January 28, 2011
I’ve been sighing a lot lately, for several reasons. Firstly, there are 27 inches of snow in our yard, secondly we’ve had too many snow daze to count and with three teenagers, snow daze are calculated in dog years and finally I had to spend the pennies I’d been saving in a coffee can for a get-away on four new snow tires (sigh).
This is the time of year when I just don’t feel like it. I don’t feel like getting out of bed. I don’t feel like going outside or going to the gym or taking a shower.I cannot remember the last time I woke up in the morning and was raring to get to exercise class.At this time of year and especially in this weather, no one usually FEELS 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.
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 backtalk. 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 backtalk 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 backtalk 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 backtalk 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. And every time you use your “Do It Anyway” muscle it will get stronger.
And every time you refuse to use your “I Don’t Feel Like It” muscle, it gets weaker.
If I am honest, I’ll admit that I really didn’t feel like writing today. But I told myself I had no choice; that people would be counting on their Friday Happy Hour Fitness Fix.
So think about what’s on your list that you really Don’t Feel Like doing and get busy-Do It Anyway.
January 21, 2011
Today, use of the term “hacker” mainly refers to computer criminals. But many hackers are not lawbreakers. As a matter of fact many hackers are savvy and entrepreneurial. Often times hackers are people who get a kick out of figuring out ways to buck the system.
Now if we could only figure out a way to hack our way to weight loss. Yesterday on the Today Show, Kathie Lee Gifford spoke of trying a new non-surgical cosmetic technique which promised to melt fat from her abdomen. I got very excited. It actually sounded like a new “smart science” device that uses laser and heat to break down subcutaneous fat stores. This would be considered, in my Workout World, an excellent hack.
Hackers thrive on finding back door entrances to cryptic systems. Almost always we think of hackers as engineers who hack to find better methods that save time/energy/money or all of the above but many times in the health and fitness world there are smart techniques we can use to improve our health and fitness level.
Do you think controlling your weight is impossible? Do you find your weight struggles agonizing to deal with or incongruous with the way you are living
Phenomenal things are often accomplished by regular people who never realized that what they were doing was improbable and if they’d known they couldn’t do it, they might never have attempted it in the first place. Hackers have often witnessed one individual or tiny groups make important inventions while bigger businesses were limted by thinking it wasn’t worth trying.
Once you realize that you can empower yourself to outfox your own limitations: You start to think of yourself as someone who CAN lose weight and be healthier, then you are emancipated from your own limiting self-beliefs. You aren’t watching your thin life pass you by. You are the boss of your body. You are now a hacker. By getting around the limitations that caused you to gain weight in the first place you are hacking the most amazingly complex system in the universe: your own body.
Losing weight provides an interesting look at the irony of how we deal with our own consciousness; the distinction between mind and body. Weight loss concerns the body at it’s most basic level; eat more and gain weight, eat less and lose weight. But the reasons we can’t lose weight mostly comes from the nuances of psychology as opposed to the biology of our body.
To stay at your ideal weight, you must eat just the right amount. To eat the right amount, over the long haul of your lifetime, you need an incentive to follow that guidance. Watching the weather forecast doesn’t make you dress appropriately for the weather, but it provides the information you need, if you want to dress comfortably
Whether you’ve always had a weight problem, have been up and down with binges and purges or have just gradually added a pound or two over the decades, the main tools you need are exactly the same as the main tools you need to get anywhere in your life:
-A specific, measurable, realistic, trackable goal that you can be accountable to.
-A high threshold for discomfort
The bigger the goal (or the more weight you need to lose) the more satisfying it will be to reach it (or lose it). That’s why it’s sometimes hard to lose those last six pounds; the satisfaction is not as dramatic as when you lose a hundred pounds.
The hack in anything is the ability to delay immediate gratification in exchange for a more lasting and satisfying goal.
This is what it takes to lose weight. If you have a very accomplished life but are obese or overweight the only thing you need to do is make weight loss as important a goal as those other things in life where you’ve succeeded. Go about weight loss like all the other accomplished areas of your life. Make a specific plan and stick with the initial discomfort until you get there.
It’s like brushing your teeth, getting groceries for dinner, or getting the oil changed in the car. You don’t schedule an appointment with the dentist and then say to yourself at the last minute, “I really don’t FEEL like going today.’ You get the job done, and done right, as soon as you can and with minimal whining. That’s how we become successful business people and that’s what it takes to lose weight.
Dormant within each of us is the power to be at your optimal weight for the remainder of your life. You just need to realize that your weight is within your conscious control. Know that, and you can achieve it.
Once you’ve felt firsthand how good it feels to weigh what you want to weigh you will have the self-esteem to stay with it, even if it means giving up that crème brulee for dessert when everyone else is ordering it.
And yet, simply by eating that little bit less every day for a year, you can subtract 25 pounds from your weight in the space of a single year (assuming you weren’t gaining weight before).
Daily Calories Burned- Men
Small Medium Large
5 1 1427-1784 1542-1928 1652-2065
5 2 1471-1839 1580-1975 1695-2119
5 3 1516-1894 1619-2024 1741-2176
5 4 1561-1951 1660-2075 1787-2234
5 5 1606-2008 1704-2129 1834-2293
5 6 1653-2066 1749-2186 1883-2354
5 7 1700-2125 1796-2245 1933-2417
5 8 1748-2185 1845-2306 1985-2481
5 9 1796-2245 1895-2369 2037-2547
5 10 1845-2306 1948-2435 2091-2614
5 11 1895-2368 2003-2503 2146-2683
6 0 1945-2431 2059-2574 2203-2753
6 1 1996-2495 2118-2647 2260-2825
6 2 2047-2559 2178-2723 2319-2899
6 3 2099-2624 2240-2800 2379-2974
6 4 2152-2690 2304-2881 2441-3051
Daily Calories Burned-Women
Small Medium Large
4 8 1171-1464 1244-1555 1365-1707
4 9 1202-1502 1281-1601 1401-1752
4 10 1234-1542 1319-1649 1439-1798
4 11 1269-1586 1358-1698 1478-1847
5 0 1305-1631 1399-1749 1518-1898
5 1 1344-1680 1441-1801 1560-1950
5 2 1384-1730 1484-1855 1604-2005
5 3 1427-1784 1528-1910 1649-2061
5 4 1472-1840 1574-1967 1695-2119
5 5 1518-1898 1620-2025 1744-2180
5 6 1567-1959 1668-2085 1793-2242
5 7 1618-2023 1718-2147 1845-2306
5 8 1671-2089 1768-2210 1897-2372
5 9 1726-2157 1820-2275 1952-2440
5 10 1783-2228 1873-2341 2008-2510
5 11 1842-2302 1927-2409 2065-2582
6 0 1903-2378 1982-2478 2124-2655
As you see, the only real control we have is over what goes in: what, when, and how much we eat. Weight control can be reduced to a very simple matter of arithmetic. Total calories in the food you eat every day, over a period of time. Take your daily total of calories you burn per day, roughly the same for everybody of your sex, height, build, and level of activity. Subtracting the calories burned from the calories eaten gives excess calories per day. This number times thirty is excess calories per month. A pound of fat is equivalent to about 3500 calories. If you eat 3500 calories more in a month than you burn, you’ll gain a pound that month. If you burn 3500 calories more than you eat, you’ll lose a pound. All the weight you gain or lose is the consequence of these simple numbers.
Here are a few other Hacker tools you can use:
-Eat thirty grams of protein within thirty minutes of awaking. This revs up your metabolism and gives it something with which to kindle the metabolic fire.
-You bite it, you write it. Journaling is directly coorelated with success in weight loss, especially over time. Write down and add up the calorie count as well.
-Get rid of artificial sweetners. They make the body think there’s sugar coming in and it reacts accordingly.
-Weigh yourself everyday but chart it so that you don’t get discouraged by the vasscilations.
-Get an accountability partner to report to.
_Don’t eat within three hours of bedtime.
-And I’ll keep you posted on the Kathie Lee Belly Blaster story. For all of us wanna-be weight loss hackers, I hope it works.
January 14, 2011
1. Don’t stay up later than usual. Our recent Snowmageddon was predicted a few days in advance. Before the kids got out of school Tuesday, school was canceled for Wednesday so, unlike many snow days, we knew we wouldn’t have to wake up at six am to check the website to answer the age old questions; “Do we? Or do we not have to go to school?” So I went to the library and checked out the maximum number of DVDs that one person is allowed and returned home to begin our movie marathon. (Best of the pick-Slumdog Millionaire; Runner-up; Book of Eli). My reasoning for staying up until midnight was flawed, even though my motivation was not- I rationalized that Snow Days are perfect for bucking our usual routine and doing what we usually don’t. Fair enough. Where I went wrong was thinking that I’d be able to sleep in past 6:07am. You see, my body was capable of sleeping in; it’s just that no one told my eyelids, who automatically popped open at 6:07am, despite how little sleep the rest of my body parts needed. Lesson Learned.
2. Have a Non-Negotiable Bare Minimum Plan
Brushing your teeth is on my non-negotiable list (although my friend Betty, from my gym did tell me that she always brushes her teeth at the gym and that because she didn’t come to the gym, she didn’t brush her teeth at all on Wednesday. Come on, People.) Walking the dog is another one. It’s raining like hell? Too bad. Get the leash let’s go. Seventeen inches of snow? No problem. As soon as I get the pitiful “it’s time for my walk, isn’t it?” look from Winnie, we get our boots and head out. “Nuff said.
A snow storm does have the potential, like all other schedule changes, to seriously derail a solid fitness plan. For those of you who are getting results, stop and think hard about what you can do in order to guarantee that this major change in your schedule doesn’t keep you from getting to your goals.
3. Take a Shower
It’s tempting to skip it. But if you do, you’ll feel more like yourself.
4.If you like a bit of muscle soreness, go ahead and shovel too much. Otherwise, get the kids to do it
4a. Warm up before you start shoveling I’m convinced that the reason so many people get stiff from shoveling is because they go from sitting on the couch in PJ’s to throwing on their snow gear and immediately digging in. With the heavy snowfall from this past week, this can be really too much, too soon. Next time, prior to putting on your snow gloves and picking up the shovel, do some squats, some walking lunges and most importantly some planks and some crunches to wake up the abs (the abs are the opposite muscle group to the spine so if your core is firing then you less apt to strain your back)
5.If you are the type to start drizzling fat gravy over your loaded nachos just because you are off your routine, Have A Non-Negotiable Snow Day Workout Plan that you can do anywhere. Even stranded at the airport. Or in your mother-in-laws spare bedroom. What would that look like?
SNOW DAY WORKOUT PLAN
500 moving squats (or jog in place for 20 minutes or run 2 miles if you can)
400 jumping jacks
300 walking and/or reverse lunges (tapping your knees on the ground ya’ll)
100 pushups (okay, maybe not 100, just do as many good form push-ups as you can)
Weather is never within our control. Our jobs are often outside our control. Idiots are always driving the car directly in front of us. But our body is almost always within our control.
If you get a workout in not only will you feel better but it can also still be a great day. Controlling your body puts you back in control of your life. And as a local female weather forecaster recently mentioned, seventeen inches of anything is too much. We need all the help we can muster to stay on track to reach of our fitness goals.
January 7, 2011
Making a New Year’s Resolution is one thing. Keeping it, as you are all well aware on this seventh day of the New Year, is an entirely different step class. This week as I sit in my cubicle at my gym (the better to eavesdrop on the front lobby conversations, My Dear) not one person’s shadow has darkened the doorway while exclaiming their excitement and enthusiasm for being “at the gym.” People solemnly enter, swipe their card, give a serious nod to the front desk staff, pivot robotically and head to the aerobic task at hand.
But the locker room I am happy to say, is, a whole ‘nother step class. Locker rooms are perfect for listening. (See my Do’s& Don’ts List below on Locker Rooms)Nudity in the locker room seems to have a sense of purpose surrounding it. When I’m undressing or redressing, I’m on the clock. I always feel the need to expedite and I certainly discourage eye contact and conversation until I get my hoohahs covered up. But, Boy, did I get a gratifying earful this week. What did I hear? Comments like “I am SO glad to get back in my routine!” and “That felt so great to get a workout in!” as well as “Man, that was hard but I feel so much better now.”
I will always tell you to focus on how you’ll feel afterwards, not on the dread you feel prior to working out. Do you know why? Because I assure you that when you finish it, you won’t be the same. Exercise will not only change how you feel about yourself but it will make you more confidant and effective in your life. I realize that it sounds like I am overstating things here but by making changes with our body we can dramatically improve our life. Ask anyone who’s lost a bunch of weight and they will tell you that they went from being invisible to being noticed, from being overlooked to being taken seriously; to being more of whom they were meant to be; to being half full in all areas of their life rather than half empty. That is because the exterior changes help you excavate into deeper, more social, changes. When you accomplish something that has a physical result (like losing weight) it changes ALL of you. You begin to consider that other, less visible changes (like switching jobs or making more money) might be possible. Unfortunately, most of us are resigned to “half empty glass” self talk like “I’ll ever be thin, that’s just the way I’m build” or “All the women on my side of the family are big.” Or “I have a sluggish metabolism”.
Mostly these are excuses for not changing. It’s easier to say yes to that cheesecake right now than to say no for a goal that might be a few months away. But if you can get yourself to the gym and feel how it feels after, then you can remind yourself that each day of letting that half empty feeling dominate gets you one day closer to leading a half empty life. Is that what you want at the end of it all? To know you settled?
And more importantly the opposite is true. Each day of making positive physical changes will trickle into years then decades of being the more complete you, not only physically but also in all other areas of your life. Otherwise, days turn into years, the years into decades and before you know it your Jerry Rafferty.
How do you become more successful and more productive? Exercise.
Start with the outside changes and in the trickle-down theory your life will get better. You will look in the mirror and not only see it on the outside but you’ll feel it on the inside. Controlling your body will help you improve all other areas of your life.
Of course, you could always wait for the diagnosis.
Or the divorce.
But I suggest that you refuse to accept a half empty body or a half empty life. Take one more look at your resolutions. Or better yet get a new sheet of paper and take stock of your body as it is now and list the half empty mis-selfconceptions that you are resigned to. If your only option was succeeding would you choose to make the change? This isn’t just a better body but a completely better life.
January 8th. Time to reinvent yourself.
LOCKER ROOM DO’S & DON”TS
1. DON’T have complete conversations nude. You can respond monosyllabically,nod and smile at the floor but discourage long discourses on the pros and cons of public schools and their likeihood of calling a snow day for example.
2. If you are like me and grew up in the cattle style locker rooms, (with the big, round hand/hair washing water fountain with the step-on pedal. I loved that thing; where the coaches showered with the kids because they had to chaperone the dance after the game,) then DO walk somewhere (in the locker room) naked but you must have a purpose. Going to get a towel for example.
3. DON’T stand at the sink and brush teeth naked. Too much jiggling.
4. DO limit your nakedness to three minutes or less. Expedite your nudity.
5. DO follow the inverse principal that the younger you are the more naked you can be and the older you are the less naked.
6. DON’T do back flips. And more importantly no nude stretching. Steam and saunas are for sitting and sweating,on a towel as well as wrapped please. This is not hot yoga class.
7. DON’T look around OR make eye contact while your neighbors are nude.It’s not gay, it’s just weird.
8. DO look around while YOU are nude to be sure no one is looking at your hair distribution and if they are, DO give them a “yeah, so what if I don’t wax”look.
9. DO watch out for the locker room consigliere. Every locker room has one. It’s the person who is always there every time you are and they are right in the locker next to you even when the locker room is empty. (as a matter of fact that’s probably me)
10. DO keep your vajayjay under wraps if at all possible. Girls, we know this. Hoohahs are acceptable as long as they don’t drape down over your towel wrapped around your waist.
11. DO walk to the scales with your towel on but
12. DON’T weigh yourself with it on. Everyone knows towels weigh 70 or 80 pounds. Use the Penny Hoff Invisable-Weigh-In Method. Wait until the coast is clear. Then get on the scales wrapped, adjust scales to approximately your weight and at the last second whisk off towel and drop at your side. Make final scale adjustments and jump off while simultaneously whipping towel back around torso. I guarantee no one’s ever seen me on the scale even though I weigh in once a week. Or whenever the locker room’s empty, which it often is because I’m in there so much. I haven’t taken a shower at home in seven years. Ask my husband.
13. And finally, some no-brainer DON’TS ; no scratching, sloughing, picking, peeling or probing.