Have you ever noticed that when we write things down they somehow become more real? The transcription of a thought or idea to paper can transform a mere intention to a commitment. The written word is enduring. We can come back to it and stare at it. It can be a constant reminder. This is exactly what I found when I started my 2 week food log. Recording every little thing I ate or drank, everyday achieved two things. First, it laid out my intake in black and white – there was no escaping the reality of my diet “quality and quantity”. Secondly, it made me think twice ( Ask Why?) about eating something because I knew I had to record it. I could look at the record for a day, see that I had made good choices for breakfast and lunch. Did I really want my next entry to be “Snickers bar”? (What if someone walked by and read my log? Yikes!) Tip #9 – Monitor Intake, is a highly effective and proven strategy for helping you maintain the healthy lifestyle and eating habits you’ve adopted. Yes, it can be tedious, so focus on the benefit – and no excuses! If you’re not the pencil & paper type, you can always download your favorite food log app ensuring quick and easy logging wherever you and your SmartPhone go.
Completing our list, coming in at the tenth spot, is Be Real. Start Now. It’s great that you’ve decided to abandon you current routine of skipping breakfast, super-sizing your fast food lunch and chugging a litre soda at dinner. But don’t think you can just flip a switch and replace those meals with some green puree from the blender! BE REAL! Everybody could do something like that for a week, perhaps a month, which can easily result in weight loss. But the question is, can you sustain that change? You don’t just want to lose weight, you want to make permanent lifestyle changes that will carry you well into the future. A plan that constantly denies you of certain foods typically results in a plan you can’t adhere to! Don’t be a saboteur! And Start Now. No time like the present. Don’t wait until after the wedding feast. Don’t start after you get back from vacation, or once Thanksgiving is over. Start now, with realistic changes and you’ll find managing your diet and exercise throughout the calendar year will be surprisingly doable!
Did you miss the other tips in this weight loss series? Jump to them now using the links, and let us know what tips you would add to the list!
Find tip #8-Be Optimistic! and #7-Know Thy Friend in Lose weight with Tips 7 & 8, #6-Turn Off the TV and #5-Ask Why? in Tips 5 and 6 on the weight loss list, and tip #4-Eat Breakfast! #3-Check the Scale, #2-Portion Control, and #1-Exercise, in Weight Loss Tips – can you name all 10?
Remember when you were a kid, and your mother gave you a hard time about one of your friends? “I don’t want you hanging out with him. He’s a bad influence!” she’d say. Or what about all those “dull programs” your dad wanted you to be part of because the “smart, good kids” belong to those. We’d be annoyed because “our friend wasn’t like that”, and our parents were simply judging the book by its cover. On the other hand, the parental view was simply about promoting positive social associations, to best of their ability. And this brings us to weight loss Tip #7 – Know Thy Friend. In a 2007 report on a study conducted by Cristakis and Fowler which followed 12,000 people over a 30 year period, they concluded that obesity spreads through social ties. That is, overweight people tend to have overweight friends. The report attributes this to the person’s perception of the acceptability of obesity. So the thought process works like this – “if my best friend is obese and my sister is overweight, but I love each of them… maybe it’s not so bad if I gain weight or if I’m obese too.” If your overweight friends are inactive, eat out a lot or eat too much, then it is more likely you’ll do the same. At least when you are with them. So what can you do? Stick by your friends, but encourage some new behaviors. Invite your friend to join a gym with you. Become workout buddies. Introduce more walking or biking when you get together. Walk to the movie theater or bike to a park for some Ultimate Frisbee!
Whether you’re talking about adding more activity into your daily routine or modifying your diet – Change is hard. Tip #8 – Be Optimistic! reminds us that maintaining a positive, can-do, attitude will make you successful. Set smaller, realistic goals for yourself so you can easily see your progress and feel the success. When you maintain control and a fighting spirit, eliminating negative behaviors and losing weight will be your new reality!
Only two more tips to go. Don’t jeopardize the healthy, active life you want to live! Be sure to review tip #6-Turn Off the TV and #5-Ask Why? in Tips 5 and 6 on the weight loss list, and tip #4-Eat Breakfast! #3-Check the Scale, #2-Portion Control, and #1-Exercise, in Weight Loss Tips – can you name all 10?
Until next Friday, … keep your body in motion!
I’ve been seeing a lot of commentary on the effectiveness of the mass-market sports drinks that make claims of improved performance and stamina. But do they really work? One researcher, Tim Noakes interviewed by the BBC recently says for the average person just trying to lose weight and gain fitness, “you’ll lose more weight and go faster if you just drink water.” Why? Many of these drinks have the equivalent of 8 teaspoons of sugar or more in each 24 oz. bottle (which is the same amount of sugar that is in a can of sweetened soda). I ask, in 30 minutes of exercise do you burn up the 148 calories from 8 teaspoons of sugar? And isn’t the point of doing the exercise to burn carbohydrates from your fat stores anyway, so that you can lose weight?
A 32 ounce Gatorade has 4 servings of 50 calories each. So if you drink that bottle while you are doing your run, you have just had 200 calories, 10% of your 2000 calorie daily intake. In one drink! And I bet none of us take 200 calories out of the rest of our daily intake to offset the calories we drink while exercising.
Notice the source of the carbs: sucrose syrup (table sugar dissolved in water) and glucose-fructose syrup. Sugar cane and sugar beet seem to be the typical substitutes for high-fructose corn syrup which has fast disappeared from labels following bad press. A Princeton University study linked high-fructose corn syrup to obesity and related chronic diseases. The Mayo Clinic is not as convinced, but does say that women should not have more than 100 calories (6 tsp) and men should not have more than 150 calories (9 tsp) from refined sugars in a day. That is hard to do in today’s environment of processed foods, sugary drinks, and large portions.
The Mayo Clinic report also states:
“Some research studies have linked consumption of large amounts of any type of added sugar — not just high-fructose corn syrup — to such health problems as weight gain, dental cavities, poor nutrition, and increased triglyceride levels, which can boost your heart attack risk.”
Clearly, we should be careful when adding sugary carb replacement drinks to our diets for health reasons, but do they really improve our performance?
The Oxford University study referenced in the BBC article looked at 40 years of studies of the effectiveness of sports drinks for the average athlete or person just trying to stay fit. The result: they could find no benefit for the typical non-elite athlete. I tend to agree, since the typical runner or cyclist is focused on fitness, not competition, and does not train for more than an hour a day nor at maximum intensity for long periods. For short exercise durations (<30 minutes to an hour) no supplemental carbs should be needed, your body should have plenty of those stored in fat. Let’s burn that. Drink water instead. For longer exercise durations, if you are going to use carb replacement drinks, look for ones with healthier sugars such as maltodextrin, xylitol and stevia. These sugars are processed more slowly by the body, absorbed at a more constant rate, and don’t overstress your liver and insulin levels.
Next topic: how much you should drink.
Last week in Weight Loss Tips – can you name all 10?, we covered #1-Exercise, #2-Portion Control, #3-Check the Scale and my favorite, #4-Eat Breakfast!
This brings us to Tip #5. Imagine for a moment that fueling your body is like a manufacturing process. Successful businesses understand the value and benefit of lean, optimized processes. They strive to eliminate the “muda” or waste because it simply drives their costs up. Lean thinkers have learned to look at processes and ask “why”? Why is so much scrap produced in step 5? Why is material sitting in the queue for 5 hours? Why does it take 5 days to transport parts? Why this? Why that? Why??
And by now you have surely guessed that Tip #5 is… Ask Why? Why am I eating right now? Is it because I’m bored? Am I eating because I’m stressed or frustrated? Am I depressed? If your answer frequently matches one of these, then congratulations! You’ve identified waste (emotional eating) in your process that has been wreaking havoc on your weight management plan! We need to eat when we are hungry and stop when we are full. And find other forms of relief, preferably legal ones, for stress, boredom and sadness that don’t include food. Becoming mindful, lean thinkers when it comes to eating can quickly translate into a leaner you!
Tip #6 – Turn Off the TV, is closely related to 5. Unless your doing sit-ups or jumping jacks during Modern Family, typical TV time is sedentary time, where minimal calories are being burned. And compounding the problem, TV time is snacking time. Being glued to the tube results in mindless consumption of food. Mindless because your fixation on the program causes you to lose track of why you’re eating and how much you have eaten. Even if you started eating because you were hungry, you’ll continue eating simply due to distraction. According to the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) people who have successfully managed their weight watched, on average, less than 10 hours of TV a week.
Now you’re armed with 6 out of 10 tips to help you manage your weight. Check back next Friday, when we explore 7 & 8!
Until then, … keep your body in motion!
Most of us can guess that Exercise will be on the list along with Portion Control, but the tried-n-true tips occupying positions 3-10 are a lot less obvious. At least they were to me when I was first learning about this as part of my GFI Certification. So let’s start with two tips that border on “counter-intuitive.”
3. Check the Scale. How many of you have been told to throw away that bathroom scale! If all I did was gauge my weight by the fit of my clothes, a few additional pounds could easily take up residence around my hips and my forgiving jeans, the ones that start out snug in the morning and go expand-o on me during the day, would never know the difference. And what about the 2% of the population (yes I made that figure up so don’t try to verify it) that only wear dresses? They would never feel the tightening waistband! So it makes sense to weigh yourself. Based on studies conducted by the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) weighing yourself once a week has a positive contribution to weight control. A weekly, not daily, check enables a person to keep tabs on small weight increases without becoming obsessive over the numbers, and affording them a timely opportunity to take some corrective action if warranted.
4. EAT Breakfast. Eat to lose weight! Talk about music to my ears! Eating breakfast has NEVER been an issue for me. I ALWAYS want to eat breakfast. I always have the time and appetite for breakfast. (Those who know me well can confirm that my favorite meal to eat out is breakfast!) And of course, this is a good thing since NWCR studies have also shown that breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than non-breakfast eaters. What’s more, there also appears to be a link between eating breakfast and having a lower incidence of chronic disease. Why is this the case? Eating (a healthy) breakfast typically curbs your hunger later in the day. If you can avoid the “I’m starving!” come noon time, you’ll likely eat less at lunch. The other downside to skipping breakfast is that it increases your insulin response, which increases fat storage… ending in weight gain. Other advantages to eating breakfast include more energy – energy that will get your mind and body active, and making the choice to eat breakfast has been linked to making healthier food choices throughout the day, with more nutritious and lower fat foods being top choices.
So there you have it. Four of the ten “tried-n-true” tips for weight management. Tune in the next 3 Fridays to see the complete tips list unfold!
Until then, … keep your body in motion!