Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The big egg debate

We are approaching Easter weekend and the eggs are plenty, which brings us to the big egg debate. Yes, big egg debate. Okay, you knew it was coming. I'm taking on the "Cadbury Egg". You expect as much, right? Not only did I author the "Candy Pledge" during Halloween, call for moderation during the holidays and the ever-popular "Let's find an alternative healthy present instead of chocolate" on Valentine's Day, but now I am attacking another sacred holiday, Easter.
  • Chocolate Easter bunnies
  • Chocolate Malt Balls
  • Jelly Beans of every color and size
  • Marshmallow Peeps
  • And of course...Chocolate Eggs, Reese's, Cadbury, Russell Stover, just name a brand, they have chocolate eggs galore
Let's look at the regular egg. Okay, we decorated it up a little bit for the Easter celebration.

Nutrition Facts:
90 calories
7g fat
0.4g carbohydrate
6.3g protein
Ingredient: Egg

An egg is a healthy food, right? Let's compare it to one of our friendly chocolate counterparts, a Reese's chocolate egg...

Nutrition Facts:
180 calories
11g fat
18 carbohydrate
4g protein
25g sugar
Ingredients: Milk chocolate made with sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, lactose, soy lecithin and PGPR [emulsifiers], peanuts, sugar, dextrose, salt, TBHQ [preservative].

Okay, a little bit of difference. Yes, calories for our little Reese's chocolate egg are double that of a regular egg. Yes, there are more carbs and less protein. Yes, if you have attended my Healthy Shopping 101 class, you know that the chocolate egg has some "-ose's" in there and what that means. You have to come to class to find that out. Okay, I'll give you a clue. If an ingredient ends in "-ose", it is a processed sugar. You can remember that by -ose = Gross.

But, let's take it a step further. What's the most important part of this comparison? The ingredients! What's in an egg? Yes, that's right, an egg. No additives. No preservatives or emulsifiers. What's in a chocolate egg? Not only that, but picture eating an egg. How is that egg processed through your body? Picture eating a normal egg. It's natural, it breaks down easily, it goes thru your body. Picture eating a chocolate egg. It's processed, it sticks, it doesn't go thru your body easily. Oh, and the chocolate egg has 25 grams of added sugar. 32 grams is daily recommended. That could be a problem.

Here's the hard part. We as a society are programmed, marketed heavily to, convinced that "chocolate is healthy" and that eating one of these sales and marketing wonder eggs is going to make us healthy. But it's not. And most of the time, we can't just eat one. If you eat one of these, fine, but what about 2 or 3 or more. Multiply that 25 grams x the amount you eat. And now we are talking sugar overload and guess how your body processes that? Ever wonder why when you wave goodbye, the upper part of your arm goes with the wave? Ever wonder why when you walk up the stairs, somethings jiggle a little bit more than they should? Ever wonder why you look in the mirror and are unhappy with your body and the way it looks?

Hey, now I am not blaming the lowly chocolate Easter egg for all of those things. But, it plays a part. The egg, the natural egg, is healthy for you. The chocolate egg, the processed egg, is not healthy for you. So if we know that, then the next step is finding out how we can convince our mind so that when we are at the grocery store, we reach for the healthy egg and not the unhealthy one. And then when we are at a friend's house for a meal and there are chocolate eggs abound, we use moderation or control because we care about our bodies. And then when we decide what to give our kids pretty Easter baskets filled with goodies, we use moderation and control and focus on the reason for the holiday, or the reason for showing our love to them.

Love does not equal a chocolate egg
Love does not equal a chocolate bunny

Still with me? I know this is hard. I know I am attacking something that is very near and dear to people's hearts - chocolate goodies. It takes time to overcome a habit and eating chocolate eggs is and has become a habit for many people. It's just something we do every Easter. And then beat ourselves up because it makes us feel awful. There is an easier way. There is a way to overcome our chocolate obstacles and it start with the inside. What are our emotional ties to chocolate? What are our emotional habits? Why are we afraid of being good and sticking to what we know we should eat?

There is no real definite answer to these questions. All you can do is start today. Start doing what you know you should be doing. Start making healthier choices for your body, your health, your life. And no sales and marketing company is going to do that for you, you have to. So my question to you is, will you? 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gwinnett's Losing It! Videos

Here are the links to the two videos that were shown on the Finale...

Yes, it's the "Rocky" theme, you know I was going to put that in it! The participants talking about what they want to accomplish and why during the 12-week contest. Honest talk from honest people. Can you relate to any of them?

Another theme song, this time from "The Biggest Loser". This time after 12 weeks. Do they look different to you? The 14th participant is "Miss Kit", my black and white kitty who is a prima donna and who wanted desperately to show off for the camera. Notice what the last participant Vicki says at the end of the video, "I AM GOING to be..." Wow.

Celebrating Success - Part Two

An update for Gwinnett's Losing It! continues...

Gwinnett's Losing It! is not just about losing weight. It's about changing your body and improving your health. The participants in this program were judged on four criteria:
  • Weight, starting and ending
  • Photos, starting and ending
  • Essays, including goals and 3 other essays every 4 weeks in the competition
  • Progress Reports taken every 4 weeks, including measurements, clothing size and bodyfat percentage
This is important to remember because losing pounds alone does not make you a healthy person. Our society places too much emphasis on weight alone, when we should really be looking at the whole health of the person as well, which is what this contest was striving to do. So, while the person who lost the most amount of weight did not win 1st place, he certainly made a lot of other changes as well.

January 2011
After 12 weeks
Winning 3rd place is Mickey Hamilton. Mickey is married and has 3 daughters and 2 grandchildren. As the only man in the competition, he has enjoyed it immensely. His goal was to live longer and be here for his family and friends and to start walking 3 miles a day with the family and liking it. His obstacle was travel and eating in restaurants. His biggest accomplishment for this competition was conquering the nutrition challenge. Mickey has lost 52 lbs., 12% bodyfat and untold amount of inches in this 12-week competition. While the weight loss is impressive, even more impressive is the fact that Mickey has drastically reduced his diabetes medication, he has made remarkable progress in that when he started he could not walk for short distances and recently, he just completed his first two 5K's. He is amazing! He has truly changed his life and I look forward to working with him even more as he continues his weight loss/health journey! These photos are of his legs when we started and after 12 weeks.

Winning 2nd place is Velma Busby. Velma has been married for 30 years. She has 2 sons and 3 grandchildren. Her goal was to lose weight and get healthy and make this a permanent loss and lifestyle change. Her obstacle was to not give in and eat the way she used to. Her biggest accomplishment for this competition was learning how to eat clean and put workouts in her everyday life and enjoying it. Velma has lost 24 lbs, 10% bodyfat and 8 inches. Velma is a hot grandma! When Velma started with me, she was discouraged about her body and her energy level. She is not now! Velma has stuck like glue to her workouts and nutrition changes and has really changed her life. She no longer has to take medication for diabetes, high blood pressure, and has truly made the changes to better her body and her health.

Winning 1st place is Vicki Rice. Vicki is a widow and has 2 sons and 3 grandsons. Her goal was to be able to do the exercise program and reach set goals. Her obstacle was food and eating out at restaurants. Her biggest accomplishment in this competition was running a 5K and reaching her weight goals. Vicki has lost 26 lbs, 8% bodyfat and 16 inches. Vicki is a powerhouse. 6 years ago, Vicki's husband died unexpectedly. She took it hard and was not good to her body. This contest changed the way she looked at her body. She overcame bad habits and learned new ways to deal with the hurt in her life. She, like all of the 13 contestants, learned to share with our group in a private, safe setting, the hurt that has held her back for so long. She let it go. And in doing so, she flourished in this contest. My nickname for Vicki is "Ms. Consistent" because she is. She is consistent in her workouts. She is consistent in her nutrition. She is consistent in setting and meeting her goals. Week after week, she continued to make progress and set the standard high for herself and those around her. I am so unbelievably proud of Vicki and her accomplishments. And she was on the front page of the Gwinnett Daily Post, which I absolutely loved!

There is so much to tell you about this contest that I think I will have to do a "Part Three" to truly show you what we accomplished as a team. So I will do that. But in closing, I want to point out that these three individuals have many things in common:
  • They are all grandparents [can you believe that? Do you understand why I always say that AGE is just a number!]
  • They all had obstacles and they overcame them. 
  • They all had goals and they met them. 
  • They all had to deal with special situations-traveling, stress in the job, eating out at restaurants, time constraints, life. And they did it anyway. 
  • They are all winners - they have their bodies and their lives back. 
I hope when you read their profiles, you see something that strikes you - either for you or for someone you know - that gives you a glimmer of hope. Hope that you too - or that someone you know - can finally overcome the obstacles of losing weight. Hope that you too can set and make weight loss goals with success. Hope that you too can change your body and life. So, now will you?

Our next Gwinnett's Losing It! will be August 15, 2011 through November 4, 2011. See my website for more details. Part three to come...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Celebrating Success - a Gwinnett's Losing It! Update

Wow - what an amazing 12 weeks! Our Gwinnett's Losing It! team finished their weight-loss journey, but ended up changing more than just their weight. As a group, they lost 293 lbs. As a group, they lost an average of 7% bodyfat and 10.5". In 12 weeks! But they won more than they lost...[in their words]
  • No more blood pressure medication. This may mark the end of a competition, but not the end of a journey as a team and family.
  • I'm learning not to focus on the scale so much but the total picture of becoming healthy and building lean muscle. The change in nutrition has made the biggest difference for me. 
  • After starting this challenge, it was like my life started coming together and gave me the ambition to get out and do something with my life. I no longer have to take my diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure medicine.
  • I have gone from a person who thought they were going to die by overeating to a person that is in total control of what goes in my mouth. 
  • I have more self confidence and self esteem than I have ever had in my life. I don't ever recall being happy with me. I can finally say "I love me". 
  • I have finally taken control of many cravings that I thought I would never be able to overcome. I have accepted that I cannot passively live my life, I have to be an active, attentive participant.
  • I now know that my body is capable of. I am now on the road to recovery for a lifetime. I feel awesome. 
  • I have found me again. I have learned I should come first. My health allows me to take care of my family and my business. 
  • I am proud of myself. Proud to have met a great group of new folks from our community, and proud to have been given the chance to change my life forever. 
  • I am better, fitter and stronger because of this challenge. Although I've lost a few pounds and a few inches, I've gained a new perspective on what being a winner means. It means finishing the race. 
  • I have a newfound respect for my body and soul and what I do with it and put into it. 
  • I have learned that by sticking to routine and being mindful of my nutrition is the way to make my goal. I have learned that by setting smaller goals to reach for is better than looking for that end result. 
  • We no longer have the identity of extra pounds to hide behind. Instead we are a group who have changed for the better. I am going to live to see so many other journeys because I made the change and became the winner. 
Do you see what I mean now? This was NOT just a weight loss contest. This was a contest to change lives. I'll have another post with photos of our celebration night as well as additional information on the winners, but I'd like to end this blog with a portion of my speech on that special night, directed towards the competitors of Gwinnett's Losing It!:
"Every single one of you has made an impact in my life. Every single one of you deserves to win this contest. You have given me your trust. You have given me your health. You have given me your lives. And I am truly grateful for that. I have worked hard to not let you down and I can tell you, you didn't let me down. I truly love all of you and I wish the best for all of you. Whether you win 1st, 2nd or 3rd, you all deserve winning and you already have the prize you need - you have your body and your life back. And one last thing, I will be watching you, I know where you live and I will come and beat you if I have to."
Yeah, I know, I had to add that last line. That's just me. Congratulations to Gwinnett's Losing It! competitors who changed their lives. So, now are you ready to take the plunge? Stay tuned...