Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Diet Outlaw

I read this interesting article about the Diet Outlaw (, who “accidentally” lost 150 lb! She didn’t follow any traditional diets, which is why she called herself the Diet Outlaw. The article reminded me of certain people and situations and their affect on weight.

The first was a couple of friends in high school. Diane was always stick thin, and Cindy became a little heavy. Then she lost weight; her secret? She just ate like Diane did. What do you know, eating like a thin person makes you thin!
The article also reminded me of two people from my freshman year of college: my roommate Bettina and my boyfriend Don. Both were naturally thin people who could eat anything they wanted and not gain weight. But, actually, they didn’t eat a lot. If they did eat one big meal, then they didn’t eat much for the next 24 hours. The fact was that, even though they could eat “anything they wanted”, they didn’t.

Then there was the time when I moved to Monterey and lost 10 lb. in the first month. How did that happen? I wasn’t trying to lose weight. Since I’d just moved from a different place and life, I’m sure my diet changed. Since fall in Monterey is so beautiful, I probably walked around more than I had been. The biggest change to me was that I was starting graduate school and I was very happy. I was happy with where I was living; I was happy to be back in school; I was happy to be meeting new people. Happiness seemed to make the pounds drop off.

I think of that even now, when the pounds creep back on, despite my eating and exercise habits: what’s making me unhappy? It must be something. Once I figure that out, the weight slips off again.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Injury is No Excuse

Follow-up from before: I wrote that there’s no excuse not to exercise while traveling because most hotels have a fitness room. However, in Paris, Las Vegas, the fitness center is part of the spa, all of which is available to guests for $25/day. $25 for 30 min. on a cardio machine?! Forget it! But we did walk a lot the day after our big buffet dinner! Now, my left foot hurts! I think it’s related to walking around the concrete, tile and marble floors of Las Vegas with uncushioned shoes.

Wednesday, I took a break from cardio because of my injured foot. However, when I was at work at the gym, I noticed the lowly rowing machine. Little used and tucked in a corner, the rowing machine doesn’t really use your feet! Perhaps I could use that with my hurt foot! So I looked around some more . . . how about a recumbent bike? You sit and bicycle your legs forward; that might not hurt my foot. How about a regular bike? I’d be sitting, taking a lot of the weight off my injured foot. Here I’d thought that I couldn’t do any cardio exercises because they all require being on your feet, but, low and behold, there were three machines that don’t require standing. I tried out all three and found that the stationary bike did still put a lot of pressure on my injured foot. However, both the recumbent bike and rowing machine felt fine on my foot! Yea! Cardio I could still do despite a foot injury!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mid-Month Re-motivation

It’s the middle of the month. Are you halfway to your monthly goal? I’m not. Last week, I was unmotivated, with other priorities. At this point (Oct. 13) I still have ~3 more weeks of October; that’s still time to make a difference, an improvement. I’m re-energized! Why? I took a weekend, anniversary trip with my husband and no kids! Wonderful!

However, most people can’t say the same, so how do they re-energize themselves?

Well, revisit your goal: Is it achievable within a month? Is it specific and measurable? Is it relevant? If your goal is too general, like “lose 10 lb.,” it will be difficult to achieve because you don’t know if you are losing fat, muscle or water. If you do it through exercise, you are probably gaining muscle, which weighs more than fat and can cause the scale to tip higher. If you do it through dieting, you might be sending your body into “starvation” mode, lowering your metabolism to adjust to the lack of caloric intake. Perhaps your goal needs to be modified to something like, lose 1% body fat (if you can measure that) or for your clothes to fit better, a much more relevant goal than what the scale says.

Do you have specific steps to take, everyday, to achieve your goal? Make sure your steps are small enough to complete every day. Modify steps, if needed, to be more specific and relevant. “eat less” is too general; “only one serving” especially if you are used to eating 2, is more specific and relevant.

There’s still time; there’s always time, to make adjustments and improvements in your health and lifestyle. Find something that works, so that everyday you can answer the question, “What did you do today?” healthfully.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

“No excuses not to exercise while traveling”

While most people I know exercise less while traveling, I have one client who always says, “There are no excuses not to exercise while traveling!” What a wonderful surprise to hear! And why is that? Because nowadays, almost all hotels have a fitness room. There may only be the basics, but what more do you need while traveling? And it’s just down the hall from you! How hard is it to throw a pair of sneakers and a t-shirt & shorts in your bag while you pack? See, that’s the first step: being conscientious enough, while packing, to take workout clothes. Step two would be to actually put on the workout clothes with the intention to workout. Step 3: just do it!

So let’s see if I put my money where my mouth is this weekend in Vegas and actually use the fitness room at our hotel . . .

Calories & Overeating & BMR

I read an interesting article (sorry I don’t have the reference; I’ll see if I can find it) about BMR the other day. BMR is your Basal Metabolic Rate, which is the number of calories you need to consume to continue basic human function, at rest. We need to consume more than our BMR, of course, because we don’t lie around in bed all day. This article explained how to calculate your BMR and how to use a multiplier to add the number of calories you need, based on your activity level. It also discussed which types of people tend to have higher BMR’s and who has lower ones and a list of things that can and cannot change your BMR.

The article also discussed safe ways practice “calorie deficits.” Doesn’t that sound nicer than “diet”? Really, calorie deficit is what losing weight is all about. No matter how many calories you burn exercising, if you eat more than that, you will still gain, not lose, weight. Even if you eat healthy foods, even if you stay in the “fat burning” heart rate zone on your cardio machine, it still comes down to basic math: calories in < calories out.

Their suggestions for calorie deficits are: minimum 500 – 1000 maximum calorie reduction and never below 1200 calories/day. Or -15-20% of the calories you need per day.

I calculated my BMR, my TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure), my “calorie deficits” needed, etc. then remembered that I don’t count calories, so all those numbers didn’t really matter.

Monday, October 6, 2008

What did you do today?

This question occurred to me in terms of achieving goals. We have to work at our goals every day, not just “in general.” As such, we have to squeeze in goal achievement into our regular lives of work, parenting, house maintenance, friends, family, etc. even though we have many distractions from our goals.

And so: what did you do today to work towards your goal? We can’t put it off until we have more time, until tomorrow, until the weekend, etc. We have to take little steps towards our goals every day or else we won’t achieve them.

Personally, I was not a good example, Saturday, because I didn’t take any of the steps I outlined to achieve my goals! That’s fine, for one day. But multiply that by 30 days, and I haven’t achieved my goal for the month! There may be days when I can’t work towards my goal, when it’s just not going to happen that day. That’s fine, once or twice a week. However, if I can stop myself during the day and ask myself what I’ve done to accomplish my goal, then I can regroup and still end the day with a positive response. Better yet, if I can wake up and plan ahead, then I can surely answer this question positively every day. If I can answer it positively most days, then I will accomplish my goal.

So, what did you do today?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Goal for October

New month, new goal: By the end of October, I will have smaller love handles and all my winter clothes will fit. I accomplished this goal successfully in Aug. 2007 and maintained it for months (until I became overworked and over-stressed in the spring 2008).

Steps to Achieving my Goal:
1. Measure my waist-hips and cardio output to have a starting point.
2. Do abdominal endurance exercises 5x/week.
3. Add 10% more cardio (time, distance, calories, whatever) to burn more calories.
4. Eat more healthily & conscientiously, following the SWEET Life Plan.
5. Drink more water, 8 cups/day.

Obstacles to Achieving my Goal:
1. It takes more time to do the above; however, these are all things I can do with my kids, so they don’t take my little “alone-time.”
2. Being gone all day (like the past 2 days) it’s difficult to follow the SWEET Life Plan; however, one person I introduced it to remarked that it’s easy to carry around one piece of paper. I’d really like it to be online, so perhaps this is an incentive to make that happen . . .

So, to get started, October 1, I woke up and took my weight and measurements. Shockingly large waist! When I biked to pick up the girls from preschool & daycare, I measured my cardio output: 49 min., 8.78 miles, 567 calories, 10.8 ave. mph. (Having the fancy training watch helps!) Step #1 is done!