Saturday, March 11, 2017

The "It Won't REALLY Matter If I..." Trap

Ever heard yourself TELL yourself "It won't REALLY matter if I..." as you are about to choose to have a little something-something that is off-program? Whether it's the left over chicken nugget from your child's dinner plate, or a little extra almond milk in your cereal, or that extra handful of pistachios, it DOES matter.

I don't know much, but here is what I DO know, and can tell you by experience. I have never seen ONE PERSON in my 6 years of coaching NOT succeed when they made the decision to follow the program as outlined in the Quick Start Guide EXACTLY, day in and day out.

On the contrary, I have seen MANY people who have opted to substitute their judgment, even daily, for that of the program and NOT succeed in their health goals.

It may seem innocent enough, and it may be such a habit that we aren't even aware we are doing it. We've stopped measuring (or have never measured) the half and half we use in our morning coffee. We stop counting (or have never counted) condiments. We eyeball our lean for our Lean and Green, and do the same thing for our vegetables. After all, WE know what 5-7 ounces of lean protein looks like, don't we? WE know what 1.5 cups of vegetables looks like, don't we?

And so starts the slow slide into forgetfulness, into mindlessness, into old habits, because pretty soon it isn't just once or twice a week we are deviating from the program it is once or twice a day. And although those deviations, on the surface, seem so minor to us, they can add up to COMPLETE FRUSTRATION because we have actually convinced ourselves we ARE following the program.

But are we? Are we really?

I've seen it time and time again, where someone will hit a plateau (and it's happened to me too!) and have no idea why their weight loss stopped? When this happens to me I do a three-day food log and meticulously log every single thing I put in my mouth (time, amount), and I track my water (time, amount) also. You'd be surprised at what I have uncovered about myself and my program when I've done this exercise. In fact, even the PROCESS of logging everything for 3 days usually gets me PAST a stall or a plateau, because if I'm going to write it down I'm going to make sure it was ON PLAN! If I'm going to write "6 ounces of chicken breast cooked in Pam" then I very well better have MEASURED it!

I challenge everyone to do a 3-day food log, but be sure to review the Quick Start Guide first, with brand-new eyes, then make YOUR 3-day food log MATCH the Quick Start Guide.

The danger of having a "good enough" mindset instead of a precise mindset when it comes to the program is that we slowly slide into complacency, and our results will follow.

If you'd like to try this exercise with me (I'm doing it for the next 3 days also) I encourage you to do it! If you want me to review your food logs to see how they match up against the Quick Start Guide, I am happy to do that, just e-mail me your log after 3 days and I'll analyze it, trouble-shoot it for any areas I see that might be holding you back without you even knowing it!

Here is a quick review of what your day should look like:
5 Medifast or Optavia Fuelings
1 weighed and measured Lean and Green, choosing only the protein and vegetables included in the Quick Start Guide List, and including the required amount (if any) of measured Healthy Fats corresponding to the lean protein you chose
No more than 3 condiments per day, also only of condiments listed in either the Quick Start Guide OR the Expanded Condiment/Healthy Fat List (if you don't have this list, e-mail me with "Expanded List" in the subject line and I'll get it to you asap)
90 ounces or more of water

Your 6 fuelings (5 +1) should be spaced 2-3 hours apart (no sooner than 2 hours, no later than 3 hours) throughout your day, with your first fueling consumed WITHIN the first hour of waking up.

Your caffeine should be limited to 300 mg per day, which is about 20 ounces of brewed coffee or black tea, or 3-4 cans of caffeinated diet cola beverages.

Your exercise (if you exercise) should be no more than 45 minutes per day, of moderate intensity

One optional snack (from the list in the Quick Start Guide) per day, if hunger is an issue. Never have an optional snack simply because you "feel like it", only utilize it on extra-hungry days if you have them. Remember that this program was designed for men and women alike, my personal opinion as that while men sometimes could use the extra calories, women don't tend to need them and in fact adding them may increase their hunger slightly or noticeable in the next few days.

Learn to recognize that voice inside that simply wants what it wants, and prompts you to reach for that extra something. Or, the voice can also convince you that measuring just doesn't really matter. Or that the extra condiments can slide today, because emotionally you really need them (or it doesn't really matter).

Follow the program, strive to make every day a 100% day, and when it isn't examine it to determine WHY it isn't and make corrections for the next day, and move FORWARD to your health goals! If you falter, don't beat yourself up, but also don't stay STUCK. Make your next decision an on program decision and carry on.

Remember this program was scientifically designed by people much much smarter than me! It was clinically proven safe AND EFFECTIVE provided it is followed. Do not modify, do not modify, do not modify. A modified plan will give modified results, and NOT the ones you were after.

Who is with me?


Monday, February 27, 2017

Theoretical Conversation Between a Financial Planner/Counselor and a Debtor

Financial Counselor:
So, you are here today because you would like assistance and a plan to help you get out of 100K credit card debt?
Client:
Yes, can you help me with that?
Financial Counselor:
Sure, I can do that! We can set up a budget for you which you can follow every day. It may feel like a drastic change to how you have been living and what you have been spending up to this point, but it will be necessary in order to slowly work your way out of this debt, and to get you into financial health.
Client:
OK, let's do it!
Week One:
Financial Counselor:
So, how did you week one go?
Client:
Well, it went OK but I'm really ashamed that I even need to be on this budget, and it's just really really hard, harder than I thought it would be.
Financial Counselor:
What do you mean, you are ashamed to be on the budget?
Client:
Every time I think about the fact I have to be on this budget I get sad, and I get mad at myself for having gotten into 100K of credit card debt.
Financial Counselor:
OK, yes, sometimes when we see the result of our prior actions in the cold hard light of day, and know that it doesn't have to be that way, we can feel somewhat ashamed that we needed to see a financial planner or debt counselor, I understand that. But we now have a solution for you to begin reducing that debt in a very systematic way, with a program that is guaranteed to work if you follow it exactly. Can you do that this week?
Client:
Sure, I think I can, but it is really hard.
Week Two:
Financial Counselor:
So, how did it go for week two?
Client:
Well, it was tough, I struggled, and I ended up buying a few things that weren't on my budget, things I wanted and at the time they made sense for me to buy.
Financial Counselor:
OK, but didn't we work out in your budget the things you absolutely needed, we decided what those were, and you agreed that the budget covered all of your basic expenses?
Client:
Yes, I know, but I really wanted this thing and resented the fact I was on a budget, got mad at myself for being 100K in debt and needing a budget in the first place, so I bought it.
Financial Counselor:
OK, well you know that this budget will only work if you follow it, and if you don't this is just a theoretical exercise until you put action to it, right?
Client:
Yes. I'll do better this week. I promise. I know I can do this.
Week Three
Financial Counselor:
So, how did week three go?
Client:
I did really well for the first few days, but then I saw something I really wanted and I was out with my other friends who were all buying the same thing. I didn't want to admit to them I was on a budget, and I didn't want to not feel like I was included, so I went ahead and bought it too. The next night we went to a restaurant I knew I couldn't afford, I knew it wasn't in my budget, but I felt ashamed that I couldn't go there with them so I went anyway and put it on my credit card. I didn't want them to judge me or think I couldn't handle my money, and I really didn't want them to know I was trying to live within my means.
Financial Counselor:
The thing I want to relay to you is that you CAN live a financially free life SOON provided you begin to follow this budget NOW. Every day you don't follow this budget you are remaining in the same amount, or more, of debt that you came to me with. Do you WANT to live within your means and be financially healthy?
Client:
YES! I do! But I'm ashamed I have to even be ON a budget, and I can't shake that feeling, it makes me feel BAD to be on a budget. But I'll do better this week.
Week Four
Financial Counselor:
(Client skips meeting)
Week Five
Financial Counselor:
So, how have the last couple weeks been? How is your budget going?
Client:
Well, not good. I just can't seem to get over the fact that I have to be on a budget. So, as they day goes on, I am tempted to buy this or that, and part of me tries to stay strong, but the other part of me goes ahead and buys it, and then I feel really guilty and bad that I didn't follow my budget.
Financial Counselor:
I have a question for you, does this budget feel a bit restrictive or drastic right now because you are comparing it with the way you WERE living which got you into 100K of credit card debt?
Client:
Yes, and I'm ashamed to even have to be ON the budget. I do want the debt gone, though, it is really uncomfortable to get the bills every month and wonder how I am going to pay for them and wonder WHEN this debt is going to be gone. I wish someone would just take it away from me and I could start out with a clean slate.
Financial Counselor:
So you desire to have the BENEFITS of having your debt wiped clean but are ASHAMED of having to do the work in order to get there?
Client:
Yes, that is exactly what I feel. I know I NEED to be on this budget, but I also want to keep living the way I was living before. And the sooner I can be DONE with this budget the better.
Financial Counselor:
What if it is only in the PROCESS of consistently following the budget and reducing your debt that you learn the skills necessary to stay out of debt and live financially free? If someone just came and took the debt from you, paid it for you, and you had a clean slate, you would be back in here next year with another 100K of credit card debt.
Client:
That's a good point. But every time I deviate from my budget even a little bit, I decide "What the Heck" and I buy the other 10 things I've been wanting for awhile. It seems like all this budget is doing is making me crazy and getting me more into debt.
Financial Counselor:
Well, actually it is YOU that is doing that BECAUSE you aren't taking action and following the budget.
Client:
You mean the budget isn't to blame?
Financial Counselor:
No. The BUDGET is just a structured system, a way to organize your resources so that daily you are not spending more than you take in, and when we are trying to reduce your 100K credit card debt we are actually structuring it so that you pay down a little bit of your debt every week. We keep doing this until your debt is paid, and it would be the same system whether you owed $100, $10,000, or 100,000. Once the debt is paid you will have more freedom in what you choose to spend your discretionary income one, but right now that is all going to reducing your debt. However, you will always be living with the structure of a budget from here on.
Client:
WOW. So the budget is actually a tool to bring structured spending into my life in order to get what I really want, which is financial freedom? It isn't a punishment?
Financial Counselor:
Nope. It is not a punishment at all. It is actually a ticket to freedom.
END OF DIALOGUE.
I wrote out this dialog in order to compare concepts our Optimal Wellbeing Program to another category, having debt.
Our accumulation of adipose tissue is nothing more than us having lived "beyond our means" in terms of energy consumption thus far in our lives.
It is a balance sheet, a ledger of sorts, of how we have managed our energy. It is no more shameful to be 100 pounds overweight than it is to be 100K in credit card debt, it is simply the consequences of how we have lived our lives up until NOW.
To say "I've always been 100K in credit card debt, how can I change now, and if I do change won't I just get back into credit card debt?" is not logical to say, because our FUTURE selves will be a reflection of what we do from TODAY on.
If you decide to be healthy in a month, 6 months, or a year, yes there is a process to go through, there are tools, our Optimal Weight 5&1 Plan is our "Energy Budget" of sorts.
But we need to follow it for it to have any impact in a week, a month, six months and a year.
Living beyond our means with food has led to an energy imbalance, and we have stored away energy to varying degrees for our bodies to use "at a later time" but that "later time" never comes because we never create the conditions physically for our bodies to need to use that energy up.
We keep making deposits into the energy bank, but not using all of it, and our bodies say "thanks, I'll store that as fat to use later." Our program is the tool that says "OK, here we go! Time to start using up that energy from here on out!"
Our program isn't a punishment, neither is it indicative of a failure on our part. It is simply a tool for those of us who may have never been taught how to balance our checkbook in terms of health to LEARN how to balance that checkbook and begin accomplishing the things we have thus far only dreamed of but somehow even the dreaming made us feel bad because for some reason we thought we could not do it.
We CAN do it. But it is a choice to follow our "budget" daily. Sometimes that choice is hard. Sometimes it means we can't do everything we want to do, just like someone who is paying off a 100K credit card bill may feel like they can't do everything they want to do initially.
But in the PROCESS of following the budget and seeing the results, something magical happens. I've heard it both in our program and in Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace University" and that is that the PROCESS becomes FUN! Once people have adjusted their expectations and made getting out of debt their primary goal, it becomes EXCITING to accomplish that, little by little, every day! Every spending decision they say "no" to becomes a victory, becomes FUN, and is a reminder that they are getting financially healthy. Once they ARE out of debt and have become financially free their whole mindset has CHANGED! They don't WANT to go out and frivolously buy something they don't need. They CONTINUE to make wise decisions because in the process of paying off their debt, they developed the habit of healthy spending which will ensure they don't fall into the debt trap again.
Our program is much the same. But the above is descriptive of the PROCESS, the HOW, and what is REALLY important is the WHY behind the HOW.
What was lacking in the above conversations was any question posed by the financial counselor of "Why do you want to be financially free?'
I'll blog more on THIS concept next time. THIS blog was simply to highlight the similarities of how feeling ashamed of being on our program makes about as much sense as being ashamed of being on a budget.
The Optimal Weight 5&1 Program IS our "energy budget," which helps us attain energy equilibrium by creating the conditions where our body USES all that energy it has been saving for a rainy day. Once we've attained "energy equilibrium" also known as a healthy weight, we then us the "Transition Budget" to get us to the Maintenance Budget" which will allow us some structure in maintaining our "energy equilibrium". It isn't about diet and deprivation. It is about attaining and maintaining optimal health. The principles are much like someone being recommended a budget to attain financial health, which necessarily will include getting out of credit card debt. First you work on re-paying what you owe, then you work on living within your means moving forward. Same principle dynamically.




Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Holiday Strategies

Holiday Strategy? Thanksgiving? Christmas? Hanukkah? New Years? The time of year has come, and the "Holiday Season" has arrived! What is your strategy? Do you have one? I would recommend putting a little thought and time into one because it's been my experience in my own life that when I DON'T do this, I drift. Let me rephrase that. When I DON'T have a Holiday Strategy, I drift UP. Sometimes UP and UP, depending on the severity of the Holiday season (LOL). This is actually my favorite time of year, and it is also my favorite FOOD time of the year because of all of the memories of Thanksgivings and Christmases past.

So, there are a few strategies I can give as far as your health journey is concerned. None of them are GOOD or BAD, but ALL of them are a CHOICE based on what you have said you want to accomplish with your health.

1) The "what holiday?" route:
With this strategy, you continue to take each day as it comes, you continue on your eating plan food-and-drink-wise as if there were NO Thanksgiving Dinner, Christmas Eve, Hanukkah Festivities, Open House or New Year's Eve. You still attend all of these events, but you are content to remain on your program, eating Turkey, green beans and salad for Thanksgiving, Prime Rib or Roast Beef, green beans and salad for Christmas Eve, toasting New Year's Eve in with a sugar-free Hansens natural Creme Soda or Ginger Ale, and waking up on January 1st around 12-15 (or more) pounds lighter than you are today. You shopped around for a beautiful dress or tailored suit for the occasions (because nothing in your closet fits anymore), and the one you bought for Thanksgiving you will actually need to take in a little bit for the New Year's Eve Party. You enjoyed the season, the people, the spirit of the holidays, and you have zero regrets. You were actually able to choose a DIFFERENT New Year's "Resolution" this year besides "I will lose weight" because you already are well on your way to THAT goal and don't need to "start fresh, mentally".

2) The "Free-for-All" route:
With this strategy, you start celebrating with food TODAY, in anticipation of the holidays. After all, 'tis the season to be jolly, and you don't want any encumbrances placed on your eating and drinking decisions. Food has a very special and sentimental place in your heart, and no matter what your health goals, you are not going to miss the fun of food. You have no plans to have an "on-track" day from now until January 1st, and you have contented yourself with the fact that sure, you might gain some weight, you're hoping to "maintain" but on January 1st upon reflection you realize that "Hope was not a strategy" and you are now in the next size up jeans or dresses than you were on November 15th. Your New Year's Resolution is still "I will lose weight, starting TODAY!" and you wait until 12:01 January 1st to make that resolution, just like past years. ON Jan 1st, you wake up to the thoughts that feel suspiciously like regret, which is a very familiar feeling to you, and also surprisingly more disheartening than you thought it would be. You wonder "can I really do this?" Hopefully you decide that you can, you let bygones by bygones and get right back on track. There is a possibility, however, that you've lost some of your momentum and your hope that you can actually have the healthy life you want, and you may not decide to get back on plan. Therein lies the risk of this strategy.

3) The "Special-Occasion-Only" route:
With this strategy, you ascertain that out of the next 276 meals/fuelings from now until January 1st only 3 or 4 of them will truly be the "Holiday Meals" you make a firm decision that on January 1st, you'd like to be at least 10 pounds or more lighter than you are today, and you commit to having some "off-plan" items at those meals only. You make a rule that you won't eat any cookies or treats EXCEPT at those festivities, and you won't go back for seconds DURING those festivities. Unbeknownst to you at present, you will have just stepped in to what I call "normal eating". After all, it isn't that small sliver of pumpkin pie or bit of stuffing with gravy that makes people unhealthy/overweight, and you get right back on track after each one of those holiday meals. You wake up on January 1st having met your goal, and feeling GREAT!

So, what if you don't decide to choose ANY of these options? What I have found is that if you don't make a choice and a plan you will likely simply default to option 2.

What will it be this Holiday Season? Will you be in control of your Holiday food? Or, will it be in control of you?

Rinse and Repeat!

Monday, October 17, 2016

"I Can't Wait to be OFF This Thing! I Just Want to Eat 'Normally'!"

"Hoping that I could lose my weight and then go back and eat like a normal person."

This is a very real desire that we all have to confront at some point or other in our journey towards optimal health.  
Thinking about this topic sparked so many thoughts in me that I decided to make it a blog!
Well, put it this way, we don't HAVE to confront this idea, we can IGNORE what is deep down and simply ACT on that hope after "losing weight", which WILL likely cause us to gain it all back again.
Or, we can deal with it and CHANGE OUR WANTS.
Let me give you a different perspective on it. Do you REALLY want to "eat normal"?
Firstly, doing what you've always done will get you what you've always got. Is that the status quo you want to maintain after all your hard work?
Secondly, the idea of "normal" in this country is what has 2/3rd's of Americans being overweight and fully HALF of those overweight Americans are OBESE. So, "normal" is overweight or obese. Healthy weight is actually the EXCEPTION. We are the MINORITY, those of us who are a healthy weight.
Most people who are a healthy weight remain so because their bodies naturally tend towards that. Some of us are a healthy weight because we were FORMERLY obese or overweight and decided to make a lifestyle shift, to fight for the right to be healthy!
Since only about 5-15% of people who lose a significant amount of weight maintain their losses for two years or more, that means those of who have done that, who ARE in the healthy weight range, are the minority of the minority (of the minority of the minority....it feels like one of those pictures of a mirror with a picture of a mirror with a picture of a mirror....I digress.....).
So tell me, do we WANT to eat NORMALLY to BE NORMAL, or do we WANT to eat EXCEPTIONALLY to be EXCEPTIONAL?
I choose EXCEPTIONAL.
Do you know who else chooses "Exceptional?"
Olympic quality and elite athletes. Their lives are RULED by their training. They eat "normally" for an Olympic Athlete. What IS "normal" for an Olympic Athlete? Well I've done some study, and Olympic Athletes are very regimented when they are in training.
Take Olympic athlete Gabby Douglas, who was featured in Cosmopolitan this last summer. You can copy and paste this link to read about it, but I'll sum it up here. Basically, Gabby Douglas trains, in split-training, SIX HOURS PER DAY. What does she eat? Here it is:
Breakfast:
Tea
Banana
Oatmeal
Lunch:
Chicken Breast
Grilled Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar
Handful of Dark Chocolate-Covered Almonds
Dinner:
Salmon
Sauteed Garlic Green Beans
1 Cup Pasta
Dessert:
Homemade Gingerbread
Basically, she is consuming 2 "Lean & Greens", 3 servings of grains, 1 fruit, and 2 snacks. Oh, and she is training at the Olympic level in gymnastics for 6 hours every day.
Henry Cavill a.k.a "Superman". If you have seen any of his interviews about his work-out/eating regimen while training for and shooting the Man of Steel movie, you will see what I mean. He had to sign a CONTRACT with Universal Studios which dictated that he would only eat what the studio provided him to eat for six months. SIX MONTHS! Why did he do this? Because he had a goal in mind. He wanted to play "Superman" and he knew what he needed to do in order to realize his dream. And he did.
Channing Tatum. http://fitnesshacker.com/channing-tatum-workout/
The Principles Of Channing Tatum Diet;
5 to 6 Small Meals Spread Across the Day
Lean Proteins like Beef and Chicken
Plenty of Fresh Fruit, Oranges, Apples and Banannas
Large Range of Vegetables with Every Main Meal.
Carbohydrates in suitable proportions, whole grains are best.
Yogurt and the “Yummy” Treats in life, Just in Suitable Proportions.
Channing Tatum declines "buns" when he is out to dinner and orders a hamburger. We don't see this played out, because we never have dinner with Channing Tatum. However, he does. If Channing Tatum were an overweight woman asking for his "bunnless burger" everyone around him would assume he were "on a diet". No, he's just eating in accordance with the goals he wants to accomplish.
Exceptional in this context means that you are comfortable with and striving towards your health goals. You have lived the life of a "normal" American adult, and it did NOT bring you peace and joy. In fact, quite the opposite, it brought you heartache and emotional conflict and pain such that you made a decision to NOT BE THAT WAY ANYMORE.
Our bodies are our bodies, we can't swap 'em out for bodies that DON'T store extra calories/carbs etc as fat. Our bodies will always do that, we have not and will not change that propensity, dictated to us by our genetics primarily. What we HAVE accomplished by losing the excess adipose tissue (long-term energy storage) is that we have brought our bodies back in to energy balance. We are no longer hoarders of calories on our person. We are also living a life, those of us who have done that, which is necessarily more active. For me, this life I live now is infinately more satisfying and exciting and downright FUN that the life I was living as a Class IV Super-Obese-yet-"normal"-eating individual.
Our program is structured, to be sure. Our program is clinically proven safe and effective, 100% so. The question is, how do we VIEW our program? Do we view it as some "diet" which has been "foisted" upon us and therefore we regret it? Or do we view it as an OPPORTUNITY to be in TRAINING for the life we WANT to live?
And I will eat exceptionally, and I will move exceptionally, because I CHOOSE TO DO SO.
Well, put it this way, we don't HAVE to confront this idea, we can IGNORE what is deep down and simply ACT on that hope after "losing weight", which WILL likely cause us to gain it all back again.

Or, we can deal with it and CHANGE OUR WANTS.

Let me give you a different perspective on it.  Do you REALLY want to "eat normal"?

Firstly, doing what you've always done will get you what you've always got.  Is that the status quo you want to maintain after all your hard work?

Secondly, the idea of "normal" in this country is what has 2/3rd's of Americans being overweight and fully HALF of those overweight Americans are OBESE.  So, "normal" is overweight or obese.  Healthy weight is actually the EXCEPTION.  We are the MINORITY, those of us who are a healthy weight.

Most people who are a healthy weight remain so because their bodies naturally tend towards that.  Some of us are a healthy weight because we were FORMERLY obese or overweight and decided to make a lifestyle shift, to fight for the right to be healthy!

Since only about 5-15% of people who lose a significant amount of weight maintain their losses for two years or more, that means those of who have done that, who ARE in the healthy weight range, are the minority of the minority (of the minority of the minority....it feels like one of those pictures of a mirror with a picture of a mirror with a picture of a mirror....I digress.....).

So tell me, do we WANT to eat NORMALLY to BE NORMAL, or do we WANT to eat EXCEPTIONALLY to be EXCEPTIONAL?

I choose EXCEPTIONAL.

Do you know who else chooses "Exceptional?"

Olympic quality and elite athletes. Their lives are RULED by their training. They eat "normally" for an Olympic Athlete. What IS "normal" for an Olympic Athlete? Well I've done some study, and Olympic Athletes are very regimented when they are in training. 


Take Olympic athlete Gabby Douglas, who was featured in Cosmopolitan this last summer. You can copy and paste this link to read about it, but I'll sum it up here. Basically, Gabby Douglas trains, in split-training, SIX HOURS PER DAY. What does she eat? Here it is:


Breakfast:

Tea
Banana
Oatmeal

Lunch:

Chicken Breast
Grilled Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar
Handful of Dark Chocolate-Covered Almonds

Dinner:

Salmon
Sauteed Garlic Green Beans
1 Cup Pasta

Dessert:

Homemade Gingerbread

Basically, she is consuming 2 "Lean & Greens", 3 servings of grains, 1 fruit, and 2 snacks. Oh, and she is training at the Olympic level in gymnastics for 6 hours every day.


http://www.cosmopolitan.com/health-fitness/news/a60797/what-olympic-gymnast-gabby-douglas-really-eats-in-a-day/


 Henry Cavill a.k.a "Superman". If you have seen any of his interviews about his work-out/eating regimen while training for and shooting the Man of Steel movie, you will see what I mean. He had to sign a CONTRACT with Universal Studios which dictated that he would only eat what the studio provided him to eat for six months. SIX MONTHS! Why did he do this? Because he had a goal in mind. He wanted to play "Superman" and he knew what he needed to do in order to realize his dream. And he did.


Channing Tatum. http://fitnesshacker.com/channing-tatum-workout/

The Principles Of Channing Tatum Diet;

  • 5 to 6 Small Meals Spread Across the Day
  • Lean Proteins like Beef and Chicken
  • Plenty of Fresh Fruit, Oranges, Apples and Banannas
  • Large Range of Vegetables with Every Main Meal.
  • Carbohydrates in suitable proportions, whole grains are best.
  • Yogurt and the “Yummy” Treats in life, Just in Suitable Proportions.
Channing Tatum declines "buns" when he is out to dinner and orders a hamburger. We don't see this played out, because we never have dinner with Channing Tatum. However, he does. If Channing Tatum were an overweight woman asking for his "bunnless burger" everyone around him would assume he were "on a diet". No, he's just eating in accordance with the goals he wants to accomplish.

Exceptional in this context means that you are comfortable with and striving towards your health goals.  You have lived the life of a "normal" American adult, and it did NOT bring you peace and joy.  In fact, quite the opposite, it brought you heartache and emotional conflict and pain such that you made a decision to NOT BE THAT WAY ANYMORE.

Our bodies are our bodies, we can't swap 'em out for bodies that DON'T store extra calories/carbs etc as fat.  Our bodies will always do that, we have not and will not change that propensity, dictated to us by our genetics primarily.  What we HAVE accomplished by losing the excess adipose tissue (long-term energy storage) is that we have brought our bodies back in to energy balance.  We are no longer hoarders of calories on our person.  We are also living a life, those of us who have done that, which is necessarily more active.  For me, this life I live now is infinately  more satisfying and exciting and downright FUN that the life I was living as a Class IV Super-Obese-yet-"normal"-eating individual.  


Our program is structured, to be sure. Our program is clinically proven safe and effective, 100% so. The question is, how do we VIEW our program? Do we view it as some "diet" which has been "foisted" upon us and therefore we regret it? Or do we view it as an OPPORTUNITY to be in TRAINING for the life we WANT to live?

And I will eat exceptionally, and I will move exceptionally, because I CHOOSE TO DO SO.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Stage 2 is NOT a "Diet"

Are you on a "diet" or are you practicing a healthy routine?

How do you frame what it is your are doing?

It matters!

Many times people who struggle with their weight develop a "diet mentality" when they decide they are going to try to "lose weight".

For me, I am practicing a "healthy routine". Now, losing weight may be part of that healthy routine if I am overweight or obese when I begin the process, but it ain't no "diet!" I have learned to re-classify my daily actions in light of what I am trying to accomplish, which is to live a healthy lifestyle.  What I do is no different than an athlete who has a goal and is "in training" to accomplish that goal!

Therefore I'm not on a "diet" in order "to lose weight". I happen to be "in training" for living an optimally healthy life!

In our program there are 6 stages to living an optimally healthy life.

1) Preparing for your journey
2) Reaching a healthy weight (which, by definition, is necessary to live a healthy life!)
3) Transition to healthy eating
4) Live the Habits of Health
5) Optimize health for your age
6) The potential to live a longer, healthier life

As you can see, reaching a healthy weight is simply the SECOND stage of my healthy life training! It is the second stage out of SIX STAGES! Yet most of us seem to concentrate and zero in on viewing the second stage as the ONLY stage, and we tend to classify it in our self-talk (and what we tell others) as "I'm on a diet".

I am desiring to live a healthy life, that is my goal, and I am taking the steps in order to LIVE A HEALTHY LIFE! I am not taking steps to "be on a diet".

Blah! Yuck! Who wants to do that? "Diets" are temporary things where people force themselves into a chronically deprived state, can't eat any yummy things, and feel bad about themselves! That is not what I am doing!

I am simply in a stage of change from previously living an UNHEALTHY life, or being in a state of "Dis-Ease", to living a HEALTHY LIFE!

And that process began when I prepared for my journey and made the choice to do it! That process doesn't "begin" when I am at a "goal weight" and "then I'll be happy".

I'm happy NOW! I'm in training for a healthy life! I've engaged in the process to LIVE a healthy life, and I am on the path to it! I'm not on no stinkin' DIET!

Now, stage 2, which is "Reach a healthy weight" necessarily involves putting my body into a state where it is highly encouraged to utilize my EXCESS weight (fat) as energy. I do that on purpose. It is part of the plan, it is part of "Reaching a healthy weight". The way in which I do this is very scientific, clinically proven safe and effective, and harnesses the science of weight loss perfectly so that I don't have to figure it all out on my own by devouring "diet books" or reading about the "latest celebrity fad". All I need to do is follow a structured eating plan and make MY day look like a day in the Quick Start Guide. If I do that day in and day out, I am accomplishing stage 2 automatically.

Athletes use "sports supplements" to optimize their training and performance goals. Protein powders. Sports gels. Meal-replacement bars. They do this because it gets them where they want to go, it allows them to live the life they want to live. I am no different in this respect. I also use "supplements" and I call them "fuelings". Just as athletic and sports supplements provide athletes exactly what they need to get the right kind of fuel for the results they want, my fuelings or "supplements" get ME the right kind of fuel for the results that I want, appropriate to the stage I am in! It is really NO DIFFERENT.

I don't focus on the things I "can't" have. I don't even look at it that way. I look at is as "what CAN I do today to further the process of the stage I am in?" I look at it with hope and optimism because the "attain a healthy weight phase" can take me into the next stage provided I follow the plan! No muss, no fuss, no pining over yummy things that aren't ON the program. Why would I? They don't appeal to me. They won't take me where I want to go! I'm in training for a healthy life, and this is the new healthy me, so why would I "cheat" my dreams and risk NOT living the life I want to live?

Just some thoughts for today on how to "reframe" your journey. Let's not get "stuck" in the "Stage 2 loop" endlessly because we are viewing it as a diet. Diets don't work. There is so much beyond stage 2, so let's move through stage 2 and into the rest of our "health" by taking the steps necessary to MOVE us through stage 2 and into stage 3.

Rinse and Repeat!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Stages of Change

Last night in my Health Promotion class I learned the "terminology" behind some of what I have learned experientially through my 6 years as a Certified Health Coach. We were studying the "Trans-Theoretical Model of Behavior Change." 

The goal behind any behavior change is to move THROUGH the stages INTO the healthy behavior you are wanting to bring into your life, so that you can be actively living in and maintaining the DESIRED behavior.


I've been in various stages of ALL of these stages in my own 46-year health journey, I'll describe them and you can see where YOU fit in!


Precontemplation: "I won't/I can't"

Contemplation: "I might"
Preparation: "I will"
Action: "I am"
Maintenance: "I have"
Termination: "It's as if I've never lived any differently than how I'm living now"

The following descriptions were taken from the book Health Behavior Theory, Research, and Practice, 5th Edition, by Karen Glanz, Barbara K Rimer, and K. Viswanath,


"Precontemplation:
Precontemplation is the stage in which people do not intent to take action in the near term, usually measured as the next six months. The outcome interval may vary depending on the behavior. People may be in this stage because they are not informed enough about the consequences of their behavior. Or they may have tried to change a number of times and become demoralized about their abilities to change. Both groups tend to avoid reading, talking, or thinking about their behaviors. They often are characterized as resistant, unmotivated, or not ready for health promotion programs. An alternative explanation is that traditional health promotion programs were not ready for such individuals and were not motivated to match their needs.

Contemplation:

People in contemplation intend to change their behaviors in the next six months. They are more aware of the pros of changing than precontemplators and are also acutely aware of the cons. This balance between the costs and benefits of changing can produce profound ambivalence and keep some people stuck in contemplation, a phenomenon characterized as chronic contemplation or behavioral procrastination. These people are not ready for traditional action-oriented programs that expect participants to take immediate action. If contemplators are pushed into such programs, they are not likely to succeed.

Preparation:

In the preparation stage, people intend to take action soon, usually measured as the next month. Typically, they have taken some steps in the past year. They have a plan of action, such as joining a quit smoking health education class, consulting a counselor, talking to their physician, buying a self-help book, or relying on a self-change approach. These are the people who are receptive to and willing to begin an action-oriented program.

Action:

People in the action stage have made specific overt modifications in their lifestyles within the past six months. Because action is observable, behavior change has often been equated with action. In the TTM, action is only one of six stages. Typically, not all modifications of behavior count as action in this model. In most applications, people have to attain a criterion that scientists and professionals agree is sufficient to reduce risks for disease. For some behaviors, such as cancer screening, the criterion may be getting an effective cancer screening test (e.g. a mammogram, Pap test, or colonoscopy) that can reduce the risk of dying from cancer. For smoking, there now is consensus that the criterion behavior should be total abstinence, since other changes do not necessarily lead to quitting and do not lower risks to zero.

Maintenance:

People in maintenance have made specific, overt modifications in their lifestyles. They are working to prevent relapse, and they do not apply change processes as frequently as people in their changes. Based of self-efficacy data, it has been estimated that maintenance lasts from six months to about five years, depending on the targeted behavior. Longitudinal data from the 1990's surgeon general's report (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1990) supported this temporal estimate. After twelve months of continuous abstinence, 43 percent of individuals returned to regular smoking. It was not until five years of continuous abstinence that risks for relapse dropped to 7 percent. The time frame can very for other health behaviors.

Termination:

People in termination report having zero temptation and 100 percent self-efficacy. Whether they are depressed, anxious, bored, lonely, angry, or stressed, they are sure they will not return to their old, unhealthy behaviors. It is as if they had never acquired the behavior in the first place, and their new behavior has become automatic. Examples include adults who buckle their seatbelts as soon as they get in their cars or automatically take their antihypertensive medications at the same time and place each day. In a study of former smokers and alcoholics we found that fewer than 20 percent of each group had reached the criterion of zero temptation and total self-efficacy (Snow, Prochaska, & Rossi, 1992). The criterion may be too strict or this stage may be an ideal goal for the majority of people. In other areas, like exercise, consistent condom use, and weight control, the realistic goal may be a lifetime of maintenance, since relapse temptations are so prevalent and strong. Termination has received much less research and practical attention than other stages, because it typically takes so long for individuals to reach this stage."

So my take as someone who struggled with my weigh since 4th grade, and someone who desires to continue to live in health, practicing my healthy habits, is that I want to get IN to "maintenance" and remain there. I am happily in ACTION right now, giving myself a "tune-up," and will continue in action even through and back into maintenance. Although "termination" appears like a wonderful ideal, I anticipate that "choosing health" will always be a choice for me, and that there are things thay may continue to tempt me, the "siren-call" back to the old unhealthy lifestyle, so while "termination" can be a worthy goal, and I'd LOVE to eventually state that "no matter what happens I WILL NEVER return to my unhealthy lifestyle" I am satisfied living day-to-day and remaining MINDFUL in "action" and "maintenance". Perhaps "termination" is something that can only be observed as having been entered in hindsight.

But there were plenty of years I lived, before finding our wonderful program, in a state of "precontemplation". I didn't want to read or hear anything about "how to get healthy" because it always caused me (I thought) to feel terrible about myself. I preferred to live in ignorant bliss, and my health and quality of life suffered tremendously because of it. Oh sure, I had moved into "action" before, but things hadn't worked out the way I had wanted them to and I'd always regress back into the precontemplative state.


Then there were those times I was in a contemplative state, reading about weight loss-programs, and sometimes even trying them (moving into action), but then ultimately failing and regressing back to precontemplation.


I think of the many years I spent in "behavioral procrastination" with regret. I studied Nutrition to try to understand the metabolic processes, and requirements of the human body, in an effort to understand MYSELF and my situation. I became an expert on theory but was inexperienced in ACTION and RESULTS.


Until I found our program. I was so impacted by the stories of the REAL people who had transformed their health through our program I moved directly from pre-contemplation to action, and I have never looked back. Our community is a community of like-minded people who are LIVING the life they always wanted to live, who have MOVED into action and then into maintenance, and who support each other along the way. 


Here's my own takeaway. I am trying to learn how to better identify WHERE people may be in their OWN journey, and how best I can help them move forward from where they are to where they want to be. 


That's my passion, and that's my heart.





Wednesday, August 31, 2016

There's a difference between "distraction" and "direction"

Ever notice how being "on plan" with our program feels much easier when we are busy?

When we are at work, or busy on a project, and a temptation comes, we usually we don't have "time" for those thoughts. We certainly don't have time to ACT on them, our minds are so occupied with other things that when the thoughts come we are rapidly "distracted" by the next thing that is required of us, so those temptation thoughts don't germinate and expand.

But during the weekend, evenings, or our downtime those same temptation thoughts come in and seem to grow exponentially, many times resulting in our acting on them in a way which sabotages our plans, delays us achieving our health goals, and making us feel like failures.

What to do?

Well, there is a real difference between "distraction" and "direction".

Distraction is what I mentioned above. It is the DISPLACEMENT of the original thought by necessity of other things taking priority. On the weekends, we can run out of things to distract ourselves, can't we? We can get bored. We can seek entertainment with food or drink.

Direction, however, is intentional. Direction is us taking that thought, that temptation, MINDFULLY, unpacking it for a moment, acknowledging it's presence, and then CHOOSING to say "no" to that because it doesn't forward our long-term agendas, our primary goals, as regards our health.

The "Stop! Challenge! Choose!" method is a very practical way of dealing with those thoughts or temptations in a way which will give us peace of mind, strength of resolve, and momentum in achieving our goals. Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen came up with the "Stop! Challenge! Choose!" method and writes about it in his book "Dr. A's Habits of Health" and also his New York Times Bestseller "Discover Your Optimal Health." It basically goes like this:

Temptation arises.
STOP!
Literally, stop what you are doing or are about to do! Take a few DEEP breaths.
CHALLENGE!
Challenge yourself and ask "will eating/drinking/doing this action take me closer to my health goals, or farther away from them?"
CHOOSE!
Choose the action which furthers your most intrinsic goal of creating Optimal Health in your life.

If we rely on distraction, those temptation thoughts MAY go away for awhile, but when they return they will bring lots of friends with them, or return stronger than they were before. Why? Because we didn't DEAL with the thought or emotion in a cognitive way. Therefore, it can resurface, or bubble up LATER, or EVEN manifest in OTHER ways that are non-food. Those thoughts can show up later as chronic stress, or irritability, or depression, or anger. Ever feel that way?

Ever feel like you've been holding those thoughts at bay ALL WEEK LONG, you've been SO GOOD, and then Friday evening hits and you have all of a sudden "run out of will-power?"

That is a typical pattern of being "on-plan" during the week, when it seems to be "so easy", and then on the weekends we can get so loosey-goosey that no one who might be watching us over the weekend would even think we were the same person as we were Monday-Thursday! We can even surprise OURSELVES at how "double-minded" we seem to be!

It truly is the difference between "Distraction" and "Direction".

So what to do?

When those temptations come during the week, take a moment and think "yes, I COULD choose to have those, but I PREFER to say no to those now so that I can have what I REALLY want eventually, which is OPTIMAL HEALTH." Practice saying that throughout the week. By the end of the week you will find that those thoughts now come more easily when faced with temptations over the weekend. You have created a pattern of mindfulness which, once established, can become your default way of thinking about things that might otherwise set you back were you to indulge in them.

Try it out! Let me know what you think!

Rinse and Repeat!
#OPTAVIA30WOW