This time of year, I usually post something really inspirational or talk about steps to setting smart New Year's Resolutions. I should post photos like this one, saying that it is possible to lose weight and you can do it!
This year, I've decided to approach the New Year with being completely blunt. Being healthy is hard, losing weight is hard, and staying on track is even harder. Don't believe anyone who is telling you otherwise.
LOSING WEIGHT IS A BUNCH OF BS
Here are 5 of the biggest BS weight loss myths
1. ANYONE CAN LOSE WEIGHT
This seems logical, but it's really not the case. First off, some people truly have thyroid, adrenal, hormonal issues, or other health problems that make it very hard for them. Second, some people simply don't have the right mind set. This can be because of mental health issues, stress, or laziness. Yes, I said that. There are some people that are really just lazy personalities that are not going to put forth the effort. Personally, I haven't had anyone like that walk through my door, but we all know them.
2. YOU JUST NEED SOMEONE TO HELP YOU
This is the one that I come across a lot as a trainer and health coach. Clients come to me looking for an "accountability partner". It doesn's matter if it's a professional partner or a friend. No one can convince you or guide you to your goals if you aren't willing to hold yourself accountable. Now, having someone to help you clear the path and be supportive can really be very helpful. But don't confuse that with the fact that it is completely on you to follow through. You can have someone hold your hand, but not drag you.
3. THERE IS A PERFECT DIET
There is NOT a diet or exercise plan out there that is going to work for every person. If there was, someone would be really rich and no one would be overweight. I am not some kind of magician and no one else is either.
YOU already know what you need to do. You have to ask yourself why you are looking for the magic diet. In the end, most people are looking for the magic diet that is an easier diet. Unfortunately that doesn't exist.
4. NEW YEAR NEW YOU
The New Year Resolution diet is rarely going to work. Why? So many reasons. First, we are naturally driven to eat more in the colder months to pack on fat for survival and January is cold. It's also boring and you're stuck indoors. Summer is actually a better time to get healthy. We naturally eat lighter and are more active. It's much easier to take your mind off a craving and go outside when it's 85 than when it's 35. Also, Resolutioners often have the same resolutions every year and still don't put any actually planning into it. Weight loss takes some thought and planning. Which brings me to number 5.
5. ONCE YOU START IT'S EASY
IT IS NOT EASY
You have to be willing to be fully honest and realistic about the journey. The journey is fraught with frustration and pitfalls. It is not anyone's intention to fail. And I don't really like that word because, it sounds negative. Failing can be a learning experience. The reality is, we all let others down, we let ourselves down. Life gets in the way. In my experience, clients start out feeling hugely confident and after a week or two, they start making excuses as to why they can't make it in to see me. You need open, guilt-free communication with yourself and your "accountability partner". You have to be willing to say what is on your mind in your quiet moments. Those moments of frustration and reality. Telling the half truth to get a pat on the back is not going to help you meet your goals. You know when you are being honest with yourself.
YOU ARE IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL
I've said many times before, the secret is simply consistency in what you are doing. Find something that works and stick to it as best you can.
Nothing in life comes easy. You have to work hard to get ahead. Keep moving forward. Stay the course. Don't let anything hold you back.
Ok, you get the idea. What I'm trying to say here is, if you want to be healthy you have to make it a
CONSISTENT FOCUS IN YOUR LIFE.
I don't care if your path looks like this.
All of us have well worn paths that we are still on, some that didn't take us anywhere, and others that were once great paths, but not so much anymore.
Think about all nutritional plans that you have tried. Maybe some worked for a while, then didn't or the one the lasted about a day because eating kale for 6 meals a day was a little much.
You tried the diet that helped Betty Sue in HR lose 50 pounds. You lost 3.
Or the soda habit that you kicked 20 years ago. Way to go!
Exercise has changed as well. No more step aerobics or kickboxing.
Maybe you tried joining the millions of gym goers and spent an hour a day on the treadmill at 3.5 mph and a 4% incline for 5 years straight!
Just shoot me!
Crossfit was not your cup of tea. You hate getting "bulky".
Along the way, you changed as your life changed. You changed as fads changed.
The underlying concept is the consistency to keep health a priority in your life. Getting off track happens to the most healthy people. Even those that advocate health. Check out Gary Augustine Warren's story.
The more consistent the effort, the more success you'll see.
Jack Lalanne didn't eat sugar after the age of 15. What? Crazy control! And he was extremely healthy because of his dedication. His quality of life was envied by everyone.
My husband and I are healthy. We are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but we try to limit sugar and junk. We focus on protein to maintain muscle and workout at least 3 times per week.
We get off track, get stressed, eat crap and start to feel the effects.
We reset, get focused and start over.
It's a cycle because health is always a focus.
Find what works for you. Any diet will do, as long as you can and will be consistent. Any exercise will do, as long as you can and will be consistent.
STAY THE COURSE!
I have the secret to improving function in your life. Do you find it difficult to get up from the floor? Is sitting on a low seat something you avoid? Are you in trouble if the elevator stops working? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you need to hear this secret.
Do the thing that is hard over and over again! Too simple right? No, it is that simple. I get asked these types of questions all the time from clients about how to make getting up from the floor or getting off the couch easier. I don't have a list of magic exercises. Simply practice these functional movements until they are easy.
Get in your uncomfortable zone! Don't avoid the things that are hard, do them until they aren't difficult anymore. Get in the floor and make yourself get up. If one time wears you out, rest and do it again later that day. Do it every day. If getting off the couch is an effort, get up, sit back down, get up, sit back down... See a pattern? Stairs are difficult for many people, so find a flight of stairs and make yourself go up them each day or use a single step into your house if that is all you can find.
This can apply to anything functional. Do you have trouble putting away things on the top shelf of your closet? Find something that is a reasonable weight and put up then take it down over and over. Get in and out of your car several times in a row. Practice good body mechanics getting dishes out of the dishwasher.
There is no need to struggle with day to day activities. You simply practice until you succeed. No fancy equipment or "exercise" needed. Functional movements can improve your functional movement.
I have discovered something that I really want to share with all of you. As most of you know, I am a bit analytical and I always want to know the why. So recently, I have been frustrated by several things in my life. One was poor libido and overall blah sex. It was like things didn't FEEL the same and I couldn't get my head in the game! Also, I was more moody and overall less excited by everything in life. One odd thing to add to it, was just feeling tight and uncomfortable all the time. It was like I was stuck in someone else's tight body. I started to blame hormones. Why not? As women we tend to blame them, and often it is part or all the the issue. But, the results of my hormone panel wasn't anything remarkable, except for low testosterone (always has been). My Vit D was a bit low so maybe that was part of it. Well, I can tell you that supplementing Vit D and DHEA for testosterone didn't help AT ALL!
I started doing some research and I came across something that I couldn't believe that I hadn't figured out before. Years ago, I struggled more with anxiety and was prescribed a variety of anti-depressants (SSRI's- increase serotonin and decrease dopamine) that never helped at all. Then I tried Wellbutrin. It was the only one that worked. It boosted my libido to the max, sex was amazing and I was super happy. The downside was, it made me more anxious and I only slept a few hours a night. So of course I stopped it. Here is the interesting part. When I was researching Wellburin, I found out that it is not an SSRI, it increases dopamine not serotonin. In general most people are prescribed SSRI anti-depressants, which are known to smother libido. Which makes sense considering dopamine is the highest right before orgasm and is crucial for arousal.
At this point, I decided I needed to research the possible supplements that could safely raise my dopamine level. There are several, but I chose L-Tyrosine, which is an amino acid. Here is the science behind that. When you ingest L-Tyrosine from protein or a supplement, it is turned into L-Dopa and then dopamine. Some is then turned further into norepinephrine or epinephrine. What the heck are those? Well, they are all neurotransmitters that are responsible for fight or flight and feelings of general well-being. They are basically stimulants. Those seeking a stimulant high may seek meth or cocaine to get a super boost in dopamine and a feeling of euphoria. Dopamine also relaxes muscles and is prescribed to those with Parkinson's tremors.
All pretty interesting right? Don't we all want to have a bit more of that? Not necessarily. Too much dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine can cause high blood pressure. Interestingly, beta blockers block epinephrine, so if you are on beta blockers or have high blood pressure, this probably isn't for you.
So here is my story on how I dosed and how it worked. L-Tyrosine has an immediate effect. The dosing called for taking 500 mg. Wait 30 minutes. If I felt nothing significant, take another 500 mg and wait 30 minutes. I did feel something the first 30 minutes. Kind of a medicated high type feeling, but I went ahead and took another 500 mg. I had the option of taking a final dose, but I chose not to. Then I could take that dosage up to 3 times per day! I am now taking 1000mg in the morning and at noon. I have only been doing this for 4 days. I cannot believe all the things that are changing. Let's just say, that the sex issue is no longer an issue. I don't feel moody at all and I just feel really happy. Just sitting here typing, I feel really joyful. My tightness is gone and I have noticed a huge difference in my performance at crossfit. It is like my muscles don't get fatigued and crampy anymore.
I am so amazed that I wanted to be very personal and share this with all of you. If you know something isn't right in how you feel, don't give up. I started to think that I was a bit crazy with all the strange things going on and nothing seemed to help. It might have taken some research on my part, but it all makes so much sense. Life can be hard and stressful, but don't ever underestimate the affect of your brain chemistry and hormones on your ability to control stress and have pleasure in your life. I hope this helps.
As a disclaimer, I recommend speaking with your doctor before starting any supplements.
I had the opportunity to work at a physical therapy clinic that treated pelvic floor dysfunction and incontinence for 3 years. It made me appreciate how frustrating and sometimes debilitating this issue can be. Some patients stopped leaving their homes for fear of having an "accident" in public. Having two children provided the opportunity to join the many other women who deal with the problem of leaking. The term that I hear floating around now is light bladder leakage or LBL. No matter what you call it, it sucks and is quite common. The information I am providing you is from my years working as a therapist treating this diagnosis and as a client who found success in treatment.
Let's start off with the dietary focus. There are many foods that can influence the body and act as diuretics. Some we know, such as caffeine and alcohol, but others include sugar, chocolate, spicy foods, and tomatoes. It was amazing the difference I saw in my clients that would decrease their caffeine or chocolate intake. Many times, it would almost alleviate the problem without any exercise. I found this to be true when I was having leaking during exercise. I was drinking a pre-workout that had caffeine and when I stopped, my stress incontinence was cut in half. You should not underestimate how much diet change can help.
Now on to exercise. Kegel exercises have been around for a very long time, but most women are doing them incorrectly. Check out this video for the proper way to progress through a pelvic floor exercise program.
Finally, there are some other simple things to think about when it comes to how to actually urinate properly. I know you were potty-trained a very long time ago, but what if I told you that you were probably doing it all wrong! When you sit down to pee, make sure you are sitting upright yet relaxed instead of leaning forward. Don't push the urine out. You want your pelvic floor muscles to relax and allow all the urine to empty the body. Make sure and sit there until this happens. Don't act like you have something more pressing to do. Let nature take it course. One very important thing to avoid is stopping the urine midflow. This is one of the worst things you can do. It teaches the body to retain urine versus fully emptying the bladder. When should you actually go the the bathroom? Not when you don't need to go. "Everyone go to the bathroom before we leave." We've all done it, but it is not good. Again it teaches the body bad habits. Go to the bathroom only when your bladder is fairly full. This can be difficult if you are struggling with urinary frequency or urgency. You want to go the the bathroom when you have an opportunity to avoid the possible accident. I get it, but try as often as you can, especially when at home, to wait.
If you don't find success in trying these things, you should talk to your doctor about it. Sometimes the pelvic floor has fallen significantly or there are other medical issues that require additional treatment.
Feeling like you are constantly fighting a losing battle is miserable. You find yourself motivated to lose weight and start the latest and greatest new plan only to see minimal results. Why? Maybe it was too stressful, too much meal planning, too many protein shakes, too many green smoothies, or simply you just craved the stuff you gave up. Chasing your tail is not ever going to make you successful. Research based weight loss is based on proper planning of an individualized program. Make a plan and stick to it. Sounds simple, but the plan is rarely a good one to start. Or I should say, a good one for you. The battle that is fought with weight loss is a battle within yourself. The motivation to lose weight battles with all the barriers that life throws at you. To be very blunt, you don't have the will power and food wins. I know that sounds bad, but at the core, that is the issue. Now I am going to tell you that you do have the strength and will power, you just haven't found out how to tap into it and harness your strengths so that you are successful.
Any new adventure takes planning. How much time do you invest in planning your vacation or a buying a new home? I would bet you don't even put a quarter of that time into planning your new lifestyle of health. How can you be successful without looking at and truly analyzing your barriers to progress. You pack "in case it rains" clothes for a vacation, but you don't pack "in case I have to eat on the run" snacks in your weight loss journey. Or you simply didn't think it through at all before you decided that today is the day to drink green smoothies for a week, but hate vegetables.
Appropriate planning and confident planning ensures success. You have to learn to trust yourself and push yourself to keep focus on the goal. After a long day, it can feel overwhelming to think about planning your meals for the next day. It would just be easier to go to the drive-thru of your favorite fast food establishment than to worry about it. But guess who wins? Food, again. You are in control, you are strong and you can win the battle if you harness your strengths and focus on your motivation. Small steps to start that result in big results in the end. Stop the weight loss battle once and for all by saying you are worth the time of planning how you are going to become that vision in your head. You are worth it!
I am a mom of a 12 year and 9 month old. I understand how it feels to have a baby at 26 and 37! I also understand how easy it is to make having a baby an excuse not to exercise. Sure you're sleep and energy deprived. Your breastfeeding baby is taking all of your body's nutrients. Your extra pregnancy fat is unmotivating. Your body has seemed to lose all ability to exercise. Your baby needs you so you don't have time to exercise. All of these are valid complaints, but not excuses! I have dealt with all of these myself, but with support from my husband, I started corrective exercise 4 days after my baby was born, even after having a c-section. And just because I am a personal trainer doesn't mean that I don't have struggles too ladies! Getting back to exercise post pregnancy will give you more energy, help you sleep better, burn the baby fat, help you fight stress, boost your immune system, and allow you to be more focused on your baby because of the focus on yourself. There are even classes and facilities catering to moms. Here at my studio, we have a room where baby can sleep or play safely in your sight or you can have baby right by your side if needed. If going to a studio or gym is not your thing, then exercise at home. Whatever works best for your family is important. So take time for you mom!
The Biggest Loser is a reality TV show/contest that awards obese contestants for losing crazy amounts of weight. I used to think the show was a great motivator until I watched the season premier last week. As I watched the show, I found myself feeling frustrated by what I saw. First, the show is far from reality. If you take anyone out of their normal environment, have them work out with personal trainers for hours a day, cook them healthy food, and provide support from medical staff, trainers, and fellow contestants, you have a winning combination that is sure to promote huge weight loss. Losing over 10 pounds a week is NOT the norm. Second, I question the ethics of these training practices. Pushing clients to the point of injury or exhaustion is not appropriate in any way. The approach seems to be break them down before you build them back up. I cannot imagine what would happen if this type of training took place at a local gym. I would hope it would be shut down. I don't want this type of training to set the standard for what personal training is about. I see changes in exercise and training taking place in a negative way. CrossFit and bootcamp-style training may be appropriate for some, but I am seeing over and over again, clients that are getting injured in the process of trying to be healthier. Health does not have to be so difficult. Progressive training and diet changes are the most successful and allows the body to adapt both physically and mentally to new challenges. No, you won't lose 20 pounds in one week, but 1-2 is not too shabby. And your body will be sure to thank you 20 years down the road for not over-training to reach an unattainable goal.