Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Weight Loss Expectations Study

Happy Hump Day everyone!

Look at me posting 3 days in a row. I am enjoying getting back into the swing of things with blogging again. I have a few new followers (hi everyone!) and have been getting more comments which is nice to see.

Yesterday was a good day for me. Like I posted yesterday I got in a bike ride. Even though it was on my trainer, it was nice to ride again. I ended up doing 30 mins of high intensity intervals instead of the 45 min stead ride. I was feeling strong so that’s why I went with the intervals. Looks like it might be warm enough to get a ride in on Friday so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Did you guys catch the article I tweeted about yesterday afternoon? Check out the article here .If you missed my tweet because you don’t follow me yet click here to follow.  I thought I would share with you my thoughts and what my experience has been like.

I first thought after I finished reading was this is exactly why I focused on bettering my health as a whole instead of just focusing weight loss. Sure, I lost 100lbs in the last couple of years, but was a result of some of the changes I made to better my health. Health to me is physical, mental, and emotional, basically every aspect of your life that affects how you live. If my journey was just focused on weight loss then I wouldn’t still be making changes. If this was just about weight loss then essentially my journey ended back in October when I started to work on weight maintenance. My journey will continue for everyday for the rest of my life and I am dedicated to working through any of the challenges that come my way long the way.

When I embarked on my journey back in January of 2007, I didn’t have these big expectations that weight loss would instantly make everything in my life better. Sure, in the past I had those expectations, and each time I did, I ultimately failed to make lasting changes.  All I was looking to do was to change my health status from high risk to one where I was healthy and I could stop worrying that I was going to drop dead at any moment. I knew if I wanted to be happy with my life I had to look at all aspects of my life not just what my body looked like. I have a strong belief that my weight problem was a symptom of something emotional and realized that once I was able to address that and learn new ways to cope with what ever it was that the weight issue would resolve itself. Never did I imagine I would get to where I am now, but I am so thankful for the fact I saved my own life. As my dad says to me all the time “You did yourself the biggest favor”.

Something I noticed in the article was that the study focused on those who had weight loss surgery. I have some really strong feelings about this method of weight loss, and maybe someday I’ll share them. But anyway, they said that they felt the study findings could also be applied to those who lost weight through diet and exercise as well. I would be interested to see what the real results would be if they conducted the study on those who lost in through diet and exercise, especially from individuals who focused on overall health changes. I know my results are different from what they found, but I think my difference is that my weight loss portion of my journey was slow and not my main focus and I also took the opportunity to address some important emotional components of my life during that time.

Questions for you:
  • What are your thoughts on the article?
  • If you have reached your goal weight, do you feel your expectations match your current reality?
  • If you are on your journey, what expectations do you have?

Quote of the Day: 
“What is destructive is impatience, haste, expecting too much too fast.” ~ May Sarton

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dreaming about Biking...What does that Mean?

Happy Tuesday everyone!

So last night I had a dream that is what inspired me to write this post today. In this dream, I was riding my bike for a large majority of it. What was so important for me was how I felt when I woke up.  I woke up so full of happiness and felt very energized.  Ok so why is that blog worthy? Keep reading I swear I have a point…ha ha ha.


Let me give some background information about biking and it’s relation to my health journey. About a year into my journey I was in search of a workout that I would love. Up until that point I was doing a lot of walking and doing a couple of beginner workout DVD’s. That was fun but I wasn’t feeling as challenged by it anymore and honestly was getting a little bored with it. It was mid-February and I was in a sporting goods store looking at treadmills and stationary bikes.   I realized that I really did not have any room for this type of equipment in my apartment.  The section with bike equipment was right next to the section where all this equipment was. That is when I got the idea of getting an indoor trainer to attach to the bike I already owned.  I was storing my bike outside, and the poor thing had hardly seen any riding action in the 4 years I had it. The plan was that I would bring in the bike when I wanted to use it and then put it back out when I was done, that way I wasn’t taking up a bunch of room in my apartment.  Funny thing once biking became more incorporated into my workout routine the bike found a permanent place in my living room.  Buying that trainer changed my life. I spent the first couple months using it, while I was waiting for the weather to get warmer.  Once summer arrived I was going out on rides everyday.  I found my passion for biking and loved every minute I was out on it. It made me feel more in touch with the world around me, and took me back to the days of my childhood when I would ride my bike.  My trainer now serves as my winter conditioning tool so I can maintain what I gain in the summer months.

Me on My Trainer

Three weeks ago I made the decision to take a break from riding on the trainer because I was getting a little bored with it. Riding on the trainer just isn’t as much fun to me as being outside.  I got a couple of outside rides already this spring, but then the weather got a little cooler again so I was forced back onto the trainer.  I workout in the morning and honestly when it is only in the low 40’s riding outside is just too unbearable because I can’t feel my hands or my face after a few minutes. So I told myself that I would take a break from biking until I can start riding outside consistently. I switched my workouts to using my Wii Active games, and broke out some new DVD’s I got at Christmas. I have been enjoying the new workouts because they are different and challenging me in different ways.

Anyway, so I had the dream last night and it made me realize that I am missing biking A LOT. With that being said I know it is time I get back to it. Plan will be to work it in when I miss it until the weather changes. Once the weather changes and I can ride outside I know that I’ll be out riding 6 days a week again.

Point of the whole story: Your body has many ways of telling you what it needs or wants. It is up to you to recognize what it is saying and then to listen to it. See I told you I had a point!

Well it’s time for me to get to my workout for the day. On the agenda: 45 min trainer ride!

Quote of the Day: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Monday, April 26, 2010

Are you Setting SMART Goals?


Setting goals is a great tool you can use when you are on a journey to better health. Not only can they help you focus your efforts but they can also help you track your progress. That is if they are SMART goals.

What are SMART goals?
They are goals that are structured to be:

  • Specific 
    • A goal that is specific has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you should answer the six "W" questions: 
      • Who: Who is involved in the goal? 
      • What: What do you want to accomplish? 
      • Where: Location. 
      • When: What is the time frame? 
      • Which: Requirements and constraints. 
      • Why: What are the reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal?
  • Measurable  
    • A goal should be able to be measured. How else are you going to know if you accomplished it?
    • To determine if your goal is measurable, ask the following:
      • How much? 
      • How many? 
      • How will I know when it is accomplished?
  • Achievable  
    • Goals need to be reasonable and achievable. Don't set yourself up for failure by setting goals that are out of reach.  It is good to set goals that are realistic with some challenge but not so far out of reach that they are impossible to achieve. Set goals that are unrealistic and you are just setting yourself up for failure. 
  • Realistic 
    • Goals need to be realistic. It's important to honestly evaluate yourself. Do you have the ability and commitment to reach the goal? Or does it need a little adjustment? 
  • Time Framed  
    • Goals need to have a time frame. Having a set amount of time will give your goals structure. A goal without an end date has no sense of urgency, no reason to take any action today. Having a specific time frame gives you the motivation to get started. It also helps you monitor the progress you are making.
More Resources on SMART Goal Setting.
Free SMART Goal Planner Template
Bob Harper - How to Set Health Goals You'll Achieve
How to Set SMART Goals for Your Exercise Program
Health Goals

Questions for You
  1. What SMART goals you are currently working on?
  2. Do you have any goals that need reworking to be SMART?

Quote of the Day: “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” ~ Albert Einstein

Friday, April 23, 2010

Before & After Pictures Added

Good afternoon everyone! Just a really quick post to let you know that I added a before and an after photo to the blog. Feel free to check it out by clicking here. to access the About the Author page of the site.

Hope you all are having a great Friday!

Quote of the Day:  "Take care of your body with steadfast fidelity. The soul must see through these eyes alone, and if they are dim, the whole world is clouded." ~ Goethe

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Some Days I Still Struggle – Tips for Getting Through the Tough Days


Yup it’s true there are days I still struggle when it comes to staying on track with my healthy lifestyle.  There are days, where I wake up and don’t want to workout so I skip it because I’m tired and there are days where I indulge in some not so healthy food choices. The good thing is that days like that don’t occur too often, but they do happen, and I know they will continue to happen.  Below are some tips for getting through the tough days so that you can continue on your path to better health.

Drop the Restart Mentality
This one is so familiar to most people. The Restart Mentality aka the “Well I blew it for the day so I will forget about making healthy choices and I will restart tomorrow, next Monday, next week.”  Before you know it every day is a “I blew it” day and you never get back to restarting. Ok so you ate a cookie, a big meal, or skipped your workout. This should not mean that the next choice you make for the day shouldn’t be healthy.

Take a Break from the High Intensity Workout
Feeling like skipping that workout because you are feeling really tired and unmotivated? Assess what your workout schedule has been like lately. If it has been super full and you have been really pushing yourself lately feeling tired and unmotivated might be a clue that you need to take a rest day.  A rest day can still include activity, just tone down the intensity. For me, this translates into going for a walk instead of the high intensity intervals on my bike.

Assess Your Emotions
I have a huge connection between wanting to eat unhealthy and my emotional state. Taking the time to stop and assess what really is going on with my emotional health helps a lot. Once I figure out what is bothering me and come up with a plan to manage it those pesky “I want to eat crap” cravings disappear.

Reach Out For Support
When I’m having a particularly challenging day with staying on track reaching out for support is extremely helpful. I talk to my partner, a friend, of even hit up online message boards. Just the act of sharing I’m struggling can be very therapeutic.

Evaluate Your Goals
Are your goals realistic? Are you pushing yourself to make too many changes all at once? I know for me, when I set the bar too high or put unrealistic time limits on goals, I start to rebel and that leads to struggle. So when I am struggling, I make sure I check over the goals I have set and adjust them so they stop causing the rebellion. Sometimes that means putting a goal or two on the back burner until I have accomplished some of the other ones.

Quote of the Day: “There is no challenge more challenging than the challenge to improve yourself.” ~ Michael F. Staley

Monday, April 19, 2010

Celebrating Accomplishments

Happy Monday everyone!

So I woke up to a nice, bright, sunny, but slightly chilly morning....ok that is a lie since I get up before the sun rises....but anyway, when I headed out on my morning walk it was a beautiful morning. Since the weather is getting nicer, I have been taking a lot more walks lately first thing in the morning, which has been providing me the perfect opportunity for self-reflection.  Topic on my mind this morning was what drives my motivation to stay on track with my healthy lifestyle. One theme became clear as I thought more about this as I logged the miles this morning.

Celebrating Accomplishments
Throughout this journey I actually have taken the time to celebrate my accomplishments. Not just the ones that relate directly to my health but those in all aspects of my life. This has helped with my motivation because, when I am struggling, normally all it takes is me doing a mental run down of some of the things I have accomplished lately to get to a better mental place.

I used to be a huge perfectionist and in my mind nothing really was good enough, that I always felt I could do better than what I was doing. I never really took the time to sit back and be proud of what I was doing.  Now, the process to change didn’t happen overnight. It took much practice and a lot of support from those who care about me. I started working on this by taking a few moments at the end of the day to reflect on all the things I had accomplished. I also worked on stopping the habit of always dismissing complements I got from others.

So in the spirit of celebrating accomplishments, I thought I would take a few moments to share some of my recent ones in hopes it helps you create your own list to help you with your own motivation.

My List of Accomplishments

  • On my stress test a few months ago I was told that I have the cardiovascular function of a fit 20 year old (that’s a little over ten years younger than I really am).
  • I passed my Personal Trainer Certification with an 87% and only needed a 62% to pass.
  • This is the first winter I was consistent with my exercise averaging 5 days a week.
  • I have successfully designed my own strength training program that I actually am consistent with and am seeing the results I want.
  • I used my SAD light everyday from Nov-late March which translated into the best management of my SAD symptoms ever!
  • I have been successfully maintaining my weight since early Oct.
  • I have started studying for my Lifestyle & Weight Management Consulting Certificate.
  • I secured a summer internship with a fitness company so I can get practical experience with personal training.
  • I got my contract at my current job extended 2 more years. (they have a 4 year limit but I convinced them keeping me for longer was in their best interest).
  • I created a new training program for my prospective student staff that was very effective and was very well received.

Ok so I could list a bunch more but I think you get the idea. So get out there and start creating your own accomplishment list!

Quote of the day: “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

Friday, April 16, 2010

Walking: One of Your Body's Most Natural Forms of Exercise


One of the most common questions I get when it comes to improving fitness is “What would be good for me to start out with?” Because most of the individuals that ask me haven’t been active in a very long time or are fairly overweight my answer normally is “A walking program”.

Why I Recommend a Walking Program.  

1. It is easy to do anywhere.
Long gone are the excuses of you couldn’t workout because the gym hours don’t fit your needs or that you were traveling for business or on vacation.

2. Low cost because there is no special equipment is needed.
Other than a good pair of shoes (which you likely already own) you don’t need to purchase anything to get started and get moving.

3. Risk of injury is very low.
Out of all of the different modes (running, cycling, swimming, etc) walking has the     lowest injury rates. Less injuries means less workout time lost due to them.

4. Has a slew of health benefits
  • Lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol)
  • Raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol)
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Reduce your risk of or manage type 2 diabetes 
  • Manage your weight
  • Helps maintain and build bone mass
  • Improve your mood
  • Stay strong and fit

5.  You can do it with a partner
For those who are social being able to engage in activities with a partner, a group, or even your dog can provide a great source of motivation.

My Personal Experience with Walking
Another reason I recommend it is because I had great success with a walking program at the start of my journey. I started out with only about 20 mins, 3 days a week and worked up to an hour, 5 days a week before I switched over to cycling. During the months I was using walking as my main mode of cardiovascular exercise, I lost the first 70lbs of the 100lbs I ultimately have lost. I also improved my blood work drastically and felt amazing. I still use walking to cross train with and make it my main form of exercise with I travel. I’m even known to throw some running into a walk if I’m looking to up the intensity for the session. My favorite activity to do with my partner is to take an after-dinner walk. Not only are we being active together, but it provides a great opportunity for us to just talk about our day without the interruptions that can happen when we are just sitting around the house.

Resources to Get Started

Questions for You
  • Have you had any success with a walking program as part of your exercise routine?
  • If you do walk, do you have any tips to share with someone starting out?
  • If you don’t walk, what are you doing to be active?

Quote of the Day:  “Walking is man's best medicine.” ~ Hippocrates

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lots of Updates -Getting My Ducks In A Row

Wow I sure have been away for a while from blogging!  I took a much longer break than I was planning on but now I'm ready to get back to writing. You will start to see more regular posts from me starting in the next few days. But before I start with fitness related posts, there have been a lot of exciting things that have been going on so let me fill you all in.

To start off I'm back to studying again. I'm already on the third chapter of my materials for the Lifestyle & Weight Management Consulting Certification. I took the sample test before starting and I already scored an 87% so I have a feeling I will pass the real thing pretty easily. I mapped out my To Do Lists for this just like I did for the Personal Trainer materials and I am shooting to take the test sometime in late September or early October. When I actually take the test will depend on how the summer/early fall goes.

I have a lot on my plate for the summer / early fall. The short list includes: my wedding/honeymoon, packing to move to the new residence hall that we are opening this fall, doing an internship (more details about this below), starting back to work in Aug, and moving just days before my staff training starts. This will be the most jam packed summer I have had in a long time. Normally summer is my down time since I am off work and I spend those two months just relaxing, biking miles and miles, and just enjoying the quiet campus. I have to say though all of things happening this summer are going to be positive so I'm looking forward to it all.

Ok, so let me fill you in on how figuring out the personal trainer career thing has been going for me. Well last week I went to two interviews for training positions. One with a fitness company that is local to the area and one with a nationwide gym. Through the process of interviewing I came to a couple of conclusions.
  • I do not have interest in working for one of the commercial, big name, gyms. Too much focus on sales and not enough on actually helping people.
  • Even though they both were interested in hiring me I felt like I need some actual practical experience training before I took a job.
  • This summer is so not the time for me to try to transition to a whole new career. Finaicailly this won't work right now cause it would involve moving from my "free" apartment which I just don't have the money to do with my wedding coming up. 
  • I have a pretty good talent for writing persuasive emails that resulted in me securing an internship.
So let me fill you in on the internship I got secured for the summer. I really liked the local fitness company. What they are offering their clients is exactly what I have interest in doing and after I got to meet with the owner I really thought that it would be a good fit. Well the owner had invited me to check out one of the boot camps he was running last week to give me a taste of what the job would include. It was held outdoors and was pretty good. The group he had was pretty motivated and were up for the challenges he put them through. After a couple of days he contacted me to set up a sit down interview at his office location. He knew that I had no practical experience other than designing my own workouts over the last few years. So what did I do? I declined the offer but I countered with an offer to do an unpaid internship. I sent this decline along with my explanation about feeling like I needed practical experience so that I could best serve clients and then proposed the idea of the internship. He was very impressed with my desire to get experience and said yes. I'm really excited because I'll get to shadow some of the trainers for about two months as well as assist with any other tasks around the office that will give me experience. So this June and July (other than the two weeks I'm on my honeymoon) I'll be spending a couple of hours a week interning. I can't even tell you how excited I am about this!

My thought is that after the internship I can look at either starting to train with the company part time for even more experience or look at starting my own training business. I have the ultimate goal of starting my own PT business and training people from their homes. After all, my own fitness journey wasn't done in a gym but from working out from home. I would love to teach others how to get fit without having to rely on driving to a gym to workout.

Well I think I have caught you all up. I look forward to getting back into blogging again. I have missed posting and the blogging community as well.  See you soon!

Quote of the Day: "Your goals are the road maps that guide you and show you what is possible for your life." ~ Les Brown