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(Or your scale does at least!)
Yes… The holiday season often means more social obligations, more eating occasions and longer to-do lists. But that doesn’t have to mean we stop moving – even if we can’t always make it to the gym for our usual workout.
Here are a few ways to incorporate movement and exercise into your holiday routines. Feel free to invite friends and family to participate. Remember: The more you move, the more calories you burn. And at this time of year, that’s usually a good thing!
Seasonal Tips for Staying Fit:
No time for your daily 30-minute power walk? Break it up! Take a 10-minute walk after breakfast, another after lunch and then one after dinner. 10 x 3 = 30 minutes!
Stuck at the mall? Park your car in the farthest spot from the entrance so walking becomes part of your shopping trip. Also feel free to walk around the mall a couple times to add even more movement to your day. And whenever possible, take the stairs – even if you’re going up to the third or fourth level of a mall (or parking garage).
What are ways that you keep moving when you can’t make it to the gym during this busy season? Share your tips with the rest of us below, in the comments section.
Photo Source: Bariatric Cookery
A few weeks ago, life was a bit of a whirlwind. I had just flown back from my quick trip to New York to appear with my friend Joy Bauer on The Today Show and had landed back in LA with a million things going on (including taping an appearance on the Extra TV show). I was definitely on Cloud 9. And although super crazed, schedule-wise, I was determined to live life to the fullest. So on one sunny Friday afternoon, I decided to put everything on hold for an hour and take my little Latte (my 6 1/4-pound Morkie puppy) to the nearby off-leash small dog park.
When approaching the park, I was excited to see two cars parked there (belonging to two good friends – both of whom have dogs that Latte loves to play with). Life couldn’t have been better at that moment. Thus, imagine my surprise when, as I backed into our parallel parking spot, I heard a “Slight crunch.” I immediately pulled forward, shifted into park and looked around. Had I actually just dinged my car and (possibly) the car behind me? ‘How could this be?’, I thought to myself. This time frame had been, after all, shaping up to be the perfect week. I had no room in my world for a car dent.
I jumped out of the car to survey the crunch-zone. I was relieved at first – seeing that the “Monster Truck” behind me showed no signs of damage at all. Upon checking the rear of my car I was initially relieved as well – until I spotted some slight damage (not on my car’s bumper, but on the car itself, near the opening to the trunk).
All at once my spirits sank, my shoulders drooped and I felt the pangs of an achy breaky heart. There it was, a small dent in an otherwise perfect automobile – not to mention week. Was this how the week was to end? Had the universe conspired against me in order to bring me back from the “Feel good high” I’d been riding during the past several days.
After grabbing Latte and entering the small dog park, I realized that I’d created a virtual storm cloud that was now traveling right over my head. Even though I’d had such a great week and even though I had so much good news to share with my friends who were waiting for me on the other side of the dog park, I felt myself turning into a complainer. Not only was the car “crushed,” but so were my spirits.
It’s at that moment that I realized all the good in even the car dent situation. First of all, there was no damage to the other vehicle involved. Secondly, the damage to my own car was fairly minor (it had taken me a moment to discover it, after all). Add to this: Both Latte and I were safe. To say nothing of the fact that everything else “good” going on my week wasn’t negated by what just happened. Although it all could have been had I decided to shift into ‘Victim Mode’ and let myself be horrifically upset by what had happened (all of which surely could have “attracted” even more negativity into my life).
Right then, right there, I decided I wasn’t going to let this minor incident turn into anything more than it was – an everyday facet of real life. That’s right – I reminded myself that “These things happen.” In fact, these things will always happen (at least from time to time). So it’s really not about trying to keep challenging things from coming into our lives. Instead, it’s about choosing how we are going to react to these things.
In the past, I would have mourned the car’s damage for days and told everyone how “Unfair” life was (even though I was the one who did the backing up into the other vehicle). Instead, I greeted my friends at the dog park, watched Latte play with his canine friends, and shared all the good news of my week – all without “sharing” the angst I’d just experienced in the parking area.
At the risk of bragging, I must admit I was very proud of myself for shortcircuiting the ‘Complainer’ in me and, instead, reaffirming how good life was (and is) and counting the blessings that arose even from the car dent incident itself.
Although I still plan on getting a repair estimate for the car, I haven’t had a chance to do so just yet. And I can honestly say that when I notice the dent, I’m not depressed, but elated. Why? Because it reminds me that I reacted in a positive way to something that could have really brought about an intensely negative downward spiral, mood-wise. I reacted with joy, gratitude, gusto and (perhaps most important) a sense of humor.
After all, it’s not the life situations that matter most. It’s how we react to said situations.
Have you ever had a challenging life situation rear its ugly head in the midst of an otherwise good day or week? If so, did you give into the grief and the agony and jump on board the pity train? Or did you shake it off and move forward with a positive spirit, determined not to let one of life’s everyday anoyances get in your way? Either way, I’d love to hear from you on this topic.
Growing up heavy (okay, fat), I quickly learned the best way to pose for pictures. After all, I knew I was fat, but on some weird level, I must have thought I could hide it (or at the very least minimize it) by positioning myself behind people, furniture or walls.
I’m not sure what, exactly, I thought I was hiding. In retrospect, I guess I was really hiding from myself. After all, I wasn’t being honest with myself in regard to the amount of food (and therefore calories) I was consuming at the time. So why would I be honest with myself about my actual girth?
It’s for this reason that I marvel at the series of pictures taken at my heaviest weight. I knew I wanted to document all 450+ pounds of me as I began my 5,000th (10,000th?) attempt to get rid of the excess weight once and for all. But I’m still surprised that I not only posed people-, furniture- and wall-free, but even appeared without my shirt in one of the shots (stretch marks and all). Of course, these days I’m glad I was brave enough to pose for these pictures. They not only remind me of where I’ve been, but also of where I never want to ‘go’ again.
But there’s something about these photographs (taken when I was at my heaviest) that I find even more fascinating than my size 60-inch waist. Look closely at these shots and you’ll see I had a ‘perm’ in my hair. (And no, I didn’t lose a bet – this is a perm I not only paid for, but wanted.) And it’s this perm from my past that makes me laugh hysterically and cry tears of joy at the same time.
Before going public with my book and blog, I would only show my “Before Pictures” to a precious few. And if I would trot them out, I’d quickly point out the perm in my hair, noting that I was more embarrassed about getting a perm than I was about having boobs that would fit into many of my girlfriends’ bras (and yes, we tried once or twice).
But looking back on the perm, I must applaud my 450+-pound self. At that weight, I was terrified to go out into public and would often even food shop only at night or use only drive-thru windows at fast food restaurants in order to come into contact with as few people as possible. So the fact that I went to my hair stylist and ordered up a perm for something fresh and funky (emphasis on the funky) lets me know that even at 450+ pounds, I had not given up all hope of being part of the human race.
I remember always having a good head of hair on my head. As I kid, I was a sprightly red head, who soon evolved into having more of an auburn color mop top. I remember even at my heaviest that women would sometimes approach me and ask hopefully if my hair was colored and, if so, what hair colorist I went to. (They were usually disappointed when I told them it was all natural.) I suppose that these queries gave me hope at the time. It helped me to realize there was at least one thing about my physical appearance that I could work with in order to try and put my best foot forward.
Fact is, at 450+ pounds I was running out of clothing choices. I couldn’t even find many pant options at my local Big and Tall Stores (my waist had gotten that big). Thus, I’d taken to wearing sweatpants and one of two oversize t-shirts (sold as novelty shirts) that I could fit into. My fashion options had become virtually nonexistent. But damnit, I could control my head of hair. And I was gonna do so by getting a perm, which I guess was in style at the time. So even though I wanted to hide in my apartment for fear of being judged, I went to my salon of choice and ordered up some tightly wound curls.
Look at me, world! My hair is permed! Woohoo! (Now, someone point me to the nearest auditions for the next community theatre production of “Annie.”)
Funny. Sweet. And a little heartbreaking.
But solid proof that I hadn’t completely given up on life. And it’s that ‘not giving up’ that eventually brought me to the point of caring enough about my appearance (and health) to shed my 250 excess pounds and keep it off once and for all.
If you know someone fighting obesity, or if, perhaps, you’re battling it yourself, what do you do for your physical appearance that could compare to my perm? Do you always make sure your nails are manicured? Do you make sure that your hair always looks good? Or are you do you have a shoe collection that would make Imelda Marcos jealous?
Whatever it is, that’s your proof that you care about your appearance (or that your friend cares about his or hers). And this ‘proof of caring’ can be the first step toward committing yourself to lasting and permanent change when it comes to other matters like losing weight and/or getting healthier.
So no matter what goal you have ahead of you (even if it’s a goal that you haven’t quite committed to yet), think about how you can affect your life (and your self-esteem) today. This moment is all you have. So do something that boosts your ego and adds a little pep to your step. These small enhancements can fuel your dreams of achieving all of your goals, whether health or appearance related.
It’s all about showing faith in yourself and making an effort in the present moment. And if I can do it – even with a perm – then you can, too. Isn’t it time you made a perm-anent commitment – to yourself? (If so, please let me know!)