Good habits are worth being fanatical about. —John Irving
It seems that everywhere we turn these days, another weight-loss expert is trying to sell their newest solution to our overweight society. Whether it is in the form of books, DVDs, online programs, or infomercials, our lives are inundated with diet and exercise advice on the newest ways to lose weight now! Weight loss clinics are popping up all over the place promising a 40-pound weight loss in just 40 days! All you have to do is follow this incredibly restrictive diet, do not exercise, drink a mixture of water, lemon juice and maple syrup for three days, do not eat carbs, inject yourself with a hormone every day, and take these appetite suppressants to keep your hunger under control and you, too, can have your dreams come true!
Sounds awful, doesn’t it? So why do we put ourselves through this time and time again? It comes down to the fact that our desire to be thinner is greater than the misery we subject ourselves to every time we start another diet. Let’s face it, diets are not fun. Yet, often times, we feel it is the only way we will ever lose weight. And when the pressure is on, for instance your daughter is getting married, or you have a high school reunion coming up, the desire to look your best can overtake all common sense and you find yourself desperately turning to the quick fix – the diet. Maybe it is a new diet you want to try because your friend has had so much success with it. Or maybe you turn to your old stand-by diet that has worked for you in the past. The important thing to realize is that if these diets really and truly work and people are successful with them, then why do we seem to always find ourselves back in the same spot we have been many times before wanting to lose the same weight (and sometimes more) we have wanted to lose before? This is because, in reality, diets do not work.
Diets do not work for one main reason; they do not provide life-long change. We do what we need to do to stick with the diet for a certain amount of time, or until we lose all we want to lose for the time being. Then, sooner or later, we slip back into our old ways of eating. Before we know it, we have re-gained the weight (and often times, a few pounds more).
It is for this reason, and the following nine more, that we want to put an end to this dieting epidemic to help you achieve your weight loss goals by saying goodbye to dieting once and for all.
1) Lose muscle, re-gain fat
Most of us know (unfortunately, by experience) that when we actually lose weight by following a diet, it is not long after the diet is over that the pounds we lost will come back and usually with more in tow. When you lose weight, you are not just losing body fat. Water and muscle are also lost in the process. Exercising regularly and keeping up a weight-training program will minimize this muscle loss, but as body mass decreases, there will still be a certain amount of muscle that is lost with every pound that disappears off the scale.
Once the weight is lost, and the diet is over, old habits will quickly sneak back and the weight you hoped was long gone comes flying back! Unfortunately, most of the weight that is put back on is in the form of fat. Therefore, your body composition changes resulting in a higher body fat percentage, even if you weigh the same as you did prior to dieting.
2) Yo-yo dieting can affect your metabolism
This is one of those truth or myth statements that we hear quite often. The fact is, there are both truth and myth to this claim. It is true that dieting can affect your metabolism, but is it myth to believe that your years of yo-yo dieting has totally ruined your ability to lose weight. As mentioned previously, when weight is lost and then gained back, a certain amount of muscle (lean body mass) is lost, and fat is regained in its place. This changes your body composition, which changes your metabolism. Muscle is much more effective at burning calories than fat is, so therefore, the more muscle you have more calories you will burn during exercise, at rest, in your sleep, etc.
It is true that years of yo-yo dieting will make it more difficult to drop pounds in the future. This is due, mainly, to the change in body composition (and of course, nutrition and activity levels) over the years. But, this does not make it impossible to lose weight. The equation of calories in vs. calories out still applies at any age and/or dieting experience.
3) Diets are too drastic for long-term success
We’ve all heard those words, The diet starts Monday! They are usually said with a chuckle at the same time that last piece of pizza, or last basket of fries are being devoured on Sunday. Your body and, more so, your mind can be very resistant to change, especially if its drastic. Diets are restrictive, and do not leave a lot of room for error. This may work for a short period of time, but in the long run, it is not conducive to most lifestyles. The goal of the diet is to get you to lose weight quickly and feel like you are having success. The more drastic the changes, the more drastic the effects will be – but not for long. Small changes, while more effective over time, take longer to produce results and many people think they do not have the patience to stay committed for a longer period of time.
4) Diets are a temporary fix to a possible deeper issue
A client once told me that diets have always been easy for her because she feels like she can stick to anything for a short period of time. It is the idea of making life-long changes that scare and overwhelm her. The problem with this thought process is that she is never released from the vicious cycle of dieting, feeling deprived, putting weight back on, feeling like a failure, then dieting again. This cycle is not healthy for her body or her mind.
The truth is, if you lose weight by temporarily changing what made you gain the weight to begin with, you are only scraping the surface of the underlying issue. Once the weight is gone, the emotional issues and other life challenges will still be there and, unless addressed, will ultimately result in the weight returning.
5) Diets are all or nothing
As mentioned before, diets do not leave a lot of room for error. Life happens, and things come up that may prevent you from following the diet as closely as you had hoped. If you find yourself cheating or eating forbidden food, you may feel that all is lost and you have ruined your chances of losing weight for that day. Then that one day then turns into a week, a month, and maybe more. Pretty soon, you are right back to saying to yourself, The diet starts Monday.
6) Diets do not focus on life-long change
We continue to emphasize that diets are temporary. They are not meant for long-term success. If dieters lost weight never to gain it back again, the dieting industry would go bankrupt! Besides, along with most diets comes the feeling of dread and deprivation. Diets are not fun and they tend to make any event involving food a stressful experience. More importantly, most diets do not empower the dieter with healthy lifestyle tools they can use in their real life after the diet is over.
7) Diets are socially awkward
When someone is on a diet, it seems that the whole world finds out sooner or later. It can be very obvious if you know the person well because their eating habits have done a complete 180. Others may learn about the diet because the dieter will tell them. Perhaps they feel strange that they are not eating the food that everyone else is, and they need to give an excuse for their behavior. Whatever the reason, diets definitely make social outings that involve food, very stressful.
Recently, at client told me a story where a group of friends got together for their weekly ladies night out dinner. One woman was on a new diet of only 500 calories a day, which was made up of lean protein, and one to two cups of vegetables (depending on the veggie). At dinner, the woman ordered a dry chicken breast. She specifically requested no veggies (she had already eaten her share for the day), and no other sides. When the meals arrived, there was her dry chicken breast, sitting all alone on the plate. My client said it was rather silly looking and was not appetizing at all! The rest of the night, the diet was all her friend could talk about. Her energy was low, she did not look as chipper as she usually did, but she could not stop talking about all the weight that she was losing. My client confessed that it made for an unfortunately unpleasant evening.
8) There is a reason it’s called Fad dieting
Fads come and go. Diets come and go. It seems that what was once old is now new again. From the no carb/low carb/some carb, to the cabbage soup, grapefruit, and HCG diets, what was popular in the past, comes back around and re-packages itself for a new generation of weight-loss seekers.
The one diet that is not a fad is healthy eating. Nutrition advice changes slightly from time to time, but for the most part, the recommended foods for healthy eating have stayed the same for years. We have to keep reminding ourselves that if healthy eating can keep us from gaining weight, then it can help us in losing weight. And you can be assured that this is one diet that will not go out of style.
9) Diets make you feel like a failure
We have often made the comment that diets are meant to make you fail. They give you the temporary taste of success, and then ultimately, you fail by re-gaining all the weight you have lost. Not only can this reek havoc on your health, but it can play with your mind, making you feel like a total failure. In fact, diets are designed to make you think that the only way you can ever lose weight again is by going on a diet; that you cannot possibly do it yourself. This, however, is not the case and we want to help give you the confidence that you can do it without dieting (see the following article, 10 Healthy Habits to Incorporate into Your Life Now).
10) You become your own worst enemy
After time and time again of going on and off diets, you may soon begin to feel that you will never reach your health and fitness goals. In fact, you might even convince yourself that your goals are not that important to you anyway. This can be dangerous because it leads you down the road of denial. If you continue down this path, in the future you may find yourself having gained more weight then you could ever imagined and feeling even more hopeless than you were before.
No one wants to deprive themselves of food and social outings with friends, feel like a failure, or become their own worst enemy. But, yet we allow ourselves to do all those things in the form of dieting. Wouldn’t it be better if we were able to reach our weight-loss goals by making simple changes in our eating and exercise habits, that did not make us feel deprived or like failures? You can do this. By adopting healthier behaviors in your life, you can make the changes that will ensure life-long healthy habits that will help you lose weight and keep it off for good. This is why we encourage you to take a good, long look at your dieting past, and say sayonara once and for all.
For tips on how to incorporate healthy habits into your life, be sure to read the nutrition article of this issue entitled, 10 Healthy Habits to Incorporate into Your Life Now.
The list that follows is comprised of habits we have been told before can help us reach our goals of achieving a healthier lifestyle. For some, this may be new information. For others, think of this as a friendly reminder from your caring Fitness Coaches at BodyBasics!
1. Eat breakfast everyday.
Yes, it is still the most important meal of the day. A good breakfast can set the stage for the rest of your day. It is the meal that literally breaks-the-fast from the time you finish your evening meal until you wake in the morning and are ready to energize your day. There really should be no excuse for not eating breakfast. No matter what your mornings are like. Whether you have a very hectic morning, are not hungry in the morning, or are just not a morning person, anyone can grab something quick and that is easy to digest. Some examples are: a banana, a breakfast bar, or even a smoothie prepared the night before and all set to be whirled up in the morning on your way out the door.
2. Drink more water.
Water is one of the essential nutrients our bodies need to function efficiently. Not only does it keep us hydrated and refreshed, but it also keeps our joints lubricated, skin nourished, and blood flowing more smoothly. Drinking enough water will help you feel energized during your day as well as fend off food cravings that can disguise what may actually be signs of dehydration. Each person’s daily water intake need is different depending on size, activity level throughout the day, and environment. We recommend no less than 64oz of water a day (eight 8-oz. glasses). One simple method to estimate your daily need is to calculate half your body weight. That number is the amount in ounces to aim for, at least, each day. How do you know you are adequately hydrated?Check the color of your urine. It should be the color of light lemonade.
3. Resist the urge to finish your plate.
Many of us were raised to eat everything on our plates so as not to let any food go to waste. This is a learned behavior that has stayed with us throughout our lives. At the same time, serving sizes have doubled, tripled, and even quadrupled over the years!We have come to expect more for our money and are drawn to the good deal. Unfortunately, we are still finishing our now monster-size plates and feel that leaving anything behind is a waste. Resist this temptation! Here are some tips to doing this:
- Slow down. Eating more slowly will let your brain catch up with your stomach (about 15 minutes) and will help you decide if you are still hungry or if you are comfortably satisfied.
- Serve up your meals in the kitchen to resist seconds. When you cook at home, you are in total control of the size of the portions you put on your plate. Serve up healthful portions and leave the rest in the kitchen. If you dish up your meals at the table, you are more likely to reach for a quick second helping if they are only arm’s length away.
- When eating out, make it a rule to eat half of every meal you order. Most restaurant meals are two or three times (and more) the amount of food we really need. Split a meal with someone else at the table, or take the rest home for leftovers so you won’t feel like the food is going to waste and you are still getting your money’s worth.
4. Cut back on eating out.
These days, our lives are so busy that sometimes we just do not feel we have time to cook a healthful meal at home. So, we go out. If you are not careful, at the end of your week, you will look back to realize that you ate out more than you ate at home. This can be a dangerous habit because, let’s face it, restaurant food is not always the healthiest. We encourage our clients to eat more meals at home and pack lunches where they can control the quality of the ingredients and the amount of salt and fat used in the cooking process (both of which are at extreme levels in most restaurant food).
5. Eat small, frequent meals.
We have all heard that eating five small meals throughout the day is better than eating three bigger meals, but there is truth to this piece of advice. Eating more frequent, smaller meals spaced evenly apart during your day can help boost your metabolism. This is because, in doing this, you are sending a signal to your body that says it should use the food you just ate for energy since it will only be a few more hours before it will be fed again. Making this a habit will keep your energy levels high and help control your appetite at night when you may find you are hungriest especially if you have not eaten regularly throughout the day.
Aim to eat every three to four hours, equaling about four to five times a day.
6. Section off your plate.
Every time you eat, it is best to consume a combination of healthy foods that will nourish your body and keep you feeling satisfied for three to four hours until your next meal. The best way to do this is to eat a combination of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and fruit and/or vegetables. Picture your plate of food. Half of your plate should be filled with vegetables and/or fruit. One quarter of your plate should be lean protein and the remaining quarter should be your whole grains. Most plates of food make the protein the star of the meal. We encourage you to re-arrange your plate to ensure the veggies and/or fruit take center stage.
7. Shop the perimeter.
While we are on the topic of fruits and vegetables, let’s talk about grocery shopping. The most healthful items that should make their way to your cart will be located around the perimeter of the store. Start off filling your cart with fresh vegetables and fruits, then make your way to the meats, breads, and dairy. It is safe to venture into the canned food aisles to pick up items like canned beans, fruits, and veggies (be sure to read the labels for sodium levels and added sugar). The cereal aisle can be good, as well, if you shop smartly and pick out a cereal high in fiber and low in sugar (less than 10 grams per serving). Make sure, however, to steer clear of the snack, cookies, and cracker aisle or the ready-made boxed meals aisle. Many of these foods are highly processed and have little nutritional value.
8. Order smartly.
If eating out is part of your lifestyle and you are unable or unwilling to cut back, then make it a point to order the most healthful meals you can. Many restaurants post their nutrition facts online, so you can educate yourself ahead of time and feel armed and ready when you walk in the door. Maybe you will learn that your favorite meal is really not worth the two day’s worth of sodium and a full day’s worth of fat. Some good, handy resources are the Eat This Not That series of books. These books help the consumer make educated decisions on what menu items to pick when attempting to eat healthier while dining in restaurants.
9. Get more sleep.
It is no secret that most of us operate daily on much less sleep than our bodies truly need. In recent research, scientists have studied the effects that too little sleep can have on certain hormones in our bodies. Leptin and ghrelin are two hormones that work together on a checks and balances type of system and are responsible for controlling feelings of hunger and fullness. One study found that those who sleep less than eight hours a night have higher levels of ghrelin, and lower levels of leptin which proportionately increased the subjects cravings for calorie-laden, carbohydrate foods by 45%.
In addition, studies have also shown that those who were able to log in more than six hours of sleep a night had less cravings for sugar or high-calorie foods. Plus, they had increased energy that helped them be more active throughout their days, which, in turn, burned extra calories!
10. Get moving!
Of course, exercise is key when adopting healthy habits into your lifestyle. The benefits of exercise are endless and studies continue to show that any level of exercise can make the difference in your day and your health. The important thing is that you are doing something you will stick with and make part of your lifestyle. Be sure to include weight training, cardiovascular exercise, and flexibility into your routine to get the most benefits all around. If you are not sure where to start, your Fitness Coaches at Body Basics are always ready! Their knowledge and expertise are sure to get you headed in the right direction and do what we, as Fitness Coaches want for everyone – to just get moving!
Start incorporating these healthy habits into your life today!Take one at a time, and as you are successful with one, then add another. Pretty soon, you have so many good, healthy habits; you will quickly leave the other, not-so-healthy habits behind.
When adding healthy habits into your life, it is important to not deprive yourself of the foods you love. A better approach is to modify certain recipes to make them more healthful, but still satisfying. This recipe is an example of just this. It is a chocolate chip cookie recipe that has been altered to include more nutritional ingredients, at the same time promising a tasty treat! Enjoy!
From EatingWell: February/March 2005
These oatmeal chocolate chip cookies have the familiar flavors of brown sugar and chocolate, but get a sophisticated twist from tahini (sesame paste). Tahini helps to lower the saturated fat by more than 66 percent while adding a nutty flavor to an old classic.
- About 45 cookies
- Active Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- 2 cups rolled oats, (not quick-cooking)
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour, (see Ingredient Note)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup tahini, (see Ingredient Note)
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg white
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 350 °F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk oats, whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat tahini and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until blended into a paste. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar; continue beating until well combined and quot;the mixture will still be a little grainy. Beat in egg, then egg white, then vanilla. Stir in the oat mixture with a wooden spoon until just moistened. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
- With damp hands, roll 1 tablespoon of the batter into a ball, place it on a prepared baking sheet and flatten it until squat, but don’t let the sides crack. Continue with the remaining batter, spacing the flattened balls 2 inches apart.
- Bake the cookies until golden brown, about 16 minutes, switching the pans back to front and top to bottom halfway through. Cool on the pans for 2 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Let the pans cool for a few minutes before baking another batch.
TIPS & NOTES
Make Ahead Tip: Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days or freeze for longer storage.
Ingredient notes: Whole-wheat pastry flour, lower in protein than regular whole-wheat flour, has less gluten-forming potential, making it a better choice for tender baked goods. You can find it in the natural-foods section of large super markets and natural-foods stores. Store in the freezer.
Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. Look for it in natural-foods stores and some super-markets.
Per cookie: 102 calories; 5 g fat (2 g sat, 1 g mono); 7 mg cholesterol; 14 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber; 45 mg sodium; 53 mg potassium
Florence Jaffe – May
Florence Jaffe grew up in Brooklyn, New York where she was an elementary school teacher prior to retiring. She moved to Tucson fifteen years ago for a change of lifestyle. When she’s not working out, Florence enjoys attending University of Arizona seminars, theater productions, and concerts. She has spent lots of time as a volunteer in the community as well.
Florence feels that the greatest challenge to living a healthy lifestyle is applying the focus necessary to her nutrition and activity. Recently, Florence has re-dedicated herself to attending to her health and wellbeing. She has been consistently meeting her goals in terms of time spent doing her cardio and strength workouts as well as making healthy eating choices. She has been gently helped along in this transformation by her trainer, Chris. Florence appreciates Chris for his vast knowledge of health and fitness and his ability to assess and communicate ways for her to improve.
Congratulations on being selected for Body Basics Client of the month. We are so proud of your progress. It has been such a pleasure to witness your healthy change in attitude and increased effort. Keep up the good work, Florence.
Virginia Piper – June
Next to the definition of the word dedicated there should be a picture of Virginia Piper. The word dedicated is defined as 1. devoted to a cause, ideal or purpose 2. given over to a particular purpose. Virginia is dedicated to the purpose of living the most fulfilling life possible. She is astutely aware of the mind/body connection. Virginia feels that if her nutritional input and physical output are put into balance she will enjoy a higher quality of life. Living her full life includes playing with her grand children, Italian language lessons, bowling, world travel and her two dogs Milo and Bianca. She plans to revisit her passion for oil painting too.
Virginia is the ideal client. She is incredibly strong and brings focus and determination to each workout. Virginia has a very positive attitude as well. Virginia has made great strides in her workouts. She is proud of the strength and endurance she has achieved and continues to work on her balance.
Virginia thinks Body Basics is the best place for people with serious physical challenges. She appreciates that her trainers develop a very individualized program and are sensitive to each client’s issues. Even still, the process is not easy. Chris likes to see you sweat and that’s not something I even like to do! You have to be serious about doing your part.
Virginia, it is an absolute joy to work with you. Your trainers are so proud of your progress and wish you continued good health.
Race for the Cure 2010 was a great success. Thanks to all of you who helped us raise funds for such a great cause. Special congrats to Conrad who ran his first competitive race ever!
Thanks again to all who supported BodyBasics Crew 2010.
Your Newsletter Editor/former Fitness Coach has some exciting news! My husband, Jason, and I (Jenny) are soon-to-be parents for the first time!Little Baby Kerbs is due to grace us with his or her presence on October 22, 2010. We are so happy to continue to be part of the Body Basics family and are thrilled to share this exciting news with all of you.
In this picture, I am 13 weeks pregnant and am wearing the very same shirt my mom wore when she announced she was pregnant with me!
Do you have a favorite workout song? What gets you pumped up? What songs make you want to move? Please email thelittens@yahoo. com any and all songs that you would like to hear at the studio during your workouts. We’ll put them on the BodyBasics iPod song list! Thanks!
To empower people to realize their innate abilities by providing an environment that nurtures, educates, and inspires.
Keep Up the Great Work!
We are very proud of all of you!
Chris, Kathleen, Mike H., Maureen, Mike D., Jenny, Alex, and Terry