Friday, July 22, 2011

Hot weather exercise options

I dreaded being outside in the heatwave, but had no choice. There was an errand that had to be done today. Once outside, I saw two cyclists, four kids walking down the block and a runner doing their thing in the 100-degree heat.

Like you, I wouldn't. It isn't healthy and could lead to heat exhaustion, among other things. The best option is to exercise indoors at home. You can run in place, use an indoor exercise bike if you have one, do jumping-jacks, dance, stretch, practice yoga, do push-ups, clean house and so on. Ideally, your indoor environment is cool and features an air-conditioner. Fans don't really help you to keep cool, as all they do during a heatwave is push hot air around.

Since you probably won't feel like eating much anyway, reach for fresh produce, such as tomatoes, lettuce, melon, cantaloupe, peaches, strawberries, oranges, lemons, carrots, pineapples, apples and plums. These foods contain water, but will fill you quickly and help you avoid sweets and other calorie-filled processed foods.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

personality and weight loss/gain

Did you know that if you have an impulsive personality that you're more likely to gain weight --- about 22 pounds more --- than someone who is more conscientious?  The key word is "likely." That is, if you're impulsive, your chances of gaining weight are likely that much higher.

But you have to remember that no two individuals are exactly the same, or are carbon copies of each other. Nor are their personalities.

But you can still use this information about yourself to make positive changes in your diet and exercise. For example, being impulsive about exercise and sports can probably help you more, as you probably won't hesitate to go the extra mile. If you have to think about doing so, that may not always work to your advantage. Still, you should remember that personality does play an important role in weight loss/gain.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Improve your feelings about your body = improving your body

Feeling good about your body may be an important key to losing weight. For a lot of women, however, that's a problem because they have poor self-images of their bodies which prompts them to stress which in turn prompts them to eat more. And a lot of times, what these women tend to eat to relieve stress only aggravates their weight problem.

Speaking for myself in regard to body-image issues, I've experienced and still tend to experience poor self-image. I'm trying to shrink my belly, and although I've gotten it down some, it still sticks out. No matter which way I turn in front of a mirror, that belly just naturally attracts my attention first.

But focusing on something like a protruding belly is wrong. What I should be focusing on is a thinner, shaplier butt and thinner arms. The bust line ain't bad, ditto for buttocks. That's all of the positive stuff and my job now is remaining positive about it. Then and only then will I use it as a supplement to eating healthy foods and exercising regularly.

Try this beverage instead of soda

With all of this heat and humidity, it's hard not to reach for that ice-cold glass of Coke or Pepsi or other soda. Soda seems to fit the bill in this weather because it is cold and sweet and satisfying. But soda has its downsides too. One of them is that soda is already loaded with calories and basically amounts to sugar water Even worse, it leaves a sticky aftertaste in your mouth.

A better alternative to soda is seltzer water, which is much cheaper and thirst-quenching without the sticky aftertaste. And you don't have to drink it "as is" either. You can, for example, mix some orange juice in it. You wind up with a drink that has far less calories, is more refreshing, and costs a whole lot less.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Turn losing weight into a habit

Very often, it is easy to become "hooked" on a given eating and/or exercise regimen initially. Unfortunately, the charm wears off eventually, especially when desired results are not forthcoming fast enough. Discouragement sets in and that's the end of that.

Getting hooked and turning losing weight into a habit takes a little work and time. You should take inventory of healthy foods you already love to eat and find simple recipes that include them. And you should also consider indoor and outdoor activities that already motivate you to participate and continue doing them all of the time.

With this information in place, the last thing you have to do is consider how you already spend a typical day doing what and when.....and include favorite healthy foods and exercises during weekdays and weekends. Initially, you will be hooked and stay hooked while avoiding gaining more weight.

Avoiding behavior that makes you fat

Here are a few tips:

- Don't skip breakfast in the morning. Doing so will cause you to become very hungry later on in the morning and start eating any junk just to satisfy that hunger. From my own experiences, I can tell you that eating junk will not likely include healthy foods, but sugary calorie-filled foods like cake, danish, donuts and so on.

- Eat when you do feel hungry.

- Avoid starving yourself in order to lose weight. That plan will only backfire and cause your body to go into survival mode and store fat. Plus, that plan never works and you wind up gaining even more weight.

- Avoid fad diets. You've probably seen countless examples of such fads in books already, along with outrageous claims made by so-called doctors and experts. Also, remember that any fad diet is not going to motivate you to want to follow it even after you've lost some weight. You'll become bored and go back to those old, fat-producing bad eating habits.

- Avoid wasting time and spending money on commercial gyms unless you are doubly sure that you will use them regularly and that their programs motivate you to continue exercising. Also avoid such gyms if you don't feel comfortable with structured exercise programs. You'll feel more motivated and continue losing weight by following your own exercise regimen for free.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

FORGET dieting

I Can Make You Thin author Paul McKenna argues that dieting is a futile activity. It is nothing more than a "training course in how to get fat and feel like a failure." I've looked at a LOT of diet books and didn't follow their recommendations for meals. I'm ready to forget dieting and been ready for as long as I can remember. It really doesn't work.

The real reason diets don't work has to do with human biology. Depriving yourself of food really doesn't help you to lose weight --- it only helps you to gain weight. You're just dying to eat certain "forbidden" foods and can't because those foods are not healthy or whatever. The more you think about those foods, the more you want them, say, you crave chocolate and would love to sink your teeth into a Hershey's bar. But you don't have anything like that at home, which makes your craving worse. And when you finally get that Hershey's bar, you wind up eating more than one, ie., you've pigged out. It was so good and you didn't enjoy one for the longest time.

Now do you see what's going on?  Where you might have just eaten one chocolate bar, you wound up eating several. However, what matters is that you enjoyed that food and satisfied a craving. What's wrong with that? After all, you're not on a diet. Being on a diet would have worsened your craving for chocolate and made you feel guilty about eating one.

How badly do you want something to eat?

I'm currently reading Paul McKenna's book, I Can Make You Thin. It's simple reading and pretty entertaining as well, especially in Chapter 2, where Paul discusses emotional eating. He recommends putting a big question mark on your fridge. That, he says, should make you stop and think and ask yourself if you really do feel like eating or are you just eating to change the way you feel?

Well, it is comforting to have a nice full tummy, but that's about it. Chances are better, though, that your emotions didn't prompt you to eat. All you wanted was something to nibble on between meals, some kind of cracker or cookie to munch on as you worked at your computer or tried to solve a problem. I, for example, enjoy eating those cheese crackers shaped like fishes in between, simply because it's something to do while I read or work at the computer or whatever. I'm following McKenna's advice then because I'm eating what I want, but have a hard time stopping even when I feel full, lol!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The worst foods that you can eat. Is that really true?

Recently, I saw an article on the worst foods you can eat if you're trying to lose weight. Among those foods,  margarine, whole milk, soda, hot dogs, and pizza were mentioned.

Now hot dogs are processed foods containing fat and various preservatives, but as long as they are not eaten as a meal every day, they shouldn't be that fattening. What's life without an occasional hot dog?  If you eat foods like hot dogs, margarine and milk in moderation, you shouldn't get fat, especially if you're active to begin with. I'm almost positive that the author of the article meant the type of pizza that's loaded with sausage and other unhealthy ingredients. On the other hand, plain pizza should be fine, so long as you don't eat it daily as a meal.

But soda should be avoided entirely. Drinking it is like drinking cupfuls of sugar.

Let me tell you something. When I traveled in Europe, I ate practically everything, including pizza, gelato (ice cream), potato soup, and other assorted goodies, and you would think that by the time I arrived home that I would have gained enough weight to look like the Michelin man. But I didn't. If anything, I actually lost weight, some ten or fifteen pounds and why? Because I was active during that time. I walked quite a bit every day and burned quite a few calories.

My point is that you can still eat what you like, but you need to balance that by staying active all of the time, not just one or two days.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Another reason to avoid fast-food places like BK

As if selling greasy hamburgers and fries wasn't enough, places like BK and another called Sonic are planning to sell beer and booze with their burgers. If you want an excuse to pack on additional pounds, definitely plan to visit them once those places feature booze in their menus.

Thus, still another reason to avoid such places if you can. Even if you can't because much of the food is tasty, you can at least opt for foods with the least amount of calories and avoid super-sizing  at all costs.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Do you really need a gym?

At least I think so. They feature the usual equipment and similar exercises and maybe a trainer or two. Sometimes, a few of those trainers do not seem to know what they are doing. For clients who do use gyms regularly, they socialize with others and maybe gain a few more friends.

You can do so much better than this. You can, for example, choose a sport to particpate in and join others who are enthusiastic about it as you. Doing that is way more exciting and probably a lot cheaper than a gym, as the motivation for exercise (participating in the sport) is more interesting and exciting than a gym.

Plus, you can create your own exercise regimen and implement it for as much or as long as you want. You can even opt for a personal trainer.

Gyms don't offer such options, although they charge money for using them. Before joining one, consider how often you'll use it, how much you'll be paying, types of equipment and other features.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Is there such a thing as a bad workout?

I think that there is, but it shouldn't be anything to obsess or getting upset about. We're human, after all, and have our share of good and bad days, including good and bad workouts.

A lot of things can make a difference in workouts anyway --- your motivation, stamina, health, type of exercise or exercises, availability of desired equipment such as weights, bicycles, etc., and weather. You can also "feel" like doing something or not, depending on the weather. For example, hot and humid weather slows me down. The steamy air makes me sweat even if I am standing. I'm not about to exert myself into heat exhaustion.

All you can do is what you can do, and shouldn't worry about achieving perfection. Nothing is perfect in this world anyway.

Avoiding carbs completely such a good idea??

I did some web surfing today and read a few posts on various forums on fitness and losing weight. One of the posters suggested that eating carbohydrates like bread is what really makes you fat. To be honest, I've read a number of conflicting views and advice concerning carbohydrates. Each of the writers seemed to relate that advise from his or her personal experience(s) in getting fat or losing weight based on avoiding carbs.

From my own experience, I have found that eating balanced meals and exercising are among the best ways to lose weight, so long as you can turn the regimen into a habit. Not just any old habit, mind you, but things that you look forward to doing each and every day. If you force yourself to avoid certain foods, such as those containing carbs, you will surely do yourself a disservice. Of course, you should check with your doctor to see if avoiding carbs completely is the wisest course for you to take.

Otherwise, get those healthy habits started, making sure that each one you do is something you'll look forward to doing every day and you should be well on your way to losing weight.

Stop eating out and start losing weight faster

This morning, I heard a talk-show host briefly mentioning that eating out all of the time increases weight. In fact, that's nothing new. Years ago, I used to love eating out, mostly at fast-food places, which was the worst thing I could do to my body. My meals were basically hamburgers or cheeseburgers and an order of fries. Inside of a few weeks, I gained weight, especially in the belly. My tees practically stuck to my skin and I had to move back into size 16's. However, once I began eating at home because I didn't feel like going out just to eat, my weight came down. Plus I saved a LOT of money!

Occasionally, I enjoyed a restaurant meal. The meal portions were rather large, but worst of all, the sauces tend to drown the meat and don't taste that great. Coleslaw is usually served in a tiny paper cup and consists of about 70 percent mayonnaise. Calorie city, LOL!

I think that every so often, dining out is a great treat. Sure, it costs enough money and probably includes a lot of calories, but what the hey? It's not like you're dining out every day or have become habituated to doing so.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Losing fat isn't just a physical thing

So often, a lot of the focus in losing weight is on doing this or that. Exercises are recommended and good diets are encouraged, which is all well and good. But someone who is trying to lose weight has to avoid losing focus on his or her mental state in the meantime.. He or she has to be persistent and commit to getting results.

It isn't enough to merely think about getting results, but to do something to support that positive mentality. In other words, documenting those results in writing. Just recording somewhere, such as a journal, that you lost five pounds last week, will support your positive mentality and encourage you to keep at it and maintain the results you've achieved. Losing only a few pounds in a week or two is really a great accomplishment! It needs to be recognized and acknowledged some how some way. Even if you haven't achieved anything much now, you've still done something and your efforts paid off.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Planning your fat loss moves

When I first began, I didn't plan anything at all because it seemed like too much pointless work. As long as I did something every day, I should not have had any problems. But I did have problems.

My haphazard efforts did not help me to lose a lot of fat. If anything, I gained more weight.

I constantly used strategies that didn't help, or used strategies inconsistently for any positive results. Bad idea!

I was disorganized, which led to my having to figure out a single fat loss movement every day, which became too stressful and even pointless.

Planning your fat loss moves

. Weigh yourself and write the number down in a convenient place. Remember where you've written this number, as you'll need to refer to it again after three or four weeks.

. Decide what fat loss move you will do for each day of the week. You could simply repeat the same move or implement a different move each day. It's up to you and your weight loss needs. And WRITE IT down, preferably on a kitchen wall calendar.

. You don't want to limit yourself to performing one or more fat loss moves per day. You want to go back and check off or record what you did, how long you did it for, when you did it, and how you felt doing it. Would you perform that move again, and why or why not?

. After a month, weigh yourself. Are you weighing less, or more? If you're weighing less, go back and review what you did in the last three or four weeks and plan on repeating those moves!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Taking things one step at a time

In the beginning, I became overwhelmed in my weight loss efforts by trying to deal with everything at once, such as diets, exercise, the whole nine yards.

What I overlooked was focus. I didn't focus on one problem at a time and try to overcome it systematically. Insead, I took multiple problems on in a single go and lost traction and focus. I was literally spinning my wheels.  I became confused and dropped everything altogether. What was the point?

Now I know better. I take one problem, such as a bad habit, and deal with it one at a time. Doing this gives me time to become acclimated and substitute a good habit. The thing about things like this is that they take time to deal with. Another bad habit shouldn't be tackled until the first bad habit has been overcome in some way. Success in overcoming that bad habit and concentrate on losing weight 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Staying motivated to lose weight

On first thought, losing weight doesn't seem to be terribly complicated. You begin and maintain healthy eating habits and exercise. Even better, you turn those activities into good habits. Doing and maintaining them will seem like second nature. You wouldn't feel right if you couldn't do them daily. Once you feel that way, you know that you have established good habits.

Maintaining those healthy habits is the biggest problem because a lot of things can go wrong before those healthy habits are established. You can resort to yo-yo dieting or slack off exercising or return to eating calorie-filled and processed foods. Ultimately, the fat and weight return and you are back at Square One.

So you have to find ways to reinforce those healthy habits. For example, you may keep a journal, record your progress on a wall calendar, compete with a friend or family member to see who could lose the most weight in say, half a year, try different sports, excell in a favorite sport and so on. The whole point is to reinforce and maintain healthy habits and weight loss.