What the Number on the Scale Really Means

68645_512056095495609_2027379175_nEvery so often, I come across an article that just really hits a nerve for me, and Greatist’s What the Number on the Scale Really Means: A Primer on Weight Fluctuations is one of those articles. I should print it out and read it every day, especially every day that I weigh. I’ve actually put away my scales, and this article explains why.

By the way, if you aren’t reading Greatist, what are you waiting for? It’s THE best health and wellness site I know, and there are many ways to connect: Twitter, Facebook and/or email (click here, find subscribe box on upper/middle right side.)

 

 

March 2014 Non-Scale Victories

  1. First Saturday visit to the gym (and subsequent 12,000+ step day) in months
  2. Tried three new healthy recipes, two of which were keepers
  3. Have made Monday morning training three weeks in a row. And today, was there before the gym opened!
  4. 8000 steps before 8 a.m.
  5. Have been wearing one of my smaller sized rings for over a week now
  6. Just completed a third week of working out every weekday!
  7. Took my meals to the SC Environmental Justice event and was surprised to see that someone else brought their meals, too. She said that I’d inspired her to do it, that she hated “making do” at overnight events.
  8. 10,000 steps on a Saturday – and they were mostly beach steps!
  9. Had a Cadbury egg in my hand at Walgreen’s – I have to have one during the Easter season – but put it back.
  10. Have made Monday morning training three weeks in a row.
  11. 10,000 steps before 11:00 a.m.
  12. I did some bad ass moves in strength training today, including a bench press that included chains!
  13. My pants that were getting a little snug now fit fine, even right out of the dryer.
  14. Just completed fourth week of working out every week day!
  15. Overindulged a little, but recorded every nibble.
  16. Made two new healthy recipes: Amazeballs and Pizza Hummus.
  17. Workout pants getting looser in the tummy area.
  18. Did 3.5 mph on the treadmill for only the first and second time since my hip injury over a year ago.
  19. Comfortably wearing a bra that had gotten a little too snug for comfort.
  20. Did a strength training workout that I didn’t think I would be able to do, especially the 3 x 500 strides on the ATM without holding on.
  21. Wore a fitted workout tee that I hadn’t been able to wear in a while.
  22. Treated myself to a Smashburger lunch w/o blowing the rest of the day or weekend.
  23. Busted it at 7:30 p.m. to get those last 1,500 steps to hit 10,000.
  24. Wearing a size six ring again – unable to wear at Christmas, but wearing it today!
  25. Guy at the gym commended me for my workout, which included 30+ minutes on the treadmill and about the same on the AMT.
  26. Did 15 minutes of 3.5 mph on the treadmill – first time I was able to go that long at that speed since my injury a year ago.
  27. Tried a new AMT workout for 45 minutes, 5000 steps
  28. This is kinda scale-related, but a victory nonetheless: I made my scales very inaccessible for drive-by weigh-ins. It’s down in the basement on a shelf that I can get to only by having to crawl over a lot of stuff.
  29. An acquaintance who has lost 70 lbs. recently told me that I gave her the motivation to start her weight loss efforts.
  30. Tried two new cauliflower recipes and liked them both. (Even LOVED one of them!)
  31. Fellow early morning exerciser said this to me – totally unsolicited – this a.m.: “Every time I see you, you’re getting smaller.” Made my day, especially since the scales aren’t moving.

The Big Breakup

I’ve been in an unhealthy relationship for years, but this week, I found the courage to get out of it.

We’ve all been there. You try so hard to make things work, but time and time again, it’s the same thing. No matter how well your day or week is going, the cold indifference can deflate you in a minute. It can even lead to giving up on yourself all together. The fickleness is maddening and nonsensical. You feel as light as a feather one morning, but the next day, you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Yes, I broke up with my scales. scale

I’ve had a great six weeks. I ate well. I worked out early and often. My face looked thinner. My jeans fit looser. I stepped on the scales expecting to see a fairly good loss. But in six weeks, I’d only lost three pounds. I quickly made excuses for any progress I’d seen – I must just be imagining it, I said – and sunk into a bad place.

Isn’t it just insane how one weigh-in can wreck your day?

I’ve had issues with the scales for a long time. There have been days, especially when I first started at Doctors Wellness Center, that I’d weigh every day — sometimes several times a day. I’ve about gotten it down to once a week, but with this last weigh in, I decided I needed to do something different.

I’ve taken the scales to the basement and placed them on a shelf in our overcrowded office/spare bedroom. No more spur of the moment weigh ins for me. Right now, we’re using it for storage, and the scale shelf isn’t as easy to access as the bathroom or my bedroom. If I get the scales and weigh, it’s going to take some thought and effort.

Just-a-NumberScales aren’t necessarily evil, but relying on them for feedback isn’t the best thing. Weight can fluctuate by several pounds from day to day (or over the course of a single day) without reflecting any actual loss or gain of fat or muscle tissue for many reasons:

  • Hormones. They can add two to six pounds over a three- to seven-day period.
  • Meds. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen as well as steroids may cause fluid retention.
  • Sleep or Lack Thereof. Not getting enough sleep may slow down your body’s ability to burn carbohydrates thus making more glucose available for fat storage and increasing your appetite through rising cortisol levels (the stress hormone).
  • Weather. An overcast or stormy day can actually add several pounds to the scale. Low pressure holds water in your tissues and since our bodies are mostly water, an overcast day can make us gain weight (or fluid).
  • Sodium. Just three shakes of salt, or ½ teaspoon, can add one pound of body weight since one gram of sodium can hold onto 16 ounces (or 1 pound) of water.
  • Digestion.  If your body is still digesting food, you’re gonna weigh more until you go.

I MAY weigh on April 1 – though a weigh-in on April Fool’s Day could be disheartening – and perhaps a monthly basis thereafter, but overall, I’m going to focus more on those non-scale victories. By giving up judgment by scales, I’m hoping that I’ll be more grounded and levelheaded in efforts to be healthier, and yes, lose a little more weight.

Have you ever broken  up with your scales? How often do you weigh? Does a change in the scales – up or down – impact your mood?

 

Cork Boards: From Flat to Fabulous w/One Tack

clipstersHere’s a surefire way to make your cork board pop: Umbra’s Clipsters, unique tacks that take your piece from flat to fabulous in one pin!

I discovered Clipsters in my stocking this year, thanks to my sister. It was a while before I used them, but once I did, I was hooked! Look at how cool they look on both my work bulletin board and home inspiration board.

bb1

bb2I went on a search for more this week and found them on sale half-off at Umbra: 12 for $6.50. Here’s a description:

  • Create a visual showcase of photos or artwork with this set of 12 clipster photo holders by umbra
  • Metal paper-clip style end with tack mount
  • Set contains four each of three different lengths: 3-1/2-inch, 4-1/2-inch, and 6-1/2-inch
  • Create a three-dimensional grouping, hang individual unframed artworks, or use at the desk for notes and memos

Because I’m not sure how long they’ll last, I bought a couple sets. Get yours now before they’re gone!

Pizza Hummus: My Fave New Snack

Check it out: Pizza Hummus recipe.recipe_image

Delicious + easy = great recipe!

 

My Vision Board

Over the past eight weeks, I’ve worked hard to recommit myself to a healthy lifestyle, and my new vision board has been a key to my success. What is a vision board? A collage of words and images that helps you visualize your goals and dreams so you can move closer to making them reality.

I actually consider mine more of an “inspiration” or “motivation” board, as the pictures and graphics provide a daily reminder of the reasons I am rededicating myself to a healthy lifestyle, including clean eating and regular exercise. Mine consists of a large Post-It cork board placed on the wall at the foot of my bed, a place that I can’t help but see it every morning and every night. I especially love the bold graphics that grab me from a distance.

Vision Board

I happened to love the large self-stick cork board, but your vision board doesn’t have to be as fancy; you can create it on any size bulletin board, poster paper or even online. The important thing is that you use images that motivate you and accurately picture your goals and/or dreams.

Here are a few great online resources to help you create a vision board:

Vision Board Basics

Using Online Tools to Create a Vision Board (I used Picasa to create a vision board screen saver!)

Ten Steps to Creating an Inspiring Vision Board

 Do you have a vision board? If so, how has it helped you? Describe your vision board, and please share any helpful links about creating one. If you don’t have a vision board, is it something you’d like to do?

House of Cards Fitness Program

You read it right! I’ve had two great weeks in a row at the gym, and I have Frank Underwood to thank for it.

(If you’ve lived under a rock the past year, House of Cards is an American political drama television series that is available via Netflix. Set in present-day Washington, D.C., House of Cards is the story of Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), a Democrat from South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District and House Majority Whip who, after getting passed over for appointment as Secretary of State, decides to exact his revenge on those who betrayed him. And it is phenomenal.)

House of Cards Board

A recent House of Cards challenge, which I met by the way. (I haven’t missed one yet; Frank Underwood is a strong motivation!)

I was late coming to House of Cards, but finally jumped in a few weeks ago. One episode in the doctor’s waiting room, and I was hooked. I binge-watched nine episodes the following weekend  and decided to use my obsession with the show to my advantage. That Sunday night, I wrote a challenge on my closet white board: Make Monday morning’s strength training to watch the next episode of House of Cards Monday night. And for the first time in several weeks, I made Monday morning’s training!

For the past two weeks now, I’ve used watching the next House of Cards episode as my incentive for completing a weekday fitness goal. The first week, it was simply to make it to the gym every morning. The next week, I upped the ante by also adding an additional challenge, such as eating breakfast at the kitchen table instead of back in bed or not turning on my iPhone until after my morning workout.

Not only has the incentive of watching helped motivate me, but watching an episode at night has also helped me settle down a little earlier, which is key to a 4:17 a.m. wake up call. After getting home, I do the usual things around the house, then start getting ready for bed around 7:30 a.m. I crawl in and watch House of Cards in bed on my laptop, and when it’s over, I’m ready to settle in for the night. If I don’t get on my iPhone or start playing on my laptop, I’m usually asleep by 9 p.m.

The trouble with this House of Cards fitness plan is that I only have six more episodes to watch before I finish Season Two. (And Season Three doesn’t start until February, 2015.) Hopefully by the time I finish Season Two, I’ll be back in the habit of full-on early morning fitness.

Since this has worked so well, I am hoping to find another series that catches my attention like House of Cards and use it in a similar manner. I’m thinking perhaps Downton Abbey or Scandal, but I’m still looking. Any suggestions?

 

February 2014 Non-Scale Victories

  1. Bought a rice cooker.
  2. Tried two new recipes, one of which involved black beans.
  3. Was in Kroger this a.m. and saw someone who knows my story. I didn’t recognize her, but she approached me and told me how good I looked and how proud she was of me. Nice to hear on a Monday morning.
  4. Instead of my usual 10-15 minute cardio workout before strength training, I did 30 minutes.
  5. Someone who hadn’t seen the thinner me in person saw me and said that my body finally matched my personality.
  6. My dentist wants to set me up with someone. No one ever mentioned setting the heavy me up with anyone.
  7. Resisted the very serious lure of Chocolate Cookie Quarry frozen yogurt at Publix.
  8. Tried something new: balsamic vinegar on fruit. Delightful new taste.
  9. Tried something new: flavored white balsamic vinegar (honey-ginger). Really upgraded the taste of my Glazed Tofu.
  10. Reduced artificial sweetener in my morning oatmeal from one to two, not because I’m trying to cut back on it, but because it was just too much. Getting used to less sweet things, I suppose.
  11. Took my own food when I worked the City’s Emergency Operation Center.
  12. I am repulsed by the thought of processed deli meat. Absolutely no desire, even when it is what is for a free lunch.
  13. Resisted buying one of my favorite ice creams, even though it is hard to find these days.
  14. Didn’t buy the “healthy” chips from Whole Foods because 1) I knew they weren’t really healthy, just healthier than regular chips; and 2) I knew I likely wouldn’t stop at a handful
  15. Threw out something tempting instead of eating it. (It was given to me, so I didn’t feel too bad doing it!)
  16. Didn’t even go down the aisle of 50% off Valentine’s Day candy.
  17. Made my first Monday a.m. training in a week.
  18. Didn’t turn on iPhone this morning. And that is HUGE.
  19. Two workouts in a row – this week is looking up!
  20. 40 minutes on the AMT for the first time in several months.
  21. Woke up quite sore, and almost used that as an excuse to sleep in. I figured, though, it would help to move. I not only made it to the gym, but did 40 minutes on the AMT.
  22. Worked out all five days of the work week. And can I ever tell; I feel so good.
  23. For the first time in a while, I feel really confident that I can really lose the 30 lbs. I’ve gained.
  24. Threw away a Whole Foods cupcake of Sister’s that she hadn’t eaten. And it was a Whole Foods cupcake, my favorite.
  25. Second Monday a.m. training in the books.
  26. Made appointment for therapeutic hip massage
  27. 45 minutes on the AMT
  28. Second full week of doing workouts every weekday

 

Why I Just Say No to Deli Meats

Of all of the changes I’ve made in the last few years, one of the most hard-and-fast is banishing deli meat from my diet. Not only is it not a healthy option, but it truly turns my stomach. I have to be pretty darn hungry with no other option to even consider it.

 I wanted to share this information about deli meat from Fooducate. I usually prefer to link directly to the article, but I couldn’t find it anywhere on their site. (It was sent in an email this morning.)

Deli Meats – Making the Right Choice

In many a lunchtime sandwich across the nation, deli meats are a standard. Subway has built its fortune on the sale of deli meat sandwiches. And Oscar Mayer has been a beloved namesake for generation of lunch packing moms. There’??s no doubt Americans love their bologna. Can these meats be a part of a healthy diet?

The term “deli meat” refers to meats preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives. In most cases, red meat is used – pork and beef. As tasty as they are, deli meats are not a health food. Multiple studies have shown that increased consumption may lead to heart disease and cancer.

Among the problems associated with these cold cuts are high levels of unhealthy fats, high levels of sodium, nitrates, and other additives.

Saturated Fats. Not all fats are created equal. The saturated fats in processed meats may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Sodium. Salt is a natural preservative that has been used for ages to preserve meat. Unfortunately, the average American consumes almost twice as much salt as prescribed by national health guidelines. This can result in high blood pressure.

Nitrates. Sodium Nitrite and its closely related Sodium Nitrate are food preservatives that help preserve the pinkish red color of the meat, which would otherwise look unappetizingly gray. Unfortunately, when cooked or broken down in the stomach, nitrites form nitrosamines (also called N-Nitroso Compound), which can cause cancer in young children and pregnant women. Adding ascorbic acid (vitamin C) to the food product greatly reduces the formation of nitrosamines. USDA Meat Inspection Regulations have limited the use of nitrite to 200 part per million. Nitrates are naturally present in spinach, beets, lettuce, celery, parsley, and cabbage. Don’t stop eating these veggies, many of them also contain vitamin C, naturally limiting the formation of the toxic nitrosamines.

Other additives. Lunch meats are made from low quality meat cuts. Often they taste bland and look unappealing. The role of the additives is to mask these inherent problems.

Here is an example of a poor choice. Oscar Mayer Bologna lists these ingredients: Mechanically Separated Chicken, Pork, Water, Corn Syrup, Contains Less Than 2% of Salt, Sodium Lactate, Flavor, Sodium Phosphates, Autolyzed Yeast, Sodium Diacetate, Sodium Ascorbate, Sodium Nitrite, Dextrose, Extractives of Paprika, Potassium Phosphate, Sugar, Potassium Chloride

A better choice would be Applegate Roasted Turkey Breast: Turkey Breast (Turkey Never Administered Antibiotics or Animal By-Products. Vegetarian Grain-Fed), Water, Contains Less than 2% of the Following: Sodium Lactate (from Beets), Salt, Carrageenan (from Seaweed)

Bottom Line
Deli meats are not a healthy option for daily consumption.

Supermarket tips
  • When possible choose chicken or turkey meats instead of pork or beef.
  • Try non-meat options such as tuna or hummus.
  • Make your own. Roast a whole turkey breast and slice it up for sandwiches.

How to Clean Your Blender

In the “why didn’t I think of this” category, PureWow shows how to clean your blender. Ingenious; I’ll try it after making tomorrow morning’s smoothie.