Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Almost the new year!

As the new year approaches, the store ads and magazines start showing weight loss products, fitness equipment, and healthy eating advice. I was just looking through Costco's magazine yesterday and although I enjoyed reading the health & fitness articles, I thought it quite a flip from all the sugar and unhealthful, fattening foods geared to Christmas they sold and promoted the last few months.

Usually I wait until after New Year's Day (even until the children are back in school) to get myself focused on my health goals I typically veer away from to some degree each Christmas season. (I am getting better each year, I think, but still don't adhere to my plan completely as I set out to do).

This year, however, I just can't wait that long. Once Christmas was over, I thought "I'm done! I can't eat this stuff anymore!" I'm ready to focus now, not later. So I have. It took me until Monday to get prepared for my eating plan, but I'm doing it. I'm actually doing it amidst everyone home from school, relatives in and out, etc. And instead of feeling like "but there's this party coming up" or "there's still some cookies in the cupboard," I'm fine with focusing now. My health is so tied to how I eat that I don't want to endure the pitfalls anymore. And even when I am fortunate enough to eat something unhealthy and not feel an immediate problem, I know of the long-run problems that can ensue. I'm not willing to take those risks. I've got to be smart about my health.

So what are your goals? I'd love to hear them. For me, I want to eat mostly raw with whole foods for my cooked. I've been dependent on too many high-sugar foods that health food stores carry, so I've told myself they're healthy, but they really aren't. Even if they're made with unrefined sugar or organic ingredients, they are addicting to me and aren't what my body needs. So that's an overall plan for me this 2010 -- to get away from those foods once and for all. Once I'm eating steadily that way, my workouts will improve. When I eat well, I get up at 5:00ish no problem, with vim and vigor and keep up with my fitness rotations just fine. When I don't eat as well, I sleep longer and don't leave enough time for powerful workouts or even meaningful yoga sessions. I miss spending 90 minutes doing yoga.

Off to sleep on this a bit more. I'll share more for the new year in a few days. TTFN!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Do what you'll keep doing

There's this phrase that keeps showing up on the Video Fitness forum whenever someone asks "Which workouts help you lose weight the fastest?" or "Which workouts have made the biggest changes in your body?" The answer inevitably comes up "the ones that you'll do." I know many people have had great results with P90X. I will never be one of them. I can't stomach Tony for more than a few minutes in those workouts. I've met him in person and he's really a great guy and certainly an expert in fitness. I could talk to him for hours, I'm sure. But he has this wacky humor and this competitive style that I can't handle for long in a workout. I've tried doing a P90X workout and later his P90X+, but neither appealed to me. So for ME, those workouts would not make a dent in how I looked because I'd never do them.

On the flip side, I've had great visible results with the Slim Series and the FIRM and I love what yoga does for me physically and mentally. Would that work for you? Maybe, if you liked them enough to do them. Some people say it's a body type thing (different bodies respond to workouts differently), but I think the biggest factor is if you'll do the workouts long enough to let them make a difference.

Now of course I relate most everything to eating, so I was thinking the same thing this morning about diets. Someone asked me just yesterday what to do about the weight she'd just gained. Someone else wrote a few weeks ago and asked how she could lose weight fast, like in less than a week. I gave them both answers that I've found to work for me, but realized today that although these are healthy approaches, they will not work for them if they don't stick with it.

So how do you find out what you'll stick with? You do have to experiment. You do have to try a different way of eating than you're doing right now if you want to lose weight. But what will you be able to stick with? I had a friend once tell me that she was doing certain workouts because she needed to lose weight, but she was not willing to change how she ate. She didn't lose much weight. She didn't keep off what she did lose.

You have to be willing to make changes that you will keep doing once you change. No going back. People don't like to hear that. They want to go back. They want to think once they reach their goal, the process can end and the results will stick. I used to be the master at that kind of thinking. I thought as soon as I lost weight or got rid of a health problem by changing my eating, I could abandon that regime and start eating like all the naturally thin and seemingly healthy people do. That never worked.

In looking for your ultimate way to eat, keep in mind that your body will run better on supreme fuel. If the quality of food and nutrient density is high, then your body will be more satisfied and able to stick with your new habits. I am amazed at how little I miss certain foods that I used to eat all the time and thought I would feel deprived without. There are certain foods that haunt me from time to time, but the longer I go without them and the more I learn to love more vegetables, the less room in my life I have for those foods.

Extreme diets don't work because you don't want to stay on them. I heard once when I first looked into eating a high raw food diet that this was the only diet people couldn't wait to get back on when they got off because they felt so good when they were on it. Whole foods taste better and better the more you eat them, too.

Now, I'm sure it sounds like after telling you to do what YOU'LL keep doing, that I'm telling you to do what I do and to eat like I eat. I sort of am. But what I really want to tell you is to find a plan (or eating style) that works for you (making menus or just winging it, planning out snacks before you leave the house or just always having water or a green smoothie with you when away, only eating every 4 hours or eating all day long) amidst the realm of eating a majority of whole foods. You will have a greater chance of sticking with your changes in eating if you get nutrient-dense foods in your body to help you feel as strong and sane as possible.