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I ate a doughnut today and I didn’t like it

I ate a doughnut today and I didn’t like it, so why did I eat it? I don’t know why, perhaps I’ll die. (channeling old nursery rhymes)

Seriously, Why did I eat it if I wasn’t enjoying it? Don’t get me wrong, I love doughnuts, I could eat half a dozen of them on my own. I can’t walk past the doughnut shop without drooling uncontrollably.

Today I walked into the break room at work and I saw a box of these evil fried and sugar coated spawns of Satan and I felt compelled to take one.  I took a bite and found it stale and overly sweet but I felt compelled to finish it. When I was done I started thinking why didn’t I just stop. Why didn’t I just throw it away.  I started to think about all the food I had eaten and not enjoyed but ate it anyway then felt guilty about it.  I remembered another dessert I had recently eaten only to think that it wasn’t worth the calories, yet I finished my plate.

Is it that I felt that since I had taken it I couldn’t waste the food by throwing it away? Previous food came to mind, was I afraid of insulting the hostess or someone else? Was I afraid it would be my last meal and I would be forced to eat only Brussels sprouts and protein shakes the rest of my life? Was it that I was forced to clean my plate when I was young because their were starving children in China? Never quite got that one and could only think about how I would gladly send those poor starving children my vegetables.

It makes me wonder about all the food choices I have made over my life. How many calories were wasted on food that I did not enjoy?  How many times did I feel compelled to finish my food? How many of us have sat in a restaurant, fully satiated only to continue to eat because there was food on the plate?

I think it is time to start looking at what I eat, how I eat, and why I eat the things I do.  It is time to just say no to finds I don’t enjoy and to not feel compelled to finish. I say that it is ok to throw out food that you do not like. It is ok to ask the waiter to clear your dishes so you don’t continue to pick at a plate. It is ok to give yourself permission to not eat/finish/taste/try something that you do not enjoy.

It is ok to just say NO!  

 

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Today I feel Skinny!

Today I feel skinny. Why? I don’t know but it is a good feeling.

I haven’t weighed myself but I don’t look any skinnier than yesterday, my clothes aren’t looser, I didn’t eat salads for every meal, or work out like a maniac, but I feel skinny.

I think I can attribute the feeling to several things and a general sense of well-being. Last week was a very hectic and stressful week at work. It was a good kind of stress though, the kind of stress that keeps you busy, pushes you, tests you. When the stress is over you can look back and say with pride look what I have accomplished! It was a good week.  Sadly with the stress I did let some things go, I wasn’t cooking healthy meals, packing healthy lunches, or doing my morning yoga. All I could think is I have to get to work and finish a million things.

Today I only had half a million things to do at work so I took time to make my morning green smoothie, remembered that today would be a good day because I woke up (and only had 1/2 a million things to do) packed a semi healthy lunch and was on my way. I made sure that I took my morning break and got away from work for 10 minutes. Boy what a difference this 10 minutes makes.  I use my morning break to take a quick walk around the block. I listen to fast paced music, and just breath. I don’t think about work, home, anything except the music, the sunshine, fresh air, and breathing.  I come back to work refreshed and ready to go.  I love my morning break and find I am much more productive when I get back.

After work I came home and decided not to just sit and watch TV and play on the computer.  I decided that I was going to accomplish 5 things before I let myself relax and turn into a couch potato.  Here is what I did.

  1. Finally went to the laundromat and cleaned my giant comforter that has been sitting in the laundry pile for weeks.
  2. Set up the security features on my phone and caught up on my email while at the laundromat.
  3. Made a meal plan for the next week.
  4. Went grocery shopping for the meal plan.
  5. Prepared dinner for tomorrow, a freezer meal, and breakfast in the slow cooker for the morning.

While I was at the grocery store I was walking around, my back was hurting so I was making a point of standing up straight and tall and that is when it it, I felt really skinny today. I felt good, I had done something to make my life better and healthier, I had come home and was active instead of just giving in to being tired and turning into a couch potato, I felt skinny and I felt good.

p.s. I didn’t clean the kitchen after making three meals but dang it I was tired and that’s what husbands are for. 

 

 

Yoga is not for sissy la la’s

Some of you may think that yoga is just a bunch of breathing and silly poses but I am here to tell you it is not! As my husband said after only 10 minutes “This yoga s**t is no joke.”  Several of the poses incorporate your entire body in order to hold the pose and not fall over. When I first started yoga many moons ago I was surprised at how hard it was and felt like I had gotten a great workout.

I was lucky enough to find a great teacher who taught me the most important part of yoga is the breathing. You need to really focus on the inhale and exhale to get the full benefits. If you are having trouble breathing then you need to ease up on the pose. She took great care to explain the poses and to direct you when to inhale and exhale. Sadly (for me, happy for her) she was pregnant and left on maternity leave shortly after I started yoga.

Unfortunatly, I have found that many people who teach yoga do not take the time to teach you to breath. I swear some only know 2-3 poses and make you do them over and over again. If you don’t like yoga the first time, try another class or teacher. You will feel awkward and out of shape at first but I promise if you do a little every day, in a week you will start to see vast improvement.

As part of my new healthy lifestyle fitness goals I have been trying to do yoga for at least 10 minutes a day. More if there is time. This goal was even harder than giving up soda and fast food because I am so not a morning person and will make any excuse to sleep in an extra 30 seconds.

I wanted to do my yoga in the morning as a way to help me wake up and to energize myself for the day. The the plan was to then go for a walk or hit the gym in the evening.  Since I am too lazy to get up extra early for a morning class I decided to just use the internet to find some good videos that will walk me through some basic poses.

I found a great video on hulu.com called Yoga Zone – Introduction to Yoga This video is an hour long but I only do the first 10-20 minutes in the morning. The first few minutes are a great wake up as you are taught to breath. I love this part because it allows me to slowly wake up before jumping right into something. The first poses, potted palm, have done wonders for my back. The video talks about ways to modify the poses to help those who are not as flexible.  I love listing to Alan finger as he reminds me to inhale and exhale but at times his voice can get a bit creepy. His descriptions of the poses are very clear and easy to understand, he also talks about ways to modify the poses if you are not as strong or flexible.

They have several other yoga videos that include morning and evening workouts, fat burning and back strengthening workouts just to name a few.  I suggest you start with the introduction try it a few times to get the breathing and basic poses down, then try the other videos.

I go to work, feeling more energetic and awake when I take 10 minutes to do this work out.  The only drawback with watching it on Hulu is that there are commercials. When they come on they tend to break my concentration and the mood but I can’t complain because it is free. If you like the workout you can purchase the DVD’s through Amazon, just click on the link – Yoga Zone – Introduction to Yoga

There is no right way to work out

When I first started to get back into shape about three years ago (Then fell of the wagon) I started to do a lot of research on the best way to work out to get optimal results. What I found was a lot of conflicting information and ultimately I came to the conclusion that there is no right way to work out. There are several wrong ways such as pushing too hard and causing damage. While I say there is no right way, I will admit there are better ways but what works for one person may not work for you.

Your friends may have gotten great results doing heavy weights, muscle isolations, heavy cardio, or circuit training but you need to consider that genetics, body type, metabolism, gender (and ultimately diet) all play a part in how you lose weight, burn fat, and build muscle.

What works for one person may not work for you. You need to experiment and try new things. Find out what works for you. In order to get the most from your workout you need to push yourself, mix it up, and do something you enjoy so that you keep at it and stay with it. You need to be active and keep moving. If you don’t like what you are doing then try something else.

Personally, I love to go for long walks. With my knees and back I can’t run but I can walk fast and push myself to go farther and faster. I enjoy doing free weights because I feel I getter an entire body workout. I love to mix it up with the cardio machines because I get bored after 10 minutes.

Don’t let negative ninnies tell you that you are not working out right, they can offer you advice but ultimately you are the only one who can judge if you are working out enough and pushing yourself. Next educate yourself, see what the experts say be careful to check your source when you search the internet to make sure it is reliable. Remember the important thing about working out is that you are active and keep at it.

Do new things, don’t’ stop because it’s hard.

The first time I tried the elliptical machine at my gym, I found it awkward and difficult. I didn’t like it so I avoided the machine for a long time. I think the first time I only gave it 2 minutes before I decided I didn’t like it. In reality it was too difficult and made me feel awkward. I was self conscious and afraid of failing, so I didn’t try.

I tried out a few classes when I first joined a gym and I hated them. Everyone moved so fast, I felt that I couldn’t keep up. I thought people were laughing at the awkward white girl with no rhythm. Then I thought of advice I often told my students when I was trying to teach them a new skill and they got upset that they couldn’t do it as well or as easily as I did. I told them that I had been doing this for several years and had a lot of practice. I told them to think of a young child learning to walk or ride a bike. They stumble and fall several times but soon you are racing to keep up with them.  I went back to the classes and I started to not just watch the teacher but to watch the people around me. I saw that not all of them did the moves perfectly but that they kept moving and tried. I learned to adjust some of the moves to align with my fitness and beginner level. Then I started to enjoy myself.

Don’t be afraid to try new things but make sure you really give them chance before you give up. Don’t try something half-a**ed for 2 minutes then give up or decide you don’t like it because it is too hard. Life is hard, getting into shape is hard. But once you are there it will all be worth it.

Push yourself; learn to modify a workout if needed. Realize it won’t be perfect the first time but eventually it will get easier and better. The first time I got a gym membership, I would just play on the machines, I didn’t push myself, I didn’t know what I was doing, I was just playing around, then I got frustrated because I didn’t get any results. Hmmm wonder why.

Eventually I went back to the elliptical and decided that I wasn’t going to let it win. I tried it again and this time did 5 minutes, the next day I did 7 and so on, my top record is 60 minutes 650 calories. I kicked that machines behind!!!  I realized that when I said I didn’t like a machine or exercise it really meant that I needed to do it and work on it till I had mastered it.

When I really got serious about getting into shape and working out, I learned that I had failed so many times because I just gave up or I didn’t push myself. I had to learn to push myself and experiment. Find exercises that I enjoyed but be willing to experiment. Over the last three years I have learned I love to Zumba, Body Pump is  a great class. I enjoy step class but it is hard on my joints. Hiking is one of my favorites even if I am slow at it. I like free weights and the kettle ball over the weight machines but use them when I am feeling lazy. I would rather walk than ride a bike. I do better in classes than I do watching a video at home.

There is so much more, so tomorrow go out and try something new, do something different, leave me a comment below and let me know what you enjoy doing.

I need a good swift kick in the butt!

I was off to a good start with fitness month but I am starting to lose steam and motivation.  

This morning I slept in instead of getting off my big fat asset and do my morning yoga.  I went to work and was feeling sluggish and tired so I succumbed to a Monster energy drink instead of my delicious chai tea late. I have been keeping up with my afternoon walks but not the gym.

So I ask how do you keep motivated?

I am getting those usual self doubt, victim thoughts that cause so many of us to give up. I am slowly slipping back to old habits. I need to snap out of it, give my self a good kick in the rear and get moving. By the way giving oneself a good swift kick in the rear can actually be a good workout. Perhaps I can start a new exercise fad?

OK, Time to get off the computer, stop messing around and get back to it!

One step at a time, one day at a time, one pound at a time, eventually it will come off. I just need to stick to it.

How Long Does It Take Your Brain to Register That the Stomach Is Full?

How many times have you filled up your plate with food, stuffed your face then walked away feeling so full you can hardly move? How many times have you felt so hungry that you ordered the super size meal and ate every bit? How many times have you felt obligated to clean your plate or finish something so it didn’t go to waste? Well stop it!
First a biology lesson from Livestrong.com

“Your brain and stomach register feelings of fullness after about 20 minutes, mentions Cara Stewart, dietitian and nutritionist, in a “Penn Metabolic & Bariatric News” article. During this time, receptors inform the brain that your body is receiving nutrients by sending hormone signals. The hormone cholecystokinin is released by your intestines and the hormone leptin tells your brain about your long-term needs and overall satiety based on how much energy your body is storing. Leptin may amplify the signals that cholecystokinin sends to enhance your sense of fullness and it may help the neurotransmitter dopamine give you feelings of pleasure after eating, according to Ann MacDonald, editor of “Harvard Mental Health Letter.” If you eat too fast, these hormones may not have enough time to properly communicate.”

That means you have been stuffing your pie hole for 20 minutes and don’t even know you have had enough.

Here are some great suggestions I have collected through my research and wanderings through Pinterest.

  1. Use smaller plates and/or bowls.  You would be amazed at how well this works. We want to fill our plates then we fill obligated to clean our plates. Trick your brain by using smaller plates. This also helps with portion control.
  2. Drink water before and during the meal. We often confuse our thirst reflex with hunger so drink about 1 cup of water before you eat and take a good drink after every 2-3 bites. Adding high fiber foods to the mix will help you feel fuller faster and is good fr the digestion.
  3. Eat slower.  Stop eating on the run, take time to sit and enjoy your meal. Have a good conversation and don’t rush. This will give you time to properly chew and digest your food and give time for your stomach to signal your brain it is full.
  4. Eat high fiber foods and vegies first. –  Fiber mixed with water helps to give you a full feeling faster. By eating your more nutritious foods first you will fill up faster on good nutritious calories and not waste space on high fat/high calorie food.
  5. Take Breaks –  Eat 1/3 of your meal and take a break for 2 minutes. Have a conversation, clear the table, read something, then eat another 1/3 of your meal. You may find that after the first of second break you feel full.

There are so many hints and tips on controlling your food intake. Don’t try and do them all, pick one and find out what works for you.  The best advice is to eat smaller portions and give it some time. If you are still hungry after 20 minutes then go ahead and had have seconds.