Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why The Obsession With Candy?

I love Fall, I don't like Halloween. The ghosts and demons come out of hiding and in my life, that means the candy and chocolate. Is it just me or is there candy and chocolate everywhere you go these days? Even worse, chocolate candy. I'm obsessed with it and I get madder and madder every time I see it.

You may say to yourself when you see my postings each week on Facebook or Twitter about staying away from candy and being strong, alright already, we get the drill. Candy is bad. Candy will send you down a road you don't want to go on. Get over it. So what? Why the obsession with candy? 

My obsession with candy, I guess, began when I was a child. We were rewarded with candy, it was a thrill to have something sweet. Halloween was a treasured holiday because we would fill up our pillowcases and some years, it would last even until January we got so much! I was raised on candy. I didn't see any harmful affects until I was older, and by then it was too late, I was hooked.

When I started having children is really when I started realizing that I had a problem with candy. When I say candy, I mean chocolate. Chocolate candy, but it can also be candy corn, which is also very popular this time of year. With pregnancy, the pounds came on, but once the baby was here, so was the weight. And I couldn't get it off. No matter what I did.

And so this went on for a good 8 years. Trying every diet and workout under the sun, but unable to give up my beloved candy. Halloween was the worst. As moms, we go out and buy the "bite-size" candy bars, you know, because they are so much healthier than the actual candy bars. Huh? A candy bar is a candy bar, 45 calories or not [see previous post "It's still an oreo..."], 90 calories, 190 calories. It's still a candy bar in your body. How does your body digest that? Like it does any sugar, fat, over-processed item you put into it. Hard. Just like soda, ladies especially, it affects - your metabolism, your hormones and your ability to lose weight.

But you already know all this, we're told it all the time. So why do we still eat it? Because it's there?

My battle with candy may have began when I was a child, but it's still going on as an adult. But now, I'm on the other side of the fence. I know how destructive it is to your body. It was to mine! Have you seen my before and after photos? I don't ever want to go back to that! I like being healthy, feeling fit and how I do that is by giving up the candy.

Candy is the enemy now.

A little radical?

I don't care anymore. I don't care if you secretly call me a "candy czar" or make fun of me because of my FIGHT with candy. I don't care if you think I am off my rocker when I ask why candy is on counters, in schools, at homes, at restaurants, at gyms, everywhere! I know I make people mad. I know I make people uncomfortable. Believe me, I've lost some friends over it.

But I believe it!

I believe that candy and chocolate is a huge downfall to many women who have weight to lose and lives to regain. And I won't stop. I won't stop the fight against it.

And I won't have any candy. That's the obsession now.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Saggy Boobs

Guys [males], this post is not for you, please leave and see next post on beer bellies...

Ladies, we have to talk about this. I know it's on your mind, esp. if you are trying to lose weight, have lost weight or thinking about losing weight.

What do you do about the saggy boobs?

When you embark on your fun weight loss journey, you envision that the hard things are going to be fitting in the workouts, the actual workouts, learning how to eat right, eating right - but most the time, those are easy compared to the emotional issues that come up and the saggy boobs.

Why do you lose weight in your breasts - when you want to lose weight in your stomach or hips or thighs? It doesn't make sense and it is so frustrating! If you've lost weight, esp. a substantial amount of weight, you'll know what I mean, when you bend over and see the concave that used to be full and pretty. Ugh. Anyone know what I mean? Full, robust breasts suddenly become flabby, saggy bags of skin. Ick.

It is at this point that most women say "whoa bessie" and pull out the stops on the weight loss train. This is not worth it, they say. They hate the flabby, saggy bags of skin. Their husband hates it. They won't look in the mirror. It affects what they think about themselves and how they act. They think to themselves "If this is what is going to happen when I lose weight, this is not worth it". They may not come out and say that in public, but EMOTIONALLY, this is a huge battle that most women are not up to facing. Let's face it, our breasts are very important to us. Guys [males], what are you still doing here? Go please. You're not going to miss anything, okay, and it's not all about you... :))

Ladies, here are the facts, down and dirty...

• Your breasts are made up mostly of fatty tissue. When you lose weight in a proper way, you will lose fat. And this is one of the first places it will come from [for most women]. What is the next place? Wherever you have fat on your body, usually your stomach or thighs or hips - however - you have to keep burning the fat in order to get there. You cannot stop because your breasts are looking saggy. I know how frustrating it is, it's very disheartening when part of you that you love lets you down, way down, and you blame your body. When I was in my heyday after nursing two babies, I wore 38D babies. Yeah baby, I had robust, beautiful breasts! And then I started losing weight. Gasp! I went to 36's, then 34's. I went to C's, then B's. Not a huge change, right? Ugh, wrong. Huge change. I lost approximately 70 lbs in 15 months and although I finally fit in a size 4, I had so much saggy skin, I looked like a sad dog. Not a good dog, a bad dog with saggy face!

• Your body needs time to adjust to weight loss. It always amazes me that people take years to get in the condition they where they are overweight and miserable, but then expect to lose it all within 2 months and everything is fine. NOT! Real life is not The Biggest Loser, losing 4-14 lbs a week. Real life is losing 1-2 lbs. a week and being consistent. Take it slow. Make it last. I was absolutely heartbroken when I finally reached my weight goals and I was left with saggy breasts. You can cover up with clothes, which is what I did before when I was overweight, but it's not the same. You know what's under your clothes, ladies, and it does matter. You want to feel sexy and great-looking, esp. to your spouse or loved one.

• It takes time for your skin to adjust. Your skin is the largest organ on your body, it will adjust, you just have to give it time. I cringe when someone mentions having surgery, weight-loss surgery or plastic surgery to correct something that could be taken care of with a little care and planning. Anyone can lose weight - IF they want to. It's about your choices and decisions every day. I can tell you from experience that your skin will adjust. And I can also tell you it takes time - 6 months to a year, at least. Here's where some women will crack under the pressure. They just can't take it how they look and schedule a dangerous surgery or SUBCONSCIOUSLY they start gaining weight. Can't put their finger on WHY, but they just do. They don't want to deal with the saggy boobs. When I went from 38D's to 34B's, I maintained that weight for a good year before finally, my skin adjusted. I kept a good program focusing on proper strength training [lifting weights], effective cardio and good nutrition; and kept my weight where it was. Now, I am happy to tell you - boys, you had better be out of here, I mean it - there is absolutely no sagging and I have beautiful perky breasts.

Will this happen for everyone? I don't know. I haven't lost 100 lbs. I only lost 70. But isn't it worth it to wait and see?

Don't give up when you start losing weight and your boobs get saggy. You have to get tough EMOTIONALLY and TRUST your body! Your body will adjust, it just takes time. Now, who's going to be my busom buddy out there? Anyone?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Should I Join A Gym?

Is it absolutely necessary to join a gym to lose weight or get in shape?

This is a question I get all the time from women who need to know "What do I do?" and "How do I do it?".

It depends on the person.

When someone first talks about "getting healthy", their first thought is "I have to workout". "I have to workout" means - a place to workout, a time to workout and...a workout. Time is spent on planning a routine, planning to make time for this routine and then where will you do it. The focus of the new weight loss routine is "working out". For some, this means starting out gung-ho, going strong for approximately 2-3 days, then peetering out, frustrated and tired, take a few days off, and then - wait for it - start again on Monday. This cycle can go on and on endlessly. Do you know anyone who starts their weight loss program every Monday? Come on, tell the truth, I know you do. I know it may be you. It was me, once upon a time.

Getting healthy includes much more than just "working out". Unfortunately, working out is what we place the emphasis on, and get frustrated when we cannot make it work.

A good weight loss plan includes 3 major components - Strength training [working with weights], Effective cardio training and nutrition. I would also add a fourth component - internal strength. What is internal strength? The core of my business - Start With The Inside - finding your reasons why you are not doing something and fixing them, listening to your inner voice once again, and loving the person you are, regardless if anyone else does or not.

So, it's not all about the workout. It's about the workout AND nutrition. Percentage-wise? Get ready...
20% workout
80% nutrition

What? How can that be? Does that mean you only have to workout 20% of the time. Noooo. It does mean that you have to place much more emphasis on your nutrition plan WHILE you are working out for a well-balanced program. And nutrition is what most people have the most problem with. Anyway, to get back to our topic of do you need to join a gym, it can go either way.

• Are you motivated by other people or are you okay with being by yourself?
• Are you secure enough to workout in front of other people [and mirrors] or do you enjoy the privacy of your own home [and mirrors]?
• Does your budget allow you to join a gym?
• Can you schedule adequate time to actually go to the gym?

A gym can be a great motivating factor to get you to workout. There are other people, most with the same intentions as you. There is commardarie, access to every workout machine you can think of, classes. However, your home gym can also be a great place too. Some women are terrified to go to the gym - they don't want the guys to watch them [and you know those guys are watching you...], they don't know what to do in the weight room, they are scared and intimidated. Others need to be around people. It depends on you.

If you can purchase dumbbells and a bench, technically, you can lose weight at home by following a good program that includes strength training, effective cardio and proper nutrition. It can be done at home. IF you have the internal strength to do it. During the year that I lost the majority of my weight, I did not belong to a gym. I was too scared. And then when we did join a gym, I was too intimidated to do anything but cardio workouts for one year. It took me a long time to get the courage to workout in the weight room with the guys. So, I've worked out both at home and at a gym. Like I said, there are good things about both ways. It all depends on you and what will get you to take action.

No, it's not mandatory to join a gym. But it is important to do something, either at a gym or at your home for strength training and cardio workouts.

So it's up to you. Do you have the internal strength to do it. I know you do. If you don't know if you do or not, let me know and I'll help you find out.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

I'll Get In Shape When _______ [fill in the blank]

You have great intentions. You start a workout routine. You start a new diet. Everything's going great, on day one. Maybe even day two. Then day three, something happens. Or maybe day four. Your attention is drawn away, the crisis is here. Oh no, I can't focus on being healthy now, because this _____ [fill in the blank] happened! I'll do it when this _____ [fill in the blank] is over.

Days pass, still unhealthy. Weeks pass, still unhealthy. Maybe even months pass, still living unhealthy. Then you start again. Day one is great, this time you make a whole week. Then something happens, _____ [fill in the blank].

Do you know how often this happens?

Do you know how frustrating and heartbreaking it is?

Some people stay in this cycle for years, some for many years. Some don't come out of it. They continue to "put off" getting in shape or getting healthy because of the "stuff" that happens to them. TO THEM. Can I just throw something out there for you to chew on? It's not all happening TO YOU. It's called life. And it just happens.

I can absolutely guarantee that WHEN you start a new program, whether it be a new workout or a new nutrition program, something bad will happen in your life. Someone will die. Someone will get hurt. Someone you know will go through something tragic. Something will happen that will throw you off-guard. You might lose a job. You might start a new job. You might move. Your schedule might change. Guaranteed. Something is going to happen when you start trying to live healthy.

So...if you already KNOW something is going to happen, and you already KNOW it's inevitable, then why not LIVE HEALTHY ANYWAY???

Why does everything have to stop for stressful situations, if your life is continually one stressful situation after another? When you get through the stressful situation, aren't you even more miserable with your body because you've allowed harmful habits to drown out your misery, ex: caffeine, sugar, alcohol? Sure these might soothe the pain temporarily, but does it help the shape of your body? Or do you feel like you are continually starting over, in worse shape than before?

Here's my prescription as a Fitness Professional and as one who has gone through it personally:

You start a program, you stay on it. You keep working out. You keep eating clean. You do it when you are stressed. You do it when everything's going good. You do it when everything's not going good. You just DO IT.

Years ago, while I was in the midst of my weight-loss, I got a phone call from my sister that my Dad was in the hospital. No one wants to get that call. Unfortunately, my car was in the shop and my husband was gone, about one hour away. I could not get to the hospital quickly, so she offered to come and pick me up and take me. So I had about 45 minutes to wait anxiously, not knowing how he was, what was wrong, getting more frantic by the minute. This was my daddy. So I fret and cried and called people for about 30 minutes, then I started thinking. I got out my cooler and started packing it up. I packed it with protein drink, protein bar, grapes, water, tuna, healthy snacks. I knew that whatever happened, I most likely would be spending some time at the hospital, and I was right. We were there for HOURS, all day long. But I had brought my cooler with me. I ate healthy snacks on breaks. I ate healthy meals in the cafeteria with my sister, who could not believe I had thought ahead and brought a cooler. I couldn't believe it either, but I was so determined not to fail this time, that even in the midst of extreme stress and uncertainty, I was prepared. In the end, my dad was okay and so was I. But instead of coming home, drained and uncomfortable from bad hospital food or a day of not eating at all, I was stressed, but still eating healthy and not running to the chips, sugar or alcohol to alleviate the pain.

This is just an example, there were many more, during that time. And during that time, habits formed, and now healthy eating and healthy living is just a part of life now. Yes, bad things still happen. People still die. People still hurt. People still go through tragic things, and yes, I know these people and I live with these people, but THIS IS LIFE. This is what life is all about. People living, people dying. I hate to be a downer here, but everyone you know is going to die. Some day. Why not live each day in a healthy way so you can enjoy every day that you have?

_____ [fill in the blank] is going to happen. It's just going to happen. So, can you be strong enough to just let it happen and live a healthy life anyway? I know you can.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

How Do You Break Up With Sugar?

You've been going out now for quite a while. You've been close, you've had disagreements, you've had good times and bad times, but it's over now. You know now that it's not good for you. You know it's time to leave. So, how do you break up with sugar?

Sugar addiction is tough. Breaking up with sugar is no easy task. It takes a lot of discipline. It takes a lot of courage. But it can be done.

I remember as a child eating things like Twinkies, huge chocolate bars and spooning spoonfuls of sugar onto my breakfast cereal. Sugar was very natural for me to eat. I was skin and bones so no one thought it would matter if I ate just one more sugary treat. Then, as I grew, sugar stayed prominent in my life, as I went through the stages of becoming an adult. Sugar played a huge part when I met my husband and we decided to get married. We would celebrate our connection by picking up a 3-pack of Dove chocolate ice cream bars and go to a local park. There we would talk about our future, be in love, and of course, eat Dove chocolate ice cream bars - we split the 3rd bar!

Sugar and I started to disagree when I went through postpartum depression after the birth of my first child. I started to think that maybe sugar wasn't so good for me. But sugar battled back and won. I stayed a victim for 8 more years, during that time becoming more and more addicted, during that time becoming more and more overweight, during that time becoming more and more hormonal, depressed, obese, helpless, miserable. I blamed everything - my metabolism, my hormones, my husband, becoming a mother, the environment, the President, everything. Nothing could make me happy, but my sugar.

Until the day I gave it up. Talk about a power struggle.

After seeing photographic proof of what my body looked like, that's always fun and a good wake-up call, I rebelled and started to question my relationship with sugar. I tried to cut back. I tried to quit. I tried to have just a little bit. I tried many things to break up with sugar. But, sugar didn't want to break up with me. I did it anyway. It wasn't good for me. Period.

So, how do you break up with sugar? [your options]
Cut back. Do you really know how much sugar you are consuming? Look at the food labels of what you are eating each day. How much sugar is it? Are you eating packaged foods? Are you adding sugar to foods? You can cut back by monitoring what you are currently eating, and cutting back on the sugary foods and drink. Sodas and chocolate are the biggest culprits of sugar, but don't be fooled. Breakfast cereals, bars, juices - all can have high levels of sugar as well. Just cut back in what you normally consume.
Go cold turkey. Eliminate sugar from your nutrition completely. This one is hard. Have I done it? Yes, absolutely. Very hard to do, but great results. This option is for the very disciplined or very pissed off person. You get mad at the sugar. You see what sugar has done and you refuse to let it near you. You go through a few days of withdrawal, but you get over it and you start thriving physically and emotionally.
Have just a little bit. You don't eat sugar during a normal day. You don't eat processed foods, but you get your sugar from natural sources, like fruits or honey. You occasionally have ice cream or something sugary, but immediately go back to a healthy nutrition plan. You can have just a little bit, but it does not consume you, the desire to have sugar.

Which option is best for you?
Depends on you!

Which option worked for me?
All of them!

I started out with cutting back. I eliminated the foods that were high in sugar and kept the ones I just couldn't give up. I educated myself on what foods had hidden sugar and stayed away from those. Then one day, I had to go cold turkey. I was in a contest and wanted to win. I just gave it up. It was hard, extremely hard, but I was mad and it worked. I did it for 12 weeks. Then I had just a little bit and went back to cold turkey and went back to having a little bit.

Today, battling with sugar is still there. It hasn't gone away completely. I do go cold turkey a couple of times of year and you know what, it's not a big deal now. When I am preparing for a contest or event, I won't eat sugar. You cannot pay me to eat sugar, because that's how much my discipline has grown. But then when the contest is over, I will have a little bit - a little bit - but then I go back to a healthy nutrition plan with no added sugar. Sugar is still in my life - but it plays a much smaller role, and now I am in control. I like having control over my metabolism, my hormones, my moods, my energy, my life. Now there's no one to blame but me if I do something wrong.

It is possible to break up with sugar. Are you mad enough to try?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Candy Wars

"I want Candy" sings the song you hear in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, even workplaces. So to celebrate October 1st, let's talk about candy.

The Candy Wars start in October as we prepare for that blessed holiday "Halloween" which for kids is focused on dressing up and getting tons of candy and for the adults who are focused on watching their kids dress up and getting tons of candy. Who's giving the candy - adults? Who's eating their kids' candy - adults? Who's eating the extra candy that they buy not to hand out to the kids - adults? [I know you're out there]

So what's so bad about a little candy?

Well, where do we start? How about sugar, fat, sugar, fat, destroys your metabolism, affects your hormones in a negative way [hello ladies?]. But it's so good, right?

What's so good about it?

Taste? Yes, it does taste good. And then you berate yourself for hours after because YOU KNOW it's not good for you.

Low-calorie? Sure, you can get the mini-bars, they have much less calories and fat [see my blog entitled "It's still an oreo"]. I used to buy them in bags starting in October, because they were on sale and they were "low calorie". But did you know if you eat 4-5 of these low calorie mini candy bars, ah, low and behold, you're eating a candy bar!

It's a pick me up, it gives me energy to get through the day! Really? But what about the crash you get a couple of hours afterwards and then the overwhelming desire to have just one more to pick you up again. Some people, like me, never quite experienced the crash fully because they just keep on snacking, keep on shoveling it in, decreasing hormone after decreasing hormone.

It's easy. Yes, it is. They give it away. At schools. Here, bring in something good, here's a piece of candy. Do a special project, here's some candy. Oh, it's your birthday, here's some candy. It's everywhere, it's accessible and yes, it's cheap.

Cheap in monetary cost, but what is it doing to your health?

As a former candy and chocoholic, I am rebelling. I am putting on my armor once again and I am fighting the war. The Candy War.

I am refusing to back down. I am refusing to be seduced by "just one piece isn't going to kill you".

Each Halloween, since 2001, I have sat down with my kids and made a pact. [You can read more about this in my October newsletter "The Masks We Wear"]

A candy pact. We set the rules on what is thrown away, limits, and most importantly, I make a pact with them. I will not eat their candy. I promise. Not one piece. I will not buy any candy. I promise. Not one piece. We take the candy out of the equation and guess what, they're not interested in it anymore.

And since 2001, what has this brought me?

• A healthy and fit body.
• A metabolism that works great.
• A healthy hormone balanced body and mind.
• Healthy skin and hair.
• A peace that I am in control, not the candy.

Can you do it? Can you fight against the Candy? No question about it, you can. Question is...will you? Will you stand up for your body and mind and say NO MORE! No more poison in my body, no more sluggish feeling, no more cellulite on my thighs and tires around my belly, no more depression and weepy off-hormones.

Will you?