April 30, 2010
Anyone who’s been fat, then been thin, will agree. Thin feels better. It’s true for a lot of things. Anyone who’s been rich, then been poor will concur that rich feels better. And do I even need to mention that anyone who’s been sick, then healthy, knows that healthy feels better. And as of this past Monday at 10:34pm, not only does my dog know that NOT being skunked smells better than being skunked, but I know this, as well as my husband, my kids, my next door neighbors as well as my inner nostrils and also anyone who encountered any of us on Tuesday morning.But you know, things happen. We find ourselves on a given weekday evening, yawning and slightly bored and start thinking of getting up and going on up to bed so we open the back door to let the dog out…and two minutes later. SKUNKED. I don’t want to imply that it was a disaster. But it was definitely a SITUATION. Just like those folks who found themselves stranded on another continent a few weeks ago because of (who’d ever believe this if we all hadn’t read it ourselves) an Icelandic volcano eruption. As Forrest Gump said,”Shit happens” and whether we feel like it or not, we have to deal with it.
Our fitness regime can occasionally get skunked. You catch a cold one week and have to limit your workouts and next week, you are up 3 pounds. You tweak your knee and can’t workout, same deal. The point that I like to make when I talk to a Skunkee is that your REACTION is the most important part when life throws you a stinkball. Whatever it is that occurs, the best thing you can do is put one foot in front of the other and get back at it (whether you have 4 gallons of tomato juice in the house or not and let me tell you, the one thing I can guarantee is that the one time you DO need 4 gallons of tomato juice, you will NOT have it in the kitchen. And the stores will be closed.) The most damaging thing you can do after whatever calamity strikes you is INACTION.
Making dietary changes is hard- especially if you’ve had a setback.It’s really hard for the first three weeks. It takes at least 21 days to form some new neural pathways in your brain that control behavior and habits. I’m guessing it will take 21 days before Stinky, formerly known as Winston, will revert to smelling like a plain old dog. How I miss the smell of his Frito feet! But how long would he (and us and our house) smell if we did nothing? And how many friends would we retain? And what’s 21 days compared to 21 years of bad habits? So. You can do it. First thing Monday is weigh in time. I want you to get on the scale every morning for the next three weeks. There WILL be 3-5 pound daily fluctuations but the idea is to get a barometer of where you are now. As far as eating I want you to follow Dr. Oz’s Rule of 5:
- If it has grain – it’s 100% whole grain
- No transfats
- Less than 4g of Added Sugar per serving
- Less than 4g of Saturated Fat per serving
- No syrup (maple, barley malt, corn, hfcs)
Look at all labels and use these guidelines. No eating three hours prior to bedtime. Eliminate alcohol or limit it to 1 or 2 drinks per week. Many women spit in my face when I suggest the no alcohol rule but come on now, it’s three measly weeks. I guarantee that if you have a glass or two or seven each evening, that if you can break this habit you will loose about ten pounds in 21 days, even if you make no other changes. Come on! Do it! You are stronger and less alcoholic than you think!
Lastly, here’s your homework. I want you to start noticing how many moments you waste during the day mentally skunking yourself. If it’s a considerable amount of time, I really want you to use Monday as your starting point for a program to being more like who you want to be. And to becoming who your dog already thinks you are. And one more thing to inspire you as you get yourself deskunked:
Here’s a dog-inspirational video just to prove that dogs really are smart in a crazy kind of way (just not in the Dog vs. Skunk way) Buddy’s owner is handicapped and when his work shed caught on fire he sent Buddy to get help. The Alaskan State Trooper’s GPS was frozen and he was lost. The only way he found the fire was by following this angel of a dog. Now go hug your dog and see you on the scales Monday morning.
April 22, 2010
I’ve decided that men are not actually from Mars, nor are women from Venus. We are not two infinitely separate planets swirling in individual orbits (with the exception of perhaps Sandra Bullock and Jesse James). My husband and I, when it comes to preferences, personalities, ethics and morality-you name it-we have much more in common than not. We both tend to chug rather than sip, we agree on the dog can lick the post-dinner plate rule and neither of us will ever apologize for enjoying sophisticated cultural features like Will Farrell movies.
Rather, I prefer the metaphor of men being more similar to PCs and women, to Macs. We genders are compatible MOSTLY and can usually figure out ways to overcome the occasional software glitch. For example, I’m a Mac girl. Occasionally I get the urge to complete my work payroll on my home Mac rather than my work PC.
I hit send, clap my hands and think I’m done for another two weeks. Then my boss emails me saying that my payroll opened on her screen as a thousand hieroglyphic characters that morphed into the face of Jesus if you stared at it long enough. So despite the genius efforts of the Einstein computer wizzes who’ve been paid zillions to design Microsoft Excel to operate on both platforms, there is a rudimentary difference that pops up occasionally which cannot be ignored. Sometimes PCs and Macs cannot get on the same page. Sometimes I’m just not meant to do payroll in my pajamas propped in my bed at 9:30 at night. I must get dressed and sit in my office. Especially if I want to get paid.
My husband is a PC guy and I love him despite this crippling disability. We also have distinctly separate interests in fitness activities-he leans towards the All-American sports like baseball and soccer while I’m more of a Jane Fonda girl- give me a Reebok Step and I can do arabesques and knee-repeaters ’til the cal(ories) come home.
But one platform upon which we both agree is that we both want to remain active (as active as we’ve been so far anyway) as we get older. He’s especially motivated since he was 41 when Brian (age 17) was born and he prides himself in thinking privately that he could still kick Brian’s ass if he ever needed to. Did I mention that Brian’s as tall as him now, can do 5 variations of pull-ups, has twice as much muscle as my husband as well as half the fat? Anyway, in Larry’s head, he’s still humming “Put me in Coach, I’m ready to play. Toda-ay.”
And ever since last week’s devasting study from Harvard came out that doomed older women by saying that old age obesity for us girls is coming much faster than we realize. It’s a freakin’ locomotive, bearing down on us, roaring down our tracks with it’s whistle blaring and us in it’s spotlight, unable to stop and us unable to get out of the way.
This study crushed any of our ideas that we could relax as we age and taper off on our fitness standards. Walk a bit slower? Maybe not quite all the way to end of the loop? How about we skip it today? Sorry. This new study (which was HUGE. It studied 30,000 older women for 14 years) has just smashed any of our hopes for doing less. Not only that, we have to do MORE. For LONGER! This study says if you are a female 55 years or older you need to do one hour of moderate (biking, BRISK walking etc) exercise every friggin’ day of the rest of your life with no more days off. OR you will gain weight.
And this is to MAINTAIN your weight, Ladies.
These brilliant !&!!?%$#@ Harvard scientists failed to mention what we’d have to do to actually loseweight as an older woman. I’m guessing it ain’t happening. They seem to be saying that if you go into menopause with extra weight, you are taking it with you. Unless you take up marathon running, I’d guess.
Anyway. Larry and I have recommitted ourselves to walking our dog, although I’m not even sure if my lab can take two thirty minute walks every day.
But. It will be good for us. I will never take up baseball and Larry surely won’t be showing up in Zumba class but most couples can find one thing to do together if they really try. Now that we’ve got the motivation.
April 9, 2010
There was a sobering Harvard study published in the March issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that found that women actually need one HOUR of moderate exercise everyday to prevent weight gain as they age (if they follow a normal diet). This means that the current Federal Guidelines of 30 minutes, 5 days per week is just not enough. Moderate exercise means exercising at a level where you are slightly winded and out of breath but can still have a conversation, like a brisk or bike ride. Another very important point the researchers made was that you can break up your exercise. We get credit for doing 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening or even 20 minutes three times per day.
It is time for all middle aged women to start thinking about exercise as mandatory, not optional. Is brushing your teeth optional? How about changing a tampon? We all need to face this new evidence that walking around the block with you dog a few times a week is not sufficient exercise. I think Doctors need to start recommending more and vigorous exercise to their female patients.
This study only looked at the effect of exercise on weight, not diet. It found that women who are at a healthy weight and eat a “normal” diet should exercise moderately for 60 minutes each day OR they-across the board- all gained weight as they aged. If you enjoy dieting however, you will most likely be able to maintain your weight on 30 minutes of higher intensity exercise. Even worse news, if women are already overweight even one hour of exercise was not enough to prevent weight gain.
It’s important to keep in mind that their recommendation of 60 minutes of exercise each day is for maintaining weight as we age. I still have to reiterate, 30 minutes or even 20 minutes of sweating is better than no minutes. 30 minutes of exercise on most days still has fantastic health benefits. It will improve your cardiovascular health and help lower your risk for many diseases and conditions. If you don’t exercise, start with shorter increments and split up your workouts in the day and work up to the hour. If you do exercise, kick up your routine.
I am was at first concerned over this new research but now I realize it has a ring of truth as I look around and see me and my female friends aging. I’m glad this study was done. As women, our metabolism decreases as we age. It’s just calorie reality! So now we know what (and how much) we need to do to keep weight gain at bay.
So if you needed a kick in the behind to get moving, this study is it. Unless you’d like to weigh more, that is.
April 5, 2010
Does any body else feel like you need a diet do-over? Mondays lend themselves to rebooting and restarting your fitness and diet and if it’s the first Monday of the month all the better and if it’s a Monday after a major candy holiday and if you got your period last week the fitness planets are all the more aligned to get back you on track. And if you had a big Easter dinner all the better. Don’t think I’m not in the same bloat boat. We had an Easter beach picnic and all four families (meaning the moms) were to bring a picnic for their own clan and a side dish to share and we ended up with each family (mom) bringing enough picnic for four families which meant we had food for 16 families. Don’t believe me? We had Honey-Baked Ham, leg of (some poor) lamb,salmon, chicken rice casserole, tofurkey,baked beans,bean salad,limabeans, asparagus quiche greensalad potatosalad deviledeggs coleslawtriscuitscheeseplatterchipsalamihummussalsabakednaan celery and carrotstickshotcrossbuns strawberry pie peachpieTwelvekindsofcookiespluschocolatecoveredpeanut butter brownies chocolatechip brownies black berries andm&ms And wine.
So. We wipe the slate clean. Starting today.
Start by forgiving your diet flub ups and gym absences Yesterday is done. It’s all about right now which leads to tomorrow and becoming the best future you.
Martha Beck in her book “The Four Day Win” explains the value of stringing together four days of good eating and fitness discipline to get yourself back on track. She says it several different ways, like “I was fine after the first 4 days” or “The first 4 days were tough; after that not so bad.” Or “I was only hungry the first 4 days” or “I didn’t feel deprived after 4 days or so.”. Can you commit to four good days?
You don’t handle an overeating and under exercising relapse by giving up. Nor can you be a willpower-based weight loser because food is everywhere. Instead think of a relapse as an opportunity to work towards establishing a peaceful coexisistence between your mind and your body.
Now take your Mulligan.
April 3, 2010
I guess I could start with a lecture about how you have to walk 32 miles to burn the number of calories in a traditional Easter basket but I’m a little tired of lobbing that fitness grenade. It’s time to start thinking of all the sugar we consume a bit differently. The angle I usually take is by hitting “below the belt”, you know, referring to how your body LOOKS.
My rants, up until now, have focused on the fact that eating too many calories, especially nutritionally empty calories (like what comes in the Easter basket) can make your body fat. Calorie Reality, I call it. But there’s an even more serious reality that hits “inside the belt” that new scientific studies are just beginning to understand.
Sit down. We need to talk. First, a brief science lesson.
When we eat sugary (or white flour for that matter) foods with a high “glycemic index”, your blood levels of glucose rise rapidly. The body immediately releases a dose of insulin so that the glucose can enter your cells. When this insulin is secreted it is accompanied by the secretion of another molecule, called IGF (insulinlike growth factor). IGF stimulates cell growth. Sounds okay so far, right? To simplify, sugar nourishes tissues and makes them grow faster. Also, insulin and IGF have another effect in common. They promote inflammation.
Americans consumption of refined sugar has skyrocketed. Back in caveman days humans ate barely four pounds of honey a year and now the average American eats 150 pounds of refined sugar yearly.
It’s a fact that the metabolism of malignant tumors is largely dependent on glucose consumption and glucose is from the sugar we’ve digested. Do you know how PET scans commonly detect cancer?
They just measure the areas in the body that consume the most glucose. If a particular area stands out because it consumes too much sugar, cancer is very likely the cause.
Now it’s a big leap to say that cancer is caused by sugar but most new scientific studies are slanting in this direction: People who want to avoid cancer and obesity-related diseases down the road should seriously reduce their consumption of processed sugar as well as refined flour.
So here’s my fitness for dummies explanantion. If you think of your blood and guts as your body’s soil, then sugar is the bad seed that can turn into a weed and you know how weeds spread in your flower beds and even through cracks in your sidewalk. The seed might come from your genes or environmental toxins- things we can’t always control. But whether the seed grows or not can largely depend on the existence of the conditions needed for survival- favorable soil, water and sun.
If you don’t want to provide the ideal fertilizer for cancer to grow then you need to avoid sugar and refined flour. It’s as shocking and simple as that. Will you still be a good mom if you fill their basket with a few colored eggs and some non-food toys or gadgets? I’d say you are being a better mom, in the long run.
Next week I’ll talk more about foods you can eat instead of sugar that are actually called “antipromoters” which are foods that can stop or slow these cancer seeds from growing.
April 3, 2010
25 small jellybeans, 5 Peeps, 5 marshmallow chicks, 8 malted milk robins eggs, 1 ounce chocolate bunny, 1 3/4 ounce hollow chocolate bunny, Large 7 oz. chocolate bunny, 1 chocolate-covered marshmallow egg, 1 chocolate-covered marshmallow bunny, 1 Cadbury Creme Egg, 1 Cadbury Caramel Egg, 4 Lindt Chocolate Carrots, 1 Spongebob Squarepants hollow egg
Equals= 3086 calories
You will need to walk 30.86 miles to burn that off. Are your kids walking that far this week?
Basket Candy: Calories
25 small jellybeans 140
5 Peeps 160
5 marshmallow chicks (Circus Peanut type) 136
8 robins eggs malted milk candies 170
1 small chocolate bunny – 1 ounce 140
1 medium hollow chocolate bunny – 1 3/4 ounce 260
1 large chocolate bunny – 7 ounces 1050
1 chocolate-covered marshmallow bunny 60
1 chocolate-covered marshmallow egg 100
1 Cadbury Creme Egg 170
1 Cadbury Caramel Egg 190
4 Lindt Chocolate Carrots 210
1 Spongebob Squarepants hollow egg 300
April 2, 2010
A few newsletters ago, I shared of some of my low moments; times I’ve fallen down and/or unintentionally passed gas. (If you missed it, read it here)As I hit send, I started to worry, almost immediately, if people would, once again, think I was nuts. But the helpful responses began to arrive within minutes, with a distinct focus, not on my falls, but rather, my flatulence.
“Always blame it on the dog!” my self-proclaimed expert friend Mabel suggested. “Breath only through your mouth until you’re in a clear air section” advised Rosemary. Next I received several comments from commiserating friends who tried to reassure me with their own gas tales- think of it as the bigger, faster, stronger version of flatulence. I heard from Shelly (on her first date), Tina (the dastardly sneeze fart), Michelle ( during her OB-GYN exam), Sally (when her personal trainer asked her to squeeze out one more rep-she did). Okay, Folks, thanks for the reassurance that I am not alone and for letting me count my lucky stars that things could be much, much worse.
With every email, I started to feel luckier and luckier, knowing that my friends firstly, act much more dignified than they really are and secondly I felt lucky never to have actually had to witness any of these scenarios. I mean, WHEW!
And since I never get this much feedback (get it?)from readers after my fact-based fitness articles, I can’t resist the inspiration to devise a list of my
Top Ten Most Embarassing Places to Pass Gas In The Gym
1. In a headstand in yoga class (air rises, you know)
2. On the massage table
3. In the sauna
4. Hot Yoga class (bringing a new definition to the term “ass-ana”)
5. With your Personal Trainer(the “Come on! Push!One More Rep!” Fart)
6. Pilates Mat class with all the former ballerinas
7. In the locker room when you thought you were alone
8. Spinning next to the cute guy/girl
9. At the water fountain when you didn’t know someone was standing behind you
10. During Savasana, the quiet resting period at the end of yoga class where silence is maintained for a few moments.
And remember, you are the wind beneath my wings.
April 1, 2010
I thought the day would never come when science would invent a pill that gives you all the benefits of exercising without breaking a sweat. In the past you may remember me ranting about how if they could put exercise in a pill that it’d be the new Oxycontin and that we’d all be addicted. Well, I never thought I’d say this but they did it. Researchers at the prestigious Sloof Health Institute of Technology announced just yesterday that they have actually gotten FDA approval to market a radical new pill called “Exer-agra” that, with one daily dose gives you the cardiovascular and strength training benefits of an elite athlete within-believe it or not- one week without ever leaving your couch! Participants in trial studies experienced minimal side effects (besides loss of appetite and in rare cases, delusions of superiority) have also dropped from 4 to 6 pounds per week! Weight loss evens off, not at people’s set point, but actually at most people’s dream weight!
As soon as I heard about this trial study(it’s being sponsored by Oprah,by the way) I went to their website, applied and was accepted into the initial drug trial. I never thought I’d say it but I’m giving up exercise. I’m done. I quit. Also,I assume that I’ll also be out of a job soon since this drug will put all health clubs out of business by early next year. Exer-agra is moderately expensive but think of all the money you’ll save on exercise gear and workout clothes and gym memberships, not to mention the time savings (which you can now spending on the couch snacking!) And in another surprise move, not that I’m really surprised but Obama also unveiled yesterday that he’d snuck a clause into the health care reform that, if you qualified as obese (that’s twenty pounds overweight) your drug cost would revert to all the skinny people!
If you’d like to particpate in the initial trial, go to S.H.I.T’s website- It’s at www.youvejustbeenpranked.com
(and if you clicked on that link you’re a victim of the ol’ Double/Double prank)
Now get out there, You Lazy People Looking For An Easy Way Out Who Actually Read This Far
GET OUT THERE and start exercising!
P.S. Sloof Health Institute of Technology’s acronym is SHIT and
Sloof spelled backwards is
NOW HAVE A FUN AND FIT APRIL FOOL’S DAY!