Bottom line is you have to take less calories in that you burn in order to lose weight. When, though, does quality of the calories matter? Many people will wonder why they are having trouble losing weight when they don’t each much throughout the day. Well part of the problem is the quality of foods they are consuming. You can spend little of your day eating and take in 1500 calories, but what foods are you eating? Do you skip breakfast for a sugary coffee drink? (I gained 40 lbs doing that one) Or do you skip lunch and eat a bag of chips at your desk because you are too busy at work to leave? If these sound familiar, you may be doing a serious injustice to your metabolism. These foods slow down your metabolism and cause your body to take longer to burn the consumed calories. In order to keep motor running, you have to add quality fuel. Just like a car, if you put quality fuel in your body, you will have better energy and a smoother running metabolism. So trade your high calorie mocha for coffee and milk with oatmeal and fruit for breakfast. If you’re like my husband, breakfast is just not your thing, and that’s OK. All you have to do is get something small like fruit and yogurt into your belly to warm the engine.
To keep that body humming throughout the day, eat lots of healthy snacks. The best way to do that is pack snack bags filled with fruits and veggies and maybe some nuts to munch on all day long. This will keep you from hitting the wall at 2PM and proceeding down the hall for the walk of shame to the vending machine. If you do break down and hit the break room for a chocolate bar or a bag of chips; I’m sad to say that it is only going to cause you to feel irritable and dissatisfied when you’re done. Instead grab my favorite snack, apples and peanut butter or almond butter or hummus and veggies. You want a good combination of fiber filled carbs and lean protein.
Even though to lose weight you have to consume less calories than you expend, ask yourself if the calories you’re consuming are going to enhance your metabolism or slow it down.
There is a Yale University study which proves that the number of calories we consume is not the only thing affecting our eating choices. There is a hormone in our bodies called ghrelin that tells our brain when we are hungry, and in this study, they tested whether our ghrelin levels are affected by our conscious brain.
There were two groups of participants both given the same 380cal shake. However, group 1 was told they were given a "sensible shake" that was just 140cal and group 2 was told they were given an "indulgent shake" that had 620cal.
When ghrelin levels were tested after consuming the shakes, group 2 with the "indulgent shake" had much lower levels of ghrelin than their "sensible" counterparts. This means that the group who consumed the "indulgent" shake were not feeling as hungry after consuming the shake as the "sensible" group.
So what does this mean for your eating habits? If you feel like you ate a "sensible" or "light" meal, your conscious will trick your body into releasing the hunger hormone, ghrelin, faster in order to eat sooner. On the flip side, does this mean you can convince your body you ate a calorie-dense meal? Obviously so! Next time you eat a light or sensible meal, convince yourself that it is more calories than it is, and maybe you will find yourself eating less throughout the day.
MIND OVER MATTER IS FOR NUTRITION TOO!
You can find the full study here: http://aionfitness.com/pdf-files/MindOverMilkshakes.pdf
Some days while I am working out, I feel like any challenge presented before me will be conquered! Then other days, like this morning, I feel like I have been set back months of training and I'm not sure why. While I was working out, I was working on some positive self talk to get me through the training, but it still took everything I had and then some to get through it. On the other side, I felt both a sense accomplishment for pushing through and a sense of exhaustion for squeaking by. It reminded me of something another trainer had once shared: We all need to have our strong days to feel good about ourselves, but the weak days are when we really make progress. If you don't push yourself to the point that training is uncomfortable, you won't see results. If you get into a rut with your training and you aren't coming out with sore muscles from pushing it; I'm afraid you have hit a plateau. Here are some ideas on how to push through a plateau:
1. Take a group class you haven't tried before. Group sessions challenge your coordination, give you a built in accountability system, and provide some healthy competition to push your own limits.
2. Start a new home based DVD program. Maybe you don't need accountability, but you need to be challenged with new exercises. Be cautious when starting one of these programs, find one that is just above your level of conditioning, not below and not too far ahead.
3. Use a website like www.fitstudio.com, www.ideafit.com, or www.acefitness.org and search the exercise library for new exercises or new workouts.
4. Find a sports team to join. There are lots here in San Diego County. Use www.govavi.com to find anything from soccer to tennis to kickball and even dodgeball.
5. I would be remiss if I did not mention finding a personal trainer. Find a trainer who has a passion for helping YOU in your situation. You want to ensure that the trainer has your needs in mind, not a one-size-fits-all training program.
I hope you enjoy your next workout and remember to push yourself past the pain. It will make you healthier amd stronger both physically and mentally.
When I was 9 years old, I played on a traveling soccer team, and we drove all over northern and mid New Jersey in a 15-pack van to get to our games. We were on the road to one of our games on a cool fall morning. I distinctly remember looking at my thighs and thinking, “I wonder how much larger my thighs are than the girls next me.” So I looked over at the two girls sitting beside me. The first girl, Jenny, was much smaller than me and her thighs were significantly smaller. Stacey was right beside me and I justified to myself that her thighs were not quite as big as mine, but not too much smaller either. Of course this negative self-talk left me feeling insecure. Why was a 9 year old girl worried about the size of her thighs? I have no idea! But throughout my childhood and young adult years, I was continuously obsessed with the size of my thighs. The insecurities of that 9 year old girl plagued me throughout childhood and young adulthood. It led me to buy bigger clothes and succumb to the idea that they would just never get any smaller. After I have dropped 40lbs and am more fit than I even was as a Marine, I still have some thickness to my thighs, but they are strong and healthy.
With all of my healthy lifestyle changes and internal work I did on and for myself, I thought I would be rid of the insecure 9 year old girl; however, I have been recently reminded that she will always be a part of me. I was spending time with my best girlfriend the other day talking about ways I can support and influence teenage girls to live an active and healthy lifestyle. After a while of tossing around ideas, we went onto other conversations and began getting ready for our girls’ night out. Side bar: my best friend is one of those skinny girls most women hate. It’s not that she doesn’t exercise or eat well because she does; she just doesn’t HAVE to do it as often or frequently to maintain a healthy weight. OK, back to the story. I’m sitting in her living room on the couch and she walks back into the room and that 9 year old girl creeps into my head and wonders: “how much bigger are my thighs than hers?” SERIOUSLY!?!? I had to talk myself off the ledge: “OK, LJ! You have managed to meet weight and fitness goals some only imagine! You are healthier than most people you know, you can outperform many people in fitness challenges, you are a certified personal trainer, and, and, and…Why are you still doing this to yourself. Maybe my thighs are a couple inches bigger, but she will be the first to claim that I can out squat, jump, or run her. You are more than this. Don’t let your insecurities get the best of you.”
Once I was done reminding myself of the positives, I felt much better, but I would be lying if I said I was rid of that 9 year old girl. To be honest, I don’t think I ever will be rid of her, and I believe she is there for good reason. She motivates me to try harder at every fitness challenge in front of me. She also drives my passion to help young women. I love 9 year old LJ for all she is worth, which let me you tell you, is a lot! I will continue to reassure her when she feels insecure and allow her to fuel my passion when I need her. She’s a part of me for better or worse, and I am glad to have her.
Take time to find your inner child and let him/her light that passion inside you. I’m certain you will find a worthwhile cause or mission in your own life.
Have a healthy day!
I love the New Year! It is a very positive and opportunistic time of year. People are ambitious to make things new, exciting, and better than before! I am a change junky, so it really excites me when I see those around me making changes, especially positive behavior changes. I support the efforts whole heartedly, but there are many traps out there that can set us up for disappointment. After the holidays, everyone is looking for the next quick fix to undo the over-indulgences. It is easy to fall into the trap of sales and extravaganzas that you see as you walk through any store this time of year. Truthfully, most of us don't need the next miracle drug or 15-minute workout video, or full on home gym. Instead, we can do it by making one positive choice. The choice is to MOVE!
Get moving every chance you get! This year, it can be the New Year's Resolution to keep up with the laundry or keep the beds made that actually keeps those calories burning rather than the resolution to go to the gym 7 days a week. (By the way, both of those cleaning resolutions are mine, I'd much rather go to a gym than clean!) My point is that subtle changes will be the ones that stick beyond the resolution rush. Be realistic in creating new habits rather than trying to break old habits and you will have greater success!
Make this a Habit New Year all year long...Create a new POSITIVE habit. Once you can consecutively execute your positive habit for 4 weeks, it should be second nature. If that's the case, it's time to move onto POSTIVE habit change #2! Repeat the process throughout the year and you will have easily picked up 10 or more new habits! I'm starting my bed making today! What's yours?
Have a Habit New Year!