Monday, April 30, 2012

Thought for the Day...

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.”
― Bob Moawad

Friday, April 27, 2012

Do something Friday

I'm a tool lover.  Very few things feel as good to me as having some repair come up and being able to go to my neat and tidy toolbox, open the lid or drawer and pull out the perfect tool for the fix.  Being that my toolbox is still growing (and that I'm an exericse physiologist -- not a repair man or mechanic), I don't always get to experience the profound pleasure of having just the right tool already in my box for every situation -- sometimes I have to make do with a less-than-perfect fit in the tool-for-job catagory.

Here's the thing though -- I would have a greater number of less-than-perfect fit in the tool-for-job situations if I only had one or two tools in my tool box.

You know the old saying "If you only have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail"?  Well, sometimes that what we like to do with weight loss.

If all you know is dieting -- that's the tool you're going to use for every weightloss problem.

If you grew up working out right up to the point when you're about to keel over -- that is what you're going to see as the perfect tool for the weight loss job.

If you grew up and never learned how to manage your weight -- maybe you don't have any tools in your toolbox .  (Heck -- maybe you don't even have a toolbox).

But here's the thing:

Restrictive eating (calorie cutting) is a tool.

Mindfulness is a tool.

Exercise is a tool.

Goal setting and execution is a tool.

Supportive groups of friends and family is a tool.

Cutting back on your sugar consumption is a tool.

Motivational reading is a tool.

For most of us, our weight gain came on for more than just the plain and simple reason that we ate too many calories.  There are usually underlying factors that have driven this behavior.  Acknowledging those means accepting that the solution may require more than one tool to fix the problem.

Many jobs require a number of tools to complete (Not everything can be as well designed as  IKEA furniture where one cheaply made allen wrench will work as the only tool we need). 

What tools do you have available in your toolbox?  Small dinner plates?  The option of cooking your meals and eating in for the next month?  The ability to get outside (or come here) to get moving more than you have been?  Do you have a group of friends that will ACTIVELY support you in making these changes?

It's time to do an inventory of what tools you have in your box.  If you don't have what you need, it's time to start planning how you're going to acquire them.  A well-stocked tool box is never a bad thing (unless you're just used to calling a repair man -- because guess what??  No one can fix this problem for you -- no matter how well stocked their box or how much you are willing to pay them).

And then the most important thing -- put those tools to work.  Figure out which ones will work each day and USE THEM!  Nothing gets done without action!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Making eating a little bit more difficult

Choosing the larger chocolate bar or supersizing a combo meal at a fast-food joint may increase a person’s sense of importance, according to a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Researchers had participants read one of two articles. The first said that “63 percent of the 1,000 most influential Americans are fit,” while the other said that “63 percent of the 1,000 most influential Americans are overweight.” Participants were then offered the choice between five different sized candies. The people who read the second article, which said most influential Americans are overweight, were more likely to choose the larger candy bar, while people who read the first article were more likely to choose the smaller portion. --Core Performance

What influences are you filling your life with?  Recently, I have read a number of studies that indicate we are much more susceptible to subtle outside influence than we would like to think.  The question this raises for me is:  If our behaviors are so easily influenced, can we make this work for us instead of against us?

I think so.

We don't watch very much TV in my house.  The reason is that the TV is downstairs.  Now -- one set of stairs is not very much of a barrier.  There are comfy couches and a warm and welcoming environment if I go downstairs.  But, because it is not right there in front of my, say in the living room, kitchen or bedroom, it takes more work to just flip the TV on without thinking.  And so, I don't.  It's always a conscious choice to turn it on.

So, could I take that information and make it work to help strengthen my eating behaviors?  Yup.  Same principle applies.  Let's talk about whole foods and potato chips.  Whole foods take work.  An apple needs to be washed (or at least have the cursory wipe on the jeans, right?)  Quick enough to do but it takes work.  And then there's all that chewing!  More work -- which is one of the reasons we don't eat a whole bag of apples while we're sitting in front the of TV.

Potato chips on the other hand need nothing.  Open the bag and you're off to the races.  Eat as many as you want, they don't require much attention once you start.

Same with carrots and M&M's.  Celery and hummus vs. Girl Scout cookies.

It doesn't take very much extra work to make eating seem like a less desirable passtime.

So what to do with this information?  Maybe it's time to stop buying the chips, cookies, M&M's, etc.  Your spouse, kids, guests will be fine without you having them on hand.  Maybe all of you will learn to appreciate the taste of carrots, apples, celery, etc more when you don't have the junk to snack on.

Either way, I bet you'll find you're munching less because it's less rewarding.  And you'll rack up those 9 uneaten bites easier!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Do you care enough to pick yourself?

The question isn’t whether or not you should wait to be picked, the question is whether you care enough to pick yourself. --Seth Godin

Ever heard yourself or someone else day "That lucky ______.   That should have been me!"

I think it's odd that we've grown up with the notion that we need to wait to be picked.  Picked for the kickball team.  Picked for the dance.  Picked for the right job, right promotion, the right school.....

Maybe it's time to stop waiting to be picked.  Waiting for someone to pick you to help.  Waiting for Bob  to show up at your house.

Maybe it's time to pick yourself.  Spend your time (and your money) on picking people who can help you to get where you want to go.  That's what Oprah does (and yes....I know she's Oprah with an Oprah sized wallet but my point is still valid).

Maybe today is the day you need to pick yourself for your team first.  You're not the add-on to an all-star cast  -- you are the star!.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

7 ways to grow the action habit

Having motivation for change doesn't do any good unless you ACT on it.  Conversly, it's very hard to keep yours in action without motiviation -- we need them both. 

To help you grow the action habit, here are 7 ways to keep yourself moving forward:

1. Don't wait until conditions are perfect.

2. Be a doer

3. Remember that ideas alone don't bring success.

4. Use action to cure fear.

5.  Start your creativity mechanically.

6. Live in the present.

7.  Get down to business immediately.

(thanks to pick the brain for the list!)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Thought for the Day....

“What do you think the weather is going to be like today?” Mulla’s neighbor asked him.

“Oh, the weather? It is going to be perfect today. Just the way I like it.” Mulla said with great confidence.

The neighbor, somewhat surprised at the response, said, “How can you be so sure?”

“Well, it is very simple. I have learned to love whatever type of weather I get for I have no control over it,” Mulla added, “but staying positive helps me feel motivated all day.”  --Om Swami

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Finding time

My time's been short lately.  I don't know how it happens since my calendar only looks like it normally does.  At the end of the day, though, it seems like my desk is in worse shape and I've accomplished fewer total projects and my energy is lower than normal.

Why?  I can make some guesses but I'm not really sure.

The thing is, the "why" may not matter but the "how am I going to react  to it" is still does.

I can't change my workload.  I only get 24 hours each day.  I can't do everything.  But I can pick and choose what matters most.  And so can're still in charge of you decisions -- no matter what your calendar says.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cruise mode

Where did we get the idea that, as adults, we should have things figured out?  That once we learned something, we could just cruise?  That if we met a certain threshold, things would take care of themselves without our input or energy?

We may be able to cruise for a while -- but given enough time, the system you set in place will break down without your active involvement in keeping it going.

I just didn't want you to be surprised.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The art of living

Techniques and skill and even a point of view are often handed down, formally or not. It's easier to get started if you're taught, of course.

But art, the new, the ability to connect the dots and to make an impact--sooner or later, that can only come from one who creates, not from a teacher and not from a book. (from the post All artists are self-taught)
Artist is a loaded term -- and therefore, so is art.  Many people are uncomfortable calling themselves artists because their work isn't (at least in their mind) "good enough" to be classified as art.  Seth Godin and a bunch of others have been working on expanding that view of art.

For them, the definition of art includes anything that is creatively done.  It's more about the process and less about judging the final product.  And this includes anything from running an alternative school to teach kids the skills they need to survive and thrive in the world to entrepreneurial ventures to writing books to making wine.

The one thing that ties all these endeavours together is that the person doing them is taking a risk in putting a piece of themselves out there for the world to see.  And not only might the world see it -- it might change the world.  In a big way or small way, the world will be different because of the art it saw.  Things that may have been thought to be impossible are now considered possible because the artist has paved the way.

And that is you, isn't it?  Changing the attention you pay to your eating habits changes your mindset.  Slowly, you are realizing it doesn't have to be about the amount of food you eat.  You are understanding you like choosing food that tastes good.  You are fine with less food when you pay attention to the experience of eating.  You can leave half of your takeout order uneaten because you're realizing you are no longer hungry.  And that changes you.

With fewer calories, your body gets smaller.  You feel healthier as you leave the table.  You stop obsessing about the next diet (or what you "should' or "shouldn't" be eating).  Which frees up some brain space so you can think about other things that are more interesting.  You have more time to tackle other projects and you feel more accomplished because you've stepped off the diet train.

YOU are an artist.  You are the one who is creating.  You are your masterpiece in progress.  If you do this, you WILL change the world (for the better, I might add!).  You will empower others to get off the diet train, listen to their bodies, make changes that make sense to them, and free them up for more creative endeavours.

You will have done all that -- and all because you started started learning how to be more mindful and then taught yourself how to use those tools to make your life better.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Thought for the Day....

 We have to choose whether to do what everyone else is doing, or to fight for what we think is right. --Shawn Conye

Friday, April 13, 2012

Do something Friday -- an opportunity to find a tribe

A couple weeks ago, I blogged about finding a tribe.  How ya comin' with that?

This week, I'm going to encourage you to take 

The Borgess Run for the Health of It and Kalamazoo Marathon will be taking place on Sunday, May 6th -- this is your invitation to join us.  You can run.  You can walk.  You can come out and cheer.  You can volunteer (I am this year's Ambassador to Tent City and would love to have you come and volunteer with me!!!)  The is a great opportunity to get together with a great group of people who are getting up early on a Sunday to do something great for their health!

What you'll see when you're here is a tribe in action.  This is a tribe who have made improving their health a priority -- everyone of them (runners, walker, volunteer, spectators) is out here to support a healthy lifestyle for themselves and their community.

Ink this choice into your calendar.  Climb out of your nice, warm bed on Sunday, May 6 and join us.  Find your tribe -- it will be right here waiting for you!

Want to volunteer?  Click here to sign up!  Want to volunteer with me?  Add "I want to volunteer in Tent City" in the Notes section!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Speaking of sugar (which, of course, I have been) have you seen this????

Would you eat Chips Ahoy for breakfast (be honest....I know, on occasion, I have)???  Well, here's a report on the breakfast cereals that have as much (or more) sugar in them as Chips Ahoy and Twinkies!  The upside of Twinkies is they're pretty honest.  They are what they are and aren't trying to hide behind claims of "good for you".  Prepare to be shocked!

Sugar in Children's Cereals

Popular brands pack more sugar than snack cakes and cookies

Parents have good reason to worry about the sugar content of children's breakfast cereals, according to an Environmental Working Group review of 84 popular brands.

Kellogg's Honey Smacks, at nearly 56 percent sugar by weight, leads the list of high-sugar cereals, according to EWG's analysis.

A one-cup serving of Honey Smacks packs more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie, and one cup of any of 44 other children's cereals has more sugar than three Chips Ahoy! cookies.

More sugar than a Twinkie

One cup of any of three popular children's cereals contains more sugar than a Twinkie: Kellogg's Honey Smacks, Post Golden Crisp, and General Mills Wheaties Fuel.
Honey Smacks: 20 grams of sugar | Twinkies: 18 grams of sugar.
Source: EWG analysis of product nutrition labels.

More sugar than Chips Ahoy!

One cup of any of 44 children's cereals – including Honey Nut Cheerios, Apple Jacks, and Cap'n Crunch – contains more sugar than 3 Chips Ahoy! cookies.
Honey Nut Cheerios: 12 grams of sugar | Chips Ahoy!: 11 grams of sugar.
Source: EWG analysis of product nutrition labels.

Most children's cereals fail to meet the federal government's proposed voluntary guidelines for foods nutritious enough to be marketed to children. Sugar is the top problem, but many also contain too much sodium or fat or not enough whole grain.
The bottom line: Most parents say no to dessert for breakfast, but many children's cereals have just as much sugar as a dessert – or more. Simple-to-prepare, healthy breakfasts for children can include fresh fruit and high-fiber, lower-sugar cereals. Better yet, pair that fruit with homemade oatmeal.

***Please don't take this information as "diet" advice or me saying you should never eat these foods!    The reason I bring this to your attention is we are trying to be more mindful of the choices we make.

There is nothing wrong with having these cereals if you understand the choice that your making.  Sugar in the morning has the same effect as sugar in the afternoon.  It just drives me crazy when a product is marketing so we believe it's one thing (a healthy option to start the day) and in reality turns out to be something else (a food choice that may set us up for cravings the rest of the day!)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Horrifying New Product Alert

Yoni Freedhoff posted this awhile ago.  Targeted at parents, I think the post is useful for all of us to hear.  Whether your weight management focus is on your kids or yourself, the advice he gives is solid for all of us!  Please take his tips to heart -- the scale is no way to measure your success.  Happiness, reduction in guilt, increased ease of movement and comfort -- those are the components of any weight management program (no matter what your age) that we should be striving to maximize!

Horrifying new product alert - body fat scales for children

If it's a sign of the times, it's a sign of how truly backwards we are as a society when it comes to weight management.

Scale company Tanita is now marketing a specially designed body-fat/weigh scale for children between the ages of 5-17.

Now I've blogged before about how I think body-fat percentage scales are a bad idea to begin with, but to target them at children bring them to a whole new level of horror.

5 year olds don't need to have their body-fat or their weights measured, they need healthy food and parental role modeling.

So instead of punishing your child by buying them a body-fat percentage scale, may I suggest that if you're not already doing so you:

- Cook healthy meals from whole ingredients for each and every meal.

- Have sit down family dinners each and every night (remembering they don't need to be gourmet - kids do love peanut butter sandwiches).

- Involve your children in meal (and school lunch) preparation.

- Track the added sugars in your childrens' diets and try to limit to no more than 45 grams daily (remembering that some days should be exceptions too - sugar's part of childhood, it just needn't be a daily part).

- Ensure that the only fruit they eat is actual fruit - no juices, rollups, chews, or mashes.

- Make their milk white and skim, not brown and sugary.

- Ensure your children eat protein with every meal and snack, and that they start their days off with a wholesome, protein inclusive, breakfast.

- Make restaurant meals and take out (including supermarket prepared takeout meals) exceedingly rare events.

- Engage your family in family based physical activity - weekend hikes, nightly walks, signing up for community races, landscaping, home improvement projects, push lawnmowers, snow shoveling, etc.

Lastly you've got to remember - if you're worried about your kid's weights, don't put it on them. It's not their problem, it's yours, and if you think you're going to fix it by yelling at them, weighing them, shaming them, food policing them, etc. - you're going to be disappointed, and your kid is going to be miserable.

If you want your kids to change the way they're living, you're going to have to change the way your whole family's living - and frankly it isn't about weight. All of those behaviours up above? Doesn't matter if your kids are heavy or thin, those strategies will benefit each and every family, though the likelihood is, if weight's an issue in your family, those changes will help far more than any scale ever could.

Thanks, Yoni, for bringing us back to our common sense!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bet on Yourself

Ever noticed how much time we spend on lotto tickets, the Biggest Loser, Dancing with the Stars, watching our favorite teams?

We love competition.  We love to see people gutting it out.  We love to bet on who is going to be "the next big thing".  It's fun!

That being said -- how much time do you spend betting on yourself?

I hear lots of trash-talkin' -- "You'll never be able to do this"  ....  "You're a loser" .... "You'll never make it" --all directed at ourselves.

What happens to betting that you're the one that can beat the odds?  Where's the belief that the world is conspiring WITH you?

You have a powerful dream -- I know you do or you wouldn't be spending time with me.

You can do it!  I am betting on you!  But that's not enough -- you need to bet on you!  Don't prove me wrong.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The past guides our choices; we have real constraints, opportunities, and experiences based off of the past. Right now, though, those constrains, opportunities, and experiences are what they are – wishing they would be different doesn’t make them different.

Whatever happened, you are here. But being here doesn’t mean you have to stay here or that you will stay here.  --Charlie Gilkey

Friday, April 6, 2012

Do something Friday -- change your attitude about movement

So.....You hate exercise.  Consider yourself a couch potato.  Have you made the concession to walking on the treadmill (sometimes) but that's as far as you're willing to go? 

Several months ago, I told you  Jen, at Borgess Athletic Performance, had put together a coaching package for non-athletes who were ready to finally become fit.

That was where Chris was....until she seized an opportunity to get Finally Fit.

**something to consider:  When Chris said she lost 8%+ of her body weight, it was ALL fat!  She GAINED muscle during that time because of her strength training workouts!  --that just doesn't happen any other way than through strength training!

Can't see the video?  Click here.

Interested in how you can seize your own opportunity?  Contact Jen at  Borgess Athletic Performance.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

An oversight!

Hi, all!  Did you see that 60 Minutes excerpt on the evils of sugar last Sunday?  Sorry to say it was NOT an April Fool's Day joke.  It occurred to me late last night that I had posted this video everywhere (Athletic Performance blog and Facebook page, FC Facebook page.....but I didn't send it out to you guys! case you missed it, here it is.  If you did catch some of it, what made the most impact on you???
(For me, it was when they said many cancer tumors have insulin receptors on them -- which means the higher a person's blood sugar, the more they are feeding their cancer! --important information!!!)

Already watched the video?  Check out this article in the Huffington Post!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Think back to a situation where you were talking to someone about managing weight (either yours or theirs).  What kinds of words populate a conversation like that?


What about courage?

"Cou­rage is the abi­lity to do something that frigh­tens one..... See, cou­rage takes great strength to stand in the face of pain or ine­vi­ta­ble grief and without it, your vision, no mat­ter how bri­lliant or essen­tial, is merely a mas­ter­piece pain­ted on a nap­kin — a pro­mise that is never fully realized.

It takes cou­rage to see what others don’t or do what others won’t. It takes cou­rage to push for­ward when pushed back. " --Brian Solis

When you succeed in reaching your weight management goal -- all of you know that is just the beginning.  Maintaining your weight is a lifelong process and it takes courage because, as hard as it is to lose the weight, maintaining that weight loss is a job that never ends.  It takes courage to face an uncertain future.

And yet....every future is uncertain.  That is the only certainty life offers.

So don't back down.  What you're doing is difficult -- for me to say anything else would be a lie.  But it's no more difficult than living with a set of eating behaviors that are working against your vision for your future.

Courage under fire, friends!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Eliminate Common Excuses

I just read that phrase and Wow! did it hit home!   This from a girl who ran to the bank yesterday and "had" to stop at Wendy's for a burger and fries because I was starving and hadn't packed my lunch.

Sound familiar?

The thing that really kills me is that being hungry at lunch is no surprise -- every day same thing.  AND, I went to the grocery store last weekend, so it's not as if there isn't plenty of food in the house.  I even bought a new jar of natural peanut butter I've been meaning to try.  And yet.....I let excuses get in the way of being prepared for a certainty.

The other thought I had when I read "Eliminate common excuses" was -- they weren't saying all excuses, just the common ones.  It just means increasing a few areas of discipline in my life -- not a total makeover.

On deck for this week:  "I didn't have time to pack my lunch".  It's not going to fly! 

How about you?  Which excuse can you work on eliminating this week?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Thought for the Day...

"I believe life is to be lived, not worked, enjoyed, not agonized, loved, not hated."
Leland Bartlett