Monday, February 16, 2015

OMGosh I FELL! First time since 2006!

Today I was out for my first official "training trail run" for a Half Marathon Trail run I'm doing in May in Colorado. Now, mind you, I've run this trail on South Mountain in Phoenix MANY times in the last few years, but I have not EVER fallen while running....until TODAY. Scraped up my hand, my phone was OK (whew!) and I think I gave myself whiplash but other than that I survived. But tonight it got me thinking about the last time I REALLY fell, which was 2006.

In 2006 I weighed 268 pounds, and I was carrying my then-1-year-old son across a parking lot. My foot caught in a small pothole and because I was so large, my muscles so weak, and there was so much forward momentum from my weight, I couldn't catch myself. We both went down onto the pavement. My son hit his head on the asphalt, and I realized at that moment that my weight was to blame. I cradled him in my arms and we both cried for a few minutes until someone helped me up. He ended up being fine, but I realized I needed to make a change, that my weight was not only endangering me, but it was endangering my son in a very real way. And there began my weight loss journey.

Here it is, 8 years later, and I fell again while running down a freaking mountain, and I was FINE! The circumstances of my life are SO different now, and I am simply grateful. Grateful that I found a tool that helped me get ME back! Grateful that I can model health for my son and for my family! It isn't always easy, but the alternative would have cost me WAY too much.

I can't tell you how joyful I feel that I made this decision.  And I'd love to help you are someone you love create health in your lives also!  It won't cost you NOTHING (although I am a FREE Health Coach!).  But it may cost you EVERYTHING if you ignore your health.  If not now, when?  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The "Extra Skin?" Post

Many people have asked me what I did about my extra skin, if I HAD extra skin, if my extra skin BOTHERED me, basically wanting to know a little bit about what they may deal with after they've lost their weight.

Here's the skinny on the skin, in MY experience.

If anyone were to have extra skin, I guess it should have been me, since I lost 140 pounds in 14 months, gained it all back the next year, and then 2 years later began to lose it again, finally losing 150 pounds off of my 5 foot 3 inch frame.

Extra skin depends on many things:

Your age.
Your skin elasticity.
How much weight you lost, and where you carried it.
The rate at which you lose your weight.
How much circulation your skin got in the process of your weight loss (read light-to-moderate cardio, a few times per week).
Your level of hydration in the process of your weight loss.

etc other words, it is not an easy task to "predict" in advance who will have extra skin, and to what degree, as there are so many variables.

Skin is a living breathing "organ" so to speak.   It is constantly turning over, constantly renewing, and the body has an amazing ability to adapt, or regulate, skin turnover based on the needs of the body.

I believe the most important thing during the weight loss process has nothing to do with creams, ointments, oils, barking at the moon, etc.  OK that was a little humor there.  I digress.

Ointments and oils and other topical "remedies" really do nothing internally to "encourage new skin growth."  The BEST thing you can do is stay hydrated and keep circulation up all the way out to the "tippy ends" of your skin.  Really you are encouraging blood flow to those areas.  Some people believe you can encourage new skin growth by "sloughing off" the older skin on the top layers, using exfoliating techniques, etc.  I don't buy it, just as I don't believe that you can make your fingernails grow quicker by trimming them often.  It has more to do with the INTERNAL environment.  And nothing gets the INTERNAL environment blood flow pumping like some good old-fashioned exercise.   What manual exfoliation (such as brushing) techniques DO provide is drawing extra blood to those areas.  In other words, increased circulation to the site.  I never did any brushing, though.

I will state here, for the record, that I have never had any skin surgeries done.  Ever.

Now, this begs the question "what about the "Biggest Loser" and "Extreme Weight Loss" people, they exercise a TON and they seem to always need/desire the skin surgery.  One of the reasons that you see SO much extra skin in people on biggest loser and extreme weight loss shows is that they lost their weight very quickly, and they didn't have the circulatory matrix underneath the areas those extra skin areas to sufficient to carry nutrients and oxygen to the sagging skin.

So then there is the age factor.  Age effects elasticity of the skin.  When we are young, the skin turns over much more rapidly then when we are older.  In our 30's and 40's, it turns over about once every 3-4 weeks.  When we are over 50 it turns over once every 3 months or so.  So, age is a factor.  I lost my weight at a rate of about 2 lbs/month.  And I was 37 when I began losing my weight the first time, and 41 when I began the second time.

My best advice is to WAIT a FULL YEAR after your are FINISHED with your weight loss before considering ANY type of skin surgery.  My skin continues to adjust and minimize even 2 years after my weight loss, for example.  Remember that it is a living and breathing organ, and respect that.

In the meantime, support-clothing can help you feel great if you are a little self conscious.  Spanx works wonders with little problem areas, and hey, I didn't take my BEFORE picture in my birthday suit and I don't ever plan on taking any AFTER pictures in my birthday suit so there's always that!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Who ARE you, anyway?

How I view myself makes all the difference.

Maintaining my healthy weight these last 2 years has been an eye-opening experience in many, many ways.

Firstly I have learned that my body will ALWAYS respond to the instructions that I give it, like a good little soldier.

Secondly, there is a big difference between seeing myself as a fit and healthy woman, and seeing myself as someone who has lost 150 pounds and is "trying to keep the weight off".

Big.  Difference.

What is the difference you say?  The difference mentally is in the DIRECTION of the TENSION, which drives our thought process and then which translates PHYSICALLY to my first point above, which is that our bodies will always respond to the instructions that we give it.

The instructions we give it are rooted in how we view ourselves, which ultimately drive our actions and our health direction.

If we are simply "trying to keep from gaining weight" because we "have always gained it back" in the past and we are petrified and fearful of "gaining it back again" this time, WHERE is our FOCUS?

It is on GAINING the WEIGHT back.  We almost create the inevitability of that event by focusing on it and being fearful of it, allowing it to consume our thoughts and create tension the direction of what?  Of gaining the weight BACK.

Here's the thing that neuroscience has come to realize recently.  Our brains are wildly active even in our sleep.  They are organizing things, filing them away where they belong, figuring out solutions to things we are pondering during the day, etc.

Therefore, when it comes to unresolved tension, no matter what it is, part of our brain is on autopilot, figuring out how to resolve the tension, how to solve the problem.

When it comes to the arena of the fear of weight regain, our minds are viewing that as unresolved tension.  In essence, our brains are working out ways how to just GET IT OVER WITH (gain the weight back) so we can put that tension to rest and resolve it!  How do you like that?  How do you like the thought of your brain working overtime, in parts that you can't even cognitively pinpoint, and even in your SLEEP, trying to resolve the tension you've created by placing your focus on the WEIGHT you are afraid to gain BACK.  I don't know about you, but my mind is pretty sharp, and I certainly don't want it off somewhere, on it's own, cooking up devious plots on how it will get me to gain my weight back!  No thank you!

So what is to be done then?  Well, for me, daily success involved how I view myself.

I don't view myself as a "constant dieter who is in maintenance trying not to gain her weight back".  There is a real danger in this kind of mindset, as I explained above.

I DO view myself NOW as a fit and healthy woman who enjoys and active lifestyle and who joyfully chooses to eat a certain way in order to REMAIN fit and healthy.

New York Times bestselling author Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen, co-founder of Take Shape For Life and Medical Director of Medifast, Inc. talks about this phenomenon in his book "Dr. A's Habits of Health" when he discusses motivation for change, structural tension, and the difference between the "diet mentality" which is essentially an oscillating pattern driven by the conflict resolution model, and "creating optimal health" which is a creative process focusing on the amazing things we can bring IN to our lives as a RESULT of becoming optimally healthy.

There is tension created in our brains in both scenarios.  The tension we create with the conflict-resolution model is tension to GAIN our weight back.  This is because LOSING WEIGHT is a NEGATIVE GOAL (something we want AWAY from, or OUT of our lives) and our motivation for LOSING the weight is because we are in emotional pain and conflict which we want GONE also.  When we begin feeling BETTER about ourselves as the weight begins to come off, we LOSE our motivation.

Some typical thoughts at this stage are:
* It was SO easy at the beginning, why is it SO hard now?
* Why can't I seem to stay a SINGLE DAY on plan?  I used to be able to go WEEKS at a time!
* What is WRONG with me?  Why can't I get my head straight and succeed at KEEPING THE WEIGHT OFF!

I recently went through a precarious mind-shift myself, and only in hindsight can I now see what was happening.

You see, this viewing myself as a fit and health woman is not necessarily a permanent state.  If I don't cognitavely CHOOSE to do this, my default tends to be focusing on the WEIGHT instead.  I mean let's face it, I have about 40 years of practice viewing it as a WEIGHT thing and a DIET thing, and about 4 years of learning HOW to choose HEALTH as my focus.

I ran the Paris Marathon last April, and also participated in the Carlsbad Triathlon in July this last summer and the reality of that made it super-easy for me to continue identifying myself as a fit and healthy woman.

Since August of this year I noticed a bit of a mind shift in to old fears (about "keeping the weight off") and pressures I put upon myself in not wanting to let anyone down by regaining any of my weight.  I became anxious at every daily change of the scale, if it were up 1/4 pound, or up 4 pounds, and this daily hyper-focus on the scale, this daily anxiety if there was a change in the "upward" direction simply began to compound itself.  Before I knew it I was at my "scream" weight, which triggers an automatic "reboot" on our program for me.  I had some time to think about what happened, because I definitely noticed a shift in my mindset in August.

Before August there was joy in creating health!  After August there was fear in gaining weight!

So what have I done recently to give myself more opportunities to continue creating health?  I am beginning AGAIN to identify myself as a fit and healthy woman.  It is who I AM and who I wish to REMAIN.  I have banished the thoughts and fears about "gaining the weight back" because I actually BELIEVE what Dr. A says about all that structural tension stuff!  I have LIVED it time and time again and I recognize the TRUTH about the mind always seeking to resolve unresolved tension, and that by our thoughts, goals and values we create those tensions ourselves!

I have lived on both sides of the spectrum, in the arena of truly creating health in my life, and in the devastation of massive weight regain (which is simply a "snap-back", an "auto-correct" if you will, of the tension I was creating with my "negative goals" mindset).

I have lived BOTH of these ways, and I MASSIVELY prefer the joy and peace that comes from creating health in my life.  I choose to continue in THAT mindset.  Intentionally.

What does that look like practically?

Today I ask the question "Who Am I?"
Next questions "How will my actions today be authentic with who I am?"
Then go and do it.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Genius is 1% Inspiration and 99% Perspiration - Thomas Edison

I LOVE to live in the inspiration side of genius.  I can spend hours dreaming of places I want to go, things I want to do, feats I want to accomplish.  Looking at Thomas Edison's quote I can't help but WISH that what he MEANT was that "Genius is 99% inspiration and 1% perspiration."

But alas, it is NOT what he said, and the truth of what he DID say tends to gobsmack me every time I truly ponder the words.

We have all sorts of intentions, don't we?  I know I do!  And I tend to speak my hopes out loud.  For example, we have a room in our house that has fallen in to deep disorder.  I mean DEEP.  Disorder.

Every time I pass by that room I get a pang of guilt that it has fallen into such disarray.  So, I do what any "I'm too busy right now maybe another day" mom would do, I simply close the door.  Sometimes the door gets opened again because I actually NEED something from that room, and then the cycle repeats.

Once a week or so I have the inspiring thought that maybe I'll actually try to tackle it "today".  I fully "intend" to tackle it for about the first 3 hours of said day.  Soon, the day happens "upon" me (as opposed to ME happening on the DAY) and I "find" that quite inexplicably the room has not, in fact, been tidied.

Big surprise there.

The same is sometimes true with my health goals.  Some days I have great "intention" of staying on my plan today.  I have even greater "intention" of getting some healthy motion (read exercise) in as well!  A few hours later, the exercise piece gets pushed to the side, and I'm left with my "intention" of staying on my eating plan.  A few hours after that, once again, I let the day happen TO me instead of me happening on the DAY, and viola my best intentions and inspiration for the day have evaporated.

Oh, Thomas, why can't I seem to remember your words every day?

Truly our best intentions and hopes must be followed by ACTION.  Perspiration he calls it.  Work.  Labor.  Sweat.  Doing.

Today I am going about things a little differently.  I have opened the door to "that room" and I have DECIDED to follow up my intentions with ACTIONS.  I have decided to put a DATE on my goal of getting that room clean and organized.  That day is TODAY.

With my health journey I have also put a DATE on my intentions.  Last year I ran the Paris Marathon because I put a training plan down on paper, with dates, and followed it up with the DAILY action, the "perspiration" to get the job done, to have my goal realized.  I've just set some new health goals this week, with dates, and today I will be setting my training plan down on my whiteboard, and will follow those "intentions" with daily action, the "perspiration" to get the job done. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Choose Your Own Adventure

Resolve.  Willpower.  White-knuckling.  Holding my breath.  What do these things have in common?

Simply this:  They are usually followed by feelings of shame.  Failure.  Inadequacy.  Self-loathing.

Then repeating resolve:  "I will  $%&**#&)  follow my "diet" today,  %&^*#  it!" and then by about 8pm comes the "What is WRONG with me?  Why can't I DO this?  Why can't I stick to a simple plan for 24 hours?"

Followed by feelings of shame.  Failure.  Inadequacy.  Self-loathing.

When I find myself slipping into this cycle, the "diet cycle," that oscillating pattern of "Lose-Gain-Repent-Repeat" I know that I have shifted my focus OFF of creating health.

There are now TWO directions I can go.  There are TWO outcomes to this scenario.  It is kind of like being in one of those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books.  Pretend with me that you are reading one of those books right now.  Pretend this is YOUR adventure, and not MY adventure.

"To put your head in the sand, to continue on in this downward spiral of despair, defeat, self-loathing and anguish, turn to page 45."

"To make a fundamental decision for health, realize that your actions TODAY determine the direction you will go in your health, and to look FORWARD at creating health in your life and continuing to be the heroine in  your own life story, turn to page 63." 

I choose to turn to page 63.

Page 63 represents hope.  Page 63 represents my continued DECISION to move in the direction of optimal health and ultra health.

On page 63 are two sentences.  Are you ready for them?

1)  It is NEVER too late to become the person we "might have" been. - Brenda Warner
2)  First, say what it is you would be, then DO what you have to do.  - Epictetus

And so, which page will YOU choose?  Which adventure will YOU choose to live out in your own life?

I am a FREE Certified Health Coach and am ready to help YOU choose YOUR own adventure! Message me and let's get going TODAY!

Rinse and Repeat!