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Bad Food is Like a Bad Ex, It Will Always Let You Down

sweet toothI got an email today from someone asking me for help. It was such a common question, I wanted to address it publicly. Here was her email:

“I have a MAJOR issue with sugar from cookies, cakes, frosting etc.  It is more of a psychological thing for me, because I used these kinds of food to comfort myself as a kid.  The connection here is food is the only thing that loves me, so when things go bad and I need to feel loved I pig out on these types of food. Can you please give me ideas on how to STOP eating sugar?

bad food is like a bad exMy first thought was “NO! It doesn’t love you!” and I remembered what a contestant from the weight loss show Steve did a few years ago said. Loralie, from ABC’s Fat March said:

“Food is like an ex-lover that is just no good for me. Not just any ex, but a really sexy ex. When I think about him (food) all I remember are the good times. I forget how much pain and guilt he would cause. And after an incredible night together full of passion, he just leaves you crying on the living room floor in the fetal position full of guilt. And yet, late at night… I still want him so, so bad”. 

Could this not be any better of a description of some people’s relationship with food? Loralie nailed it! You don’t have to necessarily be in an abusive relationship to get this.  Any relationship that is not good for you is a great example of a bad relationship with food.

No More Compromises

datingI have to admit I have been pretty lucky over the years. The guys I dated were all pretty great guys, but even good guys can be BAD for you if they aren’t RIGHT for you. For instance, I dated one guy that was really an amazing guy before I met Steve. He was talented, smart, handsome, had a great family who embraced me, and was perfect – for someone, just not me.

I found myself compromising my values and settling for just a little less. Since he really was a super sweet guy, it was easy to think of all the good stuff, and easy to forget the bad. Then, one day, I realized we were both wasting precious time focusing on what was right, but ignoring what was wrong. We could either address the bad stuff right then, or we could deal with it later. Either way we were going to have to deal with it.

Good Doesn’t Mean Right

ex boyfriend

For me, it meant coming to grips with the simple fact that we were both good, but not good for each other. We were not in a healthy relationship. He was going to make a great husband  – to someone else, but not me. And, I realized someone would love me exactly the way I needed to be loved, but he wasn’t going to be that guy.

I broke up with him that day, but it wasn’t easy. I cried and cried and cried – for days and weeks! BUT, I knew it was the right thing to do. It didn’t mean I wasn’t going to miss him and it didn’t mean that I would stop thinking about him. And, knowing I did the right thing was going to make it any easier. Even though I had a tremendous peace about my decision, it still hurt just the same.

I Don’t Need You Anymore

dieting

Food that isn’t good for you, in many ways, is just like a boyfriend that isn’t good for you.  No matter how wonderful it makes you feel at times, it will ALWAYS let you down. Unfortunately though, we make compromises even though we don’t like the way it makes us feel.

Maybe it’s time you treat food like a bad ex. Remember, as much as you may love it, it will never love you back. Not only does it not love you, it will hurt you – leaving you feeling a little worse day by day. The only answer is to say goodbye. The longer you stay away, the stronger you will become. As you lose weight, as you get healthier, you will discover a new confidence – and you will love the new you more than you ever loved food.

It’s Time to Move On – and Move UP!

true loveShortly after breaking up with that guy, I met Steve. He was everything I ever dreamed of. He was romantic, loving, sensitive, funny, passionate, smart, handsome, and loved me completely. I could have NEVER imagined how good it would feel to be loved this way – and I would have never discovered his love if I didn’t first turn away from what I thought I loved at that time.

If you hold on to what just feels good right now, you may never discover just how great things could be. Healthy food loves you back. Fitness loves you back. Unhealthy food will always leave you unhealthy, and in a pit of regret and shame. Don’t let the initial taste of something sweet fool you, and lead you to a bitter end. Maybe today is your day to end your love relationship with food.

7 Ways to Get Food Off Your Mind, and Your Hips!

food for thoughtIn my experience, people don’t have trouble going on a diet – they have trouble sticking to it. It’s just too easy to get side-tracked and tempted. On top of just normal temptations, as soon as we begin a diet, we start obsessing over food. We are constantly thinking of what we can and cannot eat, what we should eat and what we want to eat. I even see people doing cardio watching the food network. Does that really make any sense at all?

I believe people don’t set enough boundaries – not just with food, but with their thoughts. We trust ourselves just a little too much. We put ourselves in stupid compromising situations and then wonder why we fail.

food for thoughtPersonally, I think we think about food way too much. We “allow” our thoughts to explore territory our mouths should never go while dieting. Instead of thinking about our training and new fit bodies, we are dreaming and scheming up ways to create some “healthy” dish we can try to squeeze in our plan so we don’t feel so deprived – but are we really deprived? When was delicious grilled chicken and asparagus an example of being deprived?  When was having abs and feeling great not worth going without pizza? Do you really want to taste pizza more than wear some kick-butt jeans without a muffin top? Let’s put things in to perspective so you can begin succeeding!

Before you explore these tips, first decide whether you are in maintenance or weight loss mode. If you are maintenance, you can be a little less strict – or you can follow these rules during the week, but enjoy a little more freedom on the weekend. If you are in diet mode, then these 7 tips should help you stay on the fast track to success.

7 Practical Diet Tips to Help You Stay On Track

menu1. Stick to a routine. Eating the same foods, like the same one or two breakfasts every day, helps keep dieting simple. The less you have to think about what I should eat, the easier it is to eat healthy. The more variety you have, the more excited your tastebuds will get – and they may want more. If you eat oatmeal every day, I doubt you’ll want to overeat or go back for seconds.

2. Avoid restaurant menus. Should an alcoholic spend time looking through the drink menu? Should they walk the isles of ABC liquor? Of course not! So why should a dieter spend time shopping a menu with pictures of food they shouldn’t eat. All it does is open the windows of our hungry mind. If you must eat out, either make your decision before you even show up to the restaurant, or have someone else help you order if you are tempted to go off plan.

3. Make rules and stick with them. In our house, dinners are always one meat and one green veggie. Period. Since we don’t need carbs to sleep, we save carbs (like a sweet potato) for lunch. Setting rules helps us stay on track. No rules, no boundaries, no success.

food prep4. Prepare your food when you aren’t hungry. We cook a good bulk of our food on Sundays AFTER we eat lunch. When meals are made in advance, all we have to do is heat them up when you get hungry. If you wait to cook when you are hungry, you are more likely to focus on what you want to taste rather than what you need to eat – and you may whip up something higher in calories because you are thinking with your stomach, and not your new fit brain.

5. Rely primarily on whole foods. I love making turkey meatloaf and yummy meals, but Steve can’t control himself around them. So, 75% of our meals are whole foods, and only 25% are multi-ingredient dishes. This gives us just enough variety without sabotaging our diet.

6. Be patient when cooking. Rely on seasoning and slow cooking (like a crock pot or roaster) to boost flavor instead of sauces and added ingredients. Many times we add more calories than necessary simply because we cook too fast and don’t allow seasonings to be absorbed in the food.

Pistachios7. Know what you can and cannot handle. No matter how motivated someone is in the morning, that motivation can be forgotten by the time you are standing in the pantry staring at the nuts at night. If you can’t handle having certain snacks or foods in the house, don’t let them past your front door. Sometimes it’s best to go without than to try to practice self-control (and fail over and over).

Remember, the only way you will be successful is to be honest with yourself. Some people are super disciplined and some people aren’t. Be honest with yourself and set goals accordingly.

Results Taste Better

Whatever your goal is, whether it’s to lose a few pounds or compete (like this chick below), spend more time thinking about your training, and less time thinking about food. If you want abs more than you want ice cream, then put a set of abs on the freezer door to remind you what you want long term. Because, honestly, 10 minutes of pleasure isn’t worth ruining a reward you can enjoy all day every day – because I’m pretty sure this chick is not the least bit upset about the foods she missed out on while she stands fit and proud on stage.

figure competitor

DIET DANGER: Beware of Yummy Low-Cal Food

sad foodOne major misconception is that dieting is boring, tasteless, unfulfilling and borderline torturous. Although we really don’t consider the way we eat “dieting”, but just “eating clean” – it’s more than satisfying and definitely not tasteless or boring. However, sometimes yummy healthy food can be too much for a dieter to handle. So, for some people bland may be better. Here’s why.

Bland is Better

bowl_of_oatmealWhen something tastes great, we want more of it – plain and simple. I don’t care how low-fat, low-cal, high-protein, organic, paleo, it is. If you are trying to lose weight, sometimes it’s best to keep foods a little boring so you don’t overeat. Does this mean you don’t enjoy your food? No. It means, that every single meal doesn’t have to be a celebration on your tongue.

I believe we think WAY too much about what we WANT to eat and what we WANT to taste, when we should be focusing on what kind of fuel our body needs. Since our body needs the same thing day after day, I venture to say there are some components to your eating habits that should remain the same too.

dreaming of foodSadly, when people go on a diet, it’s like they are so fixated on what they are going to be missing, that they spend a lot of time and energy trying to figure out a way to still get what they want, and get the results they want too. Is it possible to eat yummy healthy food and lose weight? YES. Is it harder? YES. So why make it harder on yourself?

Keep It Simple Stupid

Grilled Chicken & asparagusOf course, meals don’t have to be yucky, but they should be simple. It’s hard to mess up whole foods & simple meals, like a meat and green veggie. However, if you start getting too fancy with the cooking, before you know it you have not only added more calories, but you’ll likely eat more of it. That’s two unnecessary obstacles you don’t need if you are trying losing weight.

thinking of foodIn addition to food being too yummy for you to resist seconds, adding too much variety can make tracking calories more difficult. Repetition is easier to manage. When you repeat meals and snacks, there is less chance of missing calories or messing up.

Lastly repetition frees our mind from thinking about food more than we already do. As soon as you start exploring new things, our mind goes WILD. If you want to spend less time thinking about food, stick to what you know so you don’t have to think about it at all.

More Diet Tips:

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Good Intentions, Poor Results: All Talk, No Do

You’ve probably heard the saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”, well so is the road to obesity. There are many people who have the best intentions to get fit, but they just don’t follow through. Why? While I know there are many reasons for people’s inability to turn their good intentions into good actions, I want to tackle 5 of the most common problems. Each day this week I will post one problem and one solution.

#1 Can’t Get Started: All Talk No Do

fat and unhappyThis person talks about it often, but that’s about it. They may even subscribe to every diet and fitness magazine and health blog. Getting fit is at the top of their mind, but at the bottom of their to-do list.

Maybe, despite all their reading, they still don’t know exactly what to do. Maybe they don’t know how to start or maybe they are just not ready. Whatever the case, they probably have many excuses of why they haven’t been able to do it.

Sadly, people around them will get frustrated because this type of person is often cranky, uncomfortable, and complainy. It’s like their body is tired of being overweight, but their mind isn’t actually ready to make the decision to lose it. Therefore, they are in a constant fight – and everyone around them suffers from the internal squabble.

Solution: This person needs to listen to their body and do what they know they need to do to be happier and healthier. They need to quit procrastinating and making excuses, and except the responsibility for their actions (or lack of). If losing weight is really important to them, they need to make it a priority in their life and move it to the top of their to-do list – because it isn’t going to happen on its own. This person should join a gym, have accountability and may need to even hire a trainer to get them started, since they haven’t been able to start on their own. The most important step for this person is the first step.

This Week’s Mantra:

good intentions

SCALE: Friend or Foe? 8 Tips to Effective Weigh-Ins

Some people avoid the scale at all cost – especially when they are heavy. It’s kinda like testing yourself in an area you know you are weak in. If you struggle with your weight, most likely, you don’t want to be reminded of how heavy you’ve gotten. However, just because you don’t know your weight doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist – so running from the truth really isn’t the answer in my opinion.

Whether you already jump on the scale or not, here are a few tips to making sure your weigh-ins are effective and helping you move toward your goal.

1. Weigh weekly for more accountability. If you are prone to getting complacent or comfortable at a weight that’s not quite your ideal weight, then weighing yourself can remind you you still have progress to make so you don’t backslide.

2. Weigh on Mondays. Weighing in after the weekend, whether you want to see what the scale says or not, can help you fight the temptation to cheat during the time most people eat the worst, as well as be forced to deal with the repercussions of poor choices we often choose to forget and ignore.

3. Weighing daily can keep you focused. Although our body weight can fluctuate with water retention and intestinal weight, sometimes a false gain can fuel us to push further or not relax on the way to our goal. This is ideal for people who start feeling better and more confident at their lower weight, and are tempted to compromise, and slack a little, before they reach their goal.

4. Weighing monthly tracks progress. Although weighing daily or weekly can help you stay focused and accountable, weighing monthly is the ultimate test. If the scale isn’t moving significantly (minimal of 4-5lbs a month but ideally 8-10lbs a month), then you must respond with an action plan. If you don’t make changes, the scale will not make changes.

5. The scale exposes the truth. How many times have you heard someone say “I know I’m losing weight because my clothes are fitting better”. Although this should happen, and it does time and time again, don’t be that person who uses that as an excuse while the scale doesn’t budge. Although you can gain muscle and lose body fat, eventually weight loss should show up on the scale – and if it doesn’t, you are doing something wrong.

6. The scale requires honesty. First, you need to be honest with yourself and how you will deal with regular weigh-ins. Some people cannot handle the pressure. For some, it discourages them – but is it discouraging because it’s forcing you to face the facts, or is it discouraging because you have unrealistic expectations – or battle with a more serious issue, like a medical disorder? Some people say weighing regularly messes with their mind. Maybe you need your mind messed with, especially if you’ve been running from your weight problem. You can’t make the decision to weigh, or not to weigh, without complete honesty of what is best for you. We are all different and one person’s opinion is not applicable to all people.

7. Weigh purposefully, and only once a day. Don’t jump on the scale every chance you get. Often times people are tempted to get on the scale (out of curiosity) just after they ate a meal or during that time of the month. Duh?! Don’t torture yourself like that. Set boundaries and stick to them. Typically a good rule of thumb is to weigh in the morning, after using the restroom, naked and dry (not after a shower with wet hair). Remember, if you don’t like what the scale says on weigh-in days, because of our body’s tendency to fluctuate naturally, what matters most is what it will say at the end of the month.

8. Have clear and defined goals. Don’t weigh yourself unless you have a very clear objective. Whether you are weighing to prevent weight gain and maintain your weight, or you are weighing to track weight loss. Know your goal and stick to it.

I asked my facebook friends how they weighed in:

 

 

Motivational Mantra to match today’s topic thanks to SinkYourBattleships:

4 Encouraging Tips When You Reach a Weight Loss Plateau

There is nothing more frustrating than counting calories and busting your butt in the gym, only to get on the scale and seeing the same darn number day after day. I know how this feels because this is how my last 2 weeks have gone.

If I didn’t know better, and know that my hard work would eventually be reflected on the scale, it would be very tempting to quit. If I hadn’t personally experienced these frustrating plateaus right before a drastic drop in weight, and have that experience already, I would have said “forget this!”. BUT, I knew that success was just around the corner. I knew that if I just kept sticking it out, that all my hard work and dedication would indeed pay off – and pay off BIG. However, I had to get through this discouraging slump first – without letting it get to me.

In preparation for a photo shoot, I started counting my calories with the LoseIt iphone app and boosting cardio to shed some fat and lean out. Although I always eat pretty healthy, I knew I needed to be absolutely perfect with my diet, so I tracked every single calorie I consumed. Ironically, when you start dieting, it’s common for your body to resist weight loss. The “start” is the hardest part of the process. It’s also when you have the most cravings, feel the most hungry, have the least energy and see the least results.

What My Scale Said
I started at 147.9lbs, which is my average weight. I need to get down to 138-140lb when I want to lean out for something special. A few days in, I dropped to 146.6lbs and stayed there for days. Then, I got on the scale, 8-9 days in, and my weight went back UP to 147.6lbs – and I was like “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” Now, mind you, I’m in the industry and know what my body is going through. I also knew I felt better, and I was literally seeing less body fat on me. I knew for a fact that my body was making all the positive changes I expected – but the scale was not in agreement. BUT, that doesn’t change the fact that stupid number was totally ticking me off and messing with my head.

While I was going through this scale battle, so was my husband. As he prepares for a bodybuiling show, he too was counting calories and being very strict on his diet. Like me, he was seeing positive changes in his body but not seeing what he wanted to see on the scale.

FINALLY, I weighed myself this morning and BAM! I was at 143.4lbs. 4.5lbs down finally! It literally took 2 weeks of sticking at my starting number until my efforts were reflected on the scale.

I know I’m not alone and this happens to a lot of people. So, here are my tips to get you through those times the scale doesn’t reflect your hard work during your weight loss journey.

1. Focus on how you FEEL. When you are doing the right things, you should FEEL good. You should FEEL thinner, FEEL more energy, FEEL tighter, FEEL more attractive and FEEL successful. If the scale doesn’t agree, keep doing what makes you FEEL good, and eventually it should be reflected on the scale. The only time you need to worry is if your plateau last longer than a month. In that case, you need to accept you are doing something wrong and start aggressively troubleshooting.

2. Focus on how clothes FIT. I’ve had MANY people totally freak out because the scale says one thing and their clothes say another. Listen, if your clothes are fitting better, then your body is changing. Don’t let the number on the scale rob you of the joy you get when you put on a pair of jeans that are loose. How your clothes FIT you is a good, and accurate, measure of how you are doing on your diet.

3. Focus on the way you LOOK. If you look in the mirror and you can see more definition, or you can tell you are smaller, don’t let the scale ruin that excitement for you! And, if people are bragging on how good you are looking, don’t tell them how the scale doesn’t agree with them. You literally can be losing fat and gaining muscles, and making some serious changes before it is reflected on the scale, so focus on the way you LOOK and enjoy the changes you SEE!

4. Focus on your PROGRESS. Just yesterday I was griping about how I couldn’t believe I haven’t dropped one pound in two weeks. But I knew in my heart I was making progress. I knew I was doing everything right. Not only was I in control of my eating, having power over cravings, and saying no to some of the things I love to eat, but I was sticking to my training plan and staying focused. THAT, my friend, is something to be proud of. It’s progress. It’s progress because I am in control of my body, instead of letting my body control me. Also, I’ve been putting in the cardio and the work. This is also progress.

If this is you, you should enjoy victorious moments, knowing you are putting in the time and effort no matter what the scale says. The fact is, if you are doing all the right things, THAT alone is something to be proud of. When you do what is right, it WILL pay off.

Gain Control of Your Body AND Mind
The above tips are what keeps me going when I’m not seeing the numbers I want on the scale. They keep me balanced and level-headed – and they can help you too. Don’t let the scale steal the joy you should be experiencing when you are staying disciplined and working hard. Soon, and VERY soon, the scale will tell you exactly what you want to see to seal the deal and make your victory even sweeter!

Is Your Body a Maxed Out Credit Card?

We have all complained about our credit card bills. Everyone has bought stuff they couldn’t afford at the time  – and now it’s time to pay it off. It’s not fun, and many times we aren’t even enjoying the purchase by the time we are paying it off, which stinks even more!

We do the same thing with food. We eat it, whether we can afford it or not, and when it comes time to pay it off we gripe, complain and act like we are the victim. Like being in debt to our eyeballs, we did it to ourselves and it’s time we start manning up, paying it off, and becoming more disciplines.

1. Pay it off (completely). Don’t just pay it down and then rack up the calories again the first chance you get. Pay it off completely. Get to the size you know you should be before you start your “spending” again. Then, if you increase your spending, remember to keep paying it down while the amount is small – never letting your fat account get that high again.

2. Practice more discipline. If you can’t afford it, you really shouldn’t eat it – especially if you know you aren’t willing to pay it off fast. Be honest with yourself. Are you REALLY going to wake up in the morning and run an extra 3 miles to erase the ice cream you’re eating tonight? Remember, when you are losing weight, you are already paying off past mistakes, so any more calories you eat will require ADDITIONAL work to erase.

3. Eat like American Express. The wonderful thing about American Express is you pay it off each month. We should treat eating that way. We should only eat what we are willing to pay off that month. Unfortunately, most people eat like a Visa card – they eat what they want and just do the bare minimum to get by – resulting in carrying a large balance that never gets paid down.

Subscribe to my pFITblog for more tips and encouragement. 

Dangerous (Hot Body) Curves Ahead

“DANGEROUS CURVES AHEAD”. Key Word: AHEAD – Coming. Around the Corner. Not here yet. 

If I were to think about the work that goes into getting fit, I’d quit. Instead, I have to think about the reward. The problem is, I can only see and feel the now.

With every step I run, my initial thought is “this sucks”, “I can’t wait until this is over”, etc. However, what I immediately think after that is “I’m going to feel so good when this is done”, “I’m getting fit”, and “this is going to be SO worth it”. BUT, those positive thoughts are NOT natural – they are practiced behavior.

Let’s face it! The majority of people (including me) don’t like working out. It takes up time in our busy schedule. It wears our body out when our body is already worn out from work. And don’t forget the part about it just plain hurts sometimes (OK, most of the time).

FOCUS
As I sit and type this blog, my entire body is SO sore. I can complain about it, or I can celebrate it – and I choose to celebrate it. I choose to focus on the goal, not the process. I choose to focus on what I am investing IN and not the actual investment itself. AND I definitely choose to NOT focus on the fat that is still holding on despite my hard work, knowing in my heart it’s coming off…eventually.

THE REWARD IS WORTH THE WORK
It’s so easy to get on a pity party about how hard you are working or what foods you are missing out on, yet, we often forget that is SUCH a small sacrifice for the HUGE reward that comes from all of that discipline. Good health, long life, energy, feeling fit, looking fit, choosing clothes that actually look good on instead of choosing clothes that just hide the fat the best – and the list goes on. The benefits WAY outweigh and outlast any of the brief sacrifices of small short-lived pleasures.

FIT THOUGHT: We get 24 hours a day to enjoy a reward for a couple hours of working out and eating clean.

The good news is as you get closer to the goal, it is easier to SEE the goal and know it’s becoming a reality. The hardest part is when you are doing all the work and not seeing the reward at all. Everyone goes through that. There is a process your body goes through before your hard work is seen by the naked eye. So, like the above cartoon, you have to simply imagine it. You post photos of people who have been doing what you are doing, training like you are training, eating like you are eating – and remind yourself that is where you are heading.

Keep your eye on the prize.

6 Ways to Break a Weight Loss Plateau

New Year’s Resolutions isn’t just about making new goals. It can be making the old goals actually work. Another words, after weeks or months (and yes, for some people it’s been YEARS) of doing what you think has been right, without getting the results you wanted, maybe it’s time for a change.

Like Albert Einstein once said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

You don’t have to receive the Noble Prize to relate to this statement. I think we’ve all caught ourselves, at one time or other, in the vicious circle of insanity Einstein was talking about.

I witness this firsthand every day. People talk themselves into believing what they are doing is right, even when their results are wrong. With that belief system firmly set, they continue their same routine with the hope it will all magically start paying off one day – or they settle as if that’s just as good as it gets. If you are one of those people who feel like you are just spinning your wheels, maybe it’s time to make a change. Here are a 6 ways to help you break the cycle.

1.  Re-examine your diet. Diet is 80% of weight loss. Even if you fully believe you are eating healthy low-calorie meals, start tracking your calories (yes, ALL of them) everyday for 30 days straight. Many times those little “cheat meals or snacks” adds up more than you think. You may even want to do pre-packaged meals for a couple of weeks to leave no room for mathematical error. If you lose weight, then you know you are miscalculating or measuring incorrectly.  Read the rest of this entry

Diet: What you DON’T know CAN hurt you

Wouldn’t it be nice if every food item came with a label on it? If only we knew how many calories were each home-cooked meal, baked good and menu item, many of us would make much better decisions. The hardest part about dieting is trying to guess how many calories are in these types of foods. We tend to underestimate calories when we leave it up to our own guess work. We want to believe certain foods are OK to eat. Then after we talk our self in to believing we’ve made the right choice we expect to lose weight as if our guess was always accurate.

I did something the other day that enlightened me on this very subject. I picked up a low-calorie snack on a recent road trip. I noticed the snack was a little over 200 calories. I wasn’t too thrilled about this since I try to keep my snacks to 150 calories or less but I thought I should bring it in case I got hungry. I found myself picking up the snack while I was driving along, re-reading the package over and over – contemplating whether it was worth it or not. I ultimately decided it wasn’t worth it and would prefer to eat something better later.  Read the rest of this entry

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