Sunday, May 25, 2014

TED Talk, weight loss and dieting

I'm just going to leave this here.  It's an excellent video about dieting and weight loss, and what we can do to change the views we have...  and help along the next generation.

Eat when you're hungry.  Stop when you're full.  Listen to your body.  It's trying to tell you something.

How great would it be if we could pass on this wisdom to our kids?  How much better would things be for the next generation, health-wise, if we could get this right?  I'd rather like to find out.

Monday, May 5, 2014

My current squat & plank challenge

So, I've been a bit out of practice, after an over-rotation of my right hip led to a slight dislocation.  And lots of pain.  I'm coming off my lengthy rest period, where I did gentle stretching to stay loose, but didn't aggravate the hip too much...  and now it's time to start back into it.  I'm about 4 days in with this, and figured I'd share! 

Not sure where the original image, above, came from, since it's super wide-spread now...  but this is the plank challenge.  It starts off nice and slow, and eases you into longer holding of the pose.  It's harder than it looks.

I've been doing both the dolphin plank shown above as well as a basic plank, hands and feet, top of a push-up style.  My shoulder may not make it for the forearm ones, but I want to at least get back into toning up my core again.

I am currently able to get the plank done without a rest break, but if I need a rest break between 30 or 60 second stretches, later, that's fine.  The total number of minutes/seconds per day is what matters in the end.

Image taken from Goddess Pose article, linked below

Beyond this, I'm also doing a squat challenge.  I started with 20/day, since I know that's relatively easy for me, and have added 5 extra squats every day.  By the end of the 30 days, that means I'll be at 165 squats in one day.  If I can keep it up.  Might stop at 150 or something, though.  We will see how I feel at the time.  I just did 35 this morning, for today's batch.

The squat I've been doing is a yoga squat called Goddess Pose, feet a little wider than mat's width apart, toes and knees in line.  Squat down until thighs are parallel to the ground, then back up.  I try to keep by back as straight as possible, and get them all done in a single sitting.

Follow any of the links to see more in-depth detail for how to hold your body when in the pose, and how to get in and out of it, which can be helpful.  If you join me, feel free to complain about how hard it is!  It certainly LOOKS easier than it is, overall!

But, I guarantee, by the end of it all, we won't regret it!  Happy self-challenge!  If you're doing something different right now, share!  We'd love to try something new!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Fad dieting, and why it doesn't work

We've discussed dieting before. Talking about how it should be a life style change, rather than a short thing just to lose a little weight.  Fad diets are the ones with a name, or really strict rules, and unless your medical doctor is okay with it and is monitoring you, they are not healthy ways to treat out bodies.

That's the goal, isn't it?  Healthy?  We want strong muscles, lean fatty areas, energy to keep up with our kids or animals, and a strong heart for a long and healthy life.  Just losing that pesky 5lb around your butt/hips/belly/whatever?  That's incidental, and really honestly will come if you change your view on dieting, stop starving yourselves, giving up, and going right back to crap food again.  People who diet this way seem to just get bigger and less healthy over time.  Depriving your body of necessary nutrients is not the way to go.

I just say...  If you make the bulk of your diet real food, healthy food, eat what you crave , and you will do well.  Not to say if you are craving sugar you should have a candy bar.  But sugar craving means your body needs carbs, so give it complex ones.  Whole grains.  Craving protein?  Give your body easy to assimilate proteins, like nuts, seeds, or beans.

In general, eat healthy foods, whole foods.  Have lots of fruit and veg, as fresh as possible.  Go easy on animal products in general, if not cutting them out, and you will do well.  Light cheese, occasional eggs, small meat portions.  A deck of cards is about the size of a proper adult meat portion!  Sure, you can juice and you'll feel great, because it's lots of fruit and veg.  But living on juice forever is not a good plan, of course!

If you eat real food (can read all ingredients, and know exactly what they are/could make it from scratch if you wanted), you have a much harder time going wrong.  Balance is the key.  I know, it's hard to switch to this kind of eating if you're used to processed foods regularly.  It takes work, meal times need to be planned out more...  but there are some convenience items that can bridge the gap as you ease into cooking more, and help out when you're on the go, so you don't feel the need to stop for fast food.

On the "fad diet" side of things...  This article about fad diets and what is often behind them was really eye-opening.  Lots of good stuff here.  Well worth the  read.

Be well, my friends.  Namaste!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Becca vs. the Egg

I have been having the hardest time with hard boiled eggs in this lovely high altitude.  I'm around 6000 feet above sea level, and water boils at a different temperature, so it doesn't work in the same way.  Boiling noodles takes longer, and eggs need to be handled carefully.

So!  I've learned how to hard boil until cooked...  But sometimes end up with green edges on the yolk, or it goes grey, or whatever.  I cannot cook an egg perfectly AND get the shell off easy.  I want to be able to make the perfect peeled cooked egg.  Because it's driving me crazy not knowing how.

So, today, the day before Easter, I decide it's time.  I need to do this.  And because I am me, I documented it all for you.  Your cook time may vary by altitude, but I hope this is helpful!

All eggs are from the same batch, same brand, same expiration date.  

Round 1:  steam, 10 minutes, no additives in the water.  Cold water bath immediately afterward, about 8 min.
Results:  Soft boil.  Dark firm yolk.  Easy-ish to peel, mostly good there.  Needs more time.

Round 2:  boil.  Add salt and baking soda to cold water, enough to cover cold eggs 1".  Bring to a boil, cover, turn off heat, and allow to sit 20min.  Cold water bath afterward.

Results:  Sulfer smell.  1 peeled easy, but had a green edge on the yolk.  The other was hard to peel, but had the perfect fluffy yolk.

Round 3: steam, no additives, 15 min, then cold water bath.

Results:  hard boil.  Fluffy-ish yolk, lighter color.  About average peeling difficulty.  Harder to peel than first steam attempt.

Round 4: Boil, add salt and vinegar.  Cold water start, bring to a boil, turn off  heat, cover and sit 20 min.  Cold water bath afterward.

Results:  sulfery smell again, but not as bad as the first boiled version.  Peely shell outside, hard boiled.  Fluff-potential in yolk. Was about average for peeling.  Ok, not great.

Test 5:  steam with no additives, 20 min and straight into cold water bath.

Results:  PERFECT.  They slid right out of their shells, had fluffy and yellow yolks.  Easiest time peeling an egg, ever.  Hands down.

Round 6:  boil, salt, baking soda, and vinegar in cold water.  Bring to boil, and let sit 20min.  Cold water bath immediately afterward.

Results:  peely shell again. Light faint Sulfer smell.  Almost undetectable.  Hard boiled, fluffy light colored yolk, and best peel of the boiled versions.

Overall, no vinegar in the water.  Peely weird.  Add baking soda for lighter color fluffy yolks.  For perfect peeling, for deviled eggs, steam the same amount of time you would boil for your altitude. 

Hope that helps!!

I am a little curious why the yolks are lighter yellow with boiling vs. steaming!  Maybe a tiny bit longer on the steaming would achieve both?

Steaming on left vs. boiled on right.  Odd, eh?  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Find what you love!

I've been somewhat MIA for a while, and thought I'd check in!  Things are still going well on this end, and the weight and inches that have come off are still off, which is good.  But I've had a few things come to me in the past few weeks & months that I thought I'd share with you.

First and foremost, if your exercise feels like work, you are much less likely to want to do it.  If it feels like FUN, you will be excited to get back to it and do it again tomorrow.  So, find what you love to do.

  • Do you enjoy a leisurely bike ride?  Try cycling, and push yourself.  
  • Do you enjoy swimming for fun?  Try doing some laps and see if you can get from one end of the pool to the other!  It's harder than it looks, but it's also a better workout than you could imagine!
  • Do you think skateboarding or riding a scooter is fun?  See if you have a local skate park to go play at!  My kids both picked up skating this fall, and we've all had great fun riding boards around.  I won't lie and say I haven't fallen and given myself some excellent bruises, but I also feel like they were 100% worth it!  Google helped us find several in our area, and trying them all out helped us find our favorite one.
  • Do you like rock climbing?  Find a wall or a climbing gym and try out their punch card to see if it's right for you before getting a full membership.
  • Racquetball?
  • Tennis?
  • Running?
  • Stretching out?  Try yoga!
  • Walking around scenic areas, and pushing your pace!  My friend and I love walking Garden of the Gods and Red Rocks Canyon, since we're here in Colorado Springs.  It's great fun, is an awesome work out, and doesn't feel like work.  There are hiking spots just about anywhere, just look for them!
Really, ANY kind of activity can be beneficial to your health.  Just find something you like to do, and get out there and DO it.  Move your body, in any way you see fit.  Dance around to your favorite album for a while.  Walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, or walk up the escalator even if it's moving beneath you.  Walk the kids to school instead of driving them (within reason, of course!).

But, in the end, if you find what you enjoy, it won't be work.  And if it's not work, and it's helping you achieve your goals?  You're well on your way!  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Moving from Darkness into the Light

This is something most people don't know about me.  There have been pretty dark moments in my life, and I chose to deal with them poorly.  My choices affected me for far too long, and I am choosing to break free.  I wish the same for you, so I share my story:

While I felt out of control with so many things in life, I took control of one thing I could:  my food.  I could control how much to eat.  When.  What.  It became a problem, and I was unhealthy in my habits.  I would push down the feelings of hunger all day long, and when it was finally dinner time, I would pick at my food, acting like I'd eaten all day, so I just wasn't hungry.  And the worst part was, I was great at hiding it, and my body responded by letting me lose muscle mass and holding onto the fat stores I had.

As a result of my eating disorder habits, and my ability to hide it, and my body's odd response, nobody ever really knew.  So there was nobody to stop me from my destructive tendencies.  And it ruined things for me.  I lost my ability to tell when I was hungry.  When I was full.  So I could restrict all day long and when I finally ate, I would eat and eat, not stopping until I was overly full.  It didn't take a lot to fill me up, mind you, but that is no way to fuel a body.  You wouldn't let your car run on fumes and only fill it up a tiny bit, would you?  Of course not.

I found, though, in order to let go of my destructive habits, and move on, I had to address the reasons I was holding on to them.  I had to get to the root of the problem.  Realize I was ruining my body, and for what?  For control over something?  I have control over every aspect of my life.  I realize that now.  That concept was foreign back when these habits began.

So, for me, I had to acknowledge the reasons behind my habits, let go of them, and choose to move forward.  That means, for me, with the eating disorder stuff, and being scale-obsessive, I cannot:  own a scale, count calories (even to be sure I am having "enough"), take diet pills, restrict my eating habits in any kind of strict diet where I have excuses not to eat (how my vegetarianism started).  I need to listen to my body.  But in my body's current state, that was almost impossible.

I had to teach myself what "hungry" felt like again.  I didn't have that sensor for so long, I thought I would never get it back.  So I would eat when I knew I should eat, wouldn't let myself fill up on water or coffee, and would eat small amounts over the course of the day.  And I had to learn to stop eating before I hit that "stuffed!!" feeling.  Another reason for the small meals through the day.

One of the best things that helped with that was something I read in a Yoga Journal, about food.  At the end of a proper meal, one's stomach should be 50% full of food, 25% full of water, with 25% room left.  With a stomach the size of a fist, that is really not a lot of food in one sitting.  But as it turns out, if it's healthy food, it sticks with you for a few hours, and it is an appropriate amount.  I have healthy snacks between meals if I need them, but this has been a very helpful guideline, and since following it, I am happy to report my sensors are back on.

And so, I step back into the light.  A person who can follow her body's cues again.  Eat when hungry.  Stop when I've eaten enough.  And I leave those poor habits behind.  Including the reasons I started restricting in the first place.  Those things have no place in my life.  Any.  More.  So, I hereby release them into the ether.  They've haunted me long enough.

Your journey may be different, but the same principles apply.  Find the reasons why you do what you do.  Work on those.  The rest will follow.  I promise.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Goals. What are yours, and why?

In order to achieve something, we must have goals.  Otherwise, we're just on a road, heading wherever it takes us.  Now, there's nothing to say that's bad.  But there's something about having a destination in mind that gives us something to shoot for.

Now, that means there's a chance of failure.  But without that chance of failure, there's less feeling of awe in yourself at what you have done, when you do not fail.  And failure does not mean you cannot try again.

Every day is a new day, filled with new chances to make new choices, and better yourself.  Take them for what they are.  And remember, your bad choices do not ruin the good ones.  Yes, you can have that chocolate cake.  Just don't forget the kale and strawberries too!

So anyway, beyond WHAT goals you set (losing Xlbs, or fitting into that size X dress, being able to do X in my class or the weight room, etc)...  think about WHY you are setting that goal.  What is your motivation?  And is that motivation coming from a healthy place?

We need to change our bodies, yes.  But we need to change how we view ourselves, our bodies, our successes, and our failures.  We are all beautiful.  We need to allow ourselves to see it, and to be happy with each and every step in our journey.  It's okay to be on your way somewhere.  And when you get there, to look forward to the next goal.

But if you're doing this just to be thin because you hate yourself?  That needs to be addressed.  Being thin won't make you happy.  Being happy won't make you thin.  But being happy with yourself on your road to being healthy?  That's where you want to be.

Thin does not equal healthy.  Healthy does not equal thin.  Aim for good things.  And let health be your reward.  Whatever size it may come in.