June 25, 2010
I often feel misunderstood. If I am ever out walking my dog, and I never walk him as much for my exercise as for the pitiful look that he gives me when he’s been imprisoned all day, friendly people that know me roll down their windows and yell things like “You GO Girl!” or “Faster!” or the memorable “Your dog’s in better shape than I am!”
I want to set something straight right now. I can’t remember the last time I woke up in the morning and was raring to get to exercise class. As I lie in bed, the Other Penny whispers something like, “Let’s just sleep a few more minutes, the kids don’t really need breakfast”, or “I’ll work out tomorrow or maybe later today, just not right now.”
What I’m saying is we don’t usually FEEL LIKE IT. Of course lots of us like exercise once we get about half way through and everyone loves a workout after it is completed, but very few souls are skipping around the spinning room with joy prior to class. Most people come dragging in to morning classes, mentally limping.
There are a few exceptions, like the same people that enjoy sleeping on the rock-hard ground in a sleeping bag in a tent during August with a dozen boy scouts or those rare folks that single handedly paint the trim on their entire house or maybe someone who’d been mistakenly placed on bed rest for six weeks. Yes, these folks might feel anticipatory about their workout, but for the general population, this is the fitness exception rather then the fitness rule.
And of course, those who, over the years, are faithful in their fitness, don’t mind doing the sweating, because they’ve started to reap the benefits of feeling and looking better. These people tend to not mind exercise at all, because they’ve integrated the connection between their fitness regime and good bodily results.
As Dr Phil says, “You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it.”
This means putting on your running shoes and grabbing your ipod, even as the voice in your head concocts various excuses and ideas to avoid sweating.
You have to approach your workout plans just like you deal with brushing your teeth. Do you ever skip brushing your teeth because you brushed them yesterday? Or do you tell yourself you can brush them tomorrow or that you know you SHOULD brush, but you just don’t want to do it right now? Or how about saying to heck with brushing all together because you haven’t done it in so long, why start now?
Think of exercise as your anatomical brushing!
One way to get yourself moving is by using what I call self coaching. You have to learn to respond to that voice in your head in the same way that I talk back to the Other Penny. When she suggests sleeping five minutes more, I tell her we can take a nap later (even though she never feels like it after she gets her body moving) When she wants to skip a day, I tell her she might not feel like it but do it anyway. When she says she’s tired, I respond by saying five minutes is better than no minutes and that the hardest part is getting started; then it gets easier.
I also think that every time we give in to these sabotaging thoughts, we strengthen our giving-in habits and conversely, every time we resist these thoughts and exercise anyway, we strengthen our Nike (Just Do It) habits.
Another big part of a consistent exercise routine is making exercise a priority. You have to put it on your calendar just like any other important appointment. You deserve to put yourself first.
Another self coaching sentence you can use is to tell your self that you can be loose with your fitness routine OR you can be fit, but you can’t be both.
Or how about this self coaching response: I may not care if I skip my workout now, but I will care a LOT when I get on the scale.
Tell yourself NO EXCUSES.
Another important part of this self coaching is to give your self credit when you DO do it in spite of not wanting to.
You deserve credit every time you exercise, every time you stick to your workout plan.
If I am honest, I’ll admit that I really didn’t feel like writing today. It’s sunny and warm and it’s the first Friday of summer -this is what the Other Penny is focusing on. But I told her I had no choice.It’s good to strengthen my blogging muscle
I guess I deserve some credit. And now my dog deserves a walk.
June 18, 2010
Give yourself 5 points for every yes answer and zero for every no answer.
1. When you regularly choose to skip your workout your chances of living a shorter, fatter life go up.
2. When you go to bed with a full belly, your chances of living a fatter life go up.
3. When you starve all day and eat a huge meal at night, your chances of living a shorter, fatter life go up.
4. When you drink three or more drinks a day, your chances of living a shorter and fatter life go up.
5. When you sleep less than 6 hours a night, your chances of living less long go up.
6. When you can’t see your toes because of your belly, your chances of living a shorter, fatter life go up.
7. When you skip breakfast everyday, your chances of living a shorter, fatter life go up.
8. When you are so stressed out that it keeps you awake at night, your chances of living a shorter life go up.
9. When you avoid stress reducing, mind-body techniques like yoga and tai chi or meditation, your chances of living a chaotic life go up.
10. When you never lift weights or do weight-bearing exercises like push-ups, your chances of living in a nursing home go up
11. When you eat lots of sugar, white breads and no fiber, your chances of living a fatter, shorter life go up.
Now add up your points and be honest with yourself.
55-40 Points-Congratulations! You will live the shortest, fattest life possible! Enjoy it while you can, It won’t be much longer.
39-25 Points- You’re doing okay with shortening your life span but if you just let yourself slip a bit more you should be dead before you know it, You’ve got several promising bad habits.
24-20 Points- You have your occasional slip-ups, but overall you are failing at dying early, keep trying though. All it takes is a little slacking and in a decade or two, you can undo all your success.
Under 19 Points- You’ve failed miserably at living the short, fat life. I hate to tell you that you’ll probably live a longer, slimmer life than most, but oh well, at least those smarties in the categories above won’t be around to witness it.
June 18, 2010
We are about to enter the BBQ season. Therefore it is
important to refresh your memory on the etiquette of this sublime
outdoor cooking activity . When a man volunteers to do the BBQ the
following chain of events are put into motion:
(1) The woman buys the food.
(2) The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables, and makes
(3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along
with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the man
who is lounging beside the grill – beer in hand.
(4) The woman remains outside the compulsory three meter exclusion zone
exuberance of testosterone and other manly bonding activities
can take place without the interference of the woman.
Here comes the important part:
(5) THE MAN PLACES THE MEAT ON THE GRILL.
(6) The woman goes inside to organise the plates and cutlery.
(7) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is looking great.
He thanks her and asks if she will bring another beer while he flips
(8) THE MAN TAKES THE MEAT OFF THE GRILL AND HANDS IT TO THE WOMAN.
(9) The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins,
sauces, and brings them to the table.
(10) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.
And most important of all:
(11) Everyone PRAISES the MAN and THANKS HIM for his cooking efforts.
(12) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed ‘ her night off ‘, and,
upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there’s just no
pleasing some women.
June 18, 2010
Take this simple test.
Right now, on a scale of one to ten, rate your own energy level. Then rate your stress level. We will get back to this. Now take a peak at a clock with a second hand and count how many in-and-out breaths you take in one minute. Six breaths in one minute is ideal. Seventeen breaths is three breaths away from hyperventilation.
When you are breathing over fifteen breaths per minute (which is typical when you are stressed or rushed)
your brain is getting forty percent less oxygen than it needs for every day bodily functions. This affects your brain’s performance in things like test-taking and driving.
This oxygen deprivation is why kids who have studied for tests and know all the answers, do poorly when they get into the classroom-thanks to no oxygen to the brain.
Tell your kids to take six, 6 count breaths before they start their test- this should get them into a better college. You’re welcome. Also, we all know some people (moi) who cannot sit still as well as others.
This is due to an unhealthy cerebral spinal fluid rhythm, caused by-you guessed it-poor (or shallow) breathing! Did you know that there is a Pursed Lipped Breathing (PLB) Technique? You put the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth and it stabilizes your core! If your neck hurts when you do abdominal flexion (sit-ups), try this technique. Your core will engage and take over for the muscles you are straining in your neck. Who Knew? Your pop surprise bonus is that exercise helps you breathe better. It increase oxygen, therefore blood flow
to the brain, so you can think more clearly. Many runners and cyclists tell me that they do their best thinking (brain-storming, if you will) during their workouts. I used to think that my showers, post-exercise, felt better because I was sweatier, a blonde idea, I know, but now I think it feels better because my body is more revitalized from the vigorous breathing that exercise induces. Cool!
The way we can age stronger is by reducing our stress levels. We do this by breathing more slowly and deeper into the belly. One minute of deep abdominal breathing stops the production of adrenaline by the adrenals, two pea shaped glands that sit on top of the kidneys. Twelve minutes of deep belly breathing will cause your body to start releasing those “feel-good” hormones- like endorphins and serotonin, two of the poster children of the hormonal world. ENDORPHINS GIVE YOU A BUZZ AND SEROTONIN REGULATES MOOD, EMOTION, SLEEP AND APPETITE When we are stressed, the hypocampus, a gland in the brain, initiates a stress response that triggers a tremendous deterioration of the body. Every bodily function works harder to do it’s job. Not only does this drain your energy and make you feel more tired,
Just like someone digging a ditch with a shovelgets more tired than someone digging with a backhoe,but it also produces free radicals,
It also sends an alarm signal to the adrenal glands that react by releasing adrenaline.
Adrenaline races through our system triggering a release of Cortisol, which dips your blood sugar level, thereby triggering an “I need more energy!” response, which makes you hungry for some wheat thins or two bowls of Lucky Charms, which makes you gain weight, so your jeans don’t fit which pisses you off which makes you mean to your husband which ruins your marriage, causes divorce, financial ruin, contempt from your kids and in the trickle-down theory, ruins your entire life.
So I ask you. Breathe.
June 11, 2010
First I offered you the idea of Shame Based Dieting, in which you post every bite of food that you eat on Facebook or Twitter for all to see in the hopes of pre-humiliating yourself into avoiding forbidden foods. Next I invented Shame Based Drinking which is based on the same premise only involving your alcohol consumption which will never work because I now know from conversations with my alcoholically-oriented Facebook friends that no one EVER admits to how much they actually drink and even if they did want to admit it, they could possibly be arrested and certainly have their children taken away from them for the things they consistently do while drinking(like driving) which are illegal in this country. One possibility is to offer Rat Out Your Friends Shame Based Drinking. I’ve noticed that although you may be reluctant to shame yourself by telling on yourself, your friends are not at all reluctant to tell those same shameful stories (only they can tell it better. If you don’t believe me, here’s what I mean- this is what your friends do when you are at your most shameful. They take your picture and post it on Facebook. If you ask this girl later what happened she’d say what a nice picnic it was.)You may think you are keeping your drinking private but you can be sure that your drinking buddies are emailing me and telling me stories about YOU!
This might be a bit off topic but since I haven’t exercised in three weeks and talking about workouts almost feels impossible for me and since all I’ve been doing in lieu of sweating is THINKING and since it’s a new week and I’ve done all this thinking and thinking rhymes with drinking I now offer you something that I don’t recommend at all but that I’m really good at: Shame Based Thinking.
Unlike Shame Based Drinking or Dieting, Shame Based Thinking only keeps you stuck. Women are really good at it. Men don’t do it at all, they just occasionally feel guilty which is not to be confused with shame. In my Workout World, Guilt is not as bad as Shame. Guilt is about what I did. Shame is about WHO I AM and that’s worse.
For example, last weekend, my mind was dominated with Shame Based Thinking over something that now sounds silly but at the time mortified me. Our son’s baseball game was rain delayed so we had about an hour to kill and we ended up with several other fellow baseball parents that we knew only slightly. We all went to a nearby Pizza joint. I enjoy this type of spontaneous gathering and immediately forced everyone to play my game Guess the Celebrity where I tape a piece of paper (or lick a napkin in this case) to your forehead and you have to guess with yes/no questions who it is. As the mini-wine bottles flowed (I told you it was a joint. I was just glad they even carried wine) I also continued to party-on by first wolfing my salad then mooching some pizza, then stealing my husband’s crusts (one of the main reasons I love him is that he leaves the bones for me) and dipping them in my left-over Ranch dressing-YUM! Only to be told when we got in the car that the guy sitting beside me owns several of New York City’s premiere 5 star restaurants (they might not technically be 5 stars but for the purpose of my story they might as well be because in my book 3 stars actually IS 5 stars.)
Ruh-Roh. Oh Lord, I’d picked on him the worst: forcing him to hurry up and order (by elbowing him) so we could play Celebrity (he was pretty good by the way) If you don’t believe me, this is his restaurant. And this one.
And this one. I was so embarrassed I spent the rest of the weekend shamefully worrying about him thinking what a hillbilly I am, which is really what I am but I didn’t want him to know it. You know?
My husband, on the other hand, said “Don’t worry about it- He doesn’t care.” And I know it never crossed his mind again. Nor did it probably cross the Celebrity Restauranteer’s mind either, I’m guessing. (Hoping.)
So anyway, I’d really like to stop my Shame Based Thinking. It’s time that we all stop feeling bad about who we are (especially us women). And I was hoping that by telling you all about it I might feel less ashamed but really I don’t. But I did have fun. And that counts for something I guess. Even if it wasn’t a 5 (or a 3) star meal.
June 4, 2010
Yestereday I wrote an article about a new dieting fad called Shame Based Dieting which is all the rage on Facebook and Twitter. Bottom line: You just post every bite of food you eat and hopefully, that will be humiliating enough to help you resist eating it in the first place. I personally like this idea.
I think a bit of accountability along with some good ol’ negative reinforcement goes a long way and is sometimes just enough shame-filled to keep you on your diet. The weekly weigh-in at Weight Watchers is a very important (shame-based, I might add) method that many people report as a key in their weight-loss success. The fear of getting on that scale with the lady with the clipboard standing nearby keeps them accountable.
So it occurred to me ( in my typical “taking it down a notch” style) that it might work equally shamefully in a few other areas of our lives. One that spontaneously occurred to me was Shame Based Drinking.
Raise your hand if you like to drink.
How about if you like to drink more than drinking likes you.
Or how about if drinking sometimes reduces your willpower so that you eat more than you planned.
Does your drinking sometimes create problems in your relationship?
I bet some of you are drunk right now! (or maybe I sound drunk right now)
One of my all time favorite back against the alcoholic wall questions is: Have you ever woken up and vowed to stop drinking…. and then couldn’t?
My favorite quote from one of the funnest lady’s in our gym is “I don’t have a drinking problem, I have a quitting problem.” Which I think sums up many people’s relationship with alcohol as we age. It sneaks up on us, our tolerance for alcohol goes up, our hangovers get worse. But do we stop? Heck, No!
SO what I propose is Shame Based Drinking. Start posting on Facebook exactly how much you drink, if possible, while you are drinking it. Be honest. Be blunt. And why stop there. Let’s describe the hang-over, say on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being you did not drink at all and 10 being that you puked. No, 9 is you puked, 10 is you ended up in the ER. 8 is the bed-spins, slurred speech and black outs. 7 is a horrible headache that four aspirin won’t dent. 6 is same as 7 but you are able to make it to the gym. 5 is disruptive sleep and it only hurts if you move your eyeballs. 4 is an intolerance of your children (or any children but especially your own)and overall grouchiness. 3 is one drink too many. 2 is not shame-filled enough to even post.
June 3, 2010
Ready for the latest diet fad hitting the internet? It’s Shame Based Dieting. It utilizes Twitter or Facebook as a tool to keep dieters on their nutritional track by using online food journaling that the whole world wide web can see.
How does it work? . Dieters simply create a Facebook page or a Twitter account and post everything they eat, think about eating, fantasize about eating, or accidently eat. The dieter then rounds up a bunch of fans or followers to hold herself accountable(or himself, but between you and me, this sounds like a total girl thing).
The premise is that the dieter would feel so much shame if they had to tell their Facebook friends that they just ate a Whopper, so they resist the temptation to avoid the public shame.
This seems like a good idea right? Firstly, it’s free and secondly, I think that’s part of the magic of Weight Watchers and their weekly weigh-in. There is value in knowing that you are accountable to someone other than your own private self. The catch? You have to be HONEST. And it’s my belief that the first time you are NOT honest and “fudge” about what you ate, it’s over.
Here’s how you do it: The most effective way to try Shame Based Dieting is to create a Friend List (with only my name on it if you want!), then when you make a post,and before you send it, click on the little lock symbol, click on edit and click on the Shame Friend List that you’ve set up with the names of those Friends you want to Shame you, I mean be accountable to. Of course, you could also send your status updates out to ALL your friends, but if you are like me and have some Friends that would LOVE to see you fat, then perhaps a more selective list would be better. Then again, perhaps the shame of those schaedenfreudian people seeing your slip-ups might be just the level of shame needed to motivate you to keep you on your diet!
I’d be happy to be anyone’s Shame Based Facebook Friend if it helped them get to goal.