Healthy Eating Tips For Dummies

One of the most overarching things I hear ( and read) are from people who want to eat healthier, who desire to do so, but often seem at a loss of where exactly to begin.

I mean, really, it shouldn’t BE hard, right?

Get the good food, eat the good food.

Why on earth are chocolate covered donuts in the basket??!

Seriously though…..

As I write this I’ll toss out the disclaimer that I’m certainly no expert on perfect nutrition. I openly and freely share my vices with you….hello powdered sugar donuts and salt and pepper kettle chips 😛

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I have just learned how to control my behaviors associated with those things. I’ve learned that those foods don’t support my athletic or health goals. I also don’t deprive myself so if I want something, I have some of it and move on.

On the whole of my day though, I make constant choices to choose wisely in what I eat.

It has been a learned process.

Some days are awesome other days are …..meh.

Ok so now that we’ve got THAT outta the way, lets continue.

You aren’t a dummy, really.

When it comes to eating and nutrition you really are largely a product of what you’ve been raised in, what you’ve been taught, and what you’ve been exposed to. Ok and you do have a healthy amount of “free will” as a grown up in your food choices as well.

You can “choose” to buy a candy bar and coke in the gas station… or you can “choose” to buy water and a banana or pretzels.

Huge difference in calories and nutritional content.

So free will goes a long way to helping us become more successful in our efforts to eat better.

I totally understand environmental factors. I didn’t grow up with a focus on healthy, moderate eating.

I grew up with good food, cooked by a mom and grandmother who knew what they were about in the kitchen ( skills they taught me to which I’m grateful) and food was all about not just eating, but comfort, family, and eating, plenty!

Seconds were just expected and a given. Everyone ate till they were in the food coma stage.

Of all things I’ve learned/taught myself these past years is to stay away from that mentality. It is a feeling I don’t like experiencing anymore, nor want to.

So some beginning steps towards getting smart with food is to understand your background environment ( what food was for you in your family, how it was treated, foods that were prepared etc) and accept your food behaviors today.

No one makes you eat anything  you don’t want or more than what you need.

In the beginning….

Ya know, when our Creator landed us here a zillion years ago, eating wasn’t complex. I have no personal experience with this but eating then was probably what it was designed for.

Food was fuel.

You ate to get fueled and you didn’t eat again till your tank was running low and you needed it. Repeat process. Spend time running from wild animals to survive ensured you got your cardio in 😉

Of course our early ancestors didn’t have all the processed, fatty, sugary non-essential foods we have today or I’m pretty sure they woulda been having brownies for dessert too.

One thing is still the same though.

Food is fuel. We need it to survive and to have adequate energy to get through our days.

It’s WHAT we choose to fuel or bodies with, how much, and how often that has become the issue.

It’s eating to eat and not eating because we have genuine hunger and need to fill our tank.

We eat to feed our eyes, mouth, and minds very often, without as much thought to what our stomach is saying.

Are we really hungry?

We’ve been given natural signals to indicate we need to eat yet many people go through their days never being aware of those signals because they never let themselves become hungry.

Back to the basics.

There are a few things you can do that can help you get smarter with your eating. They aren’t complicated or really hard, but they may feel that way as you have to intentionally work to adjust your thinking and behaviors.

Ready?

Eat when you’re hungry. When you’re authentically hungry, feed your body. You get no extra points for ignoring your hunger or pretending it isn’t there, so eat.  If you aren’t experiencing those hunger signals, find something else to do.

Eat just enough.  Now this can be a fine line to walk for all of us as we tend to eat and think we need more but if we give our bodies a little time to process what’s been taken in we would realize that we’ve had enough. One thing I’ve learned and been amazed over is how little food it really takes to satisfy my appetite and end my hunger. The same is true for you but you may have to teach yourself new patterns and behaviors with it.

Be mindful and intentional. This is where your food choices come in with the other points above. Assuming we’re all adults here, each one of us knows and makes choices over the foods and drinks we consume in our days.

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No one *makes* me go through a fast food drive thru or *makes* me buy non-essential, empty calorie foods at the stores.

I am responsible for what I do.

Same goes for you.

I’m at a point in my journey now where if I want something, I am fully aware of the choice I’m making. For those of you who still operate in a zone of feeling “guilty” over food,  ( find my post on food guilt here…  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/07/07/food-and-guilty-feelings/     ) this becomes very freeing as you know you’ve made a purposeful choice and not just been swept away because you’ve deprived yourself for so long.

Making different, healthy choices won’t be easy in the beginning. Work on listening to your body and eating just enough to feed your hunger, even if your food choices aren’t the best.

As you master the first two habits, you can begin to change things you’re doing.  DON’T make sweeping, broad, extreme changes to your eating all at once. You will be setting yourself up to quit in 24 hours.

Small steps are the best steps.

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DO think about the foods you consume. Make a list if you have to. Which are healthy and offer good nutrition to your body? Which are non-essential empty calorie foods that don’t promote good nutrition ?

What non-essential foods could you swap for something healthier? Don’t forget what you drink too.

What non-essential. empty calorie foods do you consume that you could learn to live without or have on a less frequent basis?

Are you willing to try new things? To change you must be willing to step out where you haven’t experimented before. Add in a new fruit or vegetable to your week. Find a healthy recipe or learn to swap out higher fat ingredients for less fat options.

One of the biggest swaps I’ve made is using my non-fat, plain Greek yogurt in recipes that call for sour cream or mayo. Sometimes with the mayo I only use half to half yogurt. Not only do you cut fat and calories, you get a little extra protein thrown in too.  I also use this when making dip for veggie trays and as well as other sour cream based foods.

Look at how much added sugar or fatty foods you consume and see if you can eat less of it or make healthier swaps for something you like.

Learning to be intentional about what you put in your mouth will be your biggest challenge and your greatest victory to healthy eating.

Once you begin to master that, eating healthier begins to feel like an easy choice.

Why? Because when you build new habits, they tend to take over the old behaviors.

Undoing and changing a lifetime of learned behaviors is a purposeful and intentional choice made day by day, but with time and consistency you will be on your way to healthy smart eating and permanent lifestyle change.

What steps have you taken to becoming a smarter, healthier person?

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The Tortoise And Hare Weight Loss Approach

Do you remember the kids story “The Tortoise and The Hare”? It’s been in existence since the dawn of mankind.

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A quick summary, the rabbit challenges the tortoise to a race, confident of his abilities to win he dashes so far ahead that he decides he’s done enough and has it solidly in his paw to win, so he decides to take a quick nap on the roadside.

Meanwhile, tortoise who has been plodding along, is taking it slow and steady, keeping his little beady eyes on the goal of the finish line.

He eventually passes sleeping hare and ultimately winds the race and the big time bragging rights in the forest that he beat the mouthy, sassy hare in a race.

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I hope tortoise worked it for all he could.

Today we’re gonna talk about the goal of weight loss and fitness journeys in that context.

I did a mini post on it for my social media last week and the idea has kinda kept growing. Basically, I thought about how there were two types of people when they decided to get serious with the idea of weight loss and fitness.

They are either the tortoise or the hare in their approach to it, go all out, or slow and steady.

The Hare approach

Don’t get me wrong. I think the hare had a crazy amount of confidence. I like that. Confidence is good. It can help you take on things you never thought possible and help you own yourself in a whole new way. Hare was a bit too confident though in his approach to being successful at reaching his goal. I’m pretty sure he didn’t plan well or make provisions for the unexpected.  Hare was going to go all out with everything he had and thought he’d accomplish his goal in a quick amount of time.   Unfortunately, by the time he knew what was happening his prize had slipped away from him and he didn’t hit his goal.

All to often I observe people decide that they are going to lose weight and start exercising. It’s a common wish and desire among thousands. Making it happen for them is often another story.

So when they decide it’s time, they are possibly armed with a little information and a long ago workout idea or plan they haven’t done in years.  They decide “come Monday, it’s time to diet”. All the negative not “good” food is gotten rid of, sometimes by consuming it in preparation for Monday.

They make radical, broad, sweeping changes in their daily nutrition often cutting out the very things they enjoy. They restrict their calories in a way that leaves them feeling miserable most of the day ( hungry) and embark on a to vigorous exercise plan that their dormant body isn’t used to.

They may often have goals that are to lofty for the time frame they have in mind ( to much weight loss to soon, a fitness level achieved that might take longer, getting into a certain size etc) they weigh in constantly hoping their restrictive diet and new exercise will work wonder miracles in weeks.

They are often very focused and determined, but miserable along the way. After weeks of drastic restricitions and their bodies hurting from doing to much to soon, they begin to make excuses or begin to revert back to those comfortable old eating habits. Eventually, they lose sight of the goal, their prize, and lose the race they set out for.

The Tortoise approach

Those who are the tortoise in the pursuit of weight loss and fitness know that it will be a slow, steady race. They understand that getting to the goal isn’t going to be fast. They don’t look for weight loss schemes to get them there faster. They understand that they just need to settle into a new routine and let their bodies naturally do what they are meant to do.

They don’t wait for Monday or a special occasion. When they determine they are going to do it, they just start.  Even if it is on a Wednesday.

They won’t throw in the towel if they have an off day. They will simply keep going focusing on those positive changes.

The tortoise people will learn to make slow steady changes in how they eat, and they will eat enough food to keep the hunger away and not to much to allow for weight loss to occur. They will not have a “last supper”  mentality that says to eat everything “bad” in the house because they will never have it again. They begin to understand that if they want a chocolate chip cookie along the way, they can have it and still keep moving to the prize. They learn to appreciate healthy, nutritious foods and not view them as punishment because they aren’t eating a big burger and extra large fries.

They start to see how their body feels and looks from eating healthy foods and then those less nutritious foods seems not so desirable anymore. They have new energy and realize, hey! I think I’m gonna win this race. Along the way, they may pass others who sped off in the beginning with some weight loss gimmick or shake or whatever but because they’ve learned to sustain their bodies with real, whole foods they’ve not only got energy but they’ve been slowly, steadily losing a bit of week each and every week and those little amounts are now starting to add up.

Each day that has gone by they have tried to make small, healthy, choices and decisions everything from passing on the stale office donut to getting up 30 minutes earlier to get a workout in and the prize is in their reach. At this point the tortoise is so comfortable living a new lifestyle with healthy habits they have no worries about getting to the goal.

It may have taken a bit longer, but their results will be permanent.

Which are you?

If you are among the many who desire to make changes in their life by  losing weight or getting more fit how do you approach the race?  Does the speed off and get there fast seem appealing? You just want the weight, flab and lack of energy to disappear over night so you’re willing to try whatever the new kid on the block is with weight loss sorcery. Maybe you don’t buy the sorcery but you just think the extreme cut everything out and be restricitive approach will get you there already.

Or perhaps, you’ve already been around the block a time or two with that approach and know it’s a process going nowhere.

You’ve learned and know and understand you haven’t gained weight and gotten out of shape overnight and it’s going to take some time to reverse the process. You just settle in for the long haul, taking it one day at a time celebrating each new day as you make decisions that will transform your life, physically, mentally and emotionally.

I want to win this race!

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The first step to being successful is having a desire to do it. An understanding that it will take time is your first move to being a tortoise and not a hare.

Allow for changes to take place that need to take place. You didn’t gain weight overnight, you won’t lose it overnight.

Make small daily dietary changes, not broad sweeping ones that leave you feeling hungry and deprived.

Eat a bit less. Don’t eat seconds. Add in a veggie or fruit if those are low on your nutrition list. Go for a walk if you haven’t exercised in a long time.

Schedule activities for yourself that you enjoy that make you feel good, mentally and physically.

Make new healthy recipes instead of eating out.

Learn to find activities to do when you feel like eating.

Weigh in only once a week. Look for other ways you are improving mentally and physically.  There is much more to process than your gravitational pull on this earth.

Settle small realistic goals. Continue to adjust as you reach them. ( i.e. focus on losing only 5 lbs at a time and not the whole 50 you really want to lose)

With some consistent, slow and steady moves, you will reach your weight loss and fitness goals and maintain them forever.

Tell me. In your approach to help and fitness are you the tortoise or hare?

Pursuing The Ideal Weight

The ideal weight. What is it, exactly?

I had to laugh once again seeing an “ideal” weight chart come up in my research. I couldn’t help but glance at the numbers and wonder what or who came up with them.

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I have a nice scale. I just rarely use it.

 

Not only that, I could pull up several different charts and be given different numbers to work with. IF I paid attention to any of that.

One thing those charts don’t recognize ( well a lot they don’t recognize) is your body and what you do or don’t do. They don’t address your nutrition or your body mass ( is it more muscle or fat? or a balance of both?)

If there is one thing I see that people begin to get fixed on as they lose weight is what they perceive as their “ideal” weight.

Sometimes it’s a weight they were back in school or when they got married. Maybe it’s a weight they felt good or most confident at. Nonetheless, they have an ideal weight goal they set before them to achieve.

That of itself isn’t bad. It’s good to have something to shoot for, something that keeps you focused and working towards your goals.

Often though what we see as our ideal weight might not be so ideal where we are now. Maybe you looked good at a certain weight in high school but 30 years later, it might be to thin for you. Perhaps a few more pounds on you might make you look better and be easier to maintain in the long run.

Sometimes people believe getting to that weight will make them happy. They will feel they have “arrived” and that there is nothing left to achieve. Perhaps they think at that weight their body will look the way they think it should look.

Whatever the reasons, it’s at the top of the list when people are striving to lose weight.

Back to those charts.

I’m amused at some of those suggested weights for me. It might not be apparent if you are reading my posts, or seeing my photos, but I’m 6’0 and solid. Those charts don’t take into account I’ve built a decent amount of muscle on my frame or my body structure. If I were to weigh in at some suggested weights I’d look…well… beyond lean. I’d look scrawny for sure.

One thing I’ve learned in the past few years is how my body can fluidly change depending on what I’m doing. In my heaviest part of my marathon training it was fairly effortless to stay on the super lean side. I was running 50-55 miles a week if not more. I certainly didn’t take in more calories than I was burning off. If anything long training tended to kill my appetite and not help it. I topped some of my lowest body weight and body fat numbers during that time.

However, when not heavy training my body tends to bounce back to what I think of as my “happy weight” or the weight that is most effortless for me to maintain. It’s also a reasonable healthy weight.

Yes, when I started on my weight loss journey a few years ago I had a distinct number in mind. I’ve since learned to allow fluctuations in that weight and that it’s ok.

 

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Was I happier at that weight goal? Well, on one hand yes, I’m goal oriented and love nailing my goals. On the other hand, nothing earth shattering happened reaching it. One thing I’ve found is once that goal is achieved the work isn’t done. You work to maintain and keep it there. And that can become a very mean task master if one is controlled by numbers. If those numbers moved up even a few pounds from there, it could ’cause you to feel unhappy or not satisfied. Or if you’re smart, you make adjustments you need to get the numbers closer to where you want them.

Numbers do kinda matter though

Ok I might be making fun of charts but it is good to understand, recognize, and know your body does have a “window” in regards to weight that you should know and should strive to maintain. A few pounds over it should be cause to make changes to keep you in your “window”.

Obesity is a major cause of many health related diseases and  is totally preventable. Obesity here in the states is at an all time high in adults and more disturbingly, children. Maintaining your weight in your healthy zone can prevent health related diseases.

If you are highly active or do activities to build muscle, that as well will cause numbers to fluctuate. My body structure is now more about a body fat percentage versus the standard BMI which doesn’t take into account an athletes muscle mass.

I have a weight that is what I consider my “in season” weight when I’m training longer and heavier and an “off season” weight when I can be 5-7 lbs “heavier”.

Both of those are “ideal” for me. I’m really not focused on a set of numbers anymore as much as I am my bodies ability to perform well, to be strong, and to be energetic.

I’ve also learned enough of myself that there is a place that is healthy and easily sustainable without me being rigid and constantly watchful of what I eat.

It’s a pretty free place to be.

Find your happy place.

If you have weight to lose, know what your “window” can be and work towards that. Allow that you might get within 5 lbs and be totally happy or see that you look good right there and don’t need to lose more.

If you’re highly active and engage in heavy sports, understand how your body works and the processes it can go through in and out of training and how those numbers may look on the scale.

Finally, once you know what that place is ( happy and healthy) it is easier to maintain it and enjoy life without obsessing over numbers.

Have you found your happy, healthy weight?

Snake Oil Diets And More Wizardry

snake oil

Did you grow up with siblings? If so you understand how you learn to push each others buttons on things right? Sometimes it’s to annoy each other, sometimes it’s just to get that person going on whatever topic because it amuses us in some way.

It doesn’t seem to change even when you grow up. Then we have friends who can do the same thing with us.  It’s all fun and games… usually….

I’m no different, I guess. If there’s one thing that gets me going or kicks my investigator mode into high gear,  it’s having someone ask me about some new diet craze or company pedaling it’s wares promising claims of extreme and swift weight loss.

Usually the companies biggest successes are emptying your pockets, not making you any thinner.

I had a friend message me recently asking if I knew of or had heard of a particular company and it’s product. People were flocking to it and it was gaining a big following.  She had been asked to try it, I’m really glad she’s one of my smart friends and of course, declined.

There are so many companies and products out there trying to make a living off of peoples desperation it really is hard to keep up with them all. I got the basic name and info from her and started digging.

Oh. It didn’t take me long. It didn’t take long at all to be shocked and horrified over it on several levels. The complete nonsense presented on eating and weight loss is…well.. awful.

When I shared what I was finding with my friend the response was “go get them” haha when I mentioned I just can’t help it, (gathering info  and sharing what I find) I get back…. “personally, I get a kick out of it…”

See what I mean from my opening questions? They give me the right prompts and cut me loose haha

So. What about this product?

This is a MLM (multi level marketing) company so that should tell you something right off the bat.

It’s about making money, first. There are no prices offered on website as they want you to find a “distributor” of the product and purchase from them. Hmmm.

There are several products they offer all promising you great things in a short amount of time. Reviews were glowing of big losses in only 8 days for one of their packages.

They claim to detox, fat burn, cleanse you inside and out,  get you thin and make you a new healthy individual with all of their amazing products. AND… you will finally be happy…. poor…  but happy. Blah. Blah. Blah.

( insert sound of me gagging here)

The hocus pocus of all the wording made my head spin in moments. Then I quickly realized people REALLY buy into this, literally and figuratively.

Like, they cough up a lot of money for all these promises of magic potions. Worse yet, they believe it all. They believe this time, something will work.

I continued my reading and searched out more info.  As many of these companies and products go, you find these hard to believe reviews of awesomeness on it, and oddly, not many dissatisfied customers at all.

Another red flag my friends.

There aren’t that many happy people about anything in this world, especially weight loss products. So we have to largely believe the reviews that are so wonderful are put out by the distributors of the product.

The negatives I found, well, as to be expected, the product hadn’t done the miracles they expected, the company hadn’t followed through on it’s promises, over priced, or worse yet were the side effects from using it.

Starve. Repeat.

It didn’t take me long looking at one of their most seemingly “popular” plans, the 8 day kick starter transformation package to know why people were losing so much weight in 8 days.

You’re freaking starving to death, that’s why. Literally.

They promise 8 days to transform you. Holy crap it’s taken me 8 years to learn all this stuff, get fit, and get a decent grip on my eating behaviors.  How could I have wasted all that time?? 😉

As I looked at their daily eating plan, I was thinking, what are people actually, you know, eating??  Besides sucking down all these pills, powders, “flushes”, and occasional shakes they are buying.

Ahhh here it is… I found it in the “plan”… you only get to eat 3 meals in the 8 days.

Yes. That is all.

And those “meals” are limited to 500-600 calories. I can’t even imagine how you must suck the food in at that point. Not to mention how foggy headed you must feel.

The rest of the time you are using all of their products to detox, fat burn, cleanse and whatever else bull nonsense they are hyping you over. Oh the hype.

Let’s call it what it is… you… are starving yourself.  I find it ironically funny they want you to use a product that supposedly “blocks” fat absorption and causes food to pass through. Meh… it’s supposed to expand and take up space in your stomach…

Like, why the heck do you need that when you aren’t even hardly eating anything ???

I wont spend much more time on discussing this. It just made me scratch my head. People will spend money to starve themselves… ok…

They also give you an “exercise plan” to follow but honestly, I don’t see how you are able to do more than lay on the sofa with a daily caloric intake of 500-600 calories.

Anything under 1000 calories a day is a starvation diet people.

But… it’s “natural” and “plant based”

So. What.

It should be noted there are lots of natural things but they can kill you or just make you sick and not feel good.  Just because someone has tossed various natural ingredients together doesn’t mean it’s good for you or that the doses are right for you.

Many of the ingredients in these products act like caffeine. It is the reason people are so hyped up and have so much “energy” when they are on them.  A fancy version of speed.

It should be noted that side effects are jitteriness, racing heart, high blood pressure, sweating, nausea, and shakiness.  Others are cramps, feeling bloated and an overall not feeling well.

No food and natural stimulants, no wonder those side effects present themselves.

One of the main pills you take is an appetite suppressant. It’s loaded with a bunch of herbal stuff.  When you start adding a bunch of “natural” herbal things into your body, the effects can not be pleasant.

One ingredient in this appetite suppressant pill is bitter orange or synephrine. It was banned years ago and is linked to major cardiovascular risks.

Not sure I’d want to be popping that with other stimulants too. No wonder a racing heart is reported.

Oh, and the “flush” they offer. well yeah, it’s supposed to do what the name implies.  It’s main ingredient is senna which is in laxatives you can buy at the store. I’ll just leave this here… you don’t really want to be on some type of laxative to help you lose weight.  This type of product doesn’t “cleanse” or “detox” you.

But then there’s the cost….

Besides the fact you sign up to starve and not eat for pretty much an entire week, and that you’ll be taking another product to flush you which means you might spend more time in the bathroom than anticipated, and another product to keep you from getting hungry ( um hey….getting hungry is a natural body signal we’ve been given to know when to feed ourselves. Ignoring it isn’t smart. ) there’s the ridiculous cost of this stuff.

The rough estimate I found for the 8 day “kit” is 391.00.

Yes. Your eyes aren’t going on you, you read that correct. Almost 400.00 for some supplements and a meal shake that comes in at a whopping 50 calories made with water.

Of course, any other products you buy has an additional charge that’s just as crazy.

And people are buying it. They are jumping on it like flies on honey.

I don’t know if I should feel sad for them or just think they deserve what they get for buying into such nonsense.

But then I remember how desperate people are for a quick fix they will do anything at all to get it.

Anything but the thing that works.. because well.. it does take some time… and effort… and patience.

The old “learn to eat healthy, eat mindfully, change your habits, and get some movement into your days” thing.

I know it’s not cool or trendy but really, its the only thing that works.

The bottom line

Since the weight loss comes from starvation, once you increase your calories to a normal range ( which you will) the weight will come back. These products are not sustainable for long term nor should you do their program multiple times ( setting yourself up for a starve and binge mode isn’t a good thing)  although if you want to drop almost 400 dollars for an 8 week starvation session you may have more money than common sense.

The ingredients are sketchy and found in much cheaper diet aid products if you’re still convinced that’s the way you need to go instead of the old fashioned route.

Promises of detoxing your body and turning it into a fat burning machine are just more modern day snake oil and smoke and mirrors. These products do have the ability to hype you up because of all the “natural” caffeine type ingredients they contain.

8 days won’t change your habits or behaviors with food. That’s where the biggest change occurs when you do it the old fashioned way.

Overall this is another get rich scheme for some people at the expense and desperate need of others.

If you are wanting to lose weight, don’t be brought in by hype and unrealistic promises. For all that money you can go buy a gym membership, some cool new kicks, and a whole lot of healthy foods.

 

 

 

Life Beyond The Weight Loss

It hasn’t taken long for me to realize through media, talking to people, and my own personal interactions that there is a whole lot of time spent focusing on weight loss, losing weight, ways to lose weight, how fast we can lose weight, and trendy diets to help us lose weight.

The weight loss/diet industry rakes in billions of dollars a year so we could even assume from those numbers people are hungry to accomplish this goal. ( oh I just made a cute pun, appreciate it 😉 )

Many will set out with good intentions only to always be on some kind of diet track or have the idea always on their mind they “have” to lose weight.

Many just give up and quit.

Others, others will get it. They will find the thing that works best for them. The “thing” that allows them to slowly, steadily drop weight, live life, not feel deprived and it will be sustainable long term.

They will cross the bridge that leads them to a lifestyle change. This is the only permanent thing that will last. They will find a healthy balance of all foods, learn the right amount they need to lose, then maintain that loss. They will have figured out that a their favorite meal or a treat here and there isn’t going to end their success, in fact, they will have figured out it can lead to their success.

This month marks my 8th year since I crossed over “the bridge”.  8 years of  not just losing it, but keeping it gone. It’s my celebratory month of figuring out what worked for me and getting out of the hamster wheel diet mentality/trap. I’ve learned so much about myself in these past few years. I’ve learned a lot about food, nutrition and exercise too.

Of course, just because this is the month I started the process doesn’t mean it’s when all things connected for me. That took some time, some patience, and some strong willed perseverance. It took a willingness to learn and experiment. To stumble and get up again.

Eventually, I hit a point where losing weight wasn’t such a focus anymore. I stopped my weekly check in’s with the scale. I stopped thinking or worrying every bite was gonna land on me like a ton of bricks. I stopped worrying about what size label my clothes carried.

I was in a good place.. the land of maintenance.

So what about those who “get it” who cross over into that understanding that the only thing that works forever and long term is a lifestyle change. It’s about losing the old lifestyle and mindset that got you there in the first place.  This means mentally, physically, and emotionally. An entire changed perspective on how to approach food, our relationship with it and finding the balance of eating just enough but not to much. It’s a better awareness on taking care of yourself.

Where do you go after weight loss?

In the beginning you’re so focused on the numbers changing, whether it’s your clothes or the scale it unwittingly becomes your main focus on the journey. Once you hit that point of being comfy you realize you need to have a new focus.

I’d say where I am now, as to where I was then, I’ve learned a lot more about food and nutrition.  Yes, you can lose weight with almost any foods as long as you are creating a daily deficit.

Losing weight comes down to having a negative expenditure each and every day. It’s just learning what to eat ( in a positive way) to contribute to the weight loss.

But there are things that start to happen in this process, in the “after” part of losing weight…

You really start to prefer healthy, nutritious foods

I was never a horrible eater  but I probably snacked on stuff that didn’t support my health and fitness goals like I do now. It has been a ongoing learned process, to intentionally select good foods over fast foods or some junk type of food.  In time your body really does begin to crave the good foods and you lose your taste for a lot of the things you used to find so desirable. I often eat salads now simply because I enjoy them, I crave the veggies, and it leaves me feeling energetic and not sluggish for my day.

By the time you get to a maintenance mode, you’ve learned more about the foods that got you there and don’t view eating that way as being deprived or missing out.

So yeah, you’re much more tuned in to how to eat and what to eat and you feel better not only physically, but mentally too when you do. Making good choices just makes you feel good all over.

You don’t dread those morning workouts anymore

I try and tell people this when they are wanting to start exercising. They seem to not believe me. I’m telling you, do it enough, it becomes a habit. And it turns into a habit you WANT to do. You anticipate them and you might even find yourself up for some new challenges you never thought possible. And you’ll get all kinds of energy from keeping at it. Not only that it builds your confidence, clears your mind, helps center you and gives you a new appreciation for what your body can do.

Speaking of energy

it’s fairly obvious, the less you have to drag around on your body during the day, the more energy you might have. Of course, if you’ve been exercising along the way that has been building your entire cardio system so you’ll feel more energetic in your daily tasks without huffing and puffing so much and as well during your purposeful exercise.  I just love having the energy to still hang with my young 20something kids if we’re up late ( they freely admit I have more energy than they do) or to be able to play in the pool with my grandson catching him ( over, and over, and over ha) as he comes off the water slide. And in a weird way, energy seems to breed energy, so the more you do the more you seem to produce. It’s a good feeling.

Clothes shopping anyone?

ok I’m a girl and it goes without saying, I can be drawn in by lots of pretty things. It’s even more fun when all the pretty things fit great and look good ( hmmm maybe that isn’t a good thing) it’s just an enjoyable experience.  I really do love fun, trendy fashion, a lot. There were times in the past I didn’t want to shop nor did I find it nearly as fun as I do now.  Shopping is just much more enjoyable when you are rewarded with fitting into smaller clothes for your efforts.

You might find yourself inspiring others or giving advice

In a weird turn of events, what started off as me doing my own thing to lose weight and get on a healthy lifestyle change has morphed into being here talking to you ( my blog) as well as sharing things on my other social media sites, and encouraging/helping people who ask me questions on everything from nutrition to how to start running and all things in between.  I think that’s like, a super cool thing. My desire always is that if someone can see I’ve done it, they can do it too. There’s nothing I love more than seeing someone “get it” and start on their own journeys.

The rest of your life

I guess it goes without saying, being at a healthy weight, exercising to keep your body strong and fit and eating good foods to support that will go a long way to letting you live a full, healthy life. Hopefully without diseases or ailments that can plaque people who carry extra weight or lead a sedentary lifestyle.   Being a strong, healthy you means the ability to live a active life to enjoy your family and all the adventures you want to have with them.

Strong. Healthy. Fit. Energetic. Active.

I’d say those are some pretty good goals to have in the long run far beyond the weight loss.

 

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Celebrating 8 years of  living a strong, fit, healthier lifestyle

Health, Fitness And Not Giving Up

people give up

Hello world! Are you still out there? I know I’ve been gone for some days, but if you remember from a previous post, I had a son get married this past week and I gained a new daughter in law.

To say my four day weekend was a little busy is an understatement. However, the wedding happened, it looked beautiful, and they are now married. The most important part, right?

To say I was proud watching my oldest get married, to see his petite bride taking his arm with a smiling face and eyes only for him, yeah ok I was proud.

So now here I am, a week later trying to sit myself down and share something with you so you know I’m still alive and kicking.

So, on to todays program! As many of my posts are, they get generated through conversations with people, or sometimes a quote I see, or whatever current hype I want to address.

I recently saw a post on social media about “getting started again”. There was discouragement this person had gotten off track with their fitness goals and were attempting to get back heading the right direction again.

It really is so easy to do, to get discouraged and throw in the towel.

We forget it takes some time and perseverance to make progress!  We tend not to chart our progress when we gain weight or skip workouts ( who wants to remind themselves they aren’t working out or eating right?)

Yet when we are wanting to lose weight or get more physically fit, we get frustrated with ourselves. We want quick results and almost instant change. We look in the mirror for visible results. We put clothes on expecting them to be magically bigger.

When it doesn’t happen, we just quit.  Maybe we quit because for awhile, our old habits are just easy to fall back into. Like our fav pair of jeans or sloppy shoes.

It feels comfortable to us.

Those new changes feel uncomfortable and when we don’t get quick results it’s easy to think “why bother”?

We may look at the scale and see numbers that are seemingly so far away and getting to that goal feels overwhelming.

Maybe it’s lab results at the doctor that give a more in depth look of your health and those numbers aren’t so good.

Perhaps that walk you took off on has reminded you that, yeah, your cardio health, it’s as out of shape as the outside body you can see.

It’s not comfortable to move into a zone of “discomfort”.  And yeah, there is a certain level of discomfort that comes from moving ourselves into new habits and behaviors.

Change just won’t come unless we’re willing to accept and embrace it.

Our focus needs adjusted…

When we focus on how far we need to go to get to whatever goals we’ve set for ourselves it really hinders our progress. Not only that, it’s just not fair to yourself.

If you’re working daily to make changes ( even if you might not feel you always nail them) you aren’t being fair to yourself to consider all the work you’ve invested into the process of a lifestyle change.

I think, talking with people, this has to be one of the single most important thing to consider and remember.  I try and remind them of where they’ve come from, Whether it’s a new mentality about food, learning to listen to their bodies more about how to eat and when to eat, learning to exercise,or thinking in more positive ways about themselves. Maybe they had a better report at the doctor or they have been able to do more physically with greater ease.

A lifestyle change is a slow, daily, determined process. Don’t believe that those small changes don’t matter, they do! And in time those small things will lead to that greater weight loss you want or being able to take on a physical activity you previously thought you couldn’t.

I’m no different. True, my goals and perspectives have changed for myself since I started my health journey. I’m no longer focused on weight or trying to lose it.  But I still feel that way when I’m pushing myself to get faster on the bike, running, or lifting something heavier.

I remind myself how far I’ve come and that this is indeed, a daily journey and I need to keep my focus on how far I’ve come and not the road in front of me I’m still traveling.

Same for you. It’s much more enjoyable when you focus on what you’ve accomplished than what you still need to do.

Celebrate your victories, don’t be to harsh on yourself if a day doesn’t go as planned, and learn to enjoy your journey and all you will learn about yourself.

Are you in a place of discouragement or have you quit again? Have you done it before but now are on the right track again? What has helped you stick with it?

 

Transformation: It’s The Small Things

As I’ve meandered along these past years on what I refer to as my “journey” in fitness and nutrition,  I’ve had opportunity to talk to a lot of people who are on the same path, or trying to stay on it.

Some are successful and have found the right “blend” that works for them, the thing that is sustainable allowing them to keep after it day after day and still live their life.

Others are still struggling, battling against various issues that push them back from staying on that road to success.

I’ve seen people excitedly get started and then I’ve watched the excuses start creeping in. Excuses for eating poorly or not getting exercise. Excuses for why there isn’t a loss on the scale.  These reasons seem justifiable to them.

And I know as well as anyone how you have to battle back against excuses that creep in and try to side track you.  Because in the beginning, they always do. And it’s easy to give into them because you haven’t been grinding it out long enough to make these things a habit.

You haven’t been doing enough purposeful exercise so it’s easy to tell yourself that missing today won’t matter… until it bleeds into the next day… and the next… and then you aren’t doing it at all.

You haven’t trained yourself to turn a blind eye to the box of donuts in the office break room or pass on eating seconds because you mentally know and understand these practices won’t support your current health goals.

So many things go into our success ( or lack thereof) when it comes to our health and fitness goals.

So many things must be done and built into new habits to contribute to our success. Without building these skills, we will keep sliding back to where we’ve always been.

It takes a measure of discipline, hard work, and the ability to have days we fall and get back at it.

It’s all those small things we do consistently that lead us to where we want to be.

If there’s one thing that stands out working with people ( and those who get discouraged and give up) it’s this….

No matter what you tell someone, those small things, done daily, add up.

Unfortunately, they have thoughts that all their weight will magically go away in a week or two, forgetting they’ve been adding it on for months or years.

They start exercising and get frustrated that their body is reminding them it hasn’t done work like this in a long time, if ever. And trust me, if you don’t think you’re “out of shape” before you start an exercise program, you do when you’re body is gasping for air or aches the day after you’ve done something.

It is enough to make you want to quit before you even get started.

Raise your hand if you’ve been there. Yeah, I have too.

But when you decide you’re in it for the long haul, and you settle in to just living life, and then you just do those things that need to be done as a part of your life, changes will happen.

It’s the small things.

Yeah,  I know in the world we live in today it’s all about instant gratification, quick results, no discomfort, and easy results.

Sorry. It just doesn’t play out like that in regards to  health and fitness.

Small choices we make, small moves we make, small daily consistencies, add up.

I was thinking the other day, plowing up hill after hill doing a 5k run for the duathlon how doing it was  hard work, but work my body has adapted to and learned to respond to. My heart and breathing are strong but not in that horrible way when I was out of shape.  I also have a fast recovery heart rate now as well so when I finish, it doesn’t take long at all to be breathing normal again or have my heart rate back in a much lower zone.

Of course it wasn’t always like that. When I first started taking on hills, depending on size, I’d maybe do part way up, and then reverse my route. As I got stronger I walked strongly all the way up. As my cardio system got stronger too, I could walk them and not have my heart pounding so fiercely or be breathing as hard like a fish out of water.

Eventually, I was just all out running them. It’s such a cool feeling when my body just kicks in and does what it’s been trained to do.

The steep grade of the hill and how my legs feel pushing up it. How my body position shifts. How my breathing changes to a deep even rhythm to push on.

Small choices and activities led me to that point. Small choices also led to weight loss, getting stronger and doing more athletically.

I cant stress enough to you… if you’re on a mission to get fit, to get healthier, to lose weight. to train for an Ironman, whatever your goals are… those small choices you make each day will get you to where you’re going.

You might feel like what you do today doesn’t matter or it’s not “changing” anything. You might feel like that longer morning walk wont  result in anything or skipping on that extra treat won’t matter, but it does. Do that in a week, you’ve made progress.

And don’t forget, there is SO much going on inside you that you don’t see. Changes, growth, energy being built from what you’re doing, fat leaving, muscles growing. Your body beautifully adapting to the new changes you are putting it through.

All from those small, daily, consistent things you do.

Don’t give up. Don’t quit.

The reward is big when you don’t.

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