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Posts Tagged ‘weight loss’

I’m on the third day of my cleanse diet. All I have to do is drink maple syrup, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and water for all three meals. Um, I just bought some bikinis online, size 2. So…I’m gonna look amazing.

– Kelly Kapoor, The Office (season 5)

No matter how desperate you are to keep that New Year’s resolution to lose weight, don’t do this! I have a plan that’s just as simple but won’t leave you looking all strung out: get plenty of sleep, drink a lot water, eat whole foods with a lot of fiber, and sweat for about an hour most days of the week. Love you just the way you are, Kelly Kapoor!

– albledsoe


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My mom and I were recently discussing how overwhelming it can be to try to be healthy, because there is so much information out there, much of it conflicting. Do you drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, or half your body weight in ounces, or something else entirely? Is soy a great veg source of protein, or does it screw with your hormones? The influx of information can be mind-boggling and often paralyzing. Even if you have the best intentions, it can sometimes feel impossible to know if you’re actually doing and eating the right things.

Here at F2BT, we attempt to wade through the unreliable information, bring you the most up-to-date advice, and deliver our real-life results, good or bad. Here are just a few places I regularly turn for health-related info and ideas. There are hundreds of others out there, and we’d love to hear your suggestions as well.

Runner’s World and Women’s Health magazines. I’m a magazine addict anyway, and these two (both by Rodale) are high-quality, info-packed reads every single issue. Both have great websites as well. I especially love the Newbie Chronicles by Mark Parent in RW for it’s honest, hilarious take on being a beginning runner. Warning: Runner’s World may inspire you to do crazy things, like run a marathon.

MapMyRun.com. This site allows you to plug in any starting point and map a running route which you can save, share, etc. You can set up a profile to track your runs, search for other runs in an area and more. Sister sites include mapmyride.com and mapmyhike.com.

Dr. Andrew Weil. I’ve referenced Dr. Weil several times before, but this Harvard-educated physician has proven to be one of the most reliable sources I’ve found for all things health. He believes emotions and spirit play a bigger role in our well-being than most people acknowledge, and he believes some things are best treated by conventional medicine, and other things are better treated in a more natural manner. I always check out what he’s written on an issue before I take any action.

Self magazine. I had to include another mag, since Self has topped my pile for years. The print issue covers everything for cancer survivors to fashion and celebrities to the best new gear, and I love the editor, a triathlete and mom with a great blog of her own. We at F2BT also check out the Eat Like Me blog at self.com, where a registered dietician photographs and posts every single meal she eats. Great stuff!

iTunes. This isn’t very original, but I check out iTunes for inspiration for workouts, both music and podcasts. I love the sports mixes that include “coached” workouts. I own Lance Armstrong’s and Kara Goucher’s. It’s also inspiring to see the top Power Songs (“Eye of the Tiger” anyone?). And I’ve gotten some great podcasts with workouts, yoga and meditation, etc. Check out Mayo Clinic and Dr. Weil there for medical advice, and listen to interviews with top athletes to keep you motivated.

Ken Combs Running Store. This of course will vary depending on where you are, but your local running store is a great resource. For the most part, the people working there love to run, bike, or whatever, and they want to help the endurance community grow (read: free advice). All running stores I know of also get involved in putting on races, are very active in giving back to the community, and generally have ties to running groups (or coordinate their own). I love Ken Combs in Louisville as well as Swag’s and the Trail Store.

– albledsoe

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Sure, you know that smoking, overeating, and lack of exercise aren’t healthy. But did you realize the effect these behaviors can have on your budget as well as the financial wellbeing of your employer?

At the Kentucky Economic Summit in July, Wellsteps CEO Steven Aldana’s presentation on wellness in the workplace made the connection between lifestyle choices we make every day and the downslide of the economy. Aldana maintains that while several factors can be blamed for the U.S. recession, the outrageous cost of disease care in our country has caused some corporations to fail or move to other countries.

Aldana presented some interesting statistics, including that within nine years, 20 percent of money produced in the U.S will go to pay for healthcare. We have by far the highest healthcare costs in the world, but that isn’t making us healthier. In fact, we have the highest infant mortality rate among developing countries, and more than two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese.

On average, 25 percent of employees have a chronic disease; that 25 percent of the workforce accounts for 85 percent of a company’s costs. An overwhelming majority of these chronic diseases are completely preventable: 71 percent of cancers, 70 percent of stroke, 82 percent of heart disease, and 91 percent of Type II diabetes are the direct result of poor lifestyle choices. Not only do these diseases raise healthcare costs, but they increase absenteeism (which is costly to a company), workers compensation, and short-term disability.

How can you make better choices to improve the financial situation for your family and ensure the success of your company? Begin with a few simple steps:

-Begin taking family walks every day. It’s a great, FREE way to relieve stress and spend time together while getting fresh air a physical activity.

-Try adding a vegetable or fruit at each meal. Toss extra veggies on a sandwich or throw some berries in your cereal or oatmeal.

-Trade white flour products for those made with whole grains.

-Prepare meals and snacks ahead of time and keep some with you to avoid the temptation of the drive-thru.

-Use spices and herbs to flavor your food instead of fats and creams to help your waistline as well as lower cholesterol.

-Do some sort of physical activity most days of the week. Little changes can add up!

– Read the F2BT blog regularly for more tips and ideas (shameless plug, sorry!).

Changing your habits isn’t easy, but healthier lifestyle can add 10-20 high quality years to your life. Try incorporating just one of these tips every day for a week, then add the next one. You can’t afford not to!

– albledsoe

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I’m reading “Master Your Metabolism” by Jillian Michaels, and it inspired me to do a fall cleaning of my pantry. I decided to focus on just a couple of items at a time as I read through the book, and I started with hydrogenated fats and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). I thought this would be easy because I consider myself a really healthy, natural eater, and everyone knows these things are terrible for you. But when you throw in a husband and god-daughter and the occasional cheat meal, I guess the crappy food accumulated without my even realizing it.

I had one issue with Jillian’s plan: She demands you throw the food away instead of donating it to a food bank, because “this stuff is poison, horrible for your own or anyone else’s body. Yes, you may have paid money for it, but cut your losses and also prevent anyone else from poisoning their body. THROW IT AWAY.” When you put it that way, Jill, how can I say no? So I tossed the junk and cut my losses.

First evil ingredient I tossed: hydrogenated fats. You’ve probably heard about restaurants in certain cities banning trans fats, and lots of food brands put on their labels “Trans Fat Free.” But the catch is, a food can still have a small amount of hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils and make that claim. NO amount of these fats is good for you, as they lead to heart disease and metabolic syndrome as well as high triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Problem is hydrogenated or trans fats find their way into almost every kind of processed food imaginable, like chips and crackers and bread. Most surprising to me was microwave popcorn…I always thought that was a healthy snack (and the air-popped version is a great whole grain, high-fiber option). So I tossed anything in my pantry or fridge with any type of shortening or hydrogenated oil, and my arteries instantly felt better.

Next up: high-fructose corn syrup. I thought I avoided this for the last few years, but I found this stuff on the labels in all kinds of food at my house. From the off-brand raisin bran cereal in the cabinet to the marshmallows left over from camping and even the half jar of pasta sauce in the fridge, I was shocked at the amount of refined-sugar laden crap I was throwing out. It was a great feeling to get rid of it, but I was ashamed to find so much in the first place. So what’s so bad about HFCS? This inexpensive sweetener is added to so many foods, and aside from all the calories it contains, HFCS has been shown to increase your triglycerides and lead to overeating (because your body doesn’t recognize it as food and fails to signal your brain that you’re full).

Once I finished this purge, it was time to refill the kitchen. This time around, I read every single label instead of assuming I knew what was healthy and what wasn’t. It actually made my grocery trip much easier, because if a food contained one of these “antinutrients,” as Jillian calls them, I just put it back on the shelf. Piece of cake! Well, you know what I mean…

– albledsoe

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Mind over matter

It seems like those extra 5, 10, 20 (or more?) pounds just pop up overnight. I mean, you’re just living your life, drinking Diet Coke and downing bags of popcorn while you sit on the couch watching The Rachel Zoe Project, and next thing you know, your jeans don’t fit. How in the world did that happen?!

Maybe that’s just me, but even though for months I knew I wasn’t living the lifestyle to keep myself from ballooning a few sizes, I was still shocked when I stepped on the scale one day and got a rude awakening. It’s so easy to be in denial, but now that I’m down to my “happy” weight again, I want to make sure it doesn’t creep back up on me. Outside of nutrition and fitness, here are a few of the ways I give myself a reality check so I can catch the extra weight when it’s only one or two pounds and not 10!

1. Keep a food journal. I’m sure I’ll go into more depth about this at some point, but many studies have shown and experts have said you’re so much more likely to lose weight and keep it off if you write down your intake. I record what I eat, what time I ate it, and how much I drink. Putting it on paper makes it real.

2. Have a full-length mirror…and use it! Until recently, we didn’t have a full-length mirror on the main floor of our house. I had to be in a fitting room or at the gym to catch a glimpse at what I looked like from the chest down. Not making eye contact with results of my sins made them a lot easier to deny!

3. Keep the skinny jeans around. The winter my healthy lifestyle fell apart happens to be the same time I got a new pair of super soft and comfy Gap sweatpants. For months, as soon as I came home from work and then all weekend long, I wore those pants. You don’t tend to notice your size changing when you spent 80 percent of your time in baggy, stretchy clothes with elastic waistbands! Now I try to wear my favorite (smaller!) jeans at least once a week, so if they start to get tight, I’ll notice right away.

It’s easy for life’s distractions to take the focus of your health. But you know when you’re not feeling great, and taking notice of your instincts and making early efforts to take better care of yourself and get back on track will not only help you maintain your weight, but also give you the confidence to be proactive in other aspects of your life as well.

– albledsoe

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Frustration is the first step towards improvement. I have no incentive to improve if I’m content with what I can do and if I’m completely satisfied with my pace, distance, and form as a runner. It’s only when I face frustration and use it to fuel my dedication that I feel myself moving forwards.

– John “The Penguin” Bingham

Completely frustrated was my state of being this spring. I had been rising before dawn to work out at the gym nearly every morning since November and hadn’t been able to lose more than three pounds, or see any significant difference in my body. At my annual checkup, my doctor recommended a personal trainer. She said the strength training and personalized nutrition plan would help me get my weight back where I wanted it. (She also said I needed to figure out what worked for me before I turn 30. Thanks, doc!)

I was nervous to spend the money, being in a recession and all. My company had just announced a pay cut, and things weren’t (and aren’t) looking that bright for the economy in the near future. But I felt like an idiot wasting all those hours at the gym and working so hard without results. I have the work ethic, I just needed the knowledge to get me there. My confidence was shot, I was tired of being frustrated all the time, and if this small investment could remedy that, it was going to be worth every penny.

After a few phone calls, I was hooked up with a trainer at my gym, Urban Active St. Matthews. Brian Leonard is (proudly) extreme and put me on a tough plan that was just what I needed. I’m down 21 pounds from where I started the year, and I now feel like I have the tools physically and emotionally to reach any goal I set for myself.

I’m not going to get into the details of my program, but here are some tips if you’re considering a personal trainer:

1. Get over the guilt. This was a tough one for me. I was really ashamed that I’d let myself get to the point where I needed extra assistance. But then I realized that I can’t do it all. We hire pros to work on our cars, fix our plumbing, and groom our pets…why not have a professional get your body in top shape? It’s an old cliché, but we do only get one body…

2. Get referrals. My doctor recommended a trainer, but his schedule and mine didn’t mesh, so he recommended Brian based on his conversations with me. I think Brian was an even better fit for my needs at the time. You need a personal trainer that will understand your goals, take the time to answer your questions, and who will motivate you. They have to have the knowledge, but if you can’t stand to be around them, it’s not going to do you any good.

3. Make sure you’re comfortable with the cost. If you’re a member at a gym, this is usually the best deal. But there are lots of trainers that are self-employed and will even come to your house. If you’re on a budget, consider sharing sessions with a friend or spouse, or try a boot camp (but know these may not be as personalized, especially where nutrition is concerned). Definitely understand the terms of any agreement or package you sign up for, and stand your ground. They want you as a customer, and they should tailor the options to your needs and financial situation as much as possible. That being said, don’t expect them to give it away…this is a valuable service.

4. You’re worth it. Until you realize that, nothing’s going to do you any good.

-John “The Penguin” Bingham– albledsoe

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