Sunday, August 21, 2011
This is gonna be a real quick blog, and one that most of you probably don't need, thank goodness! But I thought it was worth a mention, because occasionally I have seen on the boards that people don't feel they need to count the oil that they cook food in, such as for a stir fry, on top of the stove. They seem to think it either evaporates, somehow doesn't soak into the food, or the calories go away some other way. This is simply not true! Those calories soak right into your food and are what keeps it from sticking to the pan! Then it goes right into your body.
Also, I've run across more than one person who take copious amounts (I'm talking tablespoons) of coconut oil a day, thinking it will somehow magically make them thinner. Some even eat it right off of the spoon. They don't count the calories, then wonder why they are not losing weight. At 120 calories a tablespoon, these calories can add up very quickly and absolutely stall your weight loss. Just because a fat is a "good fat" does not mean it's good for you if you eat too much. You really CAN have too much of a good thing!
Count your oil in your daily foods!
Thursday, August 04, 2011
I waited until I knew the final verdict of the Gold's Gym Transformation Challenge on a national level before I posted this letter for anyone besides me to see. I guess I didn't want to jinx it. I didn't win nationally but I did win locally, which got me a years free gym membership, which was pretty cool!
I believe I am done with these kinds of challenges for quite a while now. I'm kinda challenged out, I guess. Now I need to just settle into figuring out how to maintain at a body fat percentage I am happy at. But I learned a lot through the process. Here is the letter:
When I initially began the Twelve-Week Transformation Challenge I was focused on the word “Transformation”. I truly wanted to get the last of my excess weight off and transform my body into something I could maintain for the rest of my life. But instead it became more about the word “Challenge”, and in the process I transformed so much more than my physical self: I transformed my attitude. I never realized I was a tenacious person until this challenge, and having that self-belief has helped me to truly transform from the head down. Through this process I have become convinced that true and permanent change takes place between the ears before it takes place in the body.
The biggest obstacle I had to overcome during the past 12 weeks was sticking with it when I found out that our son, who is in the Marine Corps serving in Afghanistan, had stepped on a land mine and was injured. I was at Gold’s getting ready to start a workout when I received the news. I sat down on the edge of a treadmill to get my emotions under control. I had my keys in my hand, ready to go back home. But as I sat there it occurred to me that going home would solve nothing for our son, and would leave me with time to worry about him. On the other hand, if I stayed at the gym and did my workout at least I could channel the energy of my concern for him into something positive: Heaven knows there was nothing I could do to help him at the moment. So I put my keys away, stood up, stepped onto that treadmill, and began my workout- First a light warm-up, then hitting the weights. Let me tell you- there is nothing like lifting heavy to help burn off the jitters and get my head into the healthiest place possible. And I believe finishing my workout kept me from going home, mixing up a big bowl of cookie dough, and eating most of it.
Other obstacles came up in my way over the course of the challenge, as well: I had knee and foot issues and found out that I have arthritis in one and nerve damage in the other. Then I pulled a muscle in my scapula, which led to not being able to exercise for a week. As result of this I had multiple tests and doctors visits and found out I have slightly bulging disks in my neck and consequently a pinched nerve. To accommodate the additional time demands of my medical needs I had to get creative about not only the way I worked out while I healed, but also the time of day I went to the gym.
The entire 12-week period I stayed fastidious with my eating plan, weighing, measuring, and logging my foods. I ate mostly clean, whole foods, and most of the time was careful about balancing my carbs, fats, and protein.
It’s been a wild ride, but I stuck with my goals and I did not give up. I am really proud of myself for that! I believe that’s a bigger accomplishment than any changes that took place in my body.
While I wouldn’t want to go through any of the above again (or put my son through it, thank you very much), I am grateful that through the challenges of the past 12 weeks this shift in attitude has taken place inside me. I genuinely feel better equipped now to take care of my family through all of the challenges life is bound to hand us because of my internal growing process of the last 12 weeks.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
I haven't blogged in quite a while- I allowed someone to take the wind out of my sails for a bit, and I am sorry about that.......
Recently I had several inconsiderate things said to my about my choice to live a fit lifestyle. It cut me to the quick, so I reached out to other fit people I know and was surprised to find out that every single one of them had been through similar things, usually many times over. I thought a blog about this might be prudent because the fact is that if you are going to choose to lead an improved lifestyle, the odds are that you are going to be met with similar comments and situations, as well.
First of all, take into consideration the physical state of the person making the comments. If they are someone who is not in ideal shape themselves. give that consideration before taking their comments to heart.
In light of this it stands to reason that, as my husband says, your success is probably making what they feel are their own shortcomings glaringly apparent to them. Therefore it's more than likely a feeling of inadequacy with themselves that leads them to say cruel or unreasonable things to you, not a true criticism of you. So in a way they are acknowledging that they recognize your success. For this reason, it can be taken as an off-handed compliment, if you can muster the inner strength to view it that way.
Also, bear in mind that it is NEVER your fault that someone else is not doing well in the weight loss and fitness game. Your success cannot possibly be the reason for their non-success, regardless of how someone tries to justify it. It is human nature to want to blame others for our own problems, so please keep that in mind when your share of criticism hits you.
Keeping all of this in mind, it's a delicate thing to know how to handle these situations. We certainly don't want to drive people further away from changing their lives for the healthier, but on the other hand we shouldn't be targets for their frustrations, either. I asked my friends who have also dealt with this how they handle these situations and the best suggestion yet came from my friend Tia. She said that when critical things are said to her, she simply asks them "Why do you say that?" This is, in my humble opinion, a brilliant strategy because it does the multiple purpose of getting the spotlight off of you, finding out where they are coming from on the off chance you might be able to help them, and getting them to reflect on their own motives. And when done kindly, it lets them see you care about their feelings. People can't grow when they feel attacked. Quite frankly, I wish I'd of handled the criticisms that came my way in this manner.
Another perfectly acceptable strategy (this works particularly well when the criticism comes in a written form) is to say nothing at all. You are under no obligation to answer a question just because someone asked it or reply to a statement just because someone said it. And often silence says far more than words ever could.
Also, if I had it to do all over again I wouldn't handle ANYthing by Email, letter, or text. This is a good way to get all parties extremely upset, since your tone of voice can't be factored into the words and they can be taken in a way they were never meant. I'd suggest, if you feel the need to communicate with someone who has written you in some way that you send them your phone number and tell them you'd much rather speak to them about it personally. Chances are they will never call and the issue will die down, but if they do your meaning and caring will come across in your voice. Also, people on both sides of the equation will usually type things they would never say with their voices, so for issues where it could get emotional actual talking really is the best way to go.
I hope this helps. If you are changing your health for the better and have not run into this issue yet trust me, it's coming. Often from the least expected people. Sometimes you will find that those you thought would be your biggest allies in your transformation will wind up being your biggest adversaries, and vice verse. It's painful when it happens and you can't know who will say what when, but it will almost always surprise you. If you are mentally ready for it you will hopefully be able to handle it with more grace and dignity than I did.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
I think anyone who has considered taking supplements to help boost their potential with weight loss, in the weight room, or both will agree that there are so many choices out there it's confusing and overwhelming. This one area I will admit I am not extremely knowledgeable about. But I have managed to learn a little and pick out what I believe to be the best and most effective supplements for my needs. What you need may different, but this might help someone to get an idea of how to go about selecting supplements.
I take three different "stacks" (combos of supplements), timed morning, afternoon, and before bed:
1. With breakfast (for maximum absorption) I take-
- A multivitamin. I don't take any one brand- I just try to find a well-rounded one. Truth be told, right now I am taking children's gummy vitamins. So shoot me. My diet is good enough that I don't feel I have to get picky about this one.
- A calcium/magnesium/D supplement. The one I take has about 30% daily recommended amount of calcium and 50% recommended daily amount of D per pill (not per dose- a dose is 2, and I only take one at a time). I take the calcium because more often than not I don't get two servings of dairy in daily. The magnesium is for max absorption of the calcium. And the D is because I have a past history of depression that I have noted is a lot better when I am in the sun frequently. I thought this might be related to vitamin D, and sure enough, when I started taking D my depression was a lot easier to manage. If I didn't get magnesium or D with the calcium pills, I would take them as a separate supplement along with it.
- An Omega fatty acids pill. The one I take has all 3 Omegas in it (3, 6, and 9). There is enough scientific evidence behind this one that I believe it is worth the expense. Plus, I swear my eyesight is better when I am taking it. On the days I eat fish I skip this supplement.
In the afternoon (with lunch, if I remember) I take:
- Another Omega Fatty Acid pill
- An Iron pill, because I have a low iron level. I keep the iron pill far away from calcium intake, either in diet or supplement, because calcium inhibits Iron absorption.
Before bed I take:
- Another calcium/magnesium/D pill. This is a great time to take it because cal/mag has been proven to help with sleep.
- A glucosamine pill, because I have arthritis in a knee and it's supposed to help with joints.
In addition to these, on days I work out I take an L-Glutamine pill with my breakfast stack. I guess it's best to get L-glutamine in powder form immediately following working out, but since I have a bunch of them in pill form and I know pills take a while to break down and get into the system, I take them with breakfast, reasoning it will reach my muscles by the time I am done lifting. My reasoning is NOT based on science, though; just simply on what I think, so I could be dead wrong with this one. But I don't want to waste the pills, so until they are gone this is what I will be doing. After that I don't think I will take Glutamine at all anymore.
And right after I am done working out I have 5g of BCAA (branched chain amino acid) powder in protein powder that I put in my gym bag and add water to after lifting so I can drink it while I am walking out of the gym. Since starting to do this I swear I am not as sore after my workouts. I think they are also supposed to help aid in weight loss, but I'm not quite sure how. I use the Modern brand and the recommended dosage is 10g, but since I am a 150-lb woman I just take 5g (single scoop). This helps to stretch the container. A word of warning about flavoring with BCAA powder- make sure it has some! I got the plain the first time and my goodness, it was bitter! I had to add a packet of stevia to my protein powder/BCAA concoction to make it palatable enough to swallow. The flavor seems to help mask quite a lot of the bitterness.
Okay- so there you have my stacks and my reasons for them. I used to take more, but this is what I've brought it down to and I believe benefits me the most.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
I'm always amazed at the number of people who ask me what it is I eat and drink in the course of a day. This is a really hard question for me to answer, because I don't eat the same things all the time, but here are some general guidelines I try to follow:
1. I always have at least one serving of complex carbs. This is usually 1/2 C of dry oatmeal, cooked, about an hour or so before I workout. Often I'll have more servings of complex carbs than this throughout the day, though.
2. I usually eat oatmeal or some kind of whole grain cereal and a lean protein (Most often an egg with 3/4 cup of egg whites) for breakfast.
3. I eat before I workout- even before I do AM cardio. When I don't I find myself short on both strength and endurance. This meal is usually the above breakfast.
4. On the way home from the gym I have a whey protein shake and a piece of fruit (usually a banana).
5. I try to eat at least one salad a day, to ensure I get some raw veggies, either for lunch or dinner. My favorite is some kind of a southwestern salad so that I get some carbs from the corn. It always has a source of protein (usually shrimp or chicken breast), and if I am eating out I ask them to leave off any chips or croutons and go easy on the cheese. If the meat is grilled on a skillet I ask them to go easy on the butter. I get whatever dressing I like (usually creamy), but order it on the side and fork-dip for the non-flavorful bites. Almost none is gone by the time the salad is finished.
6. I usually have two afternoon snacks, because it's a very hungry time of day for me. Almost always one is a small protein bar (I make sure it's really a PROTEIN bar with about the same grams of protein as carbs and low fat- otherwise I consider it a carb bar). If it's a big one (over 300 calories) I cut it in half. The other snack is usually low-fat string cheese and lean beef jerky OR a scoop of protein powder mixed into Greek yogurt.
7. I try to limit my fruits to 2 servings a day (I consider a banana 2 servings), and have at least 3 servings of veggies. More is better on the veggies.
8. The meal that is not a salad is usually a lean source of red meat (I have low iron), a whole-grain carb like brown rice, OR a baked sweet or regular potato, and a LOT of non-starchy veggies.
9. I don't drink my calories (unless it is a protein shake).
10. I drink at least a gallon of water a day (read my blog on The Importance of Water to see why).
11. If I drink anything in addition to the water, it is unsweetened tea. Sometimes I'll put a little Stevia or Splenda in it, but I've learned to usually drink it unsweetened. I just don't think the additional stuff does my body any good.
12. Before bed I almost always have a scoop of Casein powder mixed with cold water into a pudding.
If you were counting, that's seven feedings a day most days. I am always eating! :-)
I'll blog about supplements next blog, but that's what I ingest as a general rule most days, whether losing or maintaining. When I am in maintenance mode my portion sizes get larger. I hope this helps!
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