Monday, March 08, 2010
So last night I was talking to my sister on the phone about the snags she has hit lately in her weight loss battle. And in the middle of the conversation she says something that leaves me speechless. Well.... almost.
She says "I have only lost 23 pounds."
I replied back, "Betsie, 23 pounds is a lot of weight!"
"I have a lot more weight to lose than you did, so it's not as much on me as it is on you."
I asked her what in the heck was she talking about? A pound of fat is a pound of fat, and it doesn't matter who the weight is off of, be it me, her, or an elephant.
Know what she said back to me? (This is so typical Betsie!):
"An elephant loses 23 pounds when it poops."
So, to try and give her a visual of how much she's lost, I asked her to picture 23 pounds of elephant poop. But then it occurred to me that neither one of us really knew what 23 pounds of elephant poop looks like.
So I went to my cabinet and looked at my container of shortening.
Would you like to know how much a container of shortening (I mean the regular-sized ones, not the little apartment-sized containers) weighs? 3 pounds! When I told her she'd lost almost 8 regular-sized containers of shortening she said in amazement "That's a lot of weight!"
Uh, yeah... that's what I'd been saying..... But it even surprised me the volume that 3 pounds of fat takes up.
So next time you get ready to say "I've only lost x-amount of pounds", divide it by three. That's how many containers of shortening you've lost.
And then pat yourself on the back. Because you have something to be proud of! And the more proud of yourself you are, the better you will feel about yourself. And the better you feel about yourself the more you will want to help yourself.
After all, who wants to help someone they don't like?
Saturday, March 06, 2010
Here's a question a lot of people wonder about: What is the best time of day to exercise?
There is some scientific evidence that an early AM workout is the most beneficial. So if you are a person who has the option to work out first thing in the morning and it's compatible with your personality, I say go for it! Why not?
I like to work out ASAP in the morning. I'm more energetic in the morning and it's out of the way. For me, it's worth it to wake up super-early to get my workout in, if possible. That way, any excuse I can find for not doing it later on in the day is not given a chance to take hold. It's already done.
However, if your schedule won't allow you to work out in the early AM or you are one of these people who just simply can't put out your best effort right out of bed, you need to find a time that works better for you. As I keep saying, any exercise is better than no exercise.
If you can't give 100% to your workout in the morning but you can at 6PM, you will gain more benefit from working out at 6PM.
If you simply can't find time to work out until 6PM, you will gain more benefit from working out at 6PM than you will from not working out at all.
One precaution about working out late in the day: Some people will have a hard time getting a good nights sleep if they exercise within a couple of hours of bedtime. And sleep is vital in the fitness battle, so don't sacrifice your sleep for your workout.
Whenever you decide is the best time for you to exercise, schedule it into your calendar and treat it like a non-negotiable appointment. This is your health we are talking about. It is that important.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Here is my list, in what I feel is order of importance, of things someone who is new (or just coming back after a break of years) to exercise would need to start an at-home exercise program:
1.) An instructional book on weight lifting. I don't care if it's designed for men or women because we all lift weights the same way, but it needs to have a good description of many different weight-lifting exercises for all body parts, because eventually you're gonna get bored with doing the same stuff and want to change it up. Plus, change is good for muscle growth and symmetry.
It is better to lift correctly with no weights than incorrectly with weights, so pay close attention to the technique instruction in the book!
2.) Dumbbells. If you are a woman I'd recommend starting with two each of 1 lb, 3 lb, 5 lb, 7 lb (if you can find them), 8 lb, and 10 lb. For a man I'd recommend starting with two each 5 lb, 8 lb, 10 lb, 12 lb, 15 lb, 18 lb (if you can find them), and 20 lb. The cheapest iron ones will do. That's what I have. As you grow stronger you can go out and buy two dumbbells in the next size up. This keeps the cost in check, as well.
If you cannot get dumbbells, don't despair! I worked out when my children were small and we were flat broke with cans of food!
3.) An adjustable (you can make it taller) step aerobics bench. This not only works for it's obvious purpose, but it doubles as a weight lifting bench for most exercises requiring a bench. And it's usually cheaper.
4.) A step or other kind of cardio DVD. I like step best because it gets my heart rate going in a small amount of square footage. This is great for getting in cardio on those days that you can't get outside for a walk or rualk (run-walk). I have a bunch of aerobics DVDs because the same one over and over gets monotonous.
5.) An exercise ball appropriate for your height. Between this and the step bench, my need for a traditional weight lifting bench at home is pretty much gone.
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