Posts tagged weight loss
Ladies share their diet struggles with me all the time. They tell me how they’ve tried every diet on the planet but never got results or how they used to workout but that didn’t work either. Most of the time they just didn’t stick with it long enough or their regime was just too unrealistic to maintain long-term.
My favorite complaint is the one where they tell me how they’re doing all the right things and still can’t lose weight. They say how hard they work out and how healthy they eat – but, honestly, they just can’t work out that hard, eat right and NOT lose weight. It’s just science. If you are taking in fewer calories than you’re burning – you WILL lose weight.
So what’s their problem? Well, it seems there are a few common scenarios.
The Weekday Dieter
This eating pattern is more for someone in the maintenance stage of their diet. If they want to lose weight, they need to eat right seven days a week until they lose a significant amount of weight. It may take a few weeks, but it is crucial for weight loss. After they lose their first chunk of weight they can celebrate and cheat a little but they have to get right back on their diet until they reach their goal.
The Clueless Dieter
For example, I had a woman tell me that she was on a “No-Carb” Diet (which is a whole other topic to be discussed), but she couldn’t understand why she wasn’t losing weight. I asked her to give me an example of what she was eating and the first three things she listed were all high-carb/high-calorie items. She simply didn’t know any better. She thought carbs were basically only bread, pasta and french fries. Her knowledge was limited. In this situation it is imperative dieters get the knowledge they need to make the right choices.
The Healthy Dieter
Many dieters eat healthy, but still eat too many calories. They avoid all the obvious high-calorie foods like ice cream, french fries and cream sauces, but still gets too many calories from other foods or overeating. They might not even count fruits and vegetables, or other items that sound healthy, even thought they still are calories.
The healthy dieter may fix healthy meals, but forget all the extra items like alcohol, sauces, dressings, etc. If they’d keep better track of what they are eating, they would find the lost calories. To make things worse, this type of dieter typically works out a lot and feels they can “afford” more calories.
Keeping a diet journal and tracking calories with a calorie counter app like www.LoseIt.com is normally a big eye-opener. It not only helps people learn more about calories in food, but it also teaches them how many calories are really burned in exercise, so they can understand how to balance the two – calories in vs. calories out.
The bottom line is calories are calories, no matter where it comes and whether you know you are eating them or not. When it comes to losing weight, it doesn’t matter if the calories are coming from unhealthy foods or healthy foods. Of course healthier calories are always better, but you will likely just end up a healthier, but still overweight, dieter.
Whether you try a fad diet or make up your own, success boils down to eating fewer calories than you are burning. It’s just that simple.
Think how much further you’d be if you didn’t eat something you shouldn’t eat, with the mindset of either “I worked hard today in the gym” or “I’ll just do an extra cardio tomorrow”. Sadly, if you workout at all, you’ve done this before – we ALL do!
Think about what we are really doing. We are taking one step forward in the gym, then taking one step (and often 2 steps) back with our lack of discipline in eating – and then we take one step forward again to get back to where we started to begin with. We are basically getting nowhere, or we are letting our diet slow us down to a snail’s pace.
What if EVERYTHING we did in the gym was a NEW step forward? Where would you be now if you didn’t rely on exercise as simply damage control?
Whether we are talking about our body, our career, our Christian walk, our marriage or any other “project” or goal we are working to improve or excel in. Anyone who wants to really improve will come to the realization they still have so much room for improvement – and that can easily get you discouraged if you let yourself dwell on how far you have to go. Instead, realize how much further you are already, just because you are actively working to improve.
The truth is, we should be more worried about being complacent, content or satisfied with where we are. The moment I think I’m “OK” or I’ve “arrived”, is the moment I need a real wake-up call. Complacency is a dangerous place to be. While you can be happy where you are, we should always be striving to be better.
So if you have been down on yourself lately, realize you are on the right path! Be proud of yourself. Enjoy the journey! Celebrate every little success or improvement. Be excited about your future!
Scripture of the Day: “One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.” Proverbs 14:16
Wouldn’t it be nice if every food item came with a label on it? If only we knew how many calories were each home-cooked meal, baked good and menu item, many of us would make much better decisions.
The hardest part about dieting is trying to guess how many calories are in these types of foods. We tend to underestimate calories when we leave it up to our own guesswork. We want to believe certain foods are OK to eat. Then after we talk our self in to believing we’ve made the right choice we expect to lose weight as if our guesses are always accurate.
I made a major mistake one time that enlightened me on this very subject. I picked up a low-calorie snack on a road trip. I noticed the snack was a little over 200 calories. I wasn’t too thrilled about this since I try to keep my snacks to 150 calories or less but I thought I should bring it in case I got hungry. I found myself picking up the snack while I was driving along, re-reading the package over and over – contemplating whether it was worth it or not. I ultimately decided it wasn’t worth it and would prefer to eat something better later.
Later, I decided to stop at Starbucks to stretch my legs and refuel my body with a fat-free sugar-free latte. I found myself staring at the pastry case looking for anything that could be the least bit healthy. The store had only one “healthy” item – ‘no sugar added’ banana nut bread (AKA: Cake). I thought that would be an OK choice. Besides, it had real bananas and whole nuts in it which sure beat my processed 200 calorie snack. The bread was larger than my wimpy snack so, even if it had a few more calories, I thought it would be worth it. (I love how I try to talk myself into feeling good about my decision, but this was my thought process.)
After I ate the snack I began to feel a little guilty, second guessing my choice so I looked up the calories for that banana nut bread and found that my little ‘no sugar added treat’ had over 475 calories and 30 grams of FAT!! Ughhhhh! That’s more calories than an entire lean cuisine meal. I couldn’t believe it! I knew it was probably a little higher than my 200 calorie snack, but I had no idea it was going to be more than twice the calories. In addition I had my fat-free sugar-free latte which was 180 calories so in one quick trip to the coffee shop I had over 655 FREAKIN’ CALORIES! This little boo-boo would probably take me about 6 miles to erase! Ugh!
I am sure I’m not alone here. I hear stories like this all the time in the gym, but mistakes like this can be EASILY prevented. It’s simple: If you are dieting and you don’t know how many calories are in a particular food – DON’T EAT IT. It’s not worth throwing away your hard work in the gym and all your other sacrifices you make to control your caloric intake.
Dieters eating food without knowing how many calories is in it is like shoppers shopping for items that have no prices on them. How in the world are you supposed to know if you can “afford” something or not? How in the WORLD are you supposed to make an intelligent decision if you have no knowledge to base your decision on? You can’t! Like Proverbs says “”One who is wise is cautious” but a “fool is reckless and careless.” I could have looked that up BEFORE I ordered it. I could have been more cautious. Sadly, most people live life with no concern for calories at all.
Like me, you can fool yourself into thinking something is okay for you – but just because you don’t know how many calories is in something doesn’t mean they aren’t there. And, like our poor spending habits reflect on our bank statement – your poor choices will eventually reflect on the scale.
The moral of this story: Know what you are eating, or don’t eat what you don’t know – because what you don’t know can hurt you!
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Scripture of the Day: “…I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1 Corinthians 6:12
One of the problems with eating and dieting is that there are no set rules that apply to everyone. There is somewhat a grey area when it comes to eating. Eating is not wrong, it’s not a sin and it’s not against the law, but it can be deadly, it can destroy self-confidence, it can make you miserable, it can make you feel bad and it clearly can be very harmful to you when abused.
Bottom line, for something that isn’t necessarily bad, it can definitely be a huge problem to some people. As a result, you get a lot of opinions from people that can cloud your own beliefs and understanding. You may even fall into peer pressure as some people snub their nose at others who eat fast food or might enjoy an ice cream sundae. Some health fanatic may even take it up a notch and preach to everyone everywhere they go about avoiding sugar, gluten, dairy, sweeteners or whatever other thing they personally are convicted to avoid.
Who’s the Boss?
I’m here to help you differentiate between what is OK and not OK for YOU. You need to know without a shadow of a doubt whether sweets, snacks, meat, carbs, alcohol or whatever is right for you so you. You need know without a shadow of a doubt what is OK for your eating plan and what is not. You should know where the boundaries need to be set – and I believe this blog will help you make the right choices.
Question #1: Does it have any power over you?
Paul says in 1 Corinthians “…I will not be brought under the power of any.” Other translations of verse 12 say it like this:
I will not be mastered by anything.
I must not become a slave to anything.
I will not be dominated by anything.
I will not do them if I think it would be hard for me to stop when I know I should.
Bonnie’s translation is “it won’t boss me”. How many of us let food boss us around? It’s ridiculous!! For some people, sweets are their boss. For others, carbs are their boss. It may not even be one food, but more of a lifestyle – like wining and dining with friends habitually, snacking every night, or drinking every day. Ask yourself: Who’s the boss? Is it me, or is it XYZ (fill in the blank)?
Harmful vs Helpful
Question #2: Is it beneficial?
The first part of 1 Corinthians 6:12 says “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful.” Other translations say “beneficial” or “good for me”. Sadly, we often try to determine whether something is OK or not based on whether or not it is harmful – but what about if it’s not harmful, but it’s also not helpful.
Now combine those two questions. Is it helpful and could it have power over you? If so, then there need to be some serious boundaries on whatever it is you are trying to determine is right for you or not. It may mean you can never have that thing in your life because of it’s control over you (whether it’s sugar, alcohol or maybe something that would put your life at risk). On the other hand, it may simply mean you need to put strict regulations on that item in your life (like you will not ever bring sweets home, but it’s OK to have a treat once a week out of the house, to avoid temptation of making it a habit again). These are just some ideas. It’s important you be honest with yourself and decide what is best for you.
Lastly, is it helpful for others? I know, I just said this is supposed to be all about you, but if you desire to walk in wisdom and not just make good decisions, but make excellent ones, you need to think about how your actions affect you – as well as others. So, let’s say you aren’t addicted to cookies, but your spouse is overweight and struggles with a sweet tooth. Let’s take that up a notch. Let’s say you love red wine, but your spouse is a recovering alcoholic. Would you bring alcohol home knowing your spouse struggles with alcoholism? I doubt it! So why are we so selfish to bring ice cream home when our spouse struggles with managing their weight? That’s a good example of “things that make you go hmmmm”! While it may be “lawful” for you, it may not be OK for you if it’s not helpful to you and others around you.
Interestingly enough, the next verse talks about this very thing: “Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall” 1 Corinthians 8:13. Honestly, you can’t get a clearer answer than this. Paul is saying, even though I don’t have a problem eating meat, I won’t do it if someone else does because that wouldn’t be helpful – and even worse, it could cause them to stumble. BUT, to do this, it requires selfless living.
It may be easy to say “that’s not fair”, but if you live selfishly (to please yourself without regard of others), then I believe you are in full-on sin. Believe me, I understand. I could have a big thing of peanuts in the pantry that would last me months, but I can’t have them because Steve pours them in his mouth like a glass of water. There are some things I can’t have in this house because I know they are a weakness for him. However, I love him more than I love peanuts, so it’s a small sacrifice to help him with his diet and health. I sure as heck won’t put peanuts, ice cream or whatever else before my husband and I should also not let anything other than God have its grip on me. Believe me, I have my own issues, and I too am learning how to set boundaries – and the first step is asking these 2 questions.
Right Living, Digging Deeper
Hopefully, I’ve gotten your brain juices going and you would like to think about how this could apply to your entire life – and not just eating. Whether it’s how you eat, speak or act, Chuck Smith asks these questions that I feel should be on the refrigerator door and on the bathroom mirror in every house. It’s so awesome! (I’m literally cutting and pasting from his sermon notes he entitles “Limits to Liberty“)
A. Does it impede my being like Jesus. Would I be apt to find Jesus participating with me?
B. Could I be brought under it’s power. Could it get such a hold on me that I cannot control myself? Could it enslave me?
C. Does it build me up in Jesus? Does it make me more like Him? Does it build up others?
Ice cream is not bad, but it is bad if it enslaves you.
Bodybuilding is not wrong, but it is if it dominates you.
Working isn’t bad, but it is if you can’t put it down.
Spending money is fine, but not if you can’t stop when you know you should – and the list goes on…
Life is full of questions, but finding the answer to is so much easier with the help of 1 Corinthians 6.
Scripture of the Day: “Have you found honey? eat only as much as is sufficient for you, lest you be filled with it, and vomit it.” Proverbs 25:16
What is Proverbs saying? It’s saying, only eat what you need – no more. Of course we know eating too much can do more than make you vomit. It can cause weight gain and a host of health issues. If overeating (or eating more than you can afford to eat) becomes a habit, you will slowly start gaining weight – and have all the problems that go with it.
Working Off the Debt
Maybe you think you can work it off. Something people do not realize how much harder this is to do than it sounds. We always say “You can’t compete with what you eat“, and it is so true. While this may not seem very encouraging, the truth can be very helpful.
How hard is is to burn 1,000 calories? HARD! That might take a 10 mile jog or 2-3 hours of aerobics classes to burn off, yet you can eat 1,000 calories in less than 20 minutes at your favorite restaurant – and that’s before dessert! How easy is it to put something on a credit card? BAM! You can spend $500 in 5 seconds flat, but it might have taken someone 20 hours at $25/hour salary to MAKE $500! The same goes with food and exercise.
Eating calories without tracking them is like shopping without looking at price tags. You can either afford something or not, but not looking at the price tag (or food label) doesn’t mean you should buy it and just give the sales clerk your credit card – however, that’s exactly what we are doing when we eat food we can’t afford.
We are putting calories on credit, stored as fat. Fat is simply calories we ate that we couldn’t afford to eat at the time. It’s just sitting there (on your thighs, tummy, butt and love handles), waiting to be paid off. If you want to ever pay it off (like a credit card) you have to quit eating on credit. It’s time to pay it off – and in this case, this means exercise and diet.
Stop overspending! It’s time start paying off your fat debt!!
Scripture of the Day: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Matthew 7:13-14
What this verse is saying is “Don’t do what everyone else does.” Everyone else does whatever they want on the weekend. Everyone else feels like the deserve the break. “We work hard during the week, let’s live it up on the weekend” some say – but how dumb is that?
Whether we are talking about how we eat, how we spend money or how we act, we should be protective over what we have worked hard on all week long – whether we worked hard to make money, for a good reputation, for spiritual growth, or to make progress toward our weight loss goals. Does it mean you completely live one day like none of that matters? Do we have an “OFF” day, as if no rules apply and the calories, actions, money or whatever don’t count? NO! What happens on the weekends doesn’t stay on the weekends! We carry that junk with us into the new week. Of course we can have small treats and fun, but we should be so dedicated to our goals, and to our standards, that we don’t go so overboard we erase 6 days of hard work on one day.
Sadly, this happens to so many people who in pursuit of a new weight or fitter body. Most people fail, not because they aren’t working hard enough in the gym, but because they aren’t working hard enough in the kitchen (especially on the weekends). They blow 5-6 days of sweat and tears on snacks and cheat meals. Even people who are eating healthy, still can eat too much.
Start becoming protective over your hard work in the gym. It comes with a cost – they are called calories. We burn them in the gym, and we need to protect that investment and prevent replacing them with irresponsible eating.
If you are trying to lose weight, commit to counting every single calorie you eat this weekend, even if you’ve never counted calories before. Before it goes in your mouth, look it up and add it up. Once you know the real cost of food, you will begin to budget your eating better and see the results you want! Have a great weekend everyone! More motivation tomorrow!!
Scripture of the Day: “Do your best (TRY) to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
Today I talk about the easiest part of success – and it’s a lot easier than you think.
Getting stronger, faster, thinner, healthier and better may sound like a lot of work, but it’s almost inevitable if you just keep trying. Have you seen that saying people share on facebook that says, “no matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch“? Well let’s take that a step further and make it a little more personal, “No matter how slow I go, I am still lapping THE OLD ME that used to sit on the couch.” My point is, whatever you ARE doing is better than when you did nothing.
So, let’s put things into perspective here. If you are one of those people that try really hard for 6 weeks and then drop off the face of the earth, you can easily do better this year. Anything you do that is more than what you have been doing is better.
If you are the type of person who trains hard to make up for not dieting hard enough, anything you do to improve your eating will be an improvement. My point is, you don’t have to train like a professional athlete to be stronger or faster. You don’t have to starve yourself to be thinner. You don’t have to be perfect to be better – you just have try. The more improvements you make, the greater your results will be. Isn’t that good news?
Trying is of the most powerful things you can ever do. If you don’t try, you will never have the chance to succeed. Trying is the key to all victory. If you want to guarantee failure, quit trying. That is the only way you truly can fail.
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” Michael Jordan
Your mental health affects everything you do, including tackling fitness goals. If you think about it, success always starts in your brain. You have the power to talk yourself into going for a run, as well as talk yourself out of it. The way you think determines the direction you are headed, however, many people neglect to properly prepare their brain before they make New Year’s Resolutions.
In my recent article for Answers.com, I discuss five ways to get your brain fit for success this year. Before you set goals, before you lift your first weight, before you step on a scale, get your brain in shape first – because it’s impossible to be truly healthy with an unhealthy mindset. READ MORE
There is nothing like totally pigging out Thanksgiving weekend and then not being able to burn it off. Yes, that happened to me this week. I fell flat on my butt, on a concrete breezeway, Saturday night after Marley (my Great Dane) knocked me off my feet. I didn’t realize it, but I jarred my spine and hips so hard that I got out of alignment and, by midday Sunday, I could barely walk.
I had never experienced such crippling pain. I kept saying “this is ridiculous” every time it took me 5 minutes just to stand up – much less wait on me to walk across the house. I felt like Tim Conway on the Carol Burnett show. I went from 40 to 80 years old overnight! (for those of you young’ns who don’t know that character, here’s a skit to watch for giggles).
Step One – A Step in the Right Direction
OK, so back to fitness! So, what’s a girl do who can’t stand, much less walk? I’ll tell you what she does. She listens to her wise husband, who says go to the doctor. So, I verrrrry reluctantly text my friend who is a chiropractor (Jennifer Stepanek at Total Health in Vero Beach) and told her what happened, and she told me to come in.
Before I go further, I need to tell you how I feel about my bones being popped. I am a scared little girl! Maybe it’s my control-freak self that struggles with letting someone manipulate my body – or maybe it’s just that the only time I ever go to the doctor is when I’m in pain (so you are naturally scared of more pain). BUT, what I do know is that Jennifer is gentle and conservative, so I sucked it up and went in.
As I hobbled in the door, she giggled with me (knowing that was SO not me to hobble so slowly and carefully), and she took me straight back to check me out. My hips were twisted and she could tell my fall had jarred me good. She did a few things to relax my back muscles and made 2 simple adjustments (on each side) to line me back up! Then she followed up with some soft tissue work. She encouraged me and said she sees that all the time and felt sure I’d get better and she was right.
I was probably 50% better by the end of the day, and I get a little better each day. But here was my thought: what if i didn’t get better? What if it prolonged? What can I do in this state? The truth is, even though I am definitely limited, I can do plenty.
SET-backs Don’t Have To Be STEPS Back
Many people suffer injuries, and it can be very depressing for people who are trying to work on their fitness and weight. I had high hopes of hitting 2-a-day cardios, taking kickboxing, weight training and working on my FitBit challenge for Shape Magazine – and going from 10,000 steps a day to less than 3,000 steps a day quickly got me discouraged. I was hurting my East Coast Team, and I wasn’t able to reel my body back in as fast as I planned. Then I realized, I needed encourage others who face the same roadblocks. Set backs don’t have to be steps back. I can still move toward my goal – it will be just a little slower. Here’s what needs to happen.
Look at the Facts
While exercise definitely helps burn calories, speeding up weight loss – it’s not required for success. You can still lose weight with just diet alone. Of matter of fact, diet is probably 80% of it. Here’s the facts. If I run 3 miles a day, that’s equal to about 300 calories burned. I can stay in the same caloric deficit by cutting 50 calories off every meal and snack.
Focus On Your Diet
For some backwards reason, we tend to eat even worse when we can’t workout. It’s a ridiculous self-sabotage mechanism most people do that makes things even worse. We dive into self-pity, want to curl up on the couch and be lazy, eat crappy food, and then complain about how fat we feel. How retarded is that?! If you want to feel good, EAT GOOD! Even though I’ve had some snacks at night, I basically have just been eating homemade soup since I got home from vacation. For 4 days straight, I have eaten soup every meal except one (when I had the Atkins pizza).
As I limit my food intake, my stomach is starting to get smaller and I’m feeling a little better every day. You have to remember, when you eat big portions (like on Thanksgiving), you have a lot more food in your gut than normal (making you feel stuffed, because you literally are!). This takes a few days to get through your system before you start thinning back out.
Drink a Lot of Water
Another issue we have when we come out of an eating frenzy is we tend to hold more water. Whether it’s from eating out and eating more processed foods, or it’s from being very sedentary and not allowing your body to opportunity to move water around – we feel even more fat and bloated simply because we are holding more water. This would be a great time to pound the water and flush your system.
Take Care of Your Body
Healing requires being proactive with your injury. See a doctor and make sure your own diagnosis is correct. Seek appropriate therapy, whether it’s with a professional or just taking action at home. Don’t just sit there and expect it to get better on it’s own. Oftentimes, a bulk of the pain is from inflammation. If you control inflammation, you control pain and increase mobility.
In addition, sitting still can actually make the problem worse. Your body stiffens up and can make it even harder to bounce back. Ice the affected area, take anti-inflammatories and keep moving, while still avoiding specific movements that cause pain. Ice after activity and get plenty of rest too.
Lastly, take baby steps. Don’t jump back into your fitness routine, full steam ahead. Test the waters first with light activity and light weights first. But nine times out of ten, doing nothing actually can make things worse, not better. CLICK HERE to learn how to make your own gel ice packs.
Do What You Can
This is a tricky one. We rarely want to do what we can. We want to do what we WANT to do, not what we CAN do. I normally run. I don’t want to walk. I want to run, but I can’t run right now so, today, I will walk – whether I want to or not. Since I’ve been down for a few days, I’m more lazy feeling than I normally am (which is already pretty lazy). So I have to fight the lazies even more.
Also, my pride gets me and I find it very hard to tame my workouts down when I’m hurt. As a result, sometimes I don’t even want to do anything at all. However, I know if I do SOMETHING, it’s better than NOTHING – and I’ll feel SO much better when I’m done. Even if I don’t burn a ton of calories, it will strengthen me mentally.
The fact of the matter is, it actually hurts more to sit and get up from sitting more than it hurts to walk now. Of course, at first I hardly could walk, but now I am able to walk Ok and just have trouble putting on my pants (lifting my legs), getting up off a chair or couch and a few other movements. While there is discomfort standing, it’s not painful – and staying moving will actually help me loosen back up even more.
So, while I probably won’t be lifting weights, or back to my normal routine, I do plan to start increasing my activity. I plan on going back to kickboxing soon if walking goes well. I just won’t be able to do burpees, jumping and some other moves, but I can tame the workout down to fit what I CAN do. I hate to be “that girl” – the crippled pathetic one in class, but maybe I have that all wrong. I can turn that into being “that girl!” – the one who is not letting a bad back get her down! Yeah, I want to be THAT girl! Don’t you?