Saturday, February 16, 2013

Week #6 - Be a Portion Pro

As we focus on getting active as our routine this month, it might seem puzzling that this past week focused on weighing, measuring, and paying attention to portion sizes. How does that make sense?

Well, if we're going to get the most benefit out of getting active, it's important to not ruin your efforts by unintentionally eating more than you think you are. I follow quite a few fitness and health blogs, and there's a quote that crops up quite a bit: You can't out exercise a bad diet.

It's not always possible to have access to a scale and measuring cups like we did in this week's meeting. But practicing at home can help hone your estimating powers so that when you can't weigh and measure, you have a better sense of what a proper portion looks like.

You can also use common household objects to help you with portion size. If you can envision a tennis ball, you're picturing roughly one cup. I know everyone has a camera in their phones these days, but if you can picture a digital camera, that's about three ounces of protein. These and plenty of other tips were in this past week's Weight Watchers Weekly.

Which reminds me...if you miss a meeting, did you know that we keep a few copies of the Weekly from the past couple of weeks? When you return after an absence, be sure to ask for any copies you might have missed. Chances are we'll have a copy for you!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Week #5 - How Will You Be Active Tomorrow?

It's a new month, so it's time to start work on a new routine. In February we'll be focusing on getting in some activity every day.

One great way to ensure that you get your activity accomplished is to Have A Plan. I know, I pull out the Have A Plan card all the time, but really! It helps!

One of the things I love about our 12-Week Tracker is the Weekly Plan pages. I probably mentioned this before in relation to meal planning, because while the photo above is for your activity, there's also a page to plan out your meals!

So what you see here is a blank slate for my weight loss week, which starts tomorrow. As soon as I get this post up, I'm going to start my planning for the week. I'm going to put in my exercise plans as well as do some meal planning. With this done, the week becomes a no-brainer.

Do you plan your activity ahead of time? If so, does it help you stay on track? Even if you don't know specifically what activity you'll do, planning for the time it will happen could be enough to get you out there and doing it. I know from this Wednesday's meeting that we have some really active people out there, and you inspire me!

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Week #4 - Believe to Achieve

I think any time you set out to make big changes it's common to have moments of self-doubt. Making over your lifestyle is certainly one of those "big changes" don't you think? It's no small feat to overcome old habits (some that were many years in the making) and create some new ones. So it's probably not surprising that you'd have moments (or days, or even weeks) when the task at hand seems overwhelming, maybe impossible.

If you are a fan of my Facebook page, or happened to overhear me chatting with someone before our meetings on Wednesdays, you might know that I ran a marathon last weekend.

That's my ActiveLink summary from that day - proof, baby! Anyway, covering 26.2 miles on foot all in one go is certainly a big undertaking. And I absolutely questioned my sanity and wondered how this was all going to come together at several points during the event.

But I knew I was going to finish.

I would have crawled across the finish line if it had come to that (and apparently someone DID actually finish like that, shortly after I finished!) but there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to do it, and here's why:

I'd done it before - this was not my first marathon (it was my sixth), so I had the benefit of knowing that this was something I'd successfully done before. As you sit here working on your lifestyle change, think about it - have you successfully lost weight before? Have you ever been regularly active? If so, there's your proof! You can do it! If you haven't successfully done something like this before, you'll have to think outside the box a little. What traits do you think a successful healthy person has? Now scour your life to find evidence you have that. If you've gotten a promotion at work, raised a child, finished a college degree, or any other sort of accomplishment, it probably took those same traits. So apply them to getting healthy!

I trusted the training - I spent the last six months following a training plan. I put in the miles on Saturdays building up to the event distance. I kept to my mid-week exercise plan. I had experimented with different fuels on the run, and different pre-run meals to see what worked and what didn't. I did this through the holidays, through a head cold, did training runs in the Michigan woods and the New Mexico desert. I'd done everything to prepare for it. So I just trusted it and ran. If you're eating a well balanced diet (Good Health Guidelines ahoy!), if you're paying attention to your portions, if you're adding in movement, trust that all that will pay off. It might take longer than you expect, which leads me to...

I had patience - I've been running now for a total of 15 years. That included a few years when I actually didn't run, because I had a foot injury that I needed to heal. That's when I learned to love spinning, Pilates and weights classes. But gradually I returned to running, and over the course of a few years got ready to start increasing the distance. I said that this was marathon #6 - my previous marathon was in October of 2004, over 8 years ago. I didn't just get up one day and decide to run for almost 5 hours! It took great time and preparation. So whatever you do, have patience with yourself. You will not accomplish everything and make the Big Change in one day or one week. You have the rest of your life, so while you don't want to dilly-dally, you also don't need to be in a hurry.

Believe it, and you'll achieve it.