I blew it! Have you?

 Yup, I did!

It started out with breakfast.

  • two ham and cheese croissants
  • one scone
  • one egg

Which lead to lunch.

  • Indian Buffet (multiple trips)

Then came dinner.

  • Stuffed Shells

Then came the snacking.

  • Entire LARGE bag of Maltesers!

I was over calories by 1,390. Which means I basically ate double the amount of food I should eat in order to lose the 15 lbs I wanted to lose. I gained the weight I lost and then some back. I was starting from below zero.

I was mad at myself. I was frustrated. I was starting to talk myself into giving up.

Sound familiar?

What I forgot to do

To be honest, I did leave 5 malteser balls behind. Many dieters would throw them out. I couldn’t since it’s my favorite candy (the british version).

That’s my recommendation … Do NOT throw out food you REALLY enjoy. You will regret it. You will eventually go out and buy another and eat the entire treat when you could have just had a small piece to end the craving.

We are not on a starvation diet. We are on a new way of eating and living. And … eating a treat is part of living.

My problem this time was that I didn’t allow any cheats for a long time. I then went NUTS when I “cheated”. This is the problem with many diets. No cheating leads to gorging.

Earn that treat

I remember meeting this lovely woman who was much older than I at the time. Clare was in excellent shape. She would go to the gym 5 times a week. One of the days was on the weekend. That’s when I would see her.

At this particular gym, they had snack bar. Ironically, not all items were “healthy.” As I sat with her over a lemon water, she looked at the cakes. She selected a deep chocolate cake with cream cheese icing about 1/2″ thick. As I looked in envy and shock, she told me “I’ve been planning for this all week.”

That’s it!

To avoid craving and gorging, plan for a “treat” once a week. Or, plan on a treat after you lose 3 pounds. Either way, you should be able to treat yourself at least once a month. It’s not a cheat if you plan for it.

Clare said she would pick her “treat” at the beginning of the week. With every step, every meal, every day at the gym, Clare would tell herself she was working to earn that treat. This prevented cravings because she knew she would have it. She didn’t gorge because she knew she would have another treat next week. It wasn’t a “cheat” because she was disciplined through the week.

What to do next

I forgot Clare’s story on the day I blew it. If I had remembered, I wouldn’t have beaten myself up about it. I wouldn’t have almost given up. I probably would have stopped “cheating” after breakfast.

When I remembered Clare’s story the next day, I put the 5 malteser balls in a bag and put it away. I told myself, next Sunday! I then made sure I walked my 6 miles (about 13,000 steps). I went to the gym and did my:

  • 20 minutes of light calisthenics,
  • 20 minutes of elliptical, and
  • 20 minutes of weightlifting.

I planned my exercise routine for the week. I planned my diet to be within budget each day.

What I did was to get back on track; telling myself I’m not on a diet. I’m on a new life path to get in shape.

Plan your treat

Planning your treat is not only selecting the treat but the conditions for earning them. Even if you went off the rails before, now start planning for it. You will be able to limit the damage and control your cravings.

  1. What will be your treat?
  2. What foods will you eat this week to earn that treat?
  3. What exercises must you do to earn that treat?
  4. How many miles will you have walked to earn that treat?
  5. How much weight must you lose to earn that treat?

If you meet all the REASONABLE goals, you earned your treat. If you didn’t, then leave the treat for next week. For if you have it without meeting your goals, it is a cheat. Enough cheats will prevent you from getting back in shape.

Earn your treat!

Get Back In Shape To Do List

  1. Weigh In DAILY (recording the date/weight)
  2. Increase your steps every day by 250.
  3. Eat your meals within 12 hours.
  4. Drink 64 oz of water a day.
  5. Record what you eat.
  6. Know your meal-calorie guidelines
  7. Know what foods will heal health issues
  8. Snack on purpose
  9. Add aerobic exercise to your schedule
  10. Burn daily to earn daily
  11. Don’t cheat, earn your treat

Motivational Reminders:

  • Healthy habits help you lose and maintain a good weight and health.
  • A scale is just the provider of information to help you make healthier choices.
  • Don’t just eat more calories; earn them!
  • Flush out the bloat.
  • Know your calorie boundaries.
  • Consistency matters.
  • Eat your way to better health
  • Exercise your heart
  • Over estimate what you eat; underestimate what you burned
  • Underestimate what you burned to record what you’ve earned.
  • Carrying over excess calories leads to weight gain.
  • Earn your treats.

Welcome to the journey to better health! You can do it!

Earning calories

How is your walking going?

We’ve been working on developing a “go to” cheap calorie day. We talked about breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Before determining your best dinner option, let’s see if you have earned yourself more daily calories.

If you are walking AT LEAST 5,000 steps a day, you can begin recording your walks in your diet app. If you are not up to 5,000 steps a day, you will be soon. Now you have something to encourage you to reach that 5,000 (and soon 10,000) step guideline.

Walking 5,000 is about 2.5 miles and about 185 calories burned. Once you reach the 10,000 steps, you will have burned about 370 calories. Hopefully that encourages you to want to walk more. More, the better!

STOP! Before you add those calories into your daily calorie allowance … you need to adopt another rule towards better health.

Over/under rule

This new rule will help you actually lose the weight and keep it off. The rule is called: the over/under rule. This will balance out your eyes versus your heart.

Overestimate what you eat / underestimate what you do

Our eyes tend to believe our servings are smaller than they actually are. For example, you think you have a 4 ounce piece of chicken when it is probably more like 5.5 ounces. Do that with every item for every meal and the scale goes in the wrong direction. Especially dangerous is the number of calories in dessert.

The same is true for exercise. We tend to think we worked out harder, walked longer, or did more than reality.

This is why you’ll need to adopt and adhere to the over/under rule.

Your deceiving eyes and heart

To compensate for the “over” part of the rule, “overestimate” to what you eat.

  • If you ate 4.3 ounces … record 4.5 ounces.
  • If you ate 4.1 ounces … record 4.5 ounces.
  • If you ate 4.6 ounces … record 5 ounces.

This does dwindle the amount of calories you eat but that isn’t a bad thing. Especially since you are now going to start recording calories you EARN.

This brings us to the other side of the scale: recording  exercise.

We are sure we walked more than what is registering. We are sure we should be burning more calories than what your fitbit says (more on this device in a future post). Our heart says so … so it must be true.

Recording calories burned and earned

Your fitness app will help you calculate the actual calories burned/earned. You will notice that what you burn will always be higher than the calories the app will allow you to earn. That’s okay. Your goal is to lose the weight and get back in shape (#getbackinshape).

Sorry, just as our eyes think we are eating less than we actually are; our hearts say we are burning more calories than we actually do.

  • If you walked 3.4 miles … record 3 miles.
  • If you walked 3.95 miles … record 3.5 miles.
  • If you walked 2.3 miles … record 0 miles.

To record your daily walks (we will discuss apps like fitbit in a future post):

  1. You must walk at least 2.5 miles to record anything.
  2. You adjust downward to the nearest .5 miles (even if you are very close to the next level).

For all other type of exercises (hopefully you are up to 3x per week), time is the measurement. For me, when I lift weights or row, I adjust the time downwards.

  • 23 minutes … record 20 minutes.
  • 39 minutes … record 35 minutes.
  • 19 minutes … record 0.

To record timed exercises:

  1. You must work out for at least 20 minutes to record anything.
  2. You adjust downward to the nearest 5 minutes (even if you are very close to the next level).

If you are using the noom app, the exercise section asks for strength. Be honest with yourself, you are only starting out. You are not exercising at the maximum … yet. That means when you record timed exercise, you did it at low or medium strength.

If you haven’t downloaded an app for your phone or computer, you will have a difficult time recording calories earned. I did find this website to help you estimate how many calories you burned. BUT, always downsize the number they provide. Remember:

You need to underestimate what you burned to record what you’ve earned.

One day to the next

Some days you may not be up to all the exercise you planned. That’s okay. That day you didn’t earn extra calories. However, the next day you can earn them through exercise. Because calories earned are on a day-by-day basis.

That also means if you did lot’s of exercise on Monday and didn’t eat all the allotted calories, they are lost. You can not carry over to the next day (or a future day) any uneaten calories! That’s a slippery slope you do not want to start.

Carrying over excess calories leads to weight gain.

Have a great week! Enjoy the earned calories!

Get Back In Shape To Do List

  1. Weigh In DAILY (recording the date/weight)
  2. Increase your steps every day by 250.
  3. Eat your meals within 12 hours.
  4. Drink 64 oz of water a day.
  5. Record what you eat.
  6. Know your meal-calorie guidelines
  7. Know what foods will heal health issues
  8. Snack on purpose
  9. Add aerobic exercise to your schedule
  10. Burn daily to earn daily.

Motivational Reminders:

  • Healthy habits help you lose and maintain a good weight and health.
  • A scale is just the provider of information to help you make healthier choices.
  • Don’t just eat more calories; earn them!
  • Flush out the bloat.
  • Know your calorie boundaries.
  • Consistency matters.
  • Eat your way to better health
  • Exercise your heart
  • Over estimate what you eat; underestimate what you burned
  • Underestimate what you burned to record what you’ve earned.
  • Carrying over excess calories leads to weight gain.

Welcome to the journey to better health! You can do it!

What’s for lunch?

 

No such thing as a calorie “free” lunch

We talked about Breakfast and Snacks. Now it’s time to focus on lunch. If lunch is your BIG meal for the day, pick dinner.

I am a creature of habit. I have the same thing for lunch at least  5 days a week (the work day). I then splurge on the weekend by varying what I have.

Your goal is to find a lunch within calories. A lunch you would not mind having at least 5 days a week for a month.

Here is my lunch:

  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 5 prunes
  • 1/8 cup dried blueberries (about 20 grams)
  • 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • 3 multigrain rice squares
  • 4 dried figs

Calorie count: 425. That gives me 5 more calories for the “spare” category (more if I include my breakfast savings).

As I did with my weekday breakfasts, I set up the dry ingredients in travel bowls on Sunday night for the full week. That saves me time and also prevents me “adding a little more” if I feel hungry.

Become a creature of habit for the meal you are concentrating on for this week.

Lunch with clients

In the business world, many deals are negotiated over lunch. That is why it can be difficult to keep to a diet.

When I worked for IBM in the late 70s and early 80s, I was moving from an inside job to a customer-facing position. During my interview I was asked how my “elbows worked”. That was a question to find out if I could handle drinking at lunch.

Times have changed. That’s a good thing. Liquid lunches add many risks as well as calories. Still, many clients want to be wined and dined. The only way around this is to plan for it.

The luncheon meetings usually are planned ahead. You need to do the same with your meals. Plan your week to be able to indulge for that one important meeting meal. Reserve your BIG meal (if only for that day) for lunch. Leave the other meals as “low calorie” meals.

Remember the motivational quote:

Don’t just eat more calories; earn them!

Make a point to do extra aerobics (we are currently at 3x a week … try for 4x or more that week).

Of course, many ultra-fit people can go out to any meal with a client and still remain on track. You need to work on that strength as well. Some suggestions include:

  • Order a salad
  • Order fish without heavy sauces
  • Stick to non-red meats.
  • Omit the alcohol or minimize it to only 1 glass of wine.
  • Skip dessert

You’ll feel better. Your clients will respect you. You will illustrate your character for keeping promises … this promise is to yourself.

 

When you go over

And you will … if not at a client lunch; at another office or family event. I’ll have a separate post dedicated to that topic.

For now, realize it is just one meal. You can get back on track the next meal. You can get back on track the next day as you weigh yourself (another reason why weighing yourself daily is important).

Don’t beat yourself up over the weight gain. Think about what you ate and drank and learn the impact that has on your weight. Every time you do, you will think twice before having that dessert. Weighing yourself gives you not just information … it gives you knowledge you can plan and act upon. As the motivational reminder:

A scale is just the provider of information to help you make healthier choices.

Get Back In Shape To Do List

  1. Weigh In DAILY (recording the date/weight)
  2. Increase your steps every day by 250.
  3. Eat your meals within 12 hours.
  4. Drink 64 oz of water a day.
  5. Record what you eat.
  6. Know your meal-calorie guidelines
  7. Know what foods will heal health issues
  8. Snack on purpose
  9. Add aerobic exercise to your schedule

Motivational Reminders:

  • Healthy habits help you lose and maintain a good weight and health.
  • A scale is just the provider of information to help you make healthier choices.
  • Don’t just eat more calories; earn them!
  • Flush out the bloat.
  • Know your calorie boundaries.
  • Consistency matters.
  • Eat your way to better health
  • Exercise your heart

Welcome to the journey to better health! You can do it!

Aerobic beginnings

 Seth Godin on habits

My favorite author, Seth Godin, wrote a post back in January. The following quote from that post applies here with healthy habits as well.

You might have noticed that the gym was a little less crowded this morning.

It’s only four days into the new year and most well-intentioned resolutions have already faded.

Of course they have. You can’t change an ingrained habit with just a few days of willpower.

We stay where we are, finding a level and a routine and protecting it. Change isn’t easy or everyone would do it. Finding more responsibility, making a bigger difference, following a new path–we need help and time to change those patterns.

That’s why we are going VERY SLOWLY in forming healthy habits. Every week I’m providing just one small step/tip to help you build upon a healthy habit pattern. This is the only way to make it stick. It’s the reason why I’ve kept off most of my weight and am able to go back when I fall off the wagon.

That’s, also, why I haven’t asked you to go the gym yet. The overcrowded gym is a BIG turn off. It is frustrating. It is time consuming. Now…it will be empty in comparison. Now is the time to join a cheap gym if you do not have aerobic equipment at home.

Aerobic Exercise

You need to find an activity or two you enjoy. The activity is to get your heart pumping.

Your aerobic exercise can be:

  • running
  • exercise class (or video)
  • aerobic machine

I like to use the rowing machine. As an alternate (when my knees feel really bad), I’ll use the elliptical. Stationary bike isn’t comfortable for me. I hate sticking to a time schedule to join any exercise class. I like to workout alone!

Find what works for you. If you have a machine at home, time to dust it off. If you don’t, time to join a gym that does. If you like to work out with a friend, find a time that works for both of you.

Working up to goal

When I first started going to the gym, I was on a 3-day schedule. Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday I would go to the gym just for the aerobic.

I started by rowing 3 minutes at a slow pace. My heart did race.

Every time I went to the gym, I increased my rowing by a minute. When I reached the 20 minutes, I started increasing the resistance to make it more difficult. That’s where I am now. I still row only 20 minutes but I push myself go faster with more reistance.

Do what I did. Start with only 3 minutes of aerobic exercise. Add a minute each time. Your goal is to work up to a 20 minute aerobic activity 5 times a week.

Seth Godin & Me

PS: That is a picture of Seth Godin and me pre diet. When I reach my weight, I’m going to try to seek him out and get an updated picture! That’s a reward I would truly enjoy.

What reward are you planning on giving yourself? More about rewards in future posts. You’ll have plenty of rewards to help you form this new pattern of healthy eating.

Get Back In Shape To Do List

  1. Weigh In DAILY (recording the date/weight)
  2. Increase your steps every day by 250.
  3. Eat your meals within 12 hours.
  4. Drink 64 oz of water a day.
  5. Record what you eat.
  6. Know your meal-calorie guidelines
  7. Know what foods will heal health issues
  8. Snack on purpose
  9. Add aerobic exercise to your schedule

Motivational Reminders:

  • Healthy habits help you lose and maintain a good weight and health.
  • A scale is just the provider of information to help you make healthier choices.
  • Don’t just eat more calories; earn them!
  • Flush out the bloat.
  • Know your calorie boundaries.
  • Consistency matters.
  • Eat your way to better health
  • Exercise your heart

Welcome to the journey to better health! You can do it!

Snack on purpose

 The fourth meal of the day

Going beyond 4  hours between meals is tough. Your body starts craving. Your body starts acting as if it is warning you about starvation.

That’s why I add a fourth meal to my schedule. It’s a snack.

Eating your way to better health

Last week we talked about focusing your diet to help you on certain health issues. Mine was increasing fiber. My husband (pictured in this post) requires more protein for muscle building.

Your snack is a good time for you to concentrate on your issue. I have a Fiber Bar as a snack.  To keep up with his crossfit training, my husband eats a protein bar.

If you have a calcium deficiency, try adding a yogurt for a snack. For diabeties, pick something without sugar.

You already know what you should eat. You just haven’t created a healthy habit around it.

Work snacks in

Find a food that fits within your meal-calorie guidelines.

My fiber bars range between 130 to 160 calories each. That’s why I planned 160 for a snack on my calorie “pie”.

What’s your “snack”?

  • Adjust your calorie distribution to be able to handle this fourth meal.
  • Plan a snack 3 hours between other meals.
  • Record snacks in your food diary.

Snack on purpose! Snack your way to better health!

Get Back In Shape To Do List

  1. Weigh In DAILY (recording the date/weight)
  2. Increase your steps every day by 250.
  3. Eat your meals within 12 hours.
  4. Drink 64 oz of water a day.
  5. Record what you eat.
  6. Know your meal-calorie guidelines
  7. Know what foods will heal health issues
  8. Snack on purpose

Motivational Reminders:

  • Healthy habits help you lose and maintain a good weight and health.
  • A scale is just the provider of information to help you make healthier choices.
  • Don’t just eat more calories; earn them!
  • Flush out the bloat.
  • Know your calorie boundaries.
  • Consistency matters.
  • Eat your way to better health

Welcome to the journey to better health! You can do it!

Any issues?

Questions for you

  1. What is your daily calorie intake?
  2. How many steps are you averaging a day?
  3. How much did you weigh this morning?
  4. What did you have for breakfast?
  5. Are you writing down what you ate?

If you are not happy with the answers, don’t worry. I’m writing these blog posts because I’ve been there. I want to help you to succeed. Keep at it!

Take a good look

Take a good look at the picture in this post. That was me! Yup, back four years ago.

I had all sorts of problems.

  • High cholesterol,
  • borderline diabetes,
  • quickly out of breath,
  • knee problems,
  • digestive problems,
  • arthritis, and
  • my curly hair went straight.

And that wasn’t all!

My family history has extensive heart failure and extensive cancers.

The fashion industry doesn’t really care what fat people look like. The clothes are drabby and baggy. I was wearing size 18+ or XL size clothes. I did my best but never looked as “smart” as thinner competitors for jobs. (Yes, the reality is that weight prejudice and ageism does exist.)

Once I lost the 70 lbs, my health and job prospects improved. Many of the health problems disappeared. My curls returned! Oh, and my wardrobe, nice stuff (I’ll share them along the way).

Eating your way to better health

As a healthy habit, it is good to start finding different (and better) foods to address your health issues.

For example …

To put it in a polite way, I have a fiber problem. I apparently need twice as much fiber than most people to keep my plumbing working. That is why I eat the breakfast I mentioned from last week. Full of seeds, nuts, and fruit. I also cut out most of white bread from my diet. I try to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

Pick a health problem to focus on. Start by changing your diet in the following ways:

  • Cholesterol ~ Switch to using olive oil for cooking and balsamic vinegar for salads. Buy whole wheat bread instead of white bread.
  • Diabetes ~ Cut down on sugars. Start with cream in your coffee. Choose fruit over dessert.
  • Calcium ~ Add calcium rich items to your diet. Add Almonds (whole, chopped, butter).

I’m not a nutritionist. I did research over time on what would help me start healthy habits. You can do the same.

Google has LOTS of advice on diet changes by health issue. Look at national organizations for your health issue and diet suggestions. Then, of course, ask your doctor at your yearly physical.

Once you have some new food ideas, incorporate them into your meal plan. Start slow. See if you can change your breakfast (and still stay with your calorie distribution guideline).

 

Get more calories

If you have reached at least 5,000 steps a day, start adding that exercise to your diet app (myfitnesspal, fitbit, ihealth, noom). See how many calories you get to add to what you can eat per day!

Get Back In Shape To Do List

  1. Weigh In DAILY (recording the date/weight)
  2. Increase your steps every day by 250.
  3. Eat your meals within 12 hours.
  4. Drink 64 oz of water a day.
  5. Record what you eat.
  6. Know your meal-calorie guidelines
  7. Know what foods will heal health issues

Motivational Reminders:

  • Healthy habits help you lose and maintain a good weight and health.
  • A scale is just the provider of information to help you make healthier choices.
  • Don’t just eat more calories; earn them!
  • Flush out the bloat.
  • Know your calorie boundaries.
  • Consistency matters.
  • Eat your way to better health

Welcome to the journey to better health! You can do it!

Viditude! Montclair NJ 973.619.9353 Talk2Me@PatFerdinandi.com