How to Ditch Your Diet Excuses For Good
Yes, of course you’d like to lose weight. But you’re busy. And you’re tired. And you’ve got a whole houseload of people (throw a few pets in there too) relying on you for, well, everything. You’re sick of salads. You forget to go to the grocery store. Blah, blah, blah. Yes, life is too short—to not take charge of your health today. Ditch your diet excuses. We’ll help you.
Diet excuse #1: I have a life.
When you’re just starting out on a diet, often it’s fun. There’s the promise of success to come. There’s the initial weight loss—that gets noticed by friends and co-workers. There’s the fun challenge of trying new things. Then, your weight loss slows down and the novelty wears off. Between work and family and friends, how the heck are you supposed to find time to shop and cook and hit the gym? You put yourself first. That’s the common trait among The Biggest Loser contestants who’ve been most successful, the NBC show’s nutritionist Cheryl Forberg, R.D., told EatingWell’s Michelle Edelbaum recently. Yes, your kids need you—so you need to keep yourself healthy so you can take care of them. Yes, you have a lot of work—but maybe you’ll be more productive if you’re treating your body right.
Diet excuse #2: The scale isn’t budging, so why bother?
There’s nothing worse than working hard at something and seeing no progress. When that happens, though, you don’t work harder: you work smarter. Why aren’t you losing weight? Do you really need to lose weight? Or are you at a healthy range to begin with? If you truly do need to lose and you can’t, consider this: Perhaps you’re not being as “good” as you think you are. A couple of jelly beans from the office stash here, a vanilla latte that didn’t count because “it’s just a drink” there, and you’ve racked up a couple hundred calories. Write it all down in a food diary to keep yourself honest. Eat more veggies, whole grains, fruit and legumes, like beans and lentils (lentils are Cheryl Forberg’s most underrated weight-loss food): they all contain fiber.
Diet excuse #3: I don’t know what to cook.
Planning ahead is critical to weight-loss success. Because what do you do when you haven’t prepared a healthy dinner? You order a cheesy, greasy pizza. Or you pick up Chinese takeout on your drive home. Or maybe you still make something—but it’s late and you’re starving, so you snack on cheese and crackers and nuts the entire time you’re chopping and stirring. And then you still eat the dinner you’ve made. (Um, that’s me.) Think planning menus sounds boring? So don’t do it. Steal someone else’s. Someone who knows that dinner should taste delicious and sometimes you need a little dessert.
Diet excuse #4: I’m sick of eating the same salad every day.
One way to know how many calories you’re eating is to eat the same stuff every day. English muffin with peanut butter for breakfast. Salad with grilled chicken for lunch. Baked fish, brown rice, steamed broccoli. Effective, yes. But so boring that eventually you’re going to revolt and go nuts on foods that actually get you excited. So why not just skip to that part? There are a gazillion ways to make a salad. So many delish, healthy recipes for chicken. Mix it up!
Whether you're exercising to tone up for tank top and skirt season or you're working out mostly for the health benefits, we could all use a little motivation to get moving. So here are five encouraging facts about working out that will give you more than one reason to hit the gym on your lunch break.
- Exercise combats fatigue. Working out releases endorphins, which improve your strength and stamina and make you feel energetic. Increased levels of serotonin in the brain also prevent depression.
- Exercise is good for your brain. Because it helps build new brain cells, being active also increases serotonin levels to help you think more clearly.
- Movement eases stress. Not only is it a distraction from things that might be bothering us, but exercise also results in reduced muscle tension.
There are two more reasons so read more.
- Being active can improve your social life and enhance your love life. You're bound to meet other like-minded people while at the gym, yoga studio, or if you join a sports team. Working out with your partner, sibling, or friend can also strengthen your bond, and it's often more fun than exercising solo.
- You know you'll feel better after you exercise. Start with 30 minutes a day, so if you can't do it all at once, do 10-minute spurts throughout the day.
Creatures of Habit: Do You Eat Just Because?
There’s a very famous eatery I go to every time I visit family in Chicago. It’s a part of the nostalgia, so I allow myself this treat knowing full well it’s not the healthiest option calorie-wise. The trouble is, it no longer tastes as good as it once did. The last time I visited my mother-in-law commented mid-meal that the taste had changed. As I took another bite, I had to agree. Yet, before she said something, I was perfectly content with my usual dish. What’s wrong with me? Had I truly become so used to going to this place that I stopped paying attention to the taste of the food? I read the findings of a new study and it seems to corroborate my experience perfectly. In that situation, I was eating purely out of habit.
Published in the November 2011 issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, the study, led by researchers from the University of Southern California, UC-San Diego, and Duke University, conducted two studies on about 100 participants. The first study served up fresh or week-old popcorn to two types of people: one group regularly ate popcorn at the movie theater, while the other did not. In the movie theater, regardless of whether the popcorn was fresh or stale, those who regularly ate movie popcorn ate the same amount of food, while the non-habitual ate less stale popcorn. When participants were presented the same food in a conference room, both habitual and non-habitual popcorn eaters ate less of the stale stuff.
Change Your Environment
Slowing down your cravings for unhealthy food may be as easy as changing where you eat. Brian Wansink, who has studied mindless eating extensively, shared his advice to “mindlessly eat better” with attendees of this past year’s conference of the American Psychological Association saying, “The secret is to change your environment so it works for you rather than against you.” If you’re used to eating in the break room or your desk at work, try some place new. At home, resolve to only eat at a dining table, not a tray table in front of the television. You might also switch to a smaller plate, or stop eating directly out of packaging. Turn off distractions and you may find that you enjoy that peach or plum much more than you do your regular candy bar.
Are You Hungry or is It Lunch Time?
Has your lunch break become as automatic as checking your work email first thing in the morning? Additional findings of the study showed, even when the habitual eaters were less hungry, they ate similar portions of popcorn. The non-habitual eaters ate less. If you can help it, only eat when you’re hungry. This may be difficult for families with children on a tight schedule or those who have to eat lunch at a set time, but your breakfast and snacks are all up to you. Think about ways you can shuffle the time so that you’re not just eating out of habit.
The second study the researchers conducted had participants use their dominant or non-dominant hand while eating the movie popcorn. Habitual eaters ate less stale popcorn when they used their non-dominant hand. In a press release, co-author of the study, Wendy Wood of USC, had this to say, “It's not always feasible for dieters to avoid or alter the environments in which they typically overeat. More feasible, perhaps, is for dieters to actively disrupt the established patterns of how they eat through simple techniques, such as switching the hand they use to eat.” It might get messy, but I think I’ll be testing out my left hand fork skills when I go back to Chicago.
How have you changed your environment to control overeating and stop eating out of habit?
Remember - It isn't what you eat between Christmas and New Years, it's what you eat between New Years and Christmas!
Here's to a better 2012!!!!
When the clock strikes twelve on December 31st, people all over the world cheer and wish each other a very Happy New Year. For some, this event is no more than a change of a calendar. For others, the New Year symbolizes the beginning of a better tomorrow. So, if you look forward to a good year ahead, spread happiness with these wonderful New Year wishes.
In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, never in want.
Movie: "When Harry Met Sally", Harry Burns
And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.
Edith Lovejoy Pierce
We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called "Opportunity" and its first chapter is New Year's Day.
Your Merry Christmas may depend on what others do for you. But your Happy New Year depends on what you do for others.
F. M. Knowles, A Cheerful Year Book
He who breaks a resolution is a weakling; He who makes one is a fool.
Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man.
"I was wondering......Why am I not losing weight?
I have been at a plateau for several months but not giving up. Found out I was not eating enough, go figure"???
"I had an idea to keep me motivated...
I made this poster with goals that I want to accomplish (meeting my goal weight, running the summer 5k, walk 150 total miles, etc) and whenever I reach a goal I am going to mark it off and put 10 in a cute jar that I'm making from an old pickle jar.
I have 40 goals, so when I reach them all, I'll have 400 dollars saved up,
Enough to buy a skinny wardrobe, get my hair done, get.... whatever I want....
I'm doing it for 2012, should be interesting"!!!!
This year has seen headlines that have had a major impact on the practice and perception of healthy eating and exercise in America. Without any further ado, here are the news stories of 2011 that kept Calorie Count members talking.
Celebrities' Weight Loss Goes Mainstream
This was the year that celebrities let it all hang out and shared their weight loss secrets with the world. Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Preston, Seth Rogen, Drew Carey, Sara Rue, and other household names lost considerable amounts of weight this year. A good number of them signed up for endorsements with weight loss programs including Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, among others.
Hunger Hormones Fingered in Weight Regain
There are no celebrities or scandals attached to this one, but this relatively small study sheds light on the physiological mechanisms that support weight regain after losing weight on a restricted diet. Knowing that your hunger hormones may be out of whack for at least a year after you lose weight is a wake up call that maintaining weight loss is the new losing weight.
MyPyramid falls to MyPlate
With an introduction by the health conscious First Lady Michelle Obama, the aptly named MyPlate was unveiled as the new icon for healthy eating promoted by the United States Department of Agriculture. With a renewed focus on lowering consumption of processed foods, adding more fruits and vegetables, and eating more whole grains, the USDA gets points for finally making their Dietary Guidelines for Americans more mentally palatable.
A ‘Dancing’ Star Told to Eat More
After revealing that her diet consisted of just 1400 calories a day despite a reported 5 hours of dance rehearsals, Kirstey Alley, yo-yo dieter and then Dancing with the Stars contestant was told by her partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, she should eat more. While there's no proof of this, this may have been the first time a celebrity was told to eat more on national television.
The FDA Lowers the BMI requirement for LapBand Surgery
The ability to get major surgery to combat obesity just opened up to 26 million more people. The FDA changed the BMI of those eligible for LapBand surgery from 40 to 35. Now a 5’6” woman with diabetes needs to be at least 186 pounds as opposed to 216 to go under the knife.
Unhealthy Foods Get Taxed
Countries worldwide considered taxing unhealthy foods and soft drinks. Dubbed the world’s first fat tax, Denmark’s taxes on foods high in saturated fat brought attention to the consideration that increasing the cost of unhealthy food may be beneficial to public health. No word yet on how this will shakeout here in the US where a soda tax has been considered in a number of cities.
Obesity Rates Level Off
Based on self-reported height and weight, the Gallup Poll reported a slight decline in obesity levels in the US when compared to 2010 levels. Based on a BMI 30 or higher, about 26% of Americans reported being obese in the first three quarters of 2011.
Meal Delivery Services Get a Boost
More a trend than a news story, meal delivery businesses boomed in 2011 creating a way of outsourcing food preparation for dieters. Celebrities, working moms, and everyone in between have flocked to these to avoid the guesswork of preparing a healthy meal or spending hours at the grocery store. Many provide chef-prepared meals delivered fresh or frozen, 5 or 7 days a week.
hCG Diet Debunked
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration urged retailers to stop selling hCG diet products. Despite a bevy of weight loss success stories, Elizabeth Miller, acting director of FDA’s Division of Non-Prescription Drugs and Health Fraud says, “These products are marketed with incredible claims and people think that if they're losing weight, hCG must be working. But the data simply does not support this; any loss is from severe calorie restriction. Not from the hCG.”
Food Goes Mobile
No, there’s no app that will make your full, but new companies are now bringing food to you. According to the National Restaurant Association, one in five people saw a food truck in their community this year. In addition to health conscious food trucks, vending machines have also gotten a makeover with a number of companies specializing in healthier fare instead of the candy bars and sodas for which vending machines are known.
What food headlines got your head spinning this year?
Think you’re burning more calories or strengthening your arms when you swing light weights around during a cardio workout? Think again.
Researchers writing in a 2007 study in the Journal of Education and Human Development noted that not only can adding external weight to wrists, hands and/or ankles increase the risk of injuries, hand weights can result in an abnormal rise in blood pressure.
Time to sign up for 2012! Make sure to read the entire email....
As we approach 2012 and leave 2011, I want to take this time to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I greatly appreciate all your support through the years, but mostly this last year, as it has been a challenge for all of us one way or another…….. yet we all managed to keep fitness at the for front.
Great job EVERYONE! WE DID IT!
A lot of great things are being planned for 2012 and with the new BIGGER building – new opportunities will come up. Stay Tuned!!!! We are looking into adding more classes, both day and night. What do you think?
Let me know if you are interested in day classes - or even Tues/Thur classes at 4pm or 5pm. Just thinking out loud.
So with that….
See the New 2012 Calendar for CSD Group X Classes on Mon/Wed/Fri for Jan and Feb. All classes will start in Jan and run 8 weeks and are $40 per class for 8 weeks.
Also - if you do not want to sign up for the 8 week program we have our new “Freedom in Fitness” program which allows you to pay as you go at an $8 per walk in rate.
2012 Classes start Wed Jan 4th. Let me know if you have any questions.
NOTE: The Fri Zumba class is finished for 2011 and will start back up Fri Jan 6th at 6pm. The Wed night Yoga class will be taking a brief break in early 2012, so stay tuned for our new start up date.
Again – thank you all!! You are my Fitness Heroes!!
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
Zumba / Zumba Gold Licensed Instructor
R.I.P.P.E.D Certified Instructor
Certified Titleist Golf Fitness Instructor
Find me on: IDEA FitnessConnect @ www.ideafit.com/profile/patty-hartong
Find me on: Youtube @ http://www.youtube.com/user/calfitnessandyoga?feature=mhsn