Wednesday, May 30, 2012
It's been hot and dry across parts of North America lately and there have been wildfires scorching acres of land. We even had a "red flag" warning in Chicago last week. That's very unusual for the area. As I read about efforts to battle some of the blazes I realized that there was a great lesson here for us.
Think of that fire as "weight gain".
First - How do the fires get started?
1. DRY conditions. This speaks to the environment. Not enough water and the grass drys to a quick tinderbox. If we don't hydrate properly we will sometimes "eat our thirst". We go to food (which contains water) instead of drinking the water we need. Stay hydrated!
2. CARELESSNESS. With wildfires a tossed cigarette or match or unattended campfire can quickly become a raging fire. This happens with us too when we do MINDLESS eating and quit tracking our food. Couple that with the DRY conditions and it spells out of control weight gain!
3. ACTS OF NATURE. Lightning can cause a fire when the environment is dry. We too have unexpected natural events (sickness, stress etc.). We need to keep our environment in control so they don't cause big weight gains.
FIGHTING THE BLAZE
The main method firefighters use to fight the blaze is by creating firebreaks. They cut down trees and vegetation in swaths ahead of the fire so that there is nothing to burn and spread it further. They ROB the fire of FUEL. This is what we have to do with our bodies. We have to create a BREAK and rob it of fuel by eating less than we burn.
This also means ENERGY has to be spent to make that break (firefighters with saws and axes working by hand through the trees and brush). This is much like our EXERCISE. We have to work hard to push that fire back.
DILIGENCE - This is key. If the firefighters take a long weekend what happens? The fire blazes up because they stop tending it! We can't afford to take breaks, free days, cheat days, long weekends, etc and not expect that fire to grow. The scales WILL go up. I have seen several do this over the past weekend.
I have said it before and will say it again. There are too many holidays, birthdays, weddings, office parties, church suppers, company visits, anniversaries, retirement parties, BUNCO parties, poker nights, ballgames to allow ourselves "Treats". You will NEVER make steady progress if you do. You must realize that you have spent years of having "treats" and the time for that kind of mindless eating/drinking has passed. That fire won't give up and you MUST tend it!
Lastly - PREVENTION. If you keep your environment well watered, and the underbrush cut back there won't be dry areas for the fire to take hold. That means daily attention to your nutrition, hydration and exercise.
I have lost 70 pounds since July 2010 and have a long way yet to go but I have learned that I have to treat this like that blazing wildfire to keep making steady progress. I can personally tell you that when I take my eye off the fire it comes raging at me. The weight goes BACK on far too easily.
So get your water, your axe and let's whack away at the underbrush. Time to fight that fire!
Saturday, May 19, 2012
I've been on this journey for two years come mid-July and I think the "little men" that run my metabolism have "got my number". They anticipate my exercise output and my nutrition input and have made adjustments. Now those big losses I was having in the beginning have slowed to a snail's pace and a good week is when I get a 1/2 pound loss.
So last week I decided to REALLY push. I lowered my calorie intake by 100 on the top and bottom of my range. I KILLED it with fitness minutes. I was going to bed HUNGRY. I drank my water. I got my sleep. I actually went to bed the night before weigh-in with a feeling of "expectation and excitement."
Then I got up and stepped on the scale. Oh surely that was wrong. I got off, waited for it to go off, recalculated, and stepped back on. THE SAME NUMBER. No, that can't be right. I moved the scale to another spot on the floor. SAME NUMBER!
ALL THAT WORK and I lost 6/10ths of a pound. I felt cheated! I felt ROBBED! I thought... "That's not fair!"
In the "old days" I would have let that send me into a "well what's the point" eating frenzy. That was then... THIS is now. Okay - so I didn't change things enough. I trimmed my calories even more. I've introduced some interval sprints into my fitness routine and I've really changed the QUALITY of my calories this week.
I'm hoping this will bring that bigger number I'm looking for. It may or may not. I really can't predict, but I do know I'm "doing my part" and eventually it WILL pay off.
But the scale, while a great navigational aid, doesn't tell the whole story. I look at my food choices, my fitness choices, my improved health, my increased stamina, and my HOPE for things to come and I know I'm doing the right things.
Okay "little men". You may have my number for the moment, but it's going to change!
Friday, May 18, 2012
I love to browse through the recipes at Spark Recipes. I found one by KiteFlyinGal that I tweaked to make it my own. Here is my version:
Eggplant Black Bean Soup
1 medium eggplant
1 clove garlic
1 med sweet onion
1 15oz can Rotel diced tomatoes w/green chilis, drained
1 28oz can Hunts diced tomatoes, UNdrained
1 can green chilis
2 CANS black beans, drained
3 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pkg. reduced sodium taco seasoning
1/2 tsp. Fox Point Seasoning (Penzey's)
1/3 c reduced fat sour cream
Peel and chop eggplant.
Puree tomatoes, chilis and beans and strain into bowl. Force as much solids through the sieve with the back of your spoon as possible, scraping the bottom of the sieve frequently.
Saute garlic and onion in olive oil til transparent.
Add Eggplant and cook till tender, stirring constantly (about 8 minutes)
Puree in blender with a bit of the reserved tomato puree. Strain into tomato/bean puree again forcing through the seive with the back of a spoon and scraping often.
Add tomatoes, green chilis, cooked black beans, fox point & taco seasoning.
Stir and simmer for 15 min.
Dollop a scant teaspoon of sour cream on each bowl before serving
My DH gobbled it up! He is not a veggie person which is why I pureed and strained everything. If he doesn't "see" ingredients he doesn't taste them. He just loved this soup.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
I've been on this journey long enough to have experienced just about every obstacle and challenging stretch of the road! Today I want to talk about how we "set ourselves up to fail".
Sometimes we put into place the very things that cause us to stumble. We litter our pathway with obstacles that slow our progress and sometimes even push us backwards. The "why" is so complex it would take a book (coping mechanisms, control, self-medication for pain, etc.) Let's just focus on the mechanics of it and see if we can't prevent it on the road ahead!
First let's consider a man building a table. If he makes one leg substantially thinner than the other four great stress will be placed on that leg and it will eventually collapse. Let's say all four legs are the same size but he puts one leg right next to the dog's cage where the dog can gnaw on it daily. Eventually it will give way and collapse. What if he builds the table then overloads it's surface way beyond it's strength. It will begin to bow in the middle under all the weight. In each case he SET the table up for failure.
This is how it is with our journey. Sometimes we set ourselves up for failure. Here are some examples.
1. We buy the foods that tempt us to eat beyond our range: doughnuts, cookies, ice cream, french fries, beer, wine, whatever tempts you. You know it's a weakness, you don't HAVE to eat it to live, but you buy it anyway.
2. You plan things that prevent you from doing your exercise. You know you normally have a Zumba class on Wednesdays but when the eye doctor offers you up Tues, Wed, or Thursday afternoon for an appointment you choose the day you SHOULD go to the gym because it gives you an "excuse" not to. See how this works? You knew Tuesday or Thursday would be better.
3. You hang out with people that you know will make it "okay" to overeat. You know that friend. The one that will suggest you go to a place where you will overeat and because he/she will indulge it will make you feel better about doing the same.
4. You borrow troubles. You look for others' troubles and take them on as your own to give yourself an emotional excuse to not exercise and eat poorly.
5. You play the Annie game. You all know the song "Tomorrow, tomorrow". How many times you tell yourself tomorrow to give yourself the freedom to eat poorly and not exercise today.
6. You don't launder your gym clothes or keep old ones in the car in case you forget. You should always keep an older set of gym clothes/tennis shoes etc in an old bag (use a shopping bag if you have to) in the car. That way you never get to the gym without your gear!
7. It's raining/sunny/windy/cold/hot. Seasons change and so does the weather. This is why it's good to have a plethora of exercise options in your routine. Join a gym, do a DVD workout at home, do SP videos, go swimming, go ice skating, do the stairs in your motel! There is ALWAYS an exercise option that will work. LOOK for it!
8. I exercised hard so I can have this treat. WAIT - STOP! If your exercise is part of that "built in fitness" on your fitness tracking page then it's already figured into your calorie range and you can't eat MORE and get the same average pound loss a week. (Click change your settings under Strength Training to see if the cardio etc accurately reflects your activity.)
9. Sampling from your childrens or spouses' food. Let's take the old french fry. The typical french fry has about 10 calories per fry. Let's say you eat three of your child's fries 5 days a week. Doesn't sound like much right? Let's look further. 3 french fries - 30 calories 30 calories x 5 days = 150. 150 x 52 weeks = 7800 calories. 7800 extra calories is 2.2 pounds GAINED over a year. EVERY calorie you bite counts even if you don't write it down so DO.
10. Avoidance. Oh this is a biggie so I will end with this one for today. Do you avoid the scale? How about the doctor? How about your spark team? How about the whole site? Do you avoid reality so you don't have to be accountable to it? Do you see this is just another obstacle YOU have placed in your path?
So what are you going to do about it? Are you going to sabotage yourself by placing obstacles on the path or keep it clear for making smooth progress?
You see as much as many of us want to blame circumstances and others for our lack of progress it's usually our own actions and REactions that are the problem.
Take heart - those obstacles move and even if you have placed lots of them you CAN start removing them NOW!
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