8 Ways To Break a Plateau

000weight-loss-clinic-los-angeles-australia-plan-eating-127198The following has been borrowed from a lil book I have by Jonny Bowden PhD, CNS, entitled:  The Best of the Rogue Nutritionist, Vol. 1

8 Ways to Break a Plateau

1. Be a calorie detective.
2. Change up your calorie count.
3. Exercise a temporary ban on certain foods.
4. Kick it up a notch, or three (talking about exercise).
5. Revisit strength training.
6. Up your protein intake.
7. Try a gentle detox.
8. Do a personal inventory.

Numbers 1-6 above seem pretty self explanatory.

Numbers 7 and 8 are about fasting, and other things that interfere with weight loss, like lack of sleep, too much stress, and some medications you may be taking.

This lil book is full of practical information that is helping me to change things up with my routines.

What’s your number?  What did you do to break through a plateau you experienced in the past?

ThreeGoals-AlternativeIt’s Thursday, and time again to report on my three goal experiment. Let me say at the outset, things went really well with this week’s goals.

Let me repeat that, for it bears repeating:

THINGS WENT REALLY WELL WITH THIS WEEK’S GOALS!!

My goals this week included a 6N6 challenge, wherein I committed to eating oatmeal for breakfast six times this week and exercising every morning for six or more minutes. I am happy to say I did both!!! One day I ate a bagel for breakfast, but that was allowed. I also did at least six minutes of exercise every morning, some of that being done with my adorable wee ones in the north-country helping me. We cranked up the music and all of us danced through at least three songs. It was fun getting better with those I love most in the world.

My third goal last week was to pay close attention to portion sizes, and to again put my measuring cups on the kitchen table. I did it!

I paid close attention to portion sizes even though it was the Labor Day weekend. Yay, me! I also put the measuring cups on the table, but they were snatched away again. What is with these MC fairies at my house? Why do they continue to steal my stuff? All I can say about that is that when you’re trying to get healthy you have to remember two things.

2 Things you must remember while getting healthy:

1. You will have to learn to maneuver around the obstacles that will be put in your way.

2. There will always be obstacles put in your way. Think creatively and have fun pushing them aside—that is my suggestion.

I’m especially encouraged by the completion of my three goals this week!

Why? Because as I said earlier, this past weekend was Labor Day; a day that is traditionally a high volume food occasion for many. Being the last of the summer wine, as it is, Labor Day is usually packed with picnics, eating out, over eating, and eating with friends, which I like to call Unconscious Eating. Not good for a food-obsessor like myself. Thankfully, I was able to plan ahead and pack prebaked oatmeal to carry with me on this trip. That helped, a lot. I was also able to walk and play, jump and dance with my family to the north. I feel I did exceptionally well this week with my teeny goals. Woohoo, so psyched about the progress being made because of these weekly incentives.

What is my general feeling about this goal-setting, habit-forming crusade I’m on? Just this…

I am still not feeling a full-fledged habit formed around my exercise time in the morning.  I also still feel the pull to eat simple carbs (bagels) for breakfast, so I will continue my goal to eat complex carbs (oatmeal), for breakfast, instead.

In the interest of being honest about my goals…

I want to report that I have seen no additional weight loss as a result of me completing my goals this last month. Keep in mind, though, I am on a quest to gain more than a smaller number on the scale with this experiment. I am also hoping to teach myself how to consistently apply good habits to my health journey, including: feeding my body right, moving my body daily, and giving my body what it needs to function at a higher level and therefore heal quicker. I will say that I have experienced less problems with dramatic BGL shifts since beginning this habit forming behavior, so I am very happy with that development.

This week’s three goals:

1. Another 6N6 challenge: Eat oatmeal 6 times a week and exercise 6 times this week for 6 minutes each morning before doing anything else.

2. Pay close attention to portion sizes, putting a humorous sign on the kitchen table to remind me to “watch it” at dinner time, and to keep the measuring cup fairies at bay.

3. Practice ordering what I want and not just what I see on the menu when I eat out this week. I have a full weekend of plans with others. At least two of those occasions will include eating out. When I eat out, I will consciously focus on ordering off the menu for my goodness, instead of eating foods that don’t help me with my recovery.

What efforts will you make to be conscious about your eating this week? What habit would you like to develop that you don’t have a handle on now?

Are you putting off decisions that have to do with your health, your weight, or that plan you have to “get back in the game”?

Dr. J had a few things to say about health procrastination and it’s consequences over at calorielab this week.

His post is worth your time to read…a message I need to let sink into my marrow.

Thank you, Dr. J!

What’s standing in the way of you getting better?  What teeny, tiny step will you take to move away from procrastination and toward recovery today?

5 Things that Surprised me This Morning

This morning’s exercise routine went well. I got up reluctant, stuck in the Tai Chi DVD I borrowed from the library, fast forwarded through the introduction stuff, and began with some simple movements to warm up before my five minutes of calisthenics.

000taichi

Five things that surprised me about this morning’s set:

  1.  Simple movements can be difficult to master when they are unfamiliar to you.

2.  Slowing down, when your mind tells you to run, run, run, is not an easy  thing.

3.  Being deliberate and patterned in your movements, while slowing down, takes concentration.

4.  I can see the benefits associated with Tai Chi exercises, but I’m not sure I want to adapt Tai Chi philosophy.

5.  I can be willing to do what I do not want to do, especially when I am convinced that what I do will benefit me and heal my body.

To My Additional Surprise: 

My five minutes this morning turned to seven minutes before I knew it. Coming off an injury that limited my mobility last week, I paid special attention to my body as I exercised this morning, and changed positions and movements when I noticed any pain.  It was a good start to a new program for me.

I have to say I am looking forward (with only the slightest bit of hesitation/apprehension), to learning a routine I can practice every morning going forward.  Anything that keeps me moving without too much pain is a welcome addition to my life.

Have you ever practiced Tai Chi?  When have you surprised yourself during an exercise routine, and how did that feel?

ThreeGoals-AlternativeGood morning, Thursday!

It’s time to set some goals for the week ahead, but first I’ll go over how I did this past week with my three teeny, tiny goals.

These were my goals:

1.Continued fiber in the morning (eat my oats).

2.Exercise first thing in the morning; this week we take it to 8 minutes.

3.Awareness of portion control while eating and prepping foods.

I did great on goal no. 1.  I think there was one day when I did not eat oatmeal with walnuts for breakfast, or maybe two. The wee ones were in the house this past weekend, so I may have missed one breakfast of cereal while they were there.  Regardless, I feel good about my breakfast fiber this week and the habit I am forming for eating this way in the morning.

I did pretty good with goal no. 3.  I was consciously aware of how much I was eating this week, but still I ate some portions that were larger than they should be. I also fell off the caloriecounter.com wagon this week. Why is counting calories so hard for me?  Answer pending.  :/

I had problems with goal no. 2 this week. As I reported, I hurt myself while exercising on Friday. Went too far with an exercise routine and pulled a muscle in my hip/lower back that made the weekend a painful event, so I did not exercise either Saturday or Sunday.  I did exercise all other days, but with much less enthusiasm than in the past.  That tells me this goal was not teeny, tiny enough to be doable by me–at least not in a way that is habit-forming and that’s what I’m shooting for with these goals.  I will go back to five minutes of exercise each morning this week, and stay there for a few weeks before I try again to increase my times.

Here are my goals for this week:

Continue eating fiber in the morning. This week I will allow myself to eat either oatmeal or veggies for breakfast.  Either way, I will have low fat milk with my breakfast to get the protein I need and keep blood sugar levels level as possible.

Exercise for 5 minutes upon rising each morning.  I borrowed a Thai Chi DVD from the library and I am going to incorporate that in my morning exercise routine this week, using it to stretch before my calisthenics.

Put my measuring cups on the kitchen table to remind myself to watch (measure) my portions this week. 

I’ve decided that I am also going to go back to having a salad with my evening meal each night. I’ve kinda gotten away from that habit, but need to bring it back, since I feel I need more fiber in my diet than the oatmeal is providing.

What three teeny, tiny goals are you willing to set for yourself this week?  How important is fiber consumption to your daily eating plan and digestion?

Is 8 Minutes Too Much?

Today is Monday and the first day of my week, so I’m back at it. 

Back to the good eats.

Back at the exercise.

Back at the ouchies!

I’m not sure what’s going on at our house, but yikes, everyone around me in aching these days.

I stretched, pulled, and otherwise manipulated myself into hurtful territory on Friday when I dismissed pain upon exercising and decided to power through. “Maybe this will limber me up,” thought I.  “Maybe this is pain that leads to reduced inflammation in my hip joint,” I imagined.

“Maybe this will feel better after I’m done.” Fat chance!

To my credit, that last statement was not as weird a hypothesis/conclusion as one might think.  Doing five minutes of exercise in the morning has been really good for me, and I HAVE felt better, more limber, and more loose in my joints because of it.

The old thinking says if a little is good, than more will be better, right?  Not where pain is involved!000painI should have listened.

I should have stopped.

I should have gone on to the next move, and left that hip thing alone.

I should have, but I didn’t. I kept moving in that weird way until I hurt myself.

You’ve heard misery loves company, right? 

It’s been proved true at my house lately.  What I mean by that is that I’m not suffering alone these days.

Hubs was helping a friend with a “few” cinder blocks and wrenched his neck.

The cat that was dropped off at our house a year and a half ago is getting skinnier by the day and the vet doesn’t know why.

Our pupper is itching all over with no sign of fleas and while wearing a new flea collar.  We are trying him on a new dog food and hoping that brings some relief. In the  meantime, he is driving me crazy!!!

Even more important, my sister is back in the hospital this afternoon with her own mystery pain.  Yikes, we are keeping this one in prayer.

What is going on?

I was not able to exercise for 8 minutes over the weekend.  At some points during Saturday and Sunday I was not able to get outta the Barcalounger unaided. So stiff. So sore. So slow moving was I, that hubs had to lend a hand.  And him, with the wrenched neck.  We were a sight, but I am nothing if not determined…

I got up this morning, did my 8 minutes (albeit slowly and with deliberation), and then set off for work.  I also took my baked oatmeal to the office with me, after having paid particular attention to portion sizes.

I hear it works, if you work it.  I’m trying.

What’s working for you these days?  What never works, so you have abandoned it completely? 

The Importance of Staying Positive

Every morning as we slip out of bed and slide our feet into our warm, fluffy slippers, we have a choice: Will we face the circumstances and people in our lives with grumbling and negativity, or will we face them with gratitude? –Whispers of Joy

Diseases desperate grown by desperate appliances are relieved, or not at all. –William Shakespeare

It is my contention that most difficult situations are made worse when we grumble.

Negativity solves nothing!

Oh, but it is soooo easy to be negative.  In order to counter that ease, I call upon desperate measures.  Measures that require conscious awareness and purpose of thought:  patience, serenity, solitude, concentration, and a bit of imagination.

Staying positive is a struggle when the journey is long and the way seems all up hill (or uphill both ways, we’ve all heard those stories, right?).  So what can I do to get the process underway?

How can I turn a negative mindset to a positive purpose? What are those desperate appliances that can be employed when tackling dis-ease?

000hikersA hiking analogy might help:

I can, think about how the hills on my journey are building those calf muscles of mine, and what gorgeous gams I’ll have at the end of my climb.

I can, glory in the green canopy all around me, the path under foot, the moss on the trees, the rocks; those incredible rocks–their shapes, their colors, their solid testimony through the centuries–they are immovable. I can declare that I will not be shaken!

I can, breath in the fresh air my trek up the mountainside provides, and I can finally break free of the mundane.  I am doing something, while others sit on the couch and veg out. That’s worth celebrating!

Today, I can quiet the nay-saying inside and allow myself the chance to be an instrument of peace to the people around me.

Life is hard enough without constant reminders that it is hard.

Besides, I serve a great Power–the God of possibilities and wonder, of strength and purpose; of love and life. Sitting on the summit, I realize, it’s all good!

I speak that goodness into the world and I recover a lil more.

I hear the Wisdom of the ages say, “Encourage one another!!!”

How have you turned the difficulties of your life into opportunities for change?  How have you harnessed your negativity and made it work for you, instead of against you?