12/31/09

31 days, 21 changes

According to John Norcross, a Professor of Psychology and Distinguished University Fellow at the University of Scranton, a clinical psychologist in part-time practice, and editor of the Journal of Clinical Psychology: In Session, 40-46% of people will be successful with New Year Resolutions after 6 months. Having studied New Year resolutions for the past 2 years, Norcross feels that 71% of people will keep resolutions for 2 weeks but that percentage drops to 64% after a month.
As you can see, there is hope for at least half of the population who is setting a New Year resolution. However, for everyone else, it is likely that you will not make it through the year (let alone a month) with the resolution that you are planning to start, tomorrow.
I have faith in you. I know you will succeed. I know you believe you can succeed. I know your resolution is realistic, practical and doable. I know your resolution is going to make your 2010 better than 2009. I know you will have up and down days, but as long as you don't give up, I know success is on your side.
The whole point of mkaing changes is for you to recognize that there are many ways to live a healthier life. A balanced life involves making small changes that will last a lifetime. Whereas you may feel that not drinking soda is the best New Year resolution for you because you don't need those extra calories, what happens when you go 2 weeks without drinking soda and then you "give-in" for 1 soda? Are you a failure? Do you suddenly go back to your old habits? What happens if that was your only change for the New Year and you find it hard to stick to that one change because once you gave in for 1 soda, you felt as though it just wasn't worth it anymore?
I can see the practicality of only making one change and trying to find ways to make that change last. If you make too many changes, your life can get very overwhelming.
However, the all or nothing approach to your changes may also seem overwhelming.
If you tell yourself that you are going to be a vegetarian or are going to stop eating ice cream until you lose weight, what happens when you go out to eat and you aren't feeling a salad at a steakhouse? What happens after a 3 hour workout and your kids ask if you want to go out for ice cream? Are you rational enough to say that "all is not lost in one meal/day" or do you say "Screw it, my resolution is ruined".

I realize that not everyone is going to make a resolution. As I wrote about in a previous post, you will find more joy in the new year by setting short and long term goals and working towards that goal with a deadline in mind.
In order to help everyone reach both New Year resolutions and Short/Long term goals, I am going to provide my health, nutrition and fitness tips over the next 31 days.
I will post a blog every day of the week, Mon through Friday, for the next 31 days. That is 21 healthy tips, one for each day of the week (Except Sat and Sun). I will post a blog and you will try the tip the following day.
I understand that I have a diverse group of blog followers so my tips will be both practical and useful no matter what background you come from. If you think about, we can always improve on the way that we live our life, especially when it comes to nutrition, health and fitness.
Some of the changes may be new to you. For example, not going into meals starving, drinking water instead of a sport drink for 60 min or less workouts or having a smoothie for quality protein. For some people, my tips may be old and you may have incorporated my tip into your life a long time ago. For example, eating vegetarian, having fruit instead of processed food for a snack or strength training. So, for the day(s) that you read a change that you are already using, I'd love to hear how that change has made a difference in your life. Please leave a comment and let me know if you have anything else to add to the change of the day. If you don't feel like leaving a comment, I ask for you to tell a friend about my change for the day and how you can help your friend implement that change into his/her life for a better 2010.

As far as the changes go, you can choose to implement the changes into your current lifestyle or just feel proud that you went a full day with a new change. And of course, please use your best judgment when making changes. I don't foresee any of my changes being dangerous but in the case of a diet or exercise change, it is always good to consult a doctor before starting anything new, specifically, if you feel in any way that you are an at-risk individual. My changes are not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease. My only goal with my changes is for you to enjoy a new way (or a new day) of living life.

So, to bring you into the New Year, here is my last New Year resolution tip from the Iron Girl e-blasts. Don't forget that today is the day when you can register for any of the Iron Girl 2010 events. Don't miss out!

Registration is open.


New Year's Tip

from Marni Sumbal, M.S., CISSN, USAT level-1 coach, ADA Adult Weight management certification and Iron Girl Sports Nutritionist

Exercise is good for the mind, body and soul. Although many people associate exercise with weight loss or a specific body composition, there are countless additional benefits of daily exercise. And remember, physical activity is one form of exercise. You don't need a high heart rate and sweaty clothes to receive one (or more) of the many benefits of keeping your body active.

Benefits of Daily Exercise:
1. Improves mood, balance, coordination and self-esteem.
2. Improves productivity, memory and time management skills.
3. Prevention of chronic diseases and life threatening conditions - blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, coronary heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis and cancer.
4. Weight loss and weight maintenance.
5. Strengthens the heart, lungs and muscles.
6. Better sleep and more fulfilling sex life.
7. Reduces the need for medications and prescription drugs.
8. Improved immune system (less sick days).
9. More energy and improved mental health.
10. Better quality of life.
11. Improved insurance ratings for individuals and companies.

12/30/09

Fun times

I've been keeping myself really busy lately. But in the midst of business, I am enjoying all of the little things in life.
First off, Campy is just a hoot. Campy and Madison like to play together, chasing each other around our place. But the funniest thing was when Madison was playing with a toy and Campy took it from her. This was before the taking of the toy.
Sorry for the darkness of the video.

Also-the other night was the first ever Master swim team x-mas party. So much fun with my friends and even got to know the other swimmers a bit better.
Here are some pics of great friends, aka my training partners.






And of course, a few pics of Campy attempting to destroy his new Duck from Laura.








And lastly, another pic of Campy and Madison. These two are inseparable.

12/29/09

Making changes

It's far too easy to tell yourself what not to eat when making changes in your diet. As you begin to make changes in your diet, it is well-known that cutting back on portions will encourage a caloric deficit, thus promoting weight loss. However, with that loss in calories (often, for some people, exceeding a 1000+ caloric deficit per day) comes hunger, irritability, mood swings, frequent drops in blood sugar and a loss in energy. While these characteristic symptoms of "dieting" may not be inviting as your jump start the New Year, it almost seems as if a prerequisite to weight loss is the constant feeling of hunger.
I can see it now in an ad "if you are feeling hungry, you are doing something right in your weight loss journey!"

Of course they would never say that in an ad but if you actually tried some of the "diets" out there, or tried to maintain a strenuous training routine on meal replacement bars for breakfast and a 200 calorie cookie for lunch and a "reasonable-sized" dinner, it is inevitable that you are going to feel hungry and lose weight when you are eating only 800-1000 calories a day. If you are ok with feeling hungry and ok with weight loss, I think you will draw the line and NOT be ok with an increase risk of injury with your workouts, performance losses and ultimately de-motivation to train for the sport that you love.

Well, I have news for you. I don't believe that any person wanting to lose or maintain weight should live in a life of hunger. Perhaps you may need to get use to feeling satisfied with less food but the feeling of starvation is not on the menu with your new healthy eating habits.
In my opinion, it's all about the foods you eat, not just about the calories. While most dietitians will tell you that a calorie is a calorie, when it comes to weight loss, I believe that that people still need to understand how to eat for fuel rather than just eating to not exceed x-calories on a daily basis. In my opinion, if you can feel satisfied with healthy foods, which are lower in calories than your old eating habits and you prioritize the right foods before and after training, then you will get much more out of your eating and exercise routine. Because I deal with athletes on a daily basis, I take food and exercise much more seriously than just cutting back on calories and exercising more often. Now I am not saying that all dietitians feel this way, but for athletes and exercise enthusiasts, it is important that your diet supports your training routine, in order to promote some type of fitness or performance gains.

Here's how I see it...if you can feel satisfied with your dinner and eat a small evening snack you will hopefully wake up more energized and ready to exercise for an hour on an empty stomach rather than waking up super starving and trying to get through a workout on an empty stomach..or feeling totally bloated when you wake up and putting off the workout all together. Or, if you eat a satisfying snack in the afternoon (rather than trying to cut out your calories between lunch and dinner or only eating a handful of grapes), you are better able to control your dinner portion, you don't feel the need to have a giant evening snack and the next morning, you don't feel sluggish and you are able to feel good with a small pre-training snack to get you through a high intensity workout. These are just examples but hopefully you get the point.
If you can find ways to feel satisfied with your meals and snacks you will ultimately eat less at following meals and snacks thus decreasing your total calories for the day. Following your caloric deficit you won't find a decrease in energy because you will support your training routine through healthy and balanced food choices.

Let's see if we can make some changes to your current diet to help you get more out of your training and get more control from the way that you eat. Remember, we are making changes not just eliminating foods. Be slow with your changes so that you can learn what works and doesn't work for your lifestyle and exercise routine. Some changes may need to be modified to meet your caloric needs but hopefully you will learn to recognize what your body needs rather than what you think your body needs. And lastly, give it time. If you have one bad workout or feel hungry one day because you are trying a change for the first time..don't give up! Journal your food choices/quantities as well as your comments in order to find exactly what works for you.


45-60 minutes before a 60-90 minute workout or as a light snack:

Instead of a sports bar at 230-250 calories
1-2 Wasa crackers w/ 1/2 tbsp natural PB at 25 calories for each cracker and 50 calories for the Peanut Butter
Total: 100 calories



Comforting and sweet snack after a light dinner or healthy afternoon snack when craving sweets:
Instead of 1 bowl cereal (a realistic 2 cups cereal and 1 cup skim milk) at around 225-300 calories for the cereal and 80-90 calories for the milk)
Total: 315-390 calories


1 package low sugar brown sugar oatmeal + 10 fresh or frozen blueberries or raspberries and 1/2 tbsp dark chocolate chips (all microwaved together w/ water) at 110-130 calories for the oatmeal + 10-12 calories for the berries + 17 calories for the chocolate chips. Total = 137 calories


For lunch on the go
Instead of a PB&J sandwich with 2 slices whole grain bread, 2 tbsp PB, 2 tbsp jam at 120 calories per slice of bread, 190-210 calories for the PB and 50-60 calories per tbsp of jelly. Total: 530 calories

or instead of
Cliff Bar w/ Tall skinny starbucks latte at 240 calories for the cliff bar and 120 calories for the latte. Total = 360 calories





1 Flat out wrap w/ 1 tbsp PB, 3 ounces low fat strawberry yogurt, 1/2 medium banana sliced, 1/4 cup chopped apple, 15 raisins and 1 tbsp walnuts (chopped), 2 tbsp low fat granola and 1 tsp of cinnamon - all rolled up. W/ 1 cup light vanilla or chocolate soy milk
All at 90-100 calories for the wrap, 90-100 calories for the PB, 30-45 calories for the yogurt, 30-45 calories for the banana, 15-25 calories for the apple, 23 calories for the raisins, 45-50 calories for the walnuts, 45-50 calories for the granola and 6 calories for the cinnamon. Total = 384 calories.
Light soy milk at 1 cup = 80 calories




12/27/09

Non-typical resolutions

Now that the holidays are behind you, you can start finishing up those yummy chocolates, cakes, brownies, pies, cookies and candies. It is likely that you enjoyed your fair share of high calorie and high fat foods over the past month and a half and you are ready to get back to your normal routine of healthy eating and consistent exercise. Perhaps you don't have a consistent routine of exercise and you have struggled with your eating for the past year. Regardless of which person you are, it is likely that you are ready to throw out every "bad" food in the house, exercise like a mad-man/women in order to burn a mega amount of calories in the first week of your new lifestyle and vow to yourself that you will change every eating habit in order to get off the extra lbs that you gained during the past month or two.
If you gained a few lbs over the months of November and December, it is probable that getting back to your old healthy habits will quickly get you back to your healthy weight. However, if you gained a few winter lbs to your already overweight body you do not have to stick to a strict exercise and eating routine in order to lose weight in the next 3 weeks.
As you read in my last few resolution posts, you certainly understand that your weight loss and/or exercise journey is going to be slow. If you are planning to run a marathon, you are going to build in those miles. If you are planning to do your first IM, you are going to plan out all those long bikes and runs so you don't risk injury, risk overtraining and teach your body to metabolize fat as an efficient source of fuel. If you are planning on qualifying for the 70.3 World Championships, you are going to work on your weakness's as you build a solid base in the next few months.
If you are hoping to lose 30 lbs this year, you are going to aim for a 6-10% weight loss in the next 6 months, not exceeding 1-2 lbs per week. If you make small changes, those changes will stick.
If you are wanting to increase your lean muscle mass, you are going to get into the gym and stick to a solid weight lifting and cardio routine. You aren't going to rely on "metabolism booster" drugs or any drug for that matter. You are going to make your body do the work and you will reap every benefit from your consistent routine.
If you are planning on just getting to the gym a few times per week, then you are going to set realistic expectations. The night before you plan on going to gym, don't tell yourself that you are going to do a 1-hour workout on the treadmill if you haven't done a 1-hour workout in the past few weeks (or months). Aim for 20 minutes on the treadmill, at a slow pace or easy incline, and 10 minutes of strength training exercises (be sure to get a trained personal trainer to guide you through the proper way to lift weights or use machines).
So, now that you have a better understanding of realistic ways to incorporate exercise and healthy eating habits into your lifestyle, what's next?
While it may seem that your life revolves around the way you look, it is important that your life revolves around the way your feel. I guarantee that healthy eating and daily exercise will make you feel better in the inside, but there are many other ways to enjoy life.

In my latest New Year Resolution tip from the Iron Girl e-blast, I included some non-typical resolutions that are just as important to your new lifestyle as the way you look in the mirror.
BTW-don't forget that the Iron Girl 2010 Race series registration opens on December 31st!!


New Year's Tip

from Marni Sumbal, M.S., CISSN, USAT level-1 coach, ADA Adult Weight management certification and Iron Girl Sports Nutritionist

Typical New Year's resolutions involve dieting, cleaning out the fridge and pantry, getting a gym membership, hiring a personal trainer or all of the above. Although many people set out to reach realistic (and unrealistic) weight loss and fitness goals in the first few weeks of January, it is likewise important to focus on other aspects of your life which can bring you happiness, higher self-esteem, increased productivity and a quality-filled life.
How about some non-diet and physical activity New Year's resolutions?

1. Keep a to-do list and cross off your items with a pen in your favorite color
2. Say something positive about the day when you wake up and before you go to bed
3. On a daily basis, tell your friends and family (and pets) how much you love and appreciate them
4. Go to bed around the same time every night and get enough sleep to wake up rested
5. Accept constructive criticism and don't be so hard on yourself
6. Learn something new, try new healthy foods and ask more questions
7. Volunteer
8. Get more sunshine
9. Don't argue about pointless topics. Pick your battles and always be nice when speaking from the heart
10. Appreciate the little things in life

12/25/09

Happy holidays!!

My homemade Vanocka (czech christmas bread)


Karel's potato and egg salad (his mom's recipe)


Is this the cutest pic ever? Two little balls of cuteness.


Campy's Hanukkah sweater


Madison was so surprised to get a present. She wasn't expecting anything. Smudla was not entertained with her toy. She just wanted to get in her bag.



Campy's new bone. He doesn't get Doggy-treats so this was a special treat for him just for being a great doggy.


Thank you Laura for Campy's Squeaky Duck...squeak, squeak, squeak.


And the best gift of all for the cats....A BAG!!!!



12/23/09

More thoughts

What great comments on the January 1st post. I totally agree that resolutions can be quite overwhelming. Even if you set short and long term goals, you must think about why you are making these goals? Most of the time, short and long term goals reflect the past. What failed in the past? What worked well for you in the past? Why are you making these goals? What will it mean to you if you accomplish these goals?
Stay committed to your goals regardless if they are weight, nutrition, exercise, life, relationship, work, personal or career-related. These are your personal and individualized goals and you are the one in charge of meeting these goals. Sure, others can motivate, inspire and push you along the way, but the steps to getting to the top of your cloudy mountain are not as high as you think. No matter who you are, a long and short term goal takes time. While you will certainly see results and/or progress on a daily basis, do not get discouraged when you have a down day. When you have a good day, be sure to recognize the achievement and remind yourself of your ultimate goal. In order to keep yourself motivated, be sure to track your progress either through a journal, blogging or through open communication with a close and trusting friend.

Here's another one of my tips, found in the Aflac Iron Girl 2010 race schedule e-blast:

New Year resolutions may appear simple in your mind but a fresh idea must be practical and possible. Because a new way of living can be a rewarding change, start with good intentions and keep yourself motivated to reach your goals. Losing weight, eating healthier and improving your fitness may appear difficult at first but take small steps that you can actually follow through with your healthy resolutions.

12/22/09

Jan 1st

What's really going to change when you get to the New Year? Are you suddenly going to be 10 lbs lighter? Will your body automatically stop craving sweets? Are you going to instantly develop a love for meal planning and making your own meals?
There is nothing wrong with a New Year resolution but if you are making a nutrition/weight-related resolution, why not start today?
If you think about, there are 9 more days until 2010. That's 9 days to eat a few more fruits and veggies, to plan your meals and snacks, to understand portions and learn how to control yourself around certain foods and to change up your current exercise routine (if you aren't exercising, start slow). For the next 9 days, commit to healthier eating and a more active lifestyle. If you start now, you will be 9 days ahead of the rest of population who sets unrealistic expectations for the upcoming year.
The holidays often bring stress, business and a change of routine. They also bring sweet treats, high fat meals and heavy portions. But, a the same time, they can bring happiness, family traditions, smiles and love.
After the winter holidays, people often feel ready for a change. Perhaps it is due to the fatty and sugary meals and snacks or maybe, it is due to a quick (or long) reflection of the previous year. Whatever way you want to look at it, January 1st can be life changing.
New Year-related articles are my favorite. I love reading them and most of all, I love writing them.
When it comes to weight loss and exercise, it is 100% unrealistic if you think that all will change in one day. More so, if you want to stick to a resolution (which is long-lasting) you have to understand how to create healthy habits in order to make that resolution manageable and realistic. If you tell yourself that you are going to eat 1800 calories a day and exercise 10-12 hours a week you must learn how it can be done so you 1) recover from workouts to get stronger 2) reduce risk from injury 3) not overeat before and after workouts 4) don't feel like you "have" to eat or exercise in a certain way but rather than you "want" to 5) and most of all, enjoy life and not feel like you have to stick to a strict exercise and eating routine in order to maintain your goal (realistic) weight.
Maybe you need to eat a little protein after your 30-60 min. workouts and before your meals in order to prevent overeating. Maybe you need to drink more water during the day. Maybe you need to decrease meal calories by 50-100. Maybe you need to add a serving of fruit and veggies to each meal and snack.
These are all options to change your habits to promote a healthier way of living life and finding joy in your eating and exercise routine.
The other day when I was listening to AM radio I heard a doctor talk about all of the foods that we should be eating for weight loss. I have a feeling that most individuals (especially athletes) don't have trouble in finding what to eat. Rather, it is more about what not to eat. However, if you create a resolution that you don't want to eat x-food because you want to lose weight, you will never learn to find the missing links in your current eating routine that are preventing you from losing weight. What if I told you it isn't the 8pm Hershey Kiss that is preventing you from losing weight. What if I told you that you aren't going to lose weight by eating soup and salad for lunch every day instead of your normal Turkey and Cheese Sandwich. What if I told you that you could eat 2 Hershey Kisses a day so long as you had 1 serving of fruit at least once between breakfast and lunch and 1 serving of veggies between lunch and dinner. What if I told you that you could keep your Turkey and Cheese sandwich so long as you used 1 tbsp hummus instead of 2 tbsp mayo, whole grain bread instead of a spinach wrap and 1 piece of cheese instead of 3 slices cheese so long as you started your lunch with a side salad filled with colorful veggies and fat-free dressing (or low cal vinaigrette) on the side? What if I told you that the only way I want you eat a salad for a meal is if you combine at least 100-150 calories of protein (25-37g) and at least 50 calories worth of fat (5.6g) with your bowl full of veggies. What if I told you that if you eat a small snack before each meal (50-80 calories, primarily protein or fiber) that you will find yourself eating less for meals and ultimately reducing your total caloric intake. What if on your busy days, when you just don't have time to exercise or feel like exercising, that I told you that you could burn calories by adding in 3x1 mile walks (15 min each walk)? You don't have to feel the burn, you don't have to get to a gym, you don't have to run and most of all, you don't have to get sweaty. You just need to get your body moving and start walking.
In the past few weeks, Iron Girl sent out a few e-blasts promoting the December 31st registration date for the 2010 Iron Girl event series. If you are wanting a top-notch racing experience with loads of amenities, I recommend signing up for one of the many all-women Iron Girl races.
If you haven't received an email, I have a few New Year resolution tips on the bottom of each email. I thought I would post one of my New Year tips which I find very useful for people who like to plan out their 2010 racing season. If you aren't an athlete, no worries...start planning your personal long term and short term goals.


Small changes bring big results. And when speaking of body composition and physical activity, who doesn't want to succeed with personal fitness and weight loss goals? Because long-term results don't happen overnight, you must be realistic and not expect your entire life to change in the first 24 hours of January. While the New Year can certainly jump start a weight loss and/or fitness program, your new healthy and active lifestyle is long-term and not short-lived.

Starting today, set 3 short term and 3 long term goals.
Give yourself 6 months to reach your short term goals and 12 months to reach long term goals. If your BMI (Body Mass Index) is in the overweight or obese category, aim to lose 6-10% of your current weight in 6 months. In terms of physical activity, aim for a total of 60 minutes of exercise (short bouts of exercise count towards your daily goal) at least 5 days per week. Here are some examples;

Short term goals:
1. Lose 1-2 lb per week for the next 6 months.
2. Eat more fruits and veggies as snacks.
3. Keep a food journal.

Long-term goals:
1. Complete my first Iron Girl triathlon or run this summer.
2. Take an active 1-week vacation with friends and/or family before next January.
3. Inspire 5 of my friends to live a healthy and active lifestyle with me.

12/20/09

Week in Pictures

What a great week. I went down to New Port Richey to spend a few days with my family. My brother came in from Pitt and it was the first time we were together since my wedding in Oct '08.










I kept myself very busy while I was away with the fam. I spent a few hours taping plyometric exercises for BeginnerTriathlete.com and someone wanted a little attention during my taping session...
(you might not be able to see this so I will work on this video link)

My good friend Laura ran her very first Marathon today! I had a great time coaching her and I could not have been more proud. Campy was soooo happy to see "aunt" Laura and after the race, we went to see Campy's BFF, Beethoven (bman). Also, a Big congrats to Mallory who ran her first half marathon in 1:40.15 (clock time). We have been working out her nutrition-related kinks and I'm super happy for her race performance today!









Karel is doing great...busy at the Trek store during this Holiday season. He's not letting the cold temps get to him 'cause he's been getting in plenty of time on the Trails (MTB). It is cold here in Jax....40 degrees this morning!! Brrrrr.
A special thanks to Karel's mom and dad for sending us lots of yummy cookies and chocolates from Czech!!! I LOVE this time of the year. It takes Karel's mom a few weeks to make all of her Gingerbread cookies but they are super delicious. I check the mailbox every day during the entire month of December....waiting for those yummy treats all the way from Karel's home in Znojmo, Czech Republic. It takes a good 2 weeks for them to come but when they get here they are super yummy!!




Also...
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