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I’d like to take this time to thank everyone for supporting me. I appreciate the comments, the views, the help with weight loss and those I’ve met during this voyage to a better me. It took me 2 years to lose my weight and I’ve maintained it for 3 years and counting. While continuing to maintain my weight will always be my journey, at this time, I don’t have anything new to write about or give my readers. I’ve given several tips, tricks, points of advice, ways to start, recipes, ideas for food, exercise information, and other help with health and wellness topics. I will leave this blog up for those that run into it and would like to read the various items posted. However, today, I bid everyone adieu, or at least farewell for now as I will not be posting anything new. I wish everyone HUJ success in his or her own journey to weight loss, weight management and a healthier lifestyle.

Thank you

I’m still here, just oh so crazy-busy. I haven’t let my new engaging  job mess with my weight-loss success, thus wanted to make sure I pass that along to you all. I should get back to writing within the next couple of weeks, as I’ve finally figured out my work/life balance. It has been challenging. I switched my workouts from pm to am, getting up at 4 every morning. I had to find more portable foods, as I’m frequently in back to back meetings without time to prepare lunches or snacks, so things like Honey Nut Cheerios Milk ‘n Cereal bars, along with Kashi bars, cottage cheese or yogurt, bananas, nuts and peanut butter crackers come in real handy; a girl’s bestfriend! I’m making it work. I’m keeping my healthier lifestyle, ensuring I keep off the weight and still eating foods I like. Once I get back to writing, everything will be back to normal. This job has been a major change in my life but it’s also been a test, showing me that I can do it and still have what it takes to be a HUJ success!

I’ve stated before that I do not set New Year’s Resolutions. I do ponder my previous year and figure out how it could have gone better, what I should have done differently and how I want to better myself moving forward in life. I know many people do set resolutions and as this weekend approaches, I am sure many will be set for better health or weight-loss or an exercise regimen or maybe all 3. Below are some pointers that might help in setting the resolutions and in maximizing success. 

Be sure to write down the resolutions and come up with a plan. Just mentioning something does not make it so and I know in my case, does not move me into action. I have to see it on paper, as well as a step-by-step blueprint to my victory. 

Keep the goals realistic. It is not safe or probable to lose 30 pounds in 30 days. Most health care professionals say set a maximum goal of 1-2 pounds per week. However, the less weight you have to lose, it might take a bit longer. 

Remember, slow and steady. While this is not a race, slow and steady still applies. Don’t go from not working out to 2-hour workouts daily. Start with 15 minutes, 3-4 days a week and work your way up to the ideal amount. 

Listen to your body; however, do this with caution. Because you are doing something new, you might be hearing, “Don’t do it” but it’s not likely your body talking. Whatever has kept you from making good choices in the past is going to try to keep that streak going, so don’t listen. On the other hand, if it’s a bad pain, if your arms hurt from lifting too much or your legs/knees are cracking in a bad way, then listen and take a break for a day. Or, if your upper body hurts, workout the lower body, and vice versa. Take it easy and pay attention but don’t repeat the same behavior that made you want to change in the first place. Remember why you set the resolution. 

Find out what motivates you. Maybe doing 9 reps instead of 8 makes you giddy, so on occasion, go for it, do one more. I frequently find myself giggly in a workout when doing something that I couldn’t many pounds ago. It pumps me up and makes me want to continue making strides and “climbing mountains” I’d never thought I could. Set small goals (i.e., leave something on the dinner plate, do not have dessert, eat only half the candy bar) and as you accomplish those, it’ll give you motivation to continue to achieve even more. 

The final tip I can give is to enjoy life and try to be the healthiest, happiest you that you can be while doing it. My philosophy in life is to continually better myself, as I am not perfect. I also try to bring joy to those I love (including myself), while not judging or purposely hurting others. For me, having a healthier body and mind has made me happier. Therefore, in this New Year and for many years to come, I wish you all health, happiness and prosperity.

This past weekend I was out with my husband running errands when hunger struck us both. I was slightly prepared for this possibility as I brought a Honey Nut Cheerios Milk n’ Cereal Bar with me but I didn’t really want that and it wasn’t big enough to split between us. I wanted something a bit more feeling, hardy, and hot (as it was a tad nippy that day). As it happened, we were near Panera Bread. I know one of my favorite soups from them is offered on Saturday, the Vegetarian Black Bean, so I asked my husband if he wanted to stop there. He said sure and knew I was getting my soup but wasn’t sure what he might get. We had dinner plans for later and he didn’t want to ruin his appetite or calorie count too much but was hungry at the time. I told him not to worry, as Panera is one of few places with the calorie information on their menu board. He’d forgotten about that. After we ate, he was happy he was able to eat something filling and with confidence because they posted the calorie information. He said, “You should do a Shout Out about Panera,” so, I am obliging. 

As the powers that be finish writing the recommendations, rules and requirements for restaurants and vending machines to list calorie content, Panera Bread is at the forefront and leading the way. They’ve supplied their information long before President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act over 18 months ago. Sure, many companies have this information available on their website (though, many still do not) but Panera puts it out there for ease of viewing. I don’t have to hunt for it or have a mobile device with me. I can make clear decisions just by seeing the calorie content listed next to the food items and descriptions. What a wonderful experience for the calorie-counting diner. 

I certainly hope the transparency Panera offers is the wave of the future. It would be wonderful to enter any restaurant with a set number of calories I want to eat and be able to select my meal with confidence. Sometimes I want or have room for high calorie items while at other times, I need something low-calorie. Panera offers a wide variety of both. They have soups, sandwiches, salads, condiments, desserts and other items in all kinds of calorie ranges. I am sure you can find something great tasting, filling, and within your calorie needs for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a snack. 

Additionally, Panera has a Nutrition Calculator on their website for specialized or requested foods. The menu board shows calories for the foods with the ingredients as intended. However, if you decide you don’t want the mayo or want a different type of bread on a sandwich, it changes the calorie count. Using the calculator on the website allows for mixing and matching of all sorts of breads, meats, condiments, etc. You can have a smoked turkey sandwich for as little as 390 calories or as many as 930 calories (assuming you only get one condiment and one slice of cheese), using the calculator to decide what ingredients you want to spend your calories on for that meal. 

Panera Bread (and any other restaurants out there with calories on their menus and websites), I thank you for making my healthier lifestyle easier. I salute you and I give you my business when possible, as there were many restaurants in the area of where we were Saturday, but Panera was the one that could provide everything – calorie information, nutritional meal, and affordable pricing.

I have never joined a gym nor have I ever had a one-on-one, person-to-person trainer. I own an exercise bike (a new one now, Schwinn 140… I love it), weights, resistance bands, and numerous workout videos that I use to get my daily exercise. While I’ve never had the traditional type of trainer, my videos include trainers and I love them all. If you don’t have the money or time for a membership to a gym or an in person trainer, you can still workout and get wonderful results. Here are some tips on how to do it effectively, thus avoiding injury in the process.

When you purchase videos, try to read reviews or get a sneak peek first. You really want to make sure the video is right for you and your activity level. You want something that is challenging, not easy, but not something you’ll quickly lose motivation with because it is too difficult. Exercise TV comes in handy for this. They offer On-demand to Time Warner cable subscribers and they have a video store they provide on their website. You can see portions of the videos, do quick downloads onto your own DVD, purchase a DVD or do some right from the computer. Keep in mind that many videos will offer alternative exercises for beginners, as well as harder moves for those at a moderate or advanced level. I find those best as I can change my intensity and repetitions over time. My favorites that show different people doing different variations of the workouts but still burning plenty of calories are the Biggest Loser videos and Leslie Sansone’s walking videos. Be sure to browse the internet, Amazon, Exercise TV, etc. to see the types of videos out there.

        Leslie Sansone Walking Videos                                        Exercise TV Videos                            

 

Once you purchase your videos, be sure to watch them prior to trying them the first time. This will help you be acquainted with the moves, learning the proper way to do each exercise. Press pause and rewind as needed. Try doing the more difficult moves in this structured setting of learning as opposed to on the fly during the workout. If the video is for lifting weights or using resistance bands, be sure to listen to and view the proper technique. If you are unsure on whether you are doing the moves properly, ask a friend to view the video and watch you as you perform each exercise. They can “spot” you and point out any errors in your form, technique, etc. I had the hardest time with pushups until I got pushup bars and had my husband monitor my actions, helping me correct what I was doing wrong. I still don’t like pushups but I feel much better in my execution of them now. 

Always go at your own level. The people in the video have done this before, many times. Sometimes these people are in impeccable shape, which might have taken them years to acquire. Getting in shape, getting fit and being healthier is not a race or competition. Maybe you’ll get to their level of fitness and maybe you will not. You will however become more fit and healthier than you are now, which is the point. So, if you find you can’t jump just yet, and can only do calf raises, or can only do 10 reps as they do 20 or that you must take more water breaks than the stars of the video, do so. It is important to work your way up to higher levels, without injury and without discouraging yourself.

Lastly, be sure to pick trainers you like and that motivate you. Outside of you knowing you should workout, your trainers are what will keep you coming back. It is their words, their voices and their spirit that will make you pop in the DVD and give it your all. I constantly hear Jillian Michaels telling me, “You never know what you can do until you try” or Petra Kolber saying “Do what feels good to your body today.” These follow me in more than just workouts but in many aspects of my life. Kendell Hogan, Bob Harper, and Leslie Sansone are big on telling you to find the right level of intensity. As Bob has said, “You don’t have to stick with us, do your own speed. The important thing is that you keep moving,” while Kendell says all the time, “I want to see you move.” And my new favorite, from Tony Horton of P90X, “Do your best and forget the rest.” Again, more than just advice for fitness but words for multiple aspects of life.

Working out is not easy but nothing worth doing usually is. Having the proper tools, the right form, getting in the right mindset, and doing so with a few dollars left in your pocket will make exercise a bit easier or at least bearable. I encourage you to find trainers and workout regimens that work with your personality as you’ll be more likely to continue exercising. Even my mother, who does not like to sweat or really care much for structured physical activity has found fitness comfort, or maybe the more accurate word is tolerates, the walking videos offered by Leslie Sansone. I guarantee there is a fitness level and workout series, videos, trainers, etc., out there for everyone.

I am generally not one to rant and ramble about things that piss me off, at least not in public and certainly don’t intend to do it (much) on my blog, but this instance sure does warrant it. I went to a speaking engagement to hear Gary Taubes, author of “Why We Get Fat and What to Do about It.” While I have not read this book or his others on weight or fat, the subject matter for obvious reasons was quite intriguing to me. I read a lot about weight, fat, diet, exercise, fitness and health and figured this 1.5-hour speaking engagement was right up my alley. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Let me start with his credentials, as it is only fair to start there before I bash his theory; after all, he is an extremely well book educated man. He studied physics at Harvard, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree, prior to receiving a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from Stanford. He went on to get a Master of Journalism degree from Columbia University. While he initially began writing about physics issues, he later became interested in nutrition and health, specifically the misinformation and misguided thought processes as related to such topics as weight, fat, and calories. For a comparison of credentials, I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from The Ohio State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Franklin University. Additionally, I have some expertise in weight loss, fitness, and health as I have lost 176 pounds and maintained a healthy weight for almost 6 months. Therefore, while I did not attend such prestigious universities as Gary Taubes, I am no complete stooge when it comes to education or the subject of health and weight loss.

Mr. Taubes began by stating that weight loss has nothing to do with calories in and calories out. The entire belief system that many of us have grown to trust is wrong. Counting calories, increasing exercise level to match the intake of calories, moving more and eating less, etc., has nothing to do with your weight and will not help lose weight. Of course, I immediately grew skeptical of what he was going to say as my weight loss, the weight loss of those on Weight Watchers, and so many others is based on calories. However, while skeptical, I was quite open to him changing my mind, if he could meet that “arm wrestling” challenge.

He stated that we do not get fat due to overeating, but we instead get fat because our fat tissues accumulate excess fat. This means we are fat or more specifically our weight is based on what happens in the fat tissue, which has nothing to do with calories. This answers why we get fat. So, what should we do about it? We must change the regulation of our fat tissue. At this point, I was still quite engaged and wanting to hear more about his method. I was certainly taking this train for a ride. As you know, I don’t believe there is only one method to weight loss. My thoughts were that maybe he was going to introduce something new that I could eagerly share with my readers. While I do not intend to change my method, I know people are still searching for their perfect weight loss or maintenance plan and I was willing to contemplate his philosophy and be an advocate, if I felt it had merit.

The gist of his theory is that the secretion of insulin is the driving force of the increase of fatty tissues in our body. Insulin is the primary regulation of metabolism and it is the only hormone to put fat in fatty tissue. The only way to get fat out of fatty tissue is to lower your insulin levels. Therefore, as insulin increases, so do our fatty tissues and as insulin levels drop, fat escapes from the fatty tissues. So far, I’m thinking this is quite interesting but he’s still not won me over. I’m still waiting for the major point or his key to weight loss. And then it arrives…

We secrete insulin primarily in response to the carbohydrates in our diet. If we do not eat carbs, our insulin levels would be decreased, thus decreasing our fatty tissue and not being overweight or obese. In short, he’s touting the Atkins diet. He even admitted that yes, had he said it up front we’d have all disengaged, considered him a quack and moved on from there. Instead, he feels as though he gave a reasonable theory and argument for his case up front, so we’d be compelled to believe him once he got to his point. Well, that did not work for me. I took my train off the tracks when he actually stated that overweight and obese people should not eat fruits, as many of them are high in sugars thus are a high percentage of carbs. I can’t believe he suggested people not eat fruits or high carb vegetables.

I’m sure his research is perfect for someone with diabetes or others that have insulin diagnosed problems or health issues. Doctors and researchers have stated how important it is to have a well-balanced diet and to eat everything in moderation, including carbs. Yes, I’m sure that eating too many carbs or a diet heavily carb laden could be the cause of an overweight or obese person, but I do not think the average overweight person can blame carbs. His theory states that calories in and calories out through exercise or moving more has nothing to do with weight. If I summed up his logic, I should be able to increase my current 2000-calorie a day diet to 3500 calories a day eating no carb foods (i.e., beef, pork, chicken, eggs, etc.) and could sit on my butt all day, not exercise, and yet would not gain a pound. I’ll just have to use my common sense here, as I do not intend to try to prove him wrong by trying this. All I can say is, “Really. Does this make any sense? NO!” I will stick with counting calories, working out, eating a well-balanced diet of carbs (including fruits and vegetables), proteins and other essential vitamins and nutrients in order to maintain my weight and health. I suggest that others use this strategy or similar healthy methods to lose and maintain weight. Being a healthier you involves having a well-balanced and minimum, if any, food restriction diet for a happy you. No carbs… that’s just crazy talk!