Browsing Date

December 2011

Challenge

Exercise might be paying dividends

December 21, 2011 • By

As I write this, I am thinking that “I hope I’m not speaking too soon” but, exercising may be helping me to stave off the colds/bugs that I see friends, family and co-workers falling ill to.

In the past couple of weeks, I have been exposed to a child with strep throat, co-workers who have been taken out for a day or two at a time with bugs and plethora of coughing and sneezing people I encounter on a daily basis.  Somehow, I’ve been fortunate enough not to get hit.

So, right now, I am not exactly setting the world on fire with the news of amazing weight loss but, there are definite benefits to my working out more.

 


Challenge

‘Tis the season

December 14, 2011 • By

This week, I have walked through a veritable minefield of food and I’ve stepped on a few.  Not unlike a lot of people, I find the holidays can be a bad time to try to control your eating when you haven’t felt the need to do so previously.  Yesterday, we had a relative come over for dinner.  I could’ve excused myself afterward to hit the gym or go for a walk.  Instead, I had a cupcake.  Yeah, I know, what a compromise.

Today, we had a holiday lunch at work and what says holiday like pizza?  I actually controlled myself rather well (one slice of veggie, one slice of cheese, a salad and some tortilla chips).  But, what’s a holiday lunch without dessert?  So, two cookies, a brownie and some excellent Indian dessert made with mangoes later, I am sugared-up and caloried-out.

This was the week I was supposed to be eating like I have some sense.  I decided to stay away from meat for two weeks.  Typically, this bodes well for me.  However, for some reason, I’ve decided to abandon common sense for overindulgence.  The funny part — it’s only Wednesday.

At any rate, I have to get it together.  If I keep this up, I’ll have to slim down to fit into a Santa suit.

 


News

Young woman has inspiring weight loss

December 12, 2011 • By

Natalie Strawn has battled with weight her whole life.  In the 6th grade, she weighed over 300 pounds, by 16 she had been bullied to the point of dropping out of high school.  At her heaviest, she weight over 550 pounds and was only 17 years old.

Natalie got tired of missing life and decided to change.  She got on board with Weight Watchers and, in 3 years, has lost 282 pounds.  Her goal is to lose another 100 pounds.

Stories like this make it hard for me to drum up excuses.  If you need inspiration, take her story with you.

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Challenge

My Meatless Challenge

December 12, 2011 • By

Every once in a while, I like to challenge myself.  This time around, I’m working on going meat-free for two weeks.  I started yesterday with the hopes of ending in time for Christmas Day.

This is far from the first time I’ve tried this.  My longest stretch lasted about 6 months so, a couple of weeks shouldn’t be so daunting.  But, for some reason, it is.  Perhaps, it has something to do with the fact that I am just getting older and more cantankerous.  I like eating meat and find every excuse for doing so.  However, as I’ve shared before, meat is like a gateway drug for me.  I honestly believe it to be the linchpin for all my bad eating.  To me, a burger doesn’t go well with water and a salad.  Ribs need and brown rice don’t cut it.  Pepperoni and sausage pizza need a good Coke or a Sprite to wash them down.

However, it’s something about consciously eating a more plant-based diet that causes me to really think about what I am consuming.  For example, there’s something to be said for making a good stir-fry with fresh vegetables or having a big, colorful salad that make one feel better about eating and not wanting to ruin it by piling on a bunch of junk food.

So, here I am at day two.  12 more to go.


News

You got a minute?

December 9, 2011 • By

If you were told to take one minute out of your day to prevent diabetes, would you do it?

Researchers at the University of Bath are saying that just one minute of exercise per day could greatly reduce your chances for developing type 2 diabetes.  Now, ideally, we’re supposed to get in good, regular exercise but, with busy lifestyles, people just are taking care of themselves as they should.  So, what researchers believe is that doing sprint exercises  in short duration (for example, two exercises for 20 seconds each) can break down sugar in the blood as effectively as an hour of moderate exercises.

The logic behind this seems sound:

Dr. Niels Vollaard  who is leading the study, said: “Our muscles have sugar stores, called glycogen, for use during exercise. To restock these after exercise the muscle needs to take up sugar from the blood. In inactive people there is less need for the muscles to do this, which can lead to poor sensitivity to insulin, high blood sugar levels, and eventually type 2 diabetes.”

“We already knew that very intense sprint training can improve insulin sensitivity but we wanted to see if the exercise sessions could be made easier and shorter.”

Now, obviously, regular exercise would be advisable but, it’s good to know that, by upping the intensity, people might be able to stave off Type 2 diabetes.

 


Challenge

Hitting the pavement

December 9, 2011 • By

Yesterday, I did something that I hadn’t done in a while — I took a long walk outside.  I just didn’t feel like doing the same types of exercises at the gym and wanted a change of pace so, I put my dog on a leash and went for a 4-mile walk.

I had forgotten how good a long, brisk walk could feel.  Oh a treadmill, even though I use an incline, it’s pretty much constant.  On the street, it requires me to go up inclines, down declines around corners, etc.  In other words, I’m not working all my muscles in the same manner.   I even challenged myself to complete my miles much faster.  So, with the help of my dog, I was able to do my 4 miles in about 53 minutes.

The more I go on this journey, the more I realize that I have to try to keep things fresh to avoid boredom and de-motivation (is that a word?).  So, shaking things up every now and then can only help.


Challenge

Focus…Focus…

December 6, 2011 • By

I’m probably giving away my age again but, I remember seeing The Karate Kid (the original version) when it first hit the theaters.  I remember the teacher, Mr. Miyagi, telling the main character Daniel that, when it came to his training,  he needed to focus.

Last night, when I was working out, I was thinking the same thing.  I need focus.  I am doing a routine but, I am not focusing on what I am trying to do.  I hop on a treadmill or an elliptical but, really, is that what’s going to get my belly down?  Is my eating undermining all my workout efforts?  In other words, despite my actions, is my lack of focus actually undermining my goal to lose weight?

Don’t get me wrong — sitting on the couch won’t cut it, either.  But, I am currently “going through the motions” without really knowing what it’s going to take to get there.  This thought is sobering but, at the same time, it’s kind of liberating, also.  It tells me that I am, for the first time, realizing that I am really more committed to changing than I thought.

Focus…focus…

That little voice in my head sometimes gives me some great advice.


Challenge

The ‘blahs’

December 5, 2011 • By

Anybody get the ‘blahs’?  It happens to me around this time of the year.  Here, during an Ohio December, we get a lot of gray skies and wet weather or snow.  For some reason, people seem to forget how to drive when the weather changes slightly so, commutes become bothersome.  By the time I get home, I’d rather sit and vegetate than do anything healthy.

Last Thursday and Friday, they got me.  I had every intent of going to the gym, until my ride home.  The weather stunk and I was feeling lethargic.  Before I knew it, I had made up my mind not to go.  Now, I did get out on Saturday and actually put two hours in but, on Sunday, I was right back on the couch.  Tonight, I have every intent of hitting the gym.  It’s been raining all day, the commute to work stunk and the one home doesn’t seem promising.  But, I know that I can’t let every little excuse deter me.

Working my way out of the ‘blahs’ is going to take some effort but, what choice do I have?  I don’t want to gain back the weight and being out-of-shape just stinks.  I guess it’s time to suck it up, lace up the shoes and get to work.

 


Challenge

Death by a thousand bites

December 1, 2011 • By

Right now, I need the equivalent of the invisible fence for humans.  However, instead of going around the yard, mind would shock me when I get too close to the refrigerator and the pantry after 8pm.  I am a snacking fiend!  I can monitor myself at meal times but, after 8pm, I am in trouble.

After I come back from the gym, it’s terrible.  I usually drink a glass of chocolate milk (1%) to replenish my protein.  However, instead of being content or simply getting a bigger glass, I start snacking. Apples & Peanut butter are a favorite.  But, I have also been known to hit the soft pretzels (I know, right?).  I might also nibble on some tortilla chips after this (I actually had chips and salsa at 11pm, last night!).  Let me not forget that I have hit my son’s fruit snacks on more than one occassion, too.

Basically, after eating rather well for the day and working out, I can hit another 400 or more calories before turning in for the night.  This has got to stop.  Honestly, this is going to require good, old-fashioned discipline and an attitude adjustment on my part.  Quite simply, I am going to hate it.  I know me.  I can be pigheaded and want to think that this is not a problem but, that’s a lie.  If I burn off 1,000 calories only to add about half that right back, I wasted a good part of my workout.  I could have knocked off a half-hour early, not snacked, and got my time back.  There’s a simple term for this: self-sabotage.

It’s gut-check time (pun-intended).  Tummy, you and I have got a day of reckoning coming.


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