Monday, May 30, 2016

What It Takes

Can you believe this weather? Across the nation it's been crazy. Here in New England it's been like summer. Temperatures in the 80's to low 90's, with high humidity. Except for today, there has been very little rain. Overall, it's been A+ weather.

My husband and I took a little trip to Boston this weekend. He did the Run to Remember.  It's a 5 mile or half marathon run.  Brian, his running buddy Joe, and my sister-in-law Maria did the five mile run.  They did awesome, too! I was so proud of them.

I don't run. The pounding on the pavement is not ideal for an arthritic knee. I do okay most of the time, but running does me in every time.
Brian, Joe & I have matching shirts in honor of Officer Kevin Ambrose, a Springfield Police Officer killed in the line of duty 6/4/2012. 
Brian has been training for this run all year. Adding intervals and core work to his training regimen has made a tremendous difference. Now he says, "I hate to admit it, but I actually think I might like running."  He's lost over 20 lbs this year too. 

This has gotten me to thinking...transformation requires change. You are probably thinking, "Duh, of course!" But seriously, if you want to lose weight, get into shape, run 5 miles, ride  a 100 mile bike ride, or even switch careers... You have to change. You can't say, "I want to lose weight," and then go about living life the way you always have and wonder why there is no change.  

Furthermore, you can't expect to sustain any change by trying a "quick fix remedy" that may result in rapid weight loss.  Quick fixes don't work for the long haul, they aren't healthy, and they are not sustainable.  

What it takes is transformation of the mind, as well as a change in your behavior. You have to think differently about exercise and nutrition. Instead of  thinking you deserve a fattening treat or  you are too tired or sore to exercise, you have make the decision to be selective on your food choices, to get up and move your body.
I went for a 25 mile ride when we got home yesterday.  It was 87-90 degrees, but a fantastic ride none the less!
I can't begin to tell you how much I have learned about nutrition and exercise since I started this journey. I can tell you, I continually learn. This weekend, I asked. Brian if he wanted me to pack us lunch for Saturday. He said, "No, we can just grab something."

At first, I thought, "Good, easier for me." But as I thought about it, I realized that by leaving lunch to chance, I ran the risk of not eating or eating complete crap. So before we left, I threw a salad together for me and made him a sandwich. It wasn't about the money, it was about making a smart food choice. I knew we were going out for dinner that night and wouldn't have access to my refrigerator of healthy snacks. To me this was smart.
I was so glad I brought my lunch, otherwise we would not have had lunch until after 3:00 p.m.
This is a transformation. I have not eliminated any foods from my diet. I don't avoid dairy, carbs, or meat. I don't eat low fat or fat free foods. I don't drink shakes for every other meal.  (Although I do enjoy a protein shake a few times /week.) what has happened, is a change in how I think. That's what it takes. That's where the rubber meets the road.

Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God -- what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.
Romans 12:2

So if you are serious about losing weight AND keeping it off. If you want to be healthier.  You have to change the way you live. More importantly, you have to change the way you think about food and exercise. 

I got in a workout at the hotel gym on Saturday night.  It was the nicest fitness facility I've ever seen in a hotel.
So, how do you start?  Start by going grocery shopping and loading up on lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein.  Plan your meals for the week.  There is nothing wrong with eating the same thing for breakfast or lunch every day.  Make a decision to workout every day.  Yes, every day.  The biggest mistake you can make is to overdo it and then quit.  Do 10 minutes of squats and interval training every day and make sure you get in 10,000 steps.  If you take a walk, you don't have to walk fast.  Try a 3-4 mph pace.  The trick is to move your body, not run a marathon.  Tell yourself, "I am going to do this."  And do NOT let yourself say, "I'm too tired." OR "I can't do this."  OR "I deserve this piece of cake."
Things you see on a walk...I just LOVE this house.  Seriously, they know how to do it right.  In the left side of the picture are an American flag.  Under the flag is a Nativity scene.  By the trees are a family of green aliens and closer to the house are a couple of Candy Land lollipops.  Don't be afraid to take a walk and enjoy the sights.  I walk the puppy often and love the new things I observe along the way.

I will be focusing on this topic over the next few weeks.  Transformation and change do not happen naturally.  Our bodies and our minds want to revert back to a state where they are most comfortable.  Change must be deliberate.  Tune back soon for more on this subject...

Question for you:  (Answer in the comments below.)
What did you do this Memorial Day Weekend?

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

What No One Ever Told You About Losing Weight: Part 3

Last summer I wrote a two part series on the things you should know about the untold truths regarding weight loss.

What No One Ever Told You About Losing Weight:  Part One is herePart Two is here.

Since that time, I've learned a few more things...and I want to share them here.

The GOOD and the BAD:  Part Three.

GOOD:  What used to be important no longer is.

I used to participate in 101 different activities.
Participating in every activity I could was a coping mechanism for me to deal with my anxiety.  If I was busy, I didn't have time to be anxious.  The activity train was seriously unhealthy.  In March, I shared my story with some ladies at my church's annual Women's Conference.  These are my Size 18 jeans I wore before I lost the weight.
I was a wokaholic.

When I was home, I had no energy and was a complete couch potato.

Now that my focus has changed from doing everything I could put my hands into and from working 10 - 12 hours / day, I use the extra time to take care of myself.  I workout nearly every day.  We eat healthy meals.  And I hardly ever watch TV.  (Although lately I have been catching up on some Netflix.)
I can honestly say I don't miss my old way of life and I feel free from all of the obligations.

BAD:  Constipation

Despite all the water I drink and the vegetables I eat, constipation is a nasty accompaniment to the weight loss.  Not everyone has this problem, but it plagues me.

I've added a fourth macro to my nutrition.  Fiber.  The recommended daily amount of fiber for women is 25 grams.  I eat about 40 grams on average.  I even started taking Metamucil, and that did not help.  So now I take Miralax and it helps sometimes.  But more often than not, I feel bloated and if my weight is up on the scale, chances are it's due to that.  I wish there was a magic wand I could wave to get rid of that feeling.

GOOD:  Cooking becomes enjoyable.

I used to hate to cook.  Maybe not hate, but I really did not enjoy it.

Now, I enjoy looking at and trying new recipes.  It is fun to try new ways to make your own recipes healthier or tastier.  

Speaking of tasty.  Have you checked out any of the Tasty videos?  They have super easy recipes, with few ingredients and they show you how to make it on video.  This is one of my favorites:
Mongolian Beef Crock Pot

Meal planning has become an essential part of my life.  I like to try new things, keeping in mind what's easy to cook, and what my family would like.  I use my crock pot as often as possible.  It has almost made its home upstairs in my kitchen, instead of on the shelf in the basement. 

BAD:  You lose some of your friends. 

Yeah. True story. 

I have friends that I used to spend a lot of time with who did not join me on my road to fitness.  Keep in mind, this has been a two year journey, so while I was working out and trying to be careful about my nutrition, they were living the same way they always had, only I wasn't doing it with them.  When everyone realized this isn't a gimmick for me, that I really mean what I say and my lifestyle really has changed, I think I intimidated some of them.  In fact, I know it. 

I have actually been told, "I'm jealous of you," and "I can't work out with you. Do you look at yourself?  I would be embarrassed to work out with you."

It is a bit hard to accept. But at the same time, I have changed. They haven't. And I can't expect them to do so.  Some of them want to lose weight, but they don't want my help.  They won't read my blog and they tell me, "I can't do things your way, so I'm going to do it this way."  It's as if they want to prove something to me.

I don't judge them. It might sound like I do. But it does hurt to lose a friend, or at least to be distanced from a close friend because they feel disconnected due to my now healthy lifestyle. 

GOOD:  You can stop the roller coaster.

When you develop a healthy lifestyle, food no longer rules your life.  I can eat food that I didn't eat while trying to lose weight.  A couple pieces of pizza don't derail me.

I recently found myself binge snacking at night, craving ice cream and anything sweet I could get my hands on...  I realized this was a BAD habit to get back into, so I stepped back and said, "You are smart.  You can do this.  How can you plan to fit your evening ice cream into your day AND not feel guilty or go way over on your calories?"

Can it be done?  Better question, can it be done without feeling guilty?

The answer is:  YES!

I cut back a little on my calories during the day, left some room in my macros so the carbohydrates and fat in the ice cream didn't wreck havoc on my nutrition.  I intentionally added more water to my day and re-introduced interval training into my workouts.  Guess what!

I lost about 5 lbs. WHILE eating ice cream every night.

Once you become smart about nutrition, you CAN stop the roller coaster.

Question for you:  (Answer in the comments below.)
Are you trying to lose weight or have you lost a significant amount of weight?  What surprises have you experienced as a result?

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Saturday, May 7, 2016

Gaining the weight back?

Having lived most of my adult life battling the bulge, I am glad to say it's a nice place to be on the other side.  That said, I am still very conscious of what I eat and I exercise regularly.  I have not stopped to just "enjoy the roses," so to speak.  The journey to lose weight has become my lifestyle now.  It's not about losing weight anymore, it's about being healthy.

Since last November, when I was riding my bike pretty regularly, I have gained back 10 lbs.  It seems like this is where my body is most comfortable.  I am happy with my weight and how I feel right now.  I know I can't go to sleep at the wheel, though.  Eating right, watching my calories and macros, exercising, drinking water...this is key to maintaining my weight.  As I ride my bike more and more this spring and summer, I may lose those 10 lbs. again, I may not.  I'm not too worried about it either way.

What concerns me is the notion that you are doomed to gain the weight back.  So why bother even trying?  This week, the NY Times published this article, "After 'The Biggest Loser'."  It describes the sad tale of how participants in NBC's Biggest Loser show gain most of the weight back after being on the show.  It dares to imply that your resting metabolic rate slows down after losing weight.

So, let me be clear, and I am no expert, so take what I say as you please. Losing weight means changing your lifestyle.

This means changing the way you eat, drink, and exercise.  But it also means changing the way you think about food.  If you get careless, you can't be surprised to see the scale change.  If you take shortcuts, the same holds true.

If you go BACK to the way you lived before you lost the weight, you WILL gain the weight back.  You will.  I can guarantee that.  If you maintain your NEW way of living, if it truly is a lifestyle change, then you don't need to fret about gaining the weight back.

It is important to weigh yourself weekly.  Monitor changes and make adjustments to your caloric intake accordingly.  Do not starve yourself to lose 5-10 lbs. really fast.  Cutting back like that will mess with your metabolism.  Your weight will fluctuate every day, so weighing in daily can lead to unbalance in your perspective of weight.
Keep your physical activity up.  If you have a busy week, make sure you include some quick workouts to your schedule. It is okay to allow one rest day and to shorten your workouts, during busy times.  Skipping workouts on a regular basis leads to a slippery slope, one that can be avoided.  Take a 30 minute walk, go to the gym and do 30 - 45 minutes of exercise.  Most of my workouts are 60 minutes long, but when I am in a time crunch, the corners I cut are the amount of time I exercise, not the entire notion of exercise.  A 30 minute bike ride is better than no bike ride at all...

So, I ask you again, why bother trying?  My life has changed completely.  Losing weight has given me freedom to try new things, to meet new people, to enjoy life in a way I never imagined.  I am free from chronic pain and fatigue.  I have a new bounce in my step.  It's worth it.  It is.

Question for you:  (Answer in the comments below.)
Tomorrow is Mother's Day...what are your plans?

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Sunday, May 1, 2016

How many calories do you burn when you have hypothermia?

Brrrrrrr!  It's May 1, 45-50 degrees and raining. Know what I did today? Hold onto your seat.  I got up before 3:00 a.m. to be on the road to New York City for 3:30 a.m.... To ride a 40 mile bike ride through the five boroughs. Yep. That's what I did.

I'm crazy, right? You can tell me the truth. I can handle it.

The other day I was thinking about how much my life has changed.  When I started on this journey towards fitness, I never could have imagined.  It's been a 180 degree turn around.

There's more...

Last night I went to a cotillion (a fancy way of saying a ball for young adults who are being presented to the public). It was a black tie event, meaning I had to get a new dress, matching shoes and jewelry. (Darn, another shopping trip!)    Two years ago, even though I had already started to lose weight, I would have dreaded going. A black tie event ... a real reason to dread getting dressed up, exposing my fat body for the world to see. 

This year, my attitude was totally different. I actually looked forward to the cotillion. I was super happy to go. I curled my hair, wore makeup and even went for a manicure and pedicure on Thursday.  It was a real treat.

And today...I went for a 40 mile bike ride in the pouring rain.  We had to leave at 3:30 a.m. to get there.  It was freezing.  I got soaked, and a little hypothermia.  But you know what?  Even knowing how the day went, I would do it again.  The rain and cold were miserable, don't misunderstand.  But I spent the day with friends, doing something I never imagined I would even be able to do.  I finished the ride and did well.  It was a good day!  What is there to complain about?

Waiting to ride to the starting line.  32,000 people out there today.

Let me ask you, in your wildest dreams... Can you imagine accomplishing your dreams?  Can you even picture what your dreams might actually be?  Two years ago, I would have laughed if you told me I would have had a good time riding my bike in 47 degree rainy weather! I would have said, "No way!"

Imagine. Do it now. 

Are you happy with your health and fitness level?  

When you look in the mirror, are you satisfied with what you see?  (I'll admit that there are some bumps and lines on my belly from child bearing, but overall I am satisfied with my appearance.) 

What would the wildest, craziest or seemingly impossible goal be, that you can't imagine you would ever be able to do?

Did you do it?  Okay.  

Now, what will it take to make it happen?  Start at the beginning, think through a plan, and make it happen.  Believe it can happen. Have faith in yourself.  Need help?  Email me.  I'll help you get started.

Question for you:  (Answer in the comments below.)
What amazing or fun thing did you do this weekend?

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