Get your game back on
Yeah, I know, it's been six I-am-gonna-start-a-diet-on-Mondays since New Year's, you have probably lost your resolve, the icy sidewalks are killing your walking plans, the snow shoveling has wrenched your back, it's cold, it's dark, there's nothing on TV, you'd rather hide under a blanket with a bag of Doritos and hate yourself ...
|KEITH BEATY PHOTO|
Me? I am stuck at the eight pounds down mark -- and, in two weeks, I am going to be on a Caribbean beach. BAH!
My major problem? Not enough cardio exercise, mostly because I am working on training Jericho. Lots of short walks, not much endurance training, at least not physical endurance.
If you're into all or nothing thinking, like so many of us on-and-off-again dieters, you might now be at the stage where you are beating yourself up for being a failure. Again.
Even if you lost just one pound or picked up one good habit -- eating more veg, or a decent breakfast, or packing a healthful lunch, or keeping a food diary (which is, according to research is the single most effective thing you can do) -- consider yourself a winner.
Studies show that people who keep food journals lose more weight and keep more of that weight off in the long run. The National Weight Control Registry-– an ongoing research project tracking more than 3,000 people who’ve lost an average of 66 pounds and kept it off for five years –- found that keeping a food journal is the one strategy used by the majority of successful dieters. In fact, in a study of 685 dieters conducted by a health insurance company, the best predictor of weight loss throughout the first year was the number of food records kept per week.
So, today, we're going to talk about how to pick ourselves up off the couchmaster and keep on keeping on.
One more good habit this week. That's all you need to do. Whether we're talking drinking more water or getting one more hour's quality sleep or having a salad (lay off the blue cheese gorp!) with lunch. Not a big move, right? You don't have to deprive yourself.
It takes time to acquire new habits. (Just ask the freaking dog!)
Here's a great slideshow on what you should be eating, including foods you might have thought were verboten. My favourite? Avocados!
The cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fat in these green health bombs can help keep your body strong and pain free. University of Buffalo researchers found that competitive women runners who ate less than 20 percent fat were more likely to suffer injuries than those who consumed at least 31 percent. Peter J. Horvath, Ph.D., a professor at the university, speculates that the problem is linked to extreme low-fat diets, which weaken muscles and joints. "A few slices of avocado a day are a great way to boost fat for women who are fat shy," says Leslie Bonci, R.D., director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Even something as simple as eating one piece of fruit a day is a good thing.
In a recent study where women were divided up into fruit-before-meals and no-fruit-before-meals groups, the fruit group lost more weight -- even though they all followed the same reduced-calorie diet. The key? Choosing fruit that's high in fiber but low in calories.
Red Delicious apples, for example, are cheap, available and one of the best foods you can eat (with the peel). Just be sure to wash them carefully, or buy organic. I like cutting them up into salads.
You want easy? A big pile of bagged greens or spinach, some chopped up chicken, a chopped up apple (or two), one oz. of cheddar diced. Some seasoned salt, balsamic vinegar and, for fat, either a tsp. of olive oil or a small (like 6 walnut halves) handful of chopped walnuts or some sliced avocado. (Research shows you need some fat to absorb the nutrients from greens.) If you're brown bagging it, add the dressing later or your salad will turn to mush.
Oh, and if you're wondering which veggies are best, here's a fun comparison.
Now, what if you're eating okay but, like me, not moving enough?
Here are some tips to get you going. To me, the most critical is to suit up. Get on some workout clothes, lace up your shoes and either head to the gym or out the door or just jump around your living room.
On really low-energy days, head to the gym with the promise that you can leave after you finish your warmup. "Tell yourself you'll just do some stretches and a few minutes of cardio," says Rachel Cosgrove, a personal trainer in Newhall, California. "Once you get to the gym and get your blood pumping, chances are you'll finish your full workout. Ninety percent of the time, our clients do."
And if even if that strikes you as more than you can handle right now, then how about something really simple? Just be inefficient!!
How about purposely making extra trips from the car to the house with the grocery bags? Rather than load up on as many bags as you possibly can (and we all know how many we can carry, just barely brushing the ground and yet, not really touching it at all!), carry just one in each hand, briskly walking to and from the house.
For me, one good move is going down three flights of stairs from my home office to the basement -- and back again -- for every bathroom break. Because I drink a lot of water, plus a pot of green tea every day, that quickly adds up to 21+ flights up per workday. I also keep my agenda in the kitchen, which forces me to run downstairs to consult it before making appointments. Factor in trips down for meals, answering the doorbell, and other reasons and we're talking serious movement.
If you're office bound, don't email. Get up to talk to your colleagues. Take the stairs for a few flights instead of the escalator or elevator. Stand when you're on the phone. (I use a headset.) Park your car further away. Get off at the subway stop before your regular one. Give the dog a break and walk one more time around the park or block.
All these things add up. Burn a lousy extra 100 calories a day -- a leisurely 20 minute walk for most -- and that adds up to 10 pounds a year.
You know this stuff. I know this stuff. Let's just do it.