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Friday Fit Tip: Breathe

Friday, June 27, 2008

I'm proud of myself; I came up with this one on my own! Although I'm sure someone else, somewhere, recommends this.

We spend so much of our lives rushing around. And that includes eating. And when we rush through eating, we don't taste our food or enjoy it -- plus, we tend to eat more, because it takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to realize that it's full.

I now take 10 deep breaths before most meals & snacks. Then I say a small thanks for the food. And then I eat. It slows me down. I still find that I sometimes have to really concentrate on eating slower, even though I'm not a fast eater to begin with. But it seems like I'm sometimes just trying to "get through it", so that I can get on to the next task. Which is odd, considering I love to eat and I love what I eat, but there you go.

Do whatever works for you, but remember to slow down and change gears when you're eating.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CJROMB 6/27/2008 7:44PM

    This is a GREAT idea. I do that in a different way in that I do an analysis of what I'm about to put in my mouth. But you know, you're giving me something to think about here, because there's definitely times when I have food around that I DON'T need to analyze, and it IS really easy to just put it in my mouth, hardly paying attention at all! I will try to be more aware this coming week on this.

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MTER67 6/27/2008 8:31AM

    You are right. We spend so much time thinking about food, shopping for food, agonizing over food, but then we wolf it down in seconds! Breathe slowly and slow down--good advice. Thank you, Jlitt, for my sparkgoodie. It is a very sad time. I hope that his wife is going to be okay. I just talked to my marathon neighbor who knew them well--their kids were all on swim team together. That is the hardest part for me--thinking about the kids.

Comment edited on: 6/27/2008 8:29:36 AM

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Weigh-in tricks

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The trick to weighing-in is that there are no tricks. Sorry, I'll bet you were looking for tips to fool the scale, and there aren't any.

What prompted this post was a recent discussion on a Weight Watchers sparkteam. The consensus was that you should eat as lightly as possible -- including not eating at all if you weighed in early in the morning -- because every ounce counts. That went for drinking, too.

I will admit I have been there, done that. The problem with trying to eat lightly before a weigh-in is that you're cheating yourself. You're more likely to get really hungry and make bad food choices.

The other point is that if you are staying on program, whatever your program might be (assuming it's healthy), the scale will eventually move. There will be fluctuations -- yes, obviously you weigh more at night than in the morning, and most of us weigh more at that time of the month, too.

Right now my weigh-ins are at 10:30 am. I eat breakfast. If I'm hungry, I eat a snack. And I typically drink 4 glasses of water before my weigh-in -- spaced out, not all at once, of course. I even wear jeans, despite the fact that it's in the triple digits here.

I suppose you could say that I actually weigh less than what is on my ticker because all of that. But what I know for sure is that if I'm eating healthy and exercising enough, I will lose weight. Maybe slowly, maybe not every week, maybe it will go up some weeks; but it's about balance over time, and the trend is downward.

Remember, to0, that it isn't all about the scale. I'm really happy that my clothes fit better. The clothes always tell! I have a little more energy most days, which is one of the main reasons I want to lose weight in the first place.

Relax about the scale, and enjoy the journey.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MTER67 6/26/2008 9:28AM

    I am impressed that you drink lots of water and wear jeans to your weigh ins. I don't step on the scale very often, but when I do, I am likely to be naked--that way I can't try to convince myself that my underwear and bra weigh 4 pounds, ha! The scale is just one of many ways to evaluate progress--but it is not the only one, so we shouldn't go to such crazy lengths to "trick" it! Over time it will show the loss, even without avoiding water and wearing light clothing!

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ASTARB1 6/26/2008 8:42AM

    So true!

When I was in Weight Watchers, I would completely stress out about the weekly weigh-in. I have even taken off my wedding ring for a weigh-in and I wore the same lightweight outfit to every meeting!

Now I weigh in at home everyday and I don't record all the up and down fluctuations. I only record when I weigh lower than the last lowest weight. I know some would say that's cheating, but I don't care. It's not a competition and it keeps me from being frustrated.

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WOODLANDMYST 6/26/2008 8:25AM

  You've got it! Relax about the scale (clears throat...um, do what I say, not what I do...) I've gotten better about ignoring the scale - amazing the power we give to an inanimate object. The clothes and the increased energy are the keys. Keep up the good work! Blessings, Cyndy

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LSFBOOK 6/26/2008 7:59AM

    I loved your cruising tips and now another great blog on weigh in tricks. I agree with you. As long as the trend is downward--who cares how long it takes---well, hopefully not as long as it took me to put this extra weight on. LOL. You are doing great!

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Alaska, ho! Cruising tips

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Yes, we have booked our cruise. It isn't until the end of August, so that gives me time to work on myself. This will be our seventh cruise, and our fifth on NCL, so I know what to expect. And here are some of my plans for controlling my weight during the cruise:

1. There's a promenade deck, so I plan to walk most mornings. I did this when we did a cruise in the Pacific Northwest, and I saw whales off the ship several times. My husband never saw one.

2. Unless I get dressed up, which I might -- but is no longer necessary -- always take the stairs, never the elevator. You usually have to wait for the elevator, anyway. There are quite a few levels on a cruise ship, so this can mean regularly going up 5-6 flights of stairs daily.

3. Skip the midnight buffets. Easy, because I'm a morning person. Even my husband, who isn't a morning person, usually has trouble staying up for them because we're so tired from sight seeing. Steer clear of the buffets in general; the food there usually isn't all that exciting.

4. There's a fitness program, and if you show up for x amount of classes/walks/whatever, you usually get a tshirt. Participate! Let me tell you, you just haven't done kickboxing until you've done it on a ship at sea. There's a rock climbing wall, and I've always wanted to try that -- although I'm not sure I'd like it -- but on a moving ship? I dunno. Maybe. Life is short, after all.

5. Choose active shore excursions.

The biggest problem is that we're sailing with family. And kids. I don't know how much "togetherness" will be required. And my FIL has an early-Alzheimers like disease (which really surprised me that my MIL thought he could do this, but it was her idea), so that will be interesting.

I've invited my parents to join us as well, although I suspect they'll end up declining, even though they are interested. But they are in their early 80s, and while still fairly vital, they certainly don't move real fast and can't do a lot of walking.

OTOH, my SIL, her husband (who never travels), and their 2 kids are also coming. My SIL's husband is very active, and so is she. So we'll see. It will be interesting, to say the least.

We've never traveled with our inlaws before. Well, once we did convince my MIL to come to the Vegas painting conference I go to. My parents were there, too (they get along really well). Trying to decide where to eat each night was really hard!

I know it will probably be frustrating at times. Still, I'm excited! We have always wanted to go to Alaska, and even though if I'd planned the trip for myself, I'd have planned it differently, from what I've read, pretty much no matter how or where you go in Alaska, it will be amazing.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DONANDMARY77 6/25/2008 2:35PM

    Way cool!!! I've been on one cruise and totally agree with your post. We did the bike tours and as much activity as we had time for. I don't think I gained any weight on the cruise. Never did do a kickboxing class, but did have some extra calorie burn on the day out to sea when we had to keep hold of rails during rough seas.

Bon Voyage and have fun with the in laws, out laws, and see if you can motivate any of your family to get more active on the ship than on land.
Mary emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LCEATON 6/25/2008 12:18PM

    Thanks for the tips. I am leaving for Alaska on NCL on July 12. This is the first time I have ever cruised so am getting very excited. Can't wait to hear about your trip. Have a great time.


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MTER67 6/25/2008 9:02AM

    My neighbors went on an Alaskan cruise just before moving here last summer. They absolutely LOVED it and the photos from their trip were beautiful. You will have a great time--and what a wonderful thing to look forward to at the end of summer! And, yes, you gotta do the rock wall. What better time to try something new than on vacation? On a ship? In Alaska? I hope you'll post some pictures when you get back.

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No fast fixes

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

An online friend was writing about her puppy, who is about 4 or 5 months I think. She said that he had lunged and barked at a couple of dogs & a family on their walk.

Although she has 3 other dogs, and is my age, she's also like me in that she's never had a puppy before this. So she doesn't really know what to expect, plus she tends to set the bar way too high for herself.

She had the dog sit & told him "no". And I think that's fine. There are other things I would try if the dog tried it again. But she's already decided that he is very dominant and aggressive. He sounds like a normal puppy to be me, frankly, but I'm not there.

She said if he does it again she's going to scruff him and roll him. Keep in mind that this is a person who has a Katrina rescue dog and has done wonders with him, using positive reinforcement.

It makes me sad when people treat their dogs this way. I will never understand people who say they're all about positive training, except for _______ (fill in the blank). Maybe someday I'll truly have a problem dog and eat my words.

People want a quick fix. Yes, it might work (although it's a really good way to get bitten if you have a truly aggressive dog), but positive reinforcment works, too -- usually it works slower, though. It's what I've used with Lola to help her with her reactivity.

The difference is truly amazing, although she still has a way to go. It's taken a long time, though, and most people just aren't that patient. They want their problem fixed, yesterday.

It's what we all want when it comes to weight loss, too. The magic pill. Instant weight loss. To lose weight every week, and never gain.

But there are no fast fixes in life. Hard work, small steps, and consistency truly do work. It just takes patience.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MTER67 6/24/2008 6:16PM

    What's true for pets and weight loss is also true for raising children. I have to keep reminding myself that as frustrating as their behavior can be, it only gets worse when I react negatively. Nothing makes my kids grumpier than seeing me grumpy. They very often soak up and assume whatever mood I'm in. Thank you for reminding me of that when all along you were talking about dogs! Hope everything works out for the puppy and her owner. I don't like to hear of people giving up on their animals.

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LSFBOOK 6/24/2008 5:31PM

    You are absolutely right about no quick fixes. Everything takes time and you have to have patience. A quick story--years ago we had a wonderful orange tiger cat who hated me and loved my husband. The cat would leap out at me and claw and bite me. I would yell at him and try to swat him. I told the vet I wanted to get rid of the cat. He said, "Be patient. Everyday just say something soft to the cat when you walk by him. Then after a while just reach your hand out to him--don't worry, it'll take time and after a while he'll be great. Guess what-in just about a month of not yelling at him or trying to swat at him when he jumped at me--he became a calm, wonderful cat. That is how I'm treating what I'm doing on Spark People. I'm not getting mad at myself if I mess up and I'm going to take my time and be patient and I will lose the weight I need to lose.

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Day by day

Monday, June 23, 2008

It is a good thing to have plans. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, after all. We usually get derailed when we don't have plans.

But the real question you should be asking yourself is: what can I do today?

You can't change what you did yesterday, although you can learn from it, and create a plan for future, similar, situations.

Tomorrow may never come, so time spent worrying about it is just a waste of time.

We are still hoping to go on our cruise, if we can just get the rest of the family to make some decisions. We'd really hoped to book it yesterday, but some are dragging their feet.

However, as I pondered what I ought to do in preparation, it came to me: it isn't about the cruise; not really. It's about what I can do today.

The last time I had a big event to prepare for, one where lots of relatives would be seeing me for the first time in a long time, I spent hours searching for the perfect outfit. But God played a joke on me; the day of the event, I got an infection of a cut I didn't even know I had on my eyebrow. The entire left side of my face blew up. I couldn't wear my contacts, although I was told my glasses made it look not so bad.

So all that time spent worrying about how I'd look? Wasted.

Instead of worrying about how many pounds I can drop before August (although I will come up with goals), or just how much exercise is enough but not too much, I will concentrate on how I feel each day. What I can do that day. Because today is all we have.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MTER67 6/23/2008 9:07AM

    Tonight I took the kids to see "Kungfu Panda." Not a flick I imagine you are running out to see, but if you get the chance, I recommend it. The animation is amazing and the story is very good. Anyway, the wise kungfu master (turtle) says to the panda, "Yesterday is history; tomorrow is a mystery; but today is a gift. That's why it's called the 'present.'" Maybe you have heard that before, but I never have. Wisdom from cartoon characters! So often we adults worry about the future or punish ourselves for the past. We need to remain focused on the here and now because that is what we actually live in--thank you for the reminder (and good luck getting that vacation planned!)

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