June 24, 2011
Are you interested in waking up morning after morning with all the energy you need to get ahead? Would you love to be an early riser? Would you like to get those someday projects done? Wouldn’t it be nice to stop running behind and to get ahead? When your day is front-loaded, you are ahead of the rest of the world.
It may sound ridiculous to think of changing some of these life long habits but change is possible and here are some tips to make it probable.
1.- Check It Off-I always tell people to make a list the night before of things they’d like to get done and to do the hardest thing first. This sounds awful but when you start your day with momentum, you capitalize on it. Everything else seems easy.
2. Create An Irresistible Reason To Get Up- When I use the word irresistible, I am not referring to the dulche de leche version of irresistible. I mean something you cannot say no to. Make an appointment with a personal trainer, plan to meet a friend for an early morning walk or don’t let you dog out the night before so that your dog wakes you up. Make it impossible for you to stay in bed.
3. Develop New Habits- Tell everyone in your house about your new resolve to become an early-riser and have them hold you accountable. Lay out all your clothes for the next morning so that you only have to step into them (and so that if you skip it, you will have to step OVER them)
4. Say No To Snooze-Put your alarm clock across the room so that you have to get out of bed to turn it off. Never, never, NEVER hit the snooze button.
5. No one ever complains of getting more done in the morning. The hardest part is the first two minutes. Sleep-walk yourself to the bathroom and just keep moving. Once you are vertical, everything will be easy. Keep moving.
6. Exercise Early- Even if you do not prefer to exercise early in the day, getting it done earlier will lead to a better night’s sleep. Exercise does induce a better night’s rest, but if done too late in the day, it can interfere with sleep. I teach a few evening yoga classes and I always notice my inability to settle down to bed on those evenings.
7. Have your hormone levels checked. If your cortisol levels are too high or your melatonin levels are too low you will not sleep well. Supplements can correct this. Check with your doctor.
8. Keep Your Bedroom Dark- This can help maintain your sleep cycle. Darkness spurs the synthesis of melatonin which is a neurotransmitter in sleeping well. Even the light of an alarm clock can disrupt the production of this vital hormone. Wear an eye mask if at all possible.
9. Nostril Breathing- Mouths are for eating and kissing. Noses are for breathing. This is never more important than at night when the respiratory system needs to steel down and restore. Breathing through your nose can oxygenate the blood more efficiently and settle your respiratory system more efficiently.
10. Give Up the Booze- This is the simplest yet hardest tip of all. If you can mange to eliminate alcohol your sleep will improve immediately and noticeably. Nuff said.
June 17, 2011
Which thought sounds more like one of yours:
A. “Okay. I’ll do it. Even though I don’t have the time or the energy because I don’t want to disappoint them. I hate it when others are disapproving.”
B. “Is this request reasonable? If it is, I can handle it even though I don’t like it. Uncomfortable feelings are temporary.”
Do you hear the difference in how each thought is framed?
Many of my folks at the gym allow weight and body image issues to take control of the mental majority of their day. And it’s not always that they are actively thinking negative thoughts. It is usually that they are focusing on what they do NOT like about their life or their body. And wanting what others have.
It makes sense that people who jump to the most negative conclusions often are unhappy. I call them Awfulizers.
Awfulizers drive themselves and others crazy with negative thoughts. And even more of us are shadow awfulizers—meaning we don’t do it out loud but it is just as damaging, whether we say it out loud or not.
But it is possible to learn how to reframe your thoughts in more positive ways by replacing unhealthy mental patterns with healthy thoughts that improve your mood and therefore your functioning, so that your life turns out better.
The scientific term for this is Cognitive Restructuring and this entails changing our distorted, inaccurate thoughts to less negative, more accurate beliefs.
I call it Tweaking Your Thoughts.
Do you ever have thoughts like, “This is terrible and it feels like it will never change.” Or “I should be better, more efficient and more competent at what I do.”
All of these thoughts are common but Tweaking Your Thoughts can help us think less dogmatically (want vs must), can help us be less dramatic about problems, and can increase your tolerance for frustration. It can also help us accept that all of us deserve a break.
Start by paying attention to what you are saying to yourself. For example, you may say you want to lose weight but then pig out every night.
So identify the problem, then ask yourself:
-Is this thought helping me?
-Is it really true?
-Am I overemphasizing the negative?
-What’s the worse that will happen?
-Am I jumping to conclusions?
Then see if there’s another way to look at the solution. There is always another way to see the situation.
Here are some Stress-Reducing Thoughts:
-“I am a worthy human being. I’m going to try to be compassionate with myself as I continue to learn.’
-I’m appreciative for many things and there are many things about my life and myself that I wish were different but I’m going to keep all this in perspective so I can change what I can.”
-“I can’t please everyone all the time. There is no way to go through life without subjecting yourself to some disappointment and disapproval. I can handle it. I’ll listen to my heart and do what’s right for me.”
We cannot always control our thoughts, especially when life comes unhinged. But that makes it all the more important to control the thoughts that are manageable. Choosing kindness, especially towards ourselves, can go a long way towards relieving our own stress.
Change your thoughts, Change your world.
June 10, 2011
Have you heard of TEF? This stands for Thermic Effect of Food which refers to what our stomach does with food after we eat it. Not to be confused with TEFB which stands for Thermic Effect of Facebook, which stands for what Anthony Weiner does with young women after they friend him on Facebook.
And as far as food is concerned, experts used to say that a calorie was a calorie was a calorie and that what went into your mouth was directly related to how much you gained, maintained or lost. Now experts have proven that it’s not just what goes in, it’s also what your body does with it once it is in.
And in relation to Weiner, he used to think that an FB friend was a friend was a friend and that what went on, on the internet stayed on the internet. Now experts have also proven that, yes indeed, what goes on, on the internet very permanently remains on the internet, whether we unfriend someone or not.
Back to food: That is why Weight-Watchers recently changed their ingeniously simple points system, where you used to be able to actually “save” your points so that you could later have, let’s say, two glasses of wine or six oreos and still stay with the program. But they found out that this weight-loss management system was not as simple as that.
And then there was Congressman Weiner, who used to be able to actually have his Twitter version of six oreos and still stay in his political office. But then he found out that this system was not as simple either.
What the scientists behind the scales at Weight
Watchers discovered is that weight control is more complicated beyond how many calories go in.
And what the PR people behind Congressman Weiner discovered is that sexting is more complicated beyond how many FB friends follow you.
All kidding aside, there is a big difference in what your body does with food once you swallow it, depending on what that food is.. For example, if you eat 100 calories of protein, 27 of those 100 calories are burned during the digestive process. If you eat 100 carbohydrate calories, only nine are burned in digestion and if it’s 100 fat calories, a measly 2 calories are burned in digestion.
Another eye-opener is that fiber is the new sexy–if you eat 24 grams of fiber per day, you will burn 90 more calories every day without changing anything else.. This may not sound like much but over the course of a year this could help you burn ten additional pounds without making any additional changes. Sexy.
Did you know that if you eat too much food in one sitting, you will suppress your calorie burn, or TEF as well? This means you don’t burn off as much of it as you would if you ate less per meal.
Also if you eat breakfast your TEF goes up five percent.
This thermic effect becomes more exaggerated between the ages of 40 and 70. As we age, our fat-free mass, which refers to our lean body mass, declines by 40 percent.
This is a big deal because each pound of lean tissue burns 35 to 50 calories per day. So if you lose as little as a half pound of muscle, you will gain three pounds over the course of a year. In the trickle-up theory, this could translate into 25 pounds gained in ten years, 50 pounds gained in twenty years and 75 pounds gained in thirty years. All because you lost one half pound of muscle. Not sexy.
What does it take to maintain one half pound of muscle? Thirty push-ups a day would suffice. So I am going to go out on a fitness limb and say that by simply doing 30 push-ups a day, you could prevent a 75 pound weight-gain over the course of a lifetime. Indeed, little fitness additions make a huge difference.
Simple, but not easy.
Another consideration before you bite into that double bacon cheese burger is the intimate relationship between exercise and eating, or more specifically, exercise and your metabolic rate, which is what your body does with the food you eat. It is called Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). Following exercise of sufficient intensity and duration, your body temperature will go up, your fluid retention will regulate and you will expend more energy which means that you will burn more calories, even later on in the day when you are not exercising.
But you are not off the hook by limiting calories either. Low caloric intake is bad but in an inverse way. Studies among elite gymnast and runners found that those with the highest body fat percentage had the lowest caloric intake. So low calorie diets, meaning reducing calories below your energy needs, set off a survival mechanism which results in a lowering of your metabolic rate by 15 percent.
So those of you exercisers that go all day without eating and then wonder why you cannot lose weight, you may be getting duped by your brilliant survival fat cells. Try eating 25 grams of good protein mixed with a few grams of carbohydrates (a cup of yogurt or a banana with a teaspoon of peanut butter) within twenty minutes after you exercise. This will tell your body that you are not starving or being chased by a dinosaur.
Finally, now that we are all thoroughly depressed,
there is the factor of genetics. If both parents are
obese, their children have an 80 to 90 percent chance of becoming obese. If one parent is obese, their chance is 40 to 50 percent of being obese and if both parents are lean, children are 15 to 20 percent likely to be obese.
So it pays to be smart about when, what and how
much you eat, as well as making exercise part of your daily routine.
Over the course of a lifetime, miniscule changes, think of them as Tweets, can make a huge difference, sometimes a 75 pound difference. Just ask Congressman Weiner.
June 3, 2011
People (and by people I mean all women) people have a magic number.
It’s that number on the scale that is just on the OTHER side of the gulf.
You know the gulf.
It’s the 5,10 or 50 (fill in the number) pound gulf between where you are and where you want to be.
Most people(and by most people I mean most women) the gulf is like the difference between a passing grade and an “F”, between Harvard and The Belmont County Branch Of Ohio U,
between third base and all the way, between being nominated and actually winning.
And most always, the gulf is wider than it needs to be, with the other side being more beyond reach than it needs to be. The other side is often unrealistic (thank you Uma and Anjelina) and I’ve also noticed that the magic number is usually a few el-bees below one’s “set point.”
Set point is where your body likes to be, weight-wise.
It’s the poundage that your body gravitates towards even when Thanksgiving dinner is served on manhole covers disguised as plates or an evening alone with an open sleeve of Oreo cookies.
It is your stasis.
Your set point is often where you have to battle to go below.
You often discover the definition of the word “plateau”when you try to challenge your set point.
You could be clipping along on a diet or exercise routine, steadily losing one or two el bees a week.Nothing.
You get within a biceps reach of your goal weight and you stop losing.
You practically have to switch to only celery sticks and run marathon type mileage to go below your set point. (Actually I’ve seen women running marathon type distances and still be stuck at their set point).
What’s a girl to do?
Number one is to think hard about your magic number and your set point and the gulf between the two and see if you can somehow, some way
Reconcile the two. (I can hear the deceptively quiet, yet Nazi-like voice in some of your heads, refusing to let go of say, 116 or is it 122? Or maybe 129?)
Can you consider the possibility of inventing a new magic number?
Would it be ridiculous to have the old set point be the new black? The new magic number? On a side note,do you know the feeling that makes you think that your stomach shrunk after a few days of the flu or eating less? Well, that’s not really your stomach shrinking.
The nerves that detect fullness actually recalibrate to detect fullness with less food so you FEEL full with less food. Same size stomach. Different sensation.
So if your gut can do THAT without you having to think it to make it happen, then surely you can do the same type of mental recalibration with your scales. Can you decide to detect less criticism with a higher number?
The next question is what happens when you mentally recalibrate?
You stop fighting something immutable. Fighting to get to a magic number (or worse, simply feeling self-loathing at the thought of not weighing your magic weight) is like fighting high tide.
At a certain point (this is where the word “wisdom” comes in)
you (hopefully) realize that it’s smarter to turn on your back and float or maybe dog-paddle.
I’m not recommending sinking, mind you. Or drowning. Just going with the flow.
Just facing what is and working with it rather than against it.
Geriathletes like me usually like to try the never-before-attempted. All my life I’ve taken chances and attempted the, maybe not impossible, but more like the highly unlikely. I used to drive on an Empty tank,
I used the mens’ room if my bladder was full enough and the coast was clear enough and I drank the milk without checking the expiration date, not that a past due date would’ve stopped me from taking a swig.
But at a certain Nora Ephron phase of my life, wisdom started whispering to me (in my mother’s tone of voice) saying things like “maybe you should gas up”, “pee before you get in the car”, “have a glass of water instead.”Wisdom.
Think about it.
Hoping to get to a magic number that was imprinted in your brain long before pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and supersize is like the kind of praying you do after you’ve spun the roulette wheel.
Which brings me to my last point which is you need to stop hoping and
If you have a GPS system in your car you know that in order to get anywhere, you have to program in your final destination. Any fitness regime worth it’s weight in dumbbells needs to do the same.
Pick a long-term goal (closer to your new magic number,hey! Look! It’s your old set point!) and a long-term date, break it down into weekly goals then daily goals, the minutes.
And just get STARTED on your way.
Never give up.
Never give up does not mean fighting to maintain a weight that your metabolism refuses to maintain.
Never give up
refers to dedication and commitment over the long haul. One week of workouts becomes two. Then a month goes by. You feel better. Your jeans fit better.And so on.
You get the picture.
So start recalibrating your brain about your weight by starting to notice how you feel about where you are now and where you WANT to be.
Mentally try to let go, without letting yourself go. And don’t just talk the talk, Jog the jog.