Thursday, October 24, 2013

Building Your Weight Loss Team

Let’s face it, it’s hard work to lose weight.  There are so many distractions in everyday life, it’s difficult to stay the course and reach your goal.  Have you noticed that like minded people tend to stick together?  Support from your circle of friends, family and sometimes coworkers can make a huge difference in any endeavor.  Weight loss is no exception.

Let’s start with the home life.  When one person makes a commitment of this magnitude, it can be nearly impossible without the support of their family at home.  I recently heard of a person starting their weight loss journey and was eating a healthy meat and vegetable dinner while the kids had pizza.  The temptation, especially at the beginning, can be overwhelming.  Try eating the same foods at dinner, even if it’s at a different time for some.  Same deal with exercising.  Make it a family affair; it can be as simple as family walks once a week, or backyard football games.  By demonstrating an active lifestyle, it will rub off on the younger ones and possibly become a habit for them into adulthood.

Friends can be a large influence in a weight loss endeavor.  Their activities, and those that they invite you to participate in, can shape your free time.  See if you can find a gym buddy, someone you can make an appointment with to work out, even if you do your own thing once you get there.  Just knowing someone is waiting for you might get you in the habit of going on a regular schedule.  This is good time to evaluate your friends and see which ones might be toxic, ie draining on your positive attitude and your current goals.  Surround yourself with people who support you, not ones that want to happy hour every night of the week.

The workplace is probably the one over which you have little control, and requires the most adaptation on your part (in my opinion). If your office goes out to lunch every day, try to steer them towards places with healthy options.  One of my favorites is Tokyo Joe’s.  Places that require a little walking are a great idea too, so you get in a little bit of exercise to and from the office.  If it’s a cocktail happy group, try limiting the happy hours you attend to once a week.

Your weight loss team, or the people you surround yourself with, are your cheerleaders.  They are the group you count on to help you make better decisions and help you when you slide off track.  Find these people in your circles and use them.  If someone else has similar goals, rely on each other for support.  It’s hard to do alone, but with a team who knows what you can achieve.  Ok, that was a little cheesy, even if it’s true.

See you at the gym!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Weight Loss with Illness or Injury

We all know it’s hard to stay in a routine without any distractions or interruptions.  Life happens, and when we have setbacks, we have to figure out how to address them with minimal disruption.  This will likely not surprise you, but it’s the same with weight loss.  September was not a pleasant month for my body…a lower back disc impingement, a good ole cold and a likely broken toe.  It happens to us all.  So, how do you cope with the situation and not slide back to the beginning?  Here’s some tips; please remember to follow the advice of your doctor if your condition has necessitated their professional services.

First, listen to your body.  It knows what it can and cannot do when you are sick or recovering from an injury. If it hurts, don’t do it.  If you get into a coughing fit trying to run, slow it down to a walk, or try again the next day. Know your limits for that particular day.

Next, figure out what you can do.  If you have an issue with your arm, you are able to work your legs and probably some good abdominal work.  Ankle sprained?  Work your upper body.  You might have to adapt outside of your normal routine for awhile, but that’s good for your workouts anyway.  Free weights might be more difficult with an appendage out of commission, so you may have to rely more on machines.  Same thing for sitting versus standing exercises.  Make the most out of the parts that do work!

Another tip: try to do something every day you would in a normal week.  You may not be able to go as fast or as long, or lift as much, but it keeps the body in the habit of exercising. 

Here’s the most challenging tip: watch your diet like a hawk.  Your activity level is likely down from a normal level, so your metabolism is also likely down.  Your body needs less energy to function than when you are at the top of your game.  Those pesky fruits and vegetables can actually help recovery, just like lean protein helps muscles recover after a workout.  Eat sensibly and you will be good to go.

Injuries and illness can be nothing more than a timeout from the regular routine.  Maximize the benefits, as strange as it may sound, to shake up your routine and give your diet a double check.  When you’re back in full action, you will have stayed the course.

Enjoy the fall weather readers!  See you at the gym!