Search This Blog

Saturday, July 17, 2010


I was between water sessions at my the rec center pool last week and observed a couple of kids splashing and playing in the water. They were having a fabulous time, jumping, diving, chucking and dodging floating toys, laughing and shrieking with delight. They also had totally toned little tummies and bodies. I started to think that if all of us could start moving for the joy of it like some of us did when we were kids, we would all be much happier and healthier!

Young kids don't exercise to get fit, lose weight or "tone up". They don't do it because they're worried about their blood pressure or cancer risks. They do it because it's fun! If you ever watch little kids running around being silly and crazy, you know that there's not a serious thought in their heads. They are completely caught in the moment, loving the feeling they get from it.

Adults tend to view movement as a chore and something to be avoided if possible. This is not only detrimental to our health, but just plain sad!

There are million ways we can recapture the joy we used to take in movement, or to claim it if we were never active even as children. For one thing, try playing with some kids! They are great teachers. Try lots of different things until you find a few you really like doing. Play sports, dance around like crazy, fly a kite, go swimming at the lake and play volleyball in the sand. Go gallavanting through the woods, spend time in the backyard with some waterguns or a hose, or play in the snow. Ask some kids what they like doing. They like video games, but they also love to run around and soak up the world at 1000 miles per hour.

Stop taking yourself seriously for a little while and reclaim the love of moving that is yours by right as a human being. You'll be healthier for it, but you'll also have a ton of fun!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Help! My Partner is Sabotaging my Diet and Exercise Plans!!

The easiest way to get healthier, lose weight, etc. is to do it with support, especially from those closest to you. If you're ready to get healthy and your partner isn't, though, no amount of nagging or pleading will get them involved in a wholehearted, healthy way.

All too often, I hear frustrated husbands, wives, girlfriends and boyfriends complain about getting no support at all, or worse, active sabotage from their partners in their efforts to get healthier.

Romantic relationships are complex and generally delicately balanced. There are several different things that could be happening if you feel like your partner is wrecking your efforts. Here are some things to think about.

1) You may need to take a hard look at whether you are using your partner as an excuse not to do what you know you need to in order to achieve your goals. I know I've fallen into the trap of eating junk food simply because I see my boyfriend doing it, or skipping my evening workout because snuggling on the couch in front of the tv seems so much more appealing. In this case, take a good hard look at your goals and ask yourself if you're really ready to commit to them. If the answer is yes, talk with your partner and let them know you're having a hard time sticking to your goals and ask for their help. Let them know when you plan to exercise and ask for their encouragement. Have them keep their junk food somewhere you don't often tread, or somewhere you don't know about (and aren't likely to find). It's unrealistic to ask that your shared home be completely free of triggers, but you can ask that they be minimized as much as possible. Remind yourself that you're doing this for yourself, and that your partner and other loved ones will benefit from a healthier, happier, more energetic you too. Reaffirm your commitment as often as necessary and when you have a setback, get right back on track.

2) Is your partner feeling threatened or insecure about your fitness plans? Perhaps they feel that if you get fit and look better, you will seek out another mate. If this might be going through your partner's head and causing them to offer you junk food or pout / throw a tantrum when you go to exercise, you need to reassure them, and probably more than once. Tell them you want to be around for a long, healthy life with them and that you have no plans to seek greener pastures. Now, if you ARE looking to get out of your relationship, using fitness as an exit route is not the most direct or healthiest way to go. Talk, be honest and straightforward, and go from there.

3) Does your partner feel bad about him or herself and feel reminded of his or her own faults while you improve yourself? If this is the case, again, you need to communicate. Let them know that you need them to stop projecting their insecurities onto you and start focusing on what they need to do to feel better about themselves. Support them in whatever way you can, but as I've said before, don't nag. It doesn't work and usually only makes people feel worse and more driven to hide from their problems.

4) If communicating just isn't working, you may need to seek professional help in the form of couples counseling (or individual counseling if your partner will not consider it). Above all, don't give up on your goals. In a healthy relationship, both parties feel free to grow and improve themselves without fear that this will destroy the connection.

Reaching your health and fitness goals without the support of your loved ones is difficult and discouraging, but it can be done. Do what you can to get the support you need and deserve; beyond that, persevere.

Good luck!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Party Time!

It's the 4th of July and that means parties and picnics! Fun stuff, but deadly to diets. Fortunately, if you have a good strategy, you can get through the day without overloading yourself with stuff that makes you feel lousy. Planning ahead is key. Try these strategies to maintain your healthy intentions without feeling deprived.

1) Plan for extra calories during your party or picnic, but don't arrive starving. Skipping breakfast and lunch so you can have an indulgent dinner just ensures you'll go crazy and eat everything in sight. Plus, your metabolism will be sluggish and less able to deal with the overload. You'll probably also feel physically crappy, which is no way to plan to enjoy a party. So eat reasonable amounts leading up to party time, especially fiber and water-rich foods like fruits and veggies to help you feel full without loading up on calories.

2) While you're there, don't hang out next to the food. Occupy yourself with conversation or activities so you're not constantly thinking about the apple pie that's sitting over there.

3) Before you start noshing, take a survey of what's around and ask yourself what you'd really like to eat. If you absolutely love ribs and chocolate chip cookies, go ahead and have some. Don't try to avoid them, start munching on everything else, and then give up and have a double serving of ribs and cookies anyway. Give yourself what you really want and enjoy it slowly, savoring. Then, when you're done, unless you get physically hungry again, you're done.

4) Don't let other people guilt you into eating something you don't really want. You don't actually have to try Aunt Sally's newest lemon merengue recipe unless you really want to. If you don't, explain that you're stuffed and just couldn't enjoy it. If she pushes, ask to take some home with you, then bring it to work or wherever and give it away.

5) Ask for support. This might be from a friend, relative or spouse who is able to be supportive without being negative. It might be someone who is also trying to be healthier and change their eating habits, or it might be someone who's already good at these things who's sympathetic to your goals. When you're feeling anxious because you're worried about overeating, or you find yourself eating the whole bag of pretzels that you don't really even want, or you just need a distraction so you can stop being bored and going back to the food table, go to your pre-arranged support person and have them listen, talk, give you a hug or whatever you need.

6) If you're going to drink, alternate your drinks with water. This will prevent hangovers and probably have you drinking less than you otherwise would. Some alocoholic drinks are CRAZY full of calories. Certain mixed drinks can have up to 800 calories a pop!! Here is a page for calories content of many drinks (Pay attention to the serving sizes - you're probably going to be having more than a fluid ounce of whatever you're drinking).

7) If you go overboard, take some deep breaths, forgive yourself, and move on. It does NOT mean your day, week or whatever is ruined; it does not mean you're a failure; it does not mean you should give up. You're a human being and are going to have setbacks. Learn what you can from the experience and move on. Dwelling only causes pain and is not going to fix what has already happened. You have control only over what you choose to do in the present, so choose to laugh it off and try again.

I hope you all have a great Independence Day!