Archive for November, 2010

Dear T & T – Lighting a Fire Within

November 16th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

As a follow up to the past two posts, this is a continuation of that conversation to help a trusty T &  T follower. Join with me by weighing in and encouraging her, won’t you??


We all have different motivators in life to light a fire within to get going on a goal. I suggest you start with some self reflecting on your current situation and identify what exactly you’re willing to do.

What can you handle?

Be kind and honest with yourself and decide how much more in life you can take on. It sounds to me like you’ve got that sinking feeling and you are sandwiched. I suggest you do things to help you feel a bit more in control that can also help with your stress level. Can you let anything go from your current repertoire??

Your Activity Level Needs to Get in Shape

It also sounds like you’re tired. You do have a lot balls in the air you are juggling. There could be a multitude of reasons why you feel fatigue. Your activity plan could use a fresh look and new approach. This scenario is a catch 22. Who wants to get moving on anything when you feel tired, right? Working on getting into better shape will help with your energy level. Trust me. Until you work on that you will continue to drag your butt around. A gym membership will not help necessarily, unless you use it…. I’ll focus on this in more detail in a few days. Think about it, won’t you?

Metabolism Makeover

It also seems like your meal and snack pattern is inconsistent due to your crazy schedule. I get a sense some meals might be skipped or eaten when you’re ravenous. The cornerstone of all “successful losers” is having a regular breakfast and meal pattern. This needs to include a few of the food groups and one should be protein for sure. Let’s build up a repertoire of strategies which I will address tomorrow in greater details.

Missing meals or having an inconsistent approach to eating could wreak havoc on your metabolism. The last thing you want to mess with is your internal thermostat. When your body’s in “starving mode” people hang on to extra energy as fat much more readily. It’s really that simple. A stash of healthy snacks will help bridge that gap for when meals times are put off until later because of a schedule change.

Make a List of Why You Want to Do This

I commend you for reaching out on this so that you can put the brakes on the weight gain game. If you chose to ignore this weight-gain path you would be vert unhappy by New Year’s where you might have added a few more pounds to the mix. Kudos to you!!

I’m a big believer in writing down my thoughts to help me move forward. You might find it helpful to write down all of the reasons why to you want to get started on a new plan now. Given your circumstances it might be easier to embark on if you make a few very small but achievable goals to help get you going and feel motivated.

Risk Factor Awareness

At our age achieving a healthy weight is not only good for our self esteem, but also good for our health as well. We ain’t getting any younger you and me…. Being in menopause puts your risk factors for heart disease higher because of the hormone shifts. Also, you could be at risk for getting diabetes too down the road. Both of these are preventable. Small baby steps in the right direction are worth making on the health front.

Scan the Plan

You need to decide how you’re going to play your cards on this one. Successful weight losers use various plans to lose weight and keep it off. Some go on “home made” plans, some go on company made plans like WW. The question is what’s best for you? Will committing to a group like WW motivate you to continue or is this just another time-sucker when you’re so busy?? Is your time better spent making a few simple goals you track and aim to stick to week in and week out using the 80-20 rule for adherence?? I’ll give you some ideas on this tomorrow.

Final Thoughts

A business doesn’t run if someone doesn’t do the work. Similarly, you won’t get in better shape without putting in the effort. You are instrumental in the plan, execution and ultimate success. You and only you can commit to taking the first step to change. A baby step forward is better than sitting in neutral.

Will reconnect in the coming days….. Lot’s of food for thought.

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Dear T & T – Hearing Sigh-Master Out

November 15th, 2010 No Comments

Yesterday I was summonsed by T & T reader we’ll fondly call “Sigh-Master”. Here are her answers to the questions I posed with my brief assessment and further suggestions. I will expand on the important themes all week:

1) Do you eat breakfast every day or do you skip or eat it on the run?

  • I drink breakfast every day as I run out the door….or nearly every day.

2) Do you do unconscious eating and drinking? Or are you aware of it.

  • I am well aware of all the food and calories I consume. I focus on it and eat it anyway figuring I am too tired to do it right, or, it is late as I have been with clients ALL day, or, I make meals to go and forget them at home, which is what I did today!

3) Are you eating past “the full” cue and habitually “finishing everything on your plate” or taking seconds not because you’re hungry, but because you’ve gotten used to doing that?

  • I take seconds and eat the whole thing as I LOVE food.

4) Are you drinking drinks with calories? If you are that’s the easiest thing to change right now. And cut down on the alcohol.

  • I do not drink anything in my tea or coffee nor do I drink pop or juices. I do like wine on the weekends.

5) Take your activity UP a notch to at least 3-5 times per week for starters. I work on 5-7 day a week exercise scheme.

  • I walk 5 k every Thursday nighs which I love, pilates Tuesday which I HATE and walk to and from the parking garage

You don’t need a special plan – YOU need to get involved in your plan and get down to basics. Let me know how it goes so we can all work on this together.

  • The problem with the gym is I can not get a trainer for three weeks….so I quit.  I am useless as an individual on my own at the gym.  My schedule does not allow for classes as my day begins at 8:30 in the office and ends at 9-10 by the time. I get home, and that is IF I am local.  Between putting on seminars, sitting on the 5 National Cttees, running my own business, and working locally on cttees, and caregiving for my Mother In Law and My parents….I barely have the time to see my sweet hubby, lol!  And there are the kids and G-kids!   Sandwich generation….I do seminars on it!!!  Sheesh!

T & T’s Brief Assessment

Ok Sigh Master we will overcome!! Take a deeeeep breath, a seat, open your heart and listen up. For the next few days I’m going to write about 3 main points on:

  • Getting started
  • Working on a better eating pattern
  • Getting moving
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Dear T & T….Help Me Out of My RUT

November 14th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Dear T & T,

I am reading this blog with interest. I am going through the “I am fat” episode of my day!!! This year alone I have joined a gym which I do not attend, joined WW’s and gained 10 lbs…and am in my first year of Meno! I really want to find a plan for ME.. One that allows me to follow it while I am on the road and traveling and with clients at conferences….all of the above happening this week alone! Any ideas?? …Heavy Sigh

Dear Sigh Master,

What can I say, life’s a bitch!! BUT, you’ve come to the right place because we’re in this together, Through Thick and Thin, right?!!

You have taken the first step toward getting somewhere on this because A) you realize there’s a problemo and B) you are seeking help. Bravo!! Now for the bad news, it’s time to realize that a gym membership nor a WW one will get you anywhere on the road to success without YOU in the driver’s seat. Getting started begins and ends in one place and one place only – and that’s with YOU.

It sounds like both you and I have busy lives working, travelling and running a household AND we’re about the same number of years young – ug. Let’s start with a realistic goal – to put the brakes on the weight gain game. We need to get a handle on the “here and now” pronto. What do you think?? The best way to see what’s going on is to keep a few day (even a week if you can) food record where you write down everything you eat and drink, with amounts, times, every nibble, sip, nosh, the works. Also keep track of the activity you do. The whole 9 yards.

Once you do that, sit down and mull over and make a list of a few key behaviours to work on. Here are a few ideas to consider for starters:

1) Do you eat breakfast every day or do you skip or eat it on the run?

2) Do you do unconscious eating and drinking? Or are you aware of it?

3) Are you eating past “the full” cue and habitually “finishing everything on your plate” or taking seconds not because you’re hungry, but because you’ve gotten used to doing that?

4) Are you drinking drinks with calories? If you are, that’s the easiest thing to change right now. Consider cutting down on the alcohol perhaps.

5) Take your activity UP a notch to at least 3-5 times per week for starters. I work on 5-7 day a week scheme.

You don’t need a special plan – YOU need to get involved in your plan and get down to basics. Let me know how it’s going so we can all work on this together.

Nutritionally yours,

T & T

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Do Wa Diddey – Dieting Don’ts & Do’s

November 11th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dieting faux pas or dieting don’ts and do’s. These common pitfalls can thwart your good intentions and send you back 10 paces like on a game of Snakes and Ladders….when you land on the snake – ug.  Life is full of proverbial snakes and ladders, it’s all how you approach it to get back to moving ahead!! Upward and onward, right?

Don’t Expect Others to Solve Your Problems - Do some self reflection and decide what you are willing to change. YOU and you alone are central to the success of your regimen. If you’re saying “ya, but” too many times you may need an attitude enhancer to stop making excuses. Ponder what you CAN do, not what you can’t, then take it from there.

Don’t Skip MealsDo eat at least 3 meals and 1-2 snacks each day. Ensure you start your day with a balanced breakfast with 2-4 choices from the food groups. And no, coffee isn’t one of the food groups!

Don’t Just Focus on Food & Eating - Do focus on the other side of the “energy in and out” equation and work on burning extra calories by becoming more active on a regular basis. Remember, toned muscles give you that shvelt look, so you’ll feel better and look great. (see posts Mar. 22, April 8 & 14, May 4, Nov. 8 )

Don’t Eat With Distractions - Do focus on your level of hunger and satiety before, during and after meals to get and stay in tune to these most important cues. There are times in the year I lose track of these cues. When I realize that, I get back to focusing on this. It really is key. (see posts Mar. 26, April 15)

Don’t Weigh Yourself Every DayDo monitor your weight either with a scale, say monthly (~10 days after your period starts). Also you can monitor your physical status with your favourite fitted clothes, like your trusty jeans. They never lie, do they?? (see posts June 25, August 31)

Don’t Try to Change Too Many Things At OnceDo choose 1 to 3 aspects of your regimen to change and work on those for a month at a time. Then take on 1 new item at a time and work on that for another month, and so on. It takes about 3 weeks or so to adapt a new behaviour into your repertoire. Just think by the end of the year you can make many positive changes to keep you on a healthful track. You’ll be glad you did. (see posts April 5, May 16, & 26, June 17, August 23, Sept. 6)

Don’t Try to Lose Weight Too QuicklyDo take your time and experience every weight on the way down to your ultimate goal just like an elevator going down to the lobby. If you need to take a break from continual losing, just sit at a plateau. That beats forcing the issue. Listen to your instincts. You didn’t gain it in a day, so you won’t lose it in a day either. Take your time. (see posts Apr. 28, May 3)

Don’t Ignore Funky Eating Behaviours - Do focus on problem eating times, binges and your greatest challenges by keeping a diary to identify your triggers. If you want to decode your mode, this is a must. If you need professional support, vamoose and get it. You’re worth it. (see posts Mar. 19, May 13, June 6, 7 & 8, July 5)

Don’t Eliminate Your Favorite Foods - Do work in your favourite foods because all foods can fit into a healthy regimen. Watch your quantities though. This will quell your imagination and steer clear of mega cravings. Have some and move on already…. (see posts Sept. 21)

Don’t Make Losing Weight Your Sole RewardDo find many non-monetary and non-food rewards for your efforts on a regular basis. Learn to be good to yourself. (see posts Apr. 28)

Don’t Avoid Eating Out - Do work on creating a healthy relationship with food and learn what you can work in from restaurant menus. Some might find the temptation difficult and for that I would ensure you avoid arriving there ravenous. (see posts May 17, July 26, Oct. 11)

Don’t Take the Willy Nilly Approach To FoodDo learn about your food by reading labels and reading up on what’s new and what’s tried and true. Try to add new foods into your repertoire and learn about more healthful ways of preparing foods ensuring it’s tasty. (see posts May 9 & 12, June 28, Aug. 5, Sept 23, 27 & 30, Oct. 24 & 27)

Don’t Tell the World You’re Trying to Lose WeightDo walk the talk every day because it’s a way of life and not a diet, per se. (see posts Aug. 30, Sept. 20)

Don’t Dress Like a SchleppDo pay special attention to your attire and grooming because you will feel better about yourself. When you feel good about yourself you’ll treat yourself better and eat better. It’s quite the cycle. (see posts Mar. 29, Aug. 16,  Oct. 17)

Don’t Give UPDo work at it every day, just like Josh Groban sings “Don’t Give UP”. Your efforts WILL pay off. If you need to take a break from making too many changes then “park yourself” into a holding pattern to help you adjust. Then jump back in the ring when you’re good and ready, but not until then. (see posts Sept. 15, Nov. 2)

Don’t Make Eating The Centre of Your LifeDo approach all of the wonderful things life has to offer, because food is only one aspect, not the be all and end all. Take it all in people.

Next week we’ll be talking to a T & T follower and offering up ideas and support. Join me won’t you…..

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Of Peace & Remembrance

November 10th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

It’s Remembrance Day. How many poppies have you tried to keep on your person this year? I find mine rarely make it to the parking lot from the places I purchase them. Ah well. I guess it’s more important to pay respects in your heart and mind for what the day represents. I’d much prefer to focus on peace though…..

Peace. It certainly is something to strive for from day to day. Ok, so I’m a hippy at heart, “peace man”. I think if we dig deep enough we’ll all find some hippy genes in our make up. You don’t need to be wearing bell bottoms and funky vests to seek peace and make it your personal cause. It’s there for the taking if we try hard enough to find it.

Some people think this is a gargantuan undertaking but it doesn’t really need to be. As Mother Teresa has implied “…the greatest, most effective and powerful way to oppose war is to wage peace….” (quoted from Eknath Easwaran’s book Love Never Faileth).

Hmmmm such mammoth wisdom from such a meek saint. Think about it though: how we can find peace from day to day? Finding and making peace in your circle is certainly a choice we ALL make every single day. Take today for instance, I was stuck in traffic at a standstill trying to get to an appointment tick tick tick tick tick tick . Then I heard someone honking their horn, turning my peace into chaos. Hey, what gives buddy, where are we gonna go for goodness sake?! All we’re doing is sitting stuck for a few minutes, so let someone turn left away from this quagmire. Peace or chaos, it’s a choice.

You can seek peace in the ebb and flow of your day. Really you can. You can make peace in your connections with others – whether they’re strangers, acquaintances, friends or family. Do you choose to be critical or do you choose to be kind? Do you choose to gossip or do you choose to praise? Do you choose to ignore or do you choose to greet warmly? Do you choose to judge or do you choose to give someone the benefit of the doubt? Do you choose to listen or do you continually choose to lecture? Do you choose to be available or do you choose to check out? Finding and making peace is a choice.

Mother Teresa has said:

And I think that we in our family – we don’t need bombs and guns to destroy. To bring peace, just get together, love one another, bring that peace, that joy, that strength of presence of each other in the home. And we will be able to overcome all the evil that is in the world.

So, what do you choose? Flip the switch to make peace. The world will thank you.

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Me Generation to We Generation

November 9th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

So much has been said about today’s “me generation”. I’m surprised some kids even agree to talk to us….those who are doing all of the talking, that is…..”blah blah blah blah blah”. I learned that it’s important to give people the benefit of the doubt first, before passing judgement. It’s important to remind ourself of this every now and then.

Last week I sat at my door Halloween night as the neighbourhood kids were shelling out. As I mentioned, it’s a day that I enjoy for many reasons. I usually turn up my Sirius Radio Spa channel tunes resonating through the house as I leaf through the November edition of the O Magazine, another guilty pleasure of mine. As 8pm was approaching I considered “closing up shop” for another year and for some reason I put it off a little longer. Within a few minutes the instrumental hymn Ave Maria played plucking at my heart strings, as if I’d be greeted by an angel.

A few minutes later the doorbell rang and I was greeted by two teenaged girl trick or treaters. They explained that they were there to collect non-perishable food items for a program they were volunteering to contribute to. Ah angels. These two angels donning witches costumes were spending the night out in the cold for a good cause, not to load up on goodies like every other kid. You could have blown me over with a feather. Their generous spirits warmed my heart.

It’s kids like these that will transform the Me Generation to the We Generation through their quiet caring for others. Even though I have my days of uncertainty about what to behold in the future sometimes. These gals shattered that illusion and shone a new light of hope on that shadow of doubt.

Hmmm collecting for the needy while everyone else is gathering goodies for the un-needy. So humbling and so profound.

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Monkey Business – Off the Duff at Work

November 8th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Moving more…..I used to work in a large hospital and walked from clinic to clinic, ward to ward and building to building. Ahhhh yes, then I moved into a desk job. That’s when I ceased moving it would seem!! Sitting, sitting and yet more sitting. Thank goodness for my aging bladder, that get’s me up and at it from time to time.

For those of us in the same situation, trying to make a concerted effort to take a few minutes here and there to rise off your duff and move more is a good place to start. It seems the workplace has a multitude of policies for so many things, why not get your staff to “do the hockey-pokey and move it all about” which’ll result in a more productive workforce in time, don’t you think??

Every muscle movement results in calorie usage – burn baby burn. We often think we need to do 30-60 minutes of activity all in one go. Nay nay I say. Why not chunk it down to 5 or 10 minute intervals at a time. That’ll give the funk to your hind-side chunk, that’s for sure. Instead of taking the elevator up or down a few flights, may I be so bold and suggest you take the stairs, perhaps? Park at the back of the parking lot and stroll in. I do this anyways because I’m a lousy parker….

My current workplace is situated in a corporate neighbourhood and I see people taking walks during break-time and lunch-time daily. What a wonderful sight to behold!! Be bold and take the lead by suggesting to powers that be for your entire office get involved in this sort of thing….not all at the same time, of course.

Chime in with your ideas and experiences on this. Would love to hear about it.

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Love Thyself

November 7th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

Self acceptance. It seems like such a simple task. It is a recurring theme when I write because it’s so important. As I was making my Nachos and Cheese (posted in the recipe section) for dinner the conversation between Oprah and Portia de Rossi bubbled through my brain as I was using my garlic press. Hmmmmm. Yet another actress is launching a tell-all book on the ebb and flow of her life called Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain. Portia explained it’s really a book for anyone on a diet.

Who am I to argue with the stars? To me, her story went much deeper than that. It was about her quest for self acceptance and finding true love of herself. It’s interesting how issues that run soul deep sometimes emerge through funky eating habits. Who would ever think that such a seemingly cool actress didn’t even accept herself the way she was?? What gives??

I think we need to look at this from a few angles, first as the person in question. Why is it so important for people around you to accept you, when you’re indeed fine the way you are? Well, perhaps you’re not yet fine with it. Am I being naive here?? I’m sure some shrink will write and tell me so and I welcome it. I think we’re brought up with this flimsy need for acquaintances to love us and accept us. And people take this so far as to judge themselves the way others judge them. I think that’s utterly nutty, but perhaps that’s how some people are made up and I don’t know enough to comment.  My apologies if I’m out of line.

Then there’s the other angle, from the parents side. Do parents realize how much unspoken power they have with their kids?? Just by voicing your acceptance of your children, even grown ones, can utterly set them free. How powerful yet so profound.

If you’ve been struggling with eating issues for years on end put your fork down and think – this isn’t about eating at all. It’s about loving and accepting yourself unconditionally. Period. Perhaps that one life changing act will help all the non-sense in your life turn to sense after all. In time you’ll establish a better relationship with food. One where you’re in the driver’s seat and not the other way around.

At the end of the day you can’t fool with Mother Nature, so accept yourself the way you are and you will set yourself free.

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The Gift of Time

November 6th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Spring forward, fall back. This is the weekend we inherit an extra hour. Ahhh the gift of time. How are you using your extra hour today?? Are you using it wisely or are you wasting it away on trivial matters? Having this extra hour has got me thinking about time. Hmmmm  how I love this little gift.

Awakening in the morning with the sunshine, instead of darkness is a gift in itself. I have all kinds of ideas – maybe I’ll make a soup. Mmmm there’s nothing like throwing an ole boot in a big pot of water and letting it boil with a bunch of vegetables until my kitchen windows get foggy. Maybe I’ll get a jump start on one of this week’s dinners rather than doing it when I’m rushed from work. I always take the time to get outside no matter the weather to take a walk, perhaps deal with some leaves if the wind doesn’t blow through. And take some time to read….and of course write. Oh that extra hour, how I cherish thee!!

I’m turning 50 next year and it’s milestone times like that, that really get me reflecting on matters related to time. Like the Latin saying goes tempus fugit (time flies). I was at a series of meetings last week and was able to catch up with old friends and colleagues from my past. How wonderful that is to reconnect? We’re all holding up fine despite the warp speed of time passing. One colleague didn’t even realize I changed jobs 6 years ago. Where has the time gone??

I have written about reflecting on what you’re doing in life, what your goals are, what you’ve achieved to make your life fuller before. But talking about the gift of time again is a reminder for us to do a little navel gazing. If you’re putting off important stuff for the future you might be feeling a bit empty sometimes. What are you waiting for?? I had a lovely dinner with a new friend last week and we talked about our guilty pleasure of writing – our sweet release. I contemplated starting my blog for months and am so glad I took the plunge. She’s embarking on writing a novel and jumped right in on it – how novel??!!  I think in life we sometimes over think things to the point of having analysis paralysis. There are some things in life that are just worth going for. If you have a yearning in your gut take your mind out of the equation because you just might complicate matters. Logic doesn’t always prevail. I’m a big believer in serendipity – things happen for a reason, so just trust it.

Whether you want to learn a new sport, get going on a new fall/winter exercise routine, learn how to cook a certain way or buckle down and get into better shape, you owe it to yourself to just get at it. Vamoose. Get going. Jump in. Vit vit. Today’s extra hour might spark a light within  to take you into the coming months with vim and vigor. What are you working on? We’d love to know.

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Hard Facts, Hardening Arteries – What’s Next?

November 4th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I was feeling a little bit guilty about the post on October 26 when I wrote about guilt. Maybe I’m being too self righteous, I thought. Then I read an article in the paper about a study done on obese kids’ arteries. The findings bonked me out of my questioning state and back into reality. For the last month or so I’ve featured posts focusing on kids, eating, limits and dare I say, maternal guilt.

The study findings were both profound and surprising. They found that obese kids’ arteries showed signs of hardening, like us older folks may have after decades and decades of living large and planning to eat better, well into the future. It isn’t simply a scare that unhealthy kids this generation may not outlive their parents like the circle of life dictates. It’s the hardening truth.

The reason why I chose to work in a paediatric setting many moons ago is because I felt parents will go to great lengths to help their children. Perhaps more than they would do for themselves. And I have found that they do. Do we have go to these extreme measures to get parents attention though?? Right now there are horrid photos on cigarette packets. Do we need to start putting alarming statistics and pictures on our food packages?? I sure hope not.

Unfortunately with over 60% of our population either overweight or obese, that physical state is the new norm. It isn’t just here in North America, it’s around the entire globe. I have mentioned the movie Wall-e in other posts and will bring it up again. If you haven’t seen it, make it a point to do so. Because it might not be that far off base forecasting what our future might be like from a physical status perspective.

Eating well and being active feels good and is good for us. Take a few baby steps to change and before you know it, positive new habits will become second nature. Be a role model. Don’t be the smartest one in the graveyard. Your life and that of your children depend on it.

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