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!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
We've all heard the importance of starting our day off with breakfast, for not only weight loss but also general health. But I hear so many people say "I'm just not hungry when I wake up!'. While I normally don't advocate eating if you aren't at least a little hungry, breakfast is one time I break that rule.
First of all, with breakfast you really are breaking the fast from the night before. To make a long metabolic description really short, when you are fasting your body will begin to turn to muscle for fuel. I don't know about you, but I've worked very hard for this muscle and I'd rather see it sitting on my body than being burned up as energy. So to keep as much muscle on our bodies as we can it's very important to eat breakfast and keep the fasting state from sleeping all night as brief as possible.
Secondly, I usually work out in the AM. I've done this both without eating breakfast and with. I note a big difference between my energy level in the gym when I eat first as opposed as to when I don't. I sure as heck don't want to spend any amount of time trying to better my body without the ability to put max effort into it- I don't have enough hours in my day to be wasting time like that, and I'm sure you don't either.
As for the "I'm not hungry" excuse, it won't last long! After a couple of weeks of eating breakfast as soon after rising as possible, you will start waking up hungry. These days I usually wake up pretty much starving and breakfast has turned into what is often my biggest meal of the day. This is a big departure from the gal who used to eat a very small breakfast in order to hoard up her calories so she could eat a big dinner.
Breakfast is usually my biggest meal in both calories and carbs now.
You don't have to start off with anything huge. If your appetite is virtually nonexistent first thing in the morning, just have a few bites of a good-quality protein bar and a drink of water. If you can handle a little more than that, have a scoop of protein powder in water and a small piece of fruit, or 1/4 cup of dry oats cooked and 1/2 C of cooked egg whites or egg beaters. As time goes on, you'll be able to eat more.
I record breakfast on Spark just about every day, either as "Before AM Workout" or "Breakfast", depending on if I worked out that day or not. If you like you can go back through my Shared Food and Fitness Logs and peek at what I've been having for some ideas. ( www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_tracker.a
sp?id=NANCYANNE55&dte=6%2F29%2F2011 Although I'll be honest- it's usually some variation of eggs and oatmeal, so you may not find it too exciting.)
As an aside, most days I also get my "after AM Workout" meal logged, as well. This might give people who are confused as to what to eat before and after working an idea of what they can do.
Breakfast is too valuable a meal with too many health and weight loss benefits to be skipping. It is really, truly, no-kidding important that you eat breakfast. So no more excuses! Time to start making your morning re-fuel a habit!
Monday, June 27, 2011
The commercial I shot recently for our local Gold's gym. The final version has the exact same footage, but instead of talking about working with the trainer it has me saying that the atmosphere is friendly and the facilities are complete. I think that was a wise change.
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