The Golden Rules of Weightloss…

I am approached daily by friends or family asking for advice on weightloss (and nutrition… and exercise). With so much information out there, so many different diets/programs, it can seem overwhelming and rather confusing. I’ve been there! Regardless of the plan you choose, there are rules that apply to weightloss.  RULES… More like guidelines… I don’t like rules! Ha!
Implementing the following will definitely help you in losing weight. 

1.  It’s a lifestyle, NOT a diet. This isn’t a quick fix, it’s a way of life.

2.  Get organized. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Structure your life and you’ll structure your eating. Create a healthy meal plan for the week, write a shopping list (and stick to it). Prepare meals and snacks in advance. A little planning means you avoid eating those yummy little gold fish or whatever it is your kids are snacking on. 

3.  Eat small. I’m talking portion control… It is vital for losing weight. Eat dinner on smaller sized plates and when eating out, split your meal with your date, or ask the server to box half of your meal before it even gets to your table. Check online menus, if available, for nutrition information ahead of time. 

4.  Leave food on your plate. (This one is really a continuation of #3) Leaving food on your plate can aid in taking control of compulsive eating.  Many restaurants serve huge portions, sometimes enough for two or three people. Order menu items that contain fewer calories and eat a smaller portion. Bring leftovers home for another meal.

5.  Never feel deprived.  If you feel deprived, you will be more likely to binge.  If you want a treat make it yourself and make it healthy.

6.  Eat slowly. That way you will feel satisfied before you’ve eaten too much. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that you are no longer hungry. Fast eaters are often overeaters, while slow eaters tend to eat less and are still satisfied.

7. Drink water. 6-8 glasses a day is ideal, or about a half gallon.  Hunger is often confused with thirst and dehydration, so drink before you eat.

8. Enjoy your food. It is one of life’s greatest pleasures, not a punishment.

9.  Move.  Exercise is essential to weight loss. Schedule it into your day, just like an appointment and treat it like one. Take advantage of incidental exercise. Take the stairs or park farther out in the parking lot.

10.  Get enough sleep. Structuring your sleep patterns will help regulate your metabolism.  Tired people have increased ghrelin, a hormone which stimulates appetite.

11.  Focus on what motivates you.. A note, a photo, or a quote. Keep it with you or in a place where you will see it often as a constant reminder of why you want to change, AND embrace that change. You can’t expect to do the same thing over and over and miraculously get different results.

Trust the process and remember, one pound at a time!  You’ve got this! 

Simple Pleasures…

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It has been a day of reflection. I am allowing myself to “feel.” That’s always been a hard thing for me, but I’m doing it because it is important…it helps me figure ME out. It’s been kind of a rough day, to say the least.

I washed my sheets this morning and hung them on the line outside to dry. The smell took me back to my childhood in southern California helping my grandma hang out her clothes. Funny how smells can do that! But it got me thinking of a simpler time and how as an adult we.. er I tend to get caught up in the tasks that need to be accomplished and I forget to recognize the simple pleasures in my life. This week I saw a herd of deer on the side of the road on my way to the gym one morning.  I saw a man at a bus stop practicing his golf swing while he waited for his ride. I saw a caterpillar inching its way on the sidewalk. All of these things made me smile. When we recognize the simple pleasures in life they can brighten our day, if we let them! I thought it would be fun (and therapeutic for me today) to list the things that are simple pleasures in my life… Here goes:

1. Berries in my oatmeal

2. Being lazy on a Sunday

3. Hugging my kids tight

4. Watching my kids play

5. The smell of rain

6. Watching the sunset

7. Watching the sunrise

8. Rainbows

9. The smell of fresh cut grass

10. Laughing

11. Staying up late taking to  a good friend

12. That feeling after a good workout

13. A gentle breeze

14. Blowing bubbles

15. Walking on the beach

16. Breakfast in bed

17. Holding hands

18. Laying on the grass and looking up at the clouds

19. The sound of birds singing in the trees

20. Bees pollinating flowers

21. Helping someone in need

22. Making someone smile

23. A sincere compliment

24. Building a sandcastle

25. Going on a picnic

26. A tropical breeze

27. Playing in the rain and jumping in puddles

28. Pillow fights

29. Peppermint patties

30. A good book

31. Walking barefoot in the grass

32. Kissing in the rain

33. An uncluttered room

34. Waking to a clean house

35. Taking an afternoon nap

36. Laying back and watching the stars

37. The mountains

38. Jr. mints

39. Watching animals in nature

40. A fresh snow

41. A clear desk

42. Swinging on a swing

43. PB&J sandwiches

44. Watching the ocean

45. The first drink from a can of Diet Coke

46. Pretty flowers

47. Watching my kids on Christmas morning

48. Basking in the sun… 

49. Pine-cones

50. Snuggling under the covers on a stormy day

51. A nature hike

52. Listening to good music in the car

53. Taking a long, relaxing shower

54. Acorns

55. Disneyland

56. Being inspired to be better

57. The color red

58. Dogs

59. My kids’ smiles

60. Exercise

I‘m pretty certain I can come up with a thousand more, but you get the idea. This little “exercise” has definitely brightened my day! To quote The Office, “There is a lot of beauty in ordinary things.”

 

Back to Basics…

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When I first started lifting weights seriously, I did certain things almost religiously. Sadly, I haven’t been doing some of these “basics.”  As of late, that is changing!

Have specific goals and write them down! I don’t remember the last time I had a solid goal, sheesh! I’ve been flailing aimlessly, and I have really felt it. I always do better with a goal in mind! (I think we all do). So, I have set some new goals for myself and I plan on being stubborn about these goals but flexible with my methods.

Be consistent. Consistency is essential because without it, NOTHING is achieved. A lack of consistency can bring on a lack of interest.

Educate yourself…Read/learn new things. This has been extremely motivating for me in the past. Reading about other people’s experiences and learning from their sucesses/failures. Learn about a new supplement or a new way to do something.  It just keeps the mental juices flowing.

Nutrition…meal prep! Planning and preparing healthy meals for the week is key. It’s organized and there is never the question of “what should I eat?” Meals are measured, weighed, and ready…Grab and go! I like to do my meal prep on Sunday mornings.

Hydrate. Drinking enough water is important since muscles don’t work as well when they are dehydrated. Drinking water also balances your body fluids and helps keep your organs working properly. I like drinking about a gallon of water a day.

Rest and recovery. Get enough sleep. This is SOOO important! Probably THE most important part of recovery. If you don’t get enough sleep, that recovery, which is the period during which muscle growth occurs, will not take place. Everyone requires a different amount, but 6-10 hours should be sufficient. If you feel rested in the morning, you’ll know you’ve had enough sleep.

Keep a fitness log / food journal. I have become very lax on this one. Must be that I didn’t want to remind myself in writing of my poor food choices. 🙂 I have started keeping track again. I had forgotten this is a motivator for me.

Weekly weigh ins/progress pics. I don’t have a coach to answer to right now, but I still need to do this to keep myself in check. Pictures say it ALL! You may not be able to see the small weekly changes in the mirror, but when comparing pictures from previous weeks, you can see the changes. Again, this is motivation for me.

These are the basics! Going back to the basics always strengthens your foundation and gives you a solid place to fall back on.

Weight Gain 101

  

This is it! I’m coming clean!  I have gained weight. 20 freaking pounds of weight! There is embarrassment and shame in this for me. How could I have let myself go?? Why didn’t I just have more willpower? I KNOW I am stronger, tougher, and more dedicated than I have proven over the last year, but I have been lacking in something. I took before pics this morning. I can’t .. won’t post them just yet. I’m still trying to adjust to the visual. Why do pictures look so much worse than the mirror?? Sigh! 

 I‘m ready for a change! I’m tired of doing the same things over and over and getting the same results…results I am NOT happy with!! My problem isn’t working out. Working out is actually the number ONE thing that has kept me sane and stress levels down. My problem lies with my nutrition and lack of mental prowess. In my defense, I’ve had major changes in my life.. I KNOW! Excuses! No one cares about excuses!

This past week I have been thinking a lot about what is working, but more importantly, what ISN’T working in what I’ve been doing. So… I’m going back to the basics. Back to the simple fundamentals of bodybuilding/fitness. Back to being ME! I’m tired of not feeling comfortable in my own skin. I’m tired of my clothes not fitting. I’m just tired.

But… If you are interested in gaining some fluff and spillover like I have, being the helpful person I am, I will list the top five things that aided me in my weight gain. Ha! 

1. End a long term relationship. I DO NOT recommend this! But sometimes there is just no other way to progress and be happy. Most people lose weight with this step… Not ME!

2. Find comfort in food. Especially chocolate chip cookies… and don’t forget to eat the dough! Ha! 

3. Plan to NOT plan your diet. Eat whatever and whenever you want. 

4. Move from 5000 square feet to a mere 600 square feet… with two kids.  And put ALL your stuff in storage. This move was actually a good thing for us, but it has been quite the adjustment to say the least.

5. Go back to school after twenty-four years and start working on your bachelor’s degree. Whoa! This has been a HUGE adjustment. It took me three months, if not longer to find my groove. I just finished my first semester. (Flying colors) 🙂 I have loved being back in school, I’d forgotten how much I like learning. 

*Note: Please do not follow these steps! Actually, the last two are good things, just don’t overcompensate with food.. 

 

 

The Devil’s Fare

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I have a problem! It is called… NUTELLA! I admit, I cannot eat that delectable, magic devil spread responsibly. And YES! I went against my better judgement and brought a small jar into my house…OY!

I have been obsessing over that chocolate hazelnut seduction… I like it on bread! I like it on rice cakes! I like it in my oatmeal! I like it on a spoon! Ohh Nutella!

I have even created a new board on Pinterest dedicated to its deliciousness.. I’m a sick woman! 🙂

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D.I.E.T.

I don’t love the word DIET!  For one thing, the first three letters spell DIE… Enough said, right?! This is me five years ago, when I was always on a “diet.”

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I felt deprived and unsatisfied.. The word “diet” has negative connotations in and of itself… at least for me! I would always start on a Monday… Fresh start! I could stay on for a few days, but inevitably by Wednesday I would give into the cravings.. and what was the point of going back on, I had already messed up the week…Ha! So in all reality, it was two days on and five days off! Oy Vey!

Fast forward several years. I have figured some things out. Common sense stuff, really. I’ve learned about macro nutrients and the importance of having a good balance. When I decided to call my “Diet” a “Meal Plan.” everything changed for me. Sure I was strict on what I ate, but having a “plan” was the key. If I wanted to eat something not so healthy, I could plan it into my macros. It became all about the planning!

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I‘m not saying I don’t still struggle with cravings or emotional eating, I do. But I have learned how to avoid my triggers. AND if there is something, say like a Costco cupcake with lots of frosting delivered to my house by a neighbor, 🙂 I will put it in my freezer until Saturday, which is my free day. I know it is there if I decide I want to eat it…It’s a mental game! AND 9 times out of 10 I end up NOT eating it! But I can if I plan for it! I no longer diet! I eat for my goals and I stay on my plan.

It’s all in the mindset!

A New Beginning

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Yay for Monday! Why is it that Monday always gets a bad wrap? Mondays are my FAVORITE! It is the start of a new week.. a new beginning! It is also LEG DAY! 🙂

But back to new beginnings… I think it is pretty obvious from my last post that I am starting over. Life hasn’t turned out like I had always thought or planned it to be. But everything happens for a reason. Clearly, I needed to learn some very important lessons in life. Boy, am I learning them! In just a short time, I feel like I have grown so much, yet, I KNOW there is so much more coming.. It is the nature of the beast, I suppose. And I say, BRING IT!

We watched The Croods the other night and it really hit home. Several times in my life I have been caught in the “never not be afraid” mindset… Afraid of what’s next. Afraid to move forward. I think we all get in this mode every once in awhile, wanting to hide in our cave until it is “safe.” But as Eep says in the movie, “That wasn’t living. That was… just not dying! There’s a difference.”

I am no longer afraid! After all, starting over is a new chance to rebuild the life I want! I may have lost something good, but I will definitely gain something better… It’s all in the attitude…

 

It’s Official

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Yep! I am officially SINGLE! I actually changed my relationship status on Facebook the other day to divorced and then thought, “That sounds so broken! and I AM NOT BROKEN!” So, I changed it to Single instead. It just sounds better.

I keep getting the token tap on the shoulder, the pity looks, and people tiptoeing around me, not knowing what to say. Well, let me make it perfectly clear… I am doing just fine! I am HAPPY! Don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of tears and numberless BATCHES of chocolate chip cookies single-handedly eaten by Yours Truly… but I am DONE feeling sorry for myself! So, I am making the most of an ugly situation and I am choosing to be happy! Simple as that! Honestly, I feel like I am FINALLY living my life! It is far from perfect, but it is MINE!

I found a quote from Andy Warhol several weeks ago that has really helped put things into perspective when I feel down…  Saying “So What!!” TOTALLY works! 🙂

Sometimes people let the same problem make them miserable for years when they could just say, “So what.” That’s one of my favorite things to say. “So what.” “My mother didn’t love me” So what. “I’m a success but I’m still alone.” So what. I don’t know how I made it through all the years before I learned how to do that trick. It took a long time for me to learn it, but once you do, you never forget.  ~ Andy Warhol

I fully believe if you aren’t happy being single, you will never be happy in a relationship. You need to get your own life and love it first.. THEN share it. I am excited to see what the future will bring!

How do you get through tough times?

My Work Out Regime

I am asked almost daily about my workouts, so I thought I would answer the most common questions here as well..

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What do you do? I am pretty much old school when it comes to working out. I lift weights and do a little cardio. I do NOT do cross fit. I do NOT do Pilates. I do NOT do Zumba.

How many days per week do you work out? I workout 6 days a week.

How long are your workouts? ONE hour! That’s it!

What is your schedule? I do switch this up quite a bit. I will do the following for about 4 weeks, then I have a totally different routine I do for 6 weeks alternating between a strength and an intensity week with some functional cardio added in.. It works well for me!

Monday: Quads/Abs
Tuesday: Chest/Biceps/Abs
Wednesday: Cardio
Thursday: Hamstrings/Calves
Friday: Back/Triceps/Abs
Saturday: Shoulders/Abs
Sunday: REST

What is your favorite muscle group to work? Legs… Hands down! But, I also like biceps.. and triceps.. and chest.. and shoulders.. Hell, I like it all! 🙂

What is your favorite time of day to workout?  My favorite time to workout is early morning. I know if I don’t do it first thing, it simply won’t get done. The thing I love about doing my workouts early is that I am rested which makes for a great workout, and a great workout clears everything up mentally, physically, and I just have a better day!