...that saves a lot of time, which I know is a precious commodity for most of us.

Here is one of the tricks to not wasting a lot of produce and still getting all the nutrients that your body needs: don't try to buy one of everything. Instead, choose enough for a couple of days. Try to get some variety of color in your produce too...that helps you get a wider array of vitamins. Then the next time you go shopping try a few different items. That way you get the variety without having to make so many dishes all at one time.

Go for stealth shopping...the goal is to get in and out quickly. Cruise the outside of the store (that's where the fresh stuff usually is) and stay out of the middle unless you have something specific on your list that you need, like some canned or frozen item to supplement your fresh produce.

Take care of your your body that you love yourself enough to feed it the good, healthy foods that it needs to function at its peak. Do that and your body will reward you with energy, vitality and you will drop excess fat, too!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Can It Be Salsa if it's Not Hot, Hot, Hot?

Subtitle: I got a bunch of cilantro and didn't know what to do with it...

Some friends of mine gave me a HUGE bunch of cilantro. I wasn't sure what to do with it at first, but then I had a brainstorm: I could make salsa out of it.

I've had cilantro salsa before...and I didn't have a recipe for it...and maybe the bunch wasn't really THAT I thought about what I did have and figured I'd "punt"...

What I had:
  • Some tomatoes that were slightly overripe
  • Red, yellow and orange bell peppers
  • Avocado
  • the aforementioned Cilantro

(side commentary...did you know Cilantro is the leaves of the same plant that is Coriander...which is the seeds? I didn't know that until I was digging around looking for a cilantro salsa recipe, which I did NOT find, by the way!)

I minced up the cilantro, diced up the tomatoes and the yellow and orange peppers (decided to hold the red peppers as I had plenty of red with the tomatoes) and put them all in a bowl. Then I added a little bit of red wine vinegar and tossed it altogether.

Put it in the fridge and added avocado just before serving.

OH YUM, if I do say so myself.

I don't know if technically this is a salsa recipe or not, but it was cold, chunky, vegetables that was the best complement to my blackened burgers. OK, they were supposed to be grilled, not blackened. Reminder to self: do not attempt to multi-task while grilling.

Still, the contrast of the hot meat and the cold vegetables was excellent. And I've gotta say this low-cal recipe would also be good as a chip dip or could serve as a nice refreshing salad.

And as much as this sounds like a lot of chopping...and like it would take a lot of time--it DIDN'T! Fast, easy cooking...gotta love it!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Simple Tip to Stop Emotional Eating and Achieve Weight Loss Success

I'm alone this week...and will confess to feeling a bit lonely and that I have fallen prey to the comfort food syndrome!

This isn't bad if it just happens once in a while, but I want to be sure I don't make a habit of it or I will 1. be angry with myself (which isn't helpful) and/or 2. gain weight back which will just make me angry with myself...did I mention that isn't helpful?

One thing that I found that IS helpful is to look at a picture of myself as I used to be.

That's me back in 2006.

The point of this looking back is definitely not to beat myself is to remind myself of just how far I have come and that I definitely do NOT want to go back to being that person.

And it is the BE-ing that is important...sure it is about the weight, but not the most important part. The most important part is how unhealthy I was, how much pain I was in and what I could not DO because of the behaviors I engaged in.

So I took out a picture from one of my heaviest periods (even more than the one I just posted here) and I put it on the frig so that it is front and center should I reach for a choice that is less-than-healthy. I don't make the food off-limits, but this really helps make the choice a conscious one...and I found that it really helped me to make healthy choices.

If looking at the "old" you isn't enough to keep you on track, take that picture in to the nearest mirror and compare it to the you of today.

Since you can't join me at the mirror, here's a picture to help drive home the point! I sure don't want to having to get into those pants the old fashioned way again ;-)

If you haven't yet achieved your weight loss success and therefore don't have before and after pictures (or before and during pictures...that works just as well!) then look at pictures of how you want to be.

Take pictures from magazines or ads that capture the person you want to it will feel when you have achieved that weight loss success! This can be your own health vision that will definitely help you to reach your goal!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Cool Treats for Hot Summer Weight Loss Success

Typically the 4th of July here is hot and we are looking for ways to stay cool...yesterday proved to be the exception as we huddled under umbrellas in our jackets in the pouring rain to watch the fireworks...which were delayed due to the storms...

Cold as we were, we just had to try our cool treats that turned out to be delicious and healthy, if not fully appreciated for their temperature!

These treats are easy to make and enjoy and can be made more (or less) healthy, suitable for adults or kids, depending on the ingredients you choose.

I'm talking popsicles, of course! But not the store-bought kind that is filled with high fructose corn syrup or other sweeteners. Try making your own instead, easily, so you have 100% control over what (and how much) goes into the cool treats.

You can buy popsicle molds at a variety of stores, or you can use paper Dixie cups for smaller servings or even ice cube trays. Simply insert popsicle sticks and you have a portable treat...or use the cubes in your water for summer refreshment!

So what ingredients to use? For the easiest popsicles, get 100% fruit juice, pour and freeze. I had a wonderful blueberry-pomegranate pop last night...yum...delicious and loaded with antioxidants and no added sugar.

Add fresh fruit (or for super easy, use already frozen) for fiber, texture and fun for the tongue.

Have more time and want to get creative? Make your own juices--with a squeezer or juicer. Add Stevia for zero calorie sweetness to lemon or lime based pops. Puree some fruits (fresh or frozen) for a creamier texture. Throw in a little raw (unsweetened) coconut for a tropical "punch."

Flavors can be consistent, complementary or contrasting. For example, using a sweet strawberry juice as a base...adding strawberries for a consistent taste, banana slices for complimentary flavor, or contrast the sweet juice with tart kiwi.

Of course, adults can add a splash of alcohol for a festive cube. It doesn't take much...and keep in mind that frozen alcohol still has calories and, well, alcohol.

The only thing that limits your popsicle is your imagination. You could even have a "Pops on Ice" party, with a variety of juices and ingredients all ready for guests to create their own. I suggest using small paper cups for this method...have each guest write their name on the cup before concocting their treat(s). Have this be the first thing folks do, then move on to the grilling and games and later in the day or evening you'll have flavor-filled cool-down treats made to order!

Thanks to Dr. Diana Hill for this inspiration!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Favorite Foods for True Weight Loss Success

Last week I gave my Chiropractor a copy of my book, Refuse to Diet: Weight Loss Success Starts with Your Mind...Not Your Mouth. He was very excited to get a copy and see what I've been up to. Yesterday when I went back to see him he told me that someone else had already borrowed it from him!

That was a really cool feeling, to know someone was so excited about my book that they asked to borrow his copy...and that he [reluctantly] agreed (she is a very important person in his life, after all!)

He had read a large part of the book and was asking me if I really still have my favorite treat (for those of you who are new to following this blog, that would be ice cream, the richer the better.) I said definitely. I also enjoy pizza, beer, wine and lots of other goodies. I just don't eat them as often or in as large of quantities. And the truth is I don't crave them like I used to!

A huge part of the "magic" is that I no longer put foods that I love on a list of forbidden foods. That didn't work for me. That doesn't mean I have gallons of ice cream on deck (although I have upon occasion.) I prefer to give myself permission to eat whatever I want, give myself smaller portions and then go back for more if I really want it.

See, the next part of the "magic" is making it all a conscious choice.

I couldn't do either parts of the magic when I was dieting, or when I was trying to lose weight because it was what my doctor told me to do, or my mother wanted me to do, or even because I would get a better health insurance rate.

I had to totally decide that I deserved to be healthy...which is a completely different mindset than wanting to lose weight or look good. With this mindset I can enjoy my favorite foods and not stress about what I am eating.

Am I stick skinny? Could I be a model? Hell no...but then that has never been my goal. I am a healthy weight for my body. I can go hiking like I never could before. I enjoy food like never before. I feel better about my body than ever. In my book, that is true weight loss success!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fear and Money Challenge Health and Weight Loss Success

I've been having a lot of shoulder pain lately. Certain motions were excruciating, in fact, which kept me from doing some exercises. Which frustrated me and hindered my health and fitness goals.

Why I waited so long to see the Chiropractor about it, I don't understand. After all, aren't I the one telling other people, "sometimes we all need help--and there is no shame in getting the help you need"? Of course...and the cobbler's kids are the ones without shoes.

Actually, I do know a couple reasons I waited so long:

1. Fear
2. Money

These are probably the two biggest reasons most people do, or don't do, things in life.

In this case I was afraid that he would tell me there was nothing he could do...that I had damaged my rotator cuff. On the surface that seems like a reasonable fear. But I had had a similar pain in the other shoulder a couple years ago that I was able to heal without surgery. So why was this time different? That I truly do not know.

That's the thing about fear. You can intellectually know that the fear is not reasonable, but that doesn't mean the fear will go away. For me there was enough gear of potential surgery that I put off seeing my healer until I couldn't stand it any more. Not smart. I could probably have fixed it a lot more quickly if I had not been so stubbornly stuck in fear.

Then there is money. Going to see a doctor costs money and even though I pay through the nose for health insurance every month I basically have catastrophic coverage. I am very glad that I haven't had to use it, but that means I am really paying out of pocket for my visits to the I wasn't thrilled with the idea of dropping a couple hundred bucks over the course of treatment. Of course, that is not a bad price to pay when considering the alternative (massive pain and/or surgery.) And, if I had gone in sooner, it probably would have been fewer visits and less money.

We do the same thing with our weight loss goals...we put off buying the right shoes because we don't want to drop $100...and then we injure our bodies because we don't have the proper support. We are afraid that we will look stupid at the gym because we are we don't go...and we stay fat.

We all, myself included, deserve to remember that our fears are in our head...and as real as those fears may be, they can be overcome. And usually, when we face them we are so much better off. The truth is rarely as scary as the stuff we make up in our imagination!

We also deserve to remember that the sooner we act, generally speaking, the less it is going to cost us in the long run. I'm not saying throw money around like there's no tomorrow...I'm just saying we deserve to look at the dollars we are spending now (or could spend now) and compare it to the real cost of not taking that action. In my case, getting proper medical care, but it could be buying healthier foods, proper exercise attire, getting some training on how to get the most out of exercise equipment, or even investing in cooking lessons. All these things cost money, but in the long-run will save us money, enable us to reach our weight loss success goals and enhance our lives. And quite possibly save them!