Freaking Out Over Eating

Don’t you get overwhelmed with all the stuff you read about diets? I mean, really! Don’t eat carbs, don’t eat meat, eat whatever you want as long as you don’t exceed a given numbers of calories a day, blah, blah, blah. I believe people are different and what works for some doesn’t work for others. I’m not huge on diets. I’m huge on lifestyles. I think eating is something you do to maintain your “machine”. You *must* eat and eat well. So, what follows are my suggestions and you can take from it what you choose.

1) When you want to alter your eating habits, don’t try to do too much at once. That’s the first, most important rule. If you try to do too much, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You want to make a lifestyle change and permanent change takes a little time and effort. A lot of eating habits are just that, habits…and it takes a while to change them. Look at what you need to change and make a strategy for eliminating and changing. Most likely, if you start eating regular meals with healthy snacks (or small “meals” ) in between, keeping your blood sugar level, it will help you resist those unhealthy, processed snacks. One strategy is to do a “food prep” day. My nephew and I were just talking bout making egg/vegetable cups in muffin tins to freeze since I need to eat less fruit (I eat fruit smoothies for breakfast and they’re starting to affect me in a bad way).

2) If you’re a soda junkie, wean yourself off of them. They’re nasty for you. I mean, if you pour a certain soda on meat and it disintegrates or if it removes rust from your bumper, do you REALLY want that to happen to your insides? There’s absolutely nothing good about sodas except as a household or car cleaner, so think of that as you want to grab a soda.

3) Limit drastically your sugar intake. Sugar is super processed. I’ve heard (though not verified) that certain centers of the brain react similarly to sugar, cocaine, and heroin. I can buy into that one. People get addicted to sugar and it can kill you. If you want a sweetener, use natural stuff like honey, maple syrup, or Stevia, but use it in moderation.

4) Eat as little processed food as you can – boxed, canned, frozen, whatever. Exceptions are frozen vegetables and some canned vegetables that don’t contain chemicals on the label. Do some research into those additives. Find out what they are. Eating fresh just takes a little planning.

4)You can find the Mediterranean Diet, Paleo Diet, Atkins Diet, Vegetarian diets, and on and on. There is a common thread on most of them — eat lots of fresh vegetables, as organic as you can get them. I am going to suggest one thing – be smart and use common sense.

5) Here may be something that many may dispute strongly, but I’m going out on a limb because I firmly believe it. Stay away from fat free foods, other than skim milk if you want it. I have several reasons for saying this. Mainly, when fat is removed from many foods, it’s replaced by sugar or chemicals. At least with fat you get something honest. I could go into this more, but trying to keep everything short and sweet.

6) Hydrate!! I just heard something on the radio (on NPR, no less!) that said that there was no scientific evidence that says you need 8 cups per day. I’ve been training athletes for over 15 years and all studies I’ve read (and they’ve been extensive) say that, at the least, we need to drink an ounce per 2 lbs of body weight. So if you weigh 150 lbs, you need 75 oz of water a day. It’s not really a lot. Think about it, your body is mostly water. We lose water simply by breathing! If you wait until your thirsty, you’re already starting to dehydrate. Don’t turn into a prune, drink the water.

That’s it. do your thing. Don’t freak out. Use the basic outline above and go for it. Be sure to eat, don’t starve. That doesn’t help at all.

On top of that, get sleep and spend time playing. Enjoy this life!! It’s the only one you have.

Wrinkles on Muscles

10 years ago I did my first Olympic distance triathlon as a birthday present for myself – .9 mile swim, 26 mi. bike, and 6.2 mile run (I race walk). Back then for that particular event, the age groups were something like 15-19, 20-24, 25-29 and so on….then, 50 and up. There weren’t many over the age of 50 who participated back then and they grouped us all together. So, on the day before the race, I went to the transition area, found my section, and racked my bike. There were a few women around me doing the same and soon the conversation began.

It turned out that I was the baby of the group (not often you get to say that at 50) – they were 56, 62, 65, and 71. As the conversation developed, these ladies began to share their experiences, offering a few little tips here and there, plus talking about other tris they had done (sharing how to stay warm during Escape from Alcatraz bay swim). I was captivated. Energy seemed to flow from every pore of their bodies. They’re eyes danced with light and life. They were fun, they were funny…they were amazing!!

As I walked away, I looked back and saw something I hadn’t noticed when talking with them. All but one were wearing swim briefs and sports bras. Their skin was soft and wrinkled and incredibly tan, but hung on frames that were muscled, firm, and strong. I decided I wanted to be like them when I grew up. They were the most beautiful women I had ever seen or experienced.

Now I have Shar Pei thighs (see previous blog post) and Ive noticed that the skin on my arms is stretched and wrinkled when I do a 1-2 punch in cardio boxing, but I keep working to make sure those muscles are strong and firm. I have a few more surgical scars than I did 10 years ago and I’ve slowed down considerably. My joints don’t work exactly as I would like them to, but they’re still working and I keep moving.

I see people a number of years younger than myself, sometimes half my age, who move as though they’re 10 years older, and it inspires me to keep moving.

I see obesity that is robbing a life of longevity and quality and I keep moving.

Though I know there are reasons that I may have to adapt exercises to whatever world my body or those of my clients wakes in on a particular day, I don’t accept excuses. No matter what the circumstances, I or they can move. You don’t have to train for a triathlon, but at least train for your life.

I’m still working to be those ladies when I grow up, though I will NOT be doing Escape from Alcatraz….I went there a few years ago and saw that swim. Ain’t gonna happen.

Don’t Look At Your Knees When in Downward Dog

I am not a Yoga person. I’ve tried it, I do it, it’s good for me. It’s TOUGH! I’m not a super fan, though, like many others. It’s a personality thing, I guess. Like I say, I think it’s good for us all to do and I like benefits from it, like body control, so I do it and promote it.

There are a few caveats in practicing yoga that I think you should know, especially if you’re of a “certain age” (or “seasoned” as my nephew says). One of the most important is: do NOT look down at your knees and thighs if you’re in Downward Dog. I teach a class with my nephew and the yoga instructor at our studio that is a combination of strength training and yoga. We call it NamaStrength. Since I am one of the creators of the class, I feel it necessary for me to take part when I can on the yoga segments. Like I say, it’s tremendous for body control and quite humbling. One day we were going through one of the Warrior Flows, I went to Downward Dog, I looked at my legs….and thought I found a Shar Pei puppy between my tibia and hip. Now, my legs have always been the part of my body that I can manage to look great no matter what. I get compliments on them even at my age. But this?! Yikes!

Well, I kept going. We went on to Chaturanga, which is basically a slow, negative push up. I did it perfectly, slowly and under control (on my fists since my left wrist won’t bend properly). I also continued through the rest of the class in the same manner.

So I figure, okay, so I have Shar Pei thighs, as well as other parts of my body. It happens. I’m 60 and plan to continue moving and working until I drop permanently. As long as I do that, I’m going to have to accept the evidence of passing years.

But I no longer look down while in Downward Dog.

I am the WORST at excuses

I have just gone through a period of neglecting a most important tool and outlet…this blog. Why? There are always excuses: I’m busy with business research, I have clients to take care of, I have a husband that needs to know I recognize him, training to do, blah, blah, blah. Yep, all excuses.

Do you want to hear the worst part of it? There’s always more research to do, clients received the BEST attention, my husband is still with me and still knows I know him, and training continues. What it boils down to is that I simply didn’t take the time to do it. And I DID have the time.

Do you do this? Yeah, most of us do. It’s okay. We can get over it.

It’s the same way with exercising or paying attention to our nutrition. You can take it up again. You don’t get penalty points, so you’ve lost nothing. Guilt is completely pointless. Simply start…or pick it up again.

Exercise is easy. You don’t need special shoes, clothes, or gear. All you have to do is move. Now, if you want to pick up the pace, you probably want to be comfortable in your clothes, but you can exercise in your living room with items from your pantry (not opened) or other items around the house. And you really don’t need items, you can use your own body! You can even clean house and exercise at the same time. Ever watch Mrs. Doubtfire? Now THAT was fun. Put on some Aerosmith, jam, and clean to Dude Looks Like a Lady, and you’ve done a workout!!

Nutrition is the same. I don’t care what anyone says, nutrition is a learned behavior. If you want to change to good nutrition, you have to unlearn some habits. That takes a little time and strategy, so don’t try to do too much too soon. Start by cutting out sugar or sodas or processed foods…one or two things at a time. Whatever you can handle. Pay attention to how you feel. After you have that conquered, move on to the next item. You can experiment with replacing bad stuff with good. You don’t have a time limit. Your biggest concern is to make an effective change a little at a time.

You’re going to make all this a long-term change, so you have to change your outlook. Start. Negativity doesn’t belong in any shape, form, or fashion.

So, I’m starting new habits here. I’m going to have a new blog each week on Mondays. They’ll be fun and informative. You can make whatever changes you need and, if you need help, give me a shout.

I’m also going to do that research, pay careful attention to my husband, continue to take care of my clients, and get serious about my 1/2 Ironman training.

The Cost of Getting Lean

Are you one of those who wants that six-pack? How about just getting into your old jeans? A friend sent me this article and it’s dead on. It explains what you can expect for your expectations — the price you pay. It’s realistic, honest, and explains it all in a way that helps you decide what you want to do to reach your fitness level.

I hope you enjoy and be sure to send feedback on your reactions. I’d like to hear what you have to say.