Monthly Archives: April 2011
We all experience an occasional slump where we feel sluggish, unmotivated, depressed or plain out tired. If this is you, it’s time to sit down and evaluate your situation. Here are some common complaints and tips to help you through a fitness slump.
1. “I don’t enjoy my workouts anymore.” You are probably bored. Are you doing the same routine everyday? Well of course you’re not looking forward to them! It’s time to spice things up. You may even want to have a trainer design a new routine for you. If you walk or jog daily, something as simple as sprinting between manholes or changing your route can make a big difference. The bottom line is something has to change.
2. “I’m not motivated.” There are several reasons someone loses motivation, but one reason may be based on your progress. If the weight is not coming off as fast as you would like, it’s easy to lose motivation. You just need to boost your intensity to boost your results. Commit to high-intensity workouts and strict dieting for a couple of weeks. If you do everything right you’ll have a good weigh-in and get your spark back.
3. “I feel fat.” Even if a dieter has lost weight they still can be quick to indulge in self-pity. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to change your identity. You are no longer fat and unfit. You may not be skinny yet, but you are healthy. Instead of feeling like you’re the fat girl who can’t have pie, you need to hold your head up high as a healthy girl who has her priorities straight. People will admire your self-control and respect your healthy lifestyle.
4. “I’ve become complacent.” While some people struggle with still feeling fat, others become content with their new size – even if there is still weight to lose. If this is you, you need to put things in to perspective. How much weight have you lost to date? How long did it take to lose the weight? Think where you could be in a few weeks, or months, if you continue at the same rate? Why stop now? This is not a pep talk, this is science. You get out what you put in – period. If you think you feel great now, think how awesome you will feel at your dream weight.
5. “I have trouble making the time.” There will always be distractions. Balancing work, family or other obligations can be challenging. This is when you need to take time to prioritize. If you think for one minute your health is an option, you are wrong. If you are not healthy or happy everyone suffers. The time you spend exercising helps you to be a better parent, spouse, employee and friend. When life chokes out your exercise routine you lose energy, focus, confidence, stamina, drive, self-control and many other perks. Dieting becomes harder and stress begins to build. Then you do the worst thing possible – you weigh yourself. After looking at the scale, you begin to doubt your ability to change. Again, you are wrong. You can change – you just have to make time.
Salads are always at the top of every dieter’s list, but they aren’t always the best choice. Salads can be packed with high-calorie ingredients and topped with even higher-calorie dressing, resulting in a major diet disaster.
Today’s salads look a lot different than the salads I grew up eating. When I was younger, there were only a few popular options – Garden Salad, Caesar Salad, Greek Salad and Cobb Salad. Then, fruit, nuts and other toppings started appearing on salads everywhere.
The original fruit and nut salad, the Waldorf Salad, originally created in the 1800s at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City, became famous in the nineties after its public appearance in novel The American Psycho.
Now there are million different salads flooding restaurant menus. You can have a taco salad, oriental salad, barbeque salad, fried chicken salad and pretty much anything else you want to throw on top of lettuce. Sadly, too many dieters choose a high-calorie salad over many healthy traditional meals.
For example, Applee’s Grilled Shrimp N’ Spinach Salad has 290 calories more than the Steak & Fried Shrimp Combo. Who would think a grilled shrimp salad would be nearly 1,000 calories and have twice the fat as fried food? The good news is Applebee’s has plenty of other healthy options, including salads, on their menu.
When you are facing a menu, don’t let the salads fool you. Do your research and choose healthy choices based on calories and not by appearance.
7 tips to creating healthy salads:
1. Limit your ingredients. The more ingredients on the plate, the more calories you will consume.
2. Choose only one high-fat topping. Goat cheese, walnuts and avocado are tasty high-calorie toppings but should be limited.
3. Choose only one sweet topping. If you like fruit, don’t overdo it. Craisins, grapes, orange, pear and apples are healthy, but can add up quickly if you aren’t careful.
4. Finely chop or slice your yummy items. Get more yum in each bite by slicing your apples or chopping your walnuts into smaller pieces.
5. Be choosey about your dressing. Some dressings have more calories than an entire salad. Avoid dressings that have a lot of cream or oil in them. You can cut a lot of calories by watching what you pour on your salad.
6. Add water. If you make homemade dressing, cut your oil in half by diluting with water. Dilute thick bottled dressings with water and enjoy all the flavor on every bite while saving calories too.
7. Count calories. If you are dining out, ask for nutritional information or use a calorie counter app to search items. If you are making a salad, add up your ingredients so you keep yourself in check.
Recently, I was at a women’s retreat at my church where they served a really nice chicken salad with this wonderful orange colored dressing. It was so delicious and fresh tasting I decided I HAD to learn more about this mysterious dressing.
With a little research, I discovered the mysterious dressing was a homemade papaya dressing. I tracked down the chef and asked her for more information. Knowing I am in the fitness business, she proudly boasted it was really pretty healthy and was generous enough to share her fabulous recipe.
Low and behold, after I inputed the ingredients in http://www.FitDay.com, I was amazed to see it was only 28 calories and 2 grams a fat per ounce (or 2 tablespoons). Although most people use 2-4 ounces of dressing on a large salad, because the consistency of this dressing is so thick I used a lot less than I normally do – meaning even fewer calories!
I tried the recipe out on my family for Easter and it was a hit so I thought I’d share it with you. Enjoy!
Papaya & Maui Onion Dressing
1/2 small Maui onion (or any sweet white onion)
1 1/2 small Papayas or 1/2 of a lg. one, seeded and peeled
1/4 cup rice vinegar
¼ cup honey
1 oz. sesame seed oil
1 cup canola oil (I used 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup olive oil)
salt and pepper
Add Stevia to sweeten (I didn’t quite use a 1/4 c of honey so I added sweetener)
Blend until smooth.
It yielded 40 ounces total, which was enough to feed an army! (or my husband Steve!) :)
I served it with a light chicken salad with grapes and walnuts on a bed of fresh organic greens.
It was the first day of Boot Camp for Ellen Minotty and I can remember it like it was yesterday. As soon as the orientation was over she made a beeline straight for Steve. Although I couldn’t hear what she told Steve, I remember his answer, “get over it”.
We laugh about that day because those three words were part of a turning point for Ellen. How often do we hold on to excuses and let them paralyze us. If we could just “get over it” like Steve said, we could actually move on and make some progress – and progress she’s made. Three boot camps and thirty-five pounds later, Ellen learned to quit making excuses.
Unfortunately, people tiptoe around the truth and candy coat fitness to the point it hurts more than it helps. Think about it. How many times have you heard someone say “oh honey, maybe you’re not losing weight because you aren’t eating enough”. Talk about sabotage!
People don’t need to hear they are doing all the right things when they’re clearly not getting all the right results. The problem is no one wants to be the bearer of bad news – especially when someone has tried to the best of their ability to do the right thing.
It is completely normal to want to think you are doing everything right. It is terribly discouraging to think you may be doing something wrong, but it’s even more damaging to not take responsibility for yourself. Maybe it’s time to actually think of the possibility you may be missing something.
Maybe you’ve been eating more calories than you thought. Maybe your workouts aren’t as productive as they should be. Maybe you were simply misinformed. Unfortunately, weight loss is not based on effort, it’s based on science – and with science, you can have everything right except for one part of the equation and it’s enough to through off the results.
Steve always has said our bodies are like great big science projects. You have to keep learning and experimenting until you get the results you want. Get over the excuses, get over the fears, get over the past failures – get over it, because getting over it is the only way to get past it.
There are plenty of reasons people may choose to keep desires quiet. Some people may be scared of sharing dreams in fear of being laughed at or judged. However, I believe one of the biggest reasons people don’t want to expose their ambitions is to simply avoid the embarrassment of failure.
Closet Dieting Doesn’t Work
Although I do understand it’s a lot safer to keep these things to your self, I believe keeping aspirations hidden just sets you up for failure. I see this in the gym all the time. People will explain how they aren’t telling anyone what they’re doing until they lose some weight first. What they’re really thinking is “I want to make sure I succeed before I tell anyone what I’m doing”. On the contrary, they need to tell people what they are doing in order to increase their chance of success.
Unfortunately with dieters, it is common to fail. The problem is, people’s response to failing is quitting. Let’s put this into perspective. Say you are learning to ride a bike and you fall, do you get back on the bicycle? Of course you do. Do you have a good chance of falling again? Of course you do.
How is a child able to keep trying despite their fears, scrapes, bruises, and desire to give up? A child has someone everyone needs – a cheerleader. When mom or dad picks their child back up and offers encouragement, it may be all they need to to give it one more try.
We All Need a Push
When I was small I probably said “I can’t” more than my father wanted to hear. I can almost hear myself pleading with my dad trying to convince him that I was unable to do whatever task he had given me, “It’s too heavy”, “I can’t reach it”. My father pushed me beyond my comfort zone in so many areas – and thank goodness he did! I was unable to see my own potential and he always believed in me more than I did.
We all need cheerleaders like that in our life. We need someone to tell us we can be the man or woman we want to be. We need people to encourage us that we are not alone in our battles. We need people to speak truth to us and hold us accountable when we are in the wrong and we need people to be there to pick us up when we fall. However, no one can be there to pick us up, if they never know we fall.
Going SOLO, keeps my goals SO LOW
I can only imagine what it would have been like if I tried to ride a bike for the first time all alone. Knowing me, I would have fallen down, bumped my knee, looked around to make sure no one saw me, and then walked my little bicycle home while crying in self-pity for my uncoordinated gawky self. If you could have seen me as a child, you would understand what I’m talking about. Just picture Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie trying to ride a bicycle and you’ll get the picture.
Maybe after some time passed, and all the stars were aligned, I might have attempted it again. I can assure you, without a cheerleader, I would eventually quit trying. No one likes to fail. Nevertheless, in order to succeed, we need to realize “falling” should be the expected speed bumps, not roadblocks, on the journey to success.
If you are attempting to lose weight or get in better shape, don’t do it alone. Invite some cheerleaders along side of you and remember quitting is really the only way to fail.