All of a sudden the weather is changing. It’s warming up and we’re all taking our shorts, sleeveless tops and (gasp) bathing suits out of moth balls. This can be a rude awakening. That little bit of extra Christmas cheer we were going to shed in January with our New Year’s resolutions is still there. We need a plan of action and we need it fast. Following is an excerpt from my new book, The Wine and Chocolate Workout, that should help us get back to the common sense basics of weight management.
There are three things needed to change your life and your waistline; moderation, meditation, and acceleration. Real food isn’t bad. It’s just some foods have to be eaten in moderation, like wine and chocolate. Your meditations about yourself and your life are more critical to reaching your goals than how much wine and chocolate you ingest. You have to get up off the couch and move to reach your dreams. Wine and chocolate can provide the energy you need for that acceleration. So, you see, wine and chocolate, far from being forbidden fruit, can actually be critical to your success! You just have to get the right perspective.
Here are three practical tips from my book to get you started:
Moderation Exercise – I strongly suggest doing a food and exercise diary for the next three weeks. If you went to a financial planner and did not present that person with accurate accounting records it would be very difficult for them to help you. It’s the same thing with a food and activity diary. I don’t suggest you live this way forever but you need a real picture of what is going on. I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve worked with that tell me that they eat “really healthy” so they can’t understand why they are continuing to gain weight. After doing a food diary for a month, a picture would emerge that would help them to see the ways in which they were sabotaging themselves. There are several smart phone applications and free websites that will assist you in this process. These programs ask for some basic statistics and then will let you know how many calories you need to maintain or to lose weight. It is almost universally true that people think they are eating less calories than they are. You have to face the truth to change the facts. If you are trying to lose weight, don’t aim for more than 1 to 2 pounds a week.
Meditation exercise – Find a pair of jeans that are too tight that you would like to fit into. Then, I want you to close your eyes and vividly imagine fitting comfortably in those jeans. What does it feel like to zip them up easily; to bend over or squat to pick something up without them pinching and pulling, to look in the mirror and like what you see? Revive this picture in your mind every day. In fact, don’t spend too much time examining your thighs or your belly in their present condition. Instead, focus on the future so it can become the now. If you have an old photograph of yourself looking hot in these jeans, put it somewhere you can look at daily. If you can’t imagine yourself accomplishing a goal you never will.
Acceleration exercise – A really helpful tool to give you a handle on how much you are, or are not, moving is a pedometer. They are relatively cheap and will record how many steps a day that you take. A study was recently done with an Amish community* who live the way most lived before obesity was epidemic in our country. The Amish, by the way, have an obesity rate of 4%, compared with 30.9% for the rest of the country. The men walked, on average, 18,000 steps and the women 14,000 per day. Most Americans find it difficult to get to 10,000 steps. Aim for at least 10,000 steps a day. Record those steps, or other exercise for the next three weeks.
I’ll see you at the beach!
* This study was published in the January, 2004 “Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,” and conducted by David R. Bassett, Jr. and associates of the University of Tennessee.