Even when you are just "training for LIFE" to be the best you that you can be, it's very frustrating to have injuries. Sadly, this is a topic I know WAY TO MUCH about! When a professional athlete is injured, she will get top-notch professional help to fix the problem, rehab, and be back in the game. The game is her profession and she can do whatever needs done to get back to work. Often, no expense is spared and the athlete has time to recover and get back in shape.
BUT, what about you and me? What about the person who decides it is time to take control of her life, starts exercising, eating well, feeling good and then -- INJURY? When I began to really make some changes in my life about 5 years ago, I started working out in the gym with a trainer, started running, and started losing weight. As the weight came off, I started doing more in the gym and more running. I was beginning to feel good, strong, energetic! I was juggling being a home-schooling mom to 5 kids, a part time Recreation Center employee, and a wife and I was feeling great!
That is when the first blow occurred. My shoulder started bothering me so I went to an orthopedist to get some advise. What was supposed to be a routine "clean out the joint and you will be as good as new procedure" ended up being a much bigger deal. A nasty cartilage tear was repaired and 8 weeks of total immobilization began, and PAIN! Wow, I was not expecting that, and it did discourage me at first. After all, I was just getting in a zone. Months of pain, frustration, and physical therapy I was back to normal. As frustrating as it was, at least I could still do all the lower body exercises I wanted -- biking, squats, lunges, leg machines......
THEN, the second blow- I broke my leg while jogging. WOW, again, talk about PAIN!! I went in for surgery and was 8 weeks, no weight bearing. Again, I was very frustrated, but still went to the gym 3+ times a week and did upper body work. I knew I had been repaired and time would take care of it.
About 18 months ago, I had hip surgery to repair a cartilage tear. Again, a period of no weight bearing but was back at physical therapy quickly and within 6-8 months was running, climbing, lifting.... again, feeling great and all fixed!
All three times, I just kept doing what I could do and worked like crazy to be a compliant patient so I could get back to normal activities. After all, there was a predictable pattern -- wear and tear injury, repair, rehab, back to normal...... I can handle that because I have been there, done that and came back strong.
About 10 weeks ago, I began having some very frustrating knee issues. When it flared up, I took some time off and got back to the gym, sure that I would be rested and good as new! Boy was I wrong. I went to an orthopedist, ready to hear about what I tore up and how we were going to fix it. I knew the drill, knew the pattern, and knew how to follow those directions. When the orthopedist told me there was not any real surgical issue to deal with I kind of freaked out. I am not going to lie -- I WANTED there to be something he could fix so could get back to doing what I love to do. The orthopedist knew I was VERY frustrated and discourage. He suggested physical therapy as a POTENTIAL fix; something to try before he went in and monkeyed around with my knee (which may or may not fix the problem).
I began physical therapy about 6 weeks ago, and I WAS FRUSTRATED! I couldn't run, do any leg machines, no squats, no boot camp, no, no, no...... UGH! I have struggled more this last "injury" than with the others in terms of frustration. I NEED to run, lift, work hard,,,, it's for my sanity! The first 4 weeks of physical therapy, I saw no improvement, gained a few pounds and quickly realized I was so SOFT and had NO ENDURANCE anymore. Crazy how fast you can deteriorate. I decided to switch to a more aggressive physical therapist and am now beginning to see some improvement. I walked the beach with my husband for 4 days with NO brace on my leg and I felt great. I still have not tried any kind of deep bends or impact exercises, but I am hopeful that I will get back to NORMAL (whatever that may be)!
I have used my little pity party to be lazy with my eating, feel sorry for myself, get discouraged, get frustrated, be short with others, and .... you name it. It has not been pretty, and I am not proud of my behavior. BUT, in the middle of it all, I have reminded myself that I am not training for a magazine cover, I am not training for a fitness or body building competition, I AM training for LIFE and LIFE is full of frustrations, unexpected issues, pain, set backs, disappointment..... I have reminded myself that I LOVE the process and the challenge so I will just keep on keeping on. I will KEEP going to physical therapy, I will KEEP making good food choices, I will KEEP exercising and training what I can, I will KEEP checking my attitude, and I will KEEP succeeding. I may not be getting from point A to point B as directly as I would like, but that's alright -- I will keep moving forward.
If you have dealt with injuries or obstacles in your training, be ENCOURAGED and just keep doing what you can to! ENJOY the PROCESS and remember to make good choices --controlling what you CAN control, and letting go of what you can't.
Remember, it's a LIFESTYLE so enjoy the journey!
This research is going to get personal…..
As women, we tend to be very critical of our own bodies and tend to compare ourselves with others all too frequently. The occasional comparison or negative thought about our bodies can become a real problem. According to the Mayo Clinic and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a “type of chronic mental illness in which you can’t stop thinking about a flaw with your appearance – a flaw that is either minor or IMAGINED.” (emphasis mine). It is also called dysmorphobia – the fear of having a deformity. Often times, a person will seek out cosmetic or medical help to “fix” the problem.
The symptoms of this disorder are numerous, including: obsessed with physical appearance, strong belief that you are ugly, either frequent mirror viewing and inspecting or avoidance of mirrors, excessive grooming, skin picking, comparisons with others, feeling the need to cover up with clothes or makeup, and belief that others see your appearance in a negative way. A person may obsess over a particular body part (nose, hips, skin, hair….) or over-all appearance.
So, WHY do people have this disorder? It is not known specifically, but there may be a combination of causes. Either brain structure or chemical issues, genetics, and/or the environment (our culture). More on this later…..
When this becomes an extreme problem and goes beyond just having a bad hair day or not liking what you see in the mirror, it can lead to suicidal thoughts or behaviors, depression, anxiety, OCD, eating disorders, substance abuse… just to name a few. If a person feels like these thoughts or feelings are taking over the ability to function, medical/psychological help may be needed. Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to get the help you need – the short term embarrassment is worth the long term gain for a better body image and a happier, healthier outlook on life. Cognitive and medical treatments can be used to help a person cope with this disorder.
Now that we know the extreme, Mayo Clinic,/ ADAA info about this disorder, what about the every-day -- “I don’t like what I see” or “What I see is not what others see” issues? How do we deal with that?
Now, this is where it gets personal and I am going to share from my own experience and research….. I was a lean, active child who did not really have major body issues as a teen. I didn’t like my hair, sometimes did not like my “look” but no real traumatic issues. Once I got married and started having kids (5 in 6 ½ years) I put on some weight and did not like what I had become. I saw myself as fat and ugly! After a series of major life stresses and events, I decided to do something about my fluctuating weight and dislike of what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I lost the weight, liked how I felt, and sometimes even liked how I looked. I took it a step further and worked with a professional nutritionist, got my personal training certification and started helping other.
Although I have been on the path to healthier lifestyle and have made so many positive changes, sometimes I still struggle with not seeing what is really there. I still see the fat girl, compare myself (and my progress) to others who seem to be succeeding, still buy clothes too big for me if left to shop alone…. You get the idea. I know some of you feel this way too because I get messages and emails from others who struggle with these same feelings. I am a work in progress on all fronts, but then again, aren’t we all??
OK – so why do we do this to ourselves and what can we do about it?
First, the WHY – I think each person has to evaluate that for themselves, either with professional help, with a really honest, good friend, or by examining his or her own life. For me, I had to get past the ugly duck feeling (my nick name as a child by my parents was “ugly”). Also, I am submerged in an industry (health and fitness) that puts SO much emphasis on physical appearance. It is a battle to not go down the “I will never be as thin as or as tone as or…” Honestly, I am a very completive person by nature, and I have to just let that go sometimes because it can consume me. Your WHY may be totally different from my WHY – the important thing is to find it so you can do something about it!
Now, WHAT can we do about it? For me, comparing myself now to my previous self and not others helps me keep an honest, real perspective. If I honestly look at pictures from years past, I can see many positive changes. Because I have a strong faith in God and believe I was created in His image, I choose to see myself as God sees me. I choose to NOT compare myself to the gals on the front of the fitness magazine covers that I read. This industry is full of visuals of what a fit, tone, healthy body should look like and many of those visuals are not real life (can we all say PHOTO SHOP??). I am also learning to trust what others say – when I only see the FAT me and my husband points out the truth, I am learning to listen. I am also learning to not expect perfection – knowing that I eat well, work hard, and make good choices helps to free me from what I perceive. Your WHATs will be specific to your WHYs, and I encourage you to explore both!
On the preventative side, a really important WHAT is nutrition and exercise. What you eat effects how you feel. Eating a clean, healthy diet with portion control will help you feel better. I have fewer aches and pains and significantly more energy when I eat well. The sluggish, tired, blah feelings just don’t exist when I am putting good food in my body. There have been many studies that have examined the effects of exercise in our brains. When you exercise, you release serotonin – the feel good hormone! Not only is there a chemical reason you will feel better with regular exercise, but, you can’t help but be more confident and have greater self esteem when you get stronger and accomplish more than you ever thought you could. If you don’t know where to start – ASK for help! I would love to help you, and I know there are numerous local opportunities to get help wherever you live. Some direction and accountability can go along way! Find a gym, do your own research, grab a friend, and get after the changes you need to make.
Let me start by saying that if you have had “success” with losing weight or feeling better due to a detox or cleanse, I am not here to tell you that you don’t feel the way you feel. I will come back to this idea later (and no, I don’t think it is all in your head). There are plenty of people who have used various methods to detox or cleanse who claim to have reaped incredible results; either from a health stand point or a weight loss stand point. However, the research shows that all the reports of the effectiveness of these regimens, protocols, products, or methods are simply anecdotal and not scientific. Let me also say, my research lead me to modern, Western medical research. I simply did not find studies done by alternative medical providers or practitioners (and I tried).
I began researching the need to cleanse and detox several months ago. It seems as though the in vogue thing to do in the weight loss/diet world right now is to cleanse. I follow many health and fitness pages on facebook and there are no shortage of proponents of cleansing and detoxing – each product claiming to be safe, effective, and NATURAL (another buzz word in the business right now)! People believe we need to cleanse in order to detox. The belief is that we need to flush toxic chemicals from our bodies to help them function better and to help our metabolism soar. Once this happens, we will shed all those unwanted pounds. It sounds so inviting, so easy, so “no work required of me.”
Celebs get a lot of media attention for cleansing and dropping weight rapidly while doing these quick fix methods and we seem to think that if celebs do it, we should do it too. Beyonce made the Master Cleanse formula (aka – the Lemonade Diet) famous when she dropped 20 pounds for a movie role. She soon gained the weight back and warned people to steer clear of this method.
I would like to look at a few different but related topics. The first one is colon cleansing. There are a variety of methods used to “cleanse” the colon: enemas, laxatives, herbal teas, enzymes, and magnesium (to name a few). An enema can be administered at home or by a colon hydrotherapist (colon irrigation). You simply pump the colon full of water (with or without a host of additives) and the water and waste are expelled. Some believe this is needed because undigested foods build up in the colon and cause a mucous build up producing toxins that enter the blood stream. I could not find any research to support that this really happens.
What the research does show is that we have natural bacteria in the colon that can detoxify food wastes. The liver also neutralizes toxins. The mucus membrane in the colon can keep unwanted substances from reentering the blood steam and surrounding tissue. The colon sheds old cells about every 3 days, thus you don’t get a build up of harmful materials (referred to as “spackle and paste” according to some colon cleanse promoters). The research also shows that colon cleansing (especially if done too frequently) can cause some real problems such as: dehydration, bowel perforation, greater risk for infection, and electrolyte imbalance.
The second topic is detoxifying. There are toxins all around in the air we breathe, the containers or bottles we drink from, the foods we eat, and on and on. There are several methods believed useful to get these toxins out of our body. There are detox foot pads that supposedly pull the toxins out of our bodies through our feet while we sleep. There is no scientific evidence to support this. There are also detox body wraps. Again, there is no evidence that supports the idea that you can pull toxins out of your skin by wrapping your body in something. The effects are basically the same as sweating (which you can do without paying someone to wrap you).
The third topic to explore is fasting. People fast to lose weight, detox, and/or cleanse. There are different kinds of fasts: fluids only, fruit and vegetable juice fasts, alternate day fasts, raw foods fasts. and so forth. Again, there is no evidence that fasting detoxifies or cleanses the body. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that you slow down your metabolism, are prone to binging, feel hungrier after a fast due to a hormone response, and have very little lasting weight loss.
The forth topic is natural cleaning (at the cellular level). The idea is that you can cleanse your entire body at the cellular level (as opposed to in the colon) naturally (implying it is good for you and safe). I could not even find that phrase used in any medical or scientific studies or research. The only place I could find this term, (phrase, method) used was in the literature by the company that makes the product that claims to be able to cleanse at the cellular level.
There is not real evidence that we NEED to be detoxified. Our bodies were designed to take care of this problem. Our bodies remove toxins through our skin, liver, colon, and kidneys. Dr. Fank Sacks, a leading epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health, says, “There is no basis in human biology that indicates we need fasting or any other detox formula to detoxify our body because we have our own internal organs and immune system that take care of excreting toxins.” You don’t need any pills, special detox diets, or potions to help your body do its job. Experts agree that there is no credible science to support claims that detoxifying works or is beneficial. Most all claims are testimonial.
Marketing is such a BIG industry! People get paid a lot of money to help product manufacturers convince you that you need their product. After all, who wants SPACKLE AND PASTE in their colon?!?! I sure don’t. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed if you have fallen for these marketing claims. Thousands (or more) people buy into these products each year. Even doctors promote these products (usually for profit) and SO many people say they work!! We all want what works. We all want what is EASY, let’s just be honest with ourselves.
“BUT IT WORKED,”…. I hear some of you saying. I said I would come back to this later …. it’s later. I don’t think that the benefits you experienced are all in your head. I do think the benefits had less to do with the cleanse, fast, or detox per say, but rather what you eliminated while doing whatever it is you did. Let me explain. You probably did not consume white flour, sugar, “bad” fats, processed foods, ….. or any of the other nutrient poor foods you usually consume. I believe the research (and person experience) demonstrate that we do not need to detox or cleanse. We NEED to eat a healthy diet day in and day out and we need to GET MOVING!
While I don’t like the title of the book, Dr. Christine Gerbstadt wrote a book entitled Doctor’s Detox Diet in which she states that, “…detox diets are a way of ‘clean eating,’ which means natural, less-processed foods that are closer to the earth without artificial ingredients.” She encourages lots of water, whole fruits, vegetables, fiber, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grains allowing for 1500-1600 calories per day. WAIT A MINUTE…. THAT is the detox plan?? CLEAN EATING?!?! That sounds just like the LIFESTYLE so many promote for health, wellness, and maintaining a healthy body weight (myself included). Dr. Michael W. Smith, Internal Medicine, put it this way, “There is a lot of hype around “detoxing” and “cleansing” these days. Most of what you’ll hear is untrue, and can be just a waste of your time and money. There’s no evidence that detoxing and cleansing has any health benefit. Nonetheless, there are lifestyle changes you can make to “detox” your body. Cutting back on saturated fats, daily calories, refined grains, sugar, and sodium can help you reap all kinds of health benefits. Instead, choose fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy, lean protein, seafood, and healthy fats.”
When referring to “the real cleansers,” Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D, (a certified nutrition specialist) said, “…whole fruits and vegetables “act like little scrub brushes for your digestive tract. A cleanse can fell like a psychological jump start to healthy eating, it’s not the solution for long-term wellness. Being healthy is a lifestyle. “
According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman (author of Eat to Live), “We cleanse all the time if we eat properly, because that enables our bodies to function optimally.
SO, what is the bottom line? SAVE YOUR MONEY and CONSISTANTLY EAT WELL as part of an ACTIVE and HEALTHY LIFESTYLE! No quick fixes!
Mayo Clinic, Dr. Mark Larson, Gastroenterology, Rochester,Minn.
WebMD, Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH,RD,LD
Mayo Clinic, Dr. Lawrence E. Gibson, Dermatologist
Sandra Fryhofer, MD
Host of blogs and other articles on this subject
While I wrote this about hoilday eating - the same applies all the time - there will always be tempting treats, special occasions.....
Ok - holidays…… always too much stress concerning holiday eating. There are several ways to approach this - all of which have much more to do with how you THINK about food than how you EAT food. I believe with every fiber of my being that I never want to be ON a diet again, that I want how I eat to be a true LIFESTYLE (hence my name -- Complete Lifestyle Change). I want to stop playing the mind-game with food that I have played for so long and learn to enjoy food but not be controlled by it.
Food is not "good" or "bad", "clean" or "dirty" -- food is just FUEL. How you choose to fuel your body is up to you. Yes, I use the word "clean" when describing how I try to eat - simply because it has become a recognized term for eating whole foods, lots of fruits and veggies, lean meats, healthy fats, limited dairy…. You get the idea. We (and I am talking to myself first and foremost) can get wrapped up in the anxiety over what to eat, how often to eat, when to eat, how much to eat…… and then we get caught up in guilt over what we did or did not do "right." This cycle of thinking is even worse around the holidays because there are so many occasions to eat and drink all the "forbidden" foods around every bend.
Some strategies you can follow:
Have a game plan when faced with holiday party eating - for example, if you know there will be all kinds of unhealthy choices - eat something healthy before hand and then pick a few things that you really want to indulge on and enjoy them in small quantities. Remember, the party is not about food - rather the fellowship with one another!!
Don't drink your calories. High fat, high sugar, high calorie drinks are all around us this time of year - lattes, hot chocolate, egg nog….. the list goes on an on. Keep yourself hydrated with water and enjoy just a little of the others - choose a "skinny" version of your favorite drink and get the smaller portion. You can ENJOY it - you don't have to FOCUS on it.
DO NOT DEPRIVE YOURSELF OF ALL THAT IS YUMMY -- all the holiday goodies are YUMMY - no getting around it! Choose what you want to enjoy and do so without guilt. Just be in control. Don't waste the calories on just any ol' dessert or food - make it worth it! ONE chocolate covered peanut butter ball (a favorite of mine) will taste great - you don't have to eat 6 (or more - which I have been known to do)!!
Don't stress over a little holiday weight gain. If you gain a couple pounds over the holidays, don't freak out. I do believe you can enjoy the holidays with NO weight gain (remember, it is NOT about the food), but if you do have a little gain - just start fresh. The next meal or snack - make it a good one! No guilt. You are living LIFE - it is not a contest (something my dear husband reminds me of all the time!!).
Make holiday goodies with healthy substitutes. Choose healthy oils (olive oil, coconut oil), choose plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream, …… there are a lot of ways to alter favorite recipes to make them more healthy.
KEEP MOVING -- you can get a walk or a workout in EVERY DAY if you choose to -- you will feel good, have less stress, and be more mindful of your goals in general if you keep moving!!
If you are just now deciding it is time to make some changes toward a healthier life, pick one or two areas to focus on - don't try to change all your bad habits over-night. LIttle success will encourage you to do more. This is a marathon - not a sprint.
If you have been making changes for awhile and are worried the holidays will set you back - let go of the worry, focus on people and what's important, not food. When it is all said and done, if you did not eat ANY pecan pie or chocolate goodie you will have enjoyed your holidays just as much!!
There are probably a host of other tips "out there" that you can find to encourage you - these were just on my heart today to share!
Lately I have noticed a few extra pounds, a little less tone appearance, and a little less energy. Like most people, I started looking around at who or what might be the problem. After all, I eat clean, exercise most every day, and help others to do the same. SO, I asked myself, "What could the problem be?"
I had to answer very honestly, it was EXCEPT! That pesky little, powerful word! What I found was the following:
I have been eating clean EXCEPT the occasional treat, extra serving, trip through Starbucks, ..... You get the idea. In reality, I have not been eating very deliberatley at all. I have been eating whatever, whenever EXCEPT the occasional clean meal or snack. YIKES. That could explain the few extra pounds.
I have been exercising almost 5-6 days a week EXCEPT when I did not want to get up earlier on days that I had a lot going on with my kids. My workouts have been ok, EXCEPTthey have not been as intense or deliberate as they should be for my goals. I have been working out with clients and calling it good, EXCEPT my client's goals are not my goals... Again, you get the idea. I have not been working out to meet my goals. I have been spinning my wheels and using excuses.
SO, what should I do about this little word? TAKE IT OUT OF MY VOCABULARY! I won't eat clean EXCEPT, and I won't workout EXCEPT ... I will choose to evaluate my goals, and develop a plan to meet them! I have been aimless for a little too long and have allowedEXCEPT to take over!
I have always liked to research. This latest project was one I took on to prove something to myself. I wanted to prove that because I have been under a great deal of STRESS lately, I can't help that I am carrying a little extra fat around my middle. I know, I know..... not the best approach to unbiased research, but I was so sure all the opinions "OUT THERE" about stress and weight gain were true that I wanted to prove it (and prove that my jiggly middle is not my fault). What I actually learned surprised me and once again reinforced what I believe and teach... the condition of my middle is about LIFESTYLE choices!
Hormones play a big role in the stress response. There are basically three hormones that we need to look at when discussing stress and our body's response to it. When we are stressed, we release adrenalin (gives instant energy), corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH), and cortisol. These hormones give us the strength we need to fight or flee in a stressful situation. Think about how people lived long ago when most stressors were in the form of physical danger. People needed the FIGHT OR FLIGHT response for survival. Today, our stressors rarely require us to have a true physical response (expenditure of energy). I am getting ahead of myself.... let me back up.
When adrenalin is released, we have instant energy. When adrenalin and CRH levels are high, there is a decrease in appetite, but this does not last long. Cortisol is released and it works a little differently. The function of cortisol is to help us replenish the body after the stress has passed and the effects last longer. It actually causes an increase in appetite. Think back to the idea that long ago stressors actually required a person to react physically and expend much energy for survival. Cortisol came in very handy after the initial risk was over because the body NEEDED to replenish fuel supplies. Fast forward to the stressors of today. Family relationship issues, economic issues, school or job issues... don't cause us expend a large amount of physical energy, thus we don't need to replenish our bodies with fuel. You are not crazy or lack self control, the body's response to stress really does make you feel hungry but you don't NEED to eat (as people once did when dealing with the fight or flight response).
"Great, I don't need to eat, but I DO crave sweets when I am stressed. Is that all in my head?" I am glad you asked. The answer is NO. You really do crave sweets. Remember, our body thinks it needs to replenish fuel from a flight response. What fuel is most readily used by the body when it needs energy? Sugar! What happens to excess sugar NOT used for energy? It is STORED AS FAT. What a cruel cycle! The very mechanism our wonderful Creator gave us to preserve life is what is now making us fat. (see my note on Sugar)
Another interesting fact I found when researching is that overweight people tend to pack on more pounds when stressed than normal weight people under the same level of stress. Hmmm, why is that? Again, lifestyle seems to be the key. People who are already overweight are already NOT making good lifestyle choices and are not doing the kinds of behaviors that would help a person maintain a healthy body weight.
Now that I have confirmed that I can NOT blame my middle on my stress, what am I (or ANYONE) to do? It is actually quite simple and nothing you have not heard before. LIFESTYLE CHOICES! Here are a few simple things we can all do to combat stress and control those urges to ravenously replenish our bodies while under stress:
----- Eat multiple small meals throughout the day to help you stay satisfied and not allow our blood sugar levels to drop and spike.
----- Eat a combination of healthy, lean meats, complex carbs (oats, brown rice, sweet potatoes), fibrous veggies, fruits, and healthy fats (nuts, olive oil, avocados)
----- Get plenty of rest (cortisol levels rise when you don't get enough sleep)
----- Drink LOTS of water
----- EXERCISE -- it is the best "feel good" drug you can use - combine cardio and resistance training
----- Take time to relax each day
----- Understand how your body works and realize that YOU control what YOU do
Stress will always be a part of life -- we just can't avoid it in this fast paced world we live in! YOU have the POWER to choose how you will respond to the stress. Take CONTROL of your LIFE and make good choices! Your body will thank you!
sources: Elissa Epel, PhD at the University of California at San Francisco
Riccardo Perfetti, MD, PhD
Shawn Talbott, PhD, author of The Cortisol Connection
Michele Turcotte, MS, RD - Livestrong.com articleJennifer Combs, Medical News Today
I like to cook for the most part, but I don't enjoy cooking when we are going in 3 or 4 different directions 3 or 4 nights a week due to volleyball, jr. high football , and high school football schedules. I can say, in all honesty, that I have survived an entire football season sitting in the stands for countless evening hours without EVER visiting the concession stand!
HOW? I plan ahead. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!
Grill or cook your meat in advance in bulk. We grill 10-12 chicken breasts at a time and put them in the fridge. Some we season with fajita seasoning, some we leave plain, some with other spices. We also bake fish (although not as ideal for a ball game), and grill lean cuts of beef. I have been known to take a turkey burger on the run as well (it stays quite warm on the dash of my car during Aug. and Sept. ball games).
Have fresh veggies cut and ready: all colors of peppers, celery, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, carrots, .... (you get the idea).
Have fresh fruits that are easy to eat on the go - grapes, apples, bananas.
Have small storage containers to take food on the run.
Have a small cooler or insulated lunch bag.
Have a variety of nuts on hand (I like cocoa dusted almonds for that inevitable crazing for something sweet).
Have a BIG water bottle at all times.
Supplemental protein powders are great for protein on the run as well but I try not to make that my entire meal. Again - it helps if I have a sweet tooth that day!
Now, with this combination of foods, you can have quick and easy chicken or steak salad (add some vinegar and olive oil and you have your healthy fats too), fajitas on the run (just add a high fiber tortilla) , chicken strips and raw veggies (makes great finger food in the stands),an apple and some almonds, .... You get the idea. Don't misunderstand - you NEED other foods in your diet - sweet potatoes, rice, oats, other grains, LOTS of other veggies that are not so good raw..... But when you are on the run, the above list will get you through!
YES, sometimes I get tired of eating the same things, that is why I try to change up the combinations. Like everything in life, it is a CHOICE to eat well, regardless of where you are or what is going on. Besides, fall sports don't last forever :0)
I read A-L-O-T of quotes, articles, magazines, research.... from fitness professionals. Regardless of what meal plan (clean eating, low carb, high protein, Atkins, Paleo, ....) or exercise routines (cardio, strength training, cross fit, zumba, boot camps....) they do or promote - a common thread seems to be attitude.
How is our attitude developed? By what we THINK. Now, I am not suggesting that we can simply THINK ourselves thin, however, I am suggesting that how we think will greatly influence our outcome and our reaching our goals - whatever those goals may be (added strength, lean out, weight loss, endurance...).
Let me give you some concrete examples: if you think you are always deprived of the foods you love or of enjoying special occasions, you probably will not have success making healthy, sustainable changes in your eating habits. If you continue to eat like you have always eaten and you are carrying too much weight, you will continue to carry too much weight.
If you feel guilty when you do enjoy an occasional treat or night out with your family, you will most likely respond to that guilt negatively and the horrible cycle of eating and feeling guilty will continue. You will not be very likely to make any sustainable lifestyle changes, eventually you will get tired of feeling guilty and you will just say, "forget it!"
If you dread going to the gym or doing your workout, you will probably not stick with it long enough to make it a habit and a routine.
If you play the blame game -- "it is my genetics' fault, it is a "bad" diet, it is a useless exercise plan..." you will never take responsibility for your choices and you will not have success in reaching your goals.
What if, INSTEAD, you chose to THINK about food as fuel to enjoy but not feel guilty about?
What if you chose to THINK about making health and fitness part of your LIFE and not about a diet or a magic "6 weeks to 6 pack abs"?
What if you chose to THINK about your workouts as a challenge and a chance to do more than you thought you ever could (because you CAN)?
What if you chose to THINK about the fact that YOU are 100% RESPONSIBLE for every choice you make and where you are is by your choice, not someone or something's FAULT?
You see, when you change how you THINK - you will change the results you will get! A healthy, fit LIFESTYLE is a long journey! When you have right thinking, it can be an amazing, enjoyable transformation physically and mentally!
When you think about your health and fitness goals, have you ever felt like life keeps getting in the way of what you are trying to accomplish? I know I have! I have fitness goals and nutrition goals that I feel I could achieve in no time flat if LIFE didn't keep getting in the way!
You know the things I am talking about...running kids to where they need to be, injury, recovery, fatigue, special occasions, cook outs, family, friends, church, birthdays, anniversary, job,.... all these things seem to get in the way of finding time to work out and being in control of my eating!
I have spent the last 6 months reminding myself that it is ALL LIFE- it is not that some "things" get in the way of life! I had hip surgery in December so I have not been physically at my best. I have used that as an excuse. I find summer time a hard time to be disciplined with my eating. I have used that as an excuse too. I have found myself FRUSTRATED and falling back into old, bad habits. In reality, I have no real excuses, I have choices!
I want to remind myself of a few things that I hope will help you too!
1. Eating clean is always a choice, regardless of the circumstances.
2. I ALWAYS feel better and have more energy when I eat well.
3. An occasional treat is not going to ruin my lifestyle and is also no excuse to pig out - it's not all or nothing- BALANCE is key.
4. No matter where I am or what facility or equipment I have access to, I (and YOU) can exercise in some way.
5. Gaining a few pounds does not mean I am a failure.
6. I have the tools to refocus and renew my efforts.
7. My value and worth are not dependent on a number on the scale.
8. Every choice I make will move me in some direction; I can choose what direction I will go.
9. I CAN reach whatever goal I set.
10. I have the same amount of time as everyone else- I can control how I use it!
Often when I speak to clients about their goals and choices, I am speaking to myself as well. I have not "arrived" and I have not figured it all out, but I am continually challenging myself and learning all I can! I truly believe in LIFESTYLE choices, and I never want to fall back in to the diet mentality and the yo-yo pattern that so often plagued me in the past!
Be encouraged to make good, healthy, active choices...one step at a time until it is your LIFESTYLE!
You have probably heard many opinions as to how much water you need to be drinking. You need 8 8oz. glasses a day, drink a gallon of water a day, drink 3 liters of water a day, coffee will dehydrate you…… I have heard them all and see many trainers, coaches, and well meaning self proclaimed experts giving their opinions all over facebook and blogs. After a review of several articles from a registered dietitian (Martha McKittrick), a licensed nutritionist (Monica Reinagel), NASM, and the Mayo Clinic, I have some good information and suggestions to share with you.
- About 60% of your body weight is water.
- Adequate water intake helps to prevent water retention.
- You lose about 2-2 ½ liters (about 64-80 oz.) of water a day through breathing,
perspiring, urinating, and bowel movements.
- Your thirst reflex does decline with age.
- Food contains about 20%-25% of the water you need daily, depending on your diet.
- Sufficient water intake aids on body-temperature regulation.
- Liver function improves with adequate water intake, increasing the percentage of fat used for energy.
- Adequate water intake can come from a variety of fluids, not just water (although most should come from water).
SOME INTERESTING INFO
So how do you know if you are getting enough water? The signs of inadequate fluid consumption are as follows: headaches, dry mouth, light-headedness, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, little urination or dark colored urine, and constipation. The effects of dehydration on your body are significant. You will have decreased blood volume, decreased performance, water retention, sodium retention, decreased blood flow to the skin, increased heart rate, and you feel like you are working harder than you are. Mind dehydration occurs when you lose 3%-5% of your body weight through loss of fluids.
The Institute of Medicine determined that the adequate intake of fluid for men is about 3 liters a day (about 96 oz.) and for women is 2.2 liters (72 oz.) a day. This is a great starting number but you need to adjust for many factor. More fluid is needed during exercise. According to the NASM personal fitness training text, a good rule of thumb is 20-40 oz. of extra fluid for every hour of exercise. If you live in a hot or humid environment, you need more fluids due to increased sweating. You also need more fluids at altitudes greater than 8,000 feet. You require more fluids when ill with vomiting and/or diarrhea or if you are pregnant or nursing.
What about caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea? I know I have always heard that these drinks will dehydrate you. What I have learned is that this is simply not true. Studies have shown that if you regularly drink these beverages, they will not dehydrate you and will positively contribute to your overall fluid intake. If you do not regularly drink caffeinated drinks, a cup of coffee will offer you about the equivalent to 2/3 of a cup of water. You will simply be getting your fluid less efficiently.
It is possible to be over-hydrated. There is a condition known as hyponatremia, which is characterized by low sodium blood levels. This happens when your kidneys are unable to excrete the excess water. Those most at risk are endurance athletes, people with kidney disease, or the elderly who take multiple medications that can inhibit the body’s ability to excrete waste properly. In general, the average American is not at risk for this condition.
Bottom line, listen to your body, evaluate your environment, activity level, and diet to make an educated determination as to how much water you need to consume to stay well hydrated.
On a personal note, let me say, the nutrition coach I worked with (Ruban Sandoval with Fit To Be In Your Kitchen) suggested I drink 100 oz. of water a day. I have noticed several positive benefits to this advise including: no edema, improved appearance of my skin, regular bowel movements, reduced hunger, and efficient errand running due to the CONSTANT need to know where the nearest public bathroom is!
Now, go refill your water bottle and enjoy the benefits of being well hydrated!