Monthly Archives: March 2011

5 Ways to Move Toward a Healthier Weight

Moving toward a healthier weight is a goal for so many of us, and it can be a “daily adventure” (I refuse to say a “daily struggle”) to stay on the straight and narrow of our daily food plan.  I’m convinced that we will have struggle’s – and strangely enough we should expect them, but we don’t have to embrace them.

We will have moments of regret when we do what I call “stupid eating“ moments, but you don’t have to have a day of regret.  Just moments.  And those moments will get fewer and farther between when you constantly make the effort of moving towards a healthier weight.  They will, I promise.

I found a really good site full of information (mypyramid.gov) that talks about moving toward a healthier weight.  In an attempt to arm you to be able to fight the enemy, here’s more ammunition to use in your battle of winning your weight loss war.

Reaching a healthier weight is a balancing act. The secret is learning how to balance your “energy in” and “energy out” over the long run.

Maintaining weight: Your weight will stay the same when the calories you eat and drink equal the calories you burn.

Losing weight:  You will lose weight when the calories you eat and drink are less than the calories you burn.

Gaining weight:  You will gain weight when the calories you eat and the drink are greater than the calories you burn.

Which one did you choose? Where would you like to be?

Many people want to lose weight. To do this the strategy is simple – the challenge is putting it into practice every day.

If you are overweight or obese, here are some basic steps to help you gradually move toward a healthier weight.

1.  Learn what to eat from each food group
2.  Focus on how much you eat. Watch your portion sizes
3.  Choose nutrient-dense forms of foods. These foods are packed with nutrients but low in “extras” that just add calories
4.  Get moving! Physical activity can help you reach and keep a healthier weight
5.  Follow your progress by tracking your food intake and physical activity. Check your weight weekly

Rev Up Your Metabolism!

If you’re in your 40′s, 50′s or 60′s you know our metabolism slows as we get older. Some would say it stalls all together, and boy, there are days where I really feel it.

Sweet Treats

Samoas
Lemonades
Thin Mints
Peanut butter patties

Do these names ring a bell for anyone?  So now all the deliveries start from the orders that were placed weeks ago. Ugg.  By the way, have you ever actually seen a Girl Scout (in full uniform) taking orders or deliver these bad boys? I only ever see their parents do it – just an observation.

These delightful little morsels are sinful. No….I’m not kidding. They are the tastiest little things – the best cookies hands down. But even though they’re little, they’re packed with calories so be careful, pace yourself, and if you’re going to partake make sure you count them as part of your daily diet plan.

Remember I told you in a post not long ago that I’m at a point in my life where I want to get it right more times then I get it wrong? Well, I did it right this time.  I just donated money to the Girl Scouts of America (no cookies).

Weekly Weight Loss Wisdom

Willing is not enough – we must do.

May you apply knowledge you have gained through time this week, and use that knowledge to “do” what you’ve been wanting to do.

May you have a powerful, successful, healthy, Thinking Thin week!

How Does Motivation Work?

I have an insatiable appetite (no pun intended) to understand why and how motivation feels so different for the person trying to lose weight – versus some other goal that they may have and easily attain.

There is a way to understand and maximum your brain’s reward and planning system.  Dr. David Nowell, Ph.D. (a clinical neurophysiologist) writes about this in his recent article Intrinsic Motivation and Magical Unicorns.

Let me share with you some of the things he says about motivation and imagination:

The reward-and-planning system associates your brain-based motivational system with your imagination. Most good relationships, most cool inventions, and most academic degrees are the result of dreaming which turned into planning which turned into a certain amount of hard work carried out over a period of time.

Basically the reward-and-planning system comprises five cognitive elements.

From inception to brass ring, these elements are:
1.  Anticipate the end-goal
2.  Identify the tasks and sub-tasks
3.  Sequence and problem-solve around likely obstacles
4.  Block out distractions
5.  Get the reward

#1: Anticipate the end-goal
Dopamine (the neurotransmitter of motivation) is associated with bodily feelings unique to each of us. What motivates and rewards you might not work for me. The important thing is to know your end goal. What do you want to feel? Nobody wants a hunk of red metal. But some people do want what they think they will feel when they’re driving their very own bright red convertible. It’s that feeling which is referred to as the end goal.

#2:  Identify the tasks and sub-tasks
You want the feeling of ease and choice that comes with having enough money. So you want to increase your earnings. What could get you to that point? You’ve ruled out a bank robbery for lots of good reasons. A good friend is a nurse and his work sounds interesting to you – so getting a nursing degree is a strategy for increasing your earning potential. But that takes a long time and you don’t do it all at once. What are the sub-tasks? The phone calls or research or conversations you want to have first?  (as this relates to weight loss – can you see what tasks you would have?)

#3:  Sequence and problem-solve around likely obstacles
And what will be a likely second step? And third? What order of tasks makes sense? What if this doesn’t go smoothly? What are the probable roadblocks along the way? Do you have other commitments, like a job or parental responsibilities? Who are the key people in your life who are least likely to support your plan? And how will you navigate around these obstacles to get to your goal anyway? (can you see why answering these questions are imperative to help you be success with your weight loss goals)

#4:  Block out distractions
Once you’ve determined the sequence of tasks to get you to your endpoint, and you’ve figured out how to steer around the roadblocks, how will you persist with the day to day requirements of this goal? What if some parts of the nursing program are hard? Or dull? How will you do those parts of this sequence when there is always something fun and easy like TV or your phone? Lots of really smart people with really good goals get distracted en route – what exactly will you do differently?

#5:  Get the reward 
Once you’ve figured out what you want to feel, and determined a way to get there, and done the hard work, the final step is to savor the success. To go ahead and feel, in your body, that specific way that you register happiness.

Before you invest your valuable time and life energy, get crystal clear that this is the thing you really want. Then ask the question again, a little deeper this time, is this really what I want? And is the path I’ve sketched out for myself likely to get me to that?

Overweight and In Your Face!


This video is not just for those who are overweight – adults or kids. It’s chuck full of interesting stats (which I love) and the pictures really stick with you. There is hope for those struggling with their weight – the hope is time, support, and a constant desire to seek change. This video is a little over 5 minutes long, I hope you get a chance to see it. Powerful!

4 Ways to Look at Your Exercise Equipment!

Thought you’d get a kick out of this!
Hope you have a healthy, successful, Thinking Thin week.

5 Ways Women Can Stop Obsessing About Their Body

How many times per day do you say something negative to yourself about yourself?  My guess is….many.   And apparently you are not alone.  I think that is something we all deal with.  In fact, I think we do it so often and it feels so subtle that it doesn’t seem like a big deal.

As women, we can be very hard on ourselves.  We point out every wobbling underarm, fat thigh, and pudgy gut to our brains continuously, and those thoughts about our body can come at the oddest times….although usually in front of a mirror as we’re getting out of the shower, or getting dressed in the morning, or sitting at a social event where other seemingly glamorous thinner women are.

I don’t know if you saw it or not but Glamour recently did a survey with over 300 women where they found 97% of women have negative body-thoughts – women had 13 negative body thoughts daily.  That’s brutal. To ourselves.

One of the reasons we do that is they suggest that we’ve actually trained ourselves to think this way.  As someone who has an interest in the psychology of our brain and behavior, I would agree with this. We wire our brains with the thoughts we give it, and we are capable of rewiring our hard-drive.

Dr. Ann Kearney Cooke (who helped Glamour design the survey) says “Neuroscience has shown that whatever you focus on shapes your brain. If you’re constantly thinking negative thoughts about your body, that neural pathway becomes stronger – and those thoughts become habitual…”

So here are 5 ways to rewire your brain so you can stop obsessing about yourself and accept where you are at on this day:

#1 – Flip the script.  You know that script in your brain that you play over and over again? Create new neural pathways with thoughts that affirm and support how and why you feel good about your body.

#2 – Exercise….because it does more than make you feel better physically.  Exercising releases chemicals in our brains and can make you feel better mentally and emotionally. Which helps cut down on the harsh thoughts we feed ourselves.

#3 – Visualize a big red stop sign, and every time you have a negative thought – scream STOP in your head.  Break the unhealthy cycle with a statement, even one as simple as STOP or any other word or phrase that will refocus your thought patterns.

#4 – Appreciate You…right where you’re at.  Your body is amazing, what it is capable of and what it does needs to be valued.  Do you still want to lose 12 pounds or 57 pounds, probably, but just accept yourself where you are at on this day.  Judge your body on how it functions and the health of it, not what it looks like.

#5 – Enjoy your food. Yep, you read that right. Be mindful of what you’re eating. Enjoy the eating experience (odd concept, right), make conscious healthy choices instead of what I call “stupid eating.”  Be a deliberate eater. Slow down. Slow your inner spirit down and enjoy the journey.  Give your body what it deserves!

Healthy Eating

Healthy eating sometimes requires time (to shop, cook, and bake) and a willing desire to expand your food horizons.  Two things that I have a hard time with.  But if you’re a chicken lover, then you might want to try the following recipe – if I can do it, you can too.

Orange Rosemary Roasted Chicken (from Mayo Clinic)

3 skinless, bone-in-chicken breast halves, each 8 oz
3 skinless, gone-in chicken legs with thigh pieces, each 8 oz
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, minced
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup orange juice

Preheat oven to 450 F.
Lightly coat a baking pan with cooking spray. Rub each piece of chicken with garlic. Dab fingers in oil and rub with oil, and sprinkle with rosemary and pepper.
Place the chicken pieces in the baking dish. Pour the orange juice over the chicken. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Using tongs turn the chicken and return to the oven until browned, about 10 to 15 minutes longer.
Baste the chicken with the orange juice from the pan as needed to prevent it from drying out. Transfer the chicken to individual serving plates. Spoon orange juice from the pan over the top of the chicken and serve immediately.  Calories: 204 per serving

Fueling and Feeding Your body

Are you giving your body the right kind of gas?  Okay, now that I have your full attention, it’s not the kind of gas you may be imagining.

My tank was on empty recently, and I pulled in to my local gas station. Since it now takes about 10 minutes and $50.00 a week to fill my little tank, I have plenty of time to daydream about various things while waiting in the freezing cold for the pump to click “full.”

So I started comparing my car’s gas tank with my own physical “tank.“ I was thinking how our bodies are like our car’s gas tank, and how sometimes we too run low on fuel – or have empty tanks.

When our cars run out of gas, there is a tremendous amount of anxiety about whether we’ll make it to the station in time, sometimes our car is coughing on fumes alone, and sometimes the tank is empty and the car isn’t going anywhere (sound familiar?).

When our physical tank is out of gas it affects us mentally, emotionally and physically.  When we don’t eat right and get the right nutrients in our body, it matters, it affects us. We don’t think clearly, our energy levels are sunk, and sometimes we feel we’re existing on fumes alone.

And even though we’re offered three grades of gasoline at the pump, we typically go with the cheapest and just put Regular in and get on with our day.  Think about how many times you are offered better, quality food options (in restaurants, at home, or grocery stores) and for various reasons continue to do the same old Regular thing and get on with your day.

Then I started thinking about the difference and importance of putting “Premium” gas into our tanks (our belly‘s), and fuel our system (our body) in healthy and sustaining ways and yet we don’t often make those right choices on a daily basis.

Afterall, when you think about premium gas for a car you think about how it is typically formulated for high-end vehicles in order for those cars to get maximum performance.  When is the last time you thought of yourself as a high-end car? Or that you’re getting maximum performance with the substances you’re putting into your system?

Then, I started thinking (I told you, I have a few minutes to daydream at the pump) how a race horse, an athlete, or a Mercedes Benz all require high grade fuel for high quality performance, and the trainer, coach or mechanic would not dream of suggesting putting anything but the best top notch fuel into the tank of their star “performer.”

As I pulled away with a full tank and an empty wallet I was surprisingly encouraged by my own analogy of my car’s gas tank and my own physical gas tank and was reminded that I’m important enough to put the best fuel I can into ME.

I encourage you to put the very best fuel (food) into your tank this week and hey, if it help’s to think of yourself as a race horse, athlete, or a Mercedes Benz then you have my permission to do so because I want you to give yourself the right kind of “gas.”