Ran into a colleague that I’ve known for the entire 20 years that I’ve been here – but don’t have the opportunity to talk to very much. . .As we talked, she said: “you’ve lost weight – how did you do it? I’ve been trying and I’ve lost 15 lbs, but can’t seem to get past that.”Where do I start…I tried to tell her about my experience using a personal trainer; she said she tried that but the trainer wanted her to work on balance and she said, “you don’t understand, I’m 56 years old – I don’t have any balance. That ship has sailed.” The trainer kept attempting, so she decided she was a bad trainer.I tried to tell her about eating whole foods in their original state and passing on processed and fast foods. . .I didn’t get very far. In the end it was all about the problems of post menopausal women and heredity (her mom had the big belly shape) – and there was nothing she could do about it.I wanted to scream. “I’M POST MENOPAUSAL. I HAVE FAT BODIES IN MY FAMILY – I HAD A FAT BODY – I DON’T HAVE A FAT BODY NOW – I HAD NO BALANCE – WHILE NOT PERFECT, I HAVE MUCH IMPROVED BALANCE NOW!!!”But, I knew she really didn’t want to hear it. She wanted to believe there was nothing she could do about it.So, I have to decide how I want to respond to people who bring up the subject with me. I think they’re hoping to hear of some magic formula, and when they don’t hear it in the first 2 minutes – they tune me out.
Like so many Americans, I take dietary supplements, nothing too crazy, but I take them everyday. A recent editorial in the Sunday New York Times had me headed for the kitchen cupboards to check out the labels on my vitamins.
I know this stuff. I’m familiar with the studies that show adverse effects from too much Vitamin E, Vitamin A, and antioxidants in general, but I still like to add it all up every once in a while to make sure the cumulative dose of whatever I am taking is not working against me.
You are probably much like me, bombarded by sales pitches that sound logical. ”Antioxidants fight free radical damage, which will help ward off disease and illness . . . and even physical signs of aging . . . ” This is true, BUT . . .
Too much is still too much. It is still not better. Food is a safe way to get anti-oxidants in quantities that will not be harmful. You will simply not be able to eat enough fruits and vegetables to overdo it, because you will get full before that.
What’s the harm in taking megadoses of antioxidants? The editorial points out that the risk of cancer seems to rise, because it appears that protective mechanisms in the body are harmed when we are flooded with too many antioxidants. In other words, the body’s natural balance is thrown out of whack. It’s just another reminder that the body is a smart machine, and it is made to work best with fresh natural food with minimal processing . . . and minimal monkey business with supplements.
That said, I am still taking my supplements, but I do not take megadoses of anything. Once again, moderation seems to be the best way to go.
. . . to change “quitting smoking” in this quote to “dieting”?
“Quitting smoking is the easiest thing I ever did. I ought to know. I’ve done it a thousand times.”
- Mark Twain
For so many people in our diet-driven culture, losing weight is a serial activity. When approached with a more long-reaching outlook – and a good dose of patience – great improvements are possible. Real changes simply take time.
I like to ask clients this question: Where would you like to be in 6 months, at the same weight or higher (after losing the same 5-10 pounds 3 or more times and gaining them back), or 15-25 pounds lighter with some genuinely different habits? The answer is obvious, so why do so many people behave as if they prefer to yo-yo back and forth?
I had a weak moment this morning. I confess that for an instant I considered spending a good chunk of change (more like wad of dollars!) on a beauty “miracle”. I got an e-mail ad from a skin care company, and they made some very enticing claims. They promised to minimize my pores, tighten and de-wrinkle my skin, add a youthful glow . . . and on and on. Continue reading
“What can I drink? I don’t always want to drink water. I know it’s the best, but I get sick of it.” This is a question I often hear.
And here is my most recent answer. I like to mix fresh squeezed orange juice (1/2 cup) with a 12-ounce can of sparkling mineral water (or seltzer) like Perrier or LaCroix. This is nothing new for me, but what IS new is . . .
The last time I went shopping for La Croix water, they were OUT! But they did have many different flavors. This coconut flavored one caught my eye – think pina colada when combined with orange juice! – and I gave it a try. I am hooked. Now all I need is a fancy glass – and some of those little umbrella toothpicks to skewer a slice of pineapple.
I was recently introduced to the concept of living above and below the line and wanted to share it with you. While many of us have heard these principles before, thinking about being above/below the line is a great way to visualize our patterns.
When we live above the line, we see life from a positive place and are hopeful, creative, and optimistic.
- Creative - Being creative helps solve patterns that are not helping you. Creativity allows for better meal planning and avoidance of excessive temptation.
- Generous - Are you stingy with feeding yourself? If you feel overly deprived, it is only a matter of time before the pendulum swings back toward excess. Being generous with others has also proven to be a great way to lift mood, which in turn lifts your ability to take care of yourself.
- Hopeful - Do I need to expand on this?! Without hope, what good is any attempt?
- Positive - A "can do" attitude - seeing the glass half full - keeps brain chemistry optimal. That makes everything possible.
- Optimistic - Ditto
- Energetic - Momentum comes from energy. Without it, not much gets done - no cooking, no workouts . . .
- Loving - Are you worthy of good health? Of course you are. Believing that is the most basic way to exhibit self-love. With self-love, loving others is possible.
- Angry - Anger creates reaction, not action. (An angry reaction to a weight on the scale often propels a binge or causes people to quit trying altogether.) From a place of calm, action can progress toward a goal.
- Sad - Think of a deep, deep hole. That's not the easiest place to work on changes.
- Powerless - If you don't think you can do it, guess what? You can't.
- Negative - Negative thoughts lead to negative actions. This is never a good way to improve.
- Jealous - Does it feel good to envy someone else's situation or body? "She eats whatever she wants and looks like THAT!" First of all, keep in mind that you never really know how someone else lives behind closed doors. Secondly, you have your metabolism and your body, and someone else's situation does not have anything to do with that. Jealousy is self-destructive and takes your focus off of what you can do to help yourself.
- Fearful - Fears cause inaction. Inaction causes NO CHANGE.
- Pessimistic - OK, Debbie Downer, pick yourself up and start thinking more positively! Expect bad results, and that is exactly what you will get.
The demonstration table was ready. I had the single burner ready. Two bags containing everything I could imagine I would need to cook an asparagus side dish was there: saute pan . . . check, wooden spoon . . . check . . . . asparagus, goat cheese, grape tomatoes . . . check, check, check.
“Ok, everyone, today I’m going to show you how quick and easy it is to make a side dish to go with your grilled entrees. I’m going to be making Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes”. As the words came out of my mouth, my brain focused on the work “balsamic”, the very balsamic that I HAD FORGOTTEN TO PACK!
A small shot of adrenaline (panic) later, I came to my senses. A little honesty and humor always helps, and my honesty here is that I am working on laughing at my imperfections more. With each year that passes by, I am realizing how very few mistakes are serious. This one certainly fell immediately into the category I call “not important”. No one was hurt, either emotionally or physically to my knowledge, and the show did go on.
I kept the mood light and was even able to convince everyone that they should be using balsamic vinegar on all kinds of foods – all without a single drop of it with me! Good balsamic vinegar can transform any vegetable into a sweet and tasty side dish. With olive oil, it is a fresh and healthy salad dressing.
As I drove away afterward, I did not feel embarrassed or stupid for my little lapse. In fact I have to say that the whole group relaxed more quickly and we had a lighter mood as a result of it.
Note to self: My comfort level with imperfection seemed to be a gift to all of us.
The same principle applies to eating for weight loss and health. Eating “imperfectly” seems to be a big barrier for changing eating habits, but I think it is a lack of comfort with the inevitable imperfection that is more often to blame for overeating.
If someone eats a brownie and feels terribly shameful about it, the lack of comfort can lead to many more. Although it may not make immediate sense, acceptance of imperfection works so much better, yet it is so hard for so many dieters. It’s worth a try, don’t you think?