May 31, 2009
Throughout the modern ages and around the country people have paid lip service to that old harp about wanting to lose weight. I have the same general conversation several times a day that goes something like this: “How can I get rid of _______( pointing to or grabbing a body part)” or “How can I lose X number of lbs by (fill in the date)?” And then we all march right back into the same dinner routines that we’ve been doing all along while expecting different results. We pick up the same Spicy Ranch Doritos at the ShopRite every week “because the kids like it” even though that particular combination of tart/salty/spicy/crunchy chip always calls YOUR name in the first commercial break of American Idol. If you keep doing the same thing, you are not going to get a different result.
And it is no accident that I am sending this on a lovely summer Sunday afternoon of the last day of the month. When the Planets of the Diet Universe align so that the first day of the month(tomorrow it happens to be June1st). When the first day of the month falls on the first day of the week, change is begging to occur. And Ladies, if you started your period in the last few days you are especially good-to-go. Tomorrow is the day, Folks, to start. To Just Do It.
Getting on the scale first thing Monday morning is not the most appealing idea but I encourage you, that if you are indeed one of those people saying out loud (or even if you just say it repeatedly in your head)that you want to get fit, lose weight, get in shape, get yourself together, to finally DO IT, then hear me when I say it.
Tomorrow is THE day.
But first, you have to set yourself up for success which requires a plan. Clear out the fridge. If you can’t bear to throw it out have your neighbor keep it in her basement or have your spouse hide it from you. Lay out your workout clothes right next to your bed. Make the meal plan tonight for your 3 meals tomorrow. Even pack it up so it’s ready to eat. Set yourself up specifically to succeed IN ADVANCE and you will.
May 22, 2009
Here’s a quiz that I made up while I was recovering from my overdose earlier this week. My Swine Flu Media Alert Overdose. (The straw that broke the swine’s back was when NBC pre-empted Kathie Lee and Hoda TWO DAYS IN A ROW for TWENTY minutes to listen to NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg shrug his shoulders.)
Answers are at the end of the article.
1. What is more dangerous?
a. Gaining 5 lbs every decade
b. Traveling through airports without a face mask
c. Not washing your hands every time you pee
d. Wearing white before Memorial Day to a Greenwich Polo Match
2.Which of the following events is more likely to happen to you in your lifetime?
a. You win the New York State PowerBall lottery with a dollar ticket you found in the street.
b. You catch H1N1, the new strain of swine flu
c. You die of an obesity-related disease like heart diease, diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer.
d.You become multi-orgasmic as you approach menopause.
3.Your idea of the most horrible way to die is
a. in your sleep at the ripe age of 90 years old after having beaten your 20 year old grandson in tennis that afternoon.
b. In an preparedness shelter with a handful of other survivors from a recent world-wide plague with no private bathroom, cell phone reception or flat screen TV.
c. In bed after several decades of languishing inactivity and pain related to being obese.
d. From full cardiac arrest directly brought on by the shock of becoming multi-orgasmic as a 60 year old grandmother.
Are you in a panic about Swine Flu? I have a better idea. Instead, panic (if panic you must) about the current pandemic of obesity. The CDC and WHO have both thrown up their (freshly washed) hands, shrugged their health shoulders and confessed to not having much of a clue about what to do about this flu. But statistics should reassure us, about swine flu at least. For example, there are 100 confirmed cases of swine flu where I live in Connecticut. That may sound like a lot but with a population of 3.5 million, Connecticuticans (say that three times fast) are more likely to contract the bubonic plague than to contract swine flu, not to mention that it’s spread is largely beyond our control unless you’ve figured out a way to breathe selective air.
Obesity, on the other hand, is totally within our control and is exponentially more widespread (an appropriate term, I think) than this strain of H1N1 flu bug.
Three in ten Americans are obese with a BMI in excess of 30.0, not to mention that six in every ten citizens is on his or her way to obesity by being just overweight. Childhood obesity in the U.S. has more than tripled in the past two decades and according to the U.S. Surgeon General, obesity is responsible for 300,000 deaths every year. This does not include deaths from obesity-related diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Why aren’t we panicked about those extra pounds? Why aren’t we wearing those face masks to keep ourselves from overeating? I think it is because it is not immediate. Dying from diseases related to obesity kills more slowly and is cumulative over the years, unlike H1N1.
It’s only human nature to be more alarmed about what could happen tomorrow (even if the odds are astronomical) than in what is less immediate yet more deadly. But if we could start to view gaining those extra pounds as seriously as we do a flu bug, then we’d all live healthier lives and have a longer, more enjoyable lifespan.
Try this every time you wash your hands and whenever thoughts cross your mind about swine flu; think of one healthy choice you could do right now, like take a walk or plan a healthy dinner.
Then do it. Right now.
SCORING YOUR TEST
1. The correct answer is “a”. Adding gradual pounds as we age is directly related to disease and earlier death
2. The correct answer is “c” although good for you go-getters who answered “d”
3. The correct answer is “c” but at least your family will know where to find you.
May 18, 2009
For the love of cheescake can the Jenny Craig staff please assign someone to keep a 24-hour watch on Kirstie Alley to be sure she doesn’t “cut herself some slack” and inadvertently and without realizing it (!!) gain more weight than she initially lost?
In case you haven’t heard, Kirstie Alley is now thinking of developing her own weight loss program to launch later this year. “I’m developing it,” Kirstie said on Oprah’s show. “I want to create something new that will help millions of people end the never-ending fatty roller-coaster ride.” She told an insider that she wants to lose the weight her way and then share her secrets with the world. Supposedly, she’ll be more credible if she starts off bigger, gets skinny and stays skinny.
Wow! Sign me up! I can’t wait until she unveils her secrets! I’m guessing they will look something like this.
1. As soon as you hit your goal, cut yourself some slack. You know the deal, stop measuring portions, don’t plan ahead for meals and definitely do NOT get on the scale. In other words, avoid all weight-loss accountability. “Oh Bartender! Another round, please!”
2. Stop working out, but not forever, just for today. Plan on doing it tomorrow.Or better yet, do what Kirstie did and turn your home gym into a dining room.
3. Replace low-cal, portion-controlled meals with REAL food, like pasta in butter (Yummy!), or maybe Chinese food and don’t forget mac & cheese in REAL sized servings. Think manhole cover-sized plates.
3. Admit you have a problem but just talk about it, don’t actually do anything about it. Tell yourself that you are totally going to do it.Ruminate on whether Michelle Obama got those arms by doing nothing ( I know differently). Take a big bite of ice cream and say “Starting tomorrow.”
4. Make small, bad decisions or better yet, don’t make any decisions. That way, inertia will take over and make life simple so you don’t have to lose all your energy being focused on a goal.
5. Badmouth yourself both in public and to yourself. Grab your thighs and announce to the general public at Starbucks, “God! my thighs are as big as Angelina’s waist!” The worse you feel about yourself, the easier it will be to comfort yourself with food.
6. Forget Valerie Bertinelli’s “One Day At A Time” theory. If you have a bad eating day, stay off the wagon, just throw in the towel for the whole week. Say to yourself, “Whatever. I’ve blown it.”
7. Use the pre-packaged food plan as a crutch so that you never really learn the skills necessary to prepare, cook and control portions independently once your Jenny Craig program ends.
I guess the thing that makes me so irked by Kirstie’s story is that she has so much more support than many of my clients who work full time and have families to take care of and still they cram in the exercise and food planning. The internet alone is filled with helpful info about how to make and stick with a diet/exercise program. Any personal trainer would adore working with her and would probably do it for free. She can afford a chef and has the time to devote herself to exercise. My theory is that Kirstie still does not love herself enough to maintain long-term weight-loss and a healthy lifestyle. It’s her mind that is fat and until she gets her self-esteem out of the oven, we are sure to see her weighing in on the cover of People Magazine before too long.
May 15, 2009
Often people ask me why they can’t just (damn it) do what they say they want to do. I tell them that there are usually two reasons. One is fitness obstacles and the other is fitness blocks. An obstacle is something that makes it difficult for you, like a busy schedule, low energy or no budget for a gym membership. A block is something that makes it almost impossible, like a limiting injury or an impossible work schedule. So the first step in accomplishing your fitness goals is to determine whether you have blocks or obstacles. Blocks are tough. They sometimes require a new work schedule or healing up an injury. But most people are just obstacled. What do you do when you are obstacled? Figure out a way to get around it. And don’t wait until the moment arrives to figure it out. Make a plan in advance. If you want to get up at 6am to do yoga, don’t count on your morning enthusiasm to get it done. Plan it the night before by making it the last the on your mind before sleep. That’s how it gets done. Trick your mind and you can get it to do just about anything, even things you’ve never been able to do before.
One of the hardest obstacles exercisers face when trying to kick off a new habit is getting started. Taking that initial step, especially when you’re unmotivated and unsuccessful is tough. Taking action means doing something uncomfortable right now, so you end up not doing it. The pain avoidance part of your head finds a million reasons to avoid doing IT.
But you can trick the comfort part of your brain and here’s how.
You take a preparatory action step at an earlier time than when you’re actually going to do the task. For example, the night before you plan to start your yoga regime, lay out your clothes and put your yoga DVD in the DVD player, put your yoga mat on the floor so that NOT doing the morning yoga will almost be harder than doing it.
This is the key to avoiding mental resistance upon awakening. Also, knowing that you don’t actually have to do the yoga while you are preparing for it makes the set-up part even easier. The yoga/work part was still out there in tomorrowland so mental resistance is minimal.
Our brains are hard wired to want to complete tasks that we’ve put some time or money or energy into. Once we get started, we sense that we might as well finish it.
Use this principle to work for you. If you make a plan of action towards a task, your head automatically feels less resistance to continuing because it thinks you’ve already started. This is why I love making to-do lists. My mind, after tasks are written down, thinks I’ve devised a plan and therefore that I might as well finish.
Is there a fitness task you’ve been avoiding? Something you keep talking about doing?
Determine a first step, write it down, lay out your game plan, then take it.