Tag Archives: exercise

Quick Motivation

This is truly amazing and inspirational.  If you are having trouble getting to the gym or eating healthier after the holidays, I think this might help.



The Importance of “Mindset”

A Driver’s Perspective (above)

In My Runner’s Mindset

The process of changing habits is a topic of huge interest to me.  It is a large part – arguably the largest part – of helping people get healthier.  For this reason, earlier this month I found myself at an all-day seminar on the subject.

One piece of new information has been rattling around in my head ever since I heard it:  Habits are permanently stored in the brain.  Wow!  That really amazed me.  Does that mean that we cannot change habits?  Of course not, but it can be very difficult without the knowledge of how it happens.  Truth be told, it is still going to be hard with better understanding, just not as hard.  Considering the health consequences of everyday habits, every advantage is super important.

This morning I learned something about habits in the best way possible – I observed it in myself.  I was driving home down a road I use at least once every day.  Once in a while – the once or twice a week I put a few miles on my running shoes –  it is also a part of my usual running route.  So here’s what happened. Continue reading

Maintaining Weight May Help You Lose It

It is really hard to make lifestyle changes!  True behavior changes do not happen at light speed.  The reality is that most people change at a snail’s pace, and the process of moving forward is regularly interrupted by little “side trips” or even backtracking adventures.

I also see people reach a weight goal, and then the mystery becomes, “How the heck do I maintain?!”  Without learning this crucial skill, re-gaining is inevitable.

A recent study looked at the weight loss journey in an out-of-the-box way, and I believe it makes a lot of sense behaviorally.  Why not practice a few healthy habits while maintaining (without the pressure of losing weight), get the hang of that, and then make small changes to create weight loss?

The study looked at 267 mostly obese women.  Half were told to maintain their weight for 8 weeks while they worked on learning skills toward a healthier lifestyle.  Then they followed a 20 week weight loss plan.  The other group just followed the weight loss plan.  Both groups lost a similar amount of weight, but the group that practiced maintaining kept twice as much weight off.

You may ask, “Why would I want to learn to maintain?  I do that all too well.  I have that mastered.”  Well, if you truly do have that mastered – in other works, you are fairly consistent with your habits, without big highs and lows of food and/or exercise, and your weight does not vary much – then you probably don’t need to learn it.  You already have a sense of cause and effect.  You know that if you change that established pattern significantly, you will change your body.  You know that your weight will go up and down a couple of pounds as part of normal life.
Great!  You are in a good position to make well planned changes to your lifestyle that are realistic.  You will have some degree of logic about the process – what you must do and what you will get if you follow through.

But what if you are like so many people who deprive and binge cyclically, or work out like a madman/madwoman and then quit altogether?  In that case, there is little logic.  You may be maintaining over time, but it feels chaotic.  Habits are not stabilized, so weight will yo-yo up and down, even if average weight does not change much.  That is a very powerless position to begin making changes.  There is chaos in the process, so there will be no logical formula for maintaining weight.

Although it was a short study, it just makes sense.  If change is hard – IT IS – and if it takes a while to make new habits stick – WHICH IT DOES – then this may be a new approach that works for some people.  I would be willing to bet that it will be most effective for individuals who feel most confused about the process in general.  It’s certainly worth a shot if you are frustrated and confused, because it takes a little of the pressure off when there is no urgency to see the scale number go down.

Lifestyle Is More Important

I just read results of another study that draws a possible connection between heart disease risk and a genetically determined trait.  This time it is blood type.  I am Type A, so I am – according to this study – 8% more likely to develop heart disease.

Those with A, B, or AB blood types appear to have a higher risk than those with the O blood type.  The researchers point out that this is probably not a very powerful indicator of risk, and that lifestyle makes a big difference.

I think lifestyle is THE most important determinant of heart disease risk in almost all cases.  The expression of genetically inherited traits is influenced by how we live – how we eat, what we eat, how we manage stress, activity levels, even happiness.

As someone with a family history of heart disease, I find this comforting.  So far there is no truly accurate way to determine who is going to develop heart disease and who will not.  Cholesterol measurements in a standard lipid panel are just not very predictive of risk.  More detailed testing is better, but there is still no consensus on an accurate predictive test for heart disease.  I think it is more complex than the presence of an ear lobe crease.  Whatever our risk factors, advice is similar.

Focus on lifestyle.  Improve eating habits and stay active.  This is what we can control.

Post Workout Dreamsicle Anyone?

The Finish! I’m on the far right, crossing the finish line at lightning speed 🙂

I ran a 5K today, the first one that actually involved a little pre-event training effort on my part.  I am not a serious runner.

Still, I met both of my goals:  #1 – no knee pain, making it possible to finish, a very important part of doing well in a race!  #2 – Finish in less than 27 minutes, 30 seconds.  I completed the race in 26 minutes, 55 seconds.

Forgive me if I sound a little proud.  I am!  For someone who wasn’t sure if she could even finish a 5K without knee pain, I did well.  I sucked a lot of wind along the way, but I feel so pleased with myself now that it’s over.

Now it’s time to recover.  Many sources recommend chocolate milk for refueling muscles after a workout.  It’s not bad, but you may want to do better.  I came up with my own “recipe” for a high protein, no sugar-added, delicious refueling drink.  Here’s how:

Combine 1/2 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt (I like Fage brand best) with 1/4 cup 1% organic milk and 1/2 cup orange juice (I strongly recommend freshly squeezed – the flavor is so much better!).  Mix in a blender or use a wire whip to blend.

My restorative tools: a super-charged protein drink and a foam roller

The flavor reminds me of the dreamsicles of my childhood, and the thick texture and nutrient packed ingredients feel like just what my body is screaming for after a good workout.  Take a look at the comparison with chocolate milk’s nutrition facts, and draw your own conclusions.  I’m sticking with my new favorite!

12 oz of Kim’s super refueling protein drink contains 172 calories, 14g protein, and 16g sugar (none of which is “added sugar”) vs . . . . (drumroll, please) . . .

12 oz of lowfat (2%) chocolate milk contains 250 calories, 10g protein, and 35g of sugar (about 18g of which is “added sugar” – that’s 4.5 teaspoons!).

As for preventing overly sore legs and knees, there is nothing like my foam roller.

Life As a Run 2: Recalibrate Your “Hard-o-Meter”

Picture courtesy of Batman-Superman.com

I recently pulled out my “Hard-o-Meter” and took a fresh look.  It has been years since I last thought about this . . . Where exactly are my limits?  What can I really do, in all areas of life?  (Gotcha, didn’t I?  You thought this was something dirty, didn’t you?)

For years I have settled into a reasonably comfortable pattern with my workouts.  I did not think, “I am soft on myself.”  I just thought I was doing what I could “at my age”, which I felt was “not bad at all”.  This is true – it was not bad – but I had lost my perspective on what is difficult.  My “Hard-o-Meter” was stuck, locked in place at a set challenge level I accepted years ago. Continue reading

Attitude is Key for Maintaining Weight Loss: Do Ya Think?!

There is no substitute for a positive attitude and confidence!

While leafing through my latest professional journal, I was happy to see research support for what I think is so important – the attitudes and behavior skill-building needed to maintain weight loss.  Let’s not forget how easy it is to lose weight relative to how hard it can be for many people to maintain the loss.  If long-term strategies are viewed as optional (“I’ll figure that out once I lose the weight”),  aggressive short-term efforts usually end in weight regain. Continue reading