Monday, May 18, 2015

One Day at a Time, One Hour at a Time, One Bite at a Time...

When I think about all of the mind games that can steer us wrong, it's a wonder than any of us keep our weight off on the long-term, and yet we do. Some days are fairly easy to eat right.

However, many other days seem quite stressful and less certain. I don't know about your situation, but junk food is always around me and I also have highly stressful situations at work. Contrary to many people's beliefs about me, I am never in a state of Zen. I attack my problems before they attack me. I try to never let people or problems take nibbles out of me, though I still have some very hard days. 

So what do I do on the hardest days? I try to deal with the present situation, ignoring both the past and the future. I take my eating issues one day at a time, one hour at a time, and one bite at a time.

Can I eat well for the next hour? Then eat well for the hour after that? And keep that going? That is all that is necessary. Keeping weight off does not involve monumental heroics, but many good little decisions all day long. And believing in yourself that you can manage the next little chunk of time in front of you.

It's the daily process that counts most.

Food prep is crucial. A chopped cucumber gets eaten, while a whole cucumber lays in the back of the fridge. Chop your healthy food up. Place it in containers. Make yourself iced tea or cool mint-infused water ready in the fridge.

What's in front of us gets eaten. So the family's junk food needs to get put far out of sight in functional undelicious-looking containers, preferably on high shelves.

Meanwhile, the fresh fruit and veggies need to get put out on the kitchen counter top, to be the first thing you see as you walk in the kitchen. Not to make us seem robotic or anything, but most of us will generally eat whatever is in front of us, so plan for it. :-)

Good food choices (low carb foods are always best) and not allowing weight maintenance to get overwhelming are key. We can all handle that small moment in front of us. Really. Don't make eating well into a huge ordeal. Make eating well manageable as easily do-able small tasks to avoid the mind games.

What do *you* think?

Have a delightful day!!!

:-) Marion

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Honesty to One's Self Regarding Health & Eating

This week, at my TOPS meeting, I told my group that I did not feel very honest to myself regarding the subject content within our TOPS Pledge.

The TOPS Pledge contains these words:

TOPS Pledge
I am an intelligent person.
I will control my emotions,
not let my emotions control me.
Every time I am tempted to use food
to satisfy my frustrated desires,
build up my injured ego,
or dull my senses,
I will remember,
even though I overeat in private,
my excess poundage is there
for all the world to see.

The words of the TOPS Pledge are quite profound to me. On many occasions over the past 3 years, I have found myself telling a family member or friend something like, "This week I ate to soothe my injured ego because people have been constantly chewing me out," or "I just ate that food to dull my senses because I am so frustrated."   

In TOPS, a main premise of our organization to honestly to one's self. It's a huge thing. We each have to be able to personally face the "why" of our overeating in order to do something about it. 

Further, I have learned that I have to appreciate when I'm doing okay in a dog-eat-dog world, so that I can acknowledge my victorious attempts of still trying to do "my best" despite stressful situations. Each day, I endeavor to attack those problems instead of letting them attack me. That is a character strength, even if it often doesn't feel that way or results are not as good as we wanted. If we lay the stress on ourselves of needing to be "great" within very frustrating circumstances, we probably cannot meet up to that unrealistic standard. This unrealistic standard creates stress, for which we seek relief, often with overeating comfort food. 

"Okay" is a very much harder standard to accomplish in the worst situations 
than "Great" is to accomplish in optimal situations.  

TLC--tender loving care to ourselves during our hardest ordeals and most frustrating moments. Self-love for just trying to do our best is also part of the honesty we need to achieve our health and eating goals.

Be honest about why you overeat, but also be equally honest that --you are a good person who is fully deserving of good things. 

What do *you* think? What do you think is involved in self-honesty regarding health and eating?

Have a great day during which you have practiced self-love!  

 :-) Marion

Sunday, April 12, 2015

My Exercise/Gym Update: April 12, 2015

Today, it is a personal post, regarding my current exercises and gym experiences.

I've been going to a new gym for the past 2 1/2 months. So far, it's been...GREAT! This gym is a longer trip from my house, but there is more weightlifting equipment in a bigger space and a well-thought set-up. I have met a few of the old regulars of the weightlifting area, which is always fun. I'm sort of a weird fitness person doing my own thing, doing a big bench press sets with the 45 pound plates and then doing yoga balancing poses in between sets, so I often get invited into lively and fun conversations about exercise.

One of the older weightlifting guys asked me if I know how to rehab knees. I told him how I was in constant pain last year with my knee --but this year, it's totally pain-free. I showed him my leg twirls that helped my knee get rehabbed. I hope that helps him.

Another guy asked about weak/sore back, in which I suggested that he might try Lat Pull Downs set at a light amount of weight to rehab his back. Lat Pull Downs are a deeply under-appreciated exercise. Everyone should do them.

Personally, I have done 700 pushups in the past 4 weeks. (No...I don't do them all at once!!! Lol.) I do sets of 10 and then take a break to tidy the house, sort mail, or stir what I'm cooking. I do not like pushups at all, however, pushups allow me to do a great bench press, which I *do* like quite a bit. So I force myself to do them, which is good for me to force myself to get unlikeable things done to get a happy result at the gym.

I'm still doing chin-ups and standing back bends each Sunday-- at age 47. I was talking to a 40-year-old woman in the locker room who totally agreed-- at our age, it feels amazing and awe-inspiring that we can do the exercises we do! We enjoy our personal fitness capabilities so much!! Younger people take these same exercises for granted so they don't feel the joy of accomplishment that we feel.

I am back on track for yoga too. Last year, when my knee was so hurt, I could not do many yoga poses. Contrary to popular opinion, yoga can be incredibly hard on knees, especially if they are previously hurt. So I abruptly stopped doing several yoga poses last year. But now both knees feel great, so I'm back to doing all the yoga poses I love to do.

I have given up Bosu ball balancing. One day, hours after leaving the gym, my one hip felt...I don't even know how to describe it. But the hip issue was with me for 2 days. I knew it was from Bosu ball balancing, and I didn't want that feeling in my hip joint. Bosu ball is just not worth any sort of joint issue for me.

As one guy at the gym was telling me, they show an adventurous/reckless exercise on, but they don't show the aftermath of all of the people who are injured from doing that exercise. So true! More and more, I am choosing tightly controlled exercises and avoiding Bosu balls, big kicks, jumping, side hops, and anything that is more likely to get me unbalanced that I hurt myself. This is my personal choice based upon how much I truly resent being injured.

As one older weightlifting guy was saying to me, he doesn't understand why the younger weightlifters take so much needless risk. My comment back was: We see this mainly as a journey, while they see it primarily as a goal. Perspective is everything!

Walking: I walk Keebler one mile per day in our neighborhood. Besides that, I tend to walk 2 to 3 miles just doing my normal activities. Usually, on Saturday, I have a bigger walking day involving shopping. I think this is a walking amount that feels great.

Lastly, I've been trying to make a grocery trip right after gym when I'm feeling physically at my best. The foods I purchased reflected how I was feeling. I had a delicious salad with fresh dill in it. Fresh herbs transform salads. My son commented that the salad did not need dressing. 

What do *you* think? What good things are happening for your fitness and eating?

Have a Marvelous Day!

:-) Marion

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Your Personal Health Victories Mean *Everything*

I saw this from My Real Yoga Body and was wowed by it:


“My yoga teacher took this of me today. When I look at this my first reaction is of disgust. I didn’t see what my teacher saw. ‘Look at your top arm and leg. The openness at your chest and hips is beautiful!! How straight your are able to get, and how you are supporting yourself and balancing on one arm and leg.’ Years of hating myself won’t go away over night, but with the help of supportive friends I’ll get there. Yoga is for EVERY BODY.

Richard Widmark, Jr., the yogi above, now loves yoga. He found yoga to be special on his own terms. Much of what he says is very much how I have experienced yoga for myself. For more of his story, watch his videos at his blog

Our own personal health victories mean *everything!* no matter what anyone else thinks.

Our personal health victories are about each of us personally.

It is a self-exploration about who we are as individuals.

The victory comes from little triumphs that are most appreciated internally, little yays!!! in our mind as we are each the best cheerleader for our own selves.

It is about being more than we imagined. It is about stretching to a broader expanse than we knew was possible in our lives, both physically and mentally.

It is about seeing our own selves as beautiful and poetic in our own originality.

We should *not* try to be someone else or copy their personal goals,
but deeply appreciate our own wonders as they unfold and are revealed to us.

Our best victories are tucked into a corner of our soul to be cherished by ourselves. 

What do *you* think? How do you view your personal health victories? What advice could you give to others about this topic?

Have a Beautiful and Poetic Day!

:-) Marion 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Visualizing Yourself as "Fit," and "Slim": The Mind Game You Must Win

The hardest part of losing weight and keeping it off is: the mind game, of course!!! We can more easily change what we see in the mirror than how we see ourselves in our minds. So this post is aptly named -- Visualizing Yourself as "Fit" and "Slim": The Mind Game You Must Win.

Good habits and rules are superficial unless we have changed how we view ourselves. Over and over, I see that people who have changed their health for the long-term have changed how they view themselves.

How we view ourselves in our mind is our current standard for ourselves, whether we like this standard or not. If we strive for something different, we are very likely to eventually gravitate back to our mind's standard of our self. After this long of living your life, it is very hard to distinguish the truth from the mental garbage, especially if you feel that you should be doing better for yourself.

Hey, I have no problem with this technique if it works for you. ;-)

Separating the truth from the mental garbage takes new deliberate thoughts and actions. Perhaps you believe that you don't like exercising, but maybe that is only based upon bad experiences from phys. ed. Most people I know absolutely hated phys. ed. because it is demoralizing. But what if you found new friends at gym who were your age, but encouraged you to have fun and that you are "worth it," could that change your view of fitness? Definitely!

Perhaps you believe that you don't like vegetables because your mom always cooked them up mushy and tasteless, creating a bad experience with food. However, could you challenge yourself to take a new try at vegetables by trying a simple recipe on Pinterest that incorporates flavorful spices? I have found that after learning how to spice my veggies better, I like them so much more!!!

If you've had many years of feeling "chubby," it is very hard to visualize yourself as "slim." In fact, after I lost weight, it was still hard to see myself as being much slimmer. It takes time, and it helps a great deal to gain friends who have "slim thoughts," versus "chubby thoughts." These slim thinking friends offer fruit to you as a snack, rather than a cookie or doughnut. They eat salads beside you. They make water look like it's a trend you want to join. They regularly exercise. The more slim thinking friends you have, the more normal that it seems in your own life. When "slim," actually gets "normal" in your life--that's a new health standard for yourself!

If you've had an adulthood of feeling "out of shape," it is time to find some "fitness thinking" friends. These fitness thinking people have *FUN!!!!* in the gym. They have gym projects that they enjoy!!! They love to talk about fitness and exercise! They love to encourage a receptive gym goer. The more fitness thinking friends in your life, the more normal it seems in your own life. When "fit," actually becomes "normal" in your life -- you did it, you've started seeing yourself as "fit."

Arnold wants to give you a great big bear hug! 

If you can't seem to find "slim thinking" and/or "fit thinking" friends in your community, carefully read blogs and fitness books until you start to relate to these people--like me. This week, I re-opened some classic bodybuilding fitness books because Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dave Draper, and Lou Ferrigno had super high standards for eating and weightlifting. When I contemplate and absorb their messages, it helps me "belong" in this healthy eating/fitness fanatic group. All of this applies to me too! (And while I write this, I'm eating a bowl frozen blueberries instead of the Snickers ice cream in the freezer, thinking that Arnold, Dave, and Lou would highly approve of my choice.)

You can change how you internally view yourself. It isn't easy, but all of this self-exploratory work is definitely worth it!!! When you change how you feel about yourself inside, your outside will physically manifest that new belief. Indeed, these new thoughts and standards that I learned and developed for myself is how I turned from extremely chubby to the much healthier person I am now.

What do *you* think? How did you change your "chubby thinking" into "slim thinking"? How did you get yourself to get higher health standards for yourself? Did friends, mentors, or role models help change your mind for the better? And anything else you'd like to add.

Have a Terrific Day !

:-) Marion

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Cornell Food Lab: Weight Effects of Cooking Shows and Recipe Books (You need to know this!)

The Cornell University Food Lab is putting out *useful research* for how to better watch our weight.

Here are two research discoveries they have found:

Viewers vs. Doers: The Relationship Between Watching Food Television and BMI, appetite, brian wansink, lara latimer, lizzy pope, cornell food and brand lab, food psychology, viewer vs doers, 2015


Marion's experience: 

I have personally found that I overeat recipes-- every time!!! Because I know this about myself, I try to stay far away from recipe books, choosing the cooking style of cooking whole foods well with added spices and herbs. I've gotten *much* better with using spices in the past few years, resulting in much better tasting healthy food.

Most of the TV cooking shows are what I would term, "holiday food," indulgent calorie-laden food that a slim person cannot eat on a daily basis without gaining weight. So why watch it?!!! 

Instead, head over to Andrea's blog to learn how to cook whole foods in a yummy way. When I first started reading Andrea's blog, I honestly didn't really think her type of cooking applied to me. It was very far from the food of my upbringing. However, I kept reading and thinking about what she said, and eventually, Andrea's influence changed the way I eat in a huge way. I now regularly make acorn squash, spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, and many other healthy food ideas that I learned to grow *comfortable* about from reading Andrea's blog. I love her healthy food prep blog articles too, where she chops up, places in containers for the fridge and otherwise plans healthy foods for the week. She's practical and simple about healthy food cooking, and even beginners can learn from her.

I can honestly say that out of all healthy food blogs I've ever read, I've been most influenced by Andrea's blog. Thanks, Andrea!!! So, if you want to eat much better, or just get interesting whole food ideas, check it out. 

Food for thought: Practice deliberate thinking about food. Fattening food thoughts influence our weight in a bad way. Healthy food thoughts help us eat better and keep at a better weight.

What do *you* think? I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this topic.

Have a Super Eating Day!!!

:-) Marion

P.S. I am going to the kitchen to make baked apple chips now. :-)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Awesome Eating Advice from Scooby (Re: Daily Food Choices)

This morning, I was psyching my own self up to eat healthy and saw this outstanding Scooby video. If you don't know, Scooby is the weightlifter guy on who is in outstanding shape and very lean and tells you details of how he accomplishes it. His blog is linked on the side of this blog.

As I was watching this video, I thought of all of you!  You friends who are currently trying to lose a certain amount of pounds. Also, never forgetting, you maintainer friends who need to hear "the messages" in different words by different people to remain fresh in your eating mission and vision. We all need these messages!

So here is the Scooby video.

This is a very long video. If you only have a few minutes, here are my favorite quotes of the video, and at what point in time these topics occur:

46:17: Re Social occasions: 

“My nutrition for this contest is tightly controlled. There is no such thing as ‘live a little.’ There is very little wiggle room in…my daily calories. …Never go into social occasions hungry, because then you are just asking for trouble. Eat your meal before you go. …Find something to eat that has very few calories and meets your macro…pre-eat, and order a garden salad with dressing on the side…don’t eat the dressing…it looks like you’re eating a lot, but you are consuming about 50 calories.”

57:10 Re “Healthy but Bland” food choices: 

“No, I didn’t learn to like it. As a matter of fact, I don’t like it. I would rather have bacon-wrapped pizza. That tastes a heck of a lot better than brown rice and chicken breast. It tastes a heck of a lot better than plain oatmeal made with water and no sugar. It’s not a question of what tastes the best, it is the question of what is acceptable. …If I ate what I wanted and wasn’t concerned with health, I would weigh 800 pounds, and that wouldn’t be muscle, it’d be fat. I actually have to avoid really tasty foods because I have no off switch. I would eat an entire bacon-wrapped pizza. I would eat an entire batch of cookies. The way that I can stay healthy and fit is to not have those around. Yes, you do learn to like them [healthy/clean food], when you stop eating the pizza and artificially flavored things, the natural flavor of foods do come out and become a lot more interesting. …But it’s never going to be as tasty as a piece of pizza, but you can make it acceptable. I love my salsa. I love my hot sauce.”

Marion's Personal Notes: 

People ask me if I like apples as much as fattening desserts. The answer is No!!!!! Some people wish I would say that apples taste as good as cheesecake, but apples don't taste that good. Further, apples don't give the huge brain zing of cheesecake or satisfying tummy ache of cheesecake. Apples are a food that I eat everyday that allows me to be healthy and at a slimmer weight. Cheesecake doesn't. Apples are never going to taste as delectable as a sugar-y fattening dessert like brownies, cookies, or candy. Still, I do like eating apples, and they do taste good, and they keep me at this weight.

There is a sacrifice involved to losing weight and keeping it off. To lose weight and keep it off, you have to continuously eat at a lower daily amount of calories. If I go up in calories, I gain weight directly proportionate to how much more I eat. There is no other way around this point: To weigh less, you have to eat less. If you eat more, you will weigh more.

On most days, I don't eat favorite foods. I eat basic health food. I eat eggs, apples, oranges, chicken, tuna, mixed vegetables, and other stuff like that. These are not my favorite foods!!! These selections do not taste like yummy restaurant food! However, I do like these foods as being basic good food. I honestly believe that the food sacrifice is "very worth it." I am incredibly healthy and look my best. Physically, I feel wonderful everyday! That is worth some food sacrifice on a daily basis.

What do *you* think? This post actually took quite a long time to type out those Scooby quotes, so I hope it helped renew your healthy eating pledges to yourselves. It did for me!

Have a Great Eating Day!

:-) Marion