Friday, January 06, 2012
Okay, so you've done it- You ate way too much of the wrong stuff. And in the middle of kicking yourself and wishing you could go back in time, you are wondering "Is there anything I can do to help reduce the negative effects of this?' I have an answer for you, and that answer is "YES"! (And no, it does not involve the porcelain god and sticking a finger down your throat!)
This isn't going to be easy, no magic pill, but it will get most, if not all, of the garbage you just ate out of your system. There are basically three steps you will employ for the next 3 days:
1. Drink water like it's going out of style! This is NOT the time to shy away from water because you are afraid it will make you weigh even more in the morning. It's time to guzzle. It will give your cleansing organs a vehicle to carry all of that bad stuff (carbs, sodium, fat, chemicals) out of your body as fast as possible. The sooner they leave the body, the harder it is for your body to store them as fat. I'm not talking water toxicity levels, here, but make a concerted effort to drink more water than you normally would. And water- not diet soda or any other kind of beverage you would rather drink. Water. Water doesn't give your body one MORE factor to process and deal with.
2. Cardio like a mad person! If you have any extra time for additional cardio over the next 72 hours, just do it, no questions asked. I had a trainer friend of mine say that it takes the body 72 hours to turn unaccounted for carbs into fat. You are trying to get 'em accounted for with cardio! I have no idea if what he said was right or not, but putting as much time into cardio as possible for three days after a binge has helped me to keep the damage at bay. Cardio uses glycogen, which is what the body turns carbs into, for fuel. If glycogen doesn't get used for fuel, the body stores it as fat (future fuel). You want to try to stop that from happening
As an aside- Don't abandon your weight lifting routine, though! Lifting also uses glycogen, although not as much. Keep up the lifting routine the same, but raise your cardio level. Two or three 30 or 40-minute cardio sessions a day is not too much right now, if you can squeeze that much in!
Oh! And expect the next day to have kick-butt cardio and lifting sessions. With all of that glycogen now stored in your muscles you will be able to push harder than normal in your workouts. (Proving that every cloud truly does have a silver lining!)
3. Focus your diet for the next day on protein, with only veggies for carbs. It's Okay to have nonfat milk products. My guess is that after the binge you aren't going to be wanting too many carbs, anyhow. The next two days after that, go for small servings of things like oatmeal with breakfast and whole grains like 100% whole wheat or Ezekial breads and brown rice with lunch and dinner.
Why am I focusing on carbs? Because I am almost certain you didn't binge on turkey breast. You either binged on sweet carbs (cookies, ice cream, brownies), salty carbs (potato chips, crackers), or a combo (peanut butter, kettle corn). None of these combinations is scale-friendly when done in excess, and the only way to get rid of the weight gain is to get rid of the carbs floatin' around in your body.
And the next time, if you can think about it before you immerse your head into that vat of peanut butter again, remind yourself that a binge is 3 days of hard work to (hopefully) undo the damage. I've done this enough times that the thought of both the un-do process and the intestinal distress that is certain to arrive shortly after the binge has ended is almost always enough to stop me in my tracks. It's taken a couple of years to learn my lesson, but now I can almost always say to myself "Ugh! It's just not worth it!" and step away from the temptation.
Depending on your personality, when you get on the scale is up to you. I make myself get on the scale the next morning because I can't stay in denial if I'm looking at the (temporary) damage I've caused. Seeing a big jump motivates me to get right back on track! I also like watching the numbers come down over the next couple of days- It's interesting to me. But if you are the type it is just going to discouraged and want to dive into a bag of BBQ chips when the number is up, I'd advise waiting until after your 3-day recovery process is over.
Saturday, December 31, 2011
I've learned it's best to pack all food possible if I want to eat well when going out of town, but particularly for breakfast and snack foods. They seem to be the hardest things for me to eat balanced and clean when away from home. But one thing has always stumped me: How to cook slow cook-oatmeal in the hotel room.
If I cook it in the microwave (either in my room or in the breakfast area) the hotel mug or paper bowl I use is never big enough to accommodate all of the bubbling that occurs in the cooking process and it boils over, making a mess.
And if I just add hot water to the oats in the bowl it never gets cooked enough for me. Instant oats would cook with this method, but slow-cook are the healthiest kind so that's what I start my day with.
Now, you might be saying that I should bring my own bowl. And that would be ideal..... Except I always forget. Always. If I'd remember to add it to my packing list I wouldn't forget, but I never do and have finally come to accept the fact that I never will. It's a mute point. I seem to have a bowl block. (And spoon block, but at least you can get plastic spoons from the hotel lobby.)
So we are back to my oatmeal cooking dilemma. And finally this time, I had my AHA! moment. It's so simple I wondered why I haven't thought of this before: Cook it IN the room coffee pot. Here's how:
Pour water into the reservoir of the coffee make. Use a bit more than you think you will need to cook your oats. (This is to compensate for steam escape and "Oh crap! That wasn't enough water!" issues.) Put the carafe onto the burner. Turn the coffee maker on. Let the water run into the carafe. At this point it should be scalding hot. Remove the carafe and put it on a heat-proof surface. Carefully take the lid off (most coffee makers won't let the water drip into the carafe without the lid on). Pour the water out until it's about what you will need to absorb the oats (for me, this is about 1 1/2 times the amount of oat I have- I like thick oats). Dump your slow-cooked oats in there and stir them with the hotel spoon, which you ran to the lobby to get while the hot water was running into the pot. Put the carafe back on the burner (which should still be turned on) and let it sit and cook for about 10 minutes, or until it's the consistency you like. Take off the heat and stir in anything you want to add (for me this is a packet of Stevia- I always keep a bunch in a baggie in my purse). I eat ir right out of the carafe because: #1- It has a handle, making it easy, and B.) I forgot my bowl, remember?
Oats, protein powder, apple, and pepitas for some healthy fats:
Word of warning: Do NOT put the dry oats in the container before the hot water drips in. You'll burn the oats to the bottom of the carafe before enough water gets in there to lube them up. No, I didn't do this. I may be too dense to remember my bowl but I DID at least manage to have enough forethought to keep from destroying the carafe and making the hotel smell like burned oats.
To wash I rinsed all the stuck gook out in the room sink. Then, in absence of dish soap, I filled the reservoir to it's top margin and ran the water through again, let it sit heating for a few minutes, then turned the coffee maker off, poured the water out, and put the carafe back into the maker to let the hot water steaming off to both dry it and do a bit of a sterilization job on the carafe.
And if you have a traveling partner who wants coffee..... well........ he's either going to have to wait or you can send him to the lobby for the stuff at the free breakfast bar. ;-)
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Er... I'm about to talk about menopause, here, so any of you men who are uncomfy with the subject may want to skip this blog....
Is it just us ladies (and very brave men) now? Okay.... then I can proceed:
One very interesting and unexpected side effect I have experienced with losing weight and getting fit is the disappearance of the side effects of menopause I had been experiencing. I didn't make the complete connection until I read in one of Tosca Reno's books that she also has had no menopausal side effects since improving her lifestyle.
I'm assuming this has something to do with the hormones that fat produces. Reduced fat means reduced hormones, which could mean reduced symptoms. I also wonder if regular exercise plays in somehow. But I'm not at all an expert on this subject, so really, what do I know? I'm just grateful the night sweats, severe mood swings, and horrible headaches, among other things, are gone.
At 45 I don't think I've passed through "The Change" entirely. But I started showing signs of pre-menopause 11 years ago, and at this stage of the game I have cycles perhaps twice a year (more than you wanted to know about me, isn't it?), so I think I'm getting close. This also means, though, that I am at the point where I should be at the worst stage of symptoms, and instead I'm getting pretty much nuthin'. No complaints from me!
My quest for fitness surprised me in a lot of ways, but I think this was the biggest one. I'd be interested to hear if it happened for you, too. And if you are still in the process of, or considering, improving your health, maybe this will give you one more motivating reason to keep on course!
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Weight lifting is beneficial for just about everyone, but if you have a lot of weight to lose there are some special precautions you need to take.
First of all, bear in mind that your body is lifting weights every day just by moving around. Think about it: If you are 100 pounds overweight, that's literally lifting 100 pounds of weight every time you walk. For this reason you need to start out with very light weights, if any at all, because your bones can only take so much. As your strength goes up, of course, you will be able to lift more. But you will probably also notice that as your body fat goes down you will be able to lift heavier weights, also. This is because your body is used to lifting that much already, so adding more to your weights is simply asking it to do what it is used to because it has been doing it all along. You will surprise and astound your weight lifting friends with your quickly increasing strength while you shrink before their very eyes!
Also, proceed with caution before raising the amount of weight you are lifting until your body weight starts moving down, and increase the amounts gradually when you do. Because bigger bodies have more tissue to get oxygen and nutrients to, the heart already has quite the job. Adding weights to this increases the load to the heart and internal organs. You want to get the heart used to the added demand before you ask even more of it: We don't want you passing out with heavy stuff in your hands!
This should not discourage you from lifting weights if you have quite a lot of weight to lose, though. There are added benefits that make it still very beneficial to you. Two of the biggest benefits are: 1.) Muscle burns more calories at rest then fat, so you will lose weight quicker if you make some of that scale weight muscle instead of fat. And 2.) You will have a much more attractive body under there when you DO lose weight if there is some muscle to it, regardless of whether you are a man or a women. Ever see someone who loses a lot of weight but looks like a bag of bones? Nor exactly the look most people are going for. Don't let that person be you!
So start with no weights (particularly for arms). You will still be getting an excellent workout! Then increase the resistance slowly. Before you know it, you will be a bonafide weight lifter well on your way to that shapely, fit body you've always dreamed about. It really CAN happen, and the cool thing is that the power is all in YOUR hands!
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