Date: Friday,25 Apr, 2014
Are you a perfectionist?
Are you the ambitious, results driven type?
Are you the idealist, fly-by-the-seat of your pants type?
Are you an "I'll start Monday” type person?
The Perfectionist Type
The perfectionist wants everything to go, well, perfectly. If things don’t go according to plan, they have a tendency to beat themselves up and decide that the goal is no longer achievable – all because it couldn’t be done perfectly. For them, caving in to peer pressure at one meal spells impending doom and disaster. Struggling through the first workout means that the regimen is too hard and can’t be done. The perfectionist must realize that we are all human. Every meal, every workout will not go according to plan, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the towel. Progress (not perfection) is what the perfectionist must learn to value.
The Ambitious, Results Driven Type
The perfectionist isn’t the only one with a hang up. We ambitious, results driven types can get in our own way by expecting immediate results. We start a new workout regimen on Monday and want to see a total transformation by Friday. Ok, I’m exaggerating, but for some of us, not by much. The results driven type expects to see a tangible result (for example, a certain number on the scale) each week or they are disappointed despite all of the hard work that they’ve put in. This personality type must remember that transformations take time, there are no overnight successes. Instead of focusing on the result, focus on the following the process to the best of your ability and the results will eventually come. Slow and steady wins the race.
Like the ambitious type, the idealist tends to go into situations with rose colored glasses. He/she sets BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) that are admirable but may be a tad unrealistic. The amount of effort and sacrifice required to reach the goal (for example, losing 30 pounds in 90 days) is grossly under-estimated. He/she generally jumps into a goal with no plan thinking that if they just workout a little more or eat a little less everything will all work out. The problem is a little more/less is never really defined and as a result may not align with their health & fitness target. Weeks into it, they are disappointed with the lack of results and quit all together, deciding that “it’s too hard.” The idealist must learn to set realistic, attainable, short term goals (max. of 30 days) that align with their current lifestyle or the lifestyle changes they are committed to making. A little thing called planning wouldn't hurt either. As they say "plan your work and work your plan."
The Procrastinator (AKA “I’ll start on Monday”)
While the idealist jumps in head first without a plan, the procrastinator is chronically hesitant to make a move. Similar to perfectionists, procrastinators are expecting perfection, but in terms of conditions rather than performance. If there is a cloud in the sky (an upcoming dinner party, weekend with friends, or vacation), then the mission must be aborted before it can even begin. The problem is that there is always something, always a reason for the procrastinator to put things off so they can never seem to get started. While it is good to prepare mentally for the challenge ahead, it is important that the procrastinator get started immediately on the planning and set a firm deadline to begin. As long as there is a degree of uncertainty in the plan or the goal, the procrastinator will struggle to get their horse out of the stable.
All personality types have their strengths and weaknesses. In times of change, our weaknesses can outshine our strengths, if we aren't careful. One of the keys to overcoming is to know your weak areas and develop countermeasures that will propel you forward in spite of yourself. Goal-getters succeed simply because they let nothing and no one stand in the way of achieving their dreams. Not even them.
~ Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power. ~ Lao Tzu
Date: Tuesday,22 Apr, 2014
Step #3: Refocus
As I shared earlier, what happened last week is the exception not the rule. The same it is with you. You know how to eat healthy. You just have to get back to it.
The next few days I will be very selective about what I eat. Snack foods, processed foods, and alcohol are out. The only baked goods I will allow is 100% whole wheat and even that I will eat sparingly. Instead, I’ll focus on foods that are typically found around the perimeter of the store – you know, whole, real foods like fruits, vegetables and lean meats (chicken, turkey and some cuts of pork and beef). This step is critical to restore balance and ditch those cravings.
Step #4: Rest
As relaxing as vacation days are, sometimes you need a vacation from your vacation! You’re so busy trying to “fit everything in” that it’s easy to return home exhausted. For this reason, catching up on sleep is also a top priority. There are a few reasons for this.
First, when your body is low on sleep, your defenses are down and it becomes easier to make poor eating choices. Second, when you’re tired, you’re less likely to do your workout and if you do, it will likely be at a much lower intensity which means you burn less calories. Third, a lack of sleep also interferes with your metabolism. I could go on and on with this, but I think you get my point. Sleep is the third leg of the stool – diet, exercise, and proper rest are all essential for you to be at your best.
I’ll be aiming for the recommended 7-8 full hours of sleep each night. I encourage you to do the same.
Step #5: Ramp It Up
While I did stick to my commitment to exercise while I was away, it’s time to step it up a bit and work off some of those vacation indulgences. For the next couple of days, I’ll focus on high intensity interval training because it produces the biggest calorie burn in the shortest period of time. On weight training days, I’ll incorporate cardio in between sets – again to maximize my burn.
If you didn’t work out while you were away, then I’d encourage you to ease in slowly. You can start with a 15-20 minute routine for a day or two and then ramp it up to a solid 30+-minute routine.
Well there you have it – the 5 R’s – Renew, Restore, Refocus, Rest and Ramp it Up. Is it simple? Yes. Is it easy? Not quite. But it can be done and YOU can do it!
I went away, ate, drank, relaxed, and then ate some more. I enjoyed a couple of big breakfasts, a few Starbucks indulgences, authentic Italian and even some fried onion rings (love those!) but it wasn’t without a price. When I woke up on Monday morning after several days of not-so-healthy eating, I felt puffy and bloated and my pants were a little tight. Not to mention I felt like crap!
Still, I heeded the principles in my “Help, I’ve Fallen off the Bandwagon and I Can’t Get Up!” blog: I forgave myself, learned from my mistakes, and will plan to do it differently next time. But now, it’s time to pay the piper.
Recovering from a setback isn’t easy. It’s going to require some sacrifices, but it can be done.
Here is my 5 step “Get Back on Track Plan:”
Step #1: Renew
I’ve come to grips with what my overindulgence cost me. I know the depth of the hole that I now have to dig myself out of. I’m not beating myself up about it, but I am being real with myself about the work that lies ahead. I can’t afford to less this continue. The bad eating stops now.
Even when you are serious about your fitness goals, you slip up here and there. You’re not perfect, but in the grand scheme of things, what happened on your vacation is the exception, and not the rule. Remember that you’ve been able to whip yourself back into shape before. You can do it again. You just have to renew your commitment to your goals.
Step #2: Restore
I did drink water while on vacation but not nearly as much as normally do. I enjoyed orange juice, a soda, tea, a couple of lattes and then there were those “other” drinks. It all amounted to a lot of empty calories and dehydration and water retention.
I know it probably sounds crazy that you could be dehydrated and retain water at the same time but trust me, it happens more often than you may think. Coffee, tea, etc. dehydrates the body which in turn triggers water retention. The only way to restore your balance is to get hydrated.
My first priority in getting back on track is to drink plenty of water. I’ll drink a minimum of 16 oz. before I leave the house in the morning and carry a water bottle with me to ensure I get in a total of 8-10 glasses by the end of the day.
In concert with that, everything else – soda, tea, fruit juices, even those cool little flavor packets that I sometimes add to my water are out for the next couple of days. Why? Because artificial sweeteners and stimulants can and most likely would sabotage my hydration efforts. Instead, I’ll add the juice of a fresh lemon or lime, but any fruit will do.
I’m back!!! Vacation was awesome!! I feel rested, refreshed and relaxed, so much so that I had to coach myself to get back to work today :). Hey, even your coach struggles with motivation sometimes. We all do.
Speaking of which, I have a confession to make. Remember how I said in my last post that I planned to maintain my weight while away? Are you ready for that classic line? Here it goes: “What had happened was…I gained 3 pounds!" I know, I know. You probably expect more from your coach but let me explain what happened!
I left Charlotte with good intentions and followed through on them for the first day (Wednesday). I ate a nice healthy turkey sausage and egg white wrap before getting on the road, ate the snacks I packed in transit (a KIND bar and grapes), enjoyed a nice salmon salad for lunch and a lean steak salad for dinner. I was on fire! And then it happened. On Thursday I had absolutely positively no motivation to continue along the path I had started. Have you ever felt that way?
Thursday was my birthday and let’s be clear, I totally planned to enjoy some tasty treats. But I didn’t plan to overdo it at breakfast, lunch, and dinner! I recovered on Friday but then veered off track again on Saturday! By Sunday a part of me was almost sick of eating off plan while the other part wondered what the next tasty dish would be. Have you ever been there? It was like I had the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. I hate to tell you that the devil won for the 1st half of the day. I continued to overdo it until returning to Charlotte Sunday afternoon. Ugh. I hate it when that happens!
I know this looks bad but there were a few accomplishments. I did stick to my workout schedule. It just wasn't enough activity to offset what I was eating. Remember: Most of us don't have the time or energy to out exercise a bad diet! But hey, I was proud of myself for not completely abandoning ship. I also forced myself to eat fruit and veggies every day and drink water. In then end, though, it simply wasn't enough to accomplish my goal.
You may be thinking, “How did this happen? You began with the end in mind. You knew exactly what you wanted to accomplish. How then did it all fall apart?” They say hindsight is 20/20 and I have to agree. It was very important that I begin with the end in mind, but I neglected to include a critical step. And because this step is, well, critical, and I skipped it, my entire well intentioned plan fell a part in ONE day.
I had asked myself ALL the right questions except one:
(The Missing Link): Am I willing to make this sacrifice? No (in retrospect, of course).
Here’s the cold hard truth: I wanted the BENEFITS of what I wanted to accomplish, but deep down in my heart I wasn’t WILLING to do the WORK that it required. In the moment of decision, my want for tasty treats outweighed my desire to “look my best.” I lost sight of my why. Instead of focusing on what I wanted in the end, I allowed myself to be ensnared by what I wanted in the moment. Bummer, huh?
Now what? Where do I go from here?
First let me tell you what DIDN’T happen:
Second, what am I going to do now? Well, you’ll have to wait for tomorrow’s post where I will reveal my “getting back on track” plan.
In the meantime, let me share some good news with you: A temporary lapse in judgment is not the end for you. You can recover. How do I know? I’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE and I’M STILL HERE. My lapses didn’t send me spiraling out of control. I survived every last one of them and I’ll survive this one too. And if you’re reading this because you’ve lost control, you can survive too. I’ll show you how.
Here's the cold hard truth: ONCE IN A WHILE DOESN'T WORK. To get the ABSOLUTE BEST RESULTS, You have to be working towards 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week AND that's got to happen EVERY WEEK. "Going hard" once in a while is only going to FRUSTRATE you because you'll feel like you're doing all this work and getting NOTHING out of it. DON'T DO THAT TO YOURSELF!
Focus on building the HABIT by getting it in 10, 20, 30 minutes a day 3 or 4 days a week or do 10 minutes a day twice a week every week. I DON'T REALLY CARE HOW YOU DO IT, I just want you to be consistent.
Once exercise becomes a part of your ROUTINE then you can increase the time to maximize your results. As the old saying goes "Don't try to boil the ocean", FOCUS ON CONSISTENCY FIRST!
Originally pubished: June 13, 2013
Today I head to the beach to celebrate my 40th birthday. I am so excited! Not only is the area beautiful and full of attractions, but I am really looking forward to the opportunity to take some real downtime to relax, refresh, and recharge. It is much needed! Side note: When is the last time YOU took some downtime?
One of the things that can be challenging about going away from home is keeping up your healthy routine. It is easy to go on vacation or even business travel and get so distracted that your exercise program and eating plan fall to the wayside. So what do I recommend?
I say the first thing you need to do is schedule a meeting with yourself and decide on your end goal. In other words, when your time on the road is over what do you want to have happened? Do you want to be at the same weight, have lost a little weight, or are you even okay with going up a few pounds (knowing that the extra pounds are a combination of water weight and your body's response to the heavy, salty, or sugary foods that you will be eating, not true fat gain)? By beginning with the end in mind it helps you define what you're going away plan should look like.
For example, if you want to maintain and you plan to enjoy some of the higher calorie foods, you now know that you need to make time for sufficient exercise to balance out your eating. This also means that you will still need to exercise some restraint, because we all know that you can't out exercise a horrible diet. You'll still need to get in your fruit and veggies, water, and lean meats as much as possible but will be able to indulge here and there as long as you exercise portion control.
If your goal is to lose weight, then you know that your eating and exercise habits are going to have to be "on point" just as they would be at home. This means you will have to be extra diligent in ensuring that you have what you need to get in your workouts - whether that is packing your DVDs or arranging a guest membership at a local gym. You may even need to get up super early to ensure it gets done before everyone else wakes up. You'll also need to resist the temptation to choose the "other foods" on the menu. Maybe even pack some health bars or fruit to keep you from doing so. In short, it's going to take planning, preparing and commitment - even more so than you would typically require at home.
If you are okay with going up a little, and I know that that might seem strange that I have listed that as an option, then things are little different. With this approach, what you are effectively deciding is that enjoying the food and company of the people you're with is most important. And here's where I may differ with a lot of experts: I am absolutely positively okay with this and make this decision myself on occasion! Life is to be enjoyed it can't always be so restrictive; I for one believe it's okay to live a little.
Why do I recommend beginning with the end in mind? Because thinking this through in advance means there will be no surprises or disappointment! You know exactly what to expect because you thought through the consequences of your actions before you took them. And because you weighed the options in advance - rather than acting impulsively or going on autopilot -you're much more likely to come up with a decision you can be at peace with not just in the moment, but down the road.
So which option did I decide on? For this trip I'm going with option one. I want to enjoy my time away but also not go up. I have some events coming up over the next couple weeks and want to look my best (yes even the pros have to work to maintain their look). Going up a few pounds won't ruin everything, but it will create a hole that I would need to dig myself out of. And getting out of that hole could take a week or two. I don't want to lose that much time, so I will endeavor to stay focused. The best part is knowing that if I get off track (yes it happens to me too) I know exactly how to get back on track because I've been in that hole so many times before.
That brings me to my last piece of advice: know that no matter what happens it will eventually be oka as long as you don't quit. Nothing is forever. Everything has the potential to change over time.
I'll check back on Monday to let you know how I did!
PS: Even with the "okay to go up" approach, you can't completely abandon ship and do nothing. You still have to get in exercise and get your 8 glasses of water for example. I don't ever recommend that you take a vacation from everything because it's so hard to get back in the swing of things when you do.
PSS: The above three are the only options. You cannot eat whatever you want and not exercise and expect to see no gain or weight loss, that is called delusion. And in case you're thinking "duh!", I hear you, but how many times have we acted as if we believe that? Stepping on the scale and hoping for miracle? More times then we would care to admit (publicly). So...just keeping it real reminder to keep you "on point" ;).
Many women report that hair concerns keep them from exercising and I'll admit that I used to be one of those women! But there is good news. It IS possible to be fit AND keep a beautiful relaxed hairstyle. I haven't always worn a "natural" hairdo :).
Here are a few hair care tips from “Sisters on the Move”, a Sisters Together women’s health care initiative:
To flatten the edges of your hairline, rub a cream or gel into your hands and smooth your hairline. Tie with a cotton scarf for at least 15 minutes. After you remove the scarf, your hairline will be smooth. [265 Point: This tip came in really handy a few times, especially when I was a few weeks out from a relaxer!]
For more tips including hair style recommendations, go to:
Sisters Together was funded as a pilot project of the Weight-Control Information Network (WIN) and was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to address obesity prevention.
Originally published: March 11, 2011
We tend to think of stress as bad but really it's necessary! Stress is simply a behavioral adjustment to change. The only people that don't ever stress are those who play it safe and never take risks (not even calcuated ones)...and I know you are not one of those people! You're a go getter and as a result, stress comes with the territory.
The problem is most people feel as though they have EXCESS (too much) stress:
When life comes at you fast, you've got to de-stress! But how? According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, we typically release stress in one or more of the following ways:
The Case for Exercise – What Makes Exercise Different from the Other Five
Keys to Using Exercise as a Release
So if you've had a rough day, get changed and lace up your sneakers. Let exercise be your healthy escape!
Read Further at Your Own Risk!!!
1. You’ve accepted it as a part of your culture. I.e., being from The South or “the country.” You say things like “this is the only way I know how to cook”, we’re just “big boned”, and “we’re broke; we can’t afford to eat healthier.”
2. You have a food addiction. You accept it because you love the food...it’s your drug of choice. You’re not willing to give it up, even though you know it’s slowly killing you.
3. You won’t work out. You’re okay with modifying your eating habits but “just don’t have time” for exercise. Not even 10 minutes a day.
4. You’re noncommittal. You know what you need to do but you keep cycling back and forth, on again off again. It’s a perpetual cycle.
5. You won’t change your eating habits. Yeah, you work out like a beast, but exercise alone is not enough. And this is not new news.
6. You’re a habitual dieter. No carbs this month and then some drink concoction or pill the next. You know it’s too good to be true, that it won’t really last, but you’d rather case a fairy tale than buckle down, face your demons and do the work required to achieving lasting results.
7. You justify it as your "harmless" guilty pleasure. We like to separate weight issues from people who have problems with street drugs and other undesirables. But all of it is self-destructive behavior so is it really all that different?
8. You’re having an identity crisis. You’re known as “the cake lady”, as someone who can “burn in the kitchen” or “put her foot in it,” and that's ingrained in who you are. It's a part of your identity.
9. You’ve bought into the Big Beautiful Woman movement lock stock and barrel. Yes, beauty does come in all shapes and sizes but eating poorly and not making time for exercise is not cute and shortens your life span. Not only that, are you really happy with how you look? Or are you just pretending?
10. You’re a procrastinator. You’re always looking for the “perfect” time to start and as a result never get started. You’ve got to start on a Monday, at the beginning of the month, after vacation, after you get the kids back in school…the list just goes on and on.
Do you see yourself in any of the 10 reasons? If so, it’s time to step up and put your big girl/big boy pants on and deal with these issues. Remember you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.
Need someone to keep you “on point” and challenge your excuses? Let's talk.
Recently my mom turned me on to this flatbread and I’ve gotta say I love it! Are you wondering why? I’m glad you asked!
1. It is just 90 calories for the entire flatbread (other varieties are slightly more). Two slices of loaf bread can range from 120-200+ calories.
2. It’s just enough (oh how I do love bread and could easily get carried away) and it actually satisfies my palate. It does NOT taste like cardboard, instead it’s soft and tasty.
3. It has the Whole Grain Council’s label on it which means it has 8 or more grams of whole grains (benefits include reduced stroke, diabetes, and heart disease and there is a link to better weight maintenance). Side note: I generally pass on foods advertised as whole grain that do not have this label.
4. It has 9g of fiber in it. Fiber helps you lose/maintain weight because they it helps you feel fuller longer. Foods made with fiber also take longer to chew, giving your brain time to catch up and realize that you’ve had enough to eat.
I think you’ll enjoy using this loaf bread swap. Try it and let me know what you think!
coach tam's Blog
40-something who loves food, fitness, and fun!