Diet Disasters

One thing that’s for certain under the sun besides taxes and death, is the fact people will always be on some kind of diet.

The diet industry takes in billions of dollars a year from people desperate and willing to try the next thing.

Unfortunately, the majority of those diets are going nowhere fast leaving their fallen victims clutching their celery sticks.

Seriously though I’ve seen the usual ones roll through this week….everything from speed supplements to starvation diets.

Can I just mention again, you really don’t have to go to extremes, be miserable, suffer, starve, and deprive yourself to lose weight and develop of change of lifestyle.

Yet some persist with this idea.

Case #1

I guess for some reason ( maybe cause I write about it ) social media thinks I want to see all kinds of over hyped diet and nutrition “supplements” in my newsfeed.

Besides being annoying, they sometimes amaze me too ( and by amaze I mean at the outright craziness of what they sell) Mostly though, my heart hurts for those who will pay cash grasping at straws in an effort to ditch weight quickly.

With just a little research I learned some of the biggest complaints with this product was high blood pressure, nervousness, racing heart and other cardiac issues.

The FDA made them remove a “questionable” ingredient and it was supposedly replaced with something “safer”.

Hmmm. Ok.

The product is mostly ingredients that act like speed in your body ( is this what they mean by ” speeding up your metabolism ??) and it also suppresses your appetite.

So you’re a nervous, jittery ball of energy running on minimal food, always thinking about when you can eat again.

Hmmmm. Sounds fun to me.

Weird newsflash but….having an appetite, our bodies telling us they are hungry, is a normal, natural thing.

Feed it.

Feed it real food, enough of it, to actually satisfy your hunger.

Our physical needs are often treated like something freakish and weird instead of normal.

Love your body, feed it nutritionally good food. When you do that, and eat enough to satisfy your hunger, you’ll be amazed at how good you feel.

Case #2

I had heard about this diet before when a friend on social media started talking about their “diet” and that they were only eating 500 calories a day.

Mainly I perked up thinking “whoa a gerbil can’t live on 500 calories a day…like….how ya gettin’ outta bed??”

This diet is extreme and he was lured into a sense of…security? Cause it was under his doctor’s care.

Wait a second.

Wait.

What the hell kinda doctor prescribes, supports, encourages, someone to be on a diet where their daily caloric intake is 500 calories and whatever random supplements?

My mind can’t get there.

I don’t care if a person has alot of weight to lose, that to me, is pure craziness.

Crazy and totally not safe.

I didn’t know to laugh or cry when I started reading up on it and exercise isn’t recommended.

Ha…really? Probably because you have to reserve your very minimal energy to keep breathing.

Ever heard of something called your BMR? ( basal metabolic rate)

I’ll tell you. It’s related to the way your body uses energy. For all of us it’s different.

Men and women in general will be different measures. Your BMR is the number of calories your body needs to have just to maintain keeping you alive.

Ya know….breathing, beating heart, to name a few.

For men its roughly 1,662 calories, and for women it’s 1,493.

This is just the basics.

It doesn’t take in you working a full day, your extra activities, as well as purposeful exercise. All of those factors change your caloric needs.

See how it can go bad fast existing on such minimal calories? And yes, you are just existing because you will be dragging without a fuel supply. No energy and mentally foggy.

Not only that, rapid weight loss will consume muscle as well as fat, further affecting your metabolism. And who wants to lose muscle mass??

Recently, I was made aware of another person doing this. Without great detail I’ll just say they dealt with lots of negative effects, and suffered physical consequences like constant hunger, agitation, dehydration, passing out, and another unexpected doctor visit.

And one more point ( I could make a lot more 🤣)

But this is a fact true to any diet, or stomach surgery, or really anything extreme.

If you don’t understand “why” you do what you do with food, if you don’t develop good “healthy behaviors” with food, if you don’t learn different strategies in the “how and why ” of your eating, you will be right back where you started.

Every single time.

Losing the weight may be fairly easy, however the mental shift takes much more time, discipline, and self awareness.

This is where so many people fail to follow through and really work on which is why there is a larger number of diet/ weight loss failures than successes.

In another post for another day, we’re gonna talk more about mental changes and self awareness to food and weight loss.

Again, I preach often, there is no “quick” way, nor should there be. Great weight gain doesnt happen in 7 days, great weight loss won’t either.

Daily, slow and steady, making good healthy choices always wins the race.

Tell me…have you ever tried any type if extreme diet? How did that turn out?

Advertisements

Saturday Snippets

Have you noticed when it comes to topics like health, fitness, eating, especially eating!losing weight, etc our world has massively complicated these processes that shouldn’t really be ..wellll….. so complicated?

I’ve observed that a lot this past week stalking some snake oil “health ” pages ( hahahaha did I just admit to stalking??)

In all honesty I do it to gather facts, educate myself, and to hopefully educate others.

Anyway I digress…

I observe lots of things and it made me wonder why people seem to want to make it harder than it has to be.

Why does it have to be a “feel the burn and hurt” workout each time ( don’t do that anyway!)

Why does it have to be “lose 10 lbs in a week!” Which really isn’t fat but water weight mostly ( completely unrealistic and even if you did, I wanna see your loses 6 weeks out) anyway, you didn’t gain 10 in a week so why would you lose that fast? And what are you eating? Are you starving yourself?

Or diets that involve severe restriction and deprivation, cutting food groups or demonizing certain foods, instead of moderate eating of healthy and nutritious foods?

Or man made fake detoxes, fat burners, cleanses or fake “diet” foods and other ridiculous nonsense? ( none of which you need I may add)

I guess the bottom line is people are willing to grasp (and pay highly for) at anything except the main real plan which will give them permanent and long term success.

It seems too easy to just do the simple things……moderate, balanced eating of all food groups, plenty of water, adequate purposeful exercise, good rest, some treats thrown in for fun, and slow steady weight loss of 1-2 lbs a week and then doing it day after day.

It’s too much to believe that the simple things, done with consistency, and a steadfastness will really lead to long term results known otherwise as a lifestyle change.

Yet when all the fad diets, cleanses, quick fixes, hyped up and costly programs quickly fail it will be the simple things that last and lead to success, once and for all.

Slow and steady wins the race my friends.

Single Ingredient Diet

Raise your hand if you’re on a diet. I really don’t like that word because it often implies restrictions, deprivation, and doing without things that we love.

It’s a short lived cycle for many before they revert back to what feels “normal” or “comfortable” to them.

I know with the start of the year many people are looking for diet plans to help them get started on weight loss.

I’ve recently done one comparing two low carb diets since that is what many people seem to view as the magic potion right now.

Find it here.  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2019/01/09/low-carb-diet-vs-keto-diet/

Like each one of us are unique, so will be the vehicle or ways that will help us live a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.

Personally, I don’t endorse anything that excludes food groups unless it is for health reasons, or if it overall makes you feel better by abstaining.

What I want to talk about today is learning to think about how/what you eat in the form of single ingredients.

single ingredient

There is a term spun around the fitness community referred to as “clean eating ”

Personally I’ve never liked this term as it seems somehow a bit elitist. Simplified, it really means trying to eat food closest to it’s original form without lots of other stuff added to it.

Just real food.

Mostly I try and eat foods that fall in this category.

Then I read an article recently that made me realize I’m not alone in the idea of wanting to eat this way.

I love the idea of just making the focus on your “diet” single ingredient foods, while still being able to incorporate and enjoy those other things in life that are “extra”. For me, it is having dessert with the fam. For the guy writing the article, it was occasional beer and pizza haha.

You get it though, right? Focus on healthy, real, “clean” foods majority of the time, eat in moderation, listen to your body’s natural hunger and full signals, and allow for some fun stuff in there too. And when I say “single” foods, I don’t mean just eating one at a time.

You can certainly mix up a variety of “single” foods. I make lots of one pan dinners ( these are the cat’s meow by the way….) and they contain assortments of veggies ( sometimes some fruit!) and lean protein. The idea is to build meals/snacks with a single idea in mind keeping you closer to eating just real food.

 

20180531_164753
How about a summery pic since it’s winter time right now 😛 Did you miss my “Spotlight on Apples” post? Find it below.

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/06/01/spotlight-on-apples/

For instance, my breakfast may be eggs, sauteed veggies ( whatever is hanging in my fridge) usually spinach is the base of it, berries of some kind, and milk. Some times a slice of multi grain bread if I had a longer training session. That isn’t a single ingredient, but it usually falls under 5 or less. Most of the time the eggs, veggies and fruit adequately fill me up.

Or it could be a bowl of non-fat Greek yogurt with a variety of berries and raw almonds.

Steel oats with craisins and walnuts is a fav before longer endurance workouts

Lunch is usually a salad crafted up depending on my mood. It contains lots of colorful veggies, sometimes some fruit, and of course adequate protein. A few whole grain crackers can go with it if I’m feeling like a need them.

Snacks, I usually try and keep it with fruit or add some cheese cubes with it as well.

Hardboiled eggs, raw nuts, cheese sticks, fruit and veggies are other single ingredient snacks.

20180814_125747
A lunch made of single ingredient foods…..

And chocolate. Sometimes, I may just want something chocolate. And yes, it is totally off single or less than 5 ingredients and that’s ok too.

You see where I’m going right?

Balance and moderation lead to a sustainable lifestyle.

This approach really gives you not only great flexibility in what you can eat, it will ensure you gather plenty of good, healthy nutritious, from all food groups in your day.

How complicated is this?

Simply put, anything that grows from ground and isn’t tampered with will make it easy. Also sources like dairy, meat, eggs, grains, beans etc

Are you a label reader? Learn to be. The ingredient list will quickly tell you what’s in your food.

Does the box just say “brown rice”?  Or is it rice with other added things you can’t pronounce?

Focus and learn about new fruits and vegetables. Learn how to make new recipes with them and incorporate them into your meals. Be willing to experiment and explore new things.

I’m  not talking crazy or restrictive here…..

listen there are some things I happen to like occasionally and don’t plan on giving up because they will leave the minimal ingredient list…

Chocolate, French fries, pizza, a fun meal out with hubby….

I don’t eat these foods often, but when I want it, I’m not gonna feel bad about it or think I’m “cheating” on my diet.

I really honestly, just want that stuff less and less as time goes on.

My point is, if people overall made an effort to eat more natural, as close to real food as they could, they’d easily lose or maintain weight, look good, and their bodies would reflect the healthier foods they took in.

Remember that old “you are what you eat” saying?

Don’t think for a moment your body won’t appreciate those healthy foods you offer it.

Start simple

At least focusing on single ingredient foods is fairly easy, right? I say single, but really even 5 or less is good too. I know some people way more extreme who say 3 or less. The idea is to do what works for you, with a focus on healthy, balanced and sensible eating that allows you to feel energetic, not be hungry, and helps maintain a reasonable healthy weight.

Perhaps, initially, just focus on what you eat, the types of foods. How do they line up with the idea of being just five or less ingredients? Basically, take inventory of your eating habits.

Then challenge yourself to do it at one meal. From there it could be how or what you snack on. Each step will help you to make better choices for yourself in the long run.

Awareness is the key to getting started and becoming more successful at incorporating healthier foods into your daily nutrition plan, this in the long run, will help you live a healthy lifestyle and not the world of yo-yo dieting.

Tell me, have you considered single ingredient foods as a way of eating and a part of a healthy nutrition plan in your life?

Low Carb Diet vs. Keto Diet

With the start of a new year, I’ve watched with the usual fascination as all the diet plans and health products start making a new surge as people once again make a “resolution” to lose weight and get healthier.

I always marvel at how complicated people try to make it.  It honestly just doesn’t have to be so.

Anyway, one of the things I’ve been itching to get to is writing this post doing a little comparison of a low carb diet and the keto diet.

20190108_211941

Are they the same? What makes them different ? Is one possibly any better than the other?

I hope to offer some educated perspectives to this current trendy topic.

What’s the difference?

A low carb diet is simply that. You can make adjustments in your eating and modestly or greatly cut back on carbs. You become more selective about your carbs and where they come from.

For instance, I can really do without the carbs in cake or chips,  while the carbs in an apple or sweet potato offer my body lots of good vitamins and minerals along with those  complex carbs all for very few calories.

But hold up.

Not all carbs are equal as you may know. Simple carbs like the ones found in refined sugars meaning…. breakfast cereals, muffins,  pastries, chips, cookies, crackers, baked goods,  boxed snacks, sodas, sugared drinks, candy, alcohol etc… are ones that should be looked at critically first.

Simple carbohydrates are made up of just one or two sugar molecules. As such, it doesn’t take much for your body to break them down and absorb them (as glucose) into the bloodstream. For this reason, simple carbohydrates raise blood sugar much faster and usually higher than complex carbohydrates.

Often people may find with an awareness of exactly what they consume in a day they will realize those simple carb foods are the ones who need to be reduced in their daily diets. Doing so can almost painlessly lead to a slow steady loss of weight.

20180905_115154

Complex carbs ( starches made up of long chains of sugar molecules—are considered good carbs because they take longer to digest and thus don’t spike blood sugars as quickly as simple carbs) are found in good foods like whole grains breads and pastas, legumes, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, low fat yogurt, milk,  and tons of good for you fruits and veggies. So many veggies…..

Not only are they good for supporting all systems of your body they provide crucial energy as well. Find my post on carbs here…… https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/04/11/carbs-are-not-the-enemy/

Being on a low carb diet doesn’t mean you are on a keto diet although some tend to think that.  I hear so many people say it but honestly, many are on just an extremely low carb diet.

That being said, keto is a low carb diet. An extremely low carb diet to the exclusion of many of those healthy, good for you good carbs I mentioned along with most fruits and veggies.

In order to truly follow a ketogenic diet you need to be in a state of ketosis. This simply means your body is burning fatty acids (ketones) for energy instead of carbohydrate stores (glycogen in liver, and glucose in blood) and your carb intake must be at, and stay at, a consistently  low level to achieve that.

The levels of ketones produced can be varied depending on daily macros. ( Macro nutrients are the daily protein, carbs and fats you eat)  And the amount of carbohydrates consumed is one of the big differences when looking at low carb vs keto.

a ketogenic diet demands specific changes to all three macronutrients. For this reason, it’s hard to recommend a keto diet to someone unless they know how to track their macros or are really serious about learning.

When you have normal levels of ketones in your bloodstream, your brain and the rest of your body are fueled by stored body fat. But the only way to know for sure if you’re in a state of ketosis is confirming it through daily testing.

This can be done through blood, urine, or a breath analyzer test.

Urine strips are perhaps least confirming because they merely show the excess that you’ve eliminated.

Blood and urine strips are also more expensive as they are a one time use.

Breathe and blood tests show more up to the moment ketone levels.

So to clearly state… you could believe you are doing a keto diet but without actually testing for ketone levels and tracking your total macros, you could just be doing an extremely restrictive low carb diet.

Saying you’re doing keto doesn’t really mean you’re actually doing that without evidence to show that you truly have your body in a state of ketosis, this is where your body is actually using the fatty acids for energy and not glucose. Just because you reduce the amount of carbs you eat doesn’t mean you are using body fat for energy.

Lowering carbs can help you lose weight.

If you’ve been consuming more food than your body requires, and a lot of it in forms of the simple carbs we discussed, then lowering those carb levels will contribute to weight loss.  You can reduce these carbs that contribute to spiking insulin levels and that produce wildly fluctuating blood sugar levels.

Cutting back can definitely help with those issues, but again, it’s lower carb, not keto, but you will lose weight. Learning to replace those carbs with healthier choices will keep you feeling satisfied while your body adjusts to not having those foods.

If you’re goal is to lose weight but not be in ketosis, then eating  plenty of veggies and a healthy dose of exercise will get you to your goals.

For me, when I want to lean out more, I stick to just tons of healthy veggies, fruits, some whole grains as needed and protein. I’m not restrictive and I’m not hungry.

As you can see the differences between low carb and keto is more than “just” carbs.

What can I eat?

With just a low carb diet you have the ability to manage your macros a bit more easily. Low carb with lots of healthy veggies and protein will keep you full and satisfied. You won’t necessarily be overly concerned at carbs in veggies because they will fill you up especially with added protein.  Not only that, your body loves all the vitamins and minerals that are loaded into veggies and fruits.

You will be more mindful of carbs found in grains, rice, breads, pastas etc. as well as your simple ( non-essential) carb consumption.

You can however, if you want to, have a small slice of birthday cake at grandmas 90th birthday and  know it will knock you out of ketosis because you did so.

That’s kind of a win 😉

If you think the keto diet is something you must do, a typical macro breakout for your daily diet is 25% protein, 70% fats and 5% carbs.

Yes. You are seeing that correctly. 5%.

These are recommended macros for keto. Lowering your carbs to this level will force your body into ketosis meaning it will begin to use fat for energy.

Maybe unwillingly, but it will.

If you choose this path, ideally, you would want to do it in steps as drastically cutting all carbs will make you…. want to eat a wall…

well… maybe you wouldn’t but you might feel ridiculously hungry and all kinds of other awful things from immediate restriction. It’s best to do a gradual reduction to allow your body to prepare for what’s coming.

Another common mistake on this diet is to lower calories while cutting carbs which isn’t the best idea. Lowering carbs will lower calories. Don’t push for both.

put in my body

So what’s the best choice?

I have a personal opinion, for sure. I wrote a post comparing the keto diet and the DASH diet… you can get a lot of my thoughts and also the comparisons of these two diets in this post… find it here….  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/07/21/keto-and-dash-diet-review/

I’m honestly not a huge supporter of the keto way for lots of reasons. It’s just a hard sell to convince me that a higher fat diet is better than the many, many veggies and fruits and food groups that are eliminated on this diet.

And really, I gave up a long time ago following anything that tells me “foods I can eat and foods I can’t eat” plans. #rebel

And besides, I kinda like bread once in a while…and cake… and eating those things definitely wreaks havoc on the keto plan as it can knock you out of ketosis.  Not only that, to many people I know who are on it seem to live for “cheat” days so there’s that thought as well.

Don’t do a diet plan that you look forward to cheating on.

I think going a more low carb approach is less restrictive, easier to maintain, and has a broader range of foods you can consume which leads to less feelings having to do with out or deprivation. Not only that there isn’t the constant manipulation of macros and counting and all that other stuff which seems kinda tedious.

Maintaining a less restrictive diet will give you freedom and let you lose weight as well.

However, we’re all different. One method works for one and not the other. Find what is easiest to live, what let’s you still enjoy life, and what doesn’t leave you feeling left out because you “can’t have” what’s being served.

I still find at the end of the day, balance, moderation, and mindful eating are where it’s at when it comes to weight loss and no one thrives being deprived and hungry.

And don’t forget no matter what “diet” you may pursue, Paleo, Keto, Whole 30, South Beach, gosh there are so many, even my favorite, the old school sensible, moderate eating plan, at the end of the day weight loss occurs because of a calorie deficit and nothing else.

There is no magic diet.

Your best opportunity to be successful is to find the plan that you can easily stick to and is long term sustainable leading to a permanent lifestyle change while achieving weight loss.

Tell me…do you have experience with either of these options? If so, did you have success or have tips to someone considering it?

 

 

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 😛

20180610_192542

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.

put in my body

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.

progress

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?

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.

hare

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.

hare 2

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!

tortoise-hare-six-sigma-768x512

 

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.

20180123_213602
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.

 

goal weight

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?