Tagged: diet

The Fountain Of Youth Myth

For centuries people have perpetuated the ancient lore that a fountain of youth existed. A magical pool of water (or some other substance) that could keep or transform youth and long life. Well if you didn’t already know this, it doesn’t exist!

fountainofyouthfountainlarge

I bring this up because of the current escalation in people using (or rather misusing) the latest fountain-of-youth-fad Human Growth Hormone (commonly referred to as “HGH”). HGH is produced by the pituitary gland, and helps to regulate several body issues such as metabolism, muscle and bone growth (more muscle, less fat), skin and hair quality, and your body’s assumption of sugars and fats. Traditionally it has been prescribed to help skeletally and muscularly underdeveloped children and adolescents grow taller or heavier.  But since the body’s HGH levels naturally decrease with age, people have now turned to HGH products with the misplaced idea that it can rev help them lose weight and more ridiculously reverse aging.

hgh-therapy

Thus, the market was flooded with injectable HGH via Internet pharmacies, anti-aging clinics, weight loss scam web sites, and worst of all, hack doctors (you must have a prescription for these injections). But now, with people always wanting an easier option, suddenly HGH in pill form is being peddled on infomercials or online ads that claim they will turn back your biological clock, reduce fat, build muscle, strengthen your immune system, level your blood sugars (appealing to diabetics) restore hair growth, and even improve your sex drive. However, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has found no proof or reliable evidence to support any of these claims especially in light of the fact that when taken orally (pill form) HGH is digested by the stomach long before your body can absorb it. So in case you missed it, swallowing an HGH pill, whether herbal or not (or using an spray), will NOT alter your body in any significant way.

Growth%20Hormone%20Booster%20Caps%2060

The truth about HGH whether injected or in pill form is that it is NOT a fix for aging or fat loss, and there are dangers to its use as well. While HGH injections have been useful in the treatment of children and adults who have significant growth hormone deficiencies, for the rest of the population there is the potential for a myriad of serious side effects, including:

  • Swelling in the arms and legs
  • Carpal tunnel and arthritis like symptoms
  • Increase in headaches and muscle pain
  • On-set Diabetes
  • Abnormal growth of bones and organs
  • High blood pressure
  • hardening of arteries

growth-hormone-24-638

So once again I find myself standing on my soapbox pleading with the masses to not look for shortcuts when it comes to improving their health. If you’ve been following my blog for any period now, you know that I’m a proponent of making the change to a healthier lifestyle quick, easy, and moderate (no extreme diets or two hour workouts). There are no shortcuts, but honestly, It’s not as hard as you think once you embrace these simple ideals:

  1. You must eat small healthy quantities 5-6 times a day while still allowing yourself small indulgences along the way;
  2. You must drink lots of water;
  3. You must exercise a minimum of 20 minutes, 3 times a week in a manner that elevates your heart rate and challenges your muscles; and
  4. You must stretch and seek improved or sustained muscle flexibility and balance, while also allowing for enough sleep/rest.

motivation-14168004064kg8n

These four simple “musts” can become second nature if you are motivated enough and prioritize them into your life. They are far less expensive than pills or fad equipment or DVDs, and ultimately they will get you to your goal and keep you there. Endorphins help reduce inflammations (like arthritis), improved circulation will result in healthier hair, nails, and skin, and regular exercise elevates your energy all day (which can also directly translate into your sex drive if that’s one of your issues. Who needs HGH now?

Please stop looking for the fountain of youth – for in truth it only exists within your own commitment to stay healthy and active for as long as you’re destined to live.

Are You Sure It’s Healthy?

For years Americans have turned to salads as a safe, low-calorie meal they can freely consume when trying to “lose weight” (which as you know I appropriately renamed “lose fat”). Many an office worker suffers through weeks of homemade salads or restaurant salad bars just to they can feel like they’re eating healthier and, more importantly, leaner.

bvcv

Well the truth has been out for some time that depending upon what’s on or in your salad, as well as the dressing type and quantity, salads aren’t necessarily better for you than a lean hamburger and a few fries or even a glass of diet soda.

Currently, the hottest weight-loss food trend is Juices and Smoothies. Tumblr and Pinterest are weighed-down (pun intended) with hundreds of breakfast juice recipes. Sorry to burst another bubble, but ingesting a large quantity of fruit sugars, even if they are balanced out with chia seeds and spinach, can still pack on “sugar” calories that can turn into fat.

Fruit-vs_-Fruit-Juices

The point is that you really have to consider all aspects of your nutrition to know if something is healthy for you. Take the afore-mentioned morning smoothie. An average recipe might include an apple, banana, carrot, spinach, blueberries and chia seeds, and maybe even a dash of yogurt. Depending upon the size and quantity of items, there can be anywhere from 45-60 grams of sugar. The recommended daily amount of sugar an average adult should consume is about 25 grams (6 teaspoons). One smoothie and you’re double and that’s just breakfast!

sugar_fruit_graph

Back to the salads, here’s some perspective for you: McDonald’s Chicken Caesar Salad is your pretty run of the mill Caesar (including croutons and creamy dressing) and comes in at 425 calories and 21.4 grams of fat. Their regular burger is only 253 calories and 7.7 grams of fat. Even if you added a small fries, while your calories would be a touch higher (459), your fat grams would only be 16.7.

Perhaps you already know that Chinese Chicken and Caesar Salads are the worst salads you can eat when it comes to lean and healthy nutrition. But did you know that even without croutons or wantons and ditching cream based dressings, if you load up a salad with nuts, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, avocado, egg, quinoa, feta cheese, etc., you’re still consuming a lot of calories, sugars, and fat grams. Undoubtedly better for your insides than a Big Mac or anything from Taco Bell, but don’t be surprised if your fat loss slows down depending upon your habits and metabolism.

salad

So next time you decide to clean up your nutrition, read labels and crunch numbers before you assume that juices and salads will get you to your goal. Ultimately, you’re always better off to eat moderate amounts of healthy foods, and exercise more rather than deny yourself something or over-consume something in it’s stead.

22c6d006a5a24df97fb3a412ca8b280f

There’s a great article in the New Yorker about the detrimental effects of too much sugar.  Click on the photo below to read it.

Specter-How-Much-Harm-Can-Sugar-Do-2-690

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/how-much-harm-can-sugar-do

Accept it, or Fix it.

In our ever-increasing attempts to be politically correct in this Country, we have started utilizing colorful adjectives to describe someone who is what we used to call “fat.” Over-weight, big-boned, large, hefty, heavy, full-figured, thick, heavy-set, etc. are now the less insulting ways to describe someone who has a larger percentage of body fat.

love-the-word-fat

But I think we’re wrong to do so. It’s simple, you are either proportioned evenly (regardless of your height, weight, and build) or you have too much body fat. The body (and what it weighs) consists of muscle, bone, fat, organs and water. None of us are shaped perfectly and none of us ever stay exactly the same shape as we age. There are healthy fat people and internally-fat skinny people. I only care that an individual can perform anything they wish physically (like dancing or simply walking up stairs) and that they suffer from as little stress as possible in their lives, while enjoying a mix of healthy and fun foods and experiences.

t1larg_fat_acceptance_gi

With this said, my point today is that I hear many clients and people on social media lamenting that they are fat, over-weight, uncomfortable in their size and clothes, or worse yet, have physical limitations and/or illnesses due to their increased body fat. What irritates me about this is that a predominant amount of people complain repeatedly, yet do little to nothing about it.

Sure they’ll attempt a diet, a new exercise routine, or hiring a trainer such as myself. But within a matter of months, their willingness to do the work – and I know it’s hard work for most – dissipates. Pretty soon, they’re eating less often again, more high-caloric fattening foods, and the workouts trail off to once a week or none.

mayaangelou - Copy

My personal philosophy on ADULTS is that as long as you’re happy, and not achieving that happiness at the detrimental expense of someone else, then just be happy. If you’re not in imminent danger of dying, if you are okay with being less able to do certain things physically, then I say accept your condition and enjoy your life. There’s nothing wrong with being over-fat outside of your shortened life span and inability to experience certain life joys. There are plenty of people who find an over-fat mate sexy and attractive. There are plenty of over-fat people who are not suffering from health related issues, and can dance all night long. Right on, I say!

But the chronic complainers who chronically will do nothing long-term to fix their issues should – well to be blunt – fix up, or shut up. Yes it’s a huge commitment to change the way you shop, cook and eat food. Yes, it can be inconvenient to your schedule to work out for 30-60 minutes 3-5 times a week. But the results can change what you’re complaining about, and in a relatively short period of time in the grand scheme of things.

94374d96865c5ba394e4d48237fa1dd1

So if you really want to change – and make it a permanent one – then do it. I have faith in all humans to achieve anything they set their minds to, and I support anyone who earnestly tries. If you prefer fast food diets and couch-potato lifestyle, do so with all the lust for life that life deserves – and enjoy!

untitledadsfasdfas - Copy

When Fad Diets Happen to Good People

I’m still shocked these days to find a plethora of fitness-minded individuals still placing value in fad diets. A week does not go by where I don’t hear someone dissing carbs, or talking about how drinking hot-lemon-honey-cinnamon-cayenne water helped them boost their metabolism. Facebook, Pinterest and other social media sites are littered with the next best superfood that we should O.D. on. On my Tumblr account this week I slammed the photo below for promoting the idea that a single food can burn belly fat.

tumblr_nnsh9axikb1r8c4cyo1_1280

People people people, listen to me: no one food, or food combination will help you get those six pack abs – especially as a stand-alone concept. Granted, if you eat foods that build muscle and help your liver to keep sugars under control ALONG with consistent and effective exercise (resistance training and cardio), you will burn fat from your body. But let me also remind you that there is no way to spot reduce the fat from an area of your body. While you can tone specific muscle groups, where your body burns the fat from is still more random than you might think. If you radically curtail your food consumption while over-ramping your calorie burn, you will lose fat, but you will also lose muscle and more importantly, the fat may come from other areas of your body before the desired zone (i.e., your face or bosom before your belly or butt).

I know that all of this stems from society’s desire to do things quickly — see results fast with as little work or discomfort as possible.  Unfortunately life has proven repeatedly that, as trite as this personal trainer common quip sounds — NO PAIN NO GAIN is reality when it comes to changing your body.  That doesn’t mean abusive pain, but it does mean giving up a quantity of things you love and keeping your body moving despite soreness.

wpid-129689664238964551_m2uftx1q_c

Once again I want to remind all of you that fad diets do not work – or rather do not work for long. As I stated only last week (Success Comes with Consistency) diets are temporary. But fad diets are worse because they strictly restrict what you eat, forcing your body to try and obtain a full range of nutrients, carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats from a very limited source. Their failure rate is even higher than a simple calorie restricting diet because most people find the limited fad-foods boring within a very quick period.

So back away from that Pinterest post that claims you can lose 5 lbs and increase your metabolism by eating grapefruits, almonds, and green tea exclusively for a week. It’s not worth it even if it were to work, because as soon as you reintroduce all the other foods you still crave, the 5 lbs will return, and your body will be pissed off at you and likely not let you lose 5 lbs the same way again.

53a061186758b_-_drop_5lbs

If you want to change your nutrition in a permanent way, I’ve given you lots of tips within this blog, and I offer a very affordable meal plan that will be customized to your lifestyle, and food tastes (Workouts247.com). Now go eat something healthy and stop starving your body!

Stuck In A Rut?

Wake up call people — it’s already February of 2015. Raise your hand if your commitment to getting in shape that was so passionately fueled last month, has slowed it’s momentum or worse, stopped completely.  Now let’s see a show of hands of those who just never got their mojo ramped up enough to even get off the couch yet this year – the fact being that you are stuck in a rut.

stuck-in-a-rut

This is unfortunately all too common with 85% of the over-weight population in America. The task of shedding fat when you clearly don’t already enjoy exercise can seem very daunting. Combine that with poor nutrition, and the depressing momentum of increased weight with decreased energy and stamina and you will be STUCK in a cycle of immobility and negative thoughts.

So how do you get un-stuck? There’s no one-size fits all answer to this, but there are choices. Some are slow and steady, some are more aggressive.  It’s all about what kind of person you are, and how important your life and health are to you. The key here is motivation. I’ve written many times in this blog about tricks to getting and staying motivated. I won’t reiterate them here – surf this blog and read them for yourself. But know this, if you don’t really want to see/feel a change in your body and internal health, then you will stay in your rut and I suggest you just find a way to be happy there (yes my sarcasm is showing).  Below I list several options for starting your journey to health and fitness, beginning with the easiest and progressing to more aggressive choices.

Stand up! Right now!

stand-up-clipart-stand2

Set a phone or watch timer and every 30 minutes stand up and move. Walk some stairs, do some stretches, march in place, whatever low impact activity you can muster, but do it for 4 minutes. You do this 6-10 times a day and the changes to your body, stamina and mood will surprise you. Then progress to more energetic activities like jumping jacks, desk or wall push ups, air squats, etc.

air-squat-stick-figure

Take a walk.

No need to run – running is best for the young or non-obese. But walking – fast walking – preferably with a hill or two will get your heart in to the fat burning zone, tone your lower extremities and elevate your mood significantly. Start with a half mile, progress up to 3 miles. Bring music or a friend – use a smart phone app that spews out motivational reminders — whatever helps you stay on task. (A half mile will take you 10 minutes on average.)

????????????????????????????????????????????

Do NOT diet or buy a new exercise DVD.

These options are too easy to quit, and too temporary. Instead, buy a cookbook of low calorie, easy to make meals and spend some time on your feet cooking. Join a gym and commit to 3 times a week doing something different each time – for only 30 minutes. This keeps your time commitment manageable, your boredom level low, and the constant changing up of what you do there will keep your body from plateauing thereby making results continue which perpetuate motivation for you to continue.

no-more-diets

Make a contract.

Get a workout buddy and sign a contract with each other to keep each other on task and accountable. Take turns designing the workouts – keep them fresh and ever changing. Let your egos take over as you try to one-up each other – while still not over-doing it however. (Injuries are the best way to get back in a rut!)

harley-friends-600

Set a aggressive fitness goal.

Pick a 5k, 10k, half marathon to train for. Hire a trainer and set a body fat % goal. Join a rock climbing gym, pole dancing or salsa class. After a few months you should have achieved your goal and be ready to maintain your new health levels or set another goal.

climbing_wall

"Beginner's Pole Fitness class at ESTEEM Fitness."  (photo by Nicole Barrett)

* * * * * *

The key with all of these is to make shorter-term goals that are achievable and then progress incrementally. Whether it’s six months or one, you WILL get out of your rut. Once again I stress that you have to really want this! Take stock of your life and how different (better) it could be if you were physically in better shape. If that is something you want, follow these steps and you will achieve it.

Fitness-goals-are-fitness-dreams-with-deadlines

The Confusion Continues

I was at a party last weekend and as usual, once the word is out that I’m a certified personal trainer, I got bombarded with questions about diet and exercise. As always, I am only slightly surprised by how little the average person understands about nutrition and exercise.

Clearly not everyone is reading my blog yet (wink) as the concepts that carbs are bad and cardio is enough seems to be the predominant idea behind most people’s attempts to “lose weight” (another of my pet peeves as you all know that it’s about fat loss not weight).

man-made-diamonds-confused

I find people are still caught in the vicious circle of attempting a quick fix to become smaller in their bodies, then being disappointed that the results do not happen or do not stick. Soon emotional eating kicks in as the workouts fade to once a week or none at all. Then it starts all over again. Lather, rinse, repeat!

Let me preach to everyone one more time the keys to failure: counting calories, abstaining from carbs or certain foods just because you think that is the trick, repetitive uneffective cardio and casual resistance training. These approaches will NOT work – or at least will not last.

Lard-Be-Gone-Pic-3

Clearly I shouldn’t complain, for as long as the confusion continues I will continue to have a full slate of clients. But I really do want to help educate the masses about exercise and nutrition and how to affect a real and permanent change to your body. I continue in my quest to teach moderation where nutrition is concerned combined with ever-changing and always challenging exercise performed in a moderately small chunk of time.

Your experience of life (and more importantly your enjoyment of same) should not be consumed with worries over what and when you eat, how to squeeze in time to work out, and if you’ve done enough to your body that you can rest easy. My goal is to have exercise and nutrition fit seamlessly into my days/weeks so that all aspects of my life have meaning and balance.

balance1

There’s a reason I named by business Dane Life Fitness. I firmly believe fitness is essential to all aspects of one’s life. If you spend a predominant amount of your life focused on only your body, there’s no question that other areas of your life will suffer. So stop stabbing in the dark – acting (reacting) in a haphazard way, and create a specific targeted plan of action that fits your body type and goals, and your lifestyle. There’s plenty of resources out here in the internet that can help you, and of course, working with me (or any other personal trainer you like and trust) is the quickest and more sure-fire way to get on the right track.

How to Avoid Food Temptation (Hello Halloween Candy)

The secret to avoiding food temptation is not to see it (whatever the temptation is) as an absolute NO, NEVER, YOU CAN’T HAVE ANY! If there’s one thing we’ve all learned in our journey from toddler to teenager and now for some of us as parents, denial or restriction from something craved or coveted results in the forbidden fruit syndrom: that which we cannot have becomes the thing we most desire.  That’s when “sneaking” or “cheating” or worse “over-indulging” comes in.

Woman holding red apple on black background

When I was a child, my mother did not allow us to eat any sugared cereals.  However, because my bother and I were denied ever tasting this one food item, especially since so luckymany of our peers did eat it, we got obsessed with, in particular, Lucky Charms.  Despite being 3½ years apart in age, it was the first grocery item both of us purchased when we moved out from home after high school. My brother even purchased a box when he was 16 and kept it in his room.  I know, because I snuck into his room and ate some!

Adults are no different.  Many go on diets (which you all know I feel is a terrible word because it implies temporary) wherein you restrict your nutrition to more healthier, or lower calorie choices, but your heart still longs for that food/drink you crave and love. Thus begins a cycle of torment as you deny yourself something, then ultimately sneak or indulge in it, and then berate yourself with feelings of guilt and disappointment.

So back to my initial question: how do you avoid food temptation.  YOU DON’T.  But you DO moderate it.  If you enjoy sweets or alcohol or fried foods, place a limited amount into your nutrition plan.  I recommend that the allotment be more about a limited quantity than a specific day.  I find that when my clients say they’ll only have a glass of wine on the weekends, or a sweet treat on Fridays, when an occasion comes along where they are faced with wanting wine on a Wed, or a party on a Sat night is serving carrot cake – now what?!

halloween-candy-by-phanton-kittyIf your plan allows for two glasses of wine per week, or four cookies – then you know your quantity and you can play with it as you wish.  That freedom goes a long way to breaking the idea that these food cravings are forbidden or wrong.  (Again, if you change your nutrition plan to a lifestyle change and not a diet you will also increase your chances of successful and permanent weight loss.)

With my 7 year old daughter, I currently only purchase non-sugared cereals, and usually they’re organic and gluten free as well  But I explained my cereal experience and then bought her a small box of Lucky Charms.  I gave her a bowl one day as a “treat reward” that she’d earned.  She liked the cereal, but she’s never asked for it again. It is not a forbidden fruit to her – it is simply something to have in moderation.  In her case, there are many other tastier (and fortunately healthier) sweet treats that she’d rather have for her treat rewards.imagesCA7OTLTH

So this Halloween I challenge all of you who fear the candy bowl – pick one, two, even five of your favorite candies (a roll of sweeties, the fun size Snickers, a handful of candy corn).  Have one right then, then have another in a day or two.  I guarantee you’ll feel no guilt, and a relief that you got to taste that which you have been denying yourself.  In all likelihood you’ll probably find it wasn’t as good as you remembered and you’ll not crave it as much in the future.

NEVER DIET AGAIN

What if said you never had to diet again?  When I say that to my clients their eyes get wide, and they ask what’s the catch?  It’s very simple: moderation.  We’ve all heard the term, “everything in moderation.”  Yet very few people live that principle.diet5

Most adults find themselves sporting an extra 10-40 from where they were in high school or college.  For moms it can feel like a life long battle with the final ten pounds of baby weight.  Staggering numbers of obese pre-teens and teens are stuck in unhealthy cycles of computer game lethargy combined with fast food diets.  Parents with hectic lives look to fast food to aid in feeding a family that runs at high speed from dawn to dusk.

Not surprisingly, then come the diet crazes.  The Zone, Nutrisystems, Paleo you name it, people will try it.  Most times, success is short-lived and the weight comes back, often with additional pounds.

So how do you never diet again, lose weight, keep it off, while eating food that you enjoy?  Again, it’s simple: moderation. Don’t starve, don’t overeat, don’t make anything completely taboo or forbidden.  Change your perspective about nutrition and what it means to you.

diet61. Don’t deprive yourself of something you really crave.  Enjoy that cookie, those potato chips, or glass of alcohol – just have a small quantity.  If you have a difficult time restraining yourself, restrict the amount that’s available to you.  Take one cookie out of the bag, or a single handful of chips, and then put the bag away.  Keep alcohol to one glass.  Don’t over-indulge, but don’t deny!

2. Share the guilt.  You’re out to dinner and you really want steak instead of the lean salmon.  See if you can split it with someone.  If not, as soon as the food arrives, ask for a to-go container.  Put half of the entire meal into the container, and get it off the table.  Instant portion control. (Most people are too self-conscious to eat food out their to-go containers at the table.)

3. The 10-minute rule.  Start all meals with small portions.  When your plate is empty, wait 10 minutes.  Sip some water.  Enjoy conversation.  Nine out of ten times, you won’t be hungry 10 minutes later.  But if you’re still craving more after 10 minutes, have a second serving, this time smaller than the first.

4. Quantity vs. quality.  You’ve just got to have McDonald french fries.  Okay, have 10.  (I see people waste food all the time, yet, the same people are horrified at the idea of buying an entire container of fries, and throwing away all but 10.  Think about that.)  Now if it’s fruit or green salad you crave, go ahead and have two servings if you desire.

5. Friends vs. enemies.  Friends: whole, unprocessed foods (fruits, veggies, nuts, legumes, grains, beans, lean meats and fish, and water, water, water.  Enemies:  refined sugars, saturated animal fats, high-fat dairy products, bleached flour, excessive gluten, fried foods, and all processed snacks.  Take your enemies in small doses, surround yourself with friends the rest of the time.  diet1

6. Find a better choice.    There are so many excellent tasting choices now for replacing those high-fructose corn syrup sweets or unhealthy-oil fried chips, from gluten free crackers to popsicles sweetened only with fruit juice, etc.  You no longer have to feel deprived of the satisfying salty, crunchy, chocolatey stuff you love.  Take a chance, and try something new, but once again, no matter how good it seems to be for you, eat it in moderation!

7. Calories in vs. calories out.  A calorie is a measurement of energy that the body either stores or uses as fuel.  If you ingest a huge quantity of calories, better get to the gym and burn them off.  In other words – burn what you eat.  That’s really what metabolism is all about.

8. 6 x 3.  Everyone needs to eat six small meals/snacks a day at 2-3 hour intervals.  To make your body a lean mean burning machine, eat something small every few hours. One meal/snack can be as simple as an apple and a handful of almonds, or some turkey-jerky and a banana. Make sure you have quick, healthy snacks in your car, purse, desk, etc.  (Skipping meals (especially breakfast), or long spans without eating, causes your body to store fat instead of burning calories!)diet3

9.  Stay off the Scale!  This is very important because the psychological effects of weight gain and loss can play more havoc on your body than a night of binge eating.  Body weight is subject to change on a daily basis, especially for women: muscle weighs more than fat; monthly cycles can add water weight; stress can keep weight on, etc.  Judge your success by how your clothes fit, any positive sizing changes, and your energy, not what you weight.

These nine simple strategies can make a huge difference in the way you feel and look, and yet they’re really very unassuming to live with once you embrace them.  Throw in a moderate level of exercise (one hour, 3-5 times a week), and a healthy body is on the way!

Remember, moderation is the key to a healthy lifestyle.  If you approach food as a tool and not a reward, then you will succeed at your weight loss goals.  Don’t ever say you’re dieting again, because that implies a short term fix and negative terms like I cheated sabotage results.  Just keep your daily nutrition as healthy in size and quality as you can, exercise regularly, and enjoy all things life has to offer – with moderation, and never diet again!

Obsession vs. Acceptance

How many times a day do you worry about your weight?  Do you spend hours wishing you looked differently, obsessing about what you’re eating (or not eating), and/or trying every single “get six pack abs” video, exercise pins on Pinterest, and/or radical weight loss diets?obsession1

We are a Nation of obsessed bodies! I have clients, friends, and family who spend massive amounts of time fretting over what they can eat, when they can eat, and how they can change their diets to accommodate quick weight loss, while still enjoying all the things they love to eat and drink.  First everyone followed The Zone, now it’s Paleo; P90X was replaced with Insanity (literally).

dietOn DLF’s Pinterest page (http://pinterest.com/DaneLifeFit/), I see at least 25 new and different “these are the best exercises for toning the abs” pins every day! Of course, many of the people (mostly women) who pin these to their boards might not remember (or know) that the models in the pictures are usually women in their early 20’s, who work out 2-3 hours a day, and eat a very strict and regimented diet.

I am routinely questioned by clients obsessed with reinventing the workout to affect a change faster and better: is alternating sprints with incline walking better use of a treadmill than 40 minutes of straight running?  Are core workouts on a ball or TRX cable better than old-fashioned weight lifting (now re-named the less intimidating “resistance training”)?

Dear friends and followers, the answers to these questions that plague you day and night, and all that you obsess about when it comes to nutrition and exercise, is this:

ACCEPTANCE is the first step.

accept

Accept your body type.

Are you an ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph? (Look ‘em up!)  Take two people of equal age, height, and frame. They may look the same, but they can have a weight differential of as much as 15 pounds.  There’s more to a healthy body than an average height-weight scale that our doctors impose upon us. There’s more to you than what size shirt you wear.

Accept the effect your current lifestyle plays.stress1

Stress is the number one culprit in keeping weight ON.  The demands of your job, school, kids, your worries about finances, etc., all play a huge role in weight gain and/or lack of weight loss.

Accept that permanent change happens slowly.

There are no quick fixes to re-shaping the body, especially if you want these changes to stick.  Remember too, that a”diet” implies temporary.  Therefore, as soon as you resume your “normal” (old habits) of eating, you will gain weight again.  As for exercise, if you have or make little time for it, or just plain dislike it – no video, class, trendy running of 100 steps in Brentwood will work in the long run because you will get bored, or see so few results that you’ll give up.

So rather than obsessing, let’s accept.  With that hurdle jumped, we can address those issues that we can actually do something about.

Set a realistic goal for what your body can look like.

Once you figure out what your body type really is, and how much time you can give to exercise and proper nutrition (see the points below), you can set a realistic goal – one that you can actually achieve and then feel satisfaction and accomplishment about.

zenFix your environment.

Where there’s a will there’s a way.  If your job or home responsibilities are too stressful,  I guarantee with a little “un-panicked” soul-searching you can find a way to make even a small change that will allow you enough time to schedule regular and consistent exercise.  Between the positive stress-reducing effects exercise offers, and the changes in your body that will please your head, even that small change will result in something huge.

As for financial concerns, there are very inexpensive options to exercise and nutrition that you can adopt.  You don’t have to join a gym or shop at Whole Foods to make these changes.

Baby Steps.

Again – change happens slowly.  So make a plan, and step by step execute it.  Think of all the time you sat around wishing and obsessing instead of doing.  If you start taking baby steps towards your goals – and stay focused – within a matter of months, you will be closer (or even there) to achieving what you wish for.