Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Living healthy in an unhealthy world

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak at workshops for the Georgia Teen Institute at Oxford College in Atlanta. One day was high school leaders, the next day was middle school leaders. They were awesome! They were very active and interested in learning how to live healthy. They had lots of questions, esp. the younger ones. They still had that child-like innocence of not being afraid to ask questions or tell you things.

I was going through the workshop evaluation forms and it truly made me smile. Here are some of their responses when asked what they learned during the workshop:

• I've learned how important it is to be healthy.
• That most things are in the head and become habits but seem like necessities.
• How to eat less food so you can lose weight.
• That we should moderate the way we eat. We should do more activities in our life related to health.
• I learned that pills and other substances aren't the best way to lose weight. A healthy food plan and a good workout is better to lose weight.
• Don't always eat fast foods, change it up.
• Sometimes you can overcome your weight problem with a healthy lifestyle if you start from the inside. [no coaching on this one, I promise, it's what she wrote :)]
• I learned that you could also suffer from having too much healthy food as well.
• When your body stops growing and if you are not active, you may gain weight.
• The "ose" in "fructose" means sugar.
• That not everything that looks good for you is good for you.
• There's a solution to everything. [I love this one!]
• If you go to a fast food place, look on the website to see what you need to get.
• As you get older, you can't eat the same things you ate when you were younger.
• I learned that eating right and working out and not taking weight loss pills will help you lose weight.
• Weight loss stuff can hurt you in many ways.
• Diet pills can kill you.
• Your workshop changed my life. [I really love this one!]

From the mouths of babes, people. These are from our future leaders.

Do any of them apply to you? 

We don't have to make everything so complicated, even weight loss. It's not about being skinny, it's about being healthy and doing everything you were meant to do in your life.

I thoroughly enjoyed sharing with these kids and feel so blessed to have the opportunity to talk with them about how to live a healthy life. Now, how about you?

Can you live healthy in an unhealthy world?

Monday, June 14, 2010

How to stop sneaking food and crashing

Those nasty squirrels! My 16-year old daughter and I stand with hands on our hips gazing at the toppled bird feeder. The squirrels got in again. And then she quips "If those squirrels are so smart that they can continually get past obstacles and get into our bird feeder, why aren't they smart enough to not run out in the road and get struck by a car?" That's my Amelia.

But it makes me think...those squirrels are pesky creatures. They sneak their food. They are relentless. They have other good food, but they want what they can't have, or shouldn't have. And then, they're dumb enough to run out in traffic and get run over. Kind of like a person trying to lose weight. Sneaking food, feeling out of control towards food, and wanting what they can't have, or shouldn't have. Then crashing and wondering what happened.

Do you ever sneak food?

I mean, be honest, do you ever eat things when no one is looking? That private time, maybe after everyone's in bed, maybe something you grab from the cupboards and eat in your bedroom or somewhere where it is just you. Just you and the food you shouldn't have. Junk food. Packaged food. Candy, sugar, foods loaded with high fructose corn syrup. Just a little bit to get you through. A little bit here and there. No one knows about it, so it's okay. And you just need a little bit, so it's okay, it's not like you are binging or anything.


Except for the fact that you keep crashing. You are stuck. You are unable to lose weight. You are doing everything you are supposed to be doing - or let me clarify - you are doing what you think you need to do to lose weight. You are counting calories, you are working out. But the weight's not coming off. And the body's not changing.

Reality meets the road when I ask a new client to write down everything they eat and drink for two days. I tell them to be honest. Most are. They are embarrassed, but they are honest. And most say the same thing - I didn't realize how much junk I had until I had to write it down. That's a starting point.

  • We can't just sneak food when no one's looking and think it doesn't matter. 
  • We can't just sneak food and pretend it doesn't matter. 
  • We can't just keep crashing, stalling, and thinking that it doesn't matter. 

It does matter. 
It does make a difference. 

Don't be that pesky squirrel who sneaks around and then gets run over. Face your reality. If your reality is a food addiction, then face it. If your reality is an emotional attachment to a food, then face it. If your reality is a broken relationship masked by food, then face it. You can change this habit. It takes work, but you can change it. You can stop sneaking food and you can stop crashing. I'm here to help you...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

How to stop eating crap

What's wrong with 80% of the food in the grocery store aisles? It's crap. That's right. Crap. Marketing and advertising wrapped up in a pretty box or bag. Yes, there is some good there, but you have to look hard and you have to be educated. You have to do this because the food companies out there are not going to do it for you. Here's a little tidbit - they want to make money. They make money when you buy their products, their boxes and bags.

So - how can you stop eating crap? 

Well, first of all, let's try to define crap, at least my definition of it. I write this after teaching a Healthy Shopping 101 class at local Publix last night when I introduced the word "crap" to attendees. As in, this food is crap. This marketing is crap. And the ever popular, this aisle is crap. I guess you had to be there...

Crap is processed foods. Crap is high-sodium, high-calorie, high-fat, high-sugar processed foods that come in a box, bag or can. They do not have to fit ALL of these categories, just one or two. Crap is not natural. Crap is loaded down with high fructose corn syrup [don't even get me started on that, that's enough for a whole blog, okay making a note, next blog will be on hfcs, ugh]. Some examples of crap:

• Cereals
• Frozen meals
• Most soups
• Most canned veggies and fruits
• Most protein bars

So - let's talk about 3 ways you can stop eating crap:
  1. Substitution - This is when you are used to eating a particular food and you get addicted to eating that food. When you decide to lose weight or live a healthy lifestyle, that food has to go. So you find a substitute. For example, if your weakness is ice cream, like mine was, then you find an alternative for ice cream. Mine was cottage cheese, specifically, blending cottage cheese with frozen fruit and pudding mix to make a concoction that resembled ice cream. If your weakness is chocolate candy, like mine was also, then you find an acceptable protein bar. Another substitution - baked potato with butter and sour cream. A healthier alternative would be a baked sweet potato with butter buds and cinnamon. See what I'm getting at? Let's move onto the next way...
  2. Moderation - This is when you have already made the substitutions and you are eating healthier foods, but you still need to cut back. For example, a protein bar replaced my daily candy bag of M&M's, but still, a protein bar is not natural. For a while, it was a good substitution for me, but continuing in my weight loss journey, I had to give it up a little bit. Moderation. Moderation means cutting back. Instead of having a protein bar every day, I would have one every other day. Then, after weeks or months of that, I would cut it back to once a week or so. Just because a food is healthy, you can STILL overeat a healthy food. Moderation means balance, not eating the same thing day after day, finding healthy alternatives and eating them moderately. And the last way...
  3. Elimination - This is when you have already made substitutions, you have already made moderations, now it's time to really cut back. Plateau's are a good reason for elimination. You lose 20 lbs. but you cannot lose the last 10. You lose 50 lbs. and have 50 more to go, but you cannot get past a certain number on the scale. You are close to making your goals, but can never seem to reach it. Elimination. That's right, cut-throat, eliminating the food from your life. This can be permanent, this can be temporary. I have had to do this several times from my own life. It's okay. You will live through it. For example, I had to give up chocolate for a period, to get me to the next level. There are a couple of things I had to give up in order to get me where I wanted to be - examples - peanut M&M's, ice cream, cereal, protein bars. Now, some of those I can eat in moderation, some I cannot. The ones I cannot are trigger foods for me. Meaning if I have one, I have to have another or something like it, and it triggers me to eat poorly. 

Most people fail to stop eating crap when they completely skip #1 substitution and #2 moderation and go straight to #3 elimination. Some people can do that, most cannot. If you cannot go cold turkey and give up what you are used to eating, don't be discouraged, take it slow and start with #1 substitution.

You can stop eating crap. You know you need to. So do it. 

I'm here to help you.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Saying "no" to what's not good for you

How do you say "no" to what's not good for you?

If you know you should not eat chocolate, but you want it, what's gonna keep you from eating it? A goal? Will power? A hammer? [just kidding on the hammer]

How do you say "no" when you have to? 

I was reminded about the power of saying "no" when one of my holiday visitors reminded me constantly by saying "no". It was my nephew Isaiah, who is 3 going on 20. I love his voice. I love his personality. He looks like an old man in a little boy's body. And he says "no". A lot. It's part of being 3. I don't take it too seriously, of course, that's probably because I don't have a 3 year old anymore. My youngest is 13 and has gotten out of the "no" stage long ago.

So, he says "no". He says "no" when he means "yes", he says "no" when he when he gets mad, he says "no" when he's happy. He just says it all the time.

So why can't we as adults say it? 

Why can't we say it when someone close to us does something that is wrong? 
Why can't we say it when we get in a relationship we shouldn't? 
Why can't we say it when we eat the wrong foods? 
Why can't we say it when we want to eat the wrong foods? 
Why can't we say it when we are pressured by others to eat the wrong foods?

What's wrong with saying "no"? 

Is "no" a bad word?

I ponder this as I have clients who are struggling with trigger foods, feeling helpless and bound to their bad choices, along with my own personal demons. How much of this could have been avoided by just saying "no"? How do you get strong enough to say "no"?

You just say "no".

You just say it. You just do it. You just live it. My Isaiah doesn't worry about the consequences every time he says it, he just says it. My Isaiah doesn't fret about setting boundaries, he just does it. My Isaiah doesn't care what the people around him think, he is who he is.

And I want to be just like him.

You get strong by saying "no" to what YOU KNOW is not good for you. You know in your heart. You know by your instincts. So, do it. Say "no". Will you?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Flaws or Possibilities?

When you physically see someone, do you notice their flaws - or their possibilities? 
When you personally know someone, do you notice their flaws - or their possibilities?

In this world today, it is very easy to be negative. We are surrounded by negative influences like TV, media and other sources who may not be completely telling the truth or may be hyping some version of the truth for good ratings or for a profit. So, we get used to seeing the negative. And we get used to seeing the flaws, of those around us, of those we meet.

But what about the possibilities? 
What about the positive? 

I am not a visual person, but I am married to one. He's an artist. He can walk into a room and immediately know what color would be best, what patterns, what shapes to decorate. I walk into a room and just look around and say "huh?". I'm more of a list person who can handle the details of something or organize it. But, in my job of being a Fitness Professional, I do consider myself a visual person.

When I see a person in front of me, I see the possibilities.

You have to understand, when most people come to me, they are at their wit's end. They have tried over and over to lose weight and have failed over and over. They have cried about their weight. It is rare that I just have someone come to me and say "I want to lose a little bit of weight" and go on their merry way. Don't get me wrong, I can work with them and I will, but my heart goes out to the woman who comes to me, obese and overworked, stressed and sick, but is ready to make a change.

  • She is worn down by life, but I only see the positive. 
  • I don't look at the double chins, I see their eyes. 
  • I don't look at the flap of skin in the back of their arms that wave when they raise their arm, I see muscles and leanness. 
  • I don't look at their extended pooch in their belly, from numbered pregnancies or whatever, I see a flat smooth belly. 
  • I don't see their fat asses [sorry, thought I'd be real honest today], I see a fit person. 

How is that possible? And why is that not what they see?

It is so easy to be critical of your body, especially when you are not at a place that you want to be. But, part of getting where you want to be is visualizing what you want to look like. Seeing the possibilities of where you could take your body. And I'm not talking about physical perfection either. Don't get me wrong. I'm talking about being healthy, about being fit, about looking in the mirror and loving your body. It's not about being skinny and showing off your skinny ass to everyone. It's about knowing that you are the best you can be and loving it. There is a difference.

So, what do you see? Do you see flaws? Or do you see possibilities?