Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Day Survival - Part Two

Part Two...which is worse? Is it the overload of food that drives you crazy or the overload of relatives that drives you to food?

As I counsel more and more clients on how to actually survive Thanksgiving Day - not overeating, eating healthy foods, drinking water, etc. - one thing keeps coming up, family dynamics. Every family is unique and in my belief, every family is somewhat dysfunctional. And it's funny, the personalities that are similar, the characters that are similar in every family and it seems that there's always one [sometimes more] that just knows how to push the buttons when you are trying to eat right. For the purpose of this blog, we'll call that person "crazy". I know, just hang with me...

So, you try to prepare for the day. You cook good foods, you know what you want to do, you're drinking your water, everything is fine and then boom, crazy does something crazy and you find yourself taking an extra slice of pie, going back for thirds and fourths, having another glass of wine and before you know it, you're sitting on the sofa unbuckling your belt and unsnapping the top botton on your pants and you're miserable. Crazy keeps going crazy, 'cause that's what she/he does and you wonder where you went wrong. Huh?

How can this be avoided?

You can't control crazy - so what are you supposed to do?

You're right. You can't control crazy. Crazy is as crazy does. Crazy has been acting crazy because she/he has always done it and just gets away with it. Doesn't matter if it is right or wrong. You're in a family, you're supposed to forgive and forget, right? Then why are you always the one trying to get crazy to stop acting crazy?

When a family gets together, it should be a good event. There should be laughter, friendship, fellowship, sharing, happiness. And sometimes there is. But sometimes there is jealousy, disagreements, different parenting styles, different opinions, sadness. And when you add food into the equation, lots of food, oftentimes it just gets caught up in the moment and you overeat. Some people find it very difficult to get together with family and not overeat, esp. when they start living a healthy lifestyle. For one thing, you are more aware. You are more aware of what you are eating, how your body is responding and your emotions. Overeating is equated with not being aware, not being aware of how your body is responding [until it's too late] and covering up your emotions. With Food.

I know this is a sensitive topic and I'm not going to sugarcoat it for you.

I could make a lot of money selling products and packages, but I choose not to, because I want you to know the truth. And the truth is you have to start with the inside. You have to make the decisions to face your problems, to face the crazy's out there, to put what you KNOW about nutrition into action and then, just to DO IT.

Crazy is not going away. So deal with it. Find a way to deal with it.

In my personal life, it was about boundaries with crazy. I had to decide to go with my instincts and limit contact with crazy. This was not liked by some in my family. Too harsh. Not forgiving and forgetting. I had to make it a point to not be around crazy in order to limit any affects that crazy could have in my life. And this meant affecting the dynamics of our family get-togethers. It was hard, but so worth it as now I have eliminated that problem and don't overeat because I can't handle a crazy person. Do what it takes.

What is crazy's objective? In my case, it was "if it's not about crazy, it's not about crazy, and on and on" all attention had to be on crazy and it usually was, one way or another. So, take that attention away. It doesn't mean that crazy is going to change, it means that you are.

You change your environment.

You change your reactions.

You change your patterns.

You get healthy. Don't wait for another holiday to just get by, do it now. Prepare yourself emotionally to make it through Thanksgiving Day. I know you can do it. Just start with the inside...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How To Make It Through Thanksgiving Dinner...

When you are trying to lose weight [or maintain your weight], Thanksgiving Dinner is like going on a cruise. You are going to be around a lot of people, there is tons of food and drink, and the odds of you coming away from it pounds lighter are very slim.

It doesn't have to be that way. 

Thanksgiving should be a time to celebrate our country's heritage, a time to fellowship with our family and friends, a time to rejoice that we are alive and healthy, a time to enjoy good food.

Yes, that's right. Good food. You can find good food on a cruise, too. No really, you can.

Thanksgiving Day food-wise is only as hard as you make it.

So, what do you do?

Here's my top tips: 

• First and foremost, have a positive attitude about food. If you go into this Day [or a cruise] thinking and SAYING "I am going to blow it, I know it", then guess what? You will blow it. If you go into it fearful and paranoid thinking and saying "I'm afraid I am going to blow it, I just know it", then guess what? You will most likely blow it. However, let's think positive. Why not? Has the other options worked? Think and SAY "I know I can do good on this day and I will do good on this day". Your body responds to what your mind tells it, right? Then focus on the positive. Give yourself a chance to do good, then do it.

• Along the same lines, STOP saying the word "BAD". Example - "I know this is BAD for me", "This is a BAD food", "I know I'm going to be BAD". Stop calling foods BAD. Foods are life, foods are energy. You need life, you need energy. Now, granted, some foods are better than others, but don't go into it saying that all foods are BAD and BAD for you. Again, negative connotation associated with food. Think positive about food.

• It's all about portion control. Let me ask you a question - typically, on a Thanksgiving dinner, would you say that you probably eat about twice what you normally would eat? If your answer is 'yes', then I would say to you, then why not take 1/2 of what you would normally eat? You're not going to starve. When you are looking at the gorgeous buffet table all decked out, take your plate, and start piling it on - but take only 1/2 of what you would normally take. You know, just because there is a big serving spoon in a casserole - IT DOESN'T MEAN that you have to take a serving spoon size. Cut it in HALF!

• Get some balls. No, not turkey balls or dressing balls, or even pumpkin pie balls, I'm talking about guts. Well, let me rephrase again. Build up some nerves, be brave and learn to say no. Now I know you are going to see Aunt Sally just once this year and she just slaved over that sweet potato-marshmallow-brown sugar delight just for you because it's your absolute favorite. So eat some of it. Remember, 1/2 of what you would normally take. Are you offending her? No. Is everyone in the room watching every thing you are eating? No. [most of the times, they are so concerned with what they are eating]. When Aunt Sally comes around with the dish to give you more, you just tell her that you had it and it was absolutely wonderful and maybe you'll have some more later. No need to scream or cry or explain your dietary restrictions or even the dreaded, ahhh, "I'm trying to lose weight". Just get some balls about you and say no. No big deal. It's a big deal if YOU make it a big deal. If Aunt Sally chooses to make it a big deal, then that is her problem, not yours.

Friends, I know you know what to eat. You tell me all the time. You hear it all the time. I can give you all kinds of tips that tell you what kind of food to eat, what to drink, how to exercise - and believe me, THOSE THINGS are very important. But most of you already know those. What I want to share with you is how to EMOTIONALLY prepare yourself for this meal or this day.

Again, it is only as hard as you make it.

So make it fun. Make it a day to celebrate. Make it a day to enjoy your family and friends and yes, good food. Get your exercise in, watch your portions and be reasonable. It's okay to take a day off your normal routine, as long as you get back in your normal routine afterwards, not a week afterwards, a day afterwards.

Best wishes to you all as you celebrate Thanksgiving. You know what do to, so now go do it. 


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What To Do When Your Support Isn't Supporting You

Weight loss is a battle! You feel like you are fighting against your body - do the workouts, eat the proper way, cut out certain things, add others, push, pull all the time. You set goals, you start seeing results and then it happens, your support isn't supporting you. Now what do you do?

Your support can be your spouse, friends, co-workers, other family members. Usually it is someone you are close to, someone you live with or spend a lot of time with during the days. And it's not like they don't know your goals, they do. You probably shared your goals with them, or they may be on the journey with you. Either way, something happens and they let you down.

It could be something they said, something they did, a behavior change. Whatever it is, it throws you off balance and you start to slide. Maybe you eat a little candy or miss a workout, just once. Then it happens again and you slip again, a couple of times a week. Your weight-loss progress starts to slow down and the once-a-week's become several-times-a-week or weeklys. You start to get discouraged. And you're not getting the support now from your support.

This is a cycle I see often in the weight-loss battle. I've been through it myself. It's not fun.

It could be a spouse who doesn't want you to workout in the morning.
It could be a friend who makes a snide comment about your nutrition plan.
It could be a co-worker who always has candy and everything else you are trying to avoid and is constantly offering it to you.
It could be a family member who just loses touch with you and blames it on you spending too much time on yourself.

How can you do it without your support? 

How can you lose weight without support?

Most of my clients have heard my "hubby-support" story about when I was in a 12-week weight-loss contest [] and I had made the decision to give up ice cream for the 12-week period. Was it required? No. But I knew it was hindering my progress and so I made the decision, informed by family and was determined to stick to my guns. The first weekend, and oh, the weekends are so tough when you are trying to lose weight, my supportive, type-A husband came home with 2 bags. I knew it wasn't going to be good because I can tell a mile away a grocery bag that has ice cream in it. Call it extra-sensitive perception or whatever, I know ice cream in a bag when I see it! He happily proclaimed "Hey baby, Kroger was having a sale, buy-one-get-one free, so I bought two and got two free!"

He said this as if he were expecting me to jump up and down and kiss and hug him.

Didn't happen.

In fact, quite the opposite. I was not happy. Did he not hear me just a few days ago when I shared with him my goals? Did he not understand it? I don't get it.

He didn't get it either. But I had made a commitment and I was going to stick by my commitment. I didn't eat any ice cream and by the weekend's end, the ice cream  was gone and I hadn't had one bite. This continued the ENTIRE 12 weeks. I continued the entire 12 weeks. Not one bite of ice cream. Did I make my goal? Uh, yes, I sure did! That was 8 years ago.

I had to make a decision, not only about my spouse supporting me, but about others around me as well. I had to endure the snide comments, the lack of understanding from  co-workers or friends, the lack of support from family.

And I just shut up and did it.

One of the major problems women have in losing weight is the TIME they have to spend on themselves during the process. They have to workout, they have to eat right, they make decisions every day about their health. And it INTERFERES with other's plans. And that's where the conflict comes in. Your support person may not want you to change. They may say they do, but in reality, they don't. They want the same person to look a certain way [for whatever reasons], they want your focus to be on them, they don't like CHANGE.

And to that, I say, you have to make a decision. You have to decide what is more important:

-Being the person that your support person wants you to be, no matter if you are healthy or not.
-Being the person that you know you want to be.

The hard part is that you might lose someone along the way. You may lose a friend. You may lose a co-worker. And here's the hardest part, you may lose a spouse.

If someone loves you, then they should accept you the way you are. And if you want to change the way you are, a true supporter will love you anyway.

I was fortunate that my spouse continued to support me, well, he is lucky :) but I had to lose support in other areas. I don't have parents that support me. And you can go on, you think about it, you grieve about it, but overall, you just get over it. That's one of the reasons I get so "clingy" and scared when I am facing a big race or an accomplishment. You always want your parents to be proud of you and I don't have that. I have a husband who loves me and my kids and sisters, but that's it. I'll never hear "good job Sandi" from my parents, so I look for other ways to hear it, from friends and family, but when it comes down to it, I am my biggest supporter.

I am the one who tells myself "great job Sandi".
I am the one who is doing the hard work.
I am the one who is living a healthy life and proud of it.

Take the focus off your support and put it on you. It's okay to do that. Now, make a commitment to yourself and don't let yourself down. And pretty soon you'll be telling yourself as well "great job!"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Modern Technology and Fitness

It's on the computer, it's in the computer, it's with the computer, it's inside your computer. Your workouts, your nutrition, your heartrate, your stats. But what about what's inside of you?

As you might have guessed, I am an old-fashioned girl. Nicer than what my husband calls me which is "horse and buggy". We actually got in an argument about it Saturday night on the way to meet friends at a restaurant as he is lost [I knew where we were] and freaked out when I didn't know where the navigation button was on my phone. I know the gps button, but not the "navigation" button. Huh? Anyway, he threw out the old h and b insult and the argument began. 

Are computers taking over our life? Now granted I have made progress, I have a website, I am on Facebook [somewhat reluctantly] and I am blogging, but somewhere along the way, I wonder if we've lost a little bit of ourselves?

Modern technology is great. With the touch of a button, you can access e-mails, Facebook, tweets, weather, news, anything you want - anything! Your car can talk to you. You can program your workouts. You can record any tv program and watch it later. Technology has improved so much in the last 10 years it is mindboggling!

Modern technology and fitness is great. You can program your workouts. You can monitor your heartrate. You can follow nutrition plans. You can track your progress. The computer can be a great asset to your fitness program. I've had many successful clients who do just that. But they also do one more thing...they listen to that inside voice.

That inside voice that tells you when something is wrong. That inside voice that tells you that you might need to take a day off in the gym. That inside voice that tells you calories were too low for the day or too high and you need to adjust. That inside voice is something that cannot be programmed into a computer. It is your instinct, your gut feeling.

And sometimes, people get so programmed in bad habits, they lose their inside voice, or they stop listening to it.

And sometimes, people get so programmed in their computers, those lose their inside voice, or they stop listening to it.

See the problem?

So what do you do? Get rid of the computers?

Not likely. They are too important now. Even to old horse-and-buggy's like me. But you can start by listening to your inside voice. Bring the human factor back. Really know what your body is saying. Get in tune with it. Computer programs are great, but knowing yourself, who you are and what you want in life is even better. And when you start listening to your inside voice, your instinct, then you can follow the computer programs and still see results.

What's inside of you?