Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ahhhh....That was a great night!!

Think back to the last time you said that about a night or event.  Wedding, dinner with friends, quiet dinner at home....whatever the situation, take a minute and think about that great night.  Feel the contentment, excitement, fun.

Now think about the food that surrounded that event -- can you remember what you ate?  maybe.

But was it the food that made the evening?  Or was it the people that stick in your memory?  Which one makes you smile most?

I bet it's the people.

Think about that next time you feel compelled to fill up your plate in the buffet line.

Put your energy and attention on the things that matter -- that it what the season is all about.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why don't we start?

"Maybe it's high ...time I had this conversation with myself.  Why do I, in the presences of everything I need, not start something?" --Erika Napoletano 

Ok -- I'm taking the quote above in another direction entirely from the one the author meant -- this is just a disclaimer so y'all know that up front.  Usually, I would link the post it came from but due to the language in that post, (and bowing to "discretion is the better part of valor") I'm not going to today.  Feel free to Google it though, as I enjoy much of what she writes (although, consider yourself warned if you have a low foul language tolerance!)

So...back to my take on the quote above.

Why do we not start?  Why do we put it off until Monday or New Year's Day or the first of the Month or.....never?

What makes us so scared of trying?  Because we haven't been successful in the past?  Or at least successful on this particular weight loss mission, anyway.  I work with highly successful people EVERY DAY who feel unsuccessful because of their weight.

I talk to people everyday who are afraid to throw caution to the wind and start something today.  And then get up tomorrow and start something tomorrow.  And the next day.  And the next day......

That's all weight loss is.  Continual starting.

Just because one meal (or one day) doesn't go the way you intended, it doesn't negate the imperative to start again -- as soon as you realize you've gone off the rails.  And we know this, right?  So what stops us from starting again?

May it is time to have that conversation with yourself -- because that right there, the ability to start again right away -- is what separates those who successfully manage their weight over a lifetime and those who struggle.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Season of Excess

I've gone off before on how blessed we are, how much stuff (and food) we have, yada, yada, yada....

It bothers me -- this excess.  It bothers me that we rush through life and miss some of the important parts because we're dealing with other parts that are not important...just urgent.

Potato chips are like that -- not important.  How many times have you given in to the temptation to eat chips only to be delights...I mean DELIGHTED!!!--  by your calorie investment?  Once....maybe?

But the craving for chips is urgent -- we see them (or a commercial about them) and we want them.  Or we just see them sitting on the end of the deli counter and we pick them up -- because Lord knows a 6 inch sub isn't enough food to keep us fueled for the next 4 hours (let alone the "foot long" that is the better least money wise).

Most brownies (in my experience) are like that too.  The craving is loud, urgent, repetitive.  But most of them don't deliver on taste (or maybe the first 3 bites do but we eat the rest because it's there...calling urgently for us to diligently finish it).

The chips and the brownies (and even the extra 6 inches of our foot long sub) take us away from what's really important -- our health, our contentment with our bodies, our piece of mind.

All those extras....those "treats" that in reality we have every day....are too much.  They are physically too much when are blood sugar goes up beyond our body's ability to regulate it (pre-diabetes/diabetes).  When our pants are too tight.  When our stomach feels uncomfortably full.  When we just want to lay down and take a nap (3pm during a work day, anyone?  Who hasn't felt that before?)

And everything I've just talked about happens most days of the year -- we haven't even touched on the potlucks, parties, treat days, thanks you's, and everything else that goes along with the 6 week (only roughly 12% of our year) Holiday Season we've just entered into.

So the question becomes -- what are you going to do different this year?  It's time to make your commitment -- to yourself, to your family, to making the world a better place by appreciating and observing the Important and putting the urgent in its place.  This doesn't have to be a season of excess for you -- it can be a peaceful season of observing and engaging the Important.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Thought for the Day...

Illness is the doctor to whom we pay most heed; to kindness, to knowledge, we make promises only; pain we obey. --Marcel Proust

But it doesn't have to be that way....KSW

Friday, November 23, 2012

Do something Friday

Alright!  I hope you all enjoyed Thanksgiving!  Now it's time to get back on track with the eating habits that will keep you in the same size pants all the way through the New Year!

To help with this, I'm putting together 31 days of eating tips to help us stay on track -- but you can't get them here.

Because they are including MUCH more than just mindful eating tips, I've decided to put them on the FC's Facebook page.  So head on over there and "like" us to get them delivered to your news feed.  These tips start December 1 -- so you'd better get the lead out!

And I know....not all y'all are on Facebook :(  It makes me sad too!  But I encourage you to think about taking the time to figure out how it works -- we post a lot of great information, fun pics of what's going on here, and motivational thoughts for keeping you moving and feeling strong!  Totally worth it, in my book!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Do you love green bean casserole 3 times as much as you like green beans?

Well, do you?  This is an important question because it is very likely you will run into this dilemma tomorrow.

And why 3x as much, you may ask?  Because green bean casserole has 3x's the calories than regular green beans.  If you love it that much -- it's totally worth it.  If you don't, here an opportunity to cut back on your holiday calorie intake.

Me?  I can easily do without green bean casserole.

I can pass up the pumpkin pie too -- but not the homemade, real whipping cream.  So I have some of that on a plate....without the pie.

Salad tomorrow?  I don't think so.  I can have a salad any day of the week -- unlike stuffing.  Or the fruit salad that has dates, maraschino cherries, and some other stuff (that obviously isn't as important to me as the dates and cherries) all held together with more whipping cream (NOT Cool Whip).  That's on my plate, for sure!

Tomorrow isn't real eating (thank goodness!).  It's holiday eating - which means you can pick and choose.  You don't have to eat your veggies.  You don't have to clean your plate.  You can eat dessert first (unless your mom's watching).

Practice eating what you like, taking the time to taste it, and most importantly, being mindful of the company your keeping -- it's not often the focus of our day gets to be spending a meal with those we love.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Passive Consumption

Have you ever thought about how passive we are?  For working as hard as we all do, we certainly have made up for it in our passive pursuits.
TV watching time (at least for those non-Millennials of us) is way up.  We watch what's on and flip channels to make sure we're not missing something good (which is pretty unlikely because there isn't that much "good" TV no matter how many channels we have on our cable package).  We watch whatever is put in front of us.
And many of us eat whatever is put in front of us -- and not in the polite way our mom's all taught us!  It's not because someone is offering us a piece of "delicious", homemade fruitcake and we don't want to hurt their feelings -- we're eating whatever happens to cross our paths.
Yesterday's meeting doughnuts left on the break table.  Cubes of cheese from the potluck 4 hours ago.  Drive-thru "snack wrap".  Candy from the bank.  Sample of something you wouldn't buy in the first place but you eat just because you're waiting for your deli order to be filled. 
We're not making active decisions here -- we're just reverting to the stage of infancy were anything that crosses our paths goes in our mouths.  It might be cute for a 9 month old (and it really is the way they learn about their world) but we're grownups.  We don't need (and indeed aren't) learning anything from the experience of all those extra bites.
It's time to mature past this stage -- it's no longer serving our development (indeed many of us have "developed" more than we need to ;)
Food is everywhere -- especially this time of year (but pretty much all times of the year now days).  Passive consumption only happens when you're on autopilot.  Start being more mindful and you'll notice these tendencies BEFORE the food makes it all the way to your mouth.  And once that happens -- weight loss here you come!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thought for the Day...

How we feel about ourselves, the joy we get from living, ultimately depends directly on how the mind filters and interprets everyday experiences.  Whether we are happy depends on inner harmony, not on the controls we are able to expert over the great forces of the universe. --Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Friday, November 16, 2012

Do something Friday

We don't mean to get stressed this time of year....or at least I don't.  We don't mean to yell at our spouse because they've left a mess in the bathroom or at the kids for wearing their shoes in the house.  We just get focused on other things: the shopping, the cleaning, the preparing for a house full of Thanksgiving guests.

...and we forget what's really important.

I don't know if you've been following the 30 Days of Thankfulness we've been doing over that the BHFC Facebook site but I gotta tell you, know one to date has turned in a statement saying they are thankful for a clean house or a skinny body. 

We're thankful for our health, our family, our friends, maybe our job (or any job, really).

Keep that in mind as you go about your upcoming week.  Be mindful of what's really important to you.

You may be thankful for being able to have food on your table -- but I bet you're not all that thankful for the giant sundae you're using to self-medicate your stress away.

It's never about the food -- it's about what joys the food can bring us (or the numbing we may get while we eat) -- remember that and you may be less inclined to stuff yourself and more inclined to gather joy from the things that really matter to you.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Those little, mindless bites add up.....

Check this out:

 Elana Zimelman, RD, LD, CDE at the Cooper Institute takes a look at how 7 "little nibbles" add up to unwanted pounds: (the comments in italics are mine....)

Taste 1: Cookie Bite You woke up early this morning to bake some holiday cookies for the office. There’s a very small broken piece that came off the baking sheet. You don’t want to throw it away so you have a bite. One broken piece of a cookie = 30 calories!

Taste 2: Gingerbread Latte Taste
On your way to work, you stop by your favorite coffee shop to get a boost of caffeine. You’re planning to order a medium cup of coffee, but at the counter, you can’t help but notice some enticing samples. You taste the tiny cup of gingerbread latte topped with a dollop of whipped cream. A 1 oz sample cup = 25 calories! (seriously -- 1 oz.?  That's a medicine cup)

Taste 3: Brownie Nibble
Next to the latte samples, the seasonal peppermint brownie sample is staring you in the face. You don’t plan to buy a whole brownie so why not take a little nibble! One nibble = 37 calories!

Taste 4: Handful of M&M’s
After you set down the cookies in the employee break room, you walk past your co-worker’s desk and there sits a glass bowl of holiday M&M’s. You try to resist, but you give in to the temptation and those 13 M&M’s = 56 calories! (I'm pretty sure I've never eating 13 M&M's and'd be back later that day for sure....very likely a couple times -- course, later in the afternoon, I'd have to wait until she when to the bathroom so she didn't know I was back)
Taste 5: Cashew Cluster
Later in the afternoon, you take a water break and pass by a dish of mixed nuts. You pick out your favorite, the cashews, and try to count out just six. Six cashew halves = 51 calories! (did you notice it said cashew HALVES?)
Taste 6: Cheese and Crackers
After work, you head over to the grocery store. You have just a few items to pick up. You need to buy some fresh vegetables and you pass the cheese counter on your way to the broccoli. There’s a table set out with gourmet cheese and crackers. That one bite cheese cube and cracker = 71 calories! (one BITE)

Taste 7: Pumpkin Ale
You have one more stop to go and pass by the beer and wine aisle. There is a tasting of several kinds of beer and ale. You want to try the pumpkin ale—just a little sip: 2 oz. = 30 calories!

By now, you have consumed an extra 300 calories that you didn’t plan on eating. You would have to walk briskly for about one hour and 15 minutes to burn that off!

And that, my friends, is why it pays to be mindful of what your sticking in your mouth -- not just during the holidays but as a lifestyle.  Keep working on it!  --KSW

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Protecting yourself from the things you fear

"How much of your time and effort goes into protecting yourself from the things you fear?
And how much is spent serving your muse and your tribe and your potential?"  --Seth Godin

I see fear a lot.  Fear of pain.  Of my gym.  Of what people might think.  Of what people think of themselves.  We live in an age of fear.  The media plays on it -- so do those that want to keep us healthy.

Some fear is helpful -- fear can motivate us to change (change never happens when we're comfortable).

Too much fear is paralyzing -- and thus, the complete opposite of helpful.

The tricky thing about fear is that it needs to be acknowledged......but part two of that is being able to put it in it's place and more forward even though we are afraid.  And sometimes, I think we forget to do the second part of that.

Fear will always be with us if we are moving forward.  Moving forward is, by definition, moving into the unknown -- and that's scary.

So it's not a matter of getting rid of the fear, it's a matter of moving forward even though you're scared.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Passing the Flame

The other day, I found myself at a concert dedicated to the memory of a local music teacher.  One of the teacher's former students spoke of  the venerated instructor "passing the flame" of his love of music to numerous students through the years he taught.

Passing the flame.....that phrase struck me as a beautiful image.  Illuminating the darkness with knowledge and passion is an image that is familiar to many of us -- especially this time of year.

My original thoughts upon hearing this phrase were along the lines of "what if we all could pass the flame of eating habits ... wouldn't the world be a better place?"

But then I realized, I was wrong.  We don't need more people passing the flame of eating habits -- because right now every one of us passes the flame of our behaviors everyday.

Whether you make a conscious choice about it or not, you are influencing other peoples eating behaviors -- you are passing the flame.

I know I've been harping on this a lot lately but I'm seeing the results EVERYWHERE!  Childhood obesity (we're not talking husky jeans -- we're talking OBESE with Type 2 diabetes and high blood children!!!) is way up.  Our adult waistelines are growing (literally everyday!)  The diet industry is booming (but we're not getting our money's worth there....even when we buy the books, DVDs, pre-packaged meals...we are still needing to buy bigger pants!)

There are lines at the drive thrus on my way to work EVERY morning.

Sugar consumption is WAY up!

We are in the middle of a public health crisis of our own making.  Decision by decision we are actively shorting our life expectancy (and that of our children).

But the good news (the great news actually!) is we don't have to continue on this path.  We can learn to say "Not right now" to ourselves and feel great about it.  We can learn to build activity into our lives so it becomes inescapable.

We can chose to eat food that tastes good even though it is less convenient to obtain.

We can get ourselves back on track the same way we went off the rails -- one decision at a time.

What's all it takes.  Which direction is your next decision going to take you?

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Thought for the Day...

"In any given week I bet I hear the phrase, "I fell off the wagon", at least 5 times.

Makes me think the folks who are uttering it are on the wrong wagon.

If your goal is simply to do your best, there's really never any need to fall off any moving objects.

Sure, you might for various reasons make nutritionally or calorically frightening choices, but so long as you asked yourself those two ever important questions, "Is it worth it", and, "How much do I need to be happily satisfied", there can't be a wrong choice.

Sometimes your best may be a basket of chicken wings but perhaps a smaller basket than normal and one less beer, or a fancy coffee with whip just ordered less frequently, or Chinese take out minus the calorie-insane General Tsao's staple, or a bowl of ice-cream instead of a pint, or a small bag of chips rather than the giant bag, or a full-sized chocolate bar rather than a Blizzard.

What I'm getting at is that sometimes we make choices that are less than ideal, but that so long as you've made your best worst choice, you're still doing great!"  --Yoni Freedhoff

Friday, November 9, 2012

Do something Friday

Election Day is over and now we are heading full force into the Holiday Season ( one writer put it, the Season of know it's true!)

If you find yourself stressed, busy, and perennially munching, perhaps it's time to institute some food-free zones in your life.  These zones are designed to eliminate the need to make food choices (think about it like a chewing time-out).

Here are my top food-free zones:

1. The Car -- there's NO reason to eat in your car.  30,000 people die in car accidents.  Eating (much like texting) is a distraction!  Your health AND safety can be improved by not eating in the car.

2. In front of the TV -- there is NO way you can eat mindfully if you are watching TV.  Just stop.

3. Your desk.  You need to the break.  Take 10 minutes to get up and walk to some place else to eat.  Don't eat and catch up on email -- again, you're not eating mindfully.  Concentrating on the food you're eating is hard work -- you'll eat less because you don't have the attention span to eat more!

Think for a minute about how many things you wouldn't eat if you couldn't eat in these three zones.  If these zones account for 9 bites of food per day, eliminating these zone bites will help you lose 1/2 to 1 pound per week without changing any other behaviors!

What about you?  Which zones do you find trigger you to eat?  Click on the comment button at the bottom of this post and share your thoughts!! (If you're reading this via email, click here to go to the blog to comment)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Weight Control 101 -- Holiday Edition

Here (at the best fitness center in the world), we work hard to make sure our members are getting the support, education, and practical tools to help them manage their weight and improve their health over a life time.

One of the ways we do that is to connect them with health professionals versed in multi-disciplinary weight management techniques four times a month.  The program is called Weight Control 101.  Heather (our dietician), Jen (from Athletic Performance), myself, and a handful of others work with our members to help them get a handle on the research and practical aspects of this sometimes overwhelming topic.

Next Monday, Jen's got a special program all lined up. 

Weight Control 101 will be focusing on how to effectively navagate the holidays with strategies, tools, tips, and practical application.  Part lecture and part dig in and do -- you leave with a pile of resources and a personalized plan to successfully navagate the Season of Eating.

Feel free to join us Monday, November 12 at 9.30a or 5.30p in Classroom 4  (The session will last about an hour)  You don't need to register and there is no charge -- how can you say no to that??

I can't wait to see you here!


Not sure where we are? walk in the double doors.

View Larger Map
If you park at the North entrance, Classroom 4 is on your left just as you enter the double doors!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Politics, Common Sense, and Food Recommendations

I just read an interesting essay by Gary Taubes (of Why We Get Fat and What to Do about It fame).  The article goes into the history of food policy as it relates to sugar.  It's a long bit of web reading but if you're interested in that kind of thing (which I am -- always up for a good conspiracy theory!) it's interesting.

After reading the whole article (and a couple of Gary's other books that talk about the politics of food recommendations), it all comes back to -- you can't trust the government.  Sorry to disabuse you of this notion but near as I can tell, the government's job is to serve the masses.  And the mass need is much different than your needs as an individual. 

That's not to say the government doesn't do you any good -- police, fire, clean water, roads that are in good (or at least passable) condition -- the government does that for all of us -- and I for one appreciate it!

But -- when it comes to food recommendations, the USDA is a political organization.  Its recommendations are influenced by special interest groups, senators, congressmen, and industry pressures.  Remember the Food Industry is a highly profitable industry (click here and here if you are a numbers person!) --and we know how government works!  Those with money can use it to buy a bigger voice.  The USDA is not immune.

So if the government does not have your back (or waistline) on this, what should you do??

Use your common sense.

We eat too much sugar -- you need to look no farther than our national diabetes rates (and the fact that it has climbed from 2.5% of the American population in 1980 to 6.8% in 2010).

We overeat -- more often than not -- you need to look no farther than our national obesity rates (15% of the US population in 1980 and 35.7% in 2010).

We are smart enough to get these HUGE health problems under control -- but we're going to have to think (be mindful) of our eating behaviors until we change our environment enough that it supports our health.  This is something each of us needs to do for ourselves (and each other).  It's not something the government can (or will) do for us!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mindless eating adds up

Just a quick refresher with some facts that influence our food consumption.  Just a few environmental changes in our homes can make a big difference in how easy (or difficult) it is to overeat:

  • Moving from a 12-inch to a 10-inch dinner plate leads people to serve and eat 22% less.

  • A person will eat an average of 92% of any food they serve themselves.  --serve yourself less!

  • The average person makes an excess of 250 decisions about food each day. --plenty of room for a few improvements!

  • Low-fat labels lead people to eat 16-23% more total calories.  --hmmmm, food that doesn't tastes as good but we eat more of it??  Not really what we were going for!

  • The Nutritional Gatekeeper of a home influences an estimated 72% of all of the food their family eats.  --what you bring home matters!!

  • Because of visual illusions, people (even Philly bartenders) pour 28% more into a short wide glasses than tall ones.  --we are NOT good at "eye-balling portions or calories estimates.  Unless you're weighing or measuring, almost everyone will underestimate the amount they eat!

  • 50% of the snack food bought in bulk (such as at a warehouse club store) is eaten within six days of purchase.  --buy less -eat less.  Buy smaller -- be smaller.
  • Friday, November 2, 2012

    Do something Friday

    Treat yourself.....that's what the sign across the street from my building said.  Interestingly enough, it wasn't the Dairy Queen, it was the Curves.

    Just coming off the societal detox of Halloween candy, the sign got me thinking about the concept of treats.  It seems to me that I have ranted on "treats" recently and how we seem to feel we have a Constitutional Right to multiple treats per day. (and it goes without saying that we hope in vain there will be no unwanted consequences to our actions)

    Add to that a comment I received when I posted this on Facebook:
    which said: "Oh, come on. It's Halloween. You can't live life so disciplined because life then gets boring and not fun."  And she is right!  A life of grinding self-discipline would be boring.....but how many of us are actually living anything remotely close to that?  (I can assure you, I'm not)

    I guess my real question to you is "How broad is your definition of treat?"

    If you have multiple "treats" per day, are they still treats?  Or is that just standard operating procedure?  Super-sugared "coffee" in the morning, cookie with lunch, brownie off the break table in the afternoon, sugar added to our pasta sauce, dinner rolls, salad dressing, and then a (small...ish) bowl of ice cream in front of the TV.  ???

    And it's not just all things sweet -- chips, dips, the couple "extra" bites that taste good but you know you shouldn't have because you're full....they're all treats.....

    Unless they're not.  Unless "treat" is just a word we use to make ourselves feel better about the choices we're trying to justify.  We can't justify eating junk we know is bad for us (at least in the vast quantities we, as a society, are consuming them) so we label each of them a treat in an effort to make us feel better about our choices.

    No matter what you see as a treat (at least in the food department), its time to cut back...and for most of us, way back!

    Need something else to replace your food treat??  Try walking -- quiet time in nature really can be a treat....and you can indulge yourself as much want and your health will only be better for it!!!

    Thursday, November 1, 2012


    Happy November 1!  It blows my mind that we are closing in on another holiday season!!

    Yesterday, it struck me like a bolt of lightening that we have a lot to be thankful for.  On my part, I have a job I love.  A  family full of people I not only love but also like.  More than enough food...a warm house...more than 1 pair of shoes...the list is really, really too big to put here...

    And yet, what does our society teach us to focus on?  Lack.  Don't have enough health.  Not enough money.  Certainly enough time (are you kidding me?  We have never had any more time than this!  Why is it we don't think we have enough??  Why don't we get frustrated we have too many great ways to spend our time, instead?) 

    Start paying attention to what's on TV.  Start to notice how many times commercials use the subtle message of lack....constantly reinforcing the idea that you don't have enough....aren't good enough....

    Well, I'm tired of it!!  Yes, these are challenging times.  We see bad stuff on the news all the time.  But I'm here to say "So what?!"  We are blessed.  We could all sit down tonight and be able to fill a sheet of notebook paper with things we are thankful for.  (comfy socks, anyone?)

    And thankfulness is the best antidote to feeling lack.  Not enough health in your life?  Well take a look around you.  You won't have to look that hard to find someone worse off than you.  Right now, you have the ability to read this!  That means your eyes and your brain are communicating -- that right there should be enough.  You're blessed enough to have electricity to read this.  You are likely to be sitting some place warm right now. 

    I'd like to propose you spend the month of November mindfully being thankful for all of the blessings in your life.  For every opportunity to eat.  For every drink of clean water.  For every opportunity to sit down on your couch in the evening and every time you walk to your desk at work.

    You are here.  You have the ability to appreciate the good things in your life.  You have the ability to change those things that aren't working for you.

    We are blessed.  If we can spend the next 30 days remembering that, how much might it change our compulsive holiday eating? for thought.

    (as an aside:  if you're on Facebook and want to join the Thankfulness conversation, please feel free to join us over there for our 30 Days of Thankfulness!)