Tuesday, June 21, 2011
This blog is a little different than most of my blogs. I'm going to talk about an experience I had, at the request of my SparkFriend Kathy, AKA TheHonestMe.
I had the opportunity to do something truly unusual for me today: Shoot a commercial. Now, it's not a national commercial or anything that will be seen by millions of people, but it was still a big deal for me, because I've always dreamed of doing something like this but never had the opportunity.
My gym, Gold's Gym here in Wichita Falls Texas, has found itself with a new General Manager. Jenna is a friend of mine who has been working at the gym for 10 or more years now, since she was 16 years old. She has moved up through the ranks and finally found herself in the position of GM. I am really happy for her! She is making some wonderful changes, and after me winning the local 12-week challenge that was at the gym (free gym membership for a year. Yay!), she thought maybe I would be willing to shoot a commercial for them to help boost membership. I wasn't paid, of course, but it was still an honor to be asked and I would like to help my friend, so of course I said yes.
I was jittery before the shoot, but as time got closer to film I calmed down. I'd posted a status update here on Spark and on my facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nancy
-Anne/214680815221122 - like me so you can get my fitness updates and info! ) asking for prayer to calm my nerves, so it must have worked! Thanks to all of my praying Sparkfriends!
First of all, they did the interview portion. The gal asked me about things like what brought me to Golds, what motivated me to want to lose weight and get in shape, about the people at Gold's. Then she said she couldn't think of anything else and Jenna said she thought it was good. But I asked "Can I say one more thing?". I spoke from my heart about how I am 44 and no one special, that I've birthed four babies, am not athletic and have absolutely no agility or coordination, so if I can lose weight and get in shape, anyone really can do it. Jenna was so happy with me! She got all excited and said she was thrilled I'd interjected that. I have no idea which parts of the interview they will use, but I hope I gave them good stuff to work with.
Then it came time to do some actual exercising for the camera. We went into the women's only gym and I did some chest flyes on the cable machine (I tried to look like I was working hard- really the weight was down relatively low), and they got a shot of the pool over my shoulder while I walked on the treadmill. Then down to the co-ed lifting section where I did something I called reverse hack squats (It's like a hack squat machine, but you are facing down). They look kinda bad a*#, and I loaded 45-lb plates on there to make it look like I was pumping serious weight. Of course, it was my legs I was working and 90 pounds on legs is pretty light, but for the camera I thought those large plates next to my head might look more impressive.
Then I did a few other lifting exercises, ending with dumbbell shoulder presses. For that one I picked up a little bit heavier weights for me- 20 pound dumbbells- and put out about 14 reps. My exertion on those were for real! I was struggling to get the last couple out! Then we went into the cardio room and I did a little stretching for the camera.
At that point they wanted to get a shot of me walking in and waving to Randhal, the gal behind the desk. This is where I think it may have looked a little cheesy, because I simply do not wave at anyone when I come in. I swipe my card, say good morning, and get to work. So it took several takes (a couple because we were being silly, doing things like acting like we were running towards each other in slow motion, which set my kids, who were there, into a fit of laughter- Mom doesn't usually act goofy), before we finally got something that they may be happy with. But personally, I think that part is going to be unnatural-looking no matter what, because I was doing something that is not natural for me. I'm a horrible actress.
And then we were done. Jenna sent me a message thanking me, that she was really happy with how it went. She used the word "perfect", which I thought was kinda exaggerating, but still very nice. I was just glad that she was happy.
If I get a link to the commercial somehow on line, I'll post it here if folks would like that.
It's funny how being willing to have a big mouth about your weight loss story and trying to help others can branch into things you never thought would really happen: There is also a local photographer who has expressed interest in using me as a model to try some muscle-y type pictures, which he has never done before. Again, no pay there, but still very flattering and an experience that I am sure will wind up being a valuable one. And I may get some more good fitness pictures out of the deal, if it ever actually comes into fruition.
I don't have any type of fantasy that I'll become a fitness model or anything of the sort, but if I can use what I have worked for physically to help my friend boost the membership in our gym and look better for her bosses or bring in a bigger paycheck, or help a photographer find a new avenue to use his skills (we have NO fitness photographers here in Wichita Falls and I think it would be a valuable skill to have since we are 2 hours away from any significant cities), or motivate someone else to make themselves more healthy by any of the above means, I'm more than willing to put myself out there. Success for ones self is good, but success for the benefit of others is being who my Creator made me to be.
Friday, June 17, 2011
First off, I want to say that I am NOT a Pampered Chef consultant! (I don't even know a Pampered Chef consultant, come to think of it!)
Now I want to ask a question: Do you own a Pampered Chef Micro Steamer?
I've had one of these things for YEARS and all I thought I could make in it was vegetables. It got quite the workout, but that was the limit of it's usage.
Then we went to visit my sister last Christmas, who pulled hers out and used it to make slow-cook oatmeal in the microwave. I was stunned! I'd been making my oatmeal the old-fashioned way on the stove before that. She just put the amount of dry oatmeal she wanted to cook in there, added as much water as she wanted, and nuked it for a few minutes. No boiling over (my common problem with making it in the microwave), no watching it on the stove constantly and stirring so that it doesn't burn to the bottom. She found it humorous that I was so amazed and said "It's good for more than just vegetables!".
So I went home and tried it for myself, and that thing has been getting a workout almost every day. As a matter of fact, I think I need to get a second one because I find myself washing the one I have every morning to have it ready to steam veggies that night. I think I might get the smaller one next time around.
At any rate, for 1/2 cup of dry oatmeal I put in about an equal amount of water (I like mine thick), put the lid on and nuke it for 2 minutes. Then when it's done I let it sit a minute or two to soak up any additional water that didn't get cooked into it. If it so happens that I put too much water in there and it's too soupy for me I just tip it over the sink, because the little steam holes also act as a strainer. Then I add whatever I like to it (this morning it was pureed pumpkin, maple syrup, stevia, and cinnamon- yummy!). After it's all mixed together I dump it into a bowl and enjoy.
If I am having eggs and oats, I'll make my eggs while the oatmeal sits after cooking and then scramble the cooked oats in at the end of the cooking time.
Great way to get a quick hot breakfast before hitting the gym!
Maybe everyone else already knew this, but I thought I'd pass it on to any of you who hadn't thought of it before.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
When I was 34 years old I lost 30 pounds without exercise. I followed the Weight Watchers program (materials purchsed on Ebay because I was a broke single mother of four) and occasionally took short walks during my lunch at work. That was it. I lost at the rate of 1-2 pounds a week, just like I was supposed to. Back then it wasn't all that hard.
Fast forward: Now I'm 10 years older and if I were to do that now, my weight would not budge. Not a bit. I think this is typical for most of as as we get older (and for many people in general): If we don't move, we won't lose.
I know they say that diet is 70-80% of the weight loss battle, and to a degree I agree with that. Why? Because when I eat whatever I want while exercising I GAIN weight. But if I eat what I am supposed to and don't exercise, I stay the same or lose very, very slowly. That tells me the diet is more powerful in keeping fat at bay than exercise. But if I, and most other people in mid-life and older, don't exercise we are going to have trouble shedding serious pounds.
Barring a medical condition, the only time I have seen people drop serious weight over the age of about 40 without exercising is when they have tremendous amounts of weight to lose. At first, these folks can just follow a sensible eating plan and weight will come off at a fairly predictable pace. But I've noted that usually when people get to within about 60-70 pounds of their goal weight their loss will either slow down significantly or come to a standstill without exercise.
At this point, something has to change. After close examination of diet (Are they TRULY following the program? Getting enough protein? Too many calories? Too few calories? Eating often enough?), the next thing to look at is the dreaded E word: Exercise.
But here is the beautiful thing: If you have been sedentary, you don't have to spend hours in the gym every day. You can just go for a 20 minute walk. The important thing is that you go higher than your current exercise level most days of the week. Often this little bump in activity is enough to get the metabolism going and the scale moving downward again.
As time goes on, you may hit another plateau. Then it's time to re-examine your diet and exercise levels again. Assuming your eating plan is on target, it's time to bump up the exercise a little more. I know this stinks, but it's just what has to be done to lose weight as we get older.
One thing you need to keep in mind if you are new to exercise, or if it has been a long time (several months) since you have exercised, is that you do NOT want to start off all gang-busters. If you do this, one of two things will more than likely happen: You will either burn out or get hurt. Bodies need time to adjust. At first an easy walk will be enough. When you feel ready (make sure you know the difference between "not ready" and "lazy"), either pick up your speed or increase your time. When you get to where you can walk an hour (if you have that much time), it's time to pick up the pace. There is really not a lot of point in spending more than an hour doing cardio exercise, unless you are a distance athlete.
When you get to where you feel mentally ready, you can also start to add some weight lifting. But I've blogged about that before. The point of today's blog is that if you want to lose weight when you are middle aged and older (and some younger folks with slower metabolisms) you will probably have to exercise past your current activity level to see the scale move. This is a fact a lot of people don't want to face, but if you truly want to climb out from underneath your excess fat, you are going to have to get going!
Exercise is the key that unlocks the nutrition door so that your healthy eating plan can do it's job and move the excess fat off of your body. Just give in, accept it, and start moving. :)
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.
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