Monday, November 25, 2013
With the holidays fast approaching I am seeing more and more entries on SparkTeam pages as well as general message boards about stress and food. More specifically "Stress and Eating" and "Emotional Eating."
Today I want to chat with you about Stress. Tomorrow I'll deal with the food aspect, but for now I want to share with you a few of the things I have learned over the years about dealing with stress.
What is Stress? I believe "stress" is a state of disempowerment. Stress is a part of our everyday lives and each of us deals with it in our own unique way. I would submit to you that most of us don't handle stress well. One way of coping with the negative effects of stress is to eat. Eating makes us feel better by raising blood sugar levels which in turn increases endorphin levels in the blood. For those of you who don't know, endorphins are those "feel good" hormones we also get when we exercise. I won't get into how hormone effect the pleasure centers of the brain, but I would like you to accept the fact that the impact both food and exercise have on the brain is the same.
Stress also effects the brain and has many side effects. A certain amount of stress can be good for us if we use it the right way, as motivation. However, most people use it the wrong way and engulf themselves in the negative effects. If you get one thing from this blog today I hope it is the understanding that WE CREATE OUR OWN STRESS. It is how we deal with events in our lives that determines how much stress we put upon ourselves.
Too many of us make excuses for our stress make excuses for why we don't deal with the events of the day and heap more and more stress on ourselves. Men and women deal with their stress in much different ways. Men tend to externalize their stress, by getting angry or upset. They tend to explode then put their stress behind them. Not the most constructive way to do things. Women on the other hand tend to internalize there stress. They keep it bottled up and keep "soldiering on" as my grandmother used to say. Women cope with situations until they just can't go on any longer then they break down. It all comes out at once, not so much like a gyser, but like a river that just keeps flowing. They want to talk about it over and over again. Understand please that I'm not talking necessarily about "feelings" I'm concentrating on stress and how it's dealt with.
Wouldn't it be better to deal with underlying issue or event causing the stress instead of dealing with the stress itself?
People comment to me all the time about how calm I am. My response is almost always the same, "Really?" Because I think of myself as a very passionate and emotional person. I get excited about so many things. Perhaps Enthusiastic is a better word. I'm enthusiastic about working out, writing, sports (especially football) and helping people. But to the world around me I suppose I am just this calm, easy going guy who doesn't get all wound up about stuff. When people around me are acting like maniacs (like at my homeowner's association meetings) I am the calm voice of reason.
I don't get "stressed." Why? Because I don't accept stress as an empowering force. Stress saps energy from me. Energy I could be putting toward something more constructive. I don't internalize the negative events of my day. I deal with those events immediately, then put them behind me for good. I don't dwell on negative things. I don't ruminate in the bad things that happen to me. I feel that internalizing this type of emotion is destructive and I CHOOSE not to put energy toward this behavior.
Any lifestyle coach will tell you to achieve more make a list of everything you want to get done then do the hardest more least appealing items on the list first. Don't delay or put them off to the end. Deal with them first and put them behind you immediately, then move on. What do you get from this? First, a sense of accomplishment, of self-satisfaction. Second, reduced stress. See how that works? You just turned something stressful into something enjoyable. You channeled your energy away from something potentially draining you of power into something that empowers you.
Tomorrow, I'm going to explore how coping with stress using food and how to change that habit into an action that empowers you.
Until next time, JUICE to you all!
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Seems like a simple enough concept, right? If you weigh 200 or 250 pounds or more it's because you eat enough to support that weight. So, if you want to weigh 165 pounds (guys) or 125 pounds (ladies) then doesn't it make sense to eat what a person who weighs that much would eat?
Whoa, Nellie! Hold the phone! It can't be that easy, could it?
Well, yes AND no. Here's what happens to many of us when we start thinking this way. We fall into the Calories IN vs Calories OUT trap. That's right, I said trap. T-R-A-P! If I exercise enough to create a calorie DEFICIT then I will lose weight, so the bigger the deficit the FASTER I will lose the weight! Right?
In order to understand why this is stinking thinking you need to know about blood chemistry, the role hormones play in weight loss and weight gain, and how the energy in fat cell is metabolized in the body. The Weight-loss Supplements Industry has grown to a multi-billion dollar industry because people don't understand how their body works. This is why people who use supplements to lose weight gain the weight right back when they stop using the supplements.
I don't have the space to give a lesson in Biochemistry 101 here. You are welcome to do some of the reading yourself on Stress Hormones, Insulin and the Pancreas, the Role of Carbohydrates in the diet, How Metabolism is Regulated in the Body, and other areas. The body is a very complex organism and each organ and gland acts and reacts with the others to regulate how are body functions. If you want premium performance you need to use premium fuel mixed just right.
Where am I going with this? Here it is. It's not only how much fuel you put in the tank, it's what's in the fuel that counts. In other words, it's not just the calories (a measure of heat not weight) you eat, it's the balance of nutrients, carbohydrates, proteins and fats you consume and how they are combined with other things like minerals that make your body work at peak performance and efficiency.
My suggestion today is to see how you are combining your foods. Are you eating lean proteins like fish and chicken with both green AND yellow/orange vegetables. Are your meals balanced between Carbs, Proteins and Fats. Is your diet rich with foods containing high HDL's and low in foods containing lower concentrations of LDL's.
So, when I say eat for the weight you want to be I mean eat the right foods, in the right combinations, to give you the most energy to exercise and burn the most calories you can.
More on this later. Until next time, JUICE to you all!
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
(In the voice of a hypnotist) Sleep. Sleeeeeep. You are getting sleepy. You are falling into a deep sleep. Sleeeeeep.
Something we do every night, right? One of my goals is to actually get 8 hours of sleep per night. I'm achieving my goal so why do I wake up so many mornings still tired? Because I have sleep apnea. Apneas are those periods when you stop breathing for between 10 and 30 seconds or longer. The apneas interupt the sleep cycles causing you to awaken slightly thus interupting the sound, restorative sleep we need each night.
According to the article I read on Sparkpeople this morning I have all of the symptoms of sleep apnea. I have a large neck (nearly 20 inches), I have partially restricted sinus (I presume is because I'm overweight), I snore, I have borderline high blood pressure and I'm more than 20 pounds overweight which is what I think is causing the snoring. It never occurred to me that the size of my neck was contributing to my snoring or my sleep apnea.
So, now I have another reason to lose the weight. As if I needed more motivation than I already had.
If you have read some of my other blogs you may have read about "health markers." One of my health markers are my physical measurements and one of the areas I measure is my neck. I've been measuring there mostly because of vanity, I show my obesity prominently around my neck as many men do. Fortunately for me, it's also one of the first places where my weight loss shows.
I dropped 2 pounds last week and I'm already down a pound this week since I started working out again. Going to trust in the program and take it one small step at a time and try not to hurt myself by doing too much too fast.
That's all for now. JUICE to you all.
Friday, November 15, 2013
I just read a great article by Nicole Nichols (Coach Nicole) about getting ready for fall. I couldn't believe I hadn't read this before, she had some great ideas I want share with you.
In her article Nicole says "Reinvent Your Fitness Program." I couldn't agree more. Fall is a time when the days are getting shorter and many people move indoors. I say get outside and enjoy the autumn. Dress for conditions (think layers) and get ready to pump those arms. Enjoy the rustle of the leaves as you trek down the street. Feel the crispness of fall as you fill your lungs with fresh air. Do activities that it's been too hot for the past few months like hiking in the woods, raking leaves, whatever. Soon the snow will be flying in much of the country and the only outdoor exercise will be shoveling the driveway and sidewalks, that is if you don't ski or ice skate.
Next, Nicole says Refresh your Meal Plans. I am all for this. I am a big proponent of eating "seasonally." Lot's a fall vegetables are in season now, especially a variety of squashes, beans and asparagus. What a great time to try new recipes or to put a spin on an old favorite. Don't be afraid to use your grill outdoors either. I use mine until the snow flies.
Re-evaluate your priorities says Nicole. What a great idea. This is the time of year I shift my focus back to what I call "health markers." I look at losing inches, not necessarily pounds, around my waist and hips. I also look at blood pressure, heart rate, cholesteral levels and my overall exercise fitness specifically my endurance.
Nicole says "Return to your Goals", I say make NEW Goals. I like to think of this as looking forward not backward. I'm not saying you should lower your standards, absolutely not. I'm saying "Raise the Bar." Be realistic in your goal-setting (see my blog on this topic) but challenge yourself.
Finally, Nichole suggests rejuvenating your wardrobe. Must be a girl thing. I do agree with her to get rid of those baggy sweatshirts and hoodies, but I'm also a fan of wearing out your clothes before buying anything new. Workout clothes should be well fitted, not to loose and certainly not too tight (not a big fan of spandex).
I do have a very important note here, GET GOOD FITTING SHOES! If you need to, go to a store that specializes in running shoes (think Fit2Run) and get a good fitting shoe that is comfortable to wear. Remember, if your feet hurt you probably won't exercise as much. So spend the extra money and get some good shoes. This especially applies to you ladies reading this blog.
I would like to close by saying a big Thank You to Nicole Nichols for this article.
Until next time, JUICE to you all!
Get An Email Alert Each Time SAILOR64 Posts