Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Loving the body God gave you.

First let me say I'm not giving anyone a pass here just to do what you want and eat whatever because ... that is the body you were given at birth.

We are all born with a body that will grow up to be different in bone structure, shape and muscular frames. Some of us can work hard eating right and exercising several times a week while still finding it hard to look like we do anything healthy.

So what do we do? How do we live with the body we inherited from our moms and dads? And love it?

The first thing I do is to do the best I can do to stay healthy with eating right and exercise. The next thing is to realize that aging is a process that we all experience. I accept where I am while taking care of my skin. I stay out of the sun as much as possible and I use lots of wrinkle cream for my face and body cream for the rest of me. Then I go to the Word of God. When I read verses in Psalm 139 I know that the Father made me carefully and wonderfully. I am made this way for a purpose ... His purpose. Right there in that Psalm are enough reasons to learn to love my body. I have found that if I can see myself the way the Lord does then I will find it easier to love myself inside and out. The Lord cares more about what my inside than the outside because my soul is the eternal part. But I still think that the outside is important because my appearance is the world's first impression of a believer in Christ and I want to be a good witness for Him.

So do what you can to take care of what God has given you cause you only have one body. Then work on the inside by loving God and those around you. Serve those who need your help and even those whom you don’t think need your help or deserve it. Believe it or not if you serve others lovingly you will find that you like, maybe even love yourself a whole lot more.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Syndromes for everything?

I can’t believe what I am reading …

Nighttime Eating Syndrome? This might be a new eating disorder that you have if you do most of your eating at night. Or you might wake up in the middle of the night hungry.

Let’s face it most of us eat at night. Only a few very disciplined people do not sit in front of the TV with a bag of chips. I do know a few and yes they do not have a weight issue but they eat 3 meals plus snacks a day.

I eat at night. I even wake up at night and eat. Last night I was up at 3am starved. I ate a banana, drank some water and went back to bed and fell fast asleep.

In college I wanted to lose weight so I ate my last meal at 3:00 in the afternoon. That worked great until I started swimming at night. I would swim fifty laps of the pool in the evening and study before going to bed. I would wake up starved. So starved that I began eating more junk in my room. I still lost weight but I wanted to eat healthier. I realized that I needed something before going to sleep. So I had a cup hot chocolate and a piece of fruit. It worked. I began sleeping like a baby. I went back to eating dinner at a normal time and I still lost weight. I know I was in college so losing weight was easier, but there is a principle in all this.

It is called having a calorie deficit. I was burning more than I was taking in, no matter when I was eating. Some of us have other deficits … in our check books; we spend more money then we are taking in. So we have to borrow from some other money source to pay the bills.

Light bulb!

Losing weight is the same. Food is our energy source. If we take in more then we burn, we store it as fat for another day. And I might add it is harder to use that stored energy. Kinda like when you were a kid and you asked mom to hold on to your money. She didn’t want to give it to you to spend on worthless stuff, so she regulated your spending. Your body holds onto fat tightly. Especially the older you get. (I think it says you will need this when you are really old, so you can’t use it!)

So the key to all this is eat less then you burn. If you are going to eat more because of a special occasion then add extra cardio to your workout schedule. If you aren’t exercising you won’t lose weight unless you cut back on what you are eating daily. Sure you need food for energy just to survive. But the more active you are the more energy you need. Everyone is different in the amount of calories our bodies need because our activity levels.

If you are going to eat at night first of all make it healthy, like fruit or veggies. Or find a good protein bar. Yogurt with ground flax seed is a great choice. It fills you up, has calcium, tastes great, aids in digestion and the flax seed is great for you heart. If you find eating healthy something that you must ease into, try chips and salsa. I know it can be hard to stop eating at night but the best thing to do is after having a snack is to drink a big glass of water then wait 15 minutes. This trick usually helps to curb the hunger panges.

Here are some things to remember as you strive to achieve more disciplined eating habits.

* Never skip breakfast. Even a light breakfast of a protein bar and fruit will help you not overeat at night.

* Have an afternoon snack that includes carbohydrate and protein. Something like a handful of almonds with raisins or a slice of cheese and some pretzels will provide staying power.


* If you must have an after-dinner snack, keep it to 200 calories or less. Choose something with lots of fiber like an apple with the skin, so that you will feel full and eat less.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Just Keep Moving

"Defeat should never be a source of discouragement but rather a fresh stimulus." Robert South

Discouragement is a funny thing … funny? There is nothing funny about it!

Discouragement can make us crawl back in to bed and give up the ship. We all experience it whether we are princesses or moms. Discouragement can’t be avoided. But what to do about it? Now that is the question for someone who knows the answer. I not sure I do. So why am I writing this … I’m not sure why, but I am.

Lets see how I do!

This topic has been on my mind for awhile. I think because I see discouragement in my line of work all the time. Everyone wants to see results right away. Or they are consistent for weeks and their body doesn’t change much, worse yet they gain weight because now they have added muscle. I know what that feels like I’ve been there. This is one of the main causes of discouragement and it is frustration.

The cure? Focus on the positive and find out where we have made progress.

We can’t see the inside of our body and major improvements have already been made the first day one starts an exercise program.

One of my ladies has high blood pressure and she saw immediate results in the numbers coming down during the first week of consistent exercise. Another one of my ladies wrote me a note to tell me that she has had more energy since she had been exercising. And still another one told me that she could tackle a Pilates class since she had been exercising for years with me.
These are stories that belong to people like you and me that didn’t let discouragement run their life. They didn’t crawl back into bed and give up the ship. They became the captain of their lives and “Just kept moving.”

That is my motto …"Just keep moving" ... as long as you are moving you are doing something good for your body. Don’t let the monster of discouragement force you to hide under the covers, behind the TV or in front of the computer. Remember it is the inside that counts because that keeps us alive. So exercise for the improvements on the inside and learn to love the outside.

Hummm … loving the outside of our bodies! A topic for another day!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Exercise Myths

If You Eat Healthy and Exercise Consistently, You Will Never Gain Weight

This is not true! I can tell you from personal experience that age does something to your body’s metabolism. Other changes in your body can cause weight gain too. I have hypothyroidism. This is a condition that causes me to have weight gain, fatigue, constantly feeling cold, plus many other symptoms. It took five years for me to convince my family doctor that I couldn’t lose weight. His standard answer to me was always, “You are getting older and so your metabolism is slowing down.”
I didn’t just accept his standard answer. I found a doctor who would listen to me and investigate other possibilities to why I was gaining weight and the many other symptoms that plagued me at the time. One thing though, I still had to change my eating and exercise regime. I could not eat popcorn with gobs of butter every night. I also added more cardio. So even though I have an age related condition that medication can help I still find that age is my worst enemy. If you fighting the battle of time you need to be willing to make lifestyle changes and dietary adjustments. The fact is, your metabolism slows down as you age. As a result, you often have to either eat less or exercise more to avoid gaining weight.

The biggest change in your metabolism usually occurs around the age of 40. So always keep your food and exercise plan flexible. Chart any other symptoms you might have. Some doctors love an informed patient while others find it threating. I have found that I know my body better because of all the research I have done and it helps to have a doctor who is willing to listen to my thoughts. One thing to remember if you are exercising and gaining weight you might find that you are not eating enough of the right stuff. You muscles cannot work efficiently without the proper energy. A balanced diet is one of the most important tools of any physically active person.

Monday, August 21, 2006


If you were given a choice of which food you would eat to improve your mood? An apple or some chocolate?

Most of us would immediately say, “Chocolate!”
BUT … (there’s always that big but, which we are trying to avoid.)

but ...

You should only choose chocolate if you really enjoy it. The guilt of the fat-and-calorie content after you have licked your fingers of the last bite negates the mood boost that chocolate provides. For full benefits only eat chocolate that has at least 70 percent cocoa. It's high in cholesterol-fighting antioxidants, and the flavor is so intense that a little goes a long way. It's also rich in flavonoids, antioxidant compounds that enhance health by the relaxing blood vessels and improving blood flow. Cocoa also has been found to fight the bad cholesterol, LDL, that causes plaque to build up and clog your arteries.

So when you need that chocolate fix...

Remember: the darker the better for cardiovascular health. Dark has a cocoa content of 70 percent or higher. I personally like Green & Black’s Organic chocolate bars. The best place I have found to purchase these is Target!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Have A Dog then Have A Walk?

Pets do wonderful things for you! Dogs get you out and maybe even walking. A dog is a great fitness partner since they will never say no to a walk. It is said that walking is the best form of exercise. I don't walk my dog everyday because she is older but I do take her out and throw ball. It is great to have a companion and pets can be a friend when no one else is around.
Loneliness can lead to overeating and having animals can take away those feelings of loneliness. Owning pets lowers blood pressure and those who own pets live longer than those who don't. I think I will always own a pet. Right now we have one cat and one dog. Some day we add to family but until then we will love our animals are just as they are family.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Six Pounds Is Not Enough?

How much should I lift? That is a question that is asked by new students that attend my class. I usually don't go over 6 pounds. Wow that is all you lift! Yes,in a body shaping class, we don't rest in between sets.

Lifting too much weight can injure muscles and create incorrect alignment of the spine. Another thing is when students lift weights that are too heavy for them they use momentum to carry them throughout the exercise.

Weight overload is a problem but not enough weight is also an issue. You must challenge the muscles so that they tear and then rebuild. That is the process that makes them stronger.

A good clue to know if you weight load is too light is to see if you find that you can get through your reps faster than ever before, or do your muscles become tired. If they don't or you find that you are racing through your reps then you might want to increase the load.

I am constantly changing my weight load from six to five to four and even sometimes three pounds. My muscles become confused and so that eliminates muscle memory. I can keep my load low and avoid injury but still challenge my body to work hard.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

These Lazy Days of Summer???

I have never known the lazy days of summer! That is what vacaiton is for!

Busy summers have always been part of my life for as long as I can remember. It seems that as soon as I get a break I have something else to do. How can I keep up the pace without being stressed-out? That is where eating right and getting enough rest becomes important.

Eight hours of sleep at night is what most of us need to make it through our long days. If you have trouble sleeping at night try reading before going to bed. Mysteries and horror stories are not the most relaxing. Reading a devotional or the Bible can be great way to unwind.

Eating healthy is such a chore today as we are always going, going, going. Taking healthy snacks like protein bars, fruit or cut up vegetables in a small cooler will aid in taking the edge off and lessen the temptation to stop at fast food joints. Also it is good to eat protein in the first hour after waking up to rev the body’s metabolism.