Monthly Archives: July 2011

Monday Morning Diets

We’ve all been there. At some point - usually over the weekend - you bargain with yourself  about all the food temptations that are before you. Before you know it, you’re mentally shrugging your shoulders and convincing yourself that you’ll start behaving on Monday.  And you eat your way through the weekend.

What is it about Mondays that is the defining day of starting diets?  Sometimes you try to shake things up and you tell yourself you’ll start watching what you eat on New Year’s Day, or after a milestone birthday - no matter what day it falls on.  You might even think it’s a good sign if the first day of the month falls on a Monday.  We use a lot of “psychological tricks” when starting a diet.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter when you start your diet, but WHY.  Yep, that’s right. Your diet will tend to be more successful if you focus on the reasons for dieting instead of what is on your grocery list!

So what that means is it will benefit you more to set aside that grocery list and come up with another list of WHY you want to lose weight.  Now on the surface that seems simple enough but for some people that requires you to “dig deep” and come face to face with those realities that you don’t necessarily want to deal with.

Here are some of those WHY realities that you may be experiencing:

*You don’t feel emotionally good about yourself.
*You’re physically winded all the time after you slightly exert yourself.
*You constantly feel tired.
*Your stamina isn’t quite what it use to be.
*You just got a unhealthy diagnosis from the doctor.
*You can’t keep up with your kids (grandkids).
*You pull back from social situations because you’re embarrassed about how you look.

The list could go on and on, and those are really hard things to look at (on a piece of paper no less), and even harder to admit.  It seems easier to buy some food (to start your new diet) then to deal with the harder realities of why you should change your lifestyle because that requires a bigger action on your part.

I leave you with this today to consider:

1. There may be 18 reasons WHY you should lose weight. That’s okay. Put them in writing.

2. Just like you prepare your grocery list (whether in your head, or on a piece of paper), you must also prepare your mind. To change your lifestyle will require something of YOU. You need to be engaged, involved, and mindful of the process.

3. Know that it is a process…and that’s okay.  Dieting (also what I call “eating healthy”) is a process.  If you’re not use to eating the right foods, or eating healthy, it takes time to get it right. It takes time, be patient with yourself, you will start to notice the differences in your thinking about food and what you are eating because you’re doing it for the WHY reasons, and not what is considered the fastest way to lose weight on the newest diet craze.

I encourage you to stop thinking about Monday morning dieting, and no matter what day it is, it’s a good day to start working on YOU!

6 Ways to Handle Frustrations, Stresses, and Set-Backs

I am not an avid tennis player but I like to smack the ball around every now and then, so when my daughter asked if I wanted to play, I was up for the challenge.

What I noticed almost immediately was, my fine-tuned aim always landed the ball within a two to three foot radius of where she was standing.  In other words, she hardly had to do any moving - aside from raising her arm up every now and then to return the ball to me.

I on the other hand was doing more diving, sprinting, grunting, groaning, and leaping then what I can remember in recent history.

Let’s just say she was having an “off night” and seemingly could NEVER get the ball right to me. I was pushing myself to run after the out-of-bounds ball, or rushing the net for a ball that barely made it over, or stretching and jumping just to return the mile-high volley.  In other words, I was working 10 times harder than her just to play the same game.

Do you ever have moments like that - where you’re feeling like you’re putting in a lot of effort and getting very little in return. While the other person seems to sail through the exact same experience and hardly breaks a sweat!!

I thought about all the life lessons my little tennis game turned out to be and here are 6 ways to handle those little frustrations, stresses and set-backs:

1.  Life isn’t fair. In fact, some people may always appear to breeze right through things with the greatest of ease.  In spite of that, accept where you’re at, do the best you can, and count the blessings you have on this day.  It helps you put things in perspective.

2.  If you can make changes, do. Work smarter at your goals - not harder.

3.  If you’re putting a lot of ‘energy’ into projects, relationships, your job, family, emotions, or other things that always bring out the drama in your life, figure out what is important to get through that moment and re-evaluate how to make things more manageable for future reference.

4.  Sometimes you can’t control the situation you’re in, know who you are, suck it up, and find the best way to deal with it.

5.  When you are feeling overwhelmed, and can’t get out from underneath the stress, find a support system.

6.  There’s nothing wrong with being the tortoise - slow and steady wins the race. Go at your own pace, and let the hare’s fly by you.

All I can say is thank goodness my daughter and I play for fun, and while I hope to be more evenly matched next time, I did a weeks worth of exercise all in one night!

Walking Tidbit

Research has shown that when people exercise by walking, they walk 30% longer if they walk to music.  (So turn up the tunes)

Vitamin D and Weight Loss?

When you feel good physically, your life feels more balanced overall. Which got me thinking about how well I've been feeling lately, and the hard lessons I learned this past Winter about my thyroid, and how low levels of Vitamin D will make you move like a slug. Who knew! I've taken advantage of the sun throughout the Spring and Summer (not so much during this hot HUMID weather, but I tried), and the supplements are helping.

I'm still trying to educate myself and keep updated with everything I need to know about our good ol' thyroid, and working closely with my doctor to help me to become more balanced. I know I mentioned this before but I think I have one of the best doctors, who took my symptoms seriously and did some more digging with her questions and blood work to get to the bottom of my issues.

Anyway, please view this short video if you're struggling too - it's full of good information....

Drink Up – Stay Hydrated

Okay, so here’s the deal. I hate to talk negative about the Summer season, as it comes and goes so quickly but it’s HOT out there right now and I just want to remind you of something.

We all know the benefits of drinking water to keep our system flushed out, and to give us a feeling of full.  But do me a favor….in this season of heat, please sip on water throughout the day - yes, even if you‘re inside in the central air.

Be aware of how quickly the hot weather can really zap your energy levels and you can easily get dehydrated.  It’s probably the only time you should be extra cautious about exercising outdoors - it’s one of those rare moments where you don’t have to feel guilty.  I KNOW what you’re thinking, trust me.

Also, try to stay away from alcohol or caffeinated drinks. Just drink good old-fashion water!

In this oppressive heat, sometimes it takes our desire to eat away - amazing how that happens isn’t it!. But do not neglect the liquid. Drink up please!  And stay safe out there until this weather system passes.

Success in the Face of Discouragement

I talked with several people in this last week who have just been experiencing frustration and discouragement lately - myself included. And all of us for a number of different reasons!  While searching for something else, I came across a specific quote in the midst of looking up a totally different topic, and so I thought this was meant for me to see.  It came at the right moment and it literally lifted me up. I hope it does the same for those of you who have been struggling lately, and believe that "success" is for you to have.

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”  - Dale Carnegie

It’s SoBe Good

I need to give a shout-out to SoBe Lifewater for creating some delicious flavored water.  No calories, no sugars, no caffeine, and lots of vitamins.  I'm liking this better than my powder stuff I add to my water bottles. At a $1.00 a bottle it's a tasty little alternative "treat."  I found it at Meijers and Target so far. Try it.

Life is Good In Spite of…..

I think one of the hardest things to do is to be persistent in the face of frustration or set-backs. And those frustrations and set-backs can come in many forms relating to a job situation, relationship woes, or personal goals.

As you know I love and recommend a good read called “Succeed - How We Can Reach Our Goals” (by Heidi Halvorson) and in it is suggested that persistence is a mind-set that helps you deal more effectively with a steady stream of challenges and obstacles.  Persistence is about a belief system that we have of ourselves and our abilities, and about what it takes to succeed.

Our personal belief system will literally make or break us sometimes.

But I got thinking about that, and sometimes even when we believe in ourselves - others don’t. So that in spite of our persistence, things don’t always work in our favor. We don’t get the job that we coveted, or the relationship falls apart, or we don’t lose the weight we keep hanging on to.

What are you suppose to do then? Give up?

Giving up is not personally in my DNA. Something tends to rise up within me and I keep going back and attacking the goal time and time again.  Does it get draining? Absolutely. But I like to think I have stamina and the right attitude that allows me to keep at it.  If I didn’t get something I wanted, or I lost a very important thing, I know that I’m going to be persistent in attacking the end goal in a different way because, I guess like John Wayne….I’ve got grit!

Now get this…..(according to Chapter 12), did you know that people who are persistent in the face of difficulty are far more likely to be successful than those who are less gritty?  That’s encouraging.

What do you do if you feel like you don’t have grittiness?

Well, for one thing you can increase your grittiness by choosing the right goals - I know it seems ridiculous to suggest that you can have wrong goals, but you have to know your belief system and why you choose your particular goal so that in the long run it is easier to attain and you feel the success that often alludes you.

So I leave you with this.  It is not that you lack the necessary ability to reach your goal, it’s how you look at the goal. And in the long run it takes good ol’ effort, planning and persistence to succeed - and it will do wonders for your grit.

This will be the last time I suggest it, but if you’re looking for a way to jumpstart your personal goals, you need to settle in and read this book.  It’s good.

4 Ways to Think about Food Triggers

My husband and I went away recently and while the destination was relaxing and fun, it was also full of triggers.  You know, the kind of triggers that set you off running in the wrong direction and it takes every thing within you to rein yourself in again.

For those of you familiar with Michigan’s beautiful Mackinac Island you know you can’t go there without indulging in what they’re famous for.  So for me, just the environment alone can trigger eating urges.

The second trigger is the feeling that Mackinac Island gives me.  It’s a favorite vacation spot for my family while I was growing up and holds many, many happy memories, and yes, that sweet indulgence is one of the memories. It brings back good feelings. Crazy isn’t it?

The third trigger for me is the smell.  I swear they purposely pump the buttery, chocolate, sweet, sugary, smell out onto the streets so within a block of roadway, you have approximately 10 stores all making the same thing. And boy oh boy, the smell alone will make you lose your way and forget who you are. If there’s some way you could bathe in this stuff it would be less fattening.

And then finally the last trigger for me the food itself - the fudge.  One bite and it’s hard to stop. Just one more nibble, and I swear (I tell myself) THAT’S IT.   It’s amazing how the urge can be overwhelming and before you know it you’re wiping the back of your hand across your mouth while the thick, sweetness hangs around your mouth (and taste buds) a little longer than usual.

The bottom line is there are triggers all around us, and for the most part, when we’re in our daily routines we can more easily manage those food triggers that trip us up. But every now and then you go away, and even though you know what to expect, you can still succumb to the sinful pleasures.

Here are some helpful things to think about:

1.  Triggers do not automatically make eating happen. Your thinking determines whether or not you partake.

2.  Sabotaging thoughts makes all the difference between successful dieters and unsuccessful dieters.  Successful dieters learn to master their thinking when confronted with a trigger.

3.  Know what your triggers are to help minimize your exposure to them.

4.  If all the triggers overcome you (like my visit to Mackinac Island), have some. But don’t keep eating, and eating, and eating the trigger food.

I know that I’ve changed my thinking because of my attitude towards the whole “fudge ordeal.”  I had some fudge while on the island but didn’t feel the need to bring home a month’s supply - like I would have before.  I can have some and it will satisfy my desire or need but I don’t have to hoard it, beg, borrow or steal to have pounds of fudge on hand. I get it. I finally get it.

Caffeine Addiction Withdrawals!

My head was pounding, and I didn’t know why. And on the second day, I think I figured it out.

You should know that for several years now I have been adding a flavored, caffeine powder packet to my cold bottle of water every morning, and that morning drink is the only time I drink caffeine. I very rarely drink anything else with caffeine in it, and I always look forward to this bottle of water because it gives me just enough “kick” to get me going every day. You coffee drinkers will understand this morning routine!

Recently my husband and I went away for a long weekend and I realized on the first day of our get-away that I forgot my little packets of caffeine, and I had a passing thought of how my morning routine was being thrown off. But with lots of activities to get to, I didn’t give it another thought - until the headache got worse throughout the day. Geez Louise! It was a full blown migraine by the time I got to bed that night.

On the second morning I came face to face with the realization that perhaps my headache was due to caffeine withdrawals, and the start of a second day with a dull thud in my head began.

(Did you know that the so-called caffeine headache is the most common withdrawal symptom experienced when a person abstains from or attempts to break their addiction to caffeine? A John Hopkins Medicine study showed that 50% of people who consume caffeine on a daily basis experience a headache within 24 hours of abstaining from it).

The bottom line is I put up with a bad headache for a couple days but was so busy for the four days I didn’t notice any other physical symptoms (see my post from June 14, 2011 for more addiction/withdrawal information).

So the dilemma is….now that I’m back to the normal routine of life (ho hum), do I go back to my beloved caffeinated morning drink, or do I let it go, stay headache-free and just have the bottle of water?  Seems kind of boring doesn’t it - I’ll let you know what I do.