Friday, April 30, 2010

Old is new again!

For the past several weeks, I have been trying something new. OK, well, it's not really new. It's actually a tried and true method that has been around since Eve first wondered if her leaf made her hips look wide. It's called calorie counting. Are you familiar with it?

Lately, I've been noticing tons of celebrities touting calorie counting as the key to their success in staying lean and fit. Carrie Underwood carries a food diary, and considers her meticulous calorie counting to be the key to her success at losing the last 20 pounds. Other celebrities, such as Valerie Bertinelli and Renee Zellweger, claim calorie counting is a part of what has made them successful at getting and/or staying lean.

I have always known that staying accountable is key. I have also seen over the past several years that I can be working out 6 days a week, three of those days with a trainer who is kicking my a** LIVE in the gym, and still stay within spitting distance of a very unhealthy 200 pounds if I'm not being conscious of what is going in my mouth. For the first time, I'm trying to test the reverse theory - if staying 100% accountable for what is going in my mouth will finally get me the last 10-12 pounds to goal.

Here are ten tips I have found to be helpful to keep in mind:
  1. Find the calorie amount that works for you (i.e., allows you to lose weight without feeling deprived and starved) and then make sure you stay in a range that keeps that calorie amount the overall average. (You should take into account how much you currently weigh and how much you workout.)
  2. Have a rough sketch of your food plan for each day, and pack any meals to take with you on the go
  3. Try to eat every 3 hours so you don't get too hungry. Extreme hunger is a set up for going off plan or binge-eating.
  4. Drink tons of water. Sometimes, believe it or not, you can mistake thirst for hunger.
  5. Find an accountability partner, someone who can encourage you when you're losing motivation, someone who can give you a high-five when you are staying on track.
  6. Make sure you're eating REAL food. Real food keeps you full longer and is often naturally lower in sugar, fat and calories.
  7. Find opportunities to reduce calories in ways that won't hurt too much - will it kill you to have a 1/2 slice of cheese on your sandwich, instead of a whole slice?
  8. Staying positive is key. Look for other opportunities to track your success than just the scale. Look at yourself in the mirror and see how your skin is getting smoother, your face is getting thinner. Take out the tape measure and watch the inches melt off. Feel the pleasure of knowing you are making healthy choices and changing your life for the better!
  9. Don't think of it as a diet - think of it as a lifestyle change. One day, you'll find yourself counting the calories in your head! (But you'll still keep a food journal, won't you? Good girl...or boy).
  10. If you're tired, go to bed! (Which is what I need to do now...if I stay up too late, I start fantasizing about what I can eat...)

So, that's all for me! Find yourself a good trainer to get you started with a killer workout program. My favorite, of course, is Tony D of Dreambodies. Tony can also help you revamp your food plan so you don't eat 1600 calories of sugar and fat. I generally eat Dreambodies approved meals, and I know I eat super healthy. The only difference is that I'm meticulous about keeping track of what's going in my mouth so that if I do eat something that's not on the menu plan, I'm held accountable for it. Accountability is key. There's a reason people have been counting calories forever and ever. It's cause it works!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Breaking through barriers!

When I read The Secret for the first time, it completely changed my life. Within a couple months, I was singing on stage with Patti Labelle. A few months after that, I quit my job, started my own business and tripled my income. I couldn't say enough about how the Law of Attraction had affected my life positively.

One day, I was running a race with a friend of mine, and she was pushing me to run close to her 10-min pace and I just couldn't do it. I kept urging her to slow down, explaining somewhat apologetically that I was simply a slow runner, always had been, always would be.

"As someone who talks about being able to manifest all this great stuff through the power of positive thinking, I would think you of all people would notice how you've defined yourself. You can't run fast now, but why limit yourself? Maybe one day you will."

Well, folks, that day was today. This morning, I ran 6 miles at a consistent 9:45 minute pace. In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would be running a sub-ten minute mile. Not only that, but running it for 6 miles straight. I am no longer an average runner. I am officially an athlete.

The power of positive thinking works. In ALL situations, for ALL people. It works!!! I'm living proof!

Hare Today, Here Tomorrow...

It is such a beautiful and sunny day and I’m so grateful to have the life that I have today, especially when I think about how far I’ve come. Sometimes, though, I have to be conscious of where I’m going, and how fast I’m trying to get there. Like the tortoise and the hare, I can often be so focused on going, going, going, that I burn myself out and then end up missing the entire point of the journey.

I have a friend who I have known for many, many years. She and I have traveled along together in the journey of becoming our best selves, including losing weight. In fact, I met her online on eDiets, and over the course of time as we became friends, we began to see each other in person and then she moved to live 5 min from me. She saw me gain 90 pounds with my first baby and lose 70 of it in the first 7 months. She saw me quickly get pregnant with my 2nd child, less than 9 months after the birth of my first, and then lose the 45 pounds I gained in less than a year. She has essentially seen me work my ass off, literally. But what she has also seen are three things: She has seen me workout diligently 5-6 days a week since she has known me. She has seen me workout at that pace, regardless of how heavy I am; in 2008, I ran a half marathon tipping the scales at 196 pounds (I am 5’5”). She has also seen that no matter how hard I try, if I am not paying attention to what I eat, I can’t make any forward progress and that often if I work too hard, I burn out and then eat everything in sight, essentially undoing any progress I may have made.

What I have seen in her, if nothing else, is unerring consistency. Initially, she consistently was unable to make any forward progress. Last May, she joined me on a program that I absolutely believe is one of the top fitness programs available today, an online nutrition and fitness program called Dreambodies. Where other programs that touted the benefits of counting points, using meal replacement shakes, or getting in-person counseling and pre-packaged meals had failed us, Dreambodies seemed to have the perfect formula for success. When my friend saw that I had blasted out of the gate yet again and lost 30 pounds, she finally acquiesced and signed up herself. She saw immediate results, and now, a year later is within just a couple pounds of her goal. I still weigh the exact same amount that I did the day she signed up. With her unerring consistency and dogged persistence, she has surpassed my success and gotten even further along the journey, just like the tortoise passed the hare sleeping at the base of the oak tree sabotaged by his overeager start (and overconfident arrogance). I am learning from my friend what it means to be consistent, and the value of patient persistence.

Until yesterday, I was focused on and frustrated by my lack of ability, instead of being motivated and inspired by my friend’s unique constancy and how it has served her. Finally, in these last couple of days, I have noticed my energy and shifted it to a positive mindset and I have realized that if I can learn from her example and exhibit the same consistency, faith, positivity and courage (and keep track of what goes in my mouth), I will break through the barrier of self and have the same wonderful success she is now enjoying.

Yes, this week I’m thinking about the tortoise and the hare and how sometimes the world looks at the hares of the world and celebrates their slick, fast moves – Nicole Richie lose the baby weight in 6 weeks! Kim Kardashian loses 5 lbs in 5 days to get back at her ex! And maybe I’ve been the hare in this whole thing up till now, and it’s done nothing to get me where I’m going. Hare today, here tomorrow, as if I’m the one sleeping at the base of that old oak tree. But I’m awake now and ready to hop alongside that tortoise at a nice, even pace. So, big shout outs to the tortoises of the world. Thanks for reminding us that slow and steady wins the race!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gotta love it!!

For those of you who haven't read Tony's latest post, you need to check it out here.

Now you guys all know I'm allergic to dairy so I didn't comment on his post for the tub of whey protein. I posted there (and am duplicating that here) because Tony hit it on the HEAD for me. I have FINALLY applied the technique of positive thinking to my career and finances - saying all day long how much I LOVE to have tons of money and opportunities opening up every time I turn around!

What Tony's blog reminded me is that I HAVE TO apply this same technique to my fitness life. I have been in a negative mindset, subconsciously at best, other times FLAGELLATING myself inside. Pushing through it physically is a must, but better than that is to say, "I have NO problem getting in shape. I LOVE to push myself to the limit. I LOVE to see the scale reflect all my hard work. I LOVE to feel fitter and thinner than I ever have in my life." Whether or not I feel my fittest today, I can honestly say that I LOVE WHEN I FEEL THAT WAY. And getting in touch with how much I love that is the next step before actually loving that I am feeling it because now it's TRUE!

Can't wait to post here when this becomes reality. It only took 2 days for this practice to impact my financial fitness. I mean seriously - I went from having just a couple hundred dollars in the bank to depositing five figures and having TONS more work coming in.

God willing, it will take less time than that to employ this practice of LOVING MYSELF to fitness. God willing, I will start to really believe that what I am doing is WORKING and will start getting excited about the changes I am seeing in my skin, on the scale, in my clothes and maybe most importantly, IN MY MINDSET and OUTLOOK!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy, sad, tired, whatever...keep it moving and MAKE it happen

Yesterday, I blazed through every interval, every minute of cardio was as intense as it could possibly be. Today I'm tired. I slogged through my workout, but I did it. And the truth is, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what I feel like. I just have to do it, anyway.

Lately, I have become willing to do whatever I can do, to do as much as I can do in any given day, any given moment, to make this dream of mine a reality. Does that mean I've done everything perfectly? No way. I had a 1/2 bagel with cream cheese a week and a half ago that has wreaked absolute havoc on my skin. I'll be paying for that for a month, at least. I'm still at the same weight I was 18 months ago, thanks to how hard-headed I am with regard to loosening things up on the weekend. I could go on and on, listing the ways in which I am definitely NOT perfect. But what I am is honest. Honest with myself, and honest with the people who are kind enough to be part of my support team, holding me accountable on a daily basis. What that means is that at the end of the day, when I achieve my goals (which I will), it will have been in a way that I can honestly sustain for the long-term. I will have found a way that truly works for me, taking into account all my foibles and flaws. And really, that's all that I could ever ask for, because that's all that I can count on to work ... for good.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 2 - keeping in close contact...

So, today I dropped off the girls at 8:30 and was at the gym by 8:45. I had hoped this would give me enough time to get Tony's workout done, but I left at 9:40 and still had abs and closing cardio to do. I called Tony to let him know and to check in. He gave me really good advice moving forward and said I could just skip it for today, but in the future I really need to prioritize getting that closing cardio in. I still may try to do the abs and cardio after my 10 am meeting. (Remember the one from yesterday? Yeah, me too.)

I don't know if it's the sun shining so brightly outside, the daffodils and tulips that are now dotted all over our yard or the fact that one of my clients finally got back to me to say that yes, we are going to move forward with the project we had been discussing, but I gotta feeling...woo hoo...that today's gonna be a good day...

Funny how when I'm eating crap food and shortcutting my workouts I feel so crappy and when I am eating well and exercising hardcore, I feel so great. Why do I ever forget that? Let's hope that when Aunt Flow comes to visit this month, she doesn't knock me off my square again like she seems to every month. Just going to appreciate THIS non-PMS day. Hope you guys are all happy!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Day 1 - SUCCESS!

So, after a rocky morning, I can definitely declare today a success. I got to the gym at about 9:15, knowing that I had a FOUR-PAGE workout to finish (a CRIT, no less) and a teleconference to attend beginning at 10 am. Yeah, exactly. How was THAT going to happen.

Instead, I walked for 20 minutes and chatted with my sister, who made me feel infinitely more calm and happy about my current situation. I left the gym with the intent to come back later in the day, only to get pulled over 5 minutes before the teleconference was due to start. Or so I thought. After getting a ticket (downgraded, at least - no points), I got a text from my business partner that the meeting was TOMORROW. Oy. So, I went home and had a protein shake and then went back to the gym. Yes, I did!!! Worked hard for an HOUR AND A HALF...sprinted so fast, I almost puked.

And now, at 5:30 PM I can say I am most of the way through my liquid diet day. Tomorrow is regular food. Yay. Still not stepping on the scale, per Tony D, but I'm sure this will pay off. I know it. So, now it's time to print tomorrow's workout and plan tomorrow's food.

Hope you guys are all doing well out there! Keep it tight!

Monday, April 5, 2010

HA bloody HA! So much for daily blogging...

I just got back from a week down South visiting friends in South Carolina and hanging with Mom and Bob in Myrtle Beach. Fun, fun, FUN! I worked out, tanned, drank tons of ACV water, and generally did not stress out about "dieting." In fact, at one point, my mom asked me what I was doing as far as dieting and I said, "I'm not. I basically eat the same way I did on Dreambodies, but I'm not obsessive about it. I try to always drink at least 4 L of water a day and I work out." My main thing is to avoid dairy at all costs, which helps keep my skin clear, but even that I refuse to be anal about. I'm not even being militant about avoiding refined sugar anymore. I would say I generally don't eat it. Which means 99% of the time, I don't eat it. That works for me.

All that being said, I'm about to kick things into overdrive, as I have 5 weeks until we go to Italy and I'd love to lean out a bit before we go. I'll keep you guys posted, of course, on how that's going!

Thanks for the nudge back to posting, my friend!