Weight Loss And Salads

Another came rolling through again. The obligatory salad post with some “diet” caption attached to it.

I see them often.

The person is usually getting on the diet wagon and where else do you start, but by eating salads, right?

Now hear me out.

I’m not knocking salads. I love them. They are often my lunch of choice because well, I simply enjoy eating veggies, they fill me up, don’t make me feel sleepy, and leave me feeling energetic.

Salads done right are a wonderful meal and offer endless amounts of creativity with them.

Sadly, some I see, I’m left thinking that the poor person will be starving soon ( no protein in salad) and often lacking a good variety of veggies in it.

We have also been conditioned to think of losing weight and getting healthy in forms of deprivation.

Nothing fun or tasty.

A boring iceberg salad mix with a few cherry tomatoes thrown in, a bit of cucumber, and maybe some shredded carrot.

Yay. Go to town on that.

After all to lose weight, you gotta suffer right? Be miserable? Hungry all the time?

No, not really. Not at all.

Well, what works then?

There are many things on the market promising weight loss. There are lots of “trendy” new diets you can commit to if that’s your thing.

None of them are magic. None of them have some super power over the other. Some offer restrictions, others take food groups away from you, some have you eating gobs of fat, some give you barely enough calories to operate on, some offer “meal replacements”… gosh the list can go on….

At the end of the day it’s simply science.

We lose weight when we take in less calories than our bodies need for daily functioning.

You could achieve it on an Oreo and milk diet although I wouldn’t recommend that…. mainly ’cause I’m not into Oreos  😉

You create a deficit  by calories and activity level and in a slow and steady way weight loss will occur.

You need to reduce your daily calories by about  350-500 a day to lose weight.

How the heck do I do that?

I’d say start with things that might not matter a lot or that you could easily reduce. Do you stop for some sugary drink at Starbucks or the local coffee shop?

Do you have any idea of the calorie, fat, or sugar content of it for the size you buy?

Go ahead… I’ll wait.

Google it up and look.

Are you shocked? Most people are.

How much sugar or creamer do you add to coffee?  How many sodas or sugar drinks do you consume? Alcohol?

I’d say the best thing to do is simply write down all you eat in a day for about a week.

Be honest. Don’t try and hide anything from yourself. This will give you a guide of what you eat.. the good and not so good.

This will be your starting place to look at where to weed out those 350-500 calories a day.

We often mindlessly stuff things into our mouths without recognizing that yeah, those calories do count.

So do an honest assessment with yourself if you want to see where you can reduce or cut out to help lower those calories while keeping the more nutritious foods in place.

Speaking of nutritious foods…..

Consider foods you like that are healthy and offer your body good nutrition. You know I don’t really like to label foods, but let’s be honest, there are many foods that offer more to our health, feeling good, being energetic and losing weight than others.

Whole grains, fruits, veggies, lean meats, dairy products all offer an abundance of goodies for us to choose from to plan our daily nutrition needs.

Vegetables and fruit… consider this…

On average, only 14 percent of American adults consume at least 2 servings of fruit and at least 3 servings of vegetables daily.

14%.

Sadly, in my communication with people I’m always staggered at the truth of that. The very idea of vegetables is something repugnant being offered to them.

You can eat a whole lot of veggies that fill you up, keep you feeling energetic, and come in really low on the calories.

They can be eaten raw or cooked in all kinds of ways that are delicious.

Here’s the deal… if you’ve trained yourself to eat not so nutritious foods, you can train yourself to eat foods that support good health and weight loss.

And you have trained yourself to eat and drink the way you do now…..

It just will take some time and intentional effort on your part…. you know… that habit thing I always blab about….

I was at a dinner party recently and the couple across from me were, well honestly, really over weight. The wife was telling me how she was trying to get him to eat vegetables and he was telling me about ones he had been “trying” and she said “I’m even trying to get him to eat brussel sprouts!”

I said “Oh, how are you preparing them?”  (Help me. I already knew the answer before it came)

“Oh, I boil them!” she said smiling at me

I tried to contain my face and not imagine them boiled and rolling around the plate like little green heads… boiling them is like the kiss of death. Boiling them is the reason people rebel against eating them 😉

I told her for a change, that would be tasty and healthy, to slice them up, toss them with a little olive oil, cracked pepper and sea salt then roast them till they started to get crispy.

Her hubby definitely perked up to that.

Seriously though. Learn to experiment with vegetables. Roasting brings out the best flavors in them. Some do better lightly steamed but most anything can be roasted.

Now about those salads….

 

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Pure deliciousness. Writing, iced coffee and this new amazing salad from a local fast food joint of all places.

 

 

Just a few tips on making a good salad for your meal.

~include a variety of colorful veggies. Peppers, radishes, tomatoes, avocado, red onion, broccoli, really anything can be added.

~ don’t be afraid of tossing some fruit in. Blueberries or strawberries can make a good addition to a green salad.

~ Don’t forget a healthy dose of protein… this keeps you from getting hungry soon. Feta cheese, grilled chicken, canned tuna, boiled eggs etc can be great options to add in.

~ healthy fats like avocados or walnuts are a good addition to your salad

~ go easy on salad dressings or this will negate all the good efforts of your salad. Be mindful of calories and fat and the fact a serving size is usually like 2 tablespoons… yeah.. go ahead and measure that out…  look for low calorie ones or better yet learn to whip up your own healthier alternatives.

I’ve found the more creative the mix of my salad, the less I really want any dressing or at best just a minimal amount.

So post those salad pics…..

Seriously, if you’re on the road to dropping some weight, good for you! Salads offer a fun, tasty and super healthy way to get there. Make them satisfying to your tastes and share your creativity. It’s ok to enjoy your fruits and veggies.

Keep in mind as well, a balanced nutrition plan, with a small daily reduction of calories,  will lead to weight loss and keep your energy level up in the process.

What is the way you find most successful to lose weight? Are you good at eating your fruits and veggies?

In Pursuit Of The Ideal Weight

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“I want to be the weight I was in high school!” says the middle aged woman… “I want to weigh what I did when I played football” declares a man

These are weight ideals that men and women have every day. When they begin to focus on a goal for weight loss for some reason, the weight they were in the past and they felt like they were “their best”, becomes the new and current focus, even if they haven’t seen this weight in decades.

Where as there’s nothing wrong with this, it could also just be an unrealistic goal based on where you are today in your life.

Perhaps there’s a sense that once that “ideal” weight is reached there will be a feeling that you’ve “arrived”. Or it could be an assumption if you got to that weight again you’ll be really happy. Maybe you view it as your body will finally be how you want it.

I guess the reasons could go on… however… it just might not be where you need to be… today.

Our bodies are beautifully designed to live in a perfect balance of a weight that is “good” for us. Yes, we can have times of our weight being lower but it might take a lot more work and attentiveness to our diet to just be able to maintain those numbers on the scale.

It certainly could be an unwanted burden to bear if you have to be constantly watchful of everything you eat to stay at that perceived “good” weight.

That perceived weight goal you have might not be where you need to be at today in your life.

You might have a different job or more activities to keep you moving. You might have health issues or be on meds that don’t allow you to move to that goal. You might not “look” healthy if the weight is a bit to low for you.

But let’s not over look the fact that our bodies often have a preset weight that they can stay at and you can easily maintain and it might not be your predetermined goal weight.

Let’s establish this:

First there are a lot of factors that can determine our “ideal” weight.  Your height, age, gender, frame size, muscle to fat ratio, and body fat distribution all play into your ideal weight.

You could be the same height as your friend and maybe trade off borrowing clothes, but I can guarantee your body composition will be very different.

There are several “tools” that doctors/health care professionals use to help determine an “ideal” weight. But again that is so subjective based on many things. Let’s take a look at a few ways supposed ideal weight could be determined.

One of the long time used meters is the BMI (body mass index)

Your BMI is calculated on your height and weight and a scale is used on what “normal” body weights are for the gender/age/ etc.

You can figure your own by looking it up on an online calculator. You can also do it as a math problem, but that makes my head hurt, so I prefer the handy online calculator to help with it. I already know mine, but maybe you need to figure yours out.

This can give a base line of “health”.

Standard numbers are less than 18.5 you are underweight, healthy weight 18.5-24.9, overweight 25-29.9, and obese 30 or higher.

This is a good tool but not a good indicator if a person is carrying a more “muscle to fat ratio” as their numbers can come in higher, although they are technically more fit and more lean muscle mass is definitely preferable to a higher fat ratio.

BMI is a surrogate measure of body fatness because it is a measure of excess weight rather than excess body fat.

BMI uses your weight in the formula but it doesn’t distinguish if it comes from an abundance of fat or lean muscle tissue. Athletes and body builders who carry a great amount of muscle  can come in with a higher BMI, which does not distinguish muscle mass carried.

Because BMI does not directly measure fat it can miscategorize people as healthy  who have a normal weight for their height when they are actually carrying to much fatty tissue.

You can see just using a BMI has negatives in both directions although it offers a guideline as a basic health screening.

Another more accurate tool is body fat percentage.

I learned a lot about this a few years ago. My doctor told me I fall more into the category now of figuring body fat than the standard BMI due to my lean muscle mass.  Many experts say that body fat percentage is the best way to go as it is the best way to gauge their fitness level because it’s the only measurement that includes the bodies true composition.

Using the body fat percentage would not make the couch potato seem more fit than an Olympic athlete as the case with just using BMI.

There are several ways of determining body fat percentage and although none are 100% accurate it will give you a close enough estimate.

Examples include near-infrared interactance, dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, and bioelectrical impedance analysis.

I’ll give you one other example.. that should be enough to over load your mind for today …

Waist to hip ratio

A waist-hip measurement is the ratio of the circumference of your waist to that of your hips. You measure the smallest circumference of your waist, usually just above your belly button, and divide that total by the circumference of your hip at its widest part.

Less than 0.9 for men and 0.8 for women is considered low risk for cardio problems

0.9-0.99 for men and 0.8-0.89 for women moderate risk of cardio problems

1 or over for men  and 0.9 or over for women is considered high risk

The WHR of a person is commonly said to be a much better indicator of whether their body weight is ideal and what their risks of developing serious health conditions are, compared to BMI.

The biggest problem with WHR is that it’s just not a good indicator of overall health, it doesn’t accurately measure the persons total body fat percentage, or their muscle to fat ratio. It is a better predictor of ideal weight and health risks than BMI.

So… your ideal weight…does it exist?

Your “ideal” weight is as unique as your daily dietary needs are for health and wellness.

A few things to consider about it…

Know roughly what your body weight range should be. If you are outside of that or know you are carrying extra weight ( and we all know when we have extra fat on us), a sensible plan will help you steadily knock of those pounds to get to a more normal healthy range. The ideal weight charts sometimes can give you a close estimate and some are ridiculous ( as in one that told me I should weigh between 108-112. Yeah, I laughed over that. At 6’0 those are ridiculous numbers) I do know what my “range” is, but for me that’s pretty loose because again, it doesn’t take in my lean muscle mass, my activity level, or any other unique aspects of my physical person.

Your ideal weight won’t necessarily be your high school weight or whatever other magic number you have in mind.

Once you are in a healthy weight zone, allow for a 5 lb. limit to swing back and forth in. Trust me. It’s freeing. Ladies, this is especially important depending on where you are in your cycle. I know that a few extra pounds that might show up mid cycle will go away as some water weight. If it’s water, things will balance out again.

Depending on your level of physical activity ( and I mean workouts most days of the week or specific weight training) you will build lean muscle mass. This level of body fat you have to lean muscle mass is your body composition. The more lean muscle you build, the better. Muscle isn’t “heavier” than 1 lb of fat, it’s just that fat takes up more volume or space then muscle. Muscle is more dense.  Understanding this, if you are doing very purposeful exercise all the time you can gain lean muscle but the scale might not change a lot on you.

Your ideal weight will become easy enough to maintain based on your daily food intake and purposeful exercise.

If you have to go hungry, restrict meals, workout more than usual, or do any other crazy thing to stay at a given weight, that’s your wake up call. Your body isn’t going to stay there unless you are constantly diligent and practicing those methods to keep it there.

Your ideal weight will allow you to do the things you love, to take care of your family, pursue active endeavors, or take on your daily purposeful exercise with lots of energy.

It’s great to have an ideal weight in mind, but having a happy healthy weight that’s sustainable for your life is even better.

Do you or have you strived towards an ideal weight? Have you found a place of balance with a happy healthy weight?

 

 

 

Weight Loss And The Non Supportive Partner

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As I sit here rolling around ideas and topics to bring to you in this post (’cause there really are so many things to talk about, right? )  my mind is taking a little different bend on an area that might not be discussed often but it’s something that  I know some people deal with.

I talk a lot about weight loss, healthy ( sustainable) ideas to achieve it, exercises to support it and keep you fit, but what about the person who is trying to lose weight and get on a healthy lifestyle but has….

A non-supportive partner ?

What does one do when their support system is non existent or sabotages their efforts? I have to admit, this is a complete foreign concept to me as I’ve been blessed with a husband who has always been supportive of my efforts of anything I do, and not just losing weight.

Of course his position has always been… ” I love you no matter what size and shape you are” and good thing ’cause I’ve been many sizes and shapes in our 35 years together haha 😛

Seriously though, I’m glad he’s always felt that way, but never opposed to me improving either.

He’s more likely to chide me now days about not eating enough on my heavier training days than anything or give me a hard time if my day has been busy and I haven’t eaten in awhile.

In our time together I experimented with some different things along the way and he let me do my thing.  I got on the current path I’m on ( you know the sane, sensible, non crazy, sustainable lifestyle path) and that has just been a path that totally blends in with my family and has allowed me to stay successful.

I know not all people are as blessed to have such a support system. Cleaning out things in my moms home recently I came across a “Dieting Journal” she had started one January.

**Sigh** isn’t that when everyone thinks they should start? Anyway, I will share more about her insights in a later post but she had written something that I always knew because it frustrated her and always contributed to her not being successful.

Some of her struggles were wishing that my dad would be more supportive and helpful to her on her attempt to lose weight. I think he had a thing for heavier women, but I also wonder if he fell in the camp that if she did lose a lot of weight she’d be more attractive to men. ( this is a common problem at the top of the charts problem for people with non supportive partners)

He had a thing for junk food and he had ways of offering that at a point you’d finally give up and say ok ( like when he would offer me Peanut M&M’s 😛 )

She continued writing that he didn’t help her struggles and almost seemed to double up efforts to offer her foods that didn’t contribute to her being successful and how discouraged she was. At the time, they were on the go a lot and she writes about the fast food on the go and feeling like her day would be “lost” because of the foods they would eat.

So what do you when you have a non supportive partner and are trying to adopt a healthier way of living ?

What do you do when those around you say “you’re fine just the way you are”?

Well, yeah you are fine, but let’s be real. They aren’t the ones dragging your flab around, are they ?

Of course the implication is they love you “however”, but again, refer to my previous thought. They aren’t dealing with your clothes not fitting, or you feeling out of breath with simple tasks, or the fact you can’t bend over and get to your shoe to tie it, or how it all makes you emotionally feel. Nor are they considering your overall health.

I’ll sketch out a few ideas/suggestions that might be helpful.

First, ask why your partner or those around you don’t want you to do it? It’s ok to listen, but don’t let that sway your decision to be about what you want to do.

If it’s your partner there could be a lot of insecurity or worry. Maybe talking and reassuring them could go a long way to gaining their support.

Jealousy could be a bigger issue and one that’s harder to get around. They might simply not want you to get the attention it may bring.

Express your concerns. Tell those you love you want to do it to be healthier for yourself and for them ( it should always be about you first) this can be hard if you’re in an overweight family and everyone sees it as “normal”. It may be harder to convince them that you are doing it to have a healthier life.

You may have to just shoulder it on your own. However, in the process you’ll be gaining will power of yourself, after all, you and you alone controls what goes into your mouth. That is something no one can make you do.  It also falls on you to develop an exercise regime. Again, you are responsible for getting your body moving each day, no one else.

On that thought, you may need to stand firm from those in your life who might try and sway you from not doing it.  Make a list for yourself of how it makes you feel, and what your future goals are. Arrange things around your exercise time and don’t let other things try to knock it out.

Making healthy lifestyle changes in the mix of non-supporters can be hard but sticking to it will only develop your mental strength as well.

Go into it with a real mentality. People will offer you food you don’t need that won’t support your goals. They won’t be cheering for your exercise efforts. They won’t acknowledge the physical signs when your hard work begins to pay off.

It would be great if we got that encouragement for our efforts but it’s real life and we don’t. You can cheer for yourself as the pounds drop off and you slip on smaller clothes.

Assume that sometimes there could be someone who will attempt to make you feel guilty over the changes you’re making.

Honestly, that’s their issue. You… need to have none of it. Their issue is theirs. You just keep doing what you’re doing.

Learn to be direct. It’s ok to say no thank you to foods or drinks you don’t want. It’s ok to pass if you don’t believe it supports your efforts or if you just flat out don’t want it.

You don’t need to point out “you’re dieting” or “trying to lose weight”.  A simple no thank you is enough.

Try to keep this in mind….

many non-supporters have their own health/weight issues. Seeing you out there nailing it and becoming slimmer and more fit might just rub them the wrong way.

Again, it’s their issues, not yours. They may have their own insecurities or body image issues. That is for them to deal with, not you.

Be clear with your partner on what you need and what that support looks like. As in “please don’t leave my favorite cookies laying around” , “understand my workout will be the first thing I do in morning” or whatever it is.

Ask them to get on board with you. Maybe set up a friendly challenge to compete with each other.  Maybe he doesn’t need to lose weight, but might need to start moving more. Find something that might get you both going.

Keep your goals in sight, whatever that looks like for you. Motivational quotes, pictures, clothes anything that reminds you of what you’re doing.

Teach your partner about healthier food options, while letting them know they can still have some Oreos along the way too 😉

Finally, as much as you might want support, if you have to accept you won’t get it, remember you are totally worth the efforts and investment into yourself with healthier eating and taking time to exercise. Don’t get discouraged but maintain your focus on your personal goals. Hopefully, with some time and consistency, you will get a support team on your side to celebrate with you.

Have you had struggles with this? Have you lacked support in your quest to get healthier or starting an exercise program? How did you deal with it? Were you able to stay the course or did you quit ?

 

Keto And Dash Diet Review

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

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

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

OK on to todays topic!

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

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

No. Just no.

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

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

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

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

Ok the first one….

The Dash Diet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are health benefits?

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

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

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

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

On the flip side of diets….

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

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

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

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

What does ketosis mean anyway?

I’m going to keep it super simple here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What foods do you avoid?

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

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

Can you lose weight on this diet?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In summary…

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What’s Your “Why” For Good Health

 

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What’s your why?  Why do you do what you do? All of us have “whys” for things we do in our lives.

Let’s take that to our health and fitness goals.

Why do you want to do it? Or why are you out there every day going after it ?

More energy? Better health? To do something you’ve never done? To build your confidence? To daily activities easier? To be strong and empowered?

If you are like many I talk to, they want to but haven’t nailed down their “why” for getting fit or losing weight.

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I think, it’s a reason many people start, stop, and quit.

I was talking to a young woman the other night. She’s half my age. The conversation started that she didn’t believe I had ever been heavier or not fit. ( my daughter had informed her of that 😛 )

I’ve taken pictures since I started my health journey because it tells a much bigger story than numbers on a scale.  I showed them to her.

8 years ago I was a much softer, fluffier version of me. I was also quite a bit heavier.  My arms were soft with no muscle definition as were my legs.

I hadn’t looked at the photos in awhile so it was like a rapid fire look through my transition of the past few years.

Change definitely takes time.

Then she asked me..

“So why did you do it? What made you start?”

I have my own “whys” for getting started on my health and fitness journey.

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My check up with my doctor that year was my turning point. It became my “why”.

I knew I was packing pounds I didn’t need, and I knew I wasn’t getting the exercise my body needed.

I also knew my family history and that my mom and grandmother were both obese and had many health problems associated with being to fat. My grandmother had a heart attack at 50.  Her and my mom had high blood pressure and diabetes. My mom eventually developed kidney issues, having two transplants and ultimately being on dialysis. My father, although having really no contact with him, I knew he was overweight and had diabetes. He ultimately died of a heart attack.

I was 46 the year of that check up.

Knowing I was still healthy and had the power to change things settled on me.

My “whys” became so I didn’t walk the same paths as family members before me. To be healthy for myself and for my family.

My “why” for starting was fairly simple and uncomplicated.

Lose weight. Stay healthy.

I had no idea the journeys I would go on in the upcoming years.

I guess the rest, is history. I made the choices I did and in that I found activities I love and have become passionate about.

Never, ever would I have thought I’d become a runner. Or a cyclist. Or that I’d be pursuing both at the same time for a race.

I’ve learned to eat more good foods than not. It’s all worked together.

My “whys” turned into, “why not’s”.

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She started telling me her story, one that is familiar to me now as many people have similar ones.

She just wanted to lose weight.  She wanted to get back to working out.

So I asked her… “Why? Why do you want to?”

One of her first responses was “well I want to get back to the weight I was in high school”

I told her that was great, but what was so wonderful about that weight?  Did she think it would make her happier or more successful? Why did she think that was a reason for getting started?  (And for the record, your high school weight was great when you were 17 but it might not be where you need to be today in the body you are in now)

Talking it out for a bit she finally admitted “well I know I was pretty thin and wasn’t taking care of myself like I should”

Maybe that isn’t a good why reason.

We kept talking and she said “well I would like to lose weight because I’ll just feel better about myself, and doing that makes me feel more confident”

Ok, good reasons. Now we were slowing getting somewhere.

She talked about her son and how she wanted to be healthy for him and how she wanted to be able to do things with him. She mentioned how she bought him all these healthy foods and she didn’t focus as much on her own nutrition.

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I asked her why she thought taking care of herself wasn’t a priority. (note… you get no bonus points in life for putting yourself on the back burner)

We continued talking and brainstorming as I listened to her share her story with me.

She finally admitted she needed to consider her health as a priority as much as her sons was.

Now… now we were getting somewhere.

She was getting to her “why” for wanting to do it. More than just a vague acknowledgement of wanting to lose weight.

We all need to come to the point where we can answer our own “why” for wanting to lose weight and get fit. Then we must begin to remove the excuses that keep us from moving forward to our goals.

It might be fun to think of getting to your high school weight or losing 10 lbs before a class reunion but is that going to be enough to get you going?

To keep you going ?

You have to examine it beyond a surface thought of “I just want to lose weight” to a deeper level that will keep you motivated to reaching your goals.

Making your own list of why you want to get healthier and fit is a good way to move towards making it happen.

As you make a list think of how losing weight will help you. How will you feel? What will you be able to do easier that you can’t now? What health needs do you need to address? How will losing weight improve them? How do you feel about yourself right now? Would losing weight help you with a more positive attitude about yourself?

You can apply similar thoughts to getting fit and eating better.  Losing weight doesn’t just change our bodies, but it changes how we feel about ourselves and that in turn affects the rest of our lives.

Getting to your own reasons for why you want to lose weight, get fit or stronger and healthier is a key step to actually accomplishing those things in your life.

What was your “why” reason for weight loss and getting in shape?

 

 

I Eat Ice Cream Don’t Judge Me

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

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

Oh yeah. That’s what I’m here for.

Writing 😉

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

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

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

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

jelly beans

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

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

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

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

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It’s drool worthy, right ? 😉

 

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

Of course I do.  Don’t judge me 😛

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

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

 

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Did I eat it all ?!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is what I want to bring to you.

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

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

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

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

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

No.

Nothing changed for me.

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

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

That stuff works.

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

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

It protects you from the “Last Supper” mentality.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Modern Day Snake Oil

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This weirdly sounds like the sales pitch for products today.

 

Oh boy. I’m getting on my soap box again so buckle up boys and girls.  I try and stay off of it, but with this particular topic it’s such a rich sea of constant writing opportunities it’s just hard to not capitalize on them.

What you may be wondering is it that keeps my creative writing pot over flowing?

The world of “health” and wellness companies.  I’ve had a thing or two to say about them before. I’m sure it won’t be the last time either.

The products are sold by your next door neighbor,  the friend you do yoga with or the sweet grandmother down the street.

Once they sign up they become health and wellness experts overnight.

Actually, they just regurgitate what the company spoon feeds them in propaganda.

Listen, I’m not knocking someone who’s trying to make a few extra bucks. Their intentions are well meaning.  I know lots of people who do. I’m just suggesting you might not turn your health care over to someone who doesn’t know squat about most of the things the company tells them to promote or say.

Maybe your blood sugar is just fine and if it isn’t your neighbor isn’t the one to consult.

If you need energy maybe, perhaps, your nutrition needs adjusting and you don’t need supplements of some kind to give you “energy” ( which can translate to nothing more than “natural” speed in some products) maybe you need to lose weight to feel more energetic.

One company vendor posted a screen shot a customer had sent. The customer was proclaiming “how much energy he/she had and they hadn’t even taken their Adderol!” ( Adderol if you don’t know is a legal, controlled substance taken by many people but it’s a legal “speed”) Whatever natural thing was in the product made them feel like they had taken their meds.

That made me raise my eyebrows…a lot….well… there’s LOTS that make my eyebrows shoot off my face sometimes.

Ok well I’m getting to my main point for today. One company is huge on talking up “gut health” and telling you that you need all these products cause you’re more sickly than you realize without them. This company’s literature is loaded with all kinds of “issues” or “problems” you can have in regards to  gut health. But I must say, what’s set me off on todays tangent is something I read earlier and it was a meme that said…

“Anxiety is not all in your head. It’s actually in your gut.”

WHAT?! WHAT?!

I desperately wanted to ask if it was a “for real” post ’cause it just was so… shocking to me… disturbing.. that someone would believe that or say it. Like.. do you know anyone who has anxiety issues?  I couldn’t imagine telling the person I know who deals with  it that it was only “in their gut”.

And I guess I was disturbed that someone would be so casual about a mental condition to use it in a meme that was designed to get you to respond so they could say… “well hey! I have all these products to fix your awful gut and it will fix up your anxiety too!”

Are. You. Kidding.

It honestly bothered me all day on lots of levels.

I have done a bit of my own research on this topic… and let’s just say in a huge way the jury is still out on the topic of “gut health”.  There are lots of opinions and thoughts and there is still a lot of discussion on it.  You can find various writings and articles but like anything out there, you’ve gotta consider the sources.

Ok but first, simplified, what on God’s green earth does that REALLY mean?? Here’s my definition for you so we have something to work with here.

“Gut health is anything pertaining to your digestive working system.”

Everything we eat passes through the GI tract. The tract is lined with a thin, sticky mucous and it’s lined with millions of bacteria that live, grow and metabolize ( digesting and absorbing) in what’s considered a complex ecosystem comprised of both beneficial and harmful bacteria.

So ideally, we eat foods good for us, it processes through our amazing organized system and in the GI tract the food is broken down and nutrients are delivered via the small intestine into the blood stream.

When we feed our body good foods it operates in optimal form.

However, let’s face it. Many don’t.  Sometimes life is going on and we don’t eat as well as we should. So yes, you can have issues or problems with your “gut” ( and I really hate that word, just throwing that out there)

If eating poorly is a lifestyle then there can be many common problems that you may deal with:

Gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, inflammation, cramping, indigestion etc.

Wow, that all sounds fun, right? Some people might just come to assume it’s what they have to live with, that it’s normal for them.

You really don’t have to feel that way.  And you really can keep your money and not buy the snake oil to “heal” you.

Our bodies were made to function on foods and not man made supplements. Healing your gut, for the most part, can be helped with improved nutrition and better eating habits.

Here’s a fun fact for you….within 20 minutes of eating whole healthy foods you can begin “healing your gut”  as the bacteria in your bowels divide every 20 minutes on average. Meaning what you eat either feeds your body health promoting bacteria or non healthy bacteria.

The type of food you eat is a powerful weapon for health.

And a few other tips/suggestions to get and stay healthy:

Probiotics. The natural way to get them would be through foods. Yogurt is a wonderful source, make sure to choose ones that say active or live cultures.

Fermented foods like sauerkraut also have a high level of probiotics.

Avoid use of antibiotics unless necessary. These destroy your “good” bacteria.

Eat less refined sugars.

Lower stress levels.

Exercise.

Eat a healthy daily diet.

So here’s the thing that these companies leave out. There is a small nod to diet or exercise with them.  but it’s more about “buy and use our stuff to be healthy and feel awesome.”

The list of problems their products promise to help and fix is staggering. I’m waiting to hear it cures cancer next.

Let’s keep in mind, at the end of the day, they are a marketing company and everyone is out to make money.

They aren’t telling you that good nutrition should be your goal.  They aren’t telling you exercise will help you have energy, change your lab results, or help with your moods.

They are saying… hey, eat what you want and use our products to help you….why should you have to change?

If you don’t change your behaviors and your eating habits there is no product that is going to fix those problems and the only thing you’ll lose is your money to the snake oil salesman.

Rant now over.