Ah,’tis the season for diets, resolutions, and a overwhelming flocking to the gym.
Along with all of that comes the need to follow fad diets or whatever current trendy diet Karen at the office is on.
With diets come lots of myths. One of those being you must be hungry (constantly) to lose weight.
Let’s look at two sides to the hunger games 😉
First, being hungry isn’t bad and won’t kill you….well eventually it would but I’m pretty sure you won’t get to that point.
Hunger, at the base level, is our God given, natural signal that our bodies need food. It’s like the low fuel light in your car.
That light comes on, you know you’ve got a number of miles before you run out of gas.
In a similar fashion when you start hearing those growling bear noises or feel that ache your body is telling you to fuel up.
Hopefully, you’ll give it good quality fuel…
Ideally, we would all follow our bodies cues.
Hunger like this is really ok and very normal.
Eat just enough to satisfy hunger and be comfortable and go on with your day.
Realistically, I doubt a lot of people even experience true hunger anymore as we’ve made habits to eat whenever time dictates we should, regardless of our bodies cues.
Eating more than we need with poor food choices is quite apparent with obesity at an all time high, and unfortunately in kids as well.
We eat regardless if we feel hungry. We eat for a whole lot of reasons… the clock says to eat, or our emotions, boredom, loneliness, etc none of those associated with true hunger.
In a perfect world we listen to our body and eat when we are hungry. We would allow ourselves to become hungry 30 minutes to an hour out from meals so we truly appreciate what we eat.
We would eat enough, but not over eat because it tastes good. We again would listen to signals indicating our hunger is satisfied.
I always tell hubby food tastes so amazing to me when I’ve finished a hard workout, and by the time I’ve cleaned up my hunger is in full force and food truly tastes so much better when I’m honestly hungry.
**being hungry is ok and a normal feeling for our bodies indicating we need fuel.**
The other side of hunger
I follow a womans page on Facebook that has discussions on various topics.
One day a post came up with someone asking for the “best appetite suppressant”
Me….being me….responded with this….
“Eat adequate food.”
Listen, if you feel you need to suppress your appetite because your hungry, something isn’t going right.
If you feel the only way to lose weight or keep a certain “number ” on the scale is to constantly be hungry and not feed your body, something isn’t going right.
If you need a suppressant ( that can look like alot of things: filling up on liquids like coffee or water, using mints or gum, or an over the counter drug) something isn’t going right.
If you seek to supress your appetite, you’ve not had adequate food to satisfy your hunger and nourish your body. If you are hungry a small healthy snack usually does the trick.
Then move on with life.
You should not be in a state of ongoing hunger thinking about food, or how you can’t “have” food in a quest to lose weight.
**being hungry and withholding food or feeling we need to suppress our appetite isn’t a healthy way to live.**
A proper balance
Yes, when we begin a plan to drop a few pounds and reduce our calories a bit and make other adjustments we will feel hunger. (Refer to part one of post)
This would be the normal signals our bodies give us to eat. You will go through a learning process as your body adjusts. You can lose weight, eat adequate food, and go between meals without being hungry.
If you are you may need to examine…..
1. How much did you eat? Was it enough?
2. What did you eat? A meal rich in protein and healthy fat will keep you satisfied a long time. Empty calorie foods or meals lacking adequate protein with healthy fats will leave you hungry, sooner.
You don’t need to…
Feed your body minimal food that doesn’t satisfy your hunger and leaves you feeling like you need to “suppress ” your appetite.
Greatly restrict your calories to have a slow and steady weight loss. In fact doing so may actually slow your weight loss efforts.
Ignore your bodies natural cues to fuel it adequately. This deprives your body, and leaves you without adequate energy from not fueling yourself effectively.
Once you learn to follow your body you will eat when hungry, you will learn to eat just enough to satisfy you without over eating ( this can take a bit of practice) and you won’t feel a need to find ways to supress a natural appetite or use other unhealthy behaviors for weight loss.
Your turn…..tell me….have you learned to listen to your body when it comes to eating and keeping it satisfied? Or do you feel you still need to work on it?
Focus. Perspective. Seeing something in a different way. Clarity.
Focus: the center of activity or attention .
Perspective: a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something.
When it comes to pursuing personal goals regarding weight loss or improved health and better eating habits we all have that “thing” we focus on that keeps us in forward movement to (hopefully) achieve that goal.
We might post a picture of ourselves from years back from a time where we felt like we looked good or were at a good weight.
We could use certain items of clothing as a goal to work back to wearing that we’ve out grown.
We may restructure some of the foods we eat and how much we eat of them.
For many, the scale is the judge and jury of our success, or lack thereof.
The scale of course, offers a visual reward or assessment of how we’re doing in our week with our weight loss goals.
Back in the day, when I was just starting my journey, I’d hop on it almost daily wanting positive rewards and feedback from it.
If it told me what I thought was “good news”, my day was made. I felt awesome. I felt like I was being a superhero in the weight loss department.
If it told me less than good news ( in my mind) and by that maybe I lost no weight that week or had “only” lost a pound ( have you ever seen one pound of fat?? You’ll never say that again once you do) or worse yet, worse than the coffee pot not working one morning, was the dreaded I had gained a pound or two that week.
That was enough to make me feel like a failure. A bit of a loser. Those nagging self-defeating thoughts could creep in….
“why bother? You are never going to do this anyway?”
“wow, after all you’ve done and no weight loss, but a gain?”
“Just give up”
“Might as well just eat ( you fill in the blank here) whatever thing I had withheld from myself.
Lots of ways for me to get de-railed from my goals. The scale was definitely one of the bigger challenges to overcome.
I know I’m not alone in this misguided perspective of the scale and our weight loss and fitness journeys.
Where it changed for me.
When I first started out, the scale was a tool to show me that I indeed, was having less gravational pull 😉 that did help to offer motivation.
But after I’d had my mental “ah ha” moment of keeping the scale in it’s place it became easier for me to embrace other things that offered a “reward” for my work and diligence.
This shift in thinking offered me the encouragement I needed to keep going. Maybe it will offer you encouragement too.
My perspective had to change.
When I first started getting out and moving again, I realized after finishing up my walk one night how good I felt. I felt proud of myself for moving and getting out, I felt happy and I felt strong. None of that had to do with any weight loss. The numbers on the scale had no bearing on how good I felt overall when I finished what I was doing.
Not a lot had changed at that time, really, as far as obvious outward changes.
But there were things that I felt that made me feel good, mentally and physically. I liked the tired feeling, or having sweat running down me from exertion. I liked how I felt good and strong just from the act of doing it.
I loved the accomplished feeling of doing it.
My perspective changed in learning to embrace new changes in myself as new disciplines were being formed and slowly put together. These changes had nothing to do with a changing scale or looser jeans.
What does your perspective look like?
If you’ve been on a journey to get fit yet are often side tracked, where is your perspective? How do you approach getting to your goals? Is it based solely on having less gravitational pull ( i.e. the scale? ) Do you determine your success by that alone?
Learning to shift your perspective to the whole picture will help you move along celebrating other things that are happening with you as well.
You know that discipline you are building from making a daily commitment to get your exercise in?
Don’t underestimate that. When you learn to train yourself to daily exercise it makes other things in life easier to be disciplined in.
As an endurance runner, I’ve learned I have to put out a lot of strength and not just physical, but mental too. Once you’ve run 26 miles, or better almost 32 you realize you take can anything in life head on.
I learned that strength I built in training carried over into all areas of my life and that was pretty cool.
Building your new habits and practices can help give you confidence in all areas of your life too.
Focus or perspective
So as you pursue whatever you’ve set before you the question to ask is are you focused on it? Or do you have a positive perspective on it?
If you are “just” focused on weight loss, making it the center of your attention, then it will be all you can see.
If you have a broad perspective approaching weight loss and fitness then you will be able to see all different aspects of the process and can embrace those things alongside the visible change of numbers of the scale.
You can learn to celebrate changes in how you are eating, the choices you make in food, your approach to eating, and how much you eat.
You can see improvements in your overall fitness when you climb a flight of stairs and aren’t out of breath, when you can walk briskly and it just feels good, when you can lift heavier things with ease, or when your body begins to reflect a new overall strength in tasks.
As your perspective changes and you embrace all of the changes you are going through you will begin to see there is more to having a whole balanced perspective on health and wellness than the ever shifting numbers on a scale.
Are you a more focused person or one who has more perspective on the big picture?
Full disclosure here. I’ve been camped on this topic for a long time now. Sometimes ideas come to me and they are easy to write off the cuff. Others require a bit of time to brew in my head and yet some I’m just left pondering how to deliver the message. This is usually when a topic is a wee bit controversial or “not politically” correct or whatever term can be applied.
Since I’m one who is fairly comfortable speaking my mind, I won’t hold back.
When I saw the quote above it was one of those things that resonated with me immediately. Mainly because the truth of it in our culture and society today is so true.
Food has become the drug of choice for many and it’s taking a toll on their health and living a energetic lifestyle. This drug also has the ability to end lives with the diseases that obesity brings with it. Food is a socially acceptable way to often medicate things deep inside yet it doesn’t fix the problems a person deals with.
With obesity at an all time high in adults and more disturbingly in children, some are eating their way to the grave. Unfortunately, food is often mindlessly, mechanically consumed and in quantities beyond what is needed to satisfy our hunger.
With restaurants and food establishments offering larger and larger portions or the “super sizing” we are super sizing ourselves into obesity and the joy of carting around extra fat on our bodies. This taxes our heart and lungs, puts excessive work on our joints, causes our organs to work hard to compensate for the excess which then causes our body to develop ( very preventable diseases)
According to the CDC (Centers for disease control) Nearly 4 in 10 adults have a body mass index classifying them as obese. Young Americans as well have been piling on the pounds and obesity rates among the country’s youth ( 2-19) stands at 18.5 percent. This trend is most worrying as young people are far more likely to stay obese while childhood obesity is linked to a higher chance of early death in adulthood. More troubling yet, 70% of Americans are either overweight or obese making people with normal weight a minority.
But wait… it’s not just an American problem….
Globally there are more people ( children and adults) who are obese than underweight – this occurs in every region except parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
Overweight and obesity are linked to more deaths worldwide than underweight.
Some key facts
Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.
In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.
39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese.
Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2016.
Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016.
Obesity is preventable
So why are people getting so fat?
Being over weight, simplified, is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended.
Worldwide there has been an increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat; ( think fast foods, overly processed, high calorie, refined sugars etc. ) and an increase in physical inactivity due to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work, changing modes of transportation, and increasing urbanization. And sadly let’s not forget an overall laziness or desire to just not physically exert ourselves.
So basically, we’re shoveling in more food, and not the good kinds, and moving our bodies less and less.
It’s the perfect storm for disaster.
Are there common health consequences for obesity and being overweight?
Yes. Our bodies are not designed to handle excessive fat and often develop diseases because of this.
cardiovascular diseases (mainly heart disease and stroke), which were the leading cause of death in 2012;
musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis – a highly disabling degenerative disease of the joints);
some cancers (including endometrial, breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gallbladder, kidney, and colon).
high blood pressure
And what about our kids?
Childhood obesity is associated with a higher chance of obesity, premature death and disability in adulthood. But in addition to increased future risks, obese children experience breathing difficulties, increased risk of fractures, hypertension, early markers of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and psychological effects.
My brother was overweight as a young adult. Children are awful in how they treat others. The psychological effects can be huge for kids.
How do we fix the problem?
First and foremost, someone has to have the desire to change patterns, habits, and behaviors that have led to obesity or being overweight. Without a personal desire nothing will change.
Overweight and obesity, as well as their related diseases, are largely preventable.
Preventable meaning we have control of them. Meaning we can change things if we don’t let it get to far. There are things you might not have control over, but maintaining a healthy weight is something for the most part, we can all have a measure of control over.
Supportive environments and communities are fundamental in shaping people’s choices, by making the choice of healthier foods and regular physical activity the easiest choice (the choice that is the most accessible, available and affordable), and therefore preventing overweight and obesity.
As adults we are in control of the choices we make, good or bad. If we have children then we are responsible for the foods we buy and provide for them. If high fat, sugary foods are the mainstay of what’s available, they will be consumed. Children cannot go buy their own food so we must be mindful of providing them with the most nutritionally sound foods that we can. Treats aren’t bad, but they should be limited. If certain foods aren’t available in the home they can’t be consumed.
The same goes for us. If we limit/control the amount of non-nutritional foods we bring home, we won’t eat them.
I told hubby when we were shopping recently that I know and fully understand if I bring home a bag of salt and pepper kettle potato chips, it’s the equivalent to bringing home crack to a druggie.
I just can’t be trusted with them. The best thing then is that I don’t buy them, and if I do, I fully accept the consequences.
Steps to take in losing weight
On an individual level we can:
limit energy intake from total fats and sugars;
increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts; and
engage in regular physical activity. Find something you enjoy and do it. Do it most days of the week. Children need to be moving and should be encouraged to participate in sports and other activities to keep them healthy and work off excess energy 😉
limit the amount of fast foods or overly processed foods eaten.
Try to eat more natural foods without things added to them.
Develop a balanced and sensible nutrition plan.
Plan a 1-2 lb loss a week.
Keep a healthy perspective
Keeping your goals small and realistic will lead to success. Understand building new habits and behaviors will take time but they will be worth having to help you live a permanent lifestyle of health and wellness.
Accept good and bad days on your journey but don’t quit. Keep moving forward every day celebrating all your body can do for you.
Make small consistent changes. Don’t go for the “all or nothing” or drastically cut all things you love from your daily nutrition.
Get friends or family on board to have a support system to help you. Often it is hard to do something like this on our own, having others who can hold you accountable, ask you how you are doing and celebrate your successes with you can help tremendously.
If you and your family need to lose weight, brainstorm on how you can work together as a team to reach goals individually and as a group.
Finally, be patient with yourself and learn to celebrate each step along your journey and before you know it, you will have reached your goals your set for yourself.
What healthy practices do you use? Do you think the super sizing of foods has contributed to obesity problems?Do you think food is often used to medicate feelings or emotions?
Oh I’m so excited to be able to finally do this book review! There is nothing I love more than being able to talk up something I can support and get behind. Mainly because the truths and information in this book can be life changing. Lives have been changed and people come into a real working knowledge of understanding themselves better and more importantly understanding their relationship with food. They build new habits, and in the process losing weight and never thinking of another diet ever again. Ever.
With the start of a new year comes a plethora of new books on weight loss, nutrition and fitness all of them vying for your attention and your money.
No wonder. The weight loss/diet industry is a mega dollar business and it’s a competitive market going after you, the consumer, who is wondering what the next step should be to finally losing weight and getting in shape.
For good. Once for all and done with the yoyo lifestyle.
8 years ago when I decided I was going to just finally do it, I didn’t have a “plan” or an organized diet I followed. I was tired of things that didn’t make sense, made me feel deprived, left me always hungry or thinking about when I could finally… for the love of God.. have food again.
What a sucky way to live.
So I basically just started taking one day at a time. I made slow changes, learned to modify my food choices, and I didn’t deprive myself. Incredibly, I was losing weight, almost painlessly. With enough time I guess those behaviors turned into new habits that I began to do without even thinking about it. I got more into exercising and that helped too.
I learned to eat when I was hungry and stop when I felt satisfied. I began to think more about what I ate and I also learned that I didn’t have to have an all or nothing mentality. I could have chocolate in the house and not eat it, but if I wanted a piece or two, I did with no guilt attached.
Such freedom in developing healthy habits and behaviors with food!
I didn’t focus on losing a certain amount of weight or let the scale rule me. I just lived one day at a time and weight loss, slow and steady, occurred.
Several years went by and I saw a friend post one day about a book called “Lean Habits For Lifelong Weight Loss” I read enough in the post to intrigue me which sent me searching out the book to see what it was about.
I was shocked that the young woman writing it had eloquently written out things I had somehow stumbled on and taught myself that had led to my success and evidently many others were learning and being taught similar things.
It’s the only “weight loss anything’ I recommend to someone.
After buying it, I read it almost overnight. I eventually wrote a post here on my blog for my readers, wanting to share this great find.
This past fall Georgie contacted me letting me know the paperback version would be dropping in December and would I mind writing another review?
Mind?! Ha, not at all.
My position is still very much the same on the book and habits lifestyle now as it was when I wrote first review. The paperback copy is small, light and an easy book to drop in your bag and whip out when you’re sitting somewhere waiting … like a doctors office where your appointment was an hour ago and you’re still waiting 😉
Although smaller in format and composition it still packs all the valuable, smart, and incredibly sane information the hardback book contains.
I’m thrilled to do my part in an industry that wants to teach people freedom from food and diet nonsense so they can live successfully in their health and fitness endeavors.
The book is neatly formatted into 4 main core habits that you pace yourself on. You do one until it becomes second nature. Until you don’t even think about doing it. Once you feel you’ve mastered it, you can move on. Georgie lays them out clearly with tips, ideas and cool science stuff to go along with it. So if you’re kind of a science nerd, you’ll like those parts. Once you get the 4 core habits down you move into the 12 supporting habits which covers everything from eating treats to emotional eating and everything in between.
The book is easy to read and she often makes you laugh so that’s an extra bonus ( in my opinion 😉 )
Basically at the end of it she’s got you thinking “Hey, I can do this!”
Not only that, I love how she talks about not wanting to make the process horrible or hard for her clients because it doesn’t have to be that way.
“My goal as a coach has always been to help my clients achieve that calorie deficit in the most comfortable way possible. The experience of losing fat doesn’t have to be all that bad!” p. 37 Lean Habits For Weight Loss
How many times have you thought you have to suffer, be miserable, starve, and hate life to lose some weight?
You don’t. Trust me.
Thousands of people have used this approach to almost effortlessly lose a little ( or a lot) of weight and change their lives.
Does it take work? Persistence? A willingness to know you’ll have good days and bad days but you just keep on practicing those habits till you do them so automatically you don’t even thing about it? Yes.
Is it worth it to live the rest of your days in peace with food? Absolutely.
So. The new book review. I’m getting there.
I wanted to take a different spin on this review. I wanted to ask Georgie some questions to help you know a little of who she is, where her passion is at, and how she came to writing this book. One thing I’ve learned about her and following her is that she is passionate about this idea of living free from food bondage and teaching others how to do it too.
Let’s hear from her now and see what she has to say……..
For those who don’t know, can you share a little background on who you are ? What are your degrees and training?
GF: I grew up in New Jersey and did my undergraduate degree in Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers University. Then I went to Cornell University in upstate New York for my Dietetic Internship, and became a registered dietitian in 2005. Not quite ready to stop learning, I enrolled in the PhD program in Nutritional Sciences back at Rutgers University. After another five years of PhD work, I was academically doing well but personally and healthwise I was struggling. I had been working as the Sports Dietitian for Rutgers Athletics during my grad school years and it had become so clear that working in counseling was for me, not a career in academia. I had to get out of the lab, and out of my high pressure, chronically broke life. So I decided to move to the mountains of Colorado, sans PhD, and work as a clinical dietitian. Not long after that, I began counseling online as well as in person, and eventually transitioned into all online nutrition consulting in 2011.
Was there something specific that helped you choose the field you are in ?
GF: I was an athlete in high school and somewhat obsessed with nutrition and health. I suffered from anorexia nervosa as a teenager, exercised compulsively to manage my anxiety and depression, and throughout my college years was still repairing my relationship with food and exercise. I had always been a science fanatic, and my love of food and my love of science just meshed perfectly into studying nutrition!
Why write this book? Was there a defining moment to do so ?
GF: Well, when I started learning all this, it was purely about getting my own life on track! And after that happened, and I just kept meeting person after person who was suffering and I could help them with what I learned. It’s the best feeling in the world for me to work with a person and see them changing, becoming happier and more confident and feeling empowered and enjoying food instead of feeling tense and stressed about it.
But at the same time there is a disappointing limit to working with people one at a time; I can only work with this tiny little sliver of people who want help, and it’s a drop in the bucket because millions of people want this info and can benefit from scientifically-sound, easy to implement nutrition guidance. Books are one fantastic way to spread information to larger amount of people, which is also the reason we put our nutrition courses online for free, so anyone can take them. (Head to onebyonenutrition.com and you’ll see).
I put off writing it for a year, actually, because I was intimidated about writing a proposal and getting rejected by publishers, but eventually I got brave enough.
Why would someone want to use the lean habits system over some of the other current trendy diets or plans out there right now?
GF: If you want results that last, you can’t do a certain set of behaviors temporarily. This is maintainable, it’s flexible, you can go on vacation, eat your favorite foods, and keep practicing. It fits into real life without being a major pain in the butt, and it actually feels really good to take charge of making your own food choices and know that you are on the right track without weighing or counting things. And it ends helping a lot of people deal with their emotions and relationship with food in a beneficial way. It’s like a rehabilitation program after too much dieting has left you with food guilt, no clue what hunger and satisfaction feel like, and still that extra weight you wanted gone.
What is your biggest passion in what you do? Your biggest frustration?
GF: My passion is to listen to people like they have never been heard before, to ask the questions that help me understand why they eat the way they do, and to then communicate it back to them so that they understand it too.
My biggest frustration is when people don’t want to understand, learn, or change, and think they can just buy a meal plan from me.
Do you have a favorite lean habit success story I can share with my readers?
GF: Oooh yes. I just got a client email actually….. (see below)
“Like most people who struggle with nutrition and health, I have spent my life beating myself up for my failures. Georgie Fear helped me learn how to transform my critical inner dialogue. Georgie is incredibly knowledgeable about all facets of health, but, more importantly, she is caring and willing to walk through struggles without judgement. In fact, she would often share difficulties from her own life to give me hope to overcome my own mistakes. Georgie asked great questions and was patient with my missteps along the way. Her guidance transformed all of my life as I learned how to rejoice in mistakes and challenges as an opportunity to learn. I am a better husband, father, and friend because of this change. Today, I no longer tear myself down during difficult times; instead, I build myself up and forgive myself for my mistakes. Georgie guided me to a place where I no longer needed a coach, and I am healthier today than when I finished working with her. I practice healthy habits daily, and I know how to easily build new habits into my life. The time I spent working with Georgie will positively influence me for the rest of my life; it has been the best investment in my personal growth that I have made.” With immense gratitude,
Alright, so there it is. If you are at your wits end with diets, being hungry, hating the yoyo game of losing and gaining, perhaps this is for you.
It you’re tired of counting calories, weighing food, feeling hungry and deprived only to quit and go on a food binge, perhaps this is for you.
If you’re ready to put in some effort and work to build new healthy habits that will last a life time and understand your relationship with food, maybe, just maybe, you should consider this.
You won’t find meal plans or a list of foods you can or can’t eat. You won’t find painful restrictions or deprivation. You won’t have to miss out on having a little piece of Aunt Susie’s birthday cake either.
You will find positive support, develop new habits, and build a healthy lifestyle that can be sustainable and actually enjoyable.
Head on over to Amazon and see about getting your copy today.
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.
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.
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.
As we start into a new year one of the things that is, well what should I say, expected? is the plethora of weight loss ads and diets that abound. No wonder. With the holiday season behind us many are making choices to commit to some type of program or system to get rid of unwanted pounds and get their bodies into shape.
Many of the things I see, really, often gets an eye roll from me. Mainly because there are so many smoke and mirrors that aren’t really designed to be long term or sustainable for individuals using it.
However, there is one thing that will always stop me.
I love stories from real people, who were really fat ( yes I used that word) and who worked their butt’s off the old fashioned way to get rid of it and have maintained that loss.
One of the things I enjoy reading is in People magazine. They do stories each year about individuals who’ve lost a lot of weight ( think well over 100+ pounds)
No surgeries, no gimmicks, no potions or detox/cleanses or whatever.
Just old fashioned hard work and discipline.
I caught this years winners on a morning talk show today and listened as they shared their personal tips on what helped them be successful.
There were no special tricks or anything that surprised me. It was all sane, practical and livable skills that led to them losing all that weight. ( one had lost over 280lbs !! )
I’ve preached much of this before but thought I’d bring it again as succinct as possible. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy fit lifestyle just takes some time, discipline, and a commitment to making it happen.
Here’s the low down:
All interviewed cited that to be successful they had to make the intentional choice to want to be healthy. No one can make you decide to lose weight or get fit but you. No one can do it for you. Making this decision is the first and biggest to get you on the road to a healthier lifestyle.
* You make a personal commitment then implement steps to do it.
Exercise. They all had found an activity that they liked that got them moving. As one lady said… “I knew I was lazy. I knew that being lazy was keeping me from feeling better”. She wanted to have energy to chase after her young children and play with them. It requires some effort on our parts to “not be lazy”.
* Find something you think you can enjoy and make a commitment to doing it most days of the week.
Eating. Needless to say their food choices had to change and the amount of foods they consumed had to change. They learned to make healthier swaps and eat less. One lady admitted to needing “structure” and had found success with a weight loss system.
* Modify your food by making better choices and reducing how much you eat. If you need “structure” there are several good programs that could help you.
Small goals. I’ve preached this before and often. Setting small goals helps not only mentally but also gives you that sense of satisfaction of accomplishing something on your goal list. These individuals made small goals for themselves that gave them confidence to keep on going.
* Set small, attainable goals for yourself. Write them down. Make them visible so you can see them. Assess goals as you make progress.
Hard work. Losing weight isn’t always easy. They all admitted to investing hard work to get where they were that day standing on the stage and in People magazine.
*Accept that the weight you put on won’t come off over night and it will take work to get back to where you want to be.
Must change mind set. I think this is so important to anyone’s success. If you don’t change how you think about food, how you interact with it, own the fact you need to lose weight, learn to view health and fitness as a good thing and be willing to leave your old behaviors, habits, and patterns behind, you will not be successful. There has to be a willingness to let go of old mind patterns and develop new ones for long term success.
*Be purposeful in changing your thinking about living a healthy lifestyle.
Use Social Media. Again, all of them cited using social media to help on their journey by sharing what they were doing, what their goals were, progress pics etc. I started using social media a few years ago sharing my running and training. It has evolved quite a bit from those days. I quickly learned that when you share, you will get asked about what you’re doing and it gives you another level of accountability. Not only that, I learned what I did encouraged others to want to get active and try new things.
*If you don’t use social media to share your fitness journey you may consider it. You can share as little or as much as you want. You’ll be surprised at how you may encourage others and if some don’t like fitness posts, no worries, they can just keep on scrolling 😉
These are all practical steps that can lead to a permanent lifestyle change. These things are doable for success. With a little determination, commitment, and a willingness to change and let go of old behaviors you will be on your way to being healthier, stronger and more energetic for your new year.
I try my best to slow the month down so I can just savor everything.
Of course, preparing for a new year means for me, getting my hands on a new planner to start plugging in appts and key things that are already scheduled.
I’m old school. I love getting a new planner with clean unmarked pages and putting pen to new plans, goals, and ideas.
One of the things that top the list for many people in a new year is to lose weight or start an exercise program.
I like not having to plan in “weight loss” for a new year. I spent enough years planning that and I don’t miss it…at all.
I’d much rather be scheduling new athletic adventures or learning new things for myself that I can share with others.
But what if you need to drop some weight and you’ve decided that this really is gonna be your year? This year will be the year to achieve those goals you’ve had in your mind for a long time.
Maybe you’re tired of feeling sluggish and run down. Perhaps you don’t like looking in the mirror and wish there was less of you to look at. It could be the doctor has told you for your best health you need to start being proactive with your health. It could be you just want to enjoy shopping for clothes again… nothing wrong with that either.
At the root of it all, the starting point, you have to want it bad enough to make it happen. No one can force you and no one can make it happen but you. The desire has to be strong to start making changes that will lead to you being successful in your endeavors.
I am ready. Where do I start?
It’s no big secret gyms see the biggest increase in attendance the first few weeks of January than any other time of year. People sign up with lofty goals and determination that quickly wanes once the novelty starts to wear off. Or they get there and are intimidated and don’t know what to do and their attempt is short lived.
I’ll let you in on a secret. You don’t have to join a gym to lose weight or to exercise. Now if you want to and think this is where you will excel, then by all means, take advantage of many of the programs available to members. If you choose to do so then be proactive and educate yourself so you know what’s available and how to best use your time when you are there. There are often health coaches that can give you direction in the beginning while you are learning.
However, I’ve found personally that there is a lot you can do at home and I personally think I work harder alone than being distracted if eyes are on me in a public place.
I have gathered up enough equipment over time to have my own little home gym. It’s nothing fancy and I have to share space with lawn equipment but it’s my space and it works just fine.. other than it has no air conditioning or heat it works out pretty well haha
You too can gather some basic items to use at home. Whether it’s a garage space, an empty room, or in the living room you can carve out your own space to get a workout in.
Of course if you decide to make outdoors your gym ( this is my most preferred workout space) by walking, running, cycling or any other activity you choose, the beauty of that becomes just getting dressed and walking out your door.
No driving, no waiting in traffic or being distracted at the gym. No extra time away from home if time is tight for you.
Make a plan.
What’s that old saying? Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your improved body won’t happen in a day so it’s good to settle into a plan that will work for you day after day and be sustainable in the long run.
As mentioned above, you need to determine first, what will work best for you to get you active and moving. Would a gym environment be what you need? this could be perfect for someone who initially lacks a bit of motivation and needs that from others around them. A home environment is great but you really have to be motivated and determined in the beginning to get yourself out there and not opt to lounge around drinking more coffee.
Once you have that down you need to look at your new planner and schedule your workout times. Yes. Put it down right there with dr. appts, dinner dates, and meetings with the teacher at school.
Schedule time for you. After awhile, once you’ve built it as a new habit, you won’t necessarily have to pen it out but for now, do. it.
Take small steps.
Where people get off track and discouraged is trying to do to much, to fast. They think if they’ve made the decision to start it should all just happen and happen quickly.
It won’t. Accept that and know it will take slow, steady and determined steps. Maybe your first week will only involve getting some good shoes or some clothes to use. Maybe it will be gathering some tools if you’ve determined being at home will work best for you or if it’s the gym maybe you’ve spent some time investigating your options before you commit.
These are important steps. Then in the second week you are ready to begin what you’ve decided to do. Not only that, you’ve had the time to mentally prepare and plan for it which I believe is super important in taking on anything.
Starting small also means taking it easy with whatever physical endeavor you choose. Doing to much, to fast, can leave you with injuries or burn out. Pace yourself slowly and allow your body time to make the adaptations to what you are doing. You might feel great after jogging around the block but if you haven’t done that in 15 years, I’m telling you, you will feel it and you certainly don’t want to feel bad before you get started.
Find ways to track your progress.
It’s helpful to take before you start pics or measurements etc. Noting these things does give you a marker of where you started from, especially when some times goes by. I’m used to myself now, but when I look back at photos from a few years ago I’m always surprised at how I’ve changed.
Leave your weighing in to only once a week. Keep it on an app on your phone or in a health journal, whichever you prefer. Do yourself a favor though and stick to a once a week weigh in and do new measurements once a month.
Maybe you have a pair of jeans or a dress you want to work your way back into. I often used that as a marker of my progress. Imagine my delight when one day the jeans I’d been wanting to get back into, were actually to big 😛
Share your activities.
Seriously. Share what you are doing on social media. I am pretty motivated but when I started sharing what I was doing a few years ago (whether it was running, my daily activities, or a new goal I was training for) it made me more aware of the fact I was doing it and I knew others knew I was doing it. From that came so much encouragement from people who lived vicariously through my craziness or better yet, got motivated to start doing something themselves.
When you have a support system that is all over the place, it’s a pretty cool thing. Not only that, if you miss posting or sharing, it’s always interesting to see who wants to know if you’re still being active.
Get a partner.
I’m used to flying solo in all my training sessions but I know some people do better with a partner. If that’s you, find someone to get on board with. You will both benefit from encouraging and challenging each other.
Set reasonable goals.
Once you’ve determined what you want to do, where you are going to do it, and scheduled the time to do it make sure you set out some reasonable and doable goals to remind you of what you want to achieve.
Whether it’s getting into smaller jeans or working towards running your first 5k, set goals that will motivate you during your workout times. Goals are so important to have. They don’t have to be huge ( they can be) but really, setting small, reasonable ones will give you success and encouragement to keep on with what you are doing.
Yes. Be patient with yourself. Allow for days that don’t go as planned or a weak moment when you cancel on yourself ( you’ll be annoyed by that later, that you did it) allow for unexpected life things that might throw you off but just get right back at it. Don’t allow yourself to make excuses to not meet for your scheduled time.
Don’t allow negative, self defeating talk that will discourage you. Speak in positive ways to yourself and see yourself accomplishing what you’ve set before yourself.
Give yourself time to adjust and change. Remember your mind is a powerful tool and how you use if for yourself and for self improvement is a huge thing.
With a little practice, patience, and determination you will be moving into 2018 getting stronger and healthier as you turn your activities into your new lifestyle.
Are you wanting to make changes in 2018? Do you have goals or plans for yourself to get there? What motivates you to do it?