Archive for March, 2011
Thursday, March 31st, 2011
Spring is here and this is the time of the year when shorts, t-shirts and bathing suits come out of the closet. Time to shed the winter clothes and for some those pounds that may have been put on lying on the couch eating bon-bons the past few months.
For those who are going to try to get in shape in a weekend, forget it. Fitness does not happen overnight and it takes time for your body to adjust to the training. You want to ease into a new fitness program so that your body will work with you. Here’s some suggestions to ease into a fitness program:
~ To strengthen your heart you need to get some cardio in. Begin walking at a nice brisk pace for about a mile. As time passes add time, intensity or duration. To lose weight you want to walk longer. The longer you do cardio the more fat you will burn. Eventually add a slow jog.
~ For strength training, start with 2-3 pound weights, hitting all of the major muscles groups. You can use the weights while walking and get a full body workout in an hour or so. You will feel so much better.
Remember, if you over-train your body will let you know and while feeling sore is fine, pain is not! Get out there and begin to move your body and eat for your health!
Thursday, March 24th, 2011
I met Lisa L. about a year ago and she told me that over the years she had put on weight and that she needed, as well as wanted, to take the weight off. She joined the ShapelyGirl Fitness Center and quickly joined the HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS SUPPORT GROUP that I run every Tuesday.
I knew Lisa’s weight loss would be a challenge for the both of us because Lisa is built pretty solid and she is very small in height, standing about 5 feet tall.
Lisa is married and a mother of 2 who works full-time and has 2 granddaughters who live with her. Anyone who lives with kids understands the challenge of not only helping them to eat healthy but keeping the junk food out of the house which I assume is probably impossible to do.
Lisa originally told me that her biggest eating issue was ‘NIGHTTIME EATING’. She would get settled in for the night and then hit the cabinets and fridge to satisfy this behavior that is part of her history as well as millions of other people, so I am sure most can certainly identify with this problem. This behavior is similar to going to a movie. Most are so used to going right to the counter to buy popcorn and candy and soda without even thinking they can bypass it and just watch the movie. You can deal with this if you pack some healthy snacks with you.
For weeks Lisa worked out and came to my class on Tuesday nights faithfully and for weeks no inches or weight loss were realized, all while she told me how she had changed the way she ate and really worked on eating healthy. Week after week she was DETERMINED to fight, and fight she did. She even hired me as her personal trainer and together we went to battle and I told her weekly it will come off when your body is ready to release and let go of that weight.
She was working toward her goal of seeing her daughter get married in April and go to her grade school reunion at the end of March looking and feeling better. She focused on this and never waived her commitment. She never missed a session and she walked through that storm for weeks and months. I kept telling her it will happen. Well, as of this writing I am so happy to say it has! As of March 23 Lisa has lost 11 pounds but more importantly she is down 14 inches. She looks more alive and energetic, her body is looking amazing and she is ecstatic! Her skin evens looks better. I am so happy for her and it has come at the right time. Her reunion is tomorrow and she is going to get her groove on. I mean tan, nails, toes, heels.
Lisa’s journey is like most women’s journeys who need to lose weight, the only difference is that while some give up my client, member and friend never gave up on herself and it has paid off big time for her! Lisa…have the best time of your life, you deserve it! I am so proud of her tenacity and her drive and I hope it does the same for you!
Monday, March 21st, 2011
Hello Debra, I have been on Weight Watchers for the last 8 weeks and I have lost weight (10 lbs) but this week I gained 1.2 lbs. Although that is a small gain to some, it is major to me, I have been following the program perfectly and feel really discouraged because I joined to lose weight and not gain. I had another small gain at week 4, so one of the workers suggested that this is my body’s weight loss pattern…lose 3 weeks and gain on the 4th week. I left crying because I feel hopeless and felt her reasons was a crock of bull. I have over 119 pounds to lose and need to do it fast, as I am 43 years old and would like to have a baby, so time is a real concern to me. Do you have any suggestions on how I can lose at least 100 pounds by year end? I have also been working out 3 to 5 times a week walking in doors, at the beach and at the gym. Your input would be very helpful. Thanks.
First of all Merriet, thanks for taking care of yourself as I know how hard it is to get started and sticking with it. I had so many setbacks while losing my 140 pounds years ago and still work at it everyday.
I wish I had all of the answers for you about losing weight and dropping the pounds and why we sometimes are successful and other times feel defeated. Here is what I can tell you… eating good healthy nutritious food and exercising 4-5 times a week is the way to go. There is not a diet program that works long term or we would not have the obesity problem we have and we would all be thinner.
No one can tell you how your body works and especially someone at Weight Watchers who is not in a position to give you that advice. While I totally hear you and understand what you are going through you cannot give up on you, especially if pregnancy is the goal. This is a minor setback and you need to get past it. Move the mountains, face the challenge, fight back and keep moving forward! What gets us in this place takes a long time so have faith and take one step at a time. The alternative is to go backwards and you do not want to do that.
My suggestion is to work with a trainer to see how you can utilize your workouts and stay with Weight Watchers to weather this storm, but do not give up!
Friday, March 18th, 2011
Last night after teaching my step/toning class I realized that I had not eaten enough food for the day and I was starving. I had so much to do the day before and like a lot of women did not take the time to eat and ignored the fact that I was hungry. By late afternoon, I realized I needed to eat but it was too late as I had a class to teach and did not want to take the chance that I might get sick or weighed down with a full stomach as I rarely eat at least 1 hour before my classes.
By 7:30pm I was famished and decided to GRAB something on the way home. Even for me that could be a big problem. When I have not taken the time to eat properly, driving past pizza parlors, convenience stores and fast-food take-out can be dangerous. As I passed by McDonald’s I remembered seeing the commercials and ads for the ANGUS BURGER that was on their menu. I thought about it and decided I wanted an Angus burger and the convenience of buying it was right in front of me. Now the question became what would I get with it? I knew that if I did not think about the calories, fat and salt content I could really be in trouble. Mentally, I knew that most FAST FOODS places were loaded with calories, fat and salt but I was so hungry that emotionally I really did not care at that moment so I pulled into the parking area and at that moment I told myself to think about my choice before it was too late.
As I waited in the drive-through line something went off in my head and when the girl asked me what I wanted I said “I will have 2 plain burgers for Hannah, my seven year old yellow lab, and one Angus burger with the works for me.” Then as they usually do she said ANYTHING ELSE? You know they say that for a reason…because you might order more. I said to her that is all but to myself I said, I REALLY WANTED FRIES AND A MILKSHAKE to go with my burger.
I pulled up and took my order and as I drove home to eat I told myself that I listened to what I teach and practiced MINDFUL EATING. If you are not sure what mindful eating is, it is taking the time to THINK about the choices you make when ordering out or cooking at home or even food shopping. It allows you the time to really realize you can eat better and not feel so guilty or horrible after perhaps eating too many calories but not making good choices.
Do I practice MINDFUL EATING all of the time? I wish I could say YES but alas I do not. I do have my “eat whatever” moments but thankfully they are rare. However, I have practiced it enough in my journey to remain a size 12 for nearly 25 years!
Mindful eating is a great tool to learn when you are losing weight. It allows YOU to take control of your life and choices. Next time, think before you order…you will be saving hundreds of calories while keeping yourself sane.
Wednesday, March 16th, 2011
A few years ago researchers at the University of Minnesota released a report backing up what many parents of overweight kids already know: Nagging, lecturing and threatening don’t work. Teenagers in the study who were told to go on diets were more likely to remain overweight than those who were not. In an effort to address the soaring numbers of obese kids, many schools have started sending home weight evaluations on children so there is more demand for parents to address this issue.
The study followed hundreds of adolescents for about 5 years. Even with similar eating patterns the kids whose parents pressured them to be on diets were much more likely to have increasing weight and eating disorder problems when compared to kids whose parents didn’t really know they were overweight and took no action.
So if coercion is counterproductive then what does work? Being a healthy role model for your children. Have healthy food available, eat at the family table on a regular basis and establish exercise as an activity the family enjoys together. That means less talking and more setting an example of the kind of healthy habits you want your children to take into adulthood.
1. STAY ACTIVE
THERE IS NO DOUBT ABOUT IT; EXERCISE HAS TREMENDOUS PHYSICAL BENEFITS, LIKE LOWERING BLOOD PRESSURE AND CHOLESTEROL AND DECREASING YOUR RISK OF DIABETES. EXERCISE IS ESSENTIAL TO ANY WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM. STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT IT’S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO KEEP WEIGHT OFF WITHOUT WORKING OUT AT LEAST 3-4 TIMES A WEEK. MAKE IT FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY. GET YOUR SNEAKERS ON AND GET MOVING.
2. PRACTICE HEALTH SKILLS
PEOPLE THINK THAT ALL YOU NEED IS WILLPOWER TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT. I HAVE LEARNED OVER THE YEARS IT TAKES MUCH MORE THAN THE ABILITY TO SAY “NO”. IT TAKES KNOWLEDGE OF NUTRITION, TRIAL AND ERROR, PRACTICE AND EXPERIENCE. THIS IS HOW ONE CAN LEARN TO MODEL THE SECRETS FOR LONG TERM GOOD HEALTH.
3. KEEP A JOURNAL
FOR YEARS I KEPT A FOOD AND TRAINING JOURNAL AND STILL REFER BACK TO THEM TO SEE HOW FAR ALONG I HAVE COME. THIS WILL BE YOUR FIRST STEP IN MAKING LASTING BEHAVIORAL CHANGES. THE PRACTICE OF WRITING WILL HELP YOU LOOK AT YOUR PATTERNS WHILE GAUGING SUCCESS.
4. MAKE GRADUAL CHANGES
CHANGES WILL HAPPEN WHEN YOU ARE READY FOR THEM. MAKE THE PROCESS A SLOW AND COMFORTABLE ONE THAT YOU CAN CARRY WITH YOU EVERY DAY. CONGRATULATE YOURSELF FOR THE BABY STEPS YOU TAKE. IT WILL BE EASIER TO MAKE THE CHANGES PERMANENT IF YOU REALLY TAKE YOUR TIME.
5. SEE THE JOURNEY, NOT THE DESTINATION
PEOPLE ASK ME ALL THE TIME HOW LONG IT TOOK ME TO LOSE 140 POUNDS AND GET HEALTHY. I TELL THEM I AM STILL WORKING ON IT AFTER 25 YEARS. IT HAS TAKEN TIME TO GET BETTER AND IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF MY LIFE. I DID NOT WAKE UP ONE DAY AND FIND A MAGIC BULLET. REALIZE THAT EVERY DAY YOU HAVE TO DO THE BEST YOU CAN AND NEVER PUT YOUR LIFE ON HOLD ESPECIALLY WHERE YOUR WEIGHT IS CONCERNED. GET BETTER EVERY DAY AND ENJOY WHAT LIFE BRINGS YOU ON THIS JOURNEY.
Thursday, March 3rd, 2011
We’ve all heard it a million times: If you want to lose weight, just eat less and
It sounds so simple.
So why don’t the 103 million overweight American women just do it? There is interesting new research out of Temple University that helps to explain why this advice is difficult for many women to follow.
The study, by the Center for Obesity Research and Education and the Department of Kinesiology at Temple University, followed 278 obese women who were part of a year long program encouraging them to become active. The study found that these women reported serious mental barriers to regular exercise.
1. Feeling self-conscious.
2. Not wanting to fail.
3. Fearing injury.
4. Perceived poor health.
5. Having minor aches and pains.
6. Feeling too overweight to exercise.
There are probably lots of people who can’t relate to these feelings, but I know plenty of larger women who can. I remember clearly feeling that way. I was paralyzed at over 300 pounds. I was embarrassed – afraid I’d make a fool out of myself walking into a gym. I didn’t want to be laughed at. As one of my clients put it “Nobody wants to be the fat girl on the treadmill.”
Then there is the fear of failure. Will I make it through a cardio class? Will I be able to do the moves? After feeling like a complete failure at dieting over the years – I didn’t want to add another failure to my list. I didn’t think I was entitled to work out when I was so big.
Physical concerns also play a part. It’s not hard to begin thinking of yourself as weak when you’re a plus size woman. You don’t want to get hurt. Am I healthy enough for this? Shouldn’t I lose weight first? And you find yourself thinking “Gee, I already have so many aches and pains – I can’t imagine being more physically uncomfortable.”
The research also showed that programs like ShapelyGirl™ Fitness (which I developed last year), specifically geared to helping women achieve an exercise comfort zone, can be successful. It’s all about getting in the zone and feeling like you can do it. Since I lost my weight through learning to love exercise years ago I have wanted to help create a safe haven for larger women in the world of fitness. I am glad to know that science is finally taking a close look at this need. And I am happy to be part of a common sense solution for women of all sizes who want to get healthy.
Another thing I have learned over the years is that when women have failed on diet after diet they can tend to give up on exercise too easily. Results from working out will be accrued over a long period of time. You can’t jump on a scale to measure the changes. But I always say – if you stick to your fitness goals you will feel the benefits as you make changes that you can live with over a lifetime.