Today’s Post It Note

There’s a debate as when is the best time to exercise – some say it is best to work out in the morning.

We are also told that working out too late in the day might not be such a good idea – could interrupt our sleeping pattern.

But there is something that we can – and should – train first thing in the morning and right before we go to bed – our brains.

Most of also know how important it is to eat breakfast.  Most of us also know that what we eat – for breakfast or at any other time – is equally important.  However, there is debate over what is best  regarding when and how often we should eat.  For instance, some say don’t eat too close to bedtime.

But there is something we should make sure to feed when we wake up in the morning and right before we go to sleep – our brains.

Attaining and sustaining a life-long healthy weight starts with the thoughts and messages we give ourselves.  When we “think” that we can’t do something or another, or when we think we don’t have the characteristics necessary to succeed at something or “be” a certain way – our brain reacts as if we did a search on Google – except our brain only finds information that supports our negative ideas about ourselves.

But our brains are not as smart as we are.  Neuroscientists have figured out that by consistently and repeatedly feeding our brains an idea about ourselves we are training our brains to provide us the right information.  In other words, our brains perform a search that hits on information that supports our abilities to do/be something.

And the best time to feed our brains with this information is to do our “Brain Training” is first thing in the morning and right before we go to sleep.

 

What I Wish My Parents Knew When I was Their Fat Kid

Most of us can remember times when we got a great report card or cleaned our rooms without being told because we knew there was a chocolate chip cookie in there somewhere for us – or when that same cookie was offered to us to make us “feel better” when we fell off our bike or the other kids weren’t “nice” to us.

I certainly can.  When my mother broke out the ice cream either to “celebrate” something I’d done well or ease either the physical or emotional pain I might be feeling at a given time – boy did I feel loved!

On the other hand, some of the most painful and damaging experiences I had as a child was being signaled out as “different” – which, for a child, is synonymous with “not as good”.  I can remember reaching for another serving of whatever to be told by one parent that “I didn’t need that” – which usually resulted in some sort of disagreement between my parents – AND in front of my sisters and brothers – about how to deal with the fact that I was fat.  The shame and embarrassment was unbearable.

As an overweight child this kind of behavior on the part of my parents and others was extremely confusing.  Sometimes I “got yelled at” for eating and other times I was rewarded or received attention via food.

When we use food as a reward for good behavior or a means to calm or make our children feel better about themselves or their situation, we are teaching them to associate food with being able to alter their mood or how they feel about themselves – making it easy for food to become their drug of choice.

I learned later how much easier it was for me to control what I ate when I served my own family off of individual plates versus self-serve bowls and platters on the dining table.  I plated up my healthy portions and knew when I was “done”.  I wish I had learned this before I’d become a parent – but, once I learned it, this is how I fed my children.

I also learned that including a couple of planned and portioned snacks during the day helped to ward off the “sneak” and “binge” eating episodes that I’d learned to engage in as a kid.  Being told I “didn’t need” or “shouldn’t” have a snack – again within earshot of others – taught me not to ask for food and instead eat in secret – as much as I could as fast as I could so I wouldn’t get caught.

It is an ongoing process, but I continue to learn to this day how to meet my emotional needs and alter my mood via activities other than eating – for me being active (a walk, a bike ride), making art, talking to people willing to listen and not judge me have helped take the place (most often) of a bowl full (or carton) of ice cream.

Unfortunately these are things I had to discover and teach myself after an extremely painful overweight childhood that resulted in my becoming a morbidly obese adult.

We as parents can teach healthy eating habits to our children by “doing it for them” as well as “doing the same for ourselves”  – when we do that we are creating the habitual behaviors that will allow them to attain and sustain a life-long healthy weight.

DON’T give your child food as a reward for “good behavior”.

DON’T give your child food in an attempt to “make them feel better”.

DON’T signal your overweight child out from their healthy weight siblings or friends at meal and snack times.

DO educate yourself about healthy portion sizes for children and serve meals and snacks “restaurant” versus “family” style.

Today’s Post It Note

Human beings by nature seem to be results driven – and American culture has perhaps embraced this aspect of being human to the point of choking ourselves to death.

RESULTS are most often the only gauge we use to let ourselves know whether we are “succeeding” or “failing” to achieve our objective.

The problem is that we “put the cart before the horse”.  We attach great importance to keeping count of the results of what we are doing – but counting, ACKNOWLEDGING, what we’ve successfully completed in our efforts to obtain the results we want DOESN’T COUNT.

Results are cumulative by nature.  Not just in weight loss – every achievement – every “result” or goal is accomplished via a progression of individual efforts.  It is when we continue to “discount” these efforts that we lose the patience, perseverance, and motivation needed to continue to travel the path toward meeting our objectives.

Counting the mile markers along the way is just as important as counting the number of miles you have yet to go.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” ~Robert Louis Stevenson

My Child is Overweight and I don’t Know What to Do!

Many of us dealing with our own weight issues are parents of overweight children.  This is doubly painful for those of us who were overweight children ourselves.

Unfortunately, the feelings of guilt we carry can quite often backfire on our attempts to help our kids attain a healthy weight.  We might nag them – which undermines their self esteem.  Or we might over compensate by over feeding them – or a combination of both – which is pretty darn confusing for our kids.

We can also be afraid to intervene because we simply don’t know how.

If you have a child struggling with their weight KidsHealth.org is a site with medically supervised information and a good place to start educating yourself.  Be sure to work with your child’s pediatrician – it is never wise for us to “put our kids on a diet” without knowing what we’re doing.  Children have different nutritional needs that must be met in order not to place their growth and development at risk.

Childhood obesity is a family issue – you may also want to seek the help of a family therapist.

Helping your child attain a healthy weight and develop life-long “healthy habits” that support your child sustaining a healthy weight throughout their lifetime is both a priceless gift to give – and parental responsibility to meet.

 

Today’s Post It Note

When we’re overweight it doesn’t mean we aren’t good at anything – and we may even be able to graciously accept compliments and praise for those talents or skills not related to what and how much we eat or what we look like.

The first time someone mentioned to me that it looked like I’d lost some weight I was initially speechless.  My first reaction was to reassure them that I was still fat by saying something along the lines of “Well, a little”.

When friends tell you how awesome you look, drop the “I still have more to go” crap.  You worked hard and you deserve the compliment!  ~Jillian Michaels

 

How Your Resume Can Help You Lose Weight

I’ve been known to come up with some pretty crazy titles for my posts but “How Your Resume Can Help You Lose Weight” just might – pardon the food pun – take the cake.

Before you pass judgment on my title writing capabilities, just think a bit about what kind of information you have about yourself on your resume.

Of course you list the job skills you possess – but what does the fact that you are a skilled surgical technician have to do with your ability to attain and sustain a healthy weight?

Well, let me ask you this – how is it that you came to be a surgical technician – or paralegal, or mechanic, or truck driver, or administrative assistant, or attorney, or nurse, or?

Of course the answer is that you completed the education and/or training required for your particular field.

Another important component of your resume is a listing of your work experience along with the job duties and responsibilities of each position.  You want your potential employer to know you “have what it takes” to get the job done.

But you’re still wondering what any of this has to do with losing weight and keeping it off.

As usual – I’m going to tell you a story that will make my outrageous claim that your resume can help you lose weight make sense.

One of my past employers was a weight loss center where I worked as a “counselor”.  One of my job duties was to interview people who came into the center to check out our program.  This process always included the potential client providing me with a litany of things about themselves that prevented them from losing weight.  Among the most popular were:

  • “I don’t have any will power”
  • “I just can’t stick to it”
  • “It’s too hard”
  • “I don’t know how”
  • “I’m too busy”
  • “I’m too impatient, it takes too long”

One day a woman came for her interview who really impressed me.  She was impeccably dressed.  Her hair was perfectly styled, her makeup looked like it had been professionally applied.  Her questionnaire let me know that she was an attorney who worked for the mayor’s office.  She needed to lose 80 pounds to be at a healthy weight.

When I asked her what it was that she was looking for our center to provide her with she said;

“Will power, I don’t have any.”

I can still remember thinking to myself “You’ve gotta be kidding.”

I mean, of course this woman had will power – she’d made it through college, she’d gotten accepted into law school, she’d made it through law school, she’d passed the Bar Exam, she’d worked her way up in her career to the point where she was a high-powered attorney.

Then she said:

“I need you to make it simple for me, losing weight is just too complicated.”

Again I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding!  Too complicated?  And this from a woman who knows, interprets, and applies complicated laws?”  If anybody felt out of her league – it was me!

I asked her this, “Are you responsible for hiring people in your office?”

Which she was.

Then I asked, “Have you ever hired anyone who didn’t fit the qualifications for the job exactly?”

Which she had.

My final question was, “What was it that made you hire a person who didn’t have the exact qualifications?”

She replied that she could tell from their resume that they had what it took.

I told her that her questionnaire told me the same thing about her when it came to her ability to lose weight.  Her past accomplishments more than qualified her as someone who had vast reserves of will power as well as able to understand, remember, and employ extremely complex information.  Keeping track of what she ate, how much she ate, and how long she was active was going to be a walk in the park.

Now, we are not all successful, educated, experienced attorneys.  But, if you take a long, hard look at your life I can guarantee you that you will find skills and experiences that demonstrate you are more than capable of attaining and attaining a life-long healthy weight.

The reason why most of us think we can’t lose weight and keep it off is because we have tried – and failed.  But failing is just another try until you do it.

But your “life resume” will show that you do have will power.  That you have achieved goals even though you were busy.  That you were able to learn new skills and information.  That you can stick to something and see it through – even when it was hard and took a long time – even when you initially failed.

Even if the only accomplishments I could come up with were being able to tie my shoes and ride a bike I’d know that I am a person who does not let “failing” stop me.

Each and every one of us “has what it takes” – and the resume to prove it.

“Before and After” versus “Then and Now”

If you are reading this and are still on your way to achieving your goal it is my hope that this post will contribute to your ability to sustain the objective of a life-long healthy weight.

Weight loss “Before” and “After” pictures are great.  Whether of ourselves or others these pictures offer a great opportunity to sustain our motivation and inspire us to stay our course.

When Shape magazine first came out, I’d always grab one while waiting in line at the grocery store and eagerly flip to the “Success Stories” for the express purpose of seeing the before and after shots.

Thirty years later and about 100 pounds gone – I’m still doing this.  Kind of a “seeing is believing” sort of thing.

And now that we’ve got Facebook and other social media at our fingertips we can not only be inspired by others but also share our own successes – which millions of us do every day.

As a matter-of-fact, a recent visit to my Facebook page is what got me thinking about the subject.  Someone had posted their “Before and After” shot.  They’d just reached their “goal weight”.  Looking at these two photos my initial reaction was a sense of shared joy and I immediately “commented” my congratulations.

Everything about her “After” picture – from her smile to the way she held her body – shouted out loud and clear – “I did it!”

I found myself thinking about that woman for the next few days – but my initial sense of sharing her joy in obtaining her goal was morphing – I realized I was concerned about her.

Why should I worry?  I mean here was a lady who’d set a goal to lose weight and had done just that.  I mean, she looked absolutely great.

I gave this a lot of thought and came up with two reasons as the source of my concern.

First off, I realized that it wasn’t the pictures that she posted that got me to worrying about her – it was something she’d said.

She said that she would never go back to “who I was before”.

Now, it’s perfectly understandable to want to “leave behind” aspects of ourselves that we are not proud of, or did not like, when we have changed our behavior and this change in our behavior has produced positive results in our lives.  Breaking negative or harmful patterns of behavior and ways of thinking that hurt us makes us feel good about ourselves NOW.  But we must maintain a somewhat delicate balance between breaking free of negative behaviors versus disowning our “past selves”.

But why would one want to maintain a relationship with a past self-image that only caused us both physical and emotional pain?

Well, my experience has been when I have compassion and empathy for my “past fat self” this serves to motivate and inspire me to be kind to her, to take care of her – by continuing to lead a life style that supports sustaining a healthy weight.

On the other hand, when I experience even just a tinge of the self loathing I was so familiar with when heavy it is all too easy for me to relapse into negative and harmful behaviors that DO NOT support sustaining a healthy weight.

So, it seems to me that what is useful to disown are the past false limitations we erroneously believed were just part and parcel to “who we were” rather than disown our “past” selves.

What I saw as my second concern about this woman was not limited to just her – it was the whole idea of thinking in terms of “before” and “after”.  As you most likely already know what motivates me most when it comes to writing this blog and a central notion of Fitegic Planning in general is the difference between an objective and a goal.  They are quite often thought of as the same thing – not so.

An objective can be thought of as a “state of being”.  It is continuous.

A goal has a start, a middle, and (most important) and end.  It is finite.  You set a goal. You reach a goal.  You’re done.

“Sustaining a healthy weight” is an objective.

“Losing 50 pounds” is a goal.

You probably get my drift.  “Before” and “After” are both precise moments in time.  They are not ongoing.  When we think in terms of ongoing we must be doing things NOW that sustain our ability to achieve our objective (a healthy weight) continuously.  And life is nothing but a series of “nows”.

The danger is that, when we think in terms of “being done”, having “finished”, or “achieved our goal” this all too often translates into “stopping” – and, when it comes to sustaining a healthy weight, this most usually means gaining some, all, or even more, of our weight back.

So, it seems to me that thinking in terms of “Then” and “Now” versus “Before” and “After” could be very useful.

Framing reaching our goal of losing weight in terms of “that was then, this is now” does not imply some sort of finish line because sustaining this “now” that we worked so hard to achieve motivates us to set new goals and develop strategies and tactics that support our ability to sustain our objective (sustaining a healthy weight) throughout the changing circumstances and situations life brings us.

I have compassion and empathy for who I was “then”.

Who I am “now” is grateful for the lessons learned from my “then” self.

It is only when I integrate both my “then” and “now” that I am whole.