There will be haters

This is one of the most challenging aspects of adopting and retaining a healthy lifestyle: Nay-sayers. Sabotogers. Haters. Insulters. The filterless.

Remember: This is your journey and no one else’s. No one knows what you know about you, has been through what you have, or has to do what you do. We are each our own. haters

More often than not, those who are negative are in the midst of their own struggle – and the negativity towards you actually has absolutely nothing to do with you!

Shouldn’t we want others to succeed?

Yes, we should. But we have cultivated an egocentric and selfish society. Women – particularly – often want to ‘one-up’ each other. Many individuals have the need to be better than those around them – and anything that threatens this perception elicits default behaviors – or defense mechanisms. Yes, putting others down can be and IS a defense mechanism.

Some of your friends and family will want you to continue to overeat, eat poorly, or skip exercise – because then they will feel better about there own unhealthy behaviors. There is comfort in numbers!

Other individuals simply do not understand. Some have been blessed with genetics that do not allow them to put on an extra 20 pounds. Some have always lived active, healthy lives and continue to do so without hiccups. DO NOT let their lack of understanding tear you down. Their comments can make you feel like your concerns are insignificant – ignore them. And know, that more than likely these particular individuals mean no harm – they just do not know any different.

Remove negative, increase positive

It can be difficult, but sometimes you must cut the negative out of your life. At times, this may mean separating yourself from family members or long-time friends. It might mean quitting a job. It may mean moving. Sounds like it could get financially stressful! I would be lying if I said that it will not be. But what is best for you in the long term? And how does this compare to the expense of treating depression, diabetes, heart disease, etc? Surround yourself with the individuals who will be supportive and positive and your journey will be much more pleasurable!

In other situations, you must ignore the negative. This takes practice – and is incredibly difficult. For example, I have had many sabotagers trying to coherce me into eating foods that were unhealthy. I learned to ignore them. I learned to walk away. Practice saying: Thanks, but no thanks.

Above all, the most important positive voice is your own! Your positive voice can be the best defense against the nay-sayers and sabotagers. When you hear negativity or criticism, you immediately know different with thoughts such as, “I am strong.” “I am on the right track.” “I am taking care of my heart, body, and mind.”

The bottomline

I do not have anything impressive or extraordinary to share on the topic. I just know, that I face negativity from those around me on a daily basis – and I know that you do too!

I know that sometimes the negativity is my misperception of things said – or not said. Knowing this, I can disregard the ‘negative’ and move on.

And yes, YOUR positivity is 10x stronger and more powerful than the negativity of others.

How do YOU manage haters, nay-sayers, or sabotagers?

Like what you read? Please comment and share below!

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How much can you improve your fitness in 6 months?

My 2013 six-month fitness check-in. With many fitness goals, I am using the bodyweight baseline workout to assess where I am at.  I did not review my previous performance before heading off to the gym – I had no idea what I was trying to beat and I did not want to psyche myself out. I just wanted to do it. I put my game face on and I went.

It is done.

It was relatively brutal.

I did not go into the workout with confidence. Honestly, I had forgotten about my assessment workout, until I looked at the calendar yesterday and realized it was July. My workouts have been on the back burner lately – lacking focus, intent, and energy. This made me nervous, but I knew that I needed to complete the assessment and know the results – the good and the bad.

The results

Exercise

Jan. 2

Apr. 1

Jun 2

Percent Improvement

Pushups

55

63

68

23.64%

Squats

206

219

233

13.11%

Pullups

11

18

20

81.82%

Burpees

25

39

36

44.00%

Traveling Lunges

98

112

122

24.49%

BB Inverted Row

42

44

59

40.48%

SB Plank

:35 sec

:55 sec

1:10

100.00%

KB Swings (20kg)

81

90

98

20.99%

Following this workout, I completed my 1-mile run in 8:53 minutes, improving from 9:18 in April (and having not completed the mile in January).

Lastly, I weighed myself for the first time in a very long time – I am up 4 pounds from April and back to the same weight I started at January 1 – still within my body’s happy range. (And unfortunately I have not had a trustworthy body fat analysis to determine any changes in body composition.)

The response

I am surprised with my improvements. I am not surprised with my decrease in burpees since April, as I have been experiencing more back pain these last few weeks (no more Insanity experiments). 

The 3 minutes of pullups were frustrating, as I was only able to perform one at a time. All I could think about was my goal to perform 10 consecutive and the fact that I have not been training for it as diligently as I should be and that is why it was so hard. Mind games!

All in all, I am pleased. 

The bottomline

I did better than I thought I would. A lesson to be kind to myself.

Myth: Move more, eat less for weight loss

I have been studying for an advanced health and fitness certification. This requires me to review fitness, fitness nutrition, and anatomy – I am sure to be over-prepared for the exam. I am immersed in the text. I am thinking.

There is nothing new in weight loss.

There will never be anything new in weight loss.

Every year, millions of individuals fail at weight loss. MILLIONS. Of those who successfully lose weight, only 2-4% will keep that weight off for a year – even fewer keep it off for more than a year. Every year, more individuals purchase gym memberships, infomercial products, supplements, and more – and still fail at weight loss. Individuals invest a great deal of money, time, energy, and heart. What is everyone missing?

Unfortunately, we are often misled. The gimmicks lie – using key words to trigger emotions. The claims of quick fixes are alluring, but unnatural and unsustainable. Weight loss is not as simple as calories in < calories out. More often than not, the most significant changes need to be made to meal plans and diets.

Eat less, move more?

We have all heard this.

A, if only it were so simple.
B, most individuals need to eat more (but perhaps fewer calories).

I request that all my clients maintain a food log – whether with an app such as myfitnesspal or handwritten. More often than not, after reviewing the details of his/her log, I am recommending that the client eat MORE. More fruits and vegetables. More protein.

Who wants to eat less?

We live in a culture where we love to eat. We enjoy eating – some enjoy it more than others. I discuss weight loss with individuals daily. Many express the frustration of, “but I eat so little.” Sometimes this is an accurate statement and the individual has been eating too few calories (usually the result of ineffective and misinformed dieting). Other times, the individual is lying to herself. And in some situations, she is eating a high number of calories in a small portion of food.

I seldom flat out tell individuals to eat less. Who wants to eat less? One reason I avoid this advice is that it has a negative connotation – goals and objectives and the steps required to obtain them require a positive mindset. Instead, what can you add, improve, or experience?

For example, the goal “I will not eat candy bars.” Great, this may stop you from eating candy bars – but it may also make you think more about candy bars. The focus is on the candy bars. An alternative goal, “I will eat a fruit or vegetable with every meal.” The focus is on adding a healthful behavior – the focus is on eating fruits and vegetables. Your increased satiety will, more often than not, reduce your desire for candy bars. Further, you are focused on actively doing something good for yourself.

Further, you have not established a restriction (often negatively perceived).

If I workout, I can eat more

False. Does a professional athlete or physical laborer who is active 4-12 hours a day require more food on most days? Yes. They are expending 4500-7000 calories during practice, training, and work (McArdle, Katch, & Katch, 2005; McArdle, Katch, & Katch, 2010). Does your 200-600 calorie workout require that you eat more food? No. And certainly not if you are aspiring to lose weight. (NOTE: I will not address the specifics of the science, but will gladly provide it for anyone who requests it.)

Some may argue that I eat more than the average individual. Yes I do. I first give considerable thanks to my genetics. Second, I am far more active than most. Third, I eat more fruits, vegetables, and other foods that are low in calories but carry a high nutrient density. So I may eat more – but I do not eat more pizza, cheeseburgers, candy, chips, etc.

Do we need to move more?

There is a misconception that all overweight/obese individuals are physically lazy. Is this true? I see moms and dads hustling after children. I see overweight men in softball leagues. I see all shapes and sizes of individuals at the gym – most all of them going hard. NOT all overweight/obese individuals are lazy. In fact, many are the opposite of lazy.

The most frequent feedback I hear from prospective clients – I workout and I eat well and no matter what I do, I do not get results so I give up.

Have you been there?

Are you there now?

The bottomline

Move more, eat less is less than helpful advice. Many individuals are moving – inefficiently and ineffectively – and eating less – too much less.

My advice? I provide it through my posts. Review how many calories you should eat, meal and snack creation maade easy, and how many days a week you should workout, and anything else that catches your attention along the way. And everyone has individuals needs – what works for your girlfriends and neighbors may not work for you. What worked for you 20 years ago may not work for you now. The human body is an amazingly complex system – but treat it well and you will be on your way to the results you desire.

and

Think Positively. Eat Mindfully. Move Intentionally.

References

Cooper, K. H. (1982). The Aerobics Program for Total Well-Being. New York: Bantam Books.

Loucks, A. B. (2004). Energy balance and body composition in sports and exercise. Journal of Sports Sciences, 22(1), 1-14.

McArdle, W. D., Katch, F. I., & Katch, V. L. (2005). Sports & Exercise Nutrition (2nd Ed.). Lippencott Williams & Wilkins: Philadelphia.

McArdle, W. D., Katch, F. I., & Katch, V. L. (2010). Exercise Physiology: Nutrition, Energy, and Human Performance (7th Ed.). Lippencott Williams & Wilkins: Philadelphia.

I hate it when my shirts don’t fit!

Truth. I HATE it when my shirts don’t fit. And right now, many of my shirts don’t fit. As I continue to work towards my 2013 goals, I am beginning to feel my progress. I set out to be able to do 10 consecutive strict pullups. This is a feat difficult for most men, let alone for a woman. The female musculature is simply not predisposed to pullup success – a sad truth. With that said, some physiological change is required.

Good news – my back is becoming stronger. Bad news – my back is becoming bigger. With the strong athletic figure and small bust, I struggle to find shirts that are both comfortable and fit reasonably well. As my lats grow, my athletic tanks and sport bras are becoming too tight. Ugh! For the girl who still sometimes sees the ‘fat girl’ in the mirror – this is a difficult reality. Thoughts of disappointment, defeat, and fear rush to my forebrain as I attempt to squeeze into a shirt that fit just fine last month! And I am doing all of the right things! I am becoming more fit! I am slowly losing those few pounds! I AM ON TARGET!!! So how do I manage?

THOUGHT STOPPING. Stopped

I could stress over the fact that my shirts do not fit. The truth is, I did throw one shirt to the floor out of frustration. But what good would obsessing over the fact that my shirt does not fit do me? So I must exhaust this frustration and the negative thoughts that quickly flood every inch of my being. I’m not going to go into too much detail of thought stopping, click the link for some great information and action steps.

Negative thoughts that occur on a frequent basis can be very frustrating and interfere with normal everyday functioning. You can become preoccupied with these thoughts and therefore unable to focus on other issues. For example, when my workout shirt is too tight, my workout is what suffers because I am distracted!

MY thought stopping…

Like any skill, thought stopping takes practice. In fact, it took me years to master and I still struggle from time to time with using it successfully. My strategy:

  1. Identify the negative or obsessive thoughst = I hate it when my shirts don’t fit! Which translates to, I must be gaining weight, which translates to, I am getting fat again.
  2. Identify the POSITIVE TRUTH = I am getting stronger and am able to do more pullups than I did last month.

Then I must:

  1. Recognize when a negative or obsessive thought is present. (The hardest part – AWARENESS.)
  2. Clear my mind, focus on my breathing – feeling the air come into and out of my lungs. ALL my focus is there.
  3. Repeat my POSITIVE TRUTH.
  4. Return to life and the tasks at hand.

Now, sometimes my mind immediately returns to that negative thought. This is when step 3 is critical and I have to repeat my POSITIVE TRUTH to myself over and over and over. Sometimes I have to speak it out loud to an empty room. Sometimes I have to speak it to the mirror. Whatever it takes.

The bottomline…

Thought stopping is not about eliminating the negative thoughts, but rather, it is about reducing the frequency of negative thoughts and increasing the frequency of the positive. Negative thoughts will never go away completely – we just need to learn how to effectively manage them!

The never-ending weight loss struggle?

I want to lose weight. “But you do not need to lose weight,” you say? I know that I do not NEED to lose weight, but I want to. As I work towards my 2013 goals and my mildly ambiguous goal of being in the best shape of my life for my 30th birthday, I want to lose weight. I have managed to lose the weight that I gained during my time working at a weight loss resort (kind of ironic, huh?). And I am back to my body’s favored set point – 152 pounds. And I feel stuck here. I know you can all relate to this feeling.

Progress Pic 1/18/2013 - eek!

Progress Pic 1/18/2013 – eek!

Specifically for goals 3 – 10 strict pullups and 5 – bench press my body weight, my optimal weight is 145. NOTE: this is not a random number I pulled from a hat, but is based on numerical calculations and realistic improvements I can expect in the given time I have allowed myself.

My body likes 152, and it has for years. Our bodies have ‘set points’ that our brain (specifically the hypothalamus) works to maintain, through sending signals related to energy intake (i.e., eating and nutrition), hormone levels, and energy expenditure (i.e., exercise; Harris, 1990). I know that my energy expenditure far exceeds that of a typical individual – mostly because that is what I seem to have the most control over! The hormones associated with your set point can be regulated – to a certain degree – through diet and exercise. And knowing such, I continue to tell myself that my dietary routine needs to be tweaked in order to reach my 145 pound goal.

WRONG!

Harris (1990) notes that “regulation of body weight in relation to one specific parameter related to energy balance is unrealistic.” I can attest to this. Over the last several weeks I have made various modifications to my already well-balanced and healthy meal plan. That 152 pounds is lingering (with 2-3 pound fluctuations, which is typical for females. Sorry!). It is remaining steady. My set point is holding strong!

One can change his/her set point through modifications of both intake and output (Keesey & Hirvonen, 1997). So if I alter my energy expenditure along with my dietary intake, and maintain an altered body weight for long enough, I can change the set point. But I MUST do both – nutrition and physical activity modifications. Research shows that changes in nutrition alone do not alter an individual’s set point and will ultimately result in an individual returning to the most recent ‘comfortable’ and consistent set point within weeks (Keesey & Hirvonen, 1997).

The bottomline…

Notice, the research I reference is not new. Nor is the research that each of these articles references. Moral of the post – THIS IS NOT NEWS. Experts have known this forever! So why do so many of the fad diets and gimmicks focus solely on dietary consumption? Good question if you ask me!

The truth is that I spent years wanting to be 140 pounds. I had let that go a couple of years back, realizing the incredible discipline it would since I was not willing to reduce my muscle mass. But I have tried – again and again – to lose 5-7 pounds. Going from 163 to 152 was easy. Returning to my set point took nearly no effort (e.i., implementing previously mastered disciplinary skills). But to change that set point – although it feels impossible – I am going to make it happen! And you can too!

References

Harris, H. B. (1990). Role of set-point theory in regulation of body weight. FASEB ], 4. 3310-3318.

Keesey, R. E., & Hirvonen, M. D. (1997). Body weight set-points: Determination and adjustment. J. Nutr. 127(9). 1875S-1883S.

Where is the START on your game board?

It’s a new year. Many people set resolutions. More have goals for the upcoming year. Much like a board game, it is important to know where you are starting. Similarly, your GPS cannot give you directions to your destination without first determining your current location. Are you clear on what you need to do in order to achieve your goals if you do not know where you are starting?

I’ve been collecting my baseline ‘data’ for the year. I completed a bodyweight workout that I will repeat in 3, 6, 9, and 12 months to see where I improve or remain stagnant. This will help me to appropriately train. I have chosen the following workout because it is representative of daily living activities (and fall within functional training). And since I am training for life…what better way to measure my success? I will be collecting other data throughout this week to work towards some of my specific physical goals, but this is truly most indicative of my overall fitness.

I performed each exercise for 3 minutes, resting 2 minutes between exercises. The exception = 5 minutes for squats. I began with a 5 minute warmup with the jump rope. I chose the jump rope because it is least likely to exacerbate my psoas cramps or any of my other ailments that might interfere with completion of exercises. If you chose to do a similar assessment, warm up in a way that is suitable for you – bike, treadmill, elliptical, calisthenics, etc.

Pushups 55
Squats 206
Pullups 11
Burpees 25
Traveling Lunges 98 (49 each)
Barbell Inverted Row 42
Prone Plank Held for first :35
Dumbbell Swings 81

kettle_bells

Immediately after this bodyweight workout, I attempted a 1-mile run. 1/4 mile into this my psoas began to cramp and nausea hit so I took it to a walk and stretch. I hope that in 3 months I will be able to complete the run. NOTE: I used a dumbbell for swings because I did not have access to a kettlebell. A kettlebell would be much easier on the hands/grip for anyone looking to complete this assessment.

Honestly, I am not pleased with these numbers. I will being digging through my files to find some of my old data and see how it compares. The most ‘disappointing’ are the pullups and burpees. But instead of dwelling on the disappointment, I will view this as room for growth and improvement!

It does feel like I’m starting over – physically. The truth is, I am starting over in many ways, so it is fitting that I few everything with a fresh eye. New beginnings. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. – Isaiah 43:19

In what ways do you feel like you are starting over? And in what areas of life do you need to know where you are starting?

Look at those legs! GOAL 6

Years ago I was walking downtown with a girl friend and headed into a bar. A group of guys came out, intoxicated, and were awed by my ‘soccer legs.’ Now, I will be the first to tell you that I do not have soccer legs. If I were to categorize them, they would be mid-distance runner legs! I have naturally strong legs. I remember the first time I managed to squat 225. I hadn’t trained towards it – not specifically – I just pick up the bar and I did it. Whoa!

squatGOAL 6 – Squat 300

After that, I began more focused training. I managed to max out at a 300 pound squat. I will complete 4-6 squats with 300 pounds. My most recent weight has been 235 pounds – I fear going above that without the security of a trusted spotter. NOTE: Due to back and knee restrictions I do not squat to quite 90 degrees. For best results, I encourage everyone to work within their individual range of motion and use proper form, technique, and safety precautions.

 
Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. – Psalm 105:4

How fit am I? GOAL 5

Most fitness assessments measure physical strength through a pushup test. “The push-up is the ultimate barometer of fitness.” A pushup requires the whole body, engaging muscles in the arms, chest, torso, hips, and legs. The act of lifting and lowering one’s entire weight is taxing even for the very fit. Experts estimate that a pushup requires you to press 70% of your body weight. Jack Lalanne could do a crazy amount of pushups. My fifth goal is a two part goal – because I want to improve my overall fitness and my absolute chest strength.

A pushup and a chest press and a pushup are essentially the same movement. When training clients, those who are too weak for pushups begin with chest presses. Those who breeze through pushups are challenged with heavy chest presses.

GOAL 5a – Increase number of pushups I can complete without rest by 25%

GOAL 5b – Bench Press (barbell;flat) my bodyweight for 3 sets of 6-8

I may need to adjust these numbers slightly after I obtain my baseline data on January 1. It will be important to be realistic with my timelines as a continue to define my goals (See #2).

Goals are DREAMS with deadlines

Did you set a resolution in 2012? Have you stuck with it? Resolutions often fail because of the lack of personal investment. Instead of resolutions, I encourage you to develop a system of goals that will help you make your dream a reality. Goals should be written, specific, personally meaningful, and challenging statements of intent, which have a measurable outcome and a completion date. I have begun posting my personal goals for 2013. You are reading the tagline everywhere – forget resolutions! Let’s set goals and build the foundation for lasting change.

So, how do you set yourself up for success? Dr. Kenneth Cooper, founder of The Cooper Institute, has established protocol for setting achievable goals. To begin you need to answer four key questions:

1. Where am I? You need to determine your baseline fitness level. Norms are used to show you where you stand in relation to others of similar age, gender, weight, height, etc. Your will need to determine your current fitness level based on these norms – a qualified fitness professional can help with this. This baseline fitness level will be the measure on which you base your success.

2. Where do I want to be? This is your goal, your desired level of fitness. It’s better for a goal to be too easy than too hard. Yet, the goal still needs to be challenging enough and require effort. However a goal that is too difficult leaves you frustrated and bitter, leading you to abandon the goal and give up completely.

Goals are dreams with deadlines. Do you honestly expect to change lifelong habits overnight? Overambitious timetables, not unrealistic goals, are often the cause of failure. Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s protocol provides realistic timelines for achieving your desired outcome. Each fitness component is broken into categories, such as excellent, good, fair, and poor, and includes the amount of time, on average, it takes for significant improvement (one fitness category). Dr. Cooper’s recommended timelines for each component are as follows:

  • Cardiorespiratory fitness—12 weeks
  • Strength—8 weeks
  • Muscular endurance—8 weeks
  • Flexibility—8 weeks
  • Body composition—12-16 weeks

3. How do I get there? The important piece that people often miss is that you need to determine how you are going to achieve your goal. You need to have a plan.

4. How do I stay there? Education, motivation, and commitment are crucial for the long-term maintenance of weight loss.

Tips for successful goals:

  • Take some time to think about your goal and create a plan based on your personal desires derived on a positive outcome.
  • Write down your goal and document your progress.
  • Give the goal positive meaning. Negative = “I want to lose 10 pounds.” Positive “I will wear a size 6 dress for New Year’s Eve 2013.”
  • Remove all negative influences. We must warn you of the nay-sayers who will question your desires and wishes for a number of reasons. Keep in mind most people feel guilty for not having your commitment to health and/or fitness. They feel it is easier to hold you down rather than rise to your standards.
  • Concentrate on the systems and processes necessary to achieve the goal…and not on the end outcome. What does this mean? If your goal is to lose weight, instead of focusing on that weight loss, focus on attending boot camp 3 times a week. Each week that you’ve attended 3, take pride in knowing that you are one step closer to your dream.
  • Take small steps. Pick one part of your plan, get it done and recognize the successes of that one piece and then move on to the next.
  • Focus on the positive things that are happening.
  • Make your goals progressive. Find a way to be rewarded as you go. Do you think a marathon runner counts each mile on her way to the finish line? Absolutely! Celebrate each and every milestone you reach.
  • Tell others about your goal. Tell your friends, family, and coworkers what your goal is and ask for their support in your efforts.
  • Find the beast within. You need to really want to get amazing results and be prepared to do whatever we ask to achieve those results. It’s not that hard to get the results — it’s building that overwhelming desire that counts.
  • Adjust from hurt to help. Replace: ‘Well – this cake won’t hurt me will it? with, ‘Will this help me or not? Is this a positive step or not?’ Once you get that — you’re a hit.

Once you understand that everything you do each day takes you either closer to or farther from your goals, then and only then will you be on the fast track to success.

Make peace with food – GOAL 4

I have an unhealthy relationship with food. I have tendencies towards emotional eating and binge eating. I cannot tell you the last time I had a serious bingeing episode – it has been more than six months but less than a year. But I work at it! Distractions, such as reading my Bible or other texts, appear to work the best for me. Unfortunately, emotional eating – such as gravitating towards unhealthy comfort foods or mindless munching – is a regular occurrence.

GOAL 4 – Make peace with food

In 2013, I will increase mindfulness and implement the use of old or new habits in place of emotional eating behaviors. I will find comfort in life! Certainly not the most well thought through of my goals, and I will work on that. One strategy will be to utilize real-time self-monitoring to track not only my dietary intake; but also, my associated thoughts and feelings.

Any suggestions? I’m all ears!