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Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Stress of Stress

It's been a while since we've talked about stress. We all have it and we all deal with it one way or another. Some have panic attacks, others (the lucky ones) can't eat, I, on the other hand, eat.  I know, I've talked about it before, but it bears repeating. I need to control my stress!

I found a way to control the sugar craving with work stress.  First, I started drinking chocolate Shakeology in the afternoons in place of chocolate candy.  It really works and its only 140 calories. Plus its uber healthy for you. Second, I quit my job.  Yes, you heard me, in today's economy, I quit.  Some things just aren't worth it. Now I'm job hunting and have WAY less stress.  I'll find something soon (any ideas???).

Then, there's the family stress.  These are the comfort food cravings.  Can they make Shakeology in a gooey cheesy flavor? Hmmm, I don't think so.  So, what to do? I'm exercising and spending a ton of time being busy: job hunting, writing blogs, finishing the edit of my book, and did I say job hunting?  Yes, busy is the key.  

During family stress I tend to shy away from exercising.  I'm trying to change that focus.  Enter TurboFire Inferno.  I've been doing TurboFire workouts for months off and on.  I even saw this "Inferno" thing when I got the DVD's. I think I even tried it, sort of.  Now I'm actually doing it. I'm following the food and exercise program for the whole five days.  Today is day 2.  I'll let you know after day 5 how I did.  You may want to try it.  Its not a quick water loss diet.  It's a killer workout and sound food program for 5 days that jump starts your metabolism. 

Stress will never go away.  I just have to figure out how to handle it so it doesn't handle me. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How Low Can You Go - Part 5

    If you've been reading this series, you know its about self-esteem; specifically women and their self-esteem (mine, that is).  Well, for my final installment, I thought I'd cover a different angle.  This blog is dedicated to men.
    You may be asking, "Since when do men have self-esteem issues?" In my observations, from day one, just like women.  The difference, I have found, is men are taught to pretend they are stronger from a young age.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but men in their teens and twenties are conditioned to be our knight in shining armor, have bravado, and a larger-than-life ego. As women, we feed into their misconception until we marry.  Then, over time, things change.
    I have reconnected with a few men from high school and college, and all of them have self-esteem issues.  They were all confident and appeared secure in who they were when we were young.  Of course, I was not.  Now, as I become more secure in who I am, I see the lack of confidence and insecurities in others around me.  Men who I admired young are feeling unworthy of healthy relationships, like their lives lack meaning, that they aren't interesting, or that they are just trapped in unloving relationships.  Sound familiar?
    Seems we all have the same issues -  feeling inadequate because our significant other told us we were or society did. So my advice to the men - look in the mirror and say, "I'm interesting and damn handsome!" You've been led to believe the lies all these years that you're just not up to par.  Now it's time to believe the truth. If I can look in the mirror and tell myself I'm beautiful and sexy then you can be interesting and handsome!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

How Low Can You Go - Part 4

    OK, you've been reading my blog and you've truly been working on your self-esteem.  You truckin' along; you feel like your making progress. What happens when you hit a wall?

    Wall, you ask? What kind of wall? How big is the wall? Am I strong enough to climb over it? Or is it too thick and I have to start all over again? Do I have the strength?

    The wall today is the one made by someone else.  You've been working on feeling good about yourself - remember, I'm beautiful and sexy.  And, just maybe, there is someone in your life that believes your beautiful and sexy too. Life couldn't be any better. What happens when they walk away from you? Does that mean they think you are  no longer beautiful and sexy? Do you begin to believe you aren't beautiful and sexy? Because everyone knows "beautiful and sexy" people have perfect lives (joking - take a look at the tabloids).

    We need to examine why this loser walked away. If you can honestly say you didn't push them away, is this just something they do? Are they prone to walk out of good relationships? Have they make wrong/poor choices in the past? Is this a pattern for them? Probably so.

    So...don't beat yourself up. You are still BEAUTIFUL AND SEXY inside and out.  They just don't know what they're missing.

Monday, June 13, 2011

How Low Can You Go - Part 3

    Self-esteem. Emotional eating. They're connected with a thick metal chain, at least in my case.

    This weekend I realized how much by talking with a health coach.  I was browsing Twitter, chatting with a new friend when she asked for a volunteer to talk about emotional eating.  The eager beaver that I am volunteered.  I was connected with Stacy, a health coach with, get this, no experience at emotional eating! I didn't know that existed! I thought everyone ate due to stress, boredom, depression.  It never occurred to me that there may be someone who didn't. Fascinating...

    I didn't get to explore her inability to eat with lack of control since she was so interested in mine. She drug up memories I hadn't pulled out of the closet in years. Memories of the first time I was called "fat", of never being thin enough in dance class, of the 40 pound weight gain before college and all the struggling since, of the numerous diets I failed at.  She had me describe what I see in the mirror...terrifying thoughts.  I had never described them to anyone before.

    She reminded me, as I have tried to do for you in my current series, that its about what you think of yourself, not what people think about you.  I know, easier said than done.  She has prescribed for me a a way to counteract the lies I have been telling myself all these years and I'll share it with you.

    First, think, really think, about what drives you to eat your emotions. When was the first time you were drawn to that behavior? Why did it continue? Here's a good one: What do you see when you look in the mirror? Describe it? What shape is it? What color is it? How does it make you feel?

    Ok, I know this is depressing, but now for the good part.  What do you want to see? What does it look like? What color is it? How does it make you feel?

    We've been telling ourselves lies for years - we're fat, ugly, sloppy, saggy...whatever.  Now it's time to remind ourselves we are beautiful and sexy. You may be saying, 'I am fat, so its the truth.  Beautiful and sexy is the lie'. Are you sure? You've been hearing the negative for so long, it can't hurt to be positive. Let's give it a try! I'm challenging you to give it a try.  What will it hurt? It can only make you feel better.  Everyday tell yourself, 'I am beautiful and sexy'.  Say it like you mean it. You'll start to believe it and maybe eating won't be so important anymore.

  

Saturday, June 4, 2011

How Low Can You Go - Part 2

    Self-esteem.  For some of us its a dirty word.  Mostly because we feel we can't control it.  It controls us.

   You know what I mean, the day starts out pretty good.  You wake up fifteen minutes early, your hair looks great and you're early for work.  Its a good day. Then Mr/Ms Perfect waltzes into the office. The person you compare yourself to.  He/she is always put together, everyone likes them, their marriage is perfect, their kids are brilliant. You disappear when they walk in. Or so you think.

    The question is why are you comparing yourself to this person that makes you feel so awful. Why do you think they are better than you? Its that inner voice, the bully, the mean-spirited little gremlin that likes to ruin your day.  He's done now, hasn't he?

    Time to bounce this voice of doom. Why, you ask? After all, you've lived with him since you were a kid.  You're attached to his habit of ruining your day. You've grown accustomed to him bursting your bubble.  Don't you want to be happy - have inner happiness? Sure you do. Getting rid of "Mr Negativity" will free you to respect and learn to love yourself.

    How? When the negative thoughts creep in think positive thoughts to replace them. When that nasty little creep says, 'You can't do it', fight back with 'Yes I can!' When you look in the mirror and he tells you, 'look at those wrinkles and double chin', yell back,'I have beautiful eyes, great skin, and great hair!' You have beauty and great qualities.  Find out what they are. If you can't think of any (that pesky little bastard has you convinced) ask your family and friends to be honest and give you a list.  You have them! We all do.  

   Take the power to be happy away from the little monster and accept and love yourself.  Reality is we all have flaws, even Mr/Ms Perfect.  We can all learn to love ourselves.  We are valuable and worthy of love and loving ourselves.  Start to respect yourself.  Love yourself. Tell yourself everyday you are worthy.  Affirming and complementing yourself, having positive thoughts, are a step in the right direction of a healthy love affair with you. Who will love you if you don't love you?

  

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How Low Can You Go - Part 1

    In trying to find my triggers for overeating and sabotaging my fitness goals, I have come to realize I am my own worse enemy.  Rather my self-esteem is. Let me explain.
    If you haven't known me for very long I probably appear very assertive and independent.  In truth I am. However, if you're one of the few folks who have known me along time, you know that's only part of my personality. I can be a bit insecure and self-deprecating. Its not pretty and I try to hide it.  Most of the time I'm pretty good at it but as I blog I find more and more ways to leak it out. This series on self-esteem may reveal more of me than I plan but love me - warts and all or not at all.
    I'm in several online chat groups and one thing that comes up often is how little we truly value ourselves.  Oh, I'm not talking about the obvious folks.  You know, women and men in abusive relationships because they think they deserve the treatment they get, the super insecure who cling to friends and family and can't go to the bathroom alone, or those that constantly say how undeserving they are of love and think their partner is planning on leaving them every time they sneeze wrong. Those folks put it out there and could use more help than I could ever provide.
    I'm talking those that hide their insecurities.  The ones who are loud in crowds and their demeanor screams "LOOK AT ME".  Or the guy or gal who is great at work but can't keep a relationship.  Or folks who diet fifty times a year but never get the weight off.  (Hello - I know her!).  We look put together, we talk a good game but when we are alone we criticize ourselves to no end. Why?
    The last blog I wrote was on the five love languages. To me it says it all. If no one else affirms you its hard to affirm yourself.  In other words, someone else has to tell you your wonderful before you believe you are.
    So, when do you need this to happen so you're a confident adult? In a perfect world your parents said encouraging words to you, but not too many, then your friends and dates built you up, then your spouse continued the trend.  I said in a perfect world.  No, obviously, my world has not been remotely close.  Oh, my parents were thankful I was gifted with intelligence, my girlfriends have always been supportive, but we all know its the people you date and the one you marry that make the most difference in how you feel about yourself.
    I'm going to stop here; I could go on forever, hence the series. If there is a particular area you would like me to explore about self-esteem, send me a comment or find me on Facebook.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Stressing by the Candy Bowl

    I've talked about how hard it is for me to stay away from the candy bowl, Mexican food and pizza when I'm under stress but recently I found out there is more to it than that.
    When your body is under stress you release Cortisol.  When the immediate stress is gone the Cortisol should dissipate.  In some folks it doesn't and can cause symptoms of fatigue and pain (there's a very long list on-line of other symptoms).  There is treatment but most doctors don't check for it. You need to ask.
   My stress level changes daily. I think I cause part of it.  I get caught up doing things in the morning and start running late for work.  Once I get there the list of things to do grows with the quantity of emails I receive.  Then, instead of working late to get everything finished, I make plans with girlfriends to go to happy hour, shopping, have conference calls scheduled and house cleaning to do. The list goes on. The chocolate bowl at work - which is now almost empty and I have no intention of filling it -and fast food are my biggest temptations.  They are quick fixes but make me fell crappy afterwards.
    For two weeks now I have held back from the candy bowl and when I've craved a fast food run I've stuck to grilled chicken and salad. Its starting to pay off.  I have kept off the eight pounds I took off when I did the Shakeology cleanse and am working on additional pounds.  This week is a bit hectic fitting exercise in, hitting the gym for cardio at lunch mostly, but I'm working my way back to regular scheduled workouts. Its coming. Its a process...

Friday, March 18, 2011

More on Stress and Eating Habits

OK, so it's been two weeks now that I've had more stress than normal at work.  Looks like eight more weeks.  If you read last weeks blog you know that I didn't handle it too well in the beginning.  So how am I doing now?

I tried a new strategy - working out instead of eating fast food (well, as much fast food). Out of four days this week I have worked out three.  I plan on going to the gym at lunch today too. I still need a bit of chocolate in the afternoon but I'm better than last week.

Where do I get my motivation?  I actually have a workout partner.  Oh, I can talk her out of working out if I really want to but this week I have tried to stick to the plan.  I've been very busy so sometimes I work through lunch.  I just try to make sure I spend at least thirty minutes in the evening getting some exercise. What's funny is I may not really feel like it but once I'm done I could do more. Endorphins I guess.

So, how are you handling your stress? What do you do to let off steam? Share your stories with me.  I always need inspiration!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Stress and Eating Habits

I don't know what causes you to be drawn to comfort foods but I am definitely a stress eater.  What's bad is a I recognize it but let it take me over anyway. Why is that?

Its not like I haven't been in the fitness industry since the mid 90's.  I know how to eat, how my body processes it and what kind of fuel makes my body work it's best. But stress is a monster that just takes over.

An example would be this week. I found out Monday that a gal I'm working with went out on maternity leave three weeks early.  Congrats, she had her baby on Sunday. Freak out for me, I have a large account I have to cover for her that we really didn't go over before she left. Major stress! What did I do first thing? Go out to lunch someplace I probably shouldn't have. What should I have done? Gone to the gym. What did I do the rest of the week? Went out to lunch....The cycle begins.

So, I'm coming to you today to try to stop this endless, mindless binge of crazy eating. Today I step away from the cheese and chocolate.  Step back into my TurboFire and Hip Hop Hustle workouts.  Oh, and not get near the scale for a few days! No need to scare myself silly. I have ten weeks of this.  Time to redirect my stress.

Are you a stress eater? What makes you run to pizza, cookies or ice cream? Have you sat there with the spoon ready to go in and just knew you were making a huge mistake? Knew you were taking the wrong step but did it anyway, only to fell guilty afterwards? Its like punishing yourself for being stressed.  Oh, the food makes me feel better, for five seconds, then I feel crappy because I know I should have reacted differently.  And the voices in my head start to say ugly things!

Today is the day I shut those ugly voices out! Join me in kicking those mean little bastards to the curb! Pink says it in her song "F**king Perfect" - Change the voices in your head, make them like you instead!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Somebody's Watching Me

I have been blogging, commenting on Facebook and Tweeting in hopes that someone would listen.  A few dedicated friends commented and watched my homemade YouTube videos but I doubted anyone was really paying attention to my weight loss efforts. Then I get the biggest surprise - people are noticing what I say.  Now what do I do?

Well, my first thought was - accountability.  I have been having a hard time being consistent. I do have lunch-time workout partners but with work stress sometimes working out just isn't appealing.  I'd love an after work partner but everyone has family or church commitments. Its easier to make yourself get in gear when you have someone else pushing you.

Then I received a couple of emails from friends I haven't spoke to in awhile.  They were interested in what I was doing! One had many questions about how my program was going.  What do I say? I told the truth, of course.  I've been blogging about my struggles so its no secret I have a hard time being dedicated to my workouts and healthy eating. But I just figured no one was really paying much attention.  Then here I was with two people asking me about my daily trials.

In the end I know it up to me.  I can't make the responsibility someone else's to get my act together.  I have to want it and want to put the effort out.  It's great sharing my triumphs and my failures with family and friends who support me and encourage me.  Knowing that others want to get healthy and need help too gives me the strength to push ahead. Let's keep the momentum going!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Deciding on Your Fitness Goal

What is your ideal clothing size? 6, 8, 14? For men, 30, 34, 38? How are you choosing that goal?

Not too long ago Victoria's Secret had their famous modeling show on television. Have you ever watched that? Or perused their catalog? Of course you have! Who hasn't?  Not only are the outfits adorable but the women are breathtaking! But have you really looked at them?

A few years ago my daughter and I watched the show for the first and last time.  I'm not bashing the show -  it was an amazing presentation.  It was the size of the models that freaked us out.  You don't notice it as much in the catalog - airbrushing is a great tool - but on the television you could see how their hip bones jutted out and their ribs showed.  It was scary!  My daughter, at the time, was in her mid-teens and even realized these girls were too thin.

You know I admire women like Jaime Lee Curtis who showed her stuff in, I believe it was, More magazine, proving some of Hollywood looks like us - when they aren't airbrushed.

Magazines, movies and the internet try to tell us what is appropriate for being beautiful or handsome.  However, they take it to the extreme and make it totally unattainable for the majority of the population. Oh, I'm not saying we can't all have ripped abs and bulging biceps  because, if you are dedicated and you want that, it is possible.  I have many friends who do.  But for most of us its important to start to love who we are as we are.  Having self-esteme and loving ourselves is the first step in getting healthy.  Not letting Hollywood or some model tell you aren't good enough isn't tolerable.

Once you can love who you are and believe you are okay as you are can you move forward to a healthier you.  Eating better and adding movement to your daily routine will move you toward your goals.  Learning about your body type and they best styles to wear on it will help you feel more confident too.  Having realistic goals, small steps instead of far reaching goals you feel you will never get to, will build confidence too.

Say no to stereotypes and unreal images.  Start loving yourself and loving life!

Friday, February 4, 2011

How's Your New Year's Resolution Going?

The ball dropped and 2010 ended.  We all made New Year's resolutions.  How's it going?  Are you keeping them?

I swore I wouldn't make one this year and I didn't, exactly.  I have the same one every year, a standing resolution.  It never changes whether I do or not.  What could it be you ask?  Probably the same as yours if you're reading this...to lose weight.

How am I doing you ask? Well, it depends on how you measure it.  If I got on a scale (horrible five letter word) I weight the same as January 1.  Have I been working on it you ask? Sure, but not the way you think.

I refuse to go on a fad diet, an overly strict diet - that leaves out things I know I will never live without - or one that costs a small fortune. So, what am I doing?  Well, for starters, I drink Shakeology everyday.  It has tons of vitamins and minerals and really great ingredients.  It gives me a ton of energy and, yes, makes me regular.  An important benefit to anyone's digestive system.

I've also been trying to eat healthier.  I'm not perfect but I'm trying.  I still have a weakness for pizza and Mexican food I just try not to have it too often.  I'm trying to incorporate more veggies and fruits.  Key word here - trying.  I try everyday.

I exercise too.  Oh, the plan is six days a week.  Do I make it?  Some weeks.  The other weeks you ask? Twice or three times.  Just depends.  I'm working on scheduling it in my day but some days I just don't feel like it.

So what keeps me trying?  Wanting to be better.  Better health, better with my schedule, a better body.  It'll happen.  I have faith I will accomplish my goals this year.  I just completed a 30 day challenge that helped me to see my goals and how to reach them.  Well worth the 5-10 minutes a day I spent.

If you're interested in taking the challenge too, free of charge, just ask me and I'll send you the link.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cravings

Chocolate, cheesecake, potato chips, mac-n-cheese - yummy foods we are told should be off limits to us if we are trying to eat healthy and/or lose weight. How can we stay away from them? They're so tasty! And, of course, once you're told you can't have them that's when you want them the most.

Oh, I've gone without Mexican food, pizza and sweets to lose weight.  I've lost the weight only to gain it all back because I went and ate all the things I wasn't allowed.   You know, you reach that ideal weight and now you can eat anything you want. NOT! Oh, I learned that the hard way! It took regaining the weight multiple times before I figured it out.

Now I'm losing the weight slowly.  Very slowly.  But I feel ten times better than I have in years! I try to eat healthy most of the time but if I crave something I have it. I know I can't go hog wild and most of the time I share with someone to cut the calories but still get the rush!

I used to think a meal replacement shake was not worth the calories. In the past I had tried protein drinks and was starving in two hours.  I finally found one low in calories but high in nutrition, not just protein.  I feel satisfied for up to four hours and have tons of energy.  I have quite a few friends on it too.  They all feel the same way.

Its great to have found a way to eat and feel great without feeling sluggish or hungry.  As well as finding a great group of people that like to support each and help one another.  If you're looking for either of these, or both, let me know.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hanging with Your Friends

I love to hang out with my friends...having dinner, shopping, going out for coffee, going on weekend trips.

Ever notice how many of those events center around food? I know most of mine do.  I love food; not just sweets but real meals.  There is nothing like getting together with a couple of loved ones and digging into a pizza or an ooey-gooey casserole on a cold evening.  I already know what you're thinking..."Isn't this supposed to be about getting fit?"  Sure it is but none of can ignore the way we were raised and the way we've been living.

For example, my mom asked every person who walked through our door if they were hungry and wanted something to eat.  It's what she did.  Unfortunately, you can tell I said yes more than once.  I love to have a large crowd at my house and feed them all the things I love to cook. Most of those things are cheesy.  Who doesn't love cheese?  And where has all this gotten me? Starting the new year with a new plan.

This year's plan is different than all the others.  First, I met a wonderful group of people who really want each other to succeed at their goals - personal and business.  I think that will be the most beneficial.  Not that my family and friends aren't supportive but we all have the same bad habits.  Who's going to be the strong one and say "no"?

Second, I am working on a 30 day accountability program to get more focus with the things that really make a difference; my health, exercising and working hard at the things I enjoy - fitness and writing.

I encourage you to thing about how you'd like this year to be different. Can I help you achieve any of your goals?  I'd love to try.