Keto And Dash Diet Review

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It’s midafternoon and I’ve landed at my favorite coffee cave to write. I know it’s crazy but sometimes I’m more focused and less distracted writing in the mix of elevator music, the chatter of the baristas ( even when they go on break and sit and talk with me for awhile) and the low rumble of customers conversations.

Today, yesterday too, my goodness there were a few that felt like they had to talk over everything going on in the café.

Like… didn’t your mommy teach you about inside voices??

OK on to todays topic!

If you’ve followed me for awhile then you know I’m kind of “anti” diet person.

As in a structured plan for “x” weeks where you eat foods someone else has generated for you to eat, in the quantities they think you should eat, based on a caloric intake that has nothing to do with your person/life/fitness level.

No. Just no.

I think it’s ’cause I’m a free spirit and just want to do my own thing… and it’s worked… and if you missed me blabbing about that in my blog the other day … you can check it out… “The Dangerous Game Of Off Limits Foods”….

BUT… I fully realize some people do need that structure and it’s the vehicle that gets them to success….

So I thought I’d discuss one diet that flies under the radar and is balanced, sane, normal and has years of support from the medical community.

The other side of the coin is one that’s on the “popular train” right now and it’s like a newer, more hyper, version of Atkins. It shows up a lot on my social media sites and if I see it, I’m sure you do too.

Ok the first one….

The Dash Diet

DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) was designed to target those with high blood pressure (hypertension) but anyone can benefit from this plan.

It’s a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean meats and whole grains. It’s similar in many ways to the Mediterranean diet, but it focuses particularly on whole foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium — minerals crucial to regulating blood pressure. The heart-healthy diet also includes loads of fiber and steers clear of sugar, processed foods, and saturated fat, supporting weight loss, which, in turn, can lower blood pressure and heart disease risk.

What do you eat? the diet has a strong focus on :

Whole foods. Processed foods account for most of the sodium Americans consume, which can elevate blood pressure. DASH’s focus on whole foods over processed can help reduce sodium intake. Making an effort to scale back your salt intake further can boost the diet’s effects on blood pressure.

Fruits and vegetables are rich in blood pressure-lowering potassium and magnesium, and low in sodium and fat. They also contain lots of fiber.

Whole grains — like whole wheat bread, brown rice and oatmeal — are also packed with potassium, magnesium, and fiber.

Fat-free or low-fat dairy, like skim milk, feta cheese and low-fat yogurt, are important sources of calcium, and their low fat content supports weight loss and heart health.

Lean meat, poultry, and fish contain magnesium and protein, but not the high levels of saturated fat found in fattier cuts of red meat, which can raise blood pressure and heart disease risk.

Nuts, seeds, and legumes contain protein, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. Nuts and seeds are also a great source of monounsaturated fats, which can lower LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, and boost HDL, or “good,” cholesterol.

Mono- and polyunsaturated fats, found in vegetable oils, nuts, fish, and avocados, are important sources of energy and nutrients, but don’t increase cholesterol or pack on the pounds.

Keep sweets to a minimum.  Sugar-sweetened foods and beverages can make it harder to maintain a healthy weight.

The same for alcohol and caffeine, which can raise blood pressure.

Of course it also focuses not just on food, but on maintaining a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise.

What are health benefits?

Keep blood pressure in check, improve heart health, prevent type 2 diabetes, shed pounds, strengthen bones, keeps your memory sharp, and curbs cancer risk.

The Dash diet is easy to follow as it doesn’t eliminate certain food groups. It includes all food groups with the foods being practical,affordable and easy to find at your local grocery store.

The main goal of this diet is to improve overall health. With a consistent lifestyle change and adhering to it, weight loss will come.  The Dash diet is practical and offers all food groups with a focus on reducing sodium/salt intake to lower blood pressure and other potential health problems.

Overall, this is a good program anyone could benefit from. It is not restrictive which will lead to a higher level of long term success.

On the flip side of diets….

The newest hype on the diet market is the Ketogenic (keto) Diet.  I have to say, researching it I found a couple things swirling through my head…

1… it sounds just like the Atkins thing my Mom did in the 70’s. In fact Keto is like Atkins, it’s a high protein, low carb diet. ( and you don’t get birthday cake on either one)

2…. it sounded very much like my (brief) stint with the Whole 30/Paleo thing I experimented with in a fitness challenge a few years ago. The foods you eat, the food groups excluded, the high protein/fat only Paleo doesn’t  focus on being in ketosis.

Ahhh there’s a word you may be unfamiliar with.

What does ketosis mean anyway?

I’m going to keep it super simple here.

Normally your body burns carbohydrates for fuel. When you drastically cut carbs your body goes into a metabolic state called ketosis and it begins to burn it’s own fat for fuel. Basically, you burn out your glycogen stores ( as an athlete just typing that makes me nervous) When your fat stores become your primary fuel source you may lose weight. You maintain a level of ketosis by keeping your carb level at next to nothing which keeps your body burning fat for energy.

Interestingly enough, the keto diet has been used since the early 1900’s to treat uncontrolled epilepsy in children.

Supporters of this diet also say it also controls blood sugar, helps with mental clarity, increases energy and normalizes hunger.

In my research it seems there are two camps… those who think it’s the cat’s meow of he perfect diet and those who are conservative about it’s  success rate and overall long term affects on the body.

Of course I have my own thoughts. I’m just not sure it’s long term sustainable.

The diet is ridiculously high in fats. Perhaps this is where I get hung up, I just don’t see consuming vast amounts of butter, meat, bacon, cheese etc in my best health interest.  The desired ratio of fat consumption is 3-4 grams of fat to every 1 gram of carb and protein which amounts to getting about 75-80% of your daily calories from fat.

The diet is all about the fat to carbs/ protein ratio, so even though you aren’t technically counting calories meals have to be planned carefully to adhere to the strict formula.

I found these words about the diet…. ” Just stay strict, remain vigilant, and be focused on recording what you eat.”  Let that be your guide on if this could be a good choice for you.

What foods do you avoid?

Carbs. And that means no birthday cake for you… or ice cream.

Seriously though, carbs are in almost everything and you must account for them in your daily diet to stay in ketosis. Even good veggies have small amounts of carbs and therefore have to be counted.  When you are working with…. 20-30grams……. or less a day you don’t get much wiggle room. The bread/grains//beans etc food group is completely eliminated with other food groups being kind of scarce in what you’re allowed to have (like fruit)

Can you lose weight on this diet?

You can because your body is burning fat for fuel. The other thing to consider is you are not eating any of your favorite foods like crusty breads, pastries, chips, cookies, crackers, cereals, potatoes or sugars so that will definitely knock weight off.

Ok.. the food groups. The nuts and seeds category could be overrated. It sounds good, like there’s so much to eat, but after awhile you want something more than nuts or avocado. And honestly, so many of the “foods” listed just aren’t where I’m at or they aren’t easy to get, or they are costly.

( Seriously, I love nuts and avocados and they are in my daily diet but I’m not dependent on them to not starve)

Of course I see more “eat all the bacon, fat, cheese, butter” posts and articles than I see on eating a plethora of veggies and fruits. Mainly because you can’t have many of them or you have to be restrictive of them too if you are truly going to keep yourself in a state of ketosis.

The diet is low in fiber so that could cause digestive problems for people. You may not get certain vitamins and minerals from this diet so you may need to supplement or take vitamins.

There are also a host of issues that can come along with this diet but if I’m to believe my research, those things can possibly go away once your body adjusts to not having carbs.

Weight loss can be seen as maybe, impressive? in the first week or two someone is on the diet but you must remember this.

Carbs hold water. A huge reduction of them will cause a lot of water loss in the first few weeks. This can’t be counted as fat loss but it could be the kick start someone needs to get going on their weight loss.

This diet can be helpful for those who are over weight or  obese and needing to lose a good amount of weight . It’s not recommended for heart patients or people with kidney disease.

On an athletic level, I’m not sure it would deliver what I would need to perform well, or that it would for any athlete.

In summary…

it can be costly since high quality meats, cheeses, proteins are encouraged. Some foods on the accepted list might not be easy to find and others might not be on your personal palate.

This isn’t recommended long term, but it seems most people don’t last that long on it. I mean after awhile you just want some crusty bread for your pricey grass fed butter!

Hear me on this. It’s not a bad thing for any of us to reduce (simple) carbs in our daily diets which are found in foods like cookies, crackers, chips, baked goods, fast foods, sugar drinks etc.  and increase healthier snacks like whole raw nuts, fruits/veggies, low fat dairy and other heart healthy foods. Simple steps like this might be all someone needs to have some changes on the scale and we’d all be healthier adopting this attitude towards food.

From a purely personal perspective, I don’t see it sustainable for anyone long term. I don’t think if offers enough nutritional value by cutting so many of the good fruits and veggies we need for health as well as a minimal focus on other food groups, and I don’t think a high fat diet is in anyone’s best interest and you’d have to sell me really hard on that idea. Really hard.

It can lead to weight loss but overall it’s a restrictive program that many will quickly end the relationship with… because…well….. birthday cake 😉

Tell me… have you tried either of these diets? Or was there a diet that helped you get started on your weight loss efforts that worked for you?

 

I Eat Ice Cream Don’t Judge Me

It had been one of those days. My morning started as usual, workout, then the life stuff I had to attend to.

After that, it was off to town to do errands and finally, landing in my favorite coffee cave to chill, socialize, and write.

Oh yeah. That’s what I’m here for.

Writing 😉

Believe it or not, I am way more productive being out than being at home where things pull at me.

I had been writing for awhile and was wrestling with the feeling of needing something sweet. This is sometimes for me, normal, after a morning with a hard workout.

Sugar is nothing but pure, raw fuel for the body. I’ve learned to not fight against it when it hits, but get something to quiet that need.

Last year after a particularly long run, by midafternoon, I was craving jelly beans in the worst way. ( Can you say sugar?)  I went and bought some and chowed down on a handful without blinking.

jelly beans

The next day, I had a couple and was overwhelmed with how sweet they were. I didn’t touch them after that.

Fast forward to the other afternoon with a similar feeling creeping in. I kept writing but that need was still there.

I finally decided I wanted ice cream. Actually, where I got it, it’s a fancier version with other goodies added into it. This one happened to be Salted Caramel.

As I’m prone to do posting fun, random, or whatever pics on my social media sites, I posted a pic of the ice cream.

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It’s drool worthy, right ? 😉

 

As I expected several of my friends teased me about being “normal” and  they were happy to see I ate stuff  like, ice cream.

Of course I do.  Don’t judge me 😛

I’m not just some perpetual veggie eating machine 😉  I mean I am… but… I still like some treats too.

Anyway, yeah, so the ice cream was delicious. But my tummy also let me know a bit later it wasn’t to crazy about that heavy treat during the day when it’s not used to it.

 

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Did I eat it all ?!

 

When you eat healthy most of the time, that other stuff really begins to not set well in your tummy.

So why am I telling you this? Because I want to share with you what I shared with those who follow me on social media.

The main thing that has led to me being successful in my weight loss and fitness has been a healthy dose of balance and moderation.

I knew I’d never be successful if I developed my own plan and it was restrictive and rigid. Somehow, knowing I could have my favorite things took away the focus from them. It’s a huge mental game and it was one I wanted to be in control over.

As I bounced through those first couple years losing weight, chocolate and occasional French fries were a part of my success. So was birthday cake and Christmas cookies.

Note I used the word occasional. As time went on, the pull became less and less.  Mainly in part because your tastes begin to change and those foods start to taste “off” and that also helps to stay away from it. The other part is, knowing it was available in some ways, made me not think about it.

This is what I want to bring to you.

I believe successful weight loss comes with balance. We need to get rid of the all or nothing mentality. Have lots or have none. Do without or eat it all.

These thoughts and attitudes do not lead to success. They can contribute to guilt and more self indulgence. When we believe we’ve “failed” it turns into a brutal cycle we can battle.

The only time you fail is when you quit. Staying with it no matter how bad you think you might’ve done in a day is more successful than quitting.

Life is going on and it has fun things like celebrations, and sometimes, it even has random just for the hell of it ice cream afternoons.

Did eating ice cream change anything for me? Did it change my fitness level? Make me gain 5 lbs? Turn me into a crazy “I can eat anything now” monster because I had ice cream?

No.

Nothing changed for me.

I eat well 95% of the time and the other is for whatever floats my boat.

Balance. Moderation. What is sustainable for the rest of my life.

That stuff works.

If you make it your goal to eat well and eat well the majority of the time, you are on your way to a life time of success. Throw in some solid exercise you’re doing even better.

I firmly believe that when you know you can have everything ( not that you are going to) and that foods aren’t forbidden or good or bad,  it removes a lot of the power from them.

It protects you from the “Last Supper” mentality.

You know… eat it ALL now ’cause tomorrow I diet and I will never, ever have it again.

**raise your hand if you’ve done that** 😉

If you know you can have it, you don’t have to act like the garbage can and clean it all up in a night. No one will take it away so you can’t have it again. Really, your favorite foods will still be around.

Do you see how so much of our thinking can be disordered when it comes to food and weight loss ?

This might take some practice. It might take a failed attempt or two to nail this practice. Maybe you’ll slip up and eat a half bag of cookies.

It’s ok… keep on with it… not the eating cookies part, the practice part 😉

With practice and some balance and moderation, you can have your ice cream and lose weight too.

 

Reasons Why You Aren’t Losing Weight

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Weight loss. The thing that one person or the other is pursuing at any given time. Some are easily successful at it while maybe you, are over there struggling and wondering why it’s not working and what you might need to do differently.

There are a few things that you might be missing so let me offer up some ideas. Hopefully, you will find them helpful.

Ready? Here we go.

You aren’t eating enough. Ah boy am I pointing the fork at myself when I mention this one! And women are far more guilty of this. If you’re actively working out and burning off some serious calories and only eating say, the normal “prescribed” caloric content for women ( 1200) then your body will hoard and hold onto fat like a bear going into winter hibernation. Even if you’re workouts aren’t arduous, know what you’re caloric needs are for the day and eat them! It is most likely more than 1200 calories. You should strive to eat plenty of fruits, veggies, lots of greens, lean meats, eggs, nuts and whole foods which will fill you up. Eating adequate and healthy foods will keep you full and you’ll be less likely to binge on junk food.

You’re doing all cardio and no strength training. ok I’m a self professed cardio junkie. I love running. And cycling. And the crazy rowing machine.  And all of them together. I love the physical outpouring that goes along with it. I love moving my body. But I’ve also learned the value of building some muscle. Cardio does burn fat but muscle mass burns calories, even when you rest. Lifting weights keeps your metabolism revved. Your plan should be to add some weight work to your cardio activities.  You can use machines if you have access or free weights. I always prefer free weights over a machine. Use weights heavy enough you have to work at it.

You play the diet game and don’t do make it a lifestyle change. No one wants to think they need to always be on a diet. Or that they must live on one. What a total drag.  When you’re on a diet you mentally view it as you are “on it” or when you’ll “be off it”. Adapting to the thought of a lifestyle change means you live each day making intentional choices to feed and nourish your body in good ways.  This slow, steady process will lead to weight loss that will stay off.  Your new focus should be to get the word “diet” permanently out of your vocab and just focus on making good nutrition and exercise choices. The thing that works will be what’s sustainable for you… not what your neighbor does…or what you read in the magazine. What works for you and your body.  It will be sustainable allowing you to make it a permanent lifestyle change.

You don’t have a good support system. I’ve been a social media fiend for a long time now posting my athletic shenanigans, my goals, my foods, my struggles. Throwing it out there has not only been something that makes me accountable, it also lets people stop me in the store and ask about how it’s going.  To be successful, I believe you need to have a few friends, family or shamelessly use social media to hold you accountable and offer support and encouragement. Find what works for you. Have someone you can call, ask questions of, or who will overall be your cheerleader and hold you accountable.

You don’t have specific goals.  One thing that keeps me SO focused in my training is knowing I have an event coming. It puts an element of intensity to it and it keeps me focused on what I’m chasing. When I was losing weight I had specific short term target goals… 5 pounds at a time. 5 pounds was short, doable and easily attainable. it didn’t leave me feeling overwhelmed saying I needed to lose… “30” pounds…in that vague kinda way.  You can make specific food or drink goals. Maybe cutting down on sugary drinks or increasing your green veggies.  Perhaps it’s just getting off couch each night for an evening walk. Make each thing you strive for specific and take steps to go there.  Small steps over times, lead to bigger victories.

You think your morning workout sesh burned a ton of calories. I’ve always been cautious about how I eat after a workout. I know it doesn’t give me open season to eat whatever ( ok maybe after a 20 miler 😉  For instance, doing a 3 mile run, burns a loose average of 300 calories. That can vary depending on size and speed of runner…but close estimating. You can see it wouldn’t take long to easily negate that 300 calories with a “treat” drink at the local coffee shop. Don’t over estimate what you do. It’s important you keep your nutrition on point as you increase your physical activities and monitor your portions.

You aren’t consistent. Personally, I think this is one of the biggest things I’ve seen working with people. They start off motivated, propelled with the excitement of starting, yet as weeks move on I see them slipping back and not doing what they need to do for success.  In the beginning it is hard to keep pushing forward because you aren’t seeing results yet and you think that what you’re doing isn’t changing anything. It is crucial you stay committed to your exercise and nutrition.  It is consistency that will yield those long term results you want.  It’s important to keep moving, every day.  There will be times or days that it can’t happen. It’s like that for all of us. You just get back at it the next day. If you make excuses, it becomes easier to fall into that trap. Treat your workouts like any other important meeting you have in your day.

With a careful examination of what you are doing ( or not doing) how you are eating, and what your purposeful exercise looks like, you’ll be moving closer to your goals of weight loss.  And one final thought, don’t give up. Just because you don’t “see” results right away doesn’t mean things aren’t happening. Change takes time. Let the process happen 🙂

 

Tips To Kick Start A Healthier Lifestyle

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Once again another article caught my eye. I’m always drawn to news stories on health and fitness and am usually looking to see if it will tell me something new that I don’t know.   I  gather tidbits from articles that I find useful and valuable for myself or others and mentally discard the rest.

However, I’m always disappointed when the story leads to telling me this… being overweight/fat leads to health problems.

Like…tell me something I don’t know. Or tell the world something they don’t already know.

This is why the “diet” industry rakes in billions of dollars a year… from people who know that and want to make a change… who hope that the next new shiny thing will be what morphs them into being thinner, stronger, healthier, and more fit.

I may have said this before…  once or twice… and if you follow me much you know what I believe…

there is no magic cure or diet.

Can I just make a suggestion here? Throw something out at you? Do with it what you will…

Why not start with not eating crap… to put it bluntly…. and learning to exercise?

Two things. Two points here beautiful people.

Maybe you need to make a list of what you eat, maybe you don’t. You  know how you eat and what you eat. You know if it comes more in drive thru bags, boxes, or purchased off convenience store shelves.

Sugar, fatty, processed,  high calorie “foods”.  These are often what’s referred to as “empty calories” … simple carbs… it’s the stuff you don’t really need.

Cookies, crackers, chips, donuts, muffins, snack cakes, pastries, sugar cereals, sugared drinks, super size fries etc. we’ve been brainwashed to think we “need” to buy, eat, have these things.

We don’t.

All it does is mess with our bodies chemistry, often put us on a roller coaster of hunger, and adds nothing but fat to our bodies… and not the good fat we need.

It’s the kind of fat that grows around our waist and clogs up our hearts arteries and makes us buy bigger jeans.

Really, you don’t need that stuff. Yeah, some of it tastes good, but so does your health.  And trust me, when you start intentionally working your way away from it, these food products will have less and less pull on you.

So start there. Don’t go crazy and think you have to go live off kale and nothing else. Start by working to eliminate the crap food from your daily diet.

I’ve talked with people who “just” gave up sodas and they were amazed at their weight loss. No wonder. A standard can of Coke has 39g of sugar… which is 8 teaspoons in a can! Now figure if someone puts away….3,4, 5, or more Cokes a day…. that’s a ton of sugar for nothing but empty calories.

If one thing can make a big difference imagine if you cut out other stuff too. Depending on how much of these simple carbs show up in your daily food allotment you might have to take slow baby steps eliminating a thing or two at a time… but do it.

Your body will thank you… your improved health will be a huge reward for you.

Now the other part…exercise. I’m kinda big on that now days. Mainly because I have enough of a track record now to preach like crazy at you regarding all the benefits of it.

Mental clarity? Physical strength? Weight loss? Amazing lab results? A body that’s reshaped? Learning to set and achieve goals? Reduce your risk of heart disease? Gain energy? Improve memory?  Gain strength and flexibility? Sleep better? Increased confidence? Mood improver?

Am I selling you yet ? 😉

So here’s the deal. Find something you think you can stick with, that you like, and do it.

I hear all the time from people… “It’s great you run but I don’t like running!”

I get it… running is hard and its not for everyone… if you don’t like it…don’t do it… but for heavens sake find something you do like, or think you could learn to, and get after it.

Do it every day. Make no excuses to not do it. Put it on your planner like you do going to lunch with a friend or any other appointment. Don’t play the martyr role and place yourself on the back burner of life.

You… your health… is worth it… I hope you get that …really.

It needs to be up there on top of your list ’cause I’ll tell you, no one else is going to put your health up there and make you get stuff done.

So here’s the kicker. Here’s what I learned a few years ago when I was scrambling trying to get my feet under me and get on this fitness journey…

when I started daily exercising ( and I mean daily… I accepted no excuses from myself to not get it done) I liked how I felt when I finished. I liked the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction of doing it. I loved how clear my mind felt. I even liked being tired from it ( no endurance in the beginning for sure)

Before the scale had barely changed. Before a visible muscle had appeared. Before I ever thought about running or lifting or riding a bike like a crazy demon….

I loved how I felt when I finished. 

And when you start exercising and feeling good about yourself for doing it, you start taking more of  a look at what you are stuffing in your face and evaluating it.

Is it worth it? Do I need it? Do I feel better without it?

And as you keep on eliminating that crappy food you don’t really need and make a commitment  to daily exercise, somehow, the weight slowly and steadily will begin to come off.

You gain a new confidence in yourself. You start to look at what you do and how you eat in a different way.

It’s a process. But if you start with these two points, I’m pretty sure you’ll find yourself on a path to success… and skinnier jeans as well 😉

 

The Emotional Roller Coaster Of Eating

diet-rollercoaster

 

 

Oops you did it again. Somehow, that bag of Cheetos just disappeared. Did you eat that many? the BAG?? It’s gone ??

You immediately feel the guilt and stuff the bag in the can… hating yourself….the familiar feeling settling in over you..

ok maybe Cheetos aren’t your “thing” perhaps you’ve set out to only have a little of something and somehow, before you know it, it’s gone.

The ice cream. The cookies. The bottle of wine.

Perhaps it’s at meal time. You determine you will eat what you need and no more, yet by the time you push away, seconds have graced your plate even though your hunger was satisfied a long time ago.

Or your at the office brunch/breakfast/lunchy thing where there’s usually a plethora of crappy food with a lone veggie tray hanging out at the end of the table like an ugly step child. You think you’ll only get “a little” of something yet before you know it your plate is overflowing and so is your self imposed food guilt.

Been there. Done that.

Guilt. Remorse. 

All or Nothing.

Eat to much…feel bad about it… eat more to feel better about it…feel worse. Then go to starve and deprive mode.

Repeat guilt and remorse cycle using food to comfort your crappy feelings from doing it.

 

Where do you get off the roller coaster ??? It’s a horrible place to be yet, so many of us live there or have lived there.

Life shouldn’t be lived that way nor should we have such a distorted relationship with food and eating.

We’re in it together for our entire lives .. we need to be able to eat, be satisfied, and enjoy food in reasonable portions without feeling guilty.

Why do we behave this way?

We’ve been conditioned that foods are “good” or “bad”. We’ve been told if we need to lose weight we must “diet” and that means removing all tasty foods we love from our presence and not having them for a determined length of time, if ever, again. It means suffering…doing without…having no fun… restricitions and parties where you don’t get to eat cake while everyone else does and you sit on the sidelines forlornly stuffing a celery stick in your mouth.

A horrible, miserable existence in the pursuit of health and balance with food.

Over time, and on my own terms I learned it just doesn’t have to be that way. When I started my journey now ( 8 years ago) one of the things I rebelled against was some set “diet’ that told me what I could eat and couldn’t eat.

What if I didn’t feel like eating that particular “thing” at that meal?? What if there was a birthday party and I wanted a little cake? Why is every single, stupid, diet 1200 calories? Like we all have the same caloric needs??

No, no, no. I’m to much of a rebel and free spirit to be locked into some diet. So I set off determined to do things my way.

What did that look like?

First, I determined nothing was “off limits”. You might be thinking…”wow… wouldn’t you just go crazy and wolf down a bag of chocolate or something?”   No, ’cause I’m a big person in charge of myself and I can be trusted I won’t do that. .. and you’re a big person too with the same abilities.

Somehow, mentally doing that, took the power away from food… I knew it was there… I knew if I wanted it I could have it.. I just made choices based on whether or not eating those foods would help me get closer to my goals. 

Food has a tremendous power over us… we need to be the one in control of it… not the reverse.

There was a whole lot of freedom in that… there still is. Without that restriction on me it was easier to not be thinking of things I “couldn’t” have. I learned to enjoy my meals, to appreciate my food. To eat and move on to my next thing… which wasn’t obsessing over the next meal or when I could eat again.. I stopped thinking so much about food..

pure freedom…..

Second, I wasn’t obsessing over calories. I learned to start listening to my body and feed it enough food to be satisfied but not to full. I learned to feed it when it was growling and hungry. I didn’t eat just because “it was time” by the clock. I didn’t stuff “seconds” in just because it tasted good.

Yes, there were times I had a meal that I felt like wasn’t helping me to my goals. Yes, I was fully aware of it but I made a choice to have it and I made a choice to just keep moving forward each day.  I didn’t quit or beat myself up. I didn’t go just grab more food cause I felt like in some way I had “failed” so why bother?

Listen, you fail when you freaking quit.

I took ownership for my eating habits. I didn’t make excuses to myself for poor choices…but like anything… it’s a learning process. You do it till it just becomes second nature to you… an ingrained habit.

I learned to navigate dinners out, family gatherings, birthday parties etc. I ate food in moderation. I had cake! A small piece is just as satisfying if not more, than a big piece. I learned to get picky about what I ate… if I didn’t love it… I learned to pass on it and not take it cause it was there. There was again, more freedom in making my food selections and knowing I was in control.

And somehow, day after day, making intentional choices I lost the weight. As time went on it got easier and easier to leave behind things that once might have landed on my plate. Healthy foods began to be what I craved over other things.

There was no guilt or remorse. No shame cycle with food. Eat. Be satisfied. Move on.

I had meals. I allowed myself treats when I realllyy wanted something. I learned a small treat was satisfying.

It was a slow process of making changes and learning what worked for me. I didn’t need a “diet”. I didn’t need restrictions.  I didn’t need to live the rest of my life on a guilt and remorse roller coaster for what I ate.

Neither do you. Learn about yourself. Commit to making small daily changes that will become life long habits. Learn to listen to your body and respect it by treating it well…mentally and physically. Get off the roller coaster of guilt and remorse with food… life isn’t meant to be lived that way. It’s meant to be lived in freedom.

Detox Me!

Hand writing Time to Detox concept with blue marker on transparent wipe board.

 

Eat this! Don’t eat that! This food is bad. This food is good. Eat 6 times a day. Eat one meal and drink the rest. You need this supplement. You shouldn’t take that one. Drink this potion and it will cure all your ills. This tea will make you thin.  Wrap your fat belly in plastic wrap and get 6 pack abs. Drink this to “cleanse” your body. Follow this crazy regimen to get “clean”.

Have mercy. For the love of all things chocolate. Help me.

Help. me.

The times I have to keep my eyeballs from rolling outta my head.

As I’ve gotten older I’m more likely to call out nonsense  when I see it. Or maybe it’s not as much being older, perhaps wiser and simply paying attention and wanting to be intelligent in the ways of caring for myself.

I guess in some ways, it makes me sad when I see people buying ( literally) into hype when they could use their money for a lot of other things…. like you know… good food.

But we’re in a desperate world and people want to get fixed up “fast” and marketing companies know this and prey on those weaknesses.

Sadly, we don’t get fat overnight therefore, we won’t get thinner and more fit over night.

It’s a process that we have to go through one day at a time. Slow, steady, forward moving steps to losing the weight that has crept on from becoming more sedentary and careless with what we put into our mouths.

So among the snake oil and smoke and mirrors things that I’ve heard more about recently although it never goes away is this thing called…

Detox.  Detox teas, drinks, cleanses and blah, blah, blah.

Use this drink or this combination of things to “detox” and clean your body. Lose lots of weight fast! Get healthy! Feel great!

Something about losing 21 lbs in 21 days? Like… if you’re still alive and not fogged over from starving….

Can I be blunt?

It’s bird poop. Awwww look how nicely I said that 😛

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. If you missed science class back in the day, your body has a God given, built in detox system. If it wasn’t working, you’d know it.

The take away I get from people who decide to tough out doing a detox? They are miserable. They are hungry. They want food. They don’t want to drink everything that goes in their mouth. They would give their right arm for a steak. Or a donut.

Or coffee. Who willingly goes into some program that takes away coffee????

Any weight they “lose” will be easily gained back once they start on a normal diet again.

How frustrating must that be?

In all of these things, my heart really hurts for people wanting to be successful. They want to reach an ideal body weight and they want to live a healthier lifestyle and are willing to be a guinea pig in the hopes it will work.

More hocus pocus. Poof and nothings gone but your money… or your even temperament ’cause you’ve been a hungry bear.

Can I make a couple helpful suggestions?

Why not begin adding one or two new healthier foods into your daily diet? If you feed your body real, healthy food ( and by that I mean as close to how it’s supposed to be naturally…or maybe 5 ingredients or less) you will be giving it lots of wonderful vitamins, nutrients and minerals it needs.

Want to clean your body? Eat plenty of fresh veggies and  fruits and drink adequate water. I can assure you a daily diet high in those things will move stuff through you 😛

Practice leaving some on your plate. ( really, you don’t have to clean your plate…you don’t. And you don’t need seconds either)

Make sure each meal contains an adequate amount of protein to satisfy hunger ( about 30% at each meal)

Listen to your body. Eat when you’re hungry. Don’t eat when you’re not. The meal bell chime going off doesn’t mean you have to put food in your face.

Eat enough to satisfy your hunger and stop… even if you have food still on your plate.

If you need a snack, be mindful of what you are snacking on. Sitting down at the computer with a bag of chips is a recipe for disaster.

Get out and move. Sounds simple and it is, but really, the hardest part is moving yourself out the door. Daily activity will not only help with weight loss but it’s also a tremendous mood booster.

Focus on the day you are in. Live it. Make good choices. Accept the bad ones when they come and move on. Don’t quit.

With a steady, practical approach you can have your cake and eat it too without ever having  to do a detox with the hope of getting “healthy”. Instead you’ll build a healthy lifestyle each single day.

 

Go Big Or Go Home

go-big-or-go-home-red-bull-king

 

Go big or go home. It’s an expression the speaker says to the listener to encourage the listener to be extravagant, to go all the way, and do whatever you are doing to its fullest – and not flake out. 

It’s an expression used on many different occasions. Sometimes, it’s in a funny context, other times, it’s thrown down as the challenge it’s meant to be.

I’m kinda wired in that way. If you give dangle the carrot in front of me… I will be going after it.

Example, when I was in a yoga class ( my first to be exact) she neatly showed several ways for a move all designed to be modified for the individuals level of ability.

Then, the final move, was the hardest way to do it. Yeah, you know which one I went for.

Or the fact my first race was a half marathon. I found out later…most people… just start with a 5K.

Go big or go home.

As a competitive person I don’t find this bad. It challenges me, motivates me, makes me not be content sitting where I’m currently at knowing there’s always room to improve, grow, get stronger.

There’s one area that I don’t think it works well. Weight loss.

Yet, it seems to be how people often take it on.

Do or die. I’m gonna lose weight. All or nothing.

Go big or go home. No. Just…. no.

This isn’t a time to apply this approach.

Why? Because I know of no one who dives into altering their food/nutrition and turns into an athletic junky overnight.

Or, if they decided to go all out, they burn out within a week, maybe two.

Unfortunately, what is fed to us today are quick fixes and schemes to convince the average person they can be fit and strong in 12 weeks and all their problems are fixed.

It’s just not true. Well, I mean if you’re working out for 12 weeks I know you’re gonna be stronger, heck you might even be feeling a bit fierce about yourself. But it’s gonna take some time to get to where you’re going. It takes time to build new habits and behaviors in your life.

Slow and steady becomes the game plan that works. I firmly believe doing small things, every day, leads to bigger things.

I know… it’s not glamorous or instant gratification like so many programs offer… but I tell you it will be way more sustainable for you.

Here’s what I mean. People don’t want to be told or hear that small things add up. We are to used to the modern day hocus pocus on weight loss. We’re told small isn’t enough…doesn’t matter or have as much benefit for us.

But what if you began a practice of parking further out at the store to walk a bit more? or taking the stairs instead of elevator? standing more and sitting less? being active outside? Cleaning house or doing more of your own yard work? What if you just looked for ways to move your body more?

Then what if you added in some sensible and sane eating? Practicing moderation and balance while learning to eat healthy and more nutritious foods?

What if each day you slowly, and steadily lived a life that was active, balanced and powered by mostly wholesome foods ( hey, I still like chocolate cake too!)

Because of the huge weight loss industry we are (sadly) wired to think if we don’t have a go big or go home mentality we might as well give up before we start.

Beginning in a slow steady way, allowing your body to lose 1-2 pounds a week is a healthy and long term approach to being successful. It also allows you to build your confidence as you move from day to day being successful in your achievements.

There will be good days, and there will be not so good days.

The point is …pay attention to this boys and girls… continuous forward movement.

As you gain confidence and see that you have everything in you to be successful, you might begin to look at more specific goals for yourself. That’s when you might have to consider what physical activities you need to add to your plate as well as how  your nutrition might need to be balanced towards that as well.

On my own health and fitness journey, it has been a constant, forward movement. Sometimes I’ve felt like I’ve taken a huge step all at once, other times, I feel like I’m in a holding pattern.

Right now, I’m excited to be in a new activity that’s pushing me more out of my comfort zone and definitely making me take new and bigger steps. But you see, all of this fits into my personal goals. None of what I’ve done has been accomplished quickly.

It has been small steps, small goals, that quickly became fueled by loftier goals. My athletic goals challenged my nutrition ( it is really hard to be a good athlete and eat garbage) see how it all kind of fits together?

You may have some big goals for yourself athletically. Or you may have big goals for yourself to lose 20 pounds. Maybe it’s to be able to walk up stairs without being winded or chase your kids around without feeling like you’re dying.

No matter what your personal vision is, remember slow and steady is the name of the game.

Save the go big or go home ideal for those crazy things that kinda scare you 😉

Tell me.. have you ever taken the idea of go big or go home with weight loss or fitness? Did that work for you? What thing helped you be most successful?

 

 

 

Food Management

food

Food. Amazing, delicious, tasty, life sustaining food. We wouldn’t get to far without it, would we? Food is essential for life and when we eat properly it gives us energy and keeps us healthy and well.

We also have exclusive control over the foods we put in our bodies and how much of it we consume.

This is one area in life that we have power over. We have power over the choices we make, how much we take in ( or how little if it swings to an eating disorder) what kinds of foods we choose to eat etc.

As I’ve worked with my client one thing I’m really excited about for her is seeing how she’s understanding that she has control over foods and the choices she makes. She is learning that just because it’s “there” doesn’t mean she has to eat it. She is learning to think and be selective about her food choices… meaning she’s thinking… “is this something I REALLY like? Is it worth it to eat it?” and if she can’t answer yes, she leaves it alone.

I’m really proud of her efforts in having to deal with so many parties and cooking foods and treats for them and still managing to have the scale slowly move backwards.

I love how she’s allowed herself certain treats and then taken time to savor and enjoy them. She has also made smart moves by simply tossing things in the trash she knew would be temptations.

It’s ok to do that. I’m always blown away when people say things like… ” I got rid of it by eating it all” or they feel they need to eat a lot because it won’t be there again.

Listen… there will always be tasty foods…things that we enjoy…. a lot. You don’t have to be the trash can to dispose of it.

Learning to think about what we eat is a huge step to building new habits and a healthy lifestyle.

Do you ever stop and think about how much mindless eating you might do? And really, yours truly has been there too. By that I mean food that we just put in our mouths without thought or hunger…. it’s just something to do… mindless.

Eating “just” to eat is a not so positive habit many of us have, but one that can be reshaped with some practice.

So  a few tips…..

Be aware of what you’re doing. There are times I find that I have wandered into the kitchen …trolling… and fully knowing I’m not hungry. If you find yourself there and you don’t really need food… leave.

Don’t think you have to eat the last of something to “get rid” of it. There is a trash can, use it. Better yet, don’t fall into that mentality of thinking you’re doing yourself a favor by polishing off the last half of the ice cream.

Allow yourself treats but become extremely selective about what you eat. Not all foods are created equal nor are they often that great. Learn to leave behind things that just aren’t worth the calories.

If you are at a buffet or party select only the items you really enjoy. If something isn’t that great, don’t feel bad to leave it behind.

Know that each time you make a positive choice, it will set you up for future good moves. It’s empowering when you realize you can make intentional food choices that can leave you satisfied and in control.

 

Tell me, do you have any food management strategies you use to help you eat intentionally?

The Power Of You

 

 

I was chatting with my client at our weekly meeting when she told me she had thought of contacting me last year, then again, recently.  This is when she reached out to me in response to my announcement of taking on a client.

She was tired of where she was at and was ready to start making changes in herself, the biggest one being to lose weight.

She had a question that she wanted to ask me, something she had wondered about.

In her battle of start a diet, get discouraged, quit, feel guilty, go back to old patterns and habits ( ’cause those are comfy for all of us) her question was…

“What made you “get it” ?”

She was asking what had clicked in me and been the turning point that I kept on going, didn’t quit and give up and walk away from doing it. How had I kept at it and lost weight ( and kept it off)?

What made me do it and more importantly, stay with it ?

I wish I could say I told her it was some special, magic thing I did. I wish I could just write out the instructions to making everyone be successful who sets out to do it.

I can’t.

You know why ?

The desire, the want, the need, must come from deep inside of you. You have to hunger for that change.

You have to want it badly enough for yourself that you’re willing to make the sacrifices required to get there.

Sacrifices of time and energy, changing behaviors and habits, making yourself uncomfortable, have a willing attitude to be molded into someone different, patience with yourself as you stumble, fall, and get up again, and a tenacious spirit that refuses to give up. Honestly, you even need a practical mind that knows it’s a process that will take time and it won’t be instant gratification.

You have to be at the point where you know you want to do it for yourself because you’re simply tired of where you are and want things differently. Yeah, just let that breathe over you for a second.

The secret is: you have to want it badly enough to do things differently and you have to really, truly, want it for yourself.

My client, is at that point. I think she has all the right elements in place to slowly, steadily move forward and make positive life changes for herself.  She’s learning about food and feeding her body appropriately and at the right times. She’s learning to listen to her body. She also knows it’s a slow process and she’s willing to invest the time to reach her goals. We will continue each week looking at new habits and replacing the not so good ones with better ones. It takes a little time to rework ingrained habits in your life, but it can be done.

So there you go. No magic secret. No gimmick or potion.

The “thing” that got me going, made me start and not quit… well.. that came from within me.. just like it needs to come from within you.

I don’t want to call it “will power” cause that’s so subjective and fickle. Our will power can be gone in an instant. It can be gone in the face of chocolate cake or a lazy morning you don’t “feel” like working out.

No, it has to be something deeper and more powerful. A force to be reckoned with.

That force is you.

Nothing is more powerful than the human mind when it determines to take on something and conquer it. Nothing is more powerful than your mind conquering the limits of your body… nothing….

You’ve got everything in you … you just need to harness it and let it out.

Everything-you-need-is-already-Inside

 

Monday Motivation

monday-quote

Yeah.. it’s Monday beautiful people. I know it came as a startling realization  as your alarm blared you to life and left you scrambling trying to remember what day it was and what planet you were on.

Nothing like shaking the sleep out… shaking the body out… and rolling into a Monday.

You’ve already got the to-do list planned and a weekly agenda lined out.

Perhaps, if you’re like many, you’ve decided today….today is THE day.

No.. not to quit your job….

The day you’re finally going to get started…get moving… do things differently.

It’s time to take back your life… to lose weight and get moving again ’cause you’re tired of being fat ( let’s just be honest here, ok? if I can say that about myself where I was 8 years ago… it’s ok… being real is the first step to success) and you’re tired of well…feeling tired. Or feeling sluggish and having no energy or getting out of breath doing simple daily tasks.

You can change all that. Really. It won’t happen overnight, but it won’t happen if you don’t get started.

I don’t care how young or old you are you can start doing things differently to impact your life in a better way.

So, if you’re one of the many who rolled out of bed today with this on your mind, may I offer a few suggestions? Ideas? Tips?

First… I’m super proud of you for wanting to improve your health! And if you’re going to do this remember…

Take one day at a time. I know that sounds rather…simple? But seriously…take one day. Don’t look six months out or think about how you need to lose a zillion pounds… that will intimidate anyone and make them wanna quit. Focus on the day you’re in and focus on making better choices for yourself. Don’t expect perfection just aim for improvement.

Eat a little less, listen to your body when you are hungry, stop when you’re comfortable, practice eating more whole foods, don’t completely deprive yourself.

You know… just little things through your day that will start to add up.

Then… in that same day…try and see how you can add more purposeful movement into your day. Take the stairs, park further out at the store, go for an evening walk, go to the park and really play with your kids.. get creative.

Now… you made it through your day… get up tomorrow…repeat process… only this time you’re gonna try and do just …. a little more….

Eat a little less, eat something more healthy, go for a longer walk, think of a physical activity you want to try and then do it….

And you will focus on caring for yourself one day at a time.

Oh, and if you have a day you don’t do so well with ? You will get up tomorrow and start again.  Do not quit.

Focus on one day at a time, with small goals ( focus on 5lb weigh loss increments) adding in healthier foods, allowing occasional treats,  and getting in purposeful exercise will have you moving steadily on your way to your goals.

From that point keep challenging yourself to do a little more each day, and each week. Measure success not just in weight loss but also in things like, inches lost, energy level, mental well being, lab/doctors visits, confidence and feeling empowered at tackling your days for your health and fitness goals, and overall satisfaction with how you’re feeling.

You can accomplish anything you decide to do =)