Monday, June 06, 2011
This is a really simple tip that I heard somewhere lately (I think it was a Weight Watchers meeting): Don't pre-load your fork. Wait to put more food on it before you are done chewing and swallowing the current bite.
I have a deserved reputation among family and friends for being a very fast eater. This is going to sound like a excuse akin to "The devil made me do it", but I really was born this way: There are literally photos of me screaming because my poor mother (who looks caught between amusement and horror) is not shoveling my baby food into my mouth fast enough. When I went off to boot camp I got faster yet. Then add motherhood to the mix and I developed the ability to positively inhale my food.
But when following the "Don't pre-load your fork" rule, I have to pay attention to my food and the process of eating. This helps me to feel more satisfied, which, in turn makes me less likely to overeat.
Nothing horribly earth-shaking, but perhaps it can help someone else.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
1. I eat. A lot. I enjoy a large volume of food and this helps to keep me from binging. My secret? My plate is piled high with non-starchy vegetables, and I have gi-normous salads often. To season my veggies I sprinkle on various seasonings, but most often I just use salt, pepper, and lemon pepper (the secret here- no butter or oil!).
2. I eat out often. I have to. Right now I am raising my daughter alone, plus I have an adult handicapped son that she and I frequently spend time with (my husband lives and works far away). As the sole driver for her many activities I just don't have time to do as much cooking as I would like. Plus, I really enjoy letting someone else do the dishes. I always look for places that have healthy options at a great value.
3. I rarely share my meals. I'll let you have a taste, and I might taste yours, but it's my food, and I'm hungry! If it's a day where I need to be careful I'll order a grilled chicken salad and have them hold the cheese and crunchy things (Dressing is always on the side and I fork-dip), or get the baked chicken with broccoli and baked potato (toppings again, always on the side and I use sparingly). If I feel like splurging I work it into my daily macronutrients, but I'll be eating the whole danged thing, thank you very much!
4. I'm not careful at all about sodium. Yes, I know this is evil, but the rest of my diet is pretty tight (most of the time), so I've been letting myself have this one. I imagine there will be a day when I start to work on this, too, but not today. :-)
5. I have an intense sweet tooth. A couple of times a week I'll have a few cookies or a small ice-cream cone or some other yummy thing. I've found that as I've gotten leaner I can afford to do this less and less, but the fact is that I have a sweet tooth and to deny it entirely is unreasonable, if not impossible.
6. I usually take weekends completely off from exercise. I do long and hard workout sessions most weekdays, but I don't want to have to worry about going to the gym on the weekends- they're for me and my kids.
7. I binge. This is a hard one to admit, but it does happen sometimes. Thankfully, not as often as it used to, but occasionally I do go nutz with the eating. This is a psychological (and sometimes hormonal) issue, and I'm working on it. But it still happens from time to time. (It usually starts with peanut butter.) The difference from now compared to when I was heavy is that I no longer view it as utter failure and allow it to send me into a downhill spiral of continuing to eat like crap for days on end. I start fresh the next day and really clean up my diet to help off-set the damage by reducing carbs, being careful about sodium, and making sure to get plenty of lean proteins, non-starchy veggies,and water to help the garbage I ate move out of my system. I also try to get in a little extra cardio the next few days to help burn the stored glycogen from the binge out of my system before too much of it can get converted to fat.
8. I take at least a week off of exercise every 10 weeks or so. This varies according to A.) How intensely I have been working out and 2.) What is going on in my life. When I am really hitting the gym hard, the break will come closer to the 8-week mark. When my intensity level isn't so high, I'll take a break every 12. These breaks are important to both my fitness and mental well-being, and I look forward to them.
9. I usually go for the full-fat/higher calorie version. Fat free sour cream? Way to ruin a perfectly good taco! Light mayo? Would rather have a scraping of the full-fat on my sandwich. Deserts made with Splenda and apple sauce in place of the oil? Forget it! I'd rather have a little of the "real" stuff than a bunch of bad-tasting (and unsatisfying- at least to me) low-cal stuff. And don't lecture me about how much worse this stuff is for my body. I know, and I'm eatin' it, anyway.
10. I eat a great, big breakfast. I mean, huge. It's calorie dense and yummy, although usually very healthy. A typical breakfast for me is 1/2 C of dry oatmeal (this makes a pretty big bowl of oatmeal, BTW) with a chopped up apple cooked in it and about a teaspoon of Smart Balance Margarine and cinnamon mixed in. I'll eat along side this a whole egg scrambled with 1/2-3/4 C of egg beaters or egg whites. I like to start my day with a full belly.
Being fit is work, but I am far from perfect, and there are some things I just won't compromise on. Maybe some of these things will change as I progress (#7 would be a great one to lose!). But if none of them do, I'm not kicking myself.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Make sure that who you hire as a Personal Trainer or Sports Nutritionist is qualified to help you. Here's a few tips:
- Ask to see their certification. In person, either a personal trainer or sports nutritionist should be able to show you a little card given to them by their accredited organization that tells when their certification expires. When working with a trainer long-distance they should be able to send you to a profile on-line with the organization they are certified by. I'm not trying to solicit business, but just so that you can get an idea of what I'm talking about, here's mine: www.acefitness.org/findanacepro/ACEC
- Watch out for their phrasing when they discuss who they are certified with. For instance, if they say "I have been certified with", and then rattle off a bunch of accredited organizations, beware! This probably means they are not currently certified. It also means they are trying to be deceitful. Do you want to pay money to someone who is trying to deceive you from the get-go?
- While personal trainers can legally give you some help with diet, to hold the title "Sports Nutritionist" a person must have a degree in a related field (duh!), and in most states they also need an additional Sports Nutritionist certification. If you ask to see the certification, you can pretty much know that they have the degree. So a chef who is also a personal trainer does not a Sports Nutritionist make.
Here's an article on it, if you want a little more info: www.ehow.com/about_6587653_ed
And trust me, you won't have to ask if they have a degree- any accredited Sports Nutritionist will let you know right off of the bat that he or she has a bachelors in Sports Nutrition. If they don't, either start asking questions or run away!
- Just because someone is a sports nutritionist does not mean they are a personal trainer, although changes are they will also have that certification, as well, because it just makes sense.
Why is certification so important? Because we have to keep our certifications current, which means we are taking CEC courses, which means we are learning the latest in at least one area of our field. I have taken CEC courses in lifestyle and weight management, women's fitness, targeting exercise specifically for the clients needs, and senior fitness. Additionally, at least with ACE, we get a monthly publication that keeps us abreast of all that is the latest and greatest in the health and fitness world. When someone has access to the very latest information (I usually find out about it before non-certified people do) , they can give you the best help possible.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Lately I've been getting quite a lot of positive comments about my abs on my new professional pics I posted here on Spark, mostly because I've had four babies and women are marveling at how I got my abs into the shape they are in. While I really appreciate the positive comments (Keep 'em up!), I want to be really honest about a few things:
1.) I have a little loose skin in my stomach, and the skin around my belly button is droopy. (I also have stretch marks, although they have really paled and blended over the years.) I almost had a tummy tuck because of it. I backed out at the last minute because I felt that the scar all the way across the bottom of my abs would look worse than the loose skin does. You don't see the loose skin in my photos because a.) I know how to pose (most of the time) to take up the slack. And b.) I'm not going to post pics that don't show me at my best! :-D
Except now. Here's some pics of me all stretched out and looking the way I want to for pics:
And here's reality (smaller like these the loose skin isn't showing up, but the full-size you can really see it):
2.) Given that, I think I got blessed in the skin elasticity department. I have God to thank for this. Yes, I work out like a fiend and eat right to have very little fat over those muscles and look as good as possible, but there is NOTHING I did after birthing four babies to make the skin as tight as it is. This was just God in my corner. (I think He was making up for the cellulite and broken spider veins in my legs and bum.)
3.) I can thank my Mom for my waist-to-hip ratio. I believe that if she'd taken better care of herself I'd be bearing LOT of resemblance to her in the body department right now. So while I have had to work hard (really, really hard!) to get the body I have, being able to get a waist to 25" after multiple pregnancies is something that not everyone can do, because not everyone has the genes I do. Again, I lucked out on this one.
4.) Thank you very much for the compliment, but I do NOT have a six pack! A six-pack is the wash-board look of horizontal lines going across the abs. It's stunning, but I don't have that. Wish I did, have been shooting for it for years now, but don't and probably never will. Why do I doubt this? Because even when I was a 5'8" 135-lb size 4 19 year-old with a 22" waist (yes, you read that right!) who had never experienced childbirth I STILL didn't have a six-pack. I have muscular abs, but it's not a six-pack. I think this is a genetic thing, too.
The fact is that we all have our strong points. Abs are one of mine, and I have learned to enhance and draw attention to them. It's because I want to draw attention AWAY from my least-favorable area, my legs. And I've built up my shouders to help even out my hips. If you have a good shoulder line, work on making those delts more defined! Legs? Put on a cute little skirt and show 'em off! (I envy you!). I have good abs and I work to make 'em better. Play up your assetts!
And never stop lifting and trying to improve- you'd be amazed how what you consider one of your worst parts can turn into one of your best. Who knows? Maybe one day I'll have the hard legs and a tush that have eluded me for so long now........
Sunday, May 08, 2011
One of the keys to losing and now maintaining my weight has been drinking copious amounts of water (rarely less than 1 and sometimes up to 2 gallons a day). I promised someone a while back who was surprised I considered it so important that I would post a blog on the subject. I'm finally making good on that promise.
Here are a few of the many benefits of drinking plenty of water (not zero-calorie beverages: WATER!)
- Let's start with the most motivating one: Water helps waste move through the body in a mighty way. This means that a bunch of crud won't be hanging around inside you so you're more likely to weigh less on the scale in the mornings (after you've peed), because the content of your intestines will weigh less. Full intestines can cause several pounds of scale weight gain if you are.... er..... stopped up. So drinking water helps to give you a truer scale weight.
-Water helps to break down the nutrients in your food better, thus increasing your metabolism. Not only that, if you are getting the nutrients you need the chances of cravings is reduced.
- Water helps regulate blood sugar, which helps insulin levels to stay steady, also reducing your likelihood to overindulge in sweet stuff.
- Water helps to give your stomach a full feel so that you are less likely to overeat.
- Plenty of water in your system helps your body to keep you cool during workouts, therefore allowing you to work out harder and get more bang for your exercise buck.
- Water is the primary ingredient in the synovial fluid around the joints, which allows them to move freely and gives them cushioning during your workouts.
There are a TON of other ways that water benefits the body, but these are ones that specifically relate to weight loss and fitness.
Generally speaking, you want to drink all the water you can. Someone noted in the comments on this blog that Spark says 5-6 cups of fluid a day is adequate and it doesn't all have to come from water. I've been seeing that Spark tries to keep things as easy for people to maintain as possible- They don't want you giving up! But if you want to take your body to the next level you are going to need to drink more than that. (I personally get way too hungry when my water is below about 12 cups a day and am almost guaranteed to binge.) Besides, I've never once heard of a figure competitor (which I aspire to look like) or any sort of serious athlete who doesn't drink way more than they traditionally accepted 8-cups of water a day.
Can you drink too much water? Yes- There is such a thing as water toxicity. But to get that you have to drink stupid amounts of water. The kidneys can process quite a lot of water an hour (over a quart) easily. You'd pretty much have to TRY to drink too much water to get water toxicity. Stay away from water-chugging contests and you'll probably be fine. :-)
And I know you are wondering..... Do I pee a lot? YES! But you don't pee out all that you drink- water goes out of you in other ways like sweat and respiration, too. And I will say that my bladder size has increased since increasing my water intake, so while I still visit the bathroom more often than most other adults I know, I'm not seeing the inside of the ladies room as often as I did this time last year.
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