Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Stop The Cravings To Lose Weight

This is the time of the year where some people are beginning to feel an obvious lack of motivation. They started out with New Year's resolutions, but stuff happened. Life happened. The great news is that you don't need motivation to get to a better weight. What you need is great strategy/strategies.

There are 3 basic types of strategies for losing weight:
1) Stop cravings that make your eating out of control;
2) Eat less calories/food; and
3) Increase physical activity (however, it does *not* as much for weight loss as most people expect).

Today, I'm discussing stopping the cravings. Yes, it's doable goal for all of us.

Regarding Stopping the Cravings/Eating Out Of Control

1. You should *never* listen to experts who say "Eat when you are hungry," especially if you have no idea if your urge to eat is from a craving. Most people eat far too much food/calories because they think they are "hungry" when they are actually experiencing food cravings/food addiction.

2. A craving regards that itch to eat sugar/sweets/flour/salt/oil. People rarely have a craving for asparagus or oranges. If you need to "scratch an itch with food," that is a craving.

3. Being genuinely hungry feels like little cannons going off in your stomach You haven't eaten for quite a while (several hours) and any type of basic food will do the trick. An apple will make your stomach much happier.

4. To beat cravings, you must stop eating foods that are addictive. They are generally all of the foods you would go to for satisfying "scratching an itch with food" -- sugar, flour, processed food, noodles, bread, buns, muffins, cake, cookies, candy, cheesecake, brownies, breakfast cereal, granola bars, crackers, pancakes, waffles, potato chips, french fries, etc....

5. To beat cravings, you eat basic food--food that can be picked off a tree, comes from a garden, comes from a farm, or fished out of the lake or ocean. Your basic food menu should have mainly whole foods -- fresh fruit, fresh or frozen vegetables, beans/legumes, lean meat, fish, tuna, eggs, etc... Yes, really!!!

This may sound tricky in this culture of prepackaged food, but it really isn't. Apples, oranges, and bananas can be thrown in a purse as "fast food." I've done that for many years now. A baked sweet potato is easy to eat on-the-go too.

For a simple meal: Cook a lean protein serving, a big helping of low-carb vegetables with a small pat of butter on top, and finish with an orange or apple. How easy is that?!!!

Basic food will quickly turn your eating around to something remarkably normal. I really don't know anyone who overeats plain apples, eggs, or broccoli.

6. If you eat the right foods, you will notice that you can easily go for several hours without eating. Your focus for your business/reading will get remarkably better. You actually forget about food for hours at a time. That is because you are effectively dealing with cravings. You will eat less food, overall.

My testimonial: When I stopped eating addictive foods that triggered binges, my weight quickly dropped, and I have remained at a much lower weight with less struggle involved.

My suggestion to you: If you struggle with binges, cravings, food obsession, etc... do *not* be stubborn. (Being stubborn is often a form of self-sabotage.) Do try drastically changing your food choices to whole foods, and find out what happens. I was truly amazed at what a HUGE difference what type of food we eat makes for weight control.

What do *you* think? Hopefully, this is helpful to some of you. I often don't think I say this crucial weight management information enough.

Have a Delightfully Wonderful Day!

:-) Marion

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Back to Good Habits!

This is a post about specifically what I'm doing to make a comeback from the flu.

Okay, so I previously told you that I had a long terrible bout of flu, which kept me from exercising for weeks and I also gained some pounds during that time.

Here is my progression:

1) As soon as I had the energy, I went grocery shopping to get whole foods: eggs, tuna cans, several bags of oranges and tangerines, green pepper, onions, a big bag of apples, dried peas, frozen mixed vegetables, acorn squash, sweet potatoes, and milk. I also got cheese slices, cottage cheese, yogurt and chai tea latte mix. Then I stopped eating the refined stuff that I ate when I was too exhausted to care what I ate during the flu. I care now!!! Back to good food habits. It's pretty easy to eat good with the right food in the house.

2) For the past two weeks, I've been back to the gym on Sundays. I've also been doing some pushups on Wednesdays at home. Today, I did 130 pushups. I'm focused on great *effort* since I do feel somewhat weaker from not working out for about a month. My personal gold standard will take *time* to work up to again. I've had fun getting back into routine. I loooove working out!

3) I'm back to running up and down the stairs in my house. I'm not quite energetic yet, but I'm close. Going up and down the stairs many times per day is exercise! It all adds up! And my house is tidier for it.

4) Last night, I went to TOPS. I'm grumpy about gaining weight, but I still went even though I didn't feel like it. It's crucial to be accountable--on those "chubby days" when you absolutely 100% don't want to be accountable. It's a pivotal moment to go when you have gained weight and feel despair --separating the quitters (who give up on the program and gain serious weight back) from those who persist to fight each pound gained. Yesterday, I went a little down in weight, so I'm going in the right direction, which is happy.

Something that made me feel fantastic -- I did my first standing back bends at age 47! It's a fine way to celebrate being 47. I also did the Dancer yoga pose, which I really have not done since about February 2014 because of last year's knee injury. So, it was a bit more wobbly than usual, but very fun to do an artistic balancing pose.

So many of you have told me that you had this same flu--I hope you are all feeling better.

What do *you* think? What have you been doing to maintain good habits?

Have a Terrific Week!

:-) Marion

Thursday, February 19, 2015

What To Do After A Weight/Fitness Setback...

I have just gotten over at least 3 full weeks of the flu. During that time, I felt like a wretch, which reminded my husband of the song, Amazing Grace. I was a wretch who needed saving. Being as I could barely get myself to walk around the house, I certainly was *not* up to exercising. I ate the only food I could taste, gaining a few unwanted pounds. It took over 3 weeks before I could taste raw onion (and boy, did that taste great!!!) By 20 days of this flu, I was waking up in the middle of the night feeling like a total disaster, quickly turning squishy while having a hard time breathing due to sinus build-up.

So what do we do when we have a weight/fitness setback? I've been going to the gym for over 8 years in a row now. One thing I've learned is that people with longevity for fitness have to routinely bounce back from various events. Surgeries, flu, fitness injuries, abrasive relatives in the home too long, indulgent vacations, too busy of work schedule, friends/family sick or dying, and just a lack of motivation that eventually catches up with you, etc.... Eventually, some of these things will happen to all of us. We are suspended in a situation in which we have less than our normal control over our life, which makes us vulnerable to setbacks.

Firstly, we need to recognize that *everyone* has setbacks--it's not just you. Every time I've come back to the gym from a month away, there has been another gym buddy who was also away that long for surgery or some other fairly serious reason. We have the same feelings about being gone from fitness--it feels miserable, but it could not be helped, for any of us.

Secondly, we need to not get overly dramatic of it. Feeling "wretched" is dramatic. But as soon as I got better, I started to realize that I was no longer wretched, just a human building back up after a horrifying flu. I'm just human! These things happen! Unfortunately, I eat more when I'm sick (vs. friends who lost weight during their flu episode). Just don't make a mind game out of it. No one gains zillions of pounds or goes totally flabby in a few weeks. So we shouldn't act as it that's the case. Make it "no big deal" in your mind. Chin up!

Thirdly, we just start back at each good habit, one little step at a time, with many good steps each day. For me, I just had to get back to mostly whole foods again. So as soon as I was well enough, I went grocery shopping for oranges, apples, tuna, milk, eggs, etc... My basic food that I eat each week. Then, I started eating it as I did pre-flu. Just the same normal habits. I also got back to the gym on Sunday, still congested, but pretty good. Today, I did 80 push-ups. This was hard, but I need to get back on track.

That's it. You just keep bouncing back, over and over and over. Year after year after year. It's awful when you have a setback, but you should have the expectation that they will happen so that you are not overly disappointed when it happens. Then bounce back as soon as you can.

What do *you* think? How do you bounce back from setbacks?

Have a Healthy Week!

:-) Marion

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Re Weight: What Are You Doing When You're *Not* Eating?

Getting weight into control is about a lifestyle change. While many people focus mainly on their food and exercise habits, I realized that in the biggest way, it is about the rest of our life--outside of eating. If we are happy and comfortable with our entire life as a whole, we depend much less on food for happiness.

So...Are you doing things that are happy--that is not food?

Are you...

Stimulating your mind with challenging ideas?

Laughing with family and friends?

Enjoying time being buddies with your pet?

Taking time to find a new clean eating recipe that looks fun?

Keeping your skin, nails, and hair and body in great condition?

Being a person who is proud of herself/himself?

Getting good sleep?

Keeping organized in a way that gives you comforting structure?

Keeping warm (as in heat during winter)?

Keeping cozy as in soft socks and sweaters?

Looking for quotes and wisdom to invigorate you?

Listening to music that fills your heart with happiness?

Reading exciting or inspiring books?
Acting like a beautiful person?

Repairing things that need to be repaired?

Enjoying your physical range of motion each day?

Now, I have a few answers for those questions above, for my own life, which I need to do.  :-)

What do *you* think? Do you have questions to add to this bunch? Or answers???

I am just finishing up with the flu (for over 2 weeks), and I can tell you that *everything* in my life seems great now that I feel better. *Much* of getting great health results is about good attitude about life.

Have a Healthy Week!

:-) Marion

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What to Do about Scary Dreams and Thoughts about Weight Gain

Well, I had one of those scary dreams that I had gained back a lot of weight. These types of dreams are unnerving, but I realistically expect to have them once in a while since 1) I used to weigh about 65 more pounds; and 2) I've been on autopilot for food lately.

What did I do about this scary dream?

Firstly, I woke up my husband in the middle of the night to tell him. That was sort of mean of me, but I felt terrible. And he wakes me up when he can't sleep either.

Secondly, I weighed myself. Gotta face the music. Aughhh! More than I wanted to weigh! But nothing surprising-- a person does not gain loads of weight in a few days of mindless eating. But the weight was a few pounds more than is acceptable to me. So I stared at that number on the scale and felt the anguish. <-- I believe that feeling the anguish greatly helps me stop bad eating habits.

Thirdly, I made a plan. I made a shopping list of food I needed to buy to have successful eating. Namely, I eat a lot of apples, oranges, and eggs. Peanuts, peanut butter, cheese, and avocados actually work well for me too. I also bought frozen blueberries, several bags of frozen mixed vegetables, and chicken.

Fourthly, I started strictly eating these foods, without allowing myself to stray from the plan. If a person forces themselves to get off the problem foods for just an entire day, everything is easier after that. So I was quite strict, and my eating is back to normal again.

People ask me if I'd rather eat all I want or be slimmer by watching my weight: In all honesty, I really like the structure of watching my weight. Structure of eating according to rules helps me feel in control of my life. A little structure in one area of life, such as eating, also tends to pull other areas of life into alignment too. So, there are times when I feel like a rebellious eater, but I never respect myself when I eat in ways that are out of control.

Some of my favorite bloggers, Gwen, Jane, Karen, Andrea, and Aimee, will also tell you, structure in eating and in life, in general, is just about the best feeling ever.

So the scary dream was worth it.

What do *you* think? How do you react to scary or overwhelming thoughts about weight gain? And anything else you'd like to add to the conversation.

Have a Wonderful Day!

:-) Marion

Monday, January 19, 2015

Marion's Update: Bowl Sizes, Blood Oranges & A New Gym

Here is my update about what I am doing new for eating and fitness:

1.This week, I am giving a TOPS talk about plate and bowl sizes that I use at my home. I will be bringing in a box of various plates and bowls to show the vast difference between my tiny ice cream bowl (1/2 cup fills it) to my very large salad bowl (no more lettuce falling over the edge). I have 5 different sized meal/snack plates and 8 different sized bowls that I use for various reasons, which I will explain during my talk.

2. I continue to try new healthy foods--blood oranges were on sale. I tried them. How do they taste? For me to know, and for you to find out!!! That's the fun of food exploration!

3. I have found myself in the situation of needing a new gym. I thought this would feel very sad--because I've been going to the same gym since I actually started to love working out in January 2007.  That is a super long time, filled with great gym friends and wonderful memories.

However, the gym's new administrator recently moved the free weights for weightlifting into a racketball room on a different floor than the main gym. So if I wanted a drink of water from the water fountain, I had to run up the stairs for that. If I wanted to do dips or use the lat pull down machine, I had to run upstairs for that and back downstairs again. I spent too much time running back and forth in between sets.

Further, we used to have 3 standard bench press benches, but that was reduced to only one, due to the much smaller size of the new weightlifting room. There were adjustable cages that could technically be used for bench press, but it took me 10 minutes to get it set up and adjusted in tiny ways several times to finally get it just how I liked it, which I never would have had to do with a standard bench press bench that is all ready to go.

All of the serious weightlifting guys left for a different gym within the first month of this new gym setup. So my old gym friends aren't around anymore anyhow. The bottom line is that--we want to enjoy / love our workout. This situation of wasting time by running up and down stairs between floors and setting up for bench press because no standard bench press was available was incredibly annoying and not any fun at all.

On the bright side, I live in a city filled with gyms. I went to a different gym yesterday, which is still covered by my gym membership. This gym is about 10 minutes further away from my house (20 minutes round-trip) than my old gym but I loved it!!! This "Strength Area" of the gym was ultra spacious and very well-equipped. Dips are right beside 3 standard bench press benches. There was plenty of room to do some yoga poses in between weightlifting sets. 3 places to do chin-ups. The water fountains (2 next to each other for no waiting) were right in the weightlifting area.

My old gym is using a new business model, which I think is more focused on cardio and senior citizens. Instead of taking this personally, I adjusted. --which is what we all have to be willing to do when health or fitness situations take a turn that we don't like at all.

When we get injured, gain weight, or our gym/fitness plan no longer works, what do we personally do about it? Our personal answers have *everything* to do with how successful we remain with our health and fitness over the years. Things change, whether we like it or not, and we must continually adjust ourselves to thrive.

What do *you* think? Do you use different sized plates and bowls for different reasons? What foods have you tried recently? Have you had a fitness or eating upset that you handled well lately? All of these things are about continuing a life-long healthy lifestyle, and I'm always interested in hearing about your ideas. :-)

Have a Delightful Day!

:-) Marion

Monday, January 12, 2015

Making Smart Fitness Goals for 2015

Happy New Year! Did you make resolutions? In this post, I am discussing my fitness goals for 2015 and how to make smart fitness goals.

I've been consistently exercising since January 1, 2007! Though fitness has made me look younger, during these many years (8 years) of exercising, I've seen myself collecting birthdays (aka getting older), injuring easier, and healing slower and less completely.

Last year, I came to a hard-learned conclusion: I'd rather walk without pain more than to attempt reckless exercises. I came to this conclusion from experiencing a painful knee injury for nearly half a year in 2014. This was awful.

I injured/devastated my knee last year while doing new year's fitness goals. In hindsight, these were reckless fitness goals. I was not even going to make fitness goals last year, but somebody wanted to do a goal with me. I told her that I would take my time at it, and not complete it if I felt it was too much strain on my body. <-- Look, I was already thinking that it was probably not a good fitness goal for myself.

The meaning of fitness has gone crazy in our culture of "No Pain, No Gain." If you can do sports more or better, should you do it? This is much like the question of: If you can jump out of an airplane, should you do it? And: If you have jumped out of the airplane at a lower height, does that mean you should jump out of the airplane that is higher? How high?

When does enough become enough? When do fitness goals go over the brink into recklessness?

We love to enjoy competitors' best moments, but do we also factor in their devastating injuries? There are too few articles about sports injuries.  Injuries are more common and serious than portrayed by media.

I am very fortunate to have older gym friends who frequently told me:

"Don't run just because you can," and
"Why go faster (on elliptical), nobody is giving a prize,"

and even more importantly,

"No prize or trophy is worth blowing out a joint." 

For some of us, it shows much more willpower to restrain ourselves to conserve our joints than to go for a medallion or trophy.

When we approach fitness goals, do we only have short-termed goals of feeling victorious? Or are we envisioning how this goal will affect us when we are 20, 30, or even 40 years older? Older gym friends have reminded me that they still feel ramifications of injuries from 10 or 20 years ago.

What fitness goals are reckless? This depends upon your body's age and circumstances.

We should never mindlessly follow someone else's fitness goals or guidelines. If something feels wrong during yoga class, it is your responsibility to your body to stop doing that pose--even if every other person in the group keeps doing the pose. Ignore the peer pressure. If the government states that "everyone" should be walking for 30 minutes a day, but your knee starts hurting while walking, you should listen to Dr. Knee, the knee that knows best for you.

You also need to listen to Dr. Shoulder, Dr. Foot, Dr. Ankle, Dr. Elbow, and Dr. Hip. If your joint starts to send you messages, listen to them before the injury happens. There are usually warning signs before the big injury happens-- listen to those warning signs and stop your exercise. Joints don't send messages for no reason--heed the message.

Stop exercising before you become physically exhausted and can't do proper exercise form anymore. I have injured myself due to exercising while sick. I've also injured myself when exercising while being overly tired. Both were reckless and unnecessary injuries. I have learned to feel the 10 minutes-before-exhaustion feeling so that I can stop while I am still great exercise form.

Not every cool fitness goal is a good one for us personally. We need to consider our ages, our flexibility limitations, our strength limitations, our endurance limitations, our joint limitations. Just because our muscles are up to the goal does not mean our joints are up to it.

Exercising bigger/faster/more is not better for fitness in the long-term. I have a Fitbit, and I hardly ever walk the recommended 10,000 steps a day. The fact that I usually walk approximately 6,500 to 7,000 steps per day or so, seems like the perfect amount for me.

I used to do up to 300 pushups per day, 1 day per week but that caused shoulder soreness. So I listened to Dr. Shoulder, and limit my pushups to: 100 pushups per day, 1 day per week. Dr. Shoulder is happy now.

I am arguing that we should include the long-term goal of "feeling good" into our concept of fitness. "Feeling good" means that we strategically try to avoid painful injuries, don't exercise on injuries, and conserve our joints for future decades of feeling good.

Accordingly, my main fitness goal of 2015 is to try to achieve a year of feeling good without any reckless injuries. I resolve to have smart safety rules/limits which incorporate the ideas above to strategically avoid reckless/unnecessary injuries. And beyond that, I want to enjoy my fitness. Exercise is very fun. :-)

What do you think? I guess I'm being the "old gym friend" here, who wants you to avoid needless fitness injuries. I hope these ideas are as useful to you as they are to me. :-)

Have a Super Day!

:-) Marion