Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolutions for 2012

Here we are again. The day of "last suppers", "this is the last time I'll eat ___________", and "I'm going to start going to the gym five times every week."

If you are saying these things to yourself (again), you'll likely be saying the same thing to yourself again this time next year. I did it for so many years before I finally realized these resolutions were not realistic or actionable. If you truly want to lose weight and get healthy for 2012, ditch all of these resolutions and cancel your order for the commercial diet plan. There is a better way!

Make one resolution - to make a lifestyle change
The year I finally started making progress toward my weight loss goals, I resolved to make small changes slowly with mini-goals. If I messed up, I started over. When I achieved a goal, I gave myself a non-food reward and started on another small goal. Soon, these became habits and I managed to lose 40 pounds.

Pick one small goal today
Today, pick a small goal like reducing soda intake or walking for 30 minutes three times per week. When you conquer this goal, move on to the next. And, don't forget to take your "good-bye" photos. They will be fun to look at this time next year when you are celebrating your accomplishments instead of having your "last supper".

Friday, September 9, 2011

Weigh-in day!

It's been a few weeks since I weighed in, but it had to be done today. After having a long vacation filled with food freedom, I was beyond worried getting on the scale today. If you are picturing me getting on the scale sans clothes with a huge exhale...well, you are correct.

To my surprise, I actually maintained my weight over the last few weeks! I thought it would be about four or five pounds higher than it actually was, so I was thrilled. I have been struggling for quite some time to get back to my goal of 140 pounds, but now I'm only seven pounds away.

I am back into the swing of things with my healthy habits and I feel confident that I will reach my goal again soon - and stay there!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Every Day Is A New Day

I spent the past 10 days away from work enjoying the last bits of summer in the Midwest. Unfortunately, that also meant 10 days away from watching my diet, 10 days away from regular exercise and 10 days further out from meeting my current health and wellness goals.

I can’t lie – the freedom of being spontaneous schedule-wise has been amazing. I ate famous deep dish pizza in Chicago, had macaroni & cheese on a stick at the State Fair and I even indulged in a real Coca-Cola. However, it was so sweet, I could only drink half of it. Ahhh….my healthy changes are working!

It has been wonderful the last 10 days: No planning meals, no feeling guilty and no getting up at 5:30 a.m. to run three plus miles. It would be quite easy for me to continue down this path. But, where would that get me?

Luckily, today is a new day and I have chosen to focus on my health and wellness goals again. And, just as lucky, the State Fair has ended for the year, so I have no choice but to avoid deep fried pickles until next August. Given this choice several years ago, I would have given up on the “diet” completely and kept on with the free-for-all right through the holidays.

I believe I have truly changed many habits over the past few years since I was actually looking forward to my turkey burger and salad for lunch. I’m looking forward to waking up early to get my adrenaline going for the day with a great workout. Mostly, I’m looking forward to seeing results of my hard work. I know they will come in time!

Here they are – my health and wellness goals for the remainder of 2011:

Reach my goal weight of 140 (again) by Christmas. I was about five pounds away from this before my vacation. I have not verified this, but I would guess this is no longer the case! I’m guessing I have more like 10 pounds to go…oops…

I will do this by…
--Journaling daily (food, workouts, etc.)
--Lifting weights twice per week, cardio 3-5 times per week and Pilates class once per week
--Keeping accountable with weekly weigh-ins
--Connecting with friends for support

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Week 11 of 12 - Weigh In Results

Setting goals, childhood dreams and Russell Brand. What more could you ask for? Check out my Week 11 Vlog!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Today is my 5-year anniversary as a WW Lifetime Member

Five years ago today I reached my weight loss goal of 140 pounds and became a Lifetime Member at Weight Watchers. It was a very long journey of ups and downs (literally), but I ultimately lost 40 pounds and went from a size 14 to a size four.

Currently, I'm about 10 pounds above my goal, which is the highest weight I've been in five years. However, I'm working diligently by journaling food and training for a 10K race to lose the last 10 pounds (again). Even though I'm not at my goal right now, I have kept up my healthy habits for five years. I know I'll never return to the days of fast food and drinking 2-liters of soda per day!

Thanks for your support over the years! I couldn't have done this without all of you!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Desk job? Stay active and alert all day.

I’ve spent the last 13 years sitting at a desk working on a computer for 8+ hours per day experiencing monotonous days, cravings for naps and even headaches due to eye strain. Sound familiar?

It’s important to boost your energy throughout the day no matter how full your email inbox. Trying these ideas will help rejuvenate you and keep your energy up throughout the day. Taking time to do these activities will make you more productive in the long run.

I actually do all of these things - give it a try!

Tip: Leave your desk once per hour. Get a glass of water or instead of sitting in meeting rooms, take a walk and discuss topics.
My personal comment: This forces me to drink more water and helps burn an additional 100 calories or so throughout the day.

Tip: Move your eyes away from the computer periodically. Your eyes will get used to looking at the screen up close. Over time, your long-range vision can deteriorate because you are so used to looking at something a foot away from you. Get away from the screen and take breaks by looking down long hallways or out the window.
My personal comment: Given my already poor vision, this has helped my eyes feel much better!

Tip: Sit on an exercise ball instead of your desk chair. This will force some movement and engage your core muscles to help improve posture. This is important! Poor posture can give your brain up to 30% less blood and oxygen.
My personal comment: My co-workers thought this was odd at first, but now I’ve started a trend!

Tip: Engage your cubicle mates in afternoon calisthenics. Lead them in neck, arm and leg stretches and maybe even a few jumping jacks.
My personal comment: This seems silly, but my co-workers love this!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's February 1 - Keep your New Year's resolutions going!

It's February 1. There are those of us that succeeded in sticking to resolutions by creating new habits over the last 30 days. And, there are those of us who are not making it to the gym EVERY DAY as we promised ourselves on January 1. If you've been slacking a bit, don't give up yet! Try this:

If your resolution is to try to lose weight, don't take an all or nothing approach. Fit in a 10 minute walk when you can and make it 15 minutes next time. Try a new healthy recipe this week. Cut down to one soda per day and drink a bit more water.

If your resolution is to give back, it doesn't mean you need to take a 6-month hiatus to help rebuild a community halfway across the world. Try walking or biking versus driving when possible. Buy a fun coffee mug and re-use it instead of depleting Starbucks of their paper cups. Gather some friends and spend a few hours volunteering for a common cause.

If your resolution is to be more organized and hiring a personal assistant isn't an option, try tackling one mess at a time. Clean out your "junk drawer" and buy an organizer for it. Get a white board with different colored markers to highlight activities for each person in the household. Get an "inbox" for your household where everyone can place pertinent papers for immediate attention, such as school field trip permission slips.

Small changes over time will help you reach your ultimate goals. Break down your large goals into small tasks and tackle each one separately. Your New Year's resolutions will become day-to-day habits by Dec. 31, 2011!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Creative Veggie Options for Winter Weather

Experiencing 36 Minnesota winters causes me to get creative about getting in veggies during cold months. There is no such thing as "fresh" vegetables since just about everything in grocery stores rots in a day or two. Not to mention, constantly combating the craving of comfort foods.

Try these veggies options for winter:

Soups. Weight Watchers markets three fabulous soup recipes that are full of veggies, low calorie and filling. It's easy to make a large batch and freeze for the week.

Try frozen. Frozen vegetables are generally cheaper and last longer. Mix with grilled chicken to create a stir-fry or steam them and serve as a side dish.

Choose veggies in season. Avocados are excellent this time of year and can be substituted for mayo on wraps or sandwiches. Try adding it to a BLT (using turkey bacon, of course!). Or, saute artichokes or mushrooms with a teaspoon of olive oil. Here is a great reference guide to seasonal vegetables and fruits:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Quick Ways to Lower the Scale This Week!

Get moving. Start by looking for simple ways to get more activity in like take three 10-minute walks today.

If you bite it, write it. Choose fresh foods instead of processed foods. Measure and track what you eat.

Drink lots of water. Take your current weight and divide by two. Drink this many ounces of water per day to help flush out your system and reduce water retention.

Spice things up. Stay satisfied by adding jalapeno, green Tabasco or Mrs. Dash Spicy to your foods.

Get busy. Get back to hobbies you may have dropped. The less you're in the kitchen; the less tempted you'll be to eat.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What's your excuse for not exercising?

What’s your excuse for not exercising?

I used to be a completely against exercise due to all of the reasons below, but I have changed! I’m not too tired or depressed, I do have time, I can afford a gym membership and I’m no longer embarrassed by my appearance.

Start an exercise routine today. Here’s how to beat your excuses:

Excuse 1: I’m too tired/depressed.
--Working out can help regulate sleep cycles. You will sleep better and feel well-rested. Try a morning workout to feel energized all day.
--It takes energy to produce energy. Even a 10-minute walk will increase your energy levels for up to two hours afterwards.
--Exercising will improve your mood since it boosts your brain’s feel-good chemicals and reduces cortisol levels. Cortisol is produced by stress and is linked to increased abdominal fat.

Excuse 2: I can’t afford a gym membership or equipment.
--You don’t need a gym membership to workout. Find workouts online, in magazines, buy fitness DVDs or rent them from the library. Also, exercising at home eliminates excuses because you are there everyday.
--If you want a gym membership, check with your employer for reimbursement possibilities. Try your local community center instead of a high-end gym membership.

Excuse 3: I’m embarrassed by my appearance.
--No one is paying attention to you at the gym. If anything, people are cheering you on for getting to the gym.
--Baggy clothes don’t have to be a part of your workout wardrobe. Reward yourself with a nice pair of yoga pants and a well-fitting t-shirt.
--Remember that your appearance is improving with each workout!

Excuse 4: I don’t have time.
--Evaluate your priorities. If physical and mental health is a top priority for you, make the time for exercise.
--We are all busy with work, kids and 24 hours can go by quickly. Eliminate television watching or exercise while watching television. Get up earlier in the morning for a workout or go walking during your lunch break. Instead of trying to find time away from your children to exercise, involve them.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Curb Your Winter Carb Cravings

Why do you crave carbohydrates in winter?

Natural sunlight converts to vitamin D and naturally boosts serotonin levels. This may be why spring weather puts you in a happier mood!

In winter, your serotonin levels are lower due to lack of vitamin D. Your body wants to increase seratonin and looks to do that through food. Enter: CARB CRAVINGS!

Don't let your carb cravings impact your weight loss efforts

--When choosing foods, always choose whole grain breads and pastas. Stay away from enriched carbs, such as white bread.

--Always eat protein with carbohydrates. Try turkey on whole-grain bread or brown rice with black beans.

--Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

--Use a light box for light therapy for 20-30 minutes per day.

--Exercise for 30 minutes per day. Even three 10-minute walks will help your mood.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Find hidden meaning in product ingredients

We are familiar with terms like “sugar” and “fat”, but manufactures don’t always display these words in black and white. Check out the list of related terms below, so you can figure out when they are hidden in your foods.

Sugar can also be stated as…

• Sucrose, fructose, dextrose, etc.
• Corn syrup
• High fructose corn syrup
• Honey
• Maple syrup
• Evaporated cane juice
• Mannitol
• Sorbitol
• Chicory/carob/inulin/tapioca syrup
• Caramel
• Molasses
• Cane juice crystals

Recommended sugar intake per day:

• Men = nine teaspoons
• Women = six teaspoons
• Current American average = 22 teaspoons (due to hidden sugars in products)

Trans Fat can also be stated as…

• Hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated oils
• Shortening
• Margarine

Recommended trans fat intake per day:

• Men & Women = No more than 2 grams
• Current American average = Up to 6 grams per day

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Learn to love morning workouts

I started working out in the mornings about 18 months ago. While it was tough to get used to at first, I've learned to love it. Plus, I don't have to worry about all the excuses for NOT working out after work!

--Exercising early in the morning gets your metabolism going and keeps it elevated all day to help burn more calories.
--You have a great start to the day, which is a gratifying feeling! It will keep you motivated throughout the day to make healthy choices.
--Exercise can increase mental acuity, keeping your brainpower working stronger all day.
--Ease into it. Try getting up just 10 or 20 minutes early at first for a quick workout. Plus, you get it over with for the day - before your day even gets started. No worrying about fitting in it later once your busy day begins.

Are you ready to commit to a healthy lifestyle? Ask yourself these questions.

You say you want to lose weight. You may have found the motivation to go to the gym this week and choose the right foods. But, it’s only the beginning. After a few weeks, your motivation may dwindle and unhealthy habits may find their way back into your life. What seemed fun and easy at first is more difficult. Do you treat unhealthy treats as “rewards” for losing a pound or two? Are you heading to happy hour more than the gym?

Start. Stop. Start. Stop. Many experience “yo-yo dieting” and can’t get past it. If this describes you, there is a way to get past it, starting with losing the word “diet” from your vocabulary. To be successful and stay successful, you must be ready to commit to a healthy lifestyle – forever. Are you ready to commit? Ask yourself these questions and find out.

Do you know why you want to lose weight and live healthier?
Are you trying to improve a health issue such as high blood pressure? Do you want to shop in a boutique rather than a plus-sized store? Whatever your goal may be, hang onto this. This is your motivation that will keep you going on tough days.
Do it now: Write down your goal and keep it where you can see it everyday. Hang a picture of the article of clothing you want to wear in plain view. Keep a reminder of your goals in sight at all times.

Do you compare yourself to others?
If others around you who have lost weight or have a healthy lifestyle make you uneasy, try focusing that energy on yourself! Believe in yourself that you can make positive changes rather than focusing on wishing you had your friend’s faster metabolism.
Do it now: Write down the five most important people in your life. Are you on this list? If not, add yourself and remember that you are worth it!

Do you keep procrastinating?
If you keep putting it off (“I’ll start Monday”, “I’ll start after the holiday/birthday/next month”, etc.), then you are not ready. There is no perfect time to start except for right now. Start TODAY! It doesn’t mean committing to a rigid diet and going to the gym every day. It means taking one step toward good health today. Take a short walk, choose a salad over French fries or cut down to one soda per day. Small habit changes now turn into big results over time.
Do it now: Write down one habit you will change this week and focus on it. When you have it mastered, repeat the process.

Do you give up easily?
If you eat one unhealthy meal, do you give up on your diet? If so, it’s important to recognize that one poor meal – or even one weekend of poor meals – does not ruin everything. Consistent healthy choices over time will help you meet your goals. We all make unhealthy choices, but moving on from them – not making more of them - is the key to success.
Do it now: Forget yesterday and start again today. Every day is a new opportunity for you to make healthy choices. Forgive yourself and learn to make a better choice next time.