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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Post it

I admit, I love to open facebook and see posts about people's workouts. I think it's great. A lot of people, especially those of us that are die hard fitness freaks, mock those that post every trip to the gym. I'm not one of those. I say you earned the right to brag about it, first of all. Second, it's a great way to keep yourself accountable! And third, you may inspire someone. A friend may see what you're doing and be motivated by you.


If you make a post about getting back in shape, diligently do your workouts, eat right, and post your goals and progress, you're much more likely to stick with it. It's a whole lot more productive to post fitness journey progress than it is to post pics of food, or those constant "selfie" pics that are done to death... Or what about the game requests? Or the "check ins"? Most of these don't annoy me too much...but how many profile pics DOES a person need? And no, I still don't want to play FarmVille...

Seriously though....all venting aside.....my point is what a much better use of your time to post your fitness journey! What a great and effective way to keep constant accountability! Post a weeks worth of scheduled workouts and meal plans. Post about your struggles to stay on schedule because of life. Post about failure. Post about success. Brag on your friends. Build them up. Make them feel good about their accomplishments. Brag about yourself! You earned it! Give people like me something fun to read on the social network:). I love it!

Good luck to you. Give this a try! You can't go wrong!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Reflection

As a woman, I know we tend to become obsessed with the number on the scales or what size jeans we wear. We want to be all teeny tiny and feel like that's the picture of health, but it's not.

Have you ever felt like you like how you look in the mirror one day, but you go from the mirror to the scales only to find a number that makes you frustrated? How can this be? I felt like I looked thinner today!

I used to be obsessed with the number on the scale and what size my pants were. It's exhausting! It's hard not to have a number in your head that makes you happy. But what if you're shedding muscle just to satisfy that goal? What if you're body fat percentage is higher just because you're chasing after a size 2?

Have you ever looked at a weight chart? Have you noticed there is about a 30 pound range from the low end to the high end of your healthy weight range? Why? Because it's a target. Have you ever looked at a body fat chart? And did you notice that weight charts try to steer you away from being under weight, while body fat charts encourage you to be lean?

When we focus on melting off the pounds, we risk muscle loss. And although you may be happy with that number on the scales or what pant size you made it to, how do you feel when you look in the mirror? What does your reflection say about your lean muscle mass? How comfortable are you in a swim suit? That number you worked so hard to get to could be working against you. Your reflection says a whole lot more about your fitness and health than that number does. Having a weight range is not a bad thing. It is a good guide to use and helpful in keeping track of progress. We can't just be careless about what we weigh. It does matter. But it's a target. It's a guide.

If you are within a healthy weight range, feel confident with your reflection, aren't afraid to be seen in a bathing suit, and feel healthy and fit, you're doing it right. You're focus is on the things that matter. If you were a body builder or a competitive athlete, or a model, or whatever, your numbers would matter. But what SHOULD matter is your health, fitness, and confidence.

Take some of the pressure off yourself to look like the girl in the Hardee's commercial (I hate that commercial!). Stop trying to drop 10 pounds per week. All it does is jeopardize muscle. If you're concern is with a number, you're going to have a lot harder time being healthy. Your concern should be your health. And your reflection is a great way to tell where you're at. If you see cellulite and flab, losing pounds isn't the single solution. You can be at the lowest end of the weight chart and still have that. You have to work toward the fitness. Eat healthy. Exercise regularly. The rest will happen naturally. You will soon be very satisfied with that reflection if you do it right.

My email is lacysfitnessblog@gmail.com and I would love to help you on your journey. Feel free to email me!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Whoops!!

Now that we have a decent facility to workout in, and spring/summer is approaching, and we are finally settled from our move, I put in a lot of time working out last week. My normal routine is to take off 1 weekend day per week. I usually pick and choose it around whatever we have going on, and what the weather is like. Yes, we have a great new YMCA, but I'm a runner and prefer to be outside. On top of putting in additional exercise, I decided to pull back some calories to work on getting rid of my "winter fluff".

When running season hits, strength training gets harder as it slows a runner down. I did get more miles in last week, but I also got in a lot more weights and strength training. I planned on resting Saturday, but just couldn't resist the sunshine. I did get an extra run in, but it was soooo slow. I didn't really care because it was just a rest day workout. I enjoyed every second of it.

Like I said, I was cutting calories back. I had skipped lunch to go run again Sunday, so I wasn't properly fueled. I wanted to wait until later to eat. I messed up because I "hit the wall". That means everything was great until it wasn't. Yes, I had to call for a ride. I could've walked back home, but it was getting so cold and I was literally starving! I was so hungry that my stomach was on fire. So basically I had 2 bad runs in a row. Blah!

While I was running Sunday, I was thinking about what I would write about today. My plan was to talk about how easy it is to get caught up in your miles, but when you're on a weight loss journey, it's the time that you put in that matters most. No matter what you do, if you're not getting in an hour a day, those pounds aren't going to come off very willingly. I started to go ahead and write about that today, but I thought it would be good to share with you my own mistake.

I've been running for a few years. That's not long compared to most runners that have been running since high school. But I'm trained and I understand my own body. I know that if I don't fuel up properly, I will crash. I also know that this is true for anyone. I got focused on running, and forgot to take care of myself. I won't lie, I do this more often than I should.... It is easy to make this mistake. I tend to have blood sugar crashes while running if I have put in a lot of hours working out. It builds, and I know it.

I know this is a mistake I will make many more times. I am sharing this because I want you to see that even when you are conditioned, trained, and know what you're doing, you still mess up. You mess up, but you keep going. Sometimes you learn. I know I should carry some jelly beans or some gel shots for emergencies. I know I should, but I never do. Maybe one day I will change my ways. Ha I doubt it. See, we are all stubborn. I don't want to need a pick me when I'm running. I don't want to need to plan for that. I just wanna run.

Anyway, a real mistake from a real runner. Let's learn to be prepared together. Maybe one day I will use my frustration to start a Runner's Rescue business. You know, like someone you call when you're stuck on a country road 10 miles from home and need water or fuel because you don't want to have to pack all that stuff and carry it on your run? Or maybe I will pay more attention to signals from runners I pass by in my car and watch for signs of distress and help them out.

That's what I've got for you today.... I guess I'm venting because I didn't finish my run yesterday. Hopefully you are better at preparing than me. If you have stories to share, I would love to hear them. Have a great week everybody. Get your workouts in.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Make a mess

When you hit the treadmill at the gym, are you on your phone the whole time, or carrying on a lengthy conversation with your workout buddy? Are you walking slow enough that you can actually read a book? Do you get all fixed up and come out looking just as good as you did when you went in? Do you do more standing around chatting, than you do working out? If you're saying "yes" to these, you're doing it wrong.

If you don't come out of the gym looking like a bit of a mess, you're not working hard enough. If you want to see extreme results from the time you put in, make that time count. Here's a good test to make sure you're heart rate is up where you need it to be..... If you can speak in short 2-3 word sentences, you are at your target heart rate. This will change as you train. You will have to increase intensity occasionally, as you adapt to your workouts. If you can speak in full sentences and carry on a complete conversation with no trouble at all, it's time to kick it up a notch.

If you want real results, you have to do real work. Light, easy walking and light, easy weight training is appropriate for beginners that need to set a foundation, but eventually you have to get busy. Eventually you're going to have to push harder. If your workout is easy, you need to work harder. If you come out feeling just a little bit damp instead of sweaty, you need to work harder. If you spend more time socializing then working out, you need to work harder. If you still look good when you're done, you need to work harder.

If you're putting in your time and not seeing changes, evaluate your efforts. Take note of what's really going on when you're doing your workout. What we eat matters as well. If you're working super hard, then you throw down a quarter pounder and large fry, you're not going to get the body you want. Inconsistency is also an issue. You have to have and stick to a regular routine. If you are working out one or two days a week on occasion and eating junk, why even bother? And how can you get upset for not seeing results when you're making a half hearted effort and only some of the time?

When people do what they call "work", but do it all wrong, and don't see the changes they want to see, they give up. Change takes time. Be patient, eat right, work hard, and don't stop. It pays off. Make sure you eat enough. Make sure you eat the right things. Make sure you cheat a little and recover properly. Stay focused and consistent and the changes will come.

Again, if you need advice or help at all, always email me. I want you to succeed!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The inside

Usually when you think about getting or staying fit, you think about it from an outside perspective. Your mind automatically goes to an image in your head of what you want to change and how you want to look. Those images can even be of another person that you compare yourself to and wish to be like. You want to look good first, and feel food second. Sometimes you don't even think about wanting to feel good because you have been in your current physical condition for so long that you don't even realize that you could feel better and have more energy and strength.

When you don't use your muscles, they start to break down and turn to mush. They become more and more useless as time goes on. Years of neglect and poor diet result in muscle loss. When you look in the mirror and see that you are not as cut as you once were, it's vainly frustrating. But think about what you CAN'T see. Think about your heart, for example. If you're looking in the mirror and noticing a huge lack of muscle, or experience being a lot more weak than you used to be, or get winded just walking to the mailbox, what do you think is going on with one of the most important muscles of all?

I think it's awesome to want to look good. Everyone should feel good about themselves. And if you work hard at being healthy, it's only fair that we are rewarded for our hard work with fit bodies that we aren't ashamed of. But when this is your primary focus, you are missing the whole point. When you get it in your mind that you want to be a certain size/weight/build, and you start working toward it but aren't happy with how fast you're changing on the outside, you're messing up. Think about a deep infected cut. It looks awful and you want it gone now. You can cover it with a bandaid, but until you do something to heal it from the inside out, it's not going to go away. But with proper care, despite how it may look on the outside, it is healing. It takes time and you may not be able to see it for awhile, but it is healing.

When you set out to change your ways to permanent healthy living, the inside is where you need to start. If you step on the scales once a week and feel as though the efforts you are making aren't doing a thing, get rid of the scales and keep working. Eventually you are going to notice that your pants are getting saggy, people may begin to comment about what they see, and that number on the scales will finally start going down. Scales can be your worst enemy. You can be within a healthy weight for your size, but be fat. Just as you can be above a healthy weight for your size, but be extremely fit. There's more to fitness than that number on the scales and what size pants you're wearing.

If you want to see REAL changes in your health and fitness level, start by working on the inside. Get your cardio and strength training in. Eat healthy foods. The rest will come in time. Just keep your focus on what really matters.



Monday, February 18, 2013

Learned behavior

I was talking to my husband the other day about how we can ruin a healthy food by loading it with unhealthy toppings or additives (example we used was a loaded baked potato) only because that was how we were taught to eat the food. That conversation inspired this post.

I like to eat a baked potato with nothing on it. I REALLY like to load it with sour cream, but I have taught myself to enjoy it plain. When I was a kid, I preferred to eat my cake without the frosting. Now I think the frosting is the best part. I don't care for butter on my bread. I enjoy salsa as a salad dressing. These are all examples of behavior we have been taught to do a certain way, and if you are a parent, you're probably teaching your children what you have learned. And if they are like me at all, and prefer their cake without icing, or their fries without salt, you most likely give them a hard time about eating food the wrong way and are trying to change their ways. Sooner or later you will change them, but you need to NOT!

Can you even imagine being able to enjoy a big baked potato, baked breads, cake, etc on a more regular basis just by changing the way that you "top" them? Why do we have to take a perfectly healthy salad and add tons of calories and fat to it buy topping it with ranch dressing instead of a healthier option? Because that's what we have learned.

We can change the way we serve foods and feel a lot less guilty about enjoying them. We can change the way we teach our kids to eat foods and set their habits for them at an early age. Or even leave their healthy preferences alone. We can retrain our brains and palates to learn to like a plain baked potato with no toppings.

If you are like a lot of people that feel like a certain food isn't edible unless served the way you were taught to eat it, you are probably thinking I'm off my rocker. I admit that having a natural preference for unbuttered bread, peanut butter on my pancakes, or black coffee is a huge advantage and makes it easier for me. But I know these are habits that can be changed, and that you can learn to enjoy the same foods you love in a lot healthier manner in exchange for not eating them at all. It's a pretty good trade in my opinion.

I'm going to list some examples of possible learned behaviors that you could change that would CAUSE a change in your healthy living. Tell me when I've struck a nerve.....
How big is your cereal bowl?
Do you keep ice cream or frozen yogurt in the house?
Is your popcorn plain, buttered lightly, or movie style?
Do you prepare meals for twice as many people than are in your family, and have little to no leftovers?
Do you cook with vegetable oil instead of canola or olive oil?
Do you use condiments on EVERYTHING?
Do you drink soda more than water? Or even with every meal?
Do you drink sugary sweet tea?
Is your coffee black?
How many meals do you eat that consist of fried food?
How many meals do you eat that include healthy servings of vegetables?
Do you eat breakfast?
What do you eat for breakfast?
Do you skip meals?
Is your idea of dieting, not eating?
Is your idea of successful weight loss, excessive weight loss?
Do you add unneeded calories to your foods by topping or dipping them?
Could you change your toppings to a healthy alternative, or even omit it altogether?
Do you know how many calories you are consuming, what the fat content is, what the sugar content is, and how many calories you SHOULD be consuming?
How often you snack?
What do you snack on?
How often do you hit a drive through for meals?

I could keep going, but I think this is a good start. Use this to help you notice things you could easily retrain yourself to do differently. Ask yourself what some of the little things are that you could learn to do differently. Be the oddball at the dinner table that breaks all the rules. Be a good example. Pay attention to your learned behaviors!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

What's your "go to"?

You know that one breakfast you will always grab when you're in a rush or have no time to think about choices? What about the one exercise routine you rely on without giving it a second of thought? And those snacks....we all have that mid morning, afternoon, or late night snack attack. What do you reach for when that moment arrives? What's your "go to"?

When we remove the thinking from our choices, we have the opportunity to rise above without the battle of wills getting in the way. You have the chance to think ahead and plan before you are in the moment. When you have bad "go to" habits, they can add up and work against you and your efforts.

You have to start somewhere, and the little things make a huge difference. Make the choice to grab a banana and yogurt in your rush out the door on the next morning you're running late. The next time you have limited time to get your workout in, try some high intensity interval training (HIIT) to get the most out of your time and really get that calorie burn. If you have a tendency to run out of time for lunch and end up in a drive thru pressed for time, make a point to keep a protein bar in your desk, car, or purse, to replace that bad habit.

Everything matters. Every decision, good or bad, makes a difference at the end of the day. Every calorie and gram of fat counts and adds up. These "go to" habits we all have are mindless. They're easy food we grab in a rush. Or we have a certain snack we reach for each night without putting a second of thought into it. If you need the snack, have the snack. But what a difference it would make if the snack was no longer the world's biggest bowl of fruit loops with whole milk, but rather a banana with peanut butter.

Give it a try. Start with something easy. Most of us have a hard time getting a healthy breakfast. Either because we are busy, or because we have a habit of eating donuts, or maybe we never eat the first meal, or you love McDonald's and stop there every day..... Whatever the reason, breakfast doesn't get as much attention as it should. I'm not picking on breakfast, I'm giving you a good place to start. The way you start your day can really set the stage for the rest of the day, so start it off right.

Change your bad "go to" habits and see what happens. It's the easiest place to start making changes that won't leave you feeling overwhelmed or deprived.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Goals

You already know that goals are motivating and keep us on track as we work to achieve what we want, but what is it that you want? What is your goal?

I've noticed that so many people set a goal, whatever it is, but don't exactly train to achieve THEIR goal. I've noticed that people often will go to random sources for advice, or follow along with a program that has little to nothing to do with their own personal goal. This leads to frustration. You're doing all this work. Trying your best. Going through the motions. But never accomplish what motivated you to get moving in the first place.

If you don't wish to be a body builder, why would you follow a body builder's regimen? If you're not training to be a runway model, why would you go about it like that's your goal? If you're not wanting to just get healthy, but desire to also be strong and fit, why would you only do half the work and focus on only one of the two goals?

We set these goals. We know what we want. Yet when we go after them, we crash and burn because we listened to so and so that had a goal of such and such that had nothing to do with our own wants and needs. Or we only did half the work. Or even worse....we never even tried.

Ask yourself what you want. Reflect on that today. No matter how far along you are in your journey, ask yourself what your goals are.

Here's a bit of advice. If you're goals have endings, you're doing it wrong. This is why diets don't work. They have an end and teach you nothing about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you have a goal to learn to run a 5k, good for you! But, that better not be the end. I'm a little off topic, but this is important advice that you need to pay attention to in setting those goals. Be sure they are ongoing.

Short and sweet today, but hoping I gave you something to pay attention to. This is what was on my mind today.... I really wish all of you the best on your journey. You do have what it takes. Make sure you set goals that are right for YOU and YOUR life. Something realistic that you know you can accomplish. Don't be afraid to aim high. Never tell yourself you can't. I started running 3 years ago. A year after I started, I ran a marathon. I had asthma as a child, and still do, and always lived in fear of bringing on an asthma attack. Running has improved my lung health like I never expected. To the point that I never know where my rescue inhaler is anymore. That's huge because I used to be very dependent on that thing. I used it daily. I couldn't run .25 mile 3 years ago. So never say "I wish I could ....., but......" If you want something bad enough, make it happen.

If I can ever be of help in getting you on the right track, feel free to email me. I am also available for training. My goal is to help people that are needing to change by showing them how over a few months and also to help with accountability. And if I do my job right, you won't need me forever. I want to give you the map to your goals. You will learn that exercise can be fun, new habits are easy to make, old habits aren't that hard to break, you CAN accomplish any goal, weather is not an excuse to stay inside, and how to stay on track while "life" happens.

You don't have to go alone. Email me and let's talk. I want you to succeed!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Confession

Yes, I am a runner, focused on fitness, living a healthy lifestyle, and a certified personal trainer (that hasn't really committed my time to training others just yet), but let me tell you something about myself that I may have already mentioned in the past.... I love food. Sweets and baked goods are my weakness. I would eat snack cakes, pastries, breads, ice cream, etc. all day long if I wasn't able to discipline myself. So how do I stay fit and handle my sweet obsession? I have help!

You have to find ways to indulge and satisfy your cravings without letting it rule you're life. I was reading in 1 Corinthians this morning, about marriage. About how God would prefer us to stay unmarried so that we keep our eyes fixed on Him alone and not this world we live in. But He warns that if remaining unmarried leads you to a life that's impure, then He prefers you to be married. I think this is a good lesson, or warning, that could be applied in so many areas of our lives. But for the sake of this blog, and my point, let's talk a second about how it applies to food.

Anytime we feel deprived, we stand a great chance of failing. Insert any situation that leaves you feeling unsatisfied, and the risk is always the same. There are clearly times that this does not apply.....for example, if I don't allow myself to smoke 5 cigarettes today, I know I will smoke an entire pack before lunch tomorrow. This may be true for you, but this is an example of what I DON'T mean. Common sense applies to this line of thinking, obviously. When I was reading the warning in 1 Corinthians that I mentioned above, I was reminded of my own sweet obsession. I was relating that when I deprive myself, I risk failing. My love for sweets takes over and I become stressed over the fact that I'm not enjoying this one thing I love so much. I'm not telling you to over indulge on the things you love so that you stay focused.....I'm saying that I believe finding ways to enjoy the things we love in moderation, helps us to stay satisfied.

Just to clarify, no , I don't relate all bible readings with health and fitness..... And health and fitness was not the only thing I was able to relate this warning to in my life. But as I said, for the sake of this post, I will keep it fitness related. I do want to encourage you to always go to the "good book" with any struggle in life, healthy living included! If you're relying more on The Lord, and less on TV shows, news articles, your workout buddy, counting calories, etc....you will have the best chance to succeed and never be facing your battle alone. Who better to rely on, than the One who created these bodies and the food we need to keep them maintained? Why would we even think about putting all of our energy into diet pill popping, juice fasting, shake making, extreme calorie restricting, or any other possible idea I've not mentioned, when we have a source of strength available to us 24/7 that understands our weaknesses like no other?

The title of my post today is "confession". How about taking a moment today to spend with the One that knows you best, and confess to Him your own weakness. Ask Him to help you when you feel tempted, and to help you avoid those moments. Ask Him to show you how to enjoy the things you love in moderation so that you don't feel deprived, but rather satisfied. Ask Him to help you learn how to take care of the only body you will have here on this earth. And ask Him to stay with you until the end, so that you never find yourself in such an overwhelming situation, and never end up off track and out of control again.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Majority rules

I'm gonna go ahead and let you off the hook here. Nobody's perfect. Sometimes you're going to get it wrong. Sometimes you're going to let impulse win. Sometimes you're going make bad decisions. We are human. It happens to us all.

Here's the deal....it's ok to mess up! We learn from fitness mistakes just the same as we learn from ANY of life's mistakes. We learn that when we don't eat fried food, we feel better. Then we have a moment of weakness and pig out on a cheeseburger and fries and feel bogged down, tired, and even just plain sick. We may repeat this weak moment, remembering every time how nasty it makes us feel afterwards. Eventually that sick feeling dictates future weak moments, and you DON'T pig out on that fried food because you hate how sick it makes you feel. Instead, you opt for a grilled chicken sandwich and a cup of soup, and feel a sense of pride because you've finally made it around the learning curve.

When we make healthy choices the majority of the time, majority rules. Majority takes over. Majority wins. I'm not giving you the "ok" to make poor choices based on my point here. I'm giving you something to think about and pay attention to. And I'm, hopefully, giving you a little relief in knowing that it's ok to screw up sometimes. We all do.

The same applies to exercise. When you stick to a regular exercise program, and skip a normal workout....you WILL have negative feelings. You will be overwhelmed with guilt. You will have no excuses. You will feel like working twice as hard tomorrow. Your body will be yelling at you for taking a day off. And eventually you will think twice before skipping workouts because "majority rules".

Hopefully this gets you thinking the next time you get something wrong. Hopefully the guilt and the negative feelings that come along with poor choices help us all to stay on track the next time we are tempted. And hopefully you are making healthy living the majority in your own life, so that it CAN rule.

Stay focused and make more good decisions than bad, and eventually you will see that majority really does rule!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Get to WORK

No matter where you are in your health and fitness journey, you are most likely bombarded with information on all the newest fads. You see ad after ad on the newest and greatest "must have" workout, diet plan, or lists of all of the things you're doing wrong. Do this to get a flat tummy, do this to get the best butt, do this to lose 20 pounds in 14 days, etc.... It's exhausting and leaves you so overwhelmed that you don't know WHAT to do.

If you are faced with an overwhelming amount of weight to lose and have a busy life (like most of us), it's easy to look for the easy way out. We live in a society that demands immediate satisfaction. We are impatient people by nature. Add the "hurry up" mind set we have all fallen victim to, and our impatience is magnified. And to add even more fuel to that fire, the media and marketing agencies play on that and feed us with the need for convenience.

Here's the reality. The real secret to health and fitness success. The number one thing you can't live without to get the results you want. I can some it up in one word......"work". Yes, that's right...it takes hard, consistent, focused, determined work to get results that matter. The kind of results that last.

I'm not telling you that information is a bad thing. I encourage you to get online and find workouts that push you and are fun for you to do, or buy a new workout DVD. Read blogs and inspiring stories to help you stay motivated. Watch the biggest loser or extreme makeover. Whatever helps you stay focused, do it. What I'm saying is that there is no magic granual that you can sprinkle on your French Fries, or drop you can stick under your tongue, that will give you permanent results. There are going to be a handful of success stories associated with those products, but the failure rates are out of this world. They're cop outs. They don't last.

I've said it before, your goal should be fitness and improved health. The smaller waist line is a benefit that comes with the healthy living. When we focus our attention on the things that matter, that's when we get permanent results. That's when change happens.

When you watch those shows like Biggest Loser, those people are WORKING! They're throwing up, passing out, eating clean, giving it all they have, and pushing themselves to change. They're not half heartedly going through the motions of walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes every other day. They're doing their WORK.

Now here's the good news..... Although living a healthy lifestyle is something that you have to do every single day, it does get easier when done right. If you can figure out what motivates you, can be your own boss and never let yourself have the option to stop, and can find healthy foods and fun workouts that you enjoy, it gets easier. It gets easier because you're not arguing with yourself anymore. There is no option. You just do it. The new way of life is now a habit that doesn't leave you with that conversation you have with yourself that has you trying to convince yourself that it's ok to eat drive through everyday for lunch because you're a busy person. The new habit doesn't give you those options. The new habit takes charge of your decisions so that you no longer have a battle of wills within your own mind. And you NEVER say the words "I've gotta get back into it" because you're NEVER "out of it" again.....

Go ahead and just get it in your head that if you want to be thinner, you're gonna have to be healthier. And if you're gonna get healthier, you're gonna have to get fit. And if you're gonna get fit, you're gonna have to WORK. And no one can't stop you, but you.

I absolutely love a success story. Keep a log of your journey. Blog about it. Write it in a journal. Share it with others to motivate them, or keep it for yourself to remind you of what you don't want. It's a great tool to keep you on track. Logging your progress is very beneficial. A year from now, look back at how far you've come, and think about how your story could inspire others. You can do this!! Today is the day!! Lets get to WORK!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Calorie management

Learning to manage calories can seem complicated, but if you are keeping a food and exercise journal (I recommend myfitnesspal.com) it really does all of the work for you.

Calorie management is key in weight loss and weight management. It is important to pay attention to calories spent, as well as the ones you have consumed. It is also important to listen to your body and pay attention to signs of under or over eating.

Here is an example of what can happen when you don't manage your calories properly. Insert your own experiences in place of my hypothetical example if it helps you better relate.....
Let's say you typically sit at a desk all day, exercise regularly, and have a set realistic calorie allowance (we will use 1300 calories in this example) and are progressing along great through the work week. The weekend comes along and you are vigorously cleaning the house, shoveling the drive way, working in the yard, going on a four hour hike, getting in extra exercise, or any other activity you can think of that you may take part in and keeps you on your feet all day. Lets just say, in this example, that you're active weekend went on for 2 full days. And that you don't account for any of your busyness, but that you stick to your same calorie allowance. And let's say that your regular exercise routine has you burning around 450 calories each day, assuming you're getting in around 45 minutes daily. And let's say that these two active weekend days, you're active for about 10 hours, burning around 1000 calories each of these days. Saturday night you are hungrier than usual. By Sunday afternoon, you are starving and can't understand why because you have been eating as much as you always do. You try to ignore the hunger and stick to the program. Sunday dinner rolls around and you're too exhausted to cook so you order a pizza and choke down 4 slices, some garlic bread, and a bowl of ice cream because you can't fight off the hunger anymore. You step on the scales Monday morning and feel very discouraged. Can any of you relate to this? I'm sure you can see where I'm headed.

Here is what needed to happen.... Your regular routine already has your calorie deficit where it needs to be for you to lose weight successfully without feeling unsatisfied. Then suddenly you are adding an additional 550 calories to that deficit, for 2 days in a row. Those are calories you needed to add to your intake in order to stay on track. If you know you will be increasing your activity level significantly, you have to make adjustments. Just as you would need to take into account when your activity level is lower. It's easy to get trapped into thinking about the possible extra pound that you could work off with the increased calorie deficit, but most of the time those attempts will backfire on you. I speak from experience on this. I will add that if this were an example of the way that I would function in this hypothetical situation, I would most likely be skipping meals in addition to the increased level of activity. When I get focused on a project, I stop for nothing. So I can tell you what I would be doing. I would be binge eating by the first night! Then I would repeat that on the second night. These are major NO NO'S!

Can you relate to this type of situation? Do you make these same mistakes and wonder why you keep hitting road blocks? There is a "diet" (I hate that word) called the "zig zag". When I say "diet", I mean a "way of life". An example of the zig zag is that you would eat X number of calories for 4 days (we will say 1400 calories), then the other 3 days you would eat XX number of calories (we will say 1700). Ideally you would work the increased calories into your more active days, but the purpose for this "way of life" is to prevent the plateau. Your body doesn't get to go into starvation mode, because you are tricking it. This is also taking care of the added caloric need during your more active days. Don't be afraid to add some calories to you active days. Be afraid NOT to. You are far more likely to binge eat with extreme calorie cutting then you are with the more moderate approach. We are humans and we all set ourselves up to fail. We think we are doing a good thing, but it always backfires when we jump in with both feet. It's all about lifestyle changes. Not about "dieting". As long as you are focusing on your body's needs, and not your own desires, you're heading in the healthy direction. And that's why we do what we do. To be healthy. Being thinner is a perk of being healthy. Being thin should never be the only focus. It's all about fitness.

Go to myfitnesspal.com and set up an account. Connect with friends and be diligent about logging everything daily. I wish you all success in being healthy and having the best quality of life.



"I run to add life to my days, not days to my life". I love that quote, but have no clue who said it. We should all try to live by it!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Eat your veggies!

"Eat your veggies!" It's something we preach to our kids daily, but given the chance to examine our adult daily habits, we may likely find that our own diets are seriously lacking in this area. I don't want to admit it, but I will come forward here and tell you that I do NOT get my daily recommended servings of veggies. And that's so incredibly dumb of me because I absolutely LOVE veggies and could easily live off of them alone.

When I examine my habits and try to get to the root of the issue, I believe the reason I lack in this area is because I really hate grocery shopping and produce expires at a rate that keeps you hitting the grocery store more often than I'd like to visit. We all have our reasons or excuses for the things we do wrong, and what a lame excuse that is! But being completely honest, that is what gets in my way.

It is recommended that we eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. I will be honest and admit that I may get 2.... Lets make a deal here and all make a point to get our daily recommended servings. I hate the word "try". Notice I didn't say "let's try to get our daily recommended servings"..... "Try" means you're giving yourself an out. You either change or you don't. So let's get it done. No more excuses.

I wanted to share with you a story you may have recently heard about on the news about a couple in their 60's that have pledged to run 365 marathons in 365 days. For those of you that may not know, a marathon is 26.2 miles. I'm 37 years old and can only fathom running 2 or 3 marathons per year. I heard about this on the news and looked up the story online where I read that the wife had been diagnosed with cancer 10 years ago and given 6-12 months to live with treatment. She opted out of chemo and radiation and went on a raw plant diet and is alive and well enough to run a marathon every day this year. You don't have to search very hard to find story after story about the benefits of eating the foods that God has supplied us. What an amazing motivator. With cancer rates as high as they are, and diet seems to be the biggest blame, reading a story like that inspires me to get to the dreaded grocery store. It makes my complaint of having to make that trip more often seem so out of whack. Really?! This is what my excuse is? This is what gets in the way of healthy eating? Seriously.....

Here is a link to the story I mentioned above. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-01/couple-to-run-a-marathon-every-day/4449488
I encourage you to read it. How amazing are these two? They're spending REAL quality time together, making a statement, using their experience to motivate us all. I won't say this isn't radical, and I won't say I'd ever do this myself, but I enjoyed their testimony and did find inspiration in it. Hopefully you do too.

Go out and buy those veggies. Do some research about what the healthiest ones are, and the best way to prepare them. Just a little tip....the brighter the color, the higher the nutrients. Always buy bright fruits and veggies.

As always, please email me if you have questions, or need a little help figuring out where to get started on you health journey. Lacysfitnessblog@gmail.com.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What it takes

To lose 1 pound, we have to lose 3500 calories..... That can seem overwhelming, because it IS a lot of calories. But when you think about it in a weekly perspective, it's a lot less intimidating, and a lot more reachable.

To burn 3500 calories in one week through exercise, it will require at least 5 hours of exercise. It is important to get in more than just a quick 30 minutes when trying to lose weight. If time is an issue for you, interval training (high intensity) will burn calories at a much faster rate and keeps your metabolism going for up to 36 hours post workout.

When you incorporate at least 5 hours of exercise per week, with lowering you caloric intake by 500 calories per day, you can expect to lose 2-3 pounds per week (probably more at the beginning and slowing gradually to the 2-3 pounds).

When put like that, I know it is tempting to think that all calories are equal, but beware of this line of thinking. There is a great chance that you will lose weight successfully by following these two rules alone, but you will have a higher body fat percentage if you are consuming higher fat/sugar foods. Body fat doesn't look any better on a smaller body than it does on a bigger one, and for sure doesn't get you to your best level of health. It also leaves you addicted to all of the foods that got you so far off track to begin with. You have to say no to those choices for good, only enjoying your favorite things in moderation, never giving back in to the addiction of unhealthy foods.

It sounds real easy when I write it, but believe me when I tell you that I enjoy food more than I should (sweets especially), and have my own struggles and a very good understanding of the challenges and temptations you face daily.

One thing I highly recommend doing is keeping your biggest weaknesses out of the house no matter what. If you have a weakness for cake and keep cake in the house, you're going to eat cake. If soda is your vice and you keep it in the house because the kids love it, you're going to drink soda..... Maybe you tell yourself that you have to keep pop tarts on hand for your youngest son, but truth be told, the pop tarts are being eaten by you...... Don't buy it. Don't keep it in the house. You WILL eventually eat it. Don't set yourself up to fail.

One more tip that will help you succeed, is to make sure you eat and never let yourself go hungry. When you try to starve yourself skinny, eventually you are going to binge. The best thing you can do for your metabolism is to eat several small meals per day, keeping them around 300-400 calories per meal. You will never feel "stuffed", you will never feel starved, and you will control your cravings. Cravings can be triggered by hunger. So, always try to stay satisfied. Plan ahead to make it easier. And don't make it complicated. Eat yogurt, fruit, nuts, protein bars, cheese, cold cuts (the lean ones), raw veggies (omit the ranch, sorry!), etc... Do these for snacks and meals throughout the day, and try to enjoy a small healthy meal for dinner.

Best of luck to you on your weight loss goals!! If you have questions, you can always email me. If you're diligent and consistent, you will be successful! And don't forget to log your foods!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Food journal

I've either been slacking off, or my life has been super chaotic, or I've been slacking off because my life has been super chaotic! If you follow me on facebook, you may have noticed that we have been moving. Downsizing from a 5500 sq ft house, to 2200 sq ft. Also you may have noticed that I am no longer working. Over the last year, I realized that chasing after money, success, and material things divides a family like nothing else. And that these things are so unfulfilling and come with a price that is paid by the ones you love the most. This may not be true for everyone, but I have learned that chasing a life of luxury causes selfishness and spoiled attitudes in children and adults, and really gets your priorities all jacked up. So my husband and I decided to make a huge lifestyle change and walk away from that way of life. I am excited and happy to see the closeness and positive changes that are coming from redirecting my priorities. energy, and attention to the things that can not be replaced. I am very blessed and fortunate to be married to a Godly man that cares about his family and would do anything for us. This is completely unrelated to fitness, but I wanted to share the beginning of a new chapter in my life that I am excited about with you, and explain what's kept me away from writing.

Back to fitness! Do you keep a food journal? Do you even know how? If you do, are you religious about it? Do you log EVERY LITTLE THING YOU CONSUME? Or do you tell yourself "it was just 6 fries, I don't need to count it"....?

If you don't keep a food journal, today is the day to start. You will find success, accountability, and learn about your own habits and mistakes more from a food journal than anything else. There are several websites available now. You don't have to carry around a notebook and pencil with you anymore to keep your food consumption logged. I have tried several, and I recommend myfitnesspal. This one, like most, also has a smartphone app available that is super easy to use. It is also very handy when eating in restaurants and really helps you learn things about what you're eating. It has breakdowns that show you your fat/carb/protein ratio, lets you connect with friends, and even tells you how many calories you need to consume to meet your personal goals. The barcode scanner makes it even easier to use at home. Their is almost no excuse not to use this app/website. It's quick and simple to learn.

I have created an example of how you can learn to eat healthier through using a food journal like this. I have compared 2 breakfast options that will show you the drastic difference in fat, calories, carbs, and protein just by making some easy changes. I encourage you to play around with this and to always make sure you log EVERYTHING you eat and drink.

For those of you that need more accountability and extra help getting and staying on track, please feel free to contact me. I am currently looking to take on a couple of clients and would love to help you learn how to live a healthy lifestyle. I realize hiring a trainer can be costly, but it is worth it to learn how to live healthy and improve your quality of life. Email me at lacysfitnessblog@gmail.com. Be sure to ask me about prepaying for multiple sessions for a lower rate.