Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Losing weight - is it all a numbers game?

How much can you lose? How quickly can you lose it? How many carbs do you have a day? Numbers, numbers, numbers. Is that what it is all about? Weight loss, that is?
  • What if you follow the numbers game and it doesn't work for you? 
  • What if you are not a numbers person and just don't get it?
Is it all a numbers game when it comes to weight loss? 

Don't get me wrong, the numbers are important. You gotta know your numbers:
  • Your weight
  • Your measurements
  • Your body fat percentage
And you may even know or want to know:
  • The percentage of carbs you should be taking in each day
  • Your heart rate when you exercise
  • How long it will take you to lose weight
But, as focused as we are on the NUMBERS, does it really work for us when we are trying to lose weight? I go crazy this time of year when I see the marketing and advertising for the fitness/health/nutrition products and services.
  • Lose 20 lbs. in 10 days!
  • Lose 10 lbs. in 3 days! 
  • Try this diet for 17 days!
  • Take this pill for 30 days!
Really? My question - What happens after those 10 days, or after the 3 days, or the 17 days, or the 30 days? When you take a pill for 30 days and "lose weight", what happens when you STOP taking the pill? Do you gain the weight? Do you continue taking the pill for another 30 days, or indefinitely? When you are so focused on the NUMBERS, you tend to forget the obvious.
  • What about your heart? 
  • What about your head? 
  • What about your gut instinct? 
When you see these ads and promotions and are tempted by the "easy-ness" of taking a pill or shake, think about it. Is a pill or shake really going to change your body? Is a new "diet" going to fix your body? Is a quick-fix, high-weight-loss going to help your health?
  • What does your heart tell you? 
  • What does your head tell you? 
  • What does your gut instinct tell you? Your inside voice? 
Read my Thanksgiving detox article and remember the three E's we talked about in that piece:

E - Eat right. 
E - Exercise. 
E - Emotionally prepare.

This not only applies to getting ready for the holidays, it applies to your health life as well. Get your head into the game. It's not all about the numbers, it's about your health, your life. It starts with the inside...

I am here when you need me - sandi@startwiththeinside.com

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Injuries and the emotional affect

When you are used to working out and you cannot, it hurts.
When you have a physical injury, it hurts.
When you try to recover from an injury, it hurts.

So, when does it get better? Do you have to put your life on-hold while your body heals? 

These are questions I get asked a lot. Having gotten older and hopefully wiser through the years, I put into practice for my clients what has worked for me. I've been injured before and it is not fun. It hurts your pride. It hurts your body. It hurts your emotional well-being. But bear with me while we look at some of the most common conditions surrounding injuries. Causes and affects:

  • Overtraining. Doing too much too soon. 
  • Poor form. Lifting too heavy or not having proper form during exercises. 
  • Equipment. Poor shoes cause many feet issues.
  • Just a fluke. Hate those. An accident or a twist of the body. Unfortunate, but still an injury.
Affects: [on you]
  • Not making a goal. 
  • Hurt body. 
  • Doctor's visits and frustrations. 
  • Broken, strained, sore body part. 
Now, let's add one more cause and one more affect:

Cause - Emotional stress over a situation.
Affect - More emotional stress over a situation. Lack of resolution to situation.

What? Have I eaten too much turkey this Thanksgiving? What do you mean by emotional stress?

I truly believe that most injuries are the cause of emotional stress that is not resolved and it is your body's way of:
  1. Slowing you down 
  2. Making you look at the problem and then 
  3. Resolving it
However, most of us skip #2. Really we do. #1 is easy - we have to slow down. We have to rest and recover and let the injured part of our body heal. #3 is hard, but we do it. We eventually go back to our previous exercises and get back to it. But #2 - actually looking at your "problem" - that's not fun. That's not necessary, you may think. But I truly believe it is a part of the healing process. And if you continually skip #2, you will continued to get injured and frustrated, injured and frustrated, and never totally get healed. By the second or third time, you may just give up and stop trying. And this doesn't just have to do with a physical injury - this may apply to your life in general. Push it under the rug. File it away. Don't deal with the real issue.

The real issue is uncovered when you:
  • Admit the emotional stress
  • Deal with the problem causing the emotional stress
  • Recover from the problem causing the emotional stress
Every injury is an opportunity to heal what is really going on in your body. But, will you listen?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Handling the pressure - Journal or Punching Bag?

Stress. Holidays. Family. Bills. 

Hey, the holidays are here. Your heart starts being faster. Your to-do list starts getting longer. Your patience grows weary. Your body starts getting sick. You might lose your focus. Heavy holiday meals take their toll on your body. Missed workouts become common as you adjust to your over-booked schedule. Is it any wonder that we become "stressed out" this time of year? Is it inevitable - or is there something you can do about it?

How do you handle the pressure? 

One of the first things I give my clients is a journal. A Health Journal. This is not a "Dear Diary" journal, nor a workout journal, nor a nutrition journal. It's a health journal - to record what you feel and say about your body and your health. It's a place to record your frustrations - and your successes. It's a place to record your questions and fears. It's a place to go inside and see what the real reasons are for what is holding you back.

Back in 2001, when I entered a 12-week weight loss contest through David Greenwalt's Leanness Lifestyle [the best coach ever], we were required to submit journal entries every 4 weeks as part of the contest. I recently uncovered these and read through them and I was astonished at what I read. Here are some excerpts that show my progress through the 12 weeks:

  • Week 1 - "I want to find the missing person I used to be. She is hiding behind 20+ of unhealthy, unwanted fat. She is hiding behind unrealized goals and dreams. I need a support group to push me. I need a challenge to break my old ways and feel alive again. I don't want to be stuck in this same place - in the same unhealthy weight for one week longer". 
  • Week 4 - "I learned how many extra "little" calories I was adding to my meals and snacks that were healthy foods, but put my caloric intake over the top. My ultimate goal was to watch the pounds, but I have seen other results. I am starting to envision other goals becoming reality as to my role in this life and how I can help others". 
  • Week 8 - "Three important aspects key to my on-going success were motivation, focus and attitude. My attitude turnaround came week after week of seeing my goals being met. I feel empowered. Emotional changes include confidence and a feeling of accomplishment."
  • Week 12 - "I found the missing person I was looking for! I feel alive! I love life! I made these seemingly unattainable goals 12 weeks ago and now today I look back and it seems like a dream. I was consistent. I was driven. I accomplished my goals!"
My journal entries were key to my success. They pointed out, in writing, my fears and uncertainties. But writing them down did something for me. It allowed me an outlet, a safe outlet, where no one would judge me, where I could finally be honest with myself, and where I could finally start overcoming my issues.

Get a health journal! Use your health journal! Start writing down your frustrations with your body and life. Don't keep it all inside! 

Part two of this blog is a Punching Bag. I learned the importance of a punching bag when I starting taking karate classes with my kids 7 years ago. They would have us do "sessions" of kicks and punches on the bags and I found out - "Hey, this is not just for exercise". This is emotional! This is fun! This is a way to get out aggressions in a safe way - oh, just like a journal. But this gets it OUT of your body.

Now, I have Eugene at home. Eugene is my punching bag. And when times get rough or I get stressed, I put on my gloves, put on my resolve and go to town on Eugene. Left hook, right hook, kicks, punches, whatever it takes to quell me. It usually doesn't take long, just a few minutes. Then I breathe, and move on. And give Eugene a break.
  • Do you have a journal? 
  • Do you have a punching bag? 

How about getting one? How about using one this holiday season? Handle the stress of the season by getting your emotions OUT and getting HEALTHY - inside and out!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Eating out at restaurants - How to make healthy choices - Part 2

Okay friends, let's move on to another group of restaurants:
  • Chick-fil-A
  • Subway
  • Zaxby's
If you missed our post on previous restaurants - Frontera, Macaroni Grill, O'Charley's and Nagano, you can find it here.

Again, not going to throw numbers at you, well maybe a couple, but not many. What's more important to me than the numbers is the mindset. The mindset of making healthy choices, the mindset of not caring what people around you think when it comes to your food, the healthy food that your body needs. Make sense? So, here we go:

  • Chargrilled chicken sandwich, Southwestern chargrilled salad - any chicken that is grilled, not fried
  • Chicken soup, in moderation. This soup is great is you are sick! But, it is high in sodium, so be sure to drink plenty of water if you have it and only once a week!
  • Cool wraps with grilled chicken. 
  • Chicken salad sandwich, over 500 calories
  • Yogurt parfait with granola, 39g sugar
  • Waffle fries, between 300-400 calories alone and no nutritional value
  • Here's a little trivia for you - just because they come out with "holiday" flavors, it doesn't mean it is healthy for you. Peppermint chocolate chip milkshake has 930 calories and 127g sugar. At 32g a day, yes, that's nearly FOUR days worth of sugar!

  • 6" Sub sandwiches are great! Best meats to choose: Oven-roasted chicken, roast beef or turkey breast. 
  • 9-grain wheat bread or wrap
  • Pile of veggies on sandwich: Green peppers, cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes
  • Olive oil and vinegar drizzled on top
  • Fresh fit sides - apple slices or yogurt
  • High sodium meats like ham
  • Mayonnaise
  • Cheese, too fatty and processed
  • Chipotle southwest sauce, over 100 calories for just a small amount
  • Pickles, high in sodium
  • Cookies

  • Grilled chicken sandwich meal, honey mustard dressing on the side
  • House Zalads with grilled chicken
  • Buffalo wings meal, all meals are served with celery sticks
  • Basket of celery sticks with Zax sauce
  • Onion rings, over 600 calories in appetizer
  • Fried pickles and crinkle fries
  • Chicken salad sandwich, mayonnaise alone adds over 200 calories to this sandwich [just because it says "chicken" doesn't always mean it is healthy]
  • Milkshakes, Caramel pecan pie is over 800 calories and 92g sugar, not as bad as Chick-fil-A's above, but still almost 3 days of sugar in one beverage

Remember friends, as I said before:
  • You are in control. No one is making you order something you don't want to eat. 
  • Keep it light. Restaurant portions are 3 to 4 times a normal serving. So take some of it home for lunch tomorrow. 
  • Don't stress and don't be swayed by opinions of others at the table. It's your business what you eat, not theirs. 
  • Be strong and be healthy, you CAN make good choices.
You CAN eat healthy when you go to restaurants, you CAN be in control. Is it worth it to your health to be? 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Saving your calories for dessert - is it worth it?

Have you ever uttered those same words?

"I'm going to save my calories for dessert!"

Said at a restaurant, at Aunt Sally's for Thanksgiving dinner, at home when you just want dessert. Really bad. You decide to not eat much of your dinner, if any at all, and splurge your calories on a dessert. This was illustrated last week on The Biggest Loser when one of the contestants, in a nutrition-eating challenge, chose to do the exact same thing. So, it is worth it? More specifically, what does it do to your body and your efforts to lose weight?

Let's look at it more closely. Let's pretend we are going to O'Charleys for dinner. We order:
  1. House salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing
  2. Cedar plank salmon with asparagus
  3. Ultimate chocolate cake
Here's the breakdown for those:
  1. House salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing - 270 calories, 15g fat, 19g carb, 10g protein
  2. Cedar plank salmon with asparagus - 610 calories, 38g fat, 6g carb, 59g protein
  3. Ultimate chocolate cake - 1080 calories, 59g fat, 151g carb, 12g protein
Total for this meal: 1960 calories, 112g fat, 176g carb, 81g protein

Kind of high, huh? Let's make it lower by just eating 1/2 of the meal:

980 calories, 56g fat, 88g carb, 40g protein

Now, let's take 2 scenarios: One with just salad and entree [eating 1/2 and taking the rest home], and one with just salad and dessert.
  1. Salad and entree: 440 calories, 26g fat, 12g carb, 34g protein
  2. Salad and dessert: 675 calories, 37g fat, 85g carb, 11g protein
Okay, a couple of red flags:
  • Calories increase from 440 to 675
  • Fat grams increase from 26 to 37
  • Carb grams increase from 12 to 85, big jump
  • Protein grams decrease from 34 to 11, big jump
Now, first of all, and please listen when I say this - I DO NOT expect you to count calories and fat and protein and carb grams when you eat out. Really, I don't. It is too time-consuming and too much like Weight Watchers, designed to take your emphasis off the FOOD and put it on a NUMBER. I am simply showing you the differences here so you can compare.

One of the concepts I teach in my Healthy Shopping 101 classes is that it is NOT always about the calories or the grams, but it is about the ingredients as well. What do you think the ingredients are for the salad? Mixed greens, balsalmic dressing. What about the entree? Salmon, asparagus. What about the dessert? Chocolate and sugar and a little bit more sugar. About 114g of sugar - daily recommended amount is 32g.

You cannot just look at the calories, but look at the food. How do you think your body is going to process the first choice? What about the second one? So, did the Biggest Loser contestant make the right choice? Do you make the right choice by skipping entree and saving your calories for dessert?


It's not the same.

And it's not all about the calories.

I know you want the dessert. You crave it. But, if you are trying to lose weight, it is not the best option for you. Please visit my Facebook fanpage for healthy recipes in the "Notes" section - especially the recipes designed to help your sweet tooth.

It is possible to eat healthy when you eat out! Good luck, friends!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Eating out at restaurants - How to make healthy choices - Part 1

"I try to eat healthy, but my family eats out a lot" 
"I can't eat healthy when I go out"
"I eat healthy all week until I go out with my friends"

Eating out is a given in today's society - whether it is once a week or several times a week. But, here's a little trivia for you:

You CAN eat healthy when you eat out at a restaurant. 

Really, you can. I'll show you how. But first a disclaimer:

I am NOT your typical trainer. I am going to tell it like it is. I am not going to throw numbers at you, because, does it really matter? Sure, it may for a little while if you see something 500 calories vs. 1,500 calories, but here's the kicker - I want you to get it in your head and your heart - what the good choices are, without even knowing the numbers. I want you to start getting it by listening to common sense, by listening to that inside voice. So let's get started:
  1. Mexican - Frontera Mex Mex Grill
  2. Italian - Macaroni Grill
  3. Japanese - Nagano
  4. American - O'Charleys
Only two of these restaurants have nutritional info available on-line - Macaroni Grill and O'Charleys. Go to the links if you want to see how your choices add up. Again, I'm not going to throw a bunch of numbers at you, I am going to be honest and tell you what I WOULD HAVE if I went to this restaurant [a question I get asked all the time].

1. Mexican - Frontera Mex Mex Grill
  • Salsa, the spicier, the better and homestyle guacamole - would not have chips with these, but have them with my main entree.
  • Xochitl Soup [chicken and avocado with rice and pico de gallo]
  • Crazy Taco, would order with no cheese or sour cream and would only eat half of shell provided. 
  • Fish Tacos, the menu says "lightly fried", I would ask them if they would broil or grill the fish, sometimes they will. 
  • Parilla chicken, charbroiled, order with no sour cream. 
  • Tacos Al Carbon, no sour cream. 
  • Fajitas, chicken or shrimp, no sour cream.
  • Cheese dip, even though it is famous and delicious.
  • Tortilla chips - this is a whole other blog. Just don't even start eating them. Concentrate on who you are there with at the restaurant, not what is put down in front of you. 
  • Mayan Tortilla soup - too much cheese and cream-based. 
  • Nachos, quesadillas and chimichangas - too much cheese period, greasy. 
  • Mexican pizza - see above.

2. Italian - Macaroni Grill
  • Roasted vegetable appetizer. 
  • Margherita Pizza, would eat 1/2 of it and take the other 1/2 home. 
  • Chicken Marsala, again, would only eat 1/2 of it. 
  • Grilled Halibut or King Salmon, only 1/2 of it. 
  • Pomodoro sauce [tomato basil], Arrabbiata sauce [spicy red]
  • Bread basket, just don't even start, unless night before big race. 
  • Spinach artichoke dip, calamari - too much fat. 
  • Italian Sausage Pizza. 
  • Parmesian-crusted chicken, Penne rustica, Lobster ravioli, Chicken scaloppine. 
  • Fettuccine alfredo. 
  • Basically any cheese-covered dish or creamy sauce dish. 

3. Japanese - Nagano
  • Miso soup, no fried crackers in it. 
  • Side salad. 
  • Steamed rice. 
  • California roll. 
  • Grilled chicken and vegetables. 
  • Soy sauce and teriyaki sauce, loaded with sodium, try tasting your food without it. 
  • Fried dishes including fried sushi and fried rice. 

4. American - O'Charley's 
  • California Chicken Salad, vinaigrette dressing, eat only 1/2 of salad, take the rest home. 
  • Cedar-planked salmon with broccoli
  • Cedar-planked tilapia
  • Grilled turkey burger with sweet potato fries or asparagus
  • Southwestern twisted chips and overloaded potato skins
  • Teriyaki Sesame Chicken, too much sodium
  • Pecan chicken tender salad, chicken is fried
  • 12-spice chicken pasta, creamy sauce
  • Fish n chips, fried
  • Better cheddar bacon burger, dripping with fat
  • French fries
  • Broccoli cheese casserole
Okay, that's it in a nutshell. I don't dread going out to eat. I enjoy it. Just keep this in mind:
  • You are in control. No one is making you order something you don't want to eat. 
  • Keep it light. Restaurant portions are 3 to 4 times a normal serving. So take some of it home for lunch tomorrow. 
  • Don't stress and don't be swayed by opinions of others at the table. It's your business what you eat, not theirs. 
  • Be strong and be healthy, you CAN make good choices. 

So now, will you?

Stay tuned for Part 2 - Subway, Chick-fil-A, Zaxby's and McDonald's.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Battle of the wills in weight loss

Weight loss is a battle. Nothing new, right? Why is it so easy to gain weight and so hard to get it off? It's a battle with...
  • Food - what to eat and what not to eat
  • Working out - getting through workouts that are tough
  • Excuses - keeping you from making progress
  • Time - scheduling workouts and food preparation
  • Family obligations - dealing with family members who need your time
  • Your mind - overcoming emotional obstacles from your past or present
  • Your will - your desire to make a change
How strong is your will? Can you overcome the battles that you face everyday?
  • Your WILL to succeed
  • Your WILL to change
  • Your WILL to live healthy
  • Your WILL
Your will can be your biggest enemy or your best supporter. Your will will get you through the hard times or break you. You have to find out if your will is strong or weak. So, how do you do that?

After living fit and healthy for almost 10 years now, it's almost become standard for me.
  • I am no longer tempted to overeat or eat things that aren't good for me.
  • I get in my workouts, even if they are tough. 
  • I set goals and overcome any excuses that I might have. 
  • I manage my time by planning ahead for my week. 
  • My family understands that they are my first priority. 
  • I have let go of past hurts and regrets. 
  • My will is strong. 
But, it's still a battle. I struggle with doing the right thing. I struggle with the direction to take my company. I struggle with my relationships. I struggle with setting goals and achieving them. But you just have to keep going on. The battle of the will's.
  • Will I - eat healthy today? It's pretty much a given, I will. 
  • Will I - workout today? Yes, even though I am injured, I will find something I can do. 
  • Will I - give up when times are tough or buck up soldier? 
One of my battles right now is swimming. I don't like it. I don't know if it is my time in the Potomac in September, but I don't like it now. Of the three triathlon sports, it is the one that I need the most help. I suck at it. I am slow. And it is a pain in the ass to schedule a swim workout in my life. But I have to do it. I'm injured and it is the only cardio I can do right now. So I do it, twice a week. And it is a battle every time I go there. It is a battle packing my workout bag. It is a battle driving over there. It is a battle changing, dealing with the hair, blah blah blah, but I just do it. About 20 laps into it, I start to feel ok. It is tedious. It is boring. But I always feel the same at the end. So glad I did it. Energized. Healthy. Happy to have won another battle.

Battles are not bad things. Battles show you how strong you are. Battles make you stronger so you can face the next one. In the battle of the wills, I am ready to take it on again, are you?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Okay, so you overdid it on the candy, now what?

I know, I'm the LAST person you're going to tell, right?

Don't worry, I've heard it all before. I've done it all before. You don't spend 8 years being overweight/obese and not over-indulge on candy. Why do you think I take the no-candy pledge now?

But seriously, it started out as one a day, a handful a day, candy corn, chocolate candy bars, candy suckers, and those awesome candy corn pumpkins. What was a handful a day now turns into a handful an hour and you start snipping at anyone who comes near the candy jar and wondering just how much more you can get at the 80% off candy at Kroger. You just need a little something-something to get you through now. Every day, every hour. Pretty soon, you start noticing:
  • A definite change in your attitude. It's everybody else, you say, who's in a crappy mood. They just need some of your candy, damn it. 
  • A cloudiness that just doesn't go away. Can't finish a sentence, a thought, a project. Crap, so unmotivated. 
  • Parts of your body are jiggling a little bit too much now. When you walk up the stairs, somebody else's ass is coming with you. When you wave goodbye, there is jiggly skin under your arm now. The jeans are NOT fitting now and dang, that button makes such an impression on the skin on your belly. 
  • Your skin looks bad so you put on more makeup. 
  • You feel helpless. 
Now what?

First, breathe. It's going to get better. I won't even say "I told you so"... let's get you feeling better. First steps to detox your body from candy:
  • Drink water, lots of it. If you drink 16 oz. water bottles, strive to drink 4-6 a day. 
  • Limit sodas and alcohol during this time. Cut up lemon or lime and put slice in your water. Lemon is a natural detoxifier. 
  • Eat fresh fruit and vegetables. Eat these in place of the candy. A banana in the morning, an apple in the afternoon. Have a green vegetable with dinner, like broccoli or asparagus.
  • Make your snacks in advance. You can find plenty of snack recipes on my fanpage under "Notes"
  • Get out and exercise, even if it is just to walk. Push your body a little bit. 
And here's the hardest steps, if you can:
  • Stop eating the candy. Just stop. 
  • Start writing down why you started eating it in the first place. Keep a journal of your frustrations, your dreams, your goals - physical goals. Keep track of your emotional health like you do your food and workouts. Why does candy have such a hold over your life? Start writing. Start the healing process. 
You CAN overcome a candy overload. You CAN. You just have to buck up soldier and do it. So, will you?