Monday, October 17, 2011

Why do we have to give up so much to be healthy?

When it comes to weight loss, why is it more about deprivation than enjoyment? Why is it more about hard work than just getting by? Why can't it be smiles and balloons instead of crying and cravings?

One of the most common complaints I hear when someone starts a weight-loss program is the deprivation factor. The fact that they cannot eat like they used to. The fact that it is so hard to get workouts in a busy schedule. The fact that they can never have a certain food again, ever. But is it really forever?
  • Do you have to give up the 'forbidden' foods forever? 
  • Do you have to give up having an occasional treat of sugar or alcohol? 
  • Do you have to work out every day for the rest of your life? 

But, do you want to lose weight or what? 

No, you don't have to give up the 'forbidden' foods forever. But, what's wrong with limiting them for a short period of time and seeing if you can overcome the EMOTIONAL obstacles associated with that food. Instead of thinking of it as a chore to 'give up' that food, look at it realistically. Could that food or over-indulgence of that food be stalling your weight loss efforts? Sometimes you don't have to give it up. Sometimes you can just limit or moderate it. But other times, it seems to have a hold over you. Why? If you have been trying to lose weight for many, many years and what you have been doing DOESN'T work, then doesn't it make sense to try something else that may work? Think about it...

No, you don't have to give up having an occasional treat of sugar or alcohol. But, again, what's wrong with limiting them for a short period of time and seeing if you can overcome the EMOTIONAL obstacles associated with that food or drink? We are a give-me-everything-now society and what has that done for us? We have what we want when we want it. We don't take care of what we have and we get rid of things we don't need to. Is it working for us? No, we are more overweight and more obese as a society. So, if it's not working for you, why not try something else.

No, you don't have to work out every day for the rest of your life. But are you trying to lose weight or are you trying to maintain your weight? I have been lucky enough to maintain my weight for the last 10 years and I can tell you, I haven't worked every day during those 10 years. I've taken days off, sometimes weeks off. But, I am not trying to lose weight. When you make the commitment to LOSE weight, you are going to have to do something different. So, if you had to work out 5-6 days a week for a short period of time to lose the weight, is that so bad? It's not going to kill you. It's going to save your life. It's going to make exercise a habit and help your body so much.

Why do we have to give up so much to be healthy?

Who is giving up? When you make the commitment to lose weight, you are not giving up your life. You are living it. You are changing it. You are proud of it. You are becoming the person you were meant to be. So do it. Will you?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Gwinnett's Losing It! takes it to another level

Weight loss is hard. Permanent weight loss. Not the temporary, here take this pill or drink this shake 3 times a day weight loss. The kind of weight loss that changes your life. With our national obesity rate rising every year along with the increase marketing and promotion of "special" products designed to help you lose weight, why is it so hard? If all of these pills, shakes and workout equipment worked, then wouldn't we as a society be healthier? We can be. It starts with the inside and Gwinnett's Losing It! is a good example of that.

A second round of Gwinnett's Losing It! started August 15, 2001 in Gwinnett County and ends 12 weeks later on November 4, 2011. 20 participants have 12 weeks to change their bodies, and their lives. How do they do this?
  • By learning how to incorporate strength training into their workouts
  • By learning how to do effective cardio workouts
  • By learning proper nutrition strategies for their daily life
  • By attending weekly teleconference calls
  • By attending monthly group meetings
  • By competing against other people with the same goals and same frustrations

The participants met for an afternoon at Lake Lanier Islands Resort for a kick-off in August, which included a boot camp workout and hike, a healthy lunch and emotional boot camp workshops. They train for a 5K in September, in which many complete for the first time. They attend another boot camp workout in October and conclude at a ceremony in November to celebrate their success.

But let's hear it from the participants themselves:

  •  "The past eight weeks have been very exciting. They flew by and I am wishing this contest was much longer as I am having too much fun! Training for the 5K unified us as a team. I am extremely proud of myself that I have worked hard to consistently lose 1 lb a week and pushed myself to run the entire 5K. I am feeling healthier and happier."
  • "I have not lost a lot of weight during this contest, but I am losing inches and gaining muscle. I am wearing two sizes smaller. This contest has helped me 'like' myself again. Overall, I try to be a positive person around other people and they think I am happy. When I am by myself, I do not smile much. I have been unhappy with myself for quite a while. Because of this contest, however, I am eating right, treating myself right and seeing some results. The other day, I caught myself smiling inside."
  • "My workout routine is now becoming a way of life. I never realized how important weight training was before but now I plan to make this a forever thing. I can't and don't even use the term 'diet' anymore. I still enjoy an occasional bite of dessert or special 'family' food, but really don't enjoy stuffing myself with bad nutrition choices. It has been very valuable to me to know that I'm not in this battle alone!"
  • "I am learning how to take better care of myself in various ways. Learning to jog has been great. Running the entire 5K with my friends was very special and motivating. Seems like I am surrounded by sick people, however I am staying healthy and strong. Sometimes, I just giggle to myself about what I am becoming. I like her."
  • "When the 12 weeks are up, I will have a plan that I can continue to follow and that I can live with. Because I am not in this just for the 12 weeks. I am in this for the rest of my life. I am not on a diet, I am living healthy. Sure I will still have days when I will struggle to get my workouts in, I will still forget lunch and be tempted by those chicken fingers, but I have learned that I have to be a priority in my life and that taking care of myself is as important, no really, more important than anything else I do. And I think I have made strides that will make this easier in the future." 
  • "I am so excited by my week 8 results. I have lost a total of 9" and lost 24 lbs. I completed my first 5K race and ran a mile for the first time in 30 years. My blood pressure remains normal and migraines appear to be a thing of the past. While these physical changes are impressive, I have found the emotional changes to be even more important. I have learned how to really push myself. I have consistently planned and cooked healthy meals for my family, even when fast food restaurants called to me on the drive home from work. I have found an inner strength that I never knew I had and intend to use that strength to achieve my weight loss and fitness goals long after this competition is over."
  • "The past eight weeks, I have made major improvements to my nutrition. I have completely cut out soda and junk food. I think making the decision to cut those two things completely out has been one of my best decisions ever. Knowing that my life will and always be changed from doing this competition. I can't wait to continue my life on the right track."
  • "It has been an amazing eight weeks. I have dropped 14 lbs in a plain ol healthy way with good food and exercise. The best part is I have done this in a realistic approach that I can live with. I have not done any extreme fad dieting, taken any pills or even extreme workouts. I have not given up every food I've ever enjoyed, I'm simply learning how to use moderation in my eating. This time is different. I have no special occasion goal, I have a life goal. I am learning, slowly but surely, how to 'start with the inside' and I am confident that I will continue losing at least 1 lb a week until I'm at my goal and maintain it." 

Congratulations Gwinnett's Losing It! participants and good luck during the last three weeks! Cannot wait for the Finale Celebration on Wednesday, November 9th at 550 Trackside in Lawrenceville! Stay tuned for more details.