I Find it Best to Start at the Beginning, Part 2

Scones!

MMMMMM, scones!

In my last post I talked about setting the foundation for your weight loss journey and pointed out some strategies you can use to establish a strong base.  I asked you to take a look at what is working for and against you.  In this post I am going to focus a bit more on the role that awareness plays in creating a healthy lifestyle.

What does losing weight mean to you?  Are you instantly hit with visions of all the things that you won’t be able to enjoy anymore and dread about stepping on the scale?  If you are serious about losing weight and keeping it off you have to create a life that supports your goal.  Understanding your habits and tendencies are a significant piece to the weight loss puzzle.

Over the next couple of weeks take a look at the things you do on a day-to-day basis.  Do you get that latte and scone every morning before work?  What is your evening routine like, do you have a couple of glasses of wine with dinner?  Sure, you may be hitting a spin class three days a week but the caloric expenditure in those classes are being undone by daily habits you don’t even think about.

It may not seem like much but when you think about calories like money there is a nickel-and-diming effect that can add up over time.  The better your awareness the better you will be able to attend to counter productive habits.  So, use an app, write in a journal and start keeping track of what is working for and against you.

As always, more about me here: www.true-2-life.com

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I Find it Best to Start at the Beginning, Part 1

Could you imagine beginning with parallel parking when you first started driving or playing a song for friends at your first attempt at the piano?  Yet, so many people start their weight loss journey in the middle without establishing a foundation to work from.  It is no wonder failure rates are so high, most people are starting at the wrong point in their program.

So, where to begin?  Start with a review of what you have done in the past, what has and has not worked for you?  You have to take a look at the road you have traveled through critical eyes; if you lost a lot of weight over a coupe of months on a low calorie diet only to gain it back did it really work?  If you don’t have many references for what has worked for you look at what has worked for other individuals.  The National Weight Loss Registry is a great resource to find individuals that have lost weight and kept if off.

Next, take inventory of  what resources you have available to you and what barriers you need to address.  Will you be using a gym or equipment at home?  Will pizza Friday be an issue for you and what is an alternative?  Who in your life will support your efforts and who will razz you for not having one more beer when out and about?  Your journey doesn’t take place in a bubble and you should account for as many variables as possible.

Your attitude will play a significant role in your success and you have to be open to trying new things and staying aware.  Developing your awareness will be the key to really establishing a solid ground to develop from.  Keep a notebook for the next couple of weeks of your eating habits and exercise routine.  Check out Penzu.com for a free on-line notebook.

To find out more about me and what I do: www.true-2-life.com

 

Vision of Health

 

Cowboy

Cowboy (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn_BE_BACK_IN_SEPTEMBER)

 

It’s a lazy hot morning in the town of Deadwood and old Sheriff Andy is sipping his coffee enjoying a moment of silence before his day gets started.  Suddenly, his peaceful, meditative moment is shattered by the rapid thundering of hooves coming toward him from the sunrise end of town.  He jumps up from his chair, and is surprised when he recognizes Ray Evans riding wildly up the street.  “Ray! Where the hell are you going?” Shots Sheriff Andy. “I don’t know, ask the horse.” Replies Ray.

 

Sometimes weight loss can feel like this, a wild ride on the back of a fast horsing with the understanding that you are going somewhere but not really sure of the details.  It’s so easy to fall in love with the fantasy of how things are going to be when you finally drop all those pounds.  Think about it, you will no longer have to worry about taking your shirt off at the beach, finally take that hot Yoga class, and get that promotion at work.

 

Individuals that are successful at weight loss have a clear vision of the lifestyle that they are working toward and fall in love with the process.  Take a second today and consider, what your healthy style will look like, what activities will you participate in, how will your days change, what do you look like?  Now, break your process down, what are the day-to-day behaviors would you like to have in place, why is weight-loss important to you and your family, and what milestone have you set to achieve along the way?

 

Remember, while you should have a detailed idea of what you want to achieve this is a journey and if you don’t take care of what’s on the inside it won’t make a difference what you achieve on the outside.

 

Learn more about me and what I do: iBehaviorcoach.com

 

Death by Office Space

Don’t look now but I think your job is trying to kill you.  Adults spend a lot of time at work and in a given week you interact much more with your colleagues in the office then you do with your family at home.  Your work environment may actually be one of the more significant barriers to your weight loss efforts. 

Think about the extra calories you get from grazing around the break-room or out of the jellybeans jar on your co-workers desk.  How often are you hitting happy hour with friends after a long day of wrangling with issues in your department?  Your work environment can be detrimental to the healthy life that you want to lead if you allow it to, but you have a choice. 

While you can’t control the people around you, you can monitor your actions and decide what will or will not work against you.  Don’t allow yourself to throw your hands up in defeat because it is yet another birthday this week with cake.  You can choose to have a smaller piece or nothing at all.  Don’t worry, gaining the reputation as someone committed to taking care of themselves isn’t nearly as damning as you think.

Have a thoughtful Thursday 

Find out more about me: iBehaviorcoach.com

Healthy Identity Crisis

Jean Loring in Identity Crisis. Art by Rags Mo...

Jean Loring in Identity Crisis. Art by Rags Morales. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What goes into your identity; your job title (cat wrangler), the status in your family (oldest of eight), your hobby (extreme world-building).  Chances are you wouldn’t include your tendencies toward late night snacking or how you binge on food and alcohol when you are in social situations.  Yet, when I tell someone that in order for them to successfully lose weight they have to address these problem areas you would think I was asking them to give up breathing.

Think about how you socialize or unwind at the end of the day, think about the joy or comfort that you get from having your favorite treat, now imagine having that taken away.  That twinge of loss that you feel highlights one of the more significant barriers to losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle.  If you have had difficulty in the past dropping pounds you might want to look at how you identify with the foods you eat and your way of being.  Can you imagine living a healthier lifestyle or are you stuck ruminating about all the things you will have to give up if you committed to significant change?

Take some time today and envision the life you want.  Consider what socializing, unwinding and stress reduction looks likes through the lens of a healthier you.  When that person is looking back at you in the mirror several months from now I am guessing the sacrifices you made will be worth it.

Learn more about what I do: iBehaviorcoach.com

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Tape measure

Tape measure (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My clients come to me with the best intentions in the world and they want so much.  “I want to have a six-pack,” I want to impress the girl/guy/other of my dreams with my physique,” “I want to drop 5 dress sizes before my wedding next week.”  All great intentions but, all the hope in the world is nothing without a little planning to go along with it.

Weigh loss and lifestyle creation, like any journey, is only realized through good planning and consistent follow through.  Anything less would be like starting a road trip without a destination in mind, “are we there yet, I don’t know.” Sure, you want to lose weight, that is your destination, but successful individuals don’t obsess about how they will look when they get there, successful individuals focus on the journey.

Take a look at your week, what small behavior change can you make each day to move yourself one step closer to the next 5 lbs. of weight loss?

Happy Monday!!!

I Love Me, I Love Me Not, I Love Me, I Love Me Not…

I often get clients that have been trying to lose weight their entire adult lives and have the diets and workout videos in their wake to prove it.  They have struggled for years to one day look in the mirror and see this fantasy person looking back at them, slender with a six-pack and  confidence blazing in their eyes.  For some, today is not that day. They wince at what they are looking at, maybe even tug at that roll on their waste-line as if they can reveal something better underneath.

I have to ask, what good is it doing you to allow these self-depricating thoughts mess with what you are trying to accomplish?  There is no straight set course to losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle, there really is only you giving your all and correcting the course when things aren’t going your way.  One of the best things you can do for yourself in this process is to rediscover why you love yourself enough to take the best care possible.  It will become harder and harder to go a little heavy on that portion or eat a snack off plan when you ask, “does this work for or against me getting the most out of my body?”

If you aren’t your own best friend maybe it is time to introduce yourself and discover what makes you such a great person.  If you don’t, who will?

Laying the Foundation

We all have the ability to succeed it is just a matter of discovering our individualized approach and committing to workable, realistic goals.

Losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle is a learnable skill.  Many of us stumble when trying to adopt an approach that just doesn’t make sense when jammed into what you already have going on.  Honestly, it is not entirely your fault if you have been trying for years to lose weight without success.  There is so much misinformation out there that ranges from the obscure to just insane.  Seriously, does it make sense that taking a bath in ice-water is a sustainable, realistic way to drop the pounds?

We will be looking at how you can change your mind in order to change your life.  Living healthy is a matter of choice and when I sit here and tell you that you choose to be over weight understand that I speak from personal experience.  After graduate school I found myself about 65 pounds heavier then I am now, I was unhappy with my life, I drank way to much alcohol and had no problem finishing a bag of chips in front of the TV.  The thing is, I chose to be this way, I knew what I needed to do to maintain a healthy weight, I had been a personal trainer and spin instructor for almost 15 years at this point.

“But Matt!” You say, “I have been trying to lose weight for years, it is always on my mind, how could you be so callous?”  Bare with me here and just take a moment to think.  True weight loss isn’t a sprint, it is a way of living that takes tenacity and long-term commitment.  Aside from a small percentage of the population that have diagnosed biological issues I guarantee that if we trace the journeys you have taken in the past nothing was done long-term.  Having worked with hundreds of individuals I have found that most people describe there efforts in terms of days and weeks instead of months and years.  The reality is, this is what sells, 100 pounds in 100 days sounds better then stay mindful for the rest of your life.

In my next post I will lay the foundation for this project in the mean time I want you to start thinking about what has and has not worked for you over the years.

Habit Change for Weight Loss

English: Back cover of Barbie booklet about ho...

English: Back cover of Barbie booklet about how to lose weight. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Weight loss isn’t just a pill, a diet, or a workout plan and while all off these might help you drop some pounds they typically do not work long-term.  Much of the research out there shows that fewer then 20% of individuals that start a program to lose weight are able to keep it off.  Nope, as a society we suck at living healthy lifestyles and it’s not just eating, we have a whole slew of bad habits.  Just think about how well you sleep at night or how you deal with a stressful day of work.

Sustained weight loss is about creating a lifestyle that aligns with a way of being and combines the things you want with the things you do.  If you are over weight you make daily, consistent choices to sustain this weight  and level of health.  While you may have small burst of weeks that are filled with healthy living and exercise throughout your year, these times are fewer then the times you aren’t paying attention.  Your habit balance favors a way of being where you are overweight and out of shape.

Habits are our day to day rituals, pieces of script that we keep as short-cuts so our minds don’t have to constantly waste time thinking about the small stuff.  You have a habit in place for waking up in the morning, one for driving, and one for winding down your day.  While some of these habits support healthy living others sabotage our efforts and may lead to feelings of guilt.  Just think about how you feel after entertaining the habit you picked up in college of eating to much ice cream in response to stress.

This week most post will focus on establishing the habits needed to create a healthy lifestyle.  We will look at how habits are created and strategies for breaking barrier habits in order to establish healthy keystone ones. Before reading further take a moment to think about what habits you have in place to support your efforts and which work against you.

Kick-it to the Curb: Diets Don’t Work

English: Barbie vintage booklet about how to l...

My last diet book

I hear something similar to this at least once a month.  “Hey, have you heard of the new cave-man, vegan, half-protein, partial lard, candy-corn, milk-steak diet?  My sister started it last month and has lost about 35 pounds with no end in site.”  Diet products are a multi-billion-dollar business that plays to the desire of individuals to lose weight without doing that much work.  They offer you a fast track to dropping the pounds through structure and promised results.  The problem is, they just don’t work.

However, there is hope and I am going to share the secret that those hundred-dollar diet books don’t want you to know.  It turns out that eating less fat and exercising are the keys to losing weight and keeping it off.  I know, mind blowing, right?  Niklas and colleagues whom studied data put out by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey  on over 4,000 obese individuals made some interesting discoveries.

“Those who exercised more and ate less fat were significantly more likely to lose weight, additionally we found a correlation between joining weight loss programs and greater reported weight loss, which may speak to the importance of structure in a weight loss regimen.”

The study also found that there was not a correlation between over the counter or prescription diet pills/supplements and long-term weight loss.

So, did I sufficiently burst your bubble?  Diets just don’t work.  One of my biggest pet peeves is when the client tells me the number of times that they have tried Weight Watchers.  You have to wondering why someone has to do  a program more then once if it is effective.  In order to lose weight it really is as simple as eating right and exercising, no magic pill or food is going to come along anytime soon and change that.

One of the best investments that you can make in yourself if you are serious about losing weight is it is going to take some research and planning.  Find professionals to get the information you will need to develop an individualized program that take your specific needs into account.  Most of all, you have to recognize that you are making a lifestyle change and it is going to take some time.  It took years to put the weight on and if your expectation that it will come off in months you are kidding yourself.