Sunday, July 27, 2008

Is There Any Food In Our Food?

Hi, everyone! I've had my head stuck in a book for the last couple of weeks. I'm getting really close to being able to take the fitness trainer exam through NASM. My head is full of anatomy and human movement science and exercises and most of it would bore you to tears if I were to talk about it here.

So did anyone see Andy Rooney's rant about what's in our food on 60 Minutes tonight?

I have a conversation similar to this with at least one person a week because the minute people find out I've lost so much weight in less than a year the conversation invariably turns to what I eat—and what I don't eat. And then we start talking about the evils of processed foods. And how little actual food is in processed foods.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It’s A Process

As everyone knows, changing bad habits is never easy, or fun. And if you change too much at once your head may explode. The changes I made last October were a byproduct of conversations I had during training sessions last year.

My trainer Kristn and I would talk about nutrition and health studies that were in the news, pros and cons of eating certain foods, etc. And the more we talked about it, the more I started coming home and doing my own research about topics we’d discussed. Which is how I ended up here, writing a blog about beating diabetes, of all things.

So today I was talking to someone who had recently lost 30 pounds on Weight Watchers and was beating herself up for having a bad day last Friday instead of being happy about the weight loss. The bad news is her pantry won for a little while. The good news is she was able to recognize a pattern and stop herself before too much damage was done.

It was at this point, she told me, that she realized she had lost control of her life. She looked around at her house and realized she did not recognize the chaos that had become her home, her body, and it was time to take some control back. We talked for a long time about eating strategies, the mental part of eating a healthy diet and basically just learning to ignore the cravings for crap that your body sends to your brain. You just have to get out of the habit of reaching for the cookies or the ice cream or the potato chips. The more times you're able to win that internal battle, the easier it gets.

She was also a little discouraged because she had gotten out of the habit of going to the gym and had not been for a couple of months. She was thinking there was no point in going back because she'd just have to start over again. It was good to be able to remind her that the better shape you're in, the easier it is for your body to heal and/or get back to where it was before you stopped working out. So the gains she'd made over the last 4 or 5 months wouldn't be for naught. She'll be able to get there a lot faster because her body is stronger and she has muscle memory going for her.

This was also a good reminder for me. I'm struggling with the same thing right now as I have an injury that has kept me from working out for the last week and it's driving me completely crazy not be able to lift anything and to be assigned as the official recordkeeper at workouts, although I am getting in some practice at being the trainer. (That has its own small rewards.) Anyway, I'm finding that the injury I have which would usually take six weeks to heal will probably take just a week or so because of all the resistance training I do. I was able to perform a couple of push-ups this afternoon after not being able to lift my arm to shoulder height or even laugh without a lot of pain a couple of days ago. And while I'll probably be lifting half of my normal load tomorrow morning, I'm guessing that by the end of the week I'll be pretty close to where I was before the injury.

So just a reminder that even if you fall off the workout wagon, your body remembers what it can do for a long time, and it doesn't take nearly the time to get back where you were after a break. And if you have a bad night of eating, don't beat yourself up about it. Figure out what caused it so you can start recognizing patterns and avoid the temptation to eat crap the next time the eating trigger tries to go off in your head. Also, try to come up with an alternate activity for the next time you feel like diving into the junk food. Having a plan beforehand is never a bad idea.